New skate park on the horizon, but it comes with a hefty price tag


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Listen up skateboarders, city council will be dealing with a proposed new park when it sits Monday at city hall. At that time it will receive the findings of the select skate board park committee, authorized by council in April and which held its first meeting in July.
The committee is proposing three locations for consideration: Joanne Brooks Memorial Park on the former site of Northside Arena; Jonas Park on Jonas Street; and a one-acre parcel of land northeast of the Timken Centre.
Let’s look closer at these sites.
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A fundamental change blowing in the budget wind?


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Budget deliberations are a critical indicator of the direction city council will follow in the coming fiscal year and the sometimes quirky priorities of our municipal representatives.
After a warm-up session Thursday, council will get down to brass tacks on Monday as they tackle Part 1 of the 2012 capital budget.
Members are being asked to approved expenditures of just over $8 million, of which $2 million will be sourced through the 2012 property tax levy, the same as 2011.
In total, the requests for capital in 2012 total $22.4 million, requiring property tax supported funding of $9.5 million.
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Should we go or stay, the answer after this time out


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We haven’t harangued the brass at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health in some time, but that
doesn’t mean they have eluded the City Scope radar.

There is a sense the contentious issue of a new home for the organization is about to surface in the not-too-distant future.

When we last left the health unit in the twilight of the previous board of directors, there was a deep rift between the city council reps — staunchly in favour of locating to new digs — and the county contingent — firmly looking to preserve the status quo with the organization remaining in the county-owned building at 99 Edward St.

This week, the health unit and the county agreed to a one-year extension of the existing lease that will see the organization stay put until the end of 2013.
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Talks progressing on cross-lake ferry service between Cleveland and Port Stanley


Port Stanley harbour

March 30, 2011 – A delegation of officials from Central Elgin, Ontario spent last Friday in Cleveland meeting with Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officials and others about launching cross-lake ferry service.

Officials from both sides are eager to explore the opportunity and agreed to craft a memorandum of understanding outlining their shared vision and next steps. If a ferry service results it would begin on a pilot basis, operating between Cleveland and Port Stanley with a focus on tourism and other passenger demand.

“We were quite pleased with our discussions and impressed by Cleveland’s many tourist attractions,” said Central Elgin Mayor Bill Walters. “I believe this proposed ferry service would create a wonderful international gateway and cultivate new opportunities for travel and economic development.”
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Formal Talks on Cleveland-to-Canada Ferry Service Could Soon Begin


February 16, 2011 – Local officials in Central Elgin have agreed to begin formal discussions with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority regarding the launch of a ferry service between Port Stanley and Cleveland.

On Monday Central Elgin municipal council passed a resolution that supports further discussions with Cleveland port officials.

Talks between the city and Port Authority are now expected to accelerate.

“Central Elgin council is enthusiastic about looking at the potential benefits that a Lake Erie ferry may create,” said Central Elgin Mayor Bill Walters. “We don’t know yet if this new ferry concept is
the right fit for our area, but we owe it to our residents and businesses to fully investigate this concept. We will be seeking public input before making any decisions.”

Port Authority CEO Will Friedman reopened discussions with Canadian officials about the ferry service last fall. The service had been contemplated for years, but did not materialize, in part because the Canadian government had not completed a long-awaited transfer of the waterfront property to local control.

With that issue resolved, and after preliminary discussions with Cleveland port representatives in recent months, Mayor Walters recommended this week to municipal council to have more serious
discussions about establishing a pilot program of cross-lake ferry service.

“We are delighted the Central Elgin officials want to discuss this potentially exciting opportunity,” Friedman said. “We believe there is interest on both sides of the lake for this service now, and we
see that interest only growing in the next several years with construction of several major developments in Cleveland, including a casino.”

Recent discussions have lead to a shift in thinking about the ferry service and the type of vessel that would be used. While the service was initially conceived of as a freighter/truck-driven service,
a pilot program would likely focus on tourism and recreation, with truck traffic a smaller part of the mix. In addition a smaller vessel capable of traveling at faster speeds would likely be used.

Friedman said HMS Global Maritime of New Albany, Ind. has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of operating the higher-speed ferry service. Mayor Walters said he looks forward to learning more about the potential service.
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