EPAR 01 final recommendations on school closings and realignments to be presented at April 11 TVDSB meeting


The final recommendations of the Senior Administration Report – Elementary Pupil Accommodation Review 01 will be presented at the Thames Valley District School Board’s April 11 meeting, to be followed by a public meeting in May.
The report is 1,458 pages in length with 44 recommendations. Here are the 42 that directly impact schools in St. Thomas and Elgin. The full report can be accessed here
1. THAT Sparta Public School close effective June 30, 2018.
2. THAT New Sarum Public School close effective June 30, 2020 contingent upon Ministry of Education approval of capital funding for the new Belmont Public School and the new Southeast St. Thomas Public School.

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STEAM Centre and TVDSB roll out unique partnership in St. Thomas aimed at Gr. 10 students


The irony is not lost on STEAM Education Centre board member Andrew Gunn.
Standing inside a heritage building, a former elementary school, now re-purposed as a 21st century progressive education centre.
“Here we are bringing 3D printers and robotics and all sorts of new technologies for learning and design all here in a building from 1898,” enthused Gunn, trustee of the Dorothy Palmer Estate which contributed $638,000 to help launch the alternative education project.

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Dutton Dunwich wind turbines: ‘We’re not past the point of no return’


Opponents of the Strong Breeze Wind Project in Dutton Dunwich gathered outside the Dutton Community Centre on Thursday, vowing it’s never too late to stop construction of 16 to 20 wind turbines capable of generating over 57 megawatts of green energy,
Meantime inside at a public open house, a spokesman for Chicago-based Invenergy said his firm has had positive feedback from local businesses wanting to know how they can participate in the undertaking that likely won’t see a shovel in the ground before 2019.

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There is a great disconnect on winter disconnects


city_scope_logo-cmykFaced with the inevitable, St. Thomas Energy this week voluntarily halted the practice of winter disconnects for unpaid bills. The decision was made a day before the province pulled the plug on such action.
“The OEB (Ontario Energy Board) has strict rules about disconnects and time periods and we have to offer pay arrangements and we’ve always followed the OEB guidelines on that,” advised Rob Kent, acting CEO at St. Thomas Energy.
“We are voluntarily agreeing to the moratorium on disconnects.”
The obvious question is what leverage does St. Thomas Energy now have collecting overdue bills during cold weather months?
“You do lose leverage during the winter months when you can’t disconnect, but what no one has really looked at is what happens when that period ends and the customer has a substantial bill? How do you help them make arrangements and get caught up without getting disconnected in the spring and summer months? That is something we’re going to have to address.”

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Ill health forces Sutherland Press building on to the waiting list


For the second time in just over a month, the future of the Sutherland Press building has been put on the waiting list due to ill health.
As the City vs. Sutherland Lofts hearing was set to open Monday at the Elgin County Courthouse, the lawyer for building owner David McGee advised Ontario Superior Court Justice Peter Hockin she was unsure if she could continue.
“I’m struggling with my health. I’m struggling,” admitted Valerie M’Garry, who sat slumped in her seat.

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For the Professor, latest accessibility report would just be more of the same


city_scope_logo-cmykWhile he had become accustomed to findings similar to those contained in a report to council Monday, the Professor would be far from pleased with the latest report card.
Prior to his death in February, Ed McLachlan spent years as a member of the St. Thomas Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee and filed many reports to council  on accessibility issues in all city-owned facilities.
Lesley Buchanan is now chair of the committee and the annual site audit is on the agenda for all to see.
Here is a sampling of the ongoing barriers the handicapped face.

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French Immersion overcrowding an issue in Elgin since 2013


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The ‘re-designation’ of 240 students to Port Stanley Public School was one of several short-term solutions considered, advises a member of the school council at Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion School.

And one of the options would have seen those students returning to Wellington Public School, where most of them attended prior to the opening of their new home in the former Homedale Senior Elementary School.

It’s a possibility that may yet see the light of day, advises St. Thomas CAO Wendell Graves.

“Anything is possible,” Graves says. “One of the committees of council relates to the courthouse/Wellington block area and they have met a couple of times to work through a couple of potential strategies for that Wellington block which Algoma (University) will be done with at the end of the school year.

“We’re also going to be setting up a council/Thames Valley District School Board liaison meeting where we want to talk about some common issues in the city so that would be one that is on our agenda to talk to them about in terms of French Immersion.” Continue reading