He continually courted controversy, was synonymous with waste management and his legacy adorns the front of the Great Expansion at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital.
St. Thomas developer – and author of 2012’s cautionary tale Madame McGuinty’s Teflon Academy – Bob McCaig died this past Wednesday (June 5) at the age of 79.
The former Elgin county school board trustee was not only a frequent contributor to City Scope, but he was also the focus of numerous items in this corner. Inclusion of the McCaig name could be counted upon to generate a considerable response, both pro and con.
His was a black and white canvas, there was no gray on Bob’s palette.
Love him or loathe him, there is no denying – at heart – he was a prolific community booster.
The Times-Journal has referred to it as The Great Divide: the emotional rift at Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion School that is the result of a school board decision to bus more than 200 students to Port Stanley Public School in the fall due to overcrowding at their home school.
Only 30 or so parents attended a January forum held by the school council to propose options to alleviate the crush of students at the former Homedale Public School.
The population at the school has swelled from 494 students in 2010 to 780 in 2014. Continue reading
The final numbers have been submitted and it’s a bitter lesson for mayoral candidate Mark Cosens, who found you can’t spend your way to the top.
March 27 was the deadline for candidates to file campaign expenses for the 2014 municipal vote and all 22 individuals met that target.
Cosens claimed $15,244.94 in expenses, which was well beyond double the amount logged by Mayor Heather Jackson at $5,883.59.
Cliff Barwick, who filed months ago, spent just over $4,000. Continue reading
The Jan. 19 council meeting in which Part 1 of the 2015 capital budget was unanimously approved is undeniable validation a new home for the St. Thomas Police Service did not play a significant role in the 2014 municipal campaign.
Members of council were united in committing $13 million to construct a purpose-built structure immediately west of the Timken Centre. It should be noted Coun. Jeff Kohler was absent from the vote due to a personal family matter.
In a presentation that evening by The Ventin Group, given direction by council to undertake the tendering process, a Class B cost estimate of $10.6 million for construction of the single-storey building was tabled.
A far cry from projections of up to $30 million floated in some corners during the bitter October election campaign.
In her inaugural address to the new council Monday, Mayor Heather Jackson sent a clear message she is ready to embrace change at city hall.
A priority is the implementation of a communication plan, which would include a communication officer working out of the clerk’s department. Speaking to the Times-Journal, Jackson stressed this would not be a new hire.
“It’s certainly not a new position,” advised Jackson. “Wendell (CAO Wendell Graves) and I have been talking about how we can make this happen without adding to the staff. We’ve got somebody now who does most of those functions but it’s not in anybody’s job description.”
Look for the manner in which council conducts business during its regular meetings to come under review in the new year.
Not only will it be a new-look council on Dec. 1, the method in which our municipal representatives conduct city business is about to be overhauled.
We talked with Mayor Heather Jackson on Friday to get a sense of her expectations as head of a council comprised of a sole returnee.
“I see this all as opportunities. I don’t see any challenges. There is a lot of learning that is going to happen in a short period of time.”
To assist with the formidable learning curve, Jackson and CAO Wendell Graves are establishing an online resource centre for the six new aldermen.