Nothing says summer like a circus under the big top


city_scope_logo-cmykThere’s no denying he’s chuffed an authentic, European-style circus will entertain at a dozen performances this summer in St. Thomas. But what really has Sean Dyke pumped is the big top tent under which it will perform.
Massive may be a more apt descriptor. The tent is 16,000 square feet in size, holds in excess 0f 2,000 in grandstand seating and 1,000 for catered events. The stage measures 1,260 square feet.
Now those are numbers the general manager over at St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation can really sink this teeth into. A tent with those dimensions shouts possibilities.
Of course the touring Canadian-Swiss Dream Circus – billed on its website as “incredible displays of acrobatic, balance, aerial stunts and thrilling acts” – will occupy the Railway City Big Top for two weekends in August, that’s a done deal.
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Accountability and transparency — when mandated


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While this corner will continue to carefully scrutinize the wheeling and dealing of CEO Paul Collins and board chairman Bruce Babcock, we have nothing but praise for the doctors and staff at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital.
With one exception — the dizzying diagnosis from the desk of Dr. Spin over in the hospital ivory tower.
It was contained in the preamble to a media release sent our way Tuesday disclosing the employment agreements for Collins from 2007 to the present, along with a bevy of executive expense reports and minutes of board meetings.
“We believe in transparency and accountability,” stresses Babock in the missive, “and to that end, we have posted a number of documents that may be of interest to our community.”
And, this has been done in proactive fashion.
Oh pul-eeeze.
Ever since City Scope exposed the resign/re-hire shuffle orchestrated by Collins and Babcock exactly one year ago, we have tried to pry loose this information “that may be of interest to our community.”
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Who wrote the book on cost of library move?


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Just how far do some people feel the pockets of taxpayers will stretch?

Well, if you’re library CEO Rudi Denham or board chairman Greg Grondin, you must think the budgets of hard-working city families are as flexible as Gumby and Pokey.

Can you believe they came to council Monday and openly admitted the costs of moving to, and relocating in, their temporary home at Elgin Mall were unanticipated and unbudgeted?

Did you expect the books, CDs and DVDs would wander over by themselves? And the good folks at the mall would let you set up shop at no cost whatsoever? Kind of an Occupy St. Thomas?
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A bus-load of mis-placed loyalty just left town


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When you cut through the posturing on parade throughout the transit tussle Monday, one fact is indisputable.

Five of our elected representatives remained loyal to obtaining the best deal for city ratepayers, while three others — aldermen Jeff Kohler, Sam Yusuf and Mark Cosens — demonstrated their allegiance to Aboutown Transportation, the current provider of transit service for St. Thomas.

By a vote of 5-3, council rolled forward and opened up the transit contract for tendering, as per the recommendation of Edward Soldo, city manager of operations and compliance, in one of the most comprehensive reports generated by city staff in quite some time.

For more on this report read here
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Transit overhaul may prove uncomfortable not just to riders


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Public transit comes under the scope Monday at city hall and
when council finishes digesting an operational review, the wheels on the bus will turn less frequently.

In a comprehensive report from Edward Soldo, city manager of operations and compliance, council will be asked to endorse a series of recommendations that will radically
alter the transit framework in St.Thomas.

Soldo is calling for the provision of transit services — currently the domain of Aboutown Transportation of London — to be tendered, with a request for proposal (RFP) to be
brought before council in September.
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New St. Thomas-Port Stanley bus service launched


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From the Times-Journal
Wanna hit the beach in Port Stanley but don’t have a car?
A day of fun and sun may be just a bus ride away as Aboutown Transit now offers thrice-daily service on weekends and holiday Mondays from London and St. Thomas to Port Stanley.
Service started on July 1 and is expected to run until Thanksgiving.
“It’s been very popular so far and it’s been well received,” said Aboutown vice president Jamie Donnelly. “We look forward to expanding it even further. Our goal is to connect communities and towns that previously didn’t have public transportation.”
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Aboutown Transportation increases service between London and St. Thomas


Posted by Ian:
It’s a far cry from the halcyon days of interurban travel between the communities, operated by the London & Port Stanley Railway, however Aboutown Transportation is improving its current service,which hopefully proves popular, in particular Sunday service. Take note St. Thomas Transit. Here’s the details from the London Free Press.

Sarnia and St. Thomas — even Strathroy and Mount Brydges — are about to become more accessible for Londoners who rely on bus transportation.
Aboutown is expanding its North Link inter-city bus service to include regular daily service from London to Sarnia, with stops in Mt. Brydges and Strathroy.
The expanded service starts April 1. It will run four times daily, with the first bus leaving London at 8 a.m.and arriving in Sarnia at 9:35 a.m.
The new route gives travellers from Sarnia, Mt. Brydges and Strathroy direct and regular access to London’s Greyhound terminal on York Street.
“From there you can go just about anywhere in North America. And of course, the route connects with our shuttle service to the Detroit and Toronto airports,” Donnelly said.
To celebrate the expansion, Aboutown is inviting customers to take a free ride Thursday. The first customers to book seats ride for free.
A one-way adult ticket from Sarnia to London is $30. Discounts are available to students, seniors and children under 11.
Donnelly said he’s confident there will be enough demand for the new route to keep them busy.
“We expect to run 10- to 20-passenger buses but we can substitute anything from a sedan to a coach based on demand.”
The route also provides parcel service. Donnelly said by offering customers transportation of packages multiple times every day, Aboutown can provide a specialized service not offered by regular courier companies.
Aboutown’s London-to-St. Thomas service expands from twice on alternating days to seven days a week, with four runs on weekdays.
Mayors from Sarnia, Strathroy and St. Thomas will be on hand Thursday to receive the first buses to their cities and officially open the expanded route.
London’s Robert Q. Airbus also has routes to Sarnia, making two runs daily from London.