Watermain break the least of the worries at STEGH?


It’s been a trying seven days for the administration at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital.

A week ago Friday, the hospital was the victim of a watermain break that forced a shutdown of water to the west wing of the facility, which includes the emergency department.

Hospital spokeswoman Cathy Fox alerted the Times-Journal to the situation shortly after the break was discovered.
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A bus-load of mis-placed loyalty just left town


When you cut through the posturing on parade throughout the transit tussle Monday, one fact is indisputable.

Five of our elected representatives remained loyal to obtaining the best deal for city ratepayers, while three others — aldermen Jeff Kohler, Sam Yusuf and Mark Cosens — demonstrated their allegiance to Aboutown Transportation, the current provider of transit service for St. Thomas.

By a vote of 5-3, council rolled forward and opened up the transit contract for tendering, as per the recommendation of Edward Soldo, city manager of operations and compliance, in one of the most comprehensive reports generated by city staff in quite some time.

For more on this report read here
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No financial accountability? Then no public funding


Members of city council will don their referee shirts Monday as the Downtown Development Board and North America Railway Hall of Fame escalate their funding feud.

The jousting dates back to last summer when the DDB, under chairman Mark Cosens, “loaned” NARHF the sum of $10,000.

Now, the DDB wants the sum repaid, however it is being stymied at every turn by NARHF.

Dan Muscat, current DDB chairman, is attempting to obtain records from NARHF to determine the status of the loan.

“This situation is a city council issue as it is the past DDB board (under the leadership of Cosens) that sanctioned the loan,” asserts Muscat, in a letter to council.
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SummerBlast legacy explodes in a nasty war of words


We signed off last Saturday with a promise to dig deeper into the escalating war of words between the Downtown Development Board and the North America Railway Hall of Fame.

In a nutshell, the two sides can’t reach a consensus on whether a sum of $10,000 given by the DDB to NARHF in 2010 was a loan or the former’s commitment as a promotional partner in the ill-fated SummerBlast.

Before we proceed further, there is a third player — city council , represented by then alderman Heather Jackson-Chapman and Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands, who sat on the DDB board of directors in 2009/10.

And, the three sides in this nasty dispute are all pointing a finger in the same direction — the previous edition of the DDB, under the chairmanship of Mark Cosens.
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Leaving town lock, stock and black walnut trees


Nearly a year ago, Marie Turvey, chairman of the CASO-St. Thomas Trans Canada Trail committee, warned the trail may have to be moved outside the city if council doesn’t “grab the bull by the horns” and do something to save it.

Turvey had been in discussion with TBR Developments, which purchased the CASO lands after CN Rail formally abandoned them.

The St. Thomas leg of the Trans Canada Trail first opened in 2001 and was constructed mainly on the CASO railway lands (as far west as Stanley Street).
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A last-minute change to your PC nominee line-up


UPDATE: Jeff Yurek won the Ontario PC riding nomination for Elgin-Middlesex-London Saturday on the fourth ballot at Parkside Collegiate Institute.

Seems provincial Conservatives ensconced at Toronto headquarters turned their noses up at, and thumbs down on, Peter Osjotic’s nomination bid for today’s Elgin-Middlesex-London run-off at Parkside Collegiate Institute.

No reason given, when this corner approached Alan Sakach, director of communications for the Ontario PCs.

“It’s an internal organizational matter by the party,” was the extent of Sakach’s enlightenment.

Read the full story here .

However, a hot rumour making the rounds infers a copy of the 2003 McCarthy Tetrault report somehow made it’s way to TO and may have influenced the Ostojic decision.
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Return of CAO enhanced by promotion of city clerk


After seven years of doing without, St. Thomas will re-establish the position of chief administrative officer at city hall with the appointment of clerk Wendell Graves to the post, effective April 4.

Read full announcement here.

It’s a move this corner has endorsed for at least a couple of years, to the chagrin of former mayor Cliff Barwick and more than a few faithful readers who have questioned the move to promote Graves into the office without a full-scale search.

He is more than qualified for the CAO title, he’s proved himself a key asset to the city and the financial implications will benefit city ratepayers.
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