An opportunity, not a setback for Algoma


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September 17, 2012 proved an exciting day in the life of St. Thomas, as students returned to Wellington Street School for the first time in several years.
The former Thames Valley District School Board facility, purchased by the city in 2011 to provide parking spaces for the new consolidated courthouse, was being revitalized as the St. Thomas campus of Algoma University.
And, four days after the opening day of classes, the public was invited to the celebration party.
“This is a great day for Algoma University and it’s also a great day for St. Thomas and Elgin county,” enthused Algoma president Richard Myers.
“You’ve made my St. Thomas a richer place today and it’s a richer place for all of us,” added Andrew Gunn, trustee for the estate of Dorothy Palmer, which contributed more than $1 million to the refurbishment of the heritage school.
Fast forward 20 months and the headiness of that day is being put to the test.
The university announced this week because of lower than anticipated demand, it is deferring registration for the fall 2014 program at its St. Thomas campus.
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A bold step forward in tourism promotion for St. Thomas


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The city has been relatively coy of late on whether it will continue its participation – and to what extent – in Elgin county’s tourism program.
In 2013, the city’s share of the tourism budget is almost $122,000 and more than once in the last couple of years there have been suggestions the city go it alone in the marketing and promotion of tourist-related opportunities.
Well the wraps are about to be thrown off the new tourism model at Monday’s council meeting.
CAO Wendell Graves suggests with an upcoming strategic review of the St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation, it would make sense to deal with many of the tourism-related ventures as economic development opportunities.
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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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You ain’t seen nothing yet, teases Andrew Gunn


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In a week filled with grim economic developments, news of Algoma University’s proposal to open up shop in the former Wellington Street Public School is an intriguing scenario.

While it will not be hailed as a significant job generator, the undertaking is notable for nudging the city down the path of diversification.

University president Richard Myers is looking to utilize the city-owned heritage building as a campus offering the first two years of its bachelor of arts program.

The news, emanating from Monday’s city council meeting, did not impress T-J reader Scott Northcott, who wrote a letter to the editor to suggest what is needed at the Wellington Street site is “a specialized program, which develops creativity and innovation with the right mix of theoretical and practical skill and really places St. Thomas as a destination for specialized education.”
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Algoma University aims to offer programs at Wellington Street P.S.


The City of St. Thomas, Algoma University, and the estate of Dorothy Fay Palmer have announced the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario university has expressed an interest in offering the first two years of its Bachelor of Arts program in St. Thomas at the former Wellington Street School P.S. site.

While the city acquired the property earlier in this year as part of the parking strategy for the consolidated court facility on the site of the Elgin County Courthouse, this proposed use of the heritage building would be of benefit to the entire community and an excellent use of the former school, states a press release from Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman.
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