Cost of remediation at 230 Talbot Street comes with no firm guarantee


city_scope_logo-cmykThe city is eager to begin remediation at 230 Talbot Street, site of the proposed “social services and housing campus” on a parcel of land purchased last year from London developer Shmuel Farhi.
The winning tender for cleanup will come to council Tuesday for approval.
And, it comes in significantly above the anticipated range of $400,000 to $600,000.
At Tuesday’s meeting, council will be asked to endorse the tender submitted by All Season Excavating at $728,819 for remediation of the large tract of land.
The work includes removal of all contaminated materials in preparation for the new social services building and construction of a new parking lot to replace the existing lot on the northwest corner of the site. Continue reading

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D.J. to take second run at Daytona 500


D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas is taking a second run at the Great American Race.
A year after qualifying for the 2017 Daytona 500, Gaunt Brother Racing and Kennington are returning for the 60th edition of the Daytona 500. The two-time NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion was the first Canadian to compete in the Daytona 500 in 29 years.
Running in the Daytona 500 has been a dream of the St. Thomas racer since he was five years old.
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In total, he has made 62 career starts in NASCAR’s three national divisions.
Last year’s Daytona qualification came less than three months after another dream came to fruition on the oval at Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona – his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut.
He’s raced at Daytona previously in the Infinity Series and has a vivid recollection.
kenningtonfrontjpg“It’s a huge track, but when you’re out there it doesn’t seem so huge. When you’re running three wide at 190 miles an hour, things happen in a hurry. You run flat-footed all the time, all the way around. You never come off the gas.”
He will attempt to qualify for the Feb. 18th race in the No. 96 Toyota Camry.
British Columbia-based Lordco Auto Parts and Castrol (Wakefield Canada), a longtime Kennington partner, will co-sponsor the Daytona effort.
Prior to qualifying last year Kennington enthused, “Daytona is the grand-daddy, it’s the biggest stock car race in the world, I guess. And to have an opportunity at it is absolutely huge for me and my family. My dad has worked so hard with all my races and trying to make things happen for me. For this to come together is really, really cool.”
No doubt he will be just anxious to see the difference a year can make.

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First Phoenix and now the grand-daddy of them all

 

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What was once forgotten, is now lost


city_scope_logo-cmykIn January of last year we first wrote about the forgotten Talbot Street apartments, clearly visible from the mayor’s office across the street at city hall.
Even more shocking than the decrepit state of these hovels was the fact owner Trad Antoine had been approved by St.Thomas-Elgin Ontario Works for funding to add 10 one-bedroom units next door at 560 Talbot St., above the former Capitol Theatre.
Two of the apartments were to be reserved for clients supported by the YWCA of St. Thomas-Elgin and the remainder for Canadian Mental Health Association clients.
He was in line to receive $731,925 of Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) funding.
Just before Christmas, 2016, we checked in with acting director of St. Thomas-Elgin Ontario Works Elizabeth Sebestyen on the status of those new units given the fact Trad had packed up shop at his furniture business housed in the old theatre. Continue reading

Southwold: Home of North America’s fastest snowplow driver – Mayor Grant Jones’ remarks at the State of the Municipalities lunch


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Township of Southwold Mayor and Elgin County Warden Grant Jones

This past year, Southwold has been very busy. In a smaller community it’s important that we help business where we can and all the events and organizations within the community. 
Rosy Rhubarb, our cornerstone festival, showcases Southwold and volunteer organizations within the township. This year Rosy is celebrating its 25th year. Because these organizations were the main drive behind fundraising for our new library, they’ll be hosting the grand opening on June 9.
The Shedden Tractor Pull continues to be one of the best pulls in Ontario with record crowds year after year. Organizers donate many dollars back into the community each year and they are one amazing small bunch of people. Around 5,000 people come each year.
Our Canada Day celebrations at Fingal Park are always well attended and we are planning a bigger and better celebration for Canada’s 150th birthday this year. 
Last year we hosted our first Tour of Southwold by Tractor, which covered about 40 km. It was a great tour followed by a barbecue. These tractors are all at least 25 years old, with a few well over 50 years old.
The Shedden Fair is another one of our cornerstones, for well over 100 years now. They exemplify traditions that are a real heritage. 

It’s time to move on, the hostages are beyond the restless stage


city_scope_logo-cmykLaying down the law in the Sutherland Saga originated from an unlikely source this week in the form of Ontario Superior Court Justice Peter Hockin, one of the original cast members in the near-decade long run of this soap opera.
Tuesday at the Elgin County Courthouse, Hockin was set to preside over the hearing involving the City of St. Thomas versus Sutherland Lofts owner David McGee.
McGee, through lawyer Valerie M’Garry, is challenging an unsafe building order issued Oct. 28 by the city that gave him until Dec. 15 of last year to provide a detailed work plan and schedule repairs to begin early last month on the four-storey structure.
But, as was the case on Jan. 3, the hearing was a non-starter due to M’Garry’s ill health.

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First Phoenix and now the grand-daddy of them all, D.J. Kennington is in high gear 


17_d-j-_kenningtonIt won’t be his first run at Daytona International Speedway, but when the flag drops on the afternoon of Feb. 26, D.J. Kennington aims to be on the starting grid for the grand-daddy of stock car races – the Daytona 500.

It’s been a dream of the St. Thomas racer since he was five years old and the only obstacle now is the qualifying run Feb. 19.
“Hopefully we can get ourselves locked in for Sunday, that’s the main goal,” stressed Kennington. “There are a lot of good cars that are not locked in. There are 35 cars locked in now and there are only five spots left. If you have a really good car and a good engine and you can miss the wrecks, you can hopefully make the race.”
For Kennington, a shot at the big one comes less than three months after another dream came to fruition on the oval at Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona – his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut.

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