‘Accountability, integrity and trust, where are those these days?’ – St. Thomas council candidate Shawn DeNeire

city_scope_logo-cmykHe’s the owner of DeNeire’s Gallery of Fine Art in downtown St. Thomas and now Shawn DeNeire is plunging into the fine art of municipal politics.
As of yesterday (Aug. 12), NeNeire was one of 10 individuals seeking to fill eight councillor seats at city hall.
DeNeire was born and raised in St. Thomas and was a Central Elgin Collegiate grad although he also spent time at Arthur Voaden Secondary School and Parkside Collegiate Institute.
Ask why he is eager to sit around the horseshoe in the council chamber and DeNeire will relay the following observation.
“I’ve talked to several businesses on Talbot Street and they haven’t had one council person come down in the last four years and say, ‘Hey, how’s it going? I’m so and so and have you got any concerns?’
“Not one. And that bothers me. Who are we being paid by? The taxpayers.
“Who should be in our best interest? The taxpayers.”
I am sure there are members of council who will challenge the above and they have been seen patronizing downtown establishments.

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Will a third Lake Margaret master plan have us swimming in reports?

city_scope_logo-cmykThere are one or two members of council advocating for fishing and non-motorized boats to be permitted on Lake Margaret. Several of their peers have expressed an interest in whether this is even possible from an environmental point of view.
But, is council as a whole willing to authorize an expenditure of $50,000 to find out if such recreational activities are feasible?
That’s the question Monday night when members delve into a report from Ross Tucker and Adrienne Jefferson from the city’s parks, recreation and property management department.
For a sum of $49,245 plus HST, Ecosystem Recovery Inc. of Kitchener will undertake an environmental assessment of the Lake Margaret area.
The firm offers a diverse range of engineering services to help effectively assess, manage, and restore sensitive water resources infrastructure, according to their website.
Over the past 20 years, two master plans have been created for Lake Margaret, both were conservation-based and both recommended no activity on the lake including swimming, fishing, or recreational watercraft.

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Will municipal property taxpayers be on the hook for those election promises? Plenty of silence from the three major parties on that.

city_scope_logo-cmykWith the provincial vote less than two weeks away, the leaders of the three main parties have promised billions of dollars in goodies to entice voters.
Trouble is, there is a real lack of detail forthcoming on how these enticements will be funded.
As a ratepayer, that should be a concern for you and when considering which candidate will receive your vote, ask them first who is picking up the tab.
As Lynn Dollin, president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, correctly notes, “The provincial government dictates and regulates municipal services. At the same time, municipal governments deliver and help fund key provincial programs, like social housing and child care. Our fates are deeply intertwined.” Continue reading

‘Worker safety should have taken priority over policy’

city_scope_logo-cmykTime spent at a coroner’s inquest brings with it the emotion of family members and friends sitting through graphic testimony in the courtroom interspersed with details of protocol, procedures and guidelines that seem, at times, almost callous in nature.
Such was the case this past week with the four-day inquest into the death of St. Thomas construction worker Brian Daniel, killed on July 2,1014 when he was struck by a pick-up truck on the Highway 3 bypass at the Burwell Road bridge.
The recommendations – excellent in scope and most of them put forward by Daniel’s daughter Krista McColl – can be found here.
But to better understand the context of the back-and-forth testimony heard throughout the inquest, here are snippets of what was presented to the five-person jury. Continue reading

New Long Term Care Funding Agreements to be negotiated with Local Health Integration Networks

Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) are bound by the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 to have service accountability agreements in place with all their Health Service Providers (HSP), including municipal long term care homes. The Long Term Care Service Accountability Agreements (LSAA) are the Agreements by which LHINs will flow funding to providers of long term care services including municipalities.

The LSAA template Agreement for LTC homes was developed on behalf of all LHINs by a steering committee co-chaired by Ministry and LHIN staff, in consultation with organizations representing service providers and funders. The LSAA consultation process began in the fall of 2009 and continued through to May 2010. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) was a member of the consultation table along with the City of Toronto, the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS), the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA).

The LSAA was developed under challenging circumstances that include the introduction of the new Long Term Care compliance regulations. Both the LSAA and the regulations come into effect with the proclamation of the Long Term Care Homes Act in July.
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National Do Not Call List – Implications for municipal candidates in Ontario

The Do Not Call List and associated regulations will limit Ontario municipal candidates in their ability to
legally solicit voter support by telephone.

Effective September 30, 2008, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications
Commission (CRTC) launched the National Do Not Call List (DNCL). Canadians may register
on the List to reduce the number of telemarketing calls they receive. Businesses, organisations
and individuals wishing to make telemarketing calls are required to verify the numbers called do
not appear on the List and must comply with other restrictions. Exemptions from this restriction
apply for a municipal election but only if the calls are made on behalf of a registered political
party under provincial law. Continue reading

Time to work together on future

Time to work together on future

“During the economic downturn we are experiencing, it is important that our citizens realize what council can do to alleviate the situation, particularly for the people at Sterling and Local 1001.”

Thus began Mayor Cliff Barwick’s impromptu economic state of the union address Monday, following a deputation by CAW Local 1001 seeking council’s support to secure the future of the Sterling Truck plant.

While grim-faced union members packed the gallery, Barwick offered little more than platitudes and an assurance, “My office will continually be available to you.” Continue reading