Will transit continue to take a back seat in St. Thomas?


city_scope_logo-cmykFor those who rely on St. Thomas Transit, change may be a passenger in the coming year.
The transit contract with Voyageur – originally in effect Jan. 1, 2012 – expires at the end of the year and the city has the option to enter into a three-year extension.
The transit system was up for discussion at council’s Nov. 20 reference committee meeting at city hall, where the director of environmental services, Justin Lawrence, brought mayor and council up to speed on the five-route system.
In 1989 the hub and spoke system operated with traditional transit buses on a 45-minute cycle over a 14-hour day, Monday through Saturday.
Today, the same hub and spoke system operates 11.5 hours per day (except Sunday) on a 30-minute cycle utilizing buses not far removed from RV’s that struggle to remain in one piece over what appears to be a five-year life span. Continue reading

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Poverty is more than a ‘whole bunch of little problems’


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Close to 50 individuals gathered Thursday in the YWCA gym for a municipal all-candidates meeting hosted by the Bridges out of Poverty program.
In a campaign dominated by seemingly endless debate over a home for the police service, those enjoying a simple lunch at the Y were seeking any sign of hope from candidates on grass-roots issues like poverty, homelessness and low-paying jobs.
For the most part, they had to chew on simplistic campaign fodder.
In fact, a couple of the candidates put forth an embarrassingly feeble effort as they attempted to answer the question, “How do you address poverty in St. Thomas?”
One individual spent most of his allotted time pushing his over-inflated bio on those in attendance and then dropped this clinker, “poverty is a whole bunch of little problems.”
Nice to know whether you can afford to pay the rent or buy food when there is too much month at the end of the money is one of those “little problems.”
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If you’re not talking poverty issues, then re-think your campaign platform


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Can’t say we’ve seen any reference to this in campaign literature, so the relevance of a poverty survey is timely as the Oct. 27 municipal election looms.
While candidates dwell on jobs and the economy, the impact of job losses and the proliferation of low-paying, part-time jobs needs to be front and centre on the campaign trail.
Bridges Out of Poverty St. Thomas- Elgin is asking candidates to respond to a poverty-focused survey launched this week. All candidates have been contacted regarding the initiative.
The online survey is part of a collaborative local/provincial project coordinated by the Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health and administered by local partners such as Bridges Out of Poverty.
“The purpose of the project is to build awareness and support among decision makers for healthy public policy which assists in reducing poverty and food insecurity in Ontario,” writes Erin Woolley, Bridges Out of Poverty coordinator.
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