City and London developer Shmuel Farhi reach deal on west-end properties

After announcing a conditional offer last April, the city has reached a deal with London developer Shmuel Farhi for the purchase of two Talbot Street properties.
City manager Wendell Graves announced the deal Wednesday morning that includes the Mickleborough building at 423 Talbot Street – the home of Ontario Works since 2000 – and a parcel of land on the south side of Talbot St., between William and Queen streets, and extending south to Centre Street.
The property includes four homes on Queen Street.

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A big ‘if’ looming over proposed west end community hub

city_scope_logo-cmykIt’s fast approaching the one-year anniversary of the announcement last April the city has extended a conditional offer to London developer Shmuel Farhi to purchase a vacant plot of land on the south side of Talbot St., between William and Queen streets, and extending to Centre Street.

The site is being considered for development of a community hub to house the Ontario Works department and the Central Community Health Centre, both currently occupying office space along the north side of Talbot Street. The possibility also exists the site could be used for affordable housing units.

In the intervening months, the city has undertaken due diligence. Time is becoming a factor, however, as the lease on the Mickleborough building at 423 Talbot Street current home of Ontario Works and also owned by Farhi, expires later this year.

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Sutherland Press building a backdrop for ‘smear’ campaign


The Sutherland Press building casts more than a shadow across Talbot Street . . . the moribund edifice projected a pall over last October’s mayoral race and ultimately proved a game-breaker in the final days of Cliff Barwick’s campaign.

Days before the trek to the polls, building owner David McGee dropped a bombshell — he was suing the City of St. Thomas, Barwick, St. Thomas police and other defendants for $3 million for punitive damages and aggravated damages as well as “mental distress, economic interference and, specifically, loss of income” for what the claim states was “unnecessary demolition” in July, 2008.
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Community health centre takes a hit from left field


Admitting it was a hit right out of left field, Judith Wiley insists the resignation earlier this month of physician Janice Owen and two nurse practitioners is but a temporary setback for the CEO of Central Community Health Centre.

As documented in this corner two weeks ago, Owen jumped ship amidst claims of ineffective management and the sense she was churning through clients with less than half the funded complement of clinical staff.

Sitting down with City Scope on Wednesday at the Talbot Street centre, Wiley said it is imperative she and her staff not take Owen’s comments as a personal attack.

“You can’t take this personally,” Wiley advised. “You cannot take your eye off the big picture. And, I think that’s one of the strengths I bring to the agency. I know what we’re going to be when we’re up and running successfully.
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Central Community Health Centre Taking Care of its Patients

The following media release was issued Thursday, Dec. 23 following a meeting the day previous with Central Community Health Centre CEO Judith Wiley , board chairman Cathy Grondin and the South West Local Health Integration Network.

ST. THOMAS, ON – The Central Community Health Centre (CHC) continues to take care of its patients following the recent resignation of a part-time physician and two nurse practitioners. A physician who
has been secured on an interim basis and nurse are continuing to see patients at the CHC, and the CHC is actively recruiting for physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners.

Opened in October 2010, the Central CHC is in a start-up phase and is not expected to deliver a full slate of programs and services until recruitment of its full physician and staff complement is completed in the coming year. In the interim, the Central CHC will continue to provide care to people of the area.
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Dealing with staffing challenges at community health centre


As reported in this corner last week, a doctor so ideally suited to fill the position (the observation of Michael Barrett, CEO of the Southwest Local Health Integration Network) tendered her resignation just two months after the official opening of the Central Community Health Centre in St. Thomas.

Our accounting of the departure of physician Janice Owen and two nurse practitioners (read here) drew a not unexpected angry rebuttal from Judith Wiley, executive director of the CHC and Cathy Grondin, CHC board chairman.

It also resulted in the issuance of a damage-control media release at 4:50 p.m. Thursday that alluded to “start up challenges” at the CHC with an assurance the centre remains open for patients. The release followed a meeting Thursday involving Wiley and Grondin and the SW LHIN to “discuss the recent staffing challenges.” Read release here

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Churning through patients leads to mass resignation


It’s a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. And unfortunately, the losers in this administrative boondoggle are the close to 200 patients who have taken advantage of the services offered at the Central Community Health Centre

To set the scene, the CCHC opened its doors at 359 Talbot St., in St. Thomas on Oct. 4 to serve residents of the city, Southwold and Central Elgin who don’t have a family doctor.

On opening day, three nurse practitioners, a doctor and a registered were at the clinic to greet patients.

Little more than two months later the staff has resigned citing serious safety concerns for patients of the CCHC.

Physician Janice Owen spoke to City Scope on Friday to explain why she handed in her resignation on Dec. 3.
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