New electoral boundaries: ‘It’s about population and not about communities’ – Elgin-Middlesex-London MP Karen Vecchio

city_scope_logo-cmykNew electoral boundaries proposed by the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario could have a significant impact on the outcome of federal and provincial elections in both St. Thomas and Elgin.
Elgin-Middlesex-London MP Karen Vecchio is quick to admit she has concerns with the proposed re-alignment.
The aim is to have all ridings in the province fairly equal in population, around the 115,500 mark.
The new electoral roadmap was unveiled a week ago and it would see St. Thomas incorporated into a new riding to be known as London South–St. Thomas.
It would stretch north to Commissioners Road and the Thames River, east to Springwater Road to include Belmont and Mapleton, south to John Wise Line and west to Sunset/Westdel Bourne/Wonderland Road, but would not include Lambeth (see map).
The London South-St. Thomas riding has a population of over 120,000 right now, the majority of residents living in London.

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Pilot project would see St. Thomas Transit buses venture beyond city limits

city_scope_logo-cmykHopping on a bus bound for London may soon be a reality for St. Thomas and Elgin county residents.
The city is about to pitch a pilot project to the province seeking funding support for regional transit connectivity for residents of St. Thomas, Central Elgin, Southwold, Malahide and Aylmer.
The undertaking was a recommendation of the Transit Strategic Plan presented to city council a month ago, although the pilot project would go beyond the one-year test suggested in that report.
As outlined Monday (Dec. 16) by Mayor Joe Preston at the reference committee meeting, the three-year undertaking would see a Monday through Sunday service operating from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The bus would leave St. Thomas on the hour for each trip, although Preston stressed these times and hours of operation could be adjusted.

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No throwing caution to the wind in this chapter of the Sutherland Saga

city_scope_logo-cmykThe Sutherland Saga forecast for next week?
Cautious for the next few days.
With the 30-day appeal period having expired this past week and no indication Sutherland Press building owner David McGee intends to challenge the June 28 decision handed down by Justice Peter Hockin that, in essence, the four-storey downtown edifice is in fact unsafe, is that the wrecker’s ball we hear approaching?
Not so fast, advises city manager Wendell Graves who indicated Friday the city is taking a cautious approach at this time.
He advised while no word has been received from McGee or his lawyer Valerie M’Garry an appeal is in the works, it is better to err on the side of caution while seeking advice from legal counsel. Continue reading

Our built heritage should be a treasure for future generations

EDITOR’S NOTE: To clarify information contained this week in the Times-Journal, in fact the vote was 4-3 to repeal the heritage designation. Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman joined Ald. Bill Aarts and Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands to vote against the motion. Ald. David Warden was absent from Monday’s council meeting.

Dear Minister Chan,
We are now at risk of losing heritage status for 96 Moore Street. St.Thomas city council voted 5-2 to notify the public and property owners of its intention to repeal the heritage designation for the entire historic Moore Street property,including the now-destroyed school building and grounds,as covered under the Ontario Heritage Act.Will the ministry of culture step in to protect the chapel,music building and outdoor amphitheatre,or will you stand on the side lines,as did former culture minister Aileen Carroll,and allow the destruction to continue,and take what little remains on this historic piece of land.What will it take for the McGuinty government to opens it’s eyes and see the value in protecting not only historic buildings,but historic properties.Our built heritage should be treasured,so we can pass it down to future generations.Our ministry of culture has no teeth,instead of being a guard dog for built heritage,they are a lap dog for developers,who know very well the Ontario government could careless about built heritage and given enough time,demolition by neglect will do the job for the developer,ensuring they can bulldoze the past,and build a condo building and completely erase our built heritage.We are losing our built heritage at an alarming rate and the McGuinty government needs to step up and protect what little remains,and a good start would be telling the owners of 96 Moore Street ENOUGH IS ENOUGH,the 2 remaining buildings and outdoor amphitheatre cannot be torn down,and keep the heritage designation so future generations will not have to fight this battle again.
Bob Foster

Aileen Carroll misses the call, again

Minister Carroll,
It’s an absolute DISGRACE that once again,you have allowed another historic building to be demolished.The Erie Street United Church,in Ridgetown,Ontario is another glaring example of your complete FAILURE as Minister of Culture.What will it take for you to see the value in Ontario’s heritage?.We lost Alma College in St.Thomas,Ont on May 28th,2008 due to your lack of interest.It has become very apparent that you’re more interested in opening art galleries,and celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Science Centre,for which you were all over the news “bubbling” with enthusiasm for this “regal” event.Could you possibly put some of that enthusiasm towards our built heritage?.At the rate you’re going,you could wipe out all of Ontario’s built heritage,with one term in office.These buildings have stood upwards of 100 years,withstood the brutal Canadian weather,have given back to the Province of Ontario in spades,and your way of re-paying the favour,is to send the wrecking ball to their front door.Premier McGuinty needs to rein you in,before you completely wipe out Ontario’s identity.Every building you demolish,is like tearing a page from the history book,every time a building falls to the ground,so to goes with it the legacy that took a 100 years to create.I’m not only sad for the people who are fighting for our heritage today,I’m also sad for the people who years from now,will only have photograph’s of these beautiful & historic buildings.It’s a very sad time for our built heritage,and I can safely say the biggest threat to every historic building in the Province of Ontario,is Aileen Carroll.

Bob Foster

An Alma Christmas story

Aileen Carroll,
I recently drove the 2 hours from my hometown of Brampton,Ontario,to the beautiful City of St.Thomas,it was a windy & snow-swept day,and as I pulled up to 96 Moore Street,the place in which beautiful and historic Alma College stood for 130 years,tears came to my eyes,as I was looking over to the quaint little chapel,because one of the roof tiles blew completely off,and tumbled across the rubble filled property. Continue reading

A letter to culture minister Aileen Carroll from Bob Foster re: her pension

Aileen Carroll

Aileen Carroll

I was doing some research,and found a video clip on YouTube,in which you were asked how much you were receiving from the federal government,in pension money,and in the video clip,you seemed quite annoyed at the question,and refused to give specifics.I have to wonder how a politician,who is receiving a federal pension of $46,000,and collecting over $160,000 as culture minister, can still refuse to answer the Ontario taxpayer’s questions.Since I am a Canadian,and I live in Ontario,I feel that I have a right to know,if you will finally step forward and designate 96 Moore Street in St.Thomas,as provincially significant.You are receiving quite a bit of money from the federal and provincial government for your work, so I feel at the very least, you owe the Alma supporters an answer.Our politicians are paid with tax dollars,and since quite a bit of those tax dollars are going directly into your bank account,from the provincial and federal level, do you not feel obligated to answer?

Watch Aileen Carroll video

Robert F.Foster

Letter to culture minister Aileen Carroll

Aileen Carroll

Aileen Carroll

As I watched question period,you rose and spoke about the Ontario Heritage Trust,in response to
another members question,regarding former premiers.You stated that you value the input of the OHT,and that they have been a great asset to the ministry of culture.I have to ask why you did not value their opinion with regards to Alma College.The OHT reported to the culture ministry,that Alma College was indeed eligible for provincial designation,but you ignored the report,and the end result was,the college being set ablaze,and lost forever. I’m not sure of the all the rules & regulations in your ministry,but I find it very suspicious that you ignored Alma College,when it was listed as the number one endangered building in Canada,you hid the OHT report,as thousands of Alma College supporters were gathering petition signatures,and even though 2 buildings survived the inferno,at 96 Moore Street,you have failed to designate the property.The Alma supporters thought for sure,that once you had seen the devastation that was brought to this property,you would move immediately to protect what remained,but again we were mistaken.The Ministry of Culture seems to be unaware,of the “demolition by neglect” that is spreading across this beautiful province.Owners of historic buildings now know,if they simply let enough time go by,the culture ministry will never step in,and city’s cannot help protect these historic buildings,without government assistance,so its a waiting game,of which the owner will win every time.It’s very sad to see so many buildings abandoned and neglected.It’s true they built these structures to last,and in most cases they withstood the hands of time,what they couldn’t withstand,was the hand of Aileen Carroll…

Robert F.Foster