For the Professor, latest accessibility report would just be more of the same


city_scope_logo-cmykWhile he had become accustomed to findings similar to those contained in a report to council Monday, the Professor would be far from pleased with the latest report card.
Prior to his death in February, Ed McLachlan spent years as a member of the St. Thomas Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee and filed many reports to council  on accessibility issues in all city-owned facilities.
Lesley Buchanan is now chair of the committee and the annual site audit is on the agenda for all to see.
Here is a sampling of the ongoing barriers the handicapped face.

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The Professor taught us all a lesson


city_scope_logo-cmykThe latest edition of City Scope was mapped out and ready to put on the page Friday afternoon when this corner received a message, via Facebook, from long-time friend Joe Docherty alerting me to the death Thursday of Ed McLachlan, or the Professor as he was better known.
Hearing the sombre news, I could think of no better tribute to a fellow Scot (he from Dundee and myself a southerner from Edinburgh) than to scrap what I had written and begin anew.
While I was quite at home with the honourable Sensei’s dojo family, who could be found out back in his converted garage, Ed also left his indelible stamp on this city through his tireless work as a member of the St. Thomas Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee.
For anyone who thought Ed was passionate about the martial arts, he was downright feisty when it came to matters of accessibility.

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Don’t worry, he’s not throwing in the towel


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We caught up with Jason McComb this week after his return to St. Thomas from Edmonton where he halted, for the winter, his cross-Canada trek to raise awareness for homeless issues.
He is heading to the North Bay area for a well-deserved retreat to recharge mentally and physically.
If you have seen Jason this week you know he is extremely gaunt, although he never was a Pillsbury dough boy
To allay any fears, Jason assures he hasn’t lost any enthusiasm for his Walking in the Free World undertaking. Continue reading

What’s it like living next door to a disaster?


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She lives in a well-maintained, tree-shaded 1890’s-era house on Kains St. Pride of ownership includes custom stain glass windows inside, one of which once graced Alma College.

Sounds like an ideal abode to retreat to.

Not quite, cautions owner Pauline Wimbush.

“I live next door to a disaster.”

She is referring to the abandoned and derelict cottage-style house at 46 Kains St.

A quaint residence that, in its prime, no doubt could have been described as picture postcard perfect.

Today it is a vermin-infested tragedy in waiting. Continue reading

Beware of guys with carnations in their lapels


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A municipal election campaign that had all the excitement of watching paint dry exploded into life Tuesday with Cliff Barwick’s announcement he is seeking a return to the mayor’s office at city hall.
That pits the two primary combatants in the 2010 mayoral showdown — Mayor Heather Jackson and Barwick — in a rematch on Oct. 27.
But, it is going to get better.
Over the next week or so, expect either Ald. Jeff Kohler or Ald. Mark Cosens to join the fray.
If it’s the former, that sets up a tantalizing scenario pitting the last three St. Thomas mayors in a winner-take-all smackdown.
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Lights out on this curious decision


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Something just doesn’t feel right here. The lights are on, but is anyone in the council chamber?
Why would members authorize an expenditure of almost $20,000 to a consulting firm to complete a street light energy efficiency project when, surely, the expertise is right in our own backyard?
Why isn’t council utilizing the resources over at Ascent — the former St. Thomas Energy — to undertake this analysis?
Isn’t this kinda like what they do for a living?
And, hasn’t the city just come to an agreement with Ascent to provide IT services at city hall? Why not go back to the well and tap into their bank of knowledge?
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When a working toilet becomes a luxury


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You have to admire the patience of St. Thomas Police Chief Darryl Pinnell, who calmly answered a bevy of questions Thursday during an accessibility tour of the Colin McGregor Justice Building.
The walk-through of all three floors — including the lock-up area — proved an eye-opener in several regards. The structure is a daunting challenge for anyone with accessibility issues and the floor space available on the now-vacant second floor likely cannot be considered functional for police use without significant modifications
Designing work areas around the two large courtrooms remaining intact surely must be a design challenge.
There is not one single accessible washroom in the building, the one elevator is in the centre of the structure and originates in the jail area and even the existing main floor is a cluttered maze.
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