‘Let’s jealously protect the jobs we already have. Let’s jealously protect the industries and enterprises that are already part of St. Thomas.’ – Mayor Joe Preston


city-hall.jpgMayor Joe Preston and the incoming councillors were sworn in during a ceremony at city hall Monday (Dec. 3). Prior to Preston’s inaugural speech,  Pastor Steven McCready from Faith Church, in his charge to council, noted: “This city has changed immensely in the three years I’ve been here.”
However, McCready pointed out, “Mayor, there is still lots to do. Let’s work together and make St. Thomas proud. When the city prospers, the people prosper. And when the people prosper, they find peace. The thing all people are searching for.”
And McCready reminded all in attendance, “Prosperity is not the same as wealth. It means to flourish and be successful.”

The following is the full transcript of Mayor Joe Preston’s inaugural address.

“This is the beginning of something new and the word propel is exactly what we’re looking to do. I’d like to give my thanks to the past council and Mayor (Heather) Jackson for moving this city into a place we can be exceptionally proud of. The group of you who were here and the new people who are here, we are happy to take the torch.
“Thank you to city management and city staff for doing the same thing. St. Thomas is a place we can be proud of because we have great people who think the same way. Thank you to the voters of St. Thomas for electing this team.
“I want to talk a little bit about smart growth. St. Thomas is growing at a very rapid pace and we need to be smart about what we do and how we do that. We want to make sure we end up with not just growth but end up with a place all of the citizens of St. Thomas would truly want this to be.

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‘We must all be guided by the standards of excellence,’ out-going St. Thomas mayor Heather Jackson in her farewell remarks


city_scope_logo-cmykMonday’s meeting (Nov. 19) marked the end of term for council and with it the departure from the chamber of Mayor Heather Jackson and councillors Steve Wookey and Mark Burgess.
While the latter two chose to forego any closing words, Jackson took the opportunity to deliver an emotional farewell after 15 years on council, the last eight as mayor.
Calling it a great honour and opportunity to serve as mayor, Jackson opened her remarks by thanking “all of you who have allowed me this opportunity to serve you and I wish to thank you for your exemplary citizenship that has allowed this city to become a higher, more just and beautiful and liveable city.”
Jackson noted the job of mayor “is very fulfilling in that the responsibilities are not abstract or theoretical, but rather direct, specific and intimate.
“The responsibility for you and your children’s safety at home and at work, on the streets, for your neighbourhood parks to be safe, beautiful and active for you and your children’s play.
“Your garbage and recycling need to be collected, your neighbourhood peaceful and tidy.
“An economy bustling benefits your livelihood. A city growing in fiscal strength and fairness. The inspiration of art is accessible to all. Lovely and positive civic spaces.
“Your reason for optimism for the future. And to serve you in time of crisis and so much more.” Continue reading

Advance web vote in St. Thomas fails to turnaround voter turnout


city_scope_logo-cmykFor the first time in St. Thomas, advance polling for the Oct. 22 vote was available via internet and telephone. However, the hoped-for technological turnaround in voter turnout doesn’t turn up in the numbers.
That’s according to a report presented to council at Monday’s (Nov. 5) reference committee meeting compiled by city clerk Maria Konefal.
It’s a comprehensive break-out of the balloting and there are numerous surprises, and the data may pave the way for further electronic advances in the 2022 municipal election.
Tim Hedden, who was unsuccessful in his bid to win a councillor seat nailed it with his observation, “Curious to see if it drives voter turnout up or just made it more convenient for those that already vote.”
In an interview this week, Konefal noted “The thing I found interesting is we didn’t have too much of a change in the percentage turnout. But, of the people who voted, 44 percent of them voted electronically. Most of that was by internet.”

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Municipal politics is ‘liberating’ says St. Thomas mayor-elect Joe Preston, the city’s unabashed official cheerleader


city_scope_logo-cmykIn announcing his entry into the St. Thomas mayor’s race back in July, Joe Preston stressed municipal politics is “where rubber hits the road.”
Three months later as mayor-elect, after a 550-vote win over incumbent Heather Jackson, Preston isn’t waiting until the Dec. 3 swearing-in ceremony to get the gears in motion.
In a lengthy conversation with Preston yesterday (Oct. 26), he chuckled, “They’ve already started.”
Noting the increased demands on his schedule this week, Preston continued, “The election is over, now let’s get going. I’ve got a fantastic elected council, so I’m already talking to most of them. I already had a great meeting with (city manager) Wendell Graves about where we are and what I need to know. And with a lot of different community groups who want my ear at the moment.”

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2018 St. Thomas municipal election unoffical results


Here are the unofficial results in the Oct. 22 St. Thomas municipal election:

MAYOR

Joe Preston 3,731
Heather Jackson 3,189
Steve Wookey 2,949
Malichi Male 338

COUNCILLOR

Steve Peters 8,197
Jeff Kohler 5,888
Gary Clarke 5,032
Lori Baldwin-Sands 5,019
Linda Stevenson 4,080
Mark Tinlin 3,939
Joan Rymal 3,477
Jim Herbert 3,417

John Laverty 3,036
Rose Gibson 2,927
Lesley Buchanan 2,607
Dave Mathers 2,423
Serge Lavoie 2,296
Petrusia Hontar 1,995
Timothy Hedden 1,711
Greg Graham 1,496
Kevin Smith 1,190
James Murray 842
Michael Manary 785

The voter turnout was 36.07 per cent. It was 35.79 per cent in 2014.

The new council will be sworn in Dec. 3.

Are advance polling numbers an indication St. Thomas voters are engaged?


city_scope_logo-cmykThe municipal vote is Monday and for the first time in St. Thomas, advance polling is available via internet and telephone. As of 11 a.m. Friday, 12.73 per cent of the 28,034 eligible voters in the city had cast their ballot, with 3,300 voting via the internet and 268 by telephone.
By comparison, 9.67 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot through in-person advance voting in the 2014 municipal election.
The total voter turnout that year was 37 per cent.
Tim Hedden, one of 19 candidates running for councillor, asked the obvious question in response to a City Scope Tweet on this year’s advance polling system.
“Curious to see if it drives voter turnout up or just made it more convenient for those that already vote.”

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Countdown to election day in St. Thomas: ‘We need to work as a team to move forward’


ballot-boxWith time ticking down until the Oct. 22 municipal vote, 17 of the 19 individuals seeking one of eight councillor seats in St. Thomas strutted their stuff Oct. 11 in front of approximately 100 in attendance at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Sandwiched between a meet-and-greet before and after the event, the candidates were given a mere two minutes to pitch their case.
With a random selection process, the proceedings stumbled out of the gate when the first candidate drawn – James Murray – proved a no-show.
The task of opening up proceedings fell to Coun. Mark Tinlin, who vows to “continue working on your behalf.” His vision is to transform the city into “a tourist magnet.”
However St. Thomas also needs to invest in infrastructure, the transit system and increase the supply of affordable housing.
Tinlin’s mandate is to listen, to be accountable and to be informed.

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