Monday’s announcement this corner of the province is in line to benefit from an $80-million job-generation fund had the City Scope research department scurrying to dust off the archives.
Before delving into those findings, we must note one of the drivers that led to the creation of the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund by Premier Dalton McGuinty was the Southwest Economic Alliance (SWEA).
Launched in 2006, SWEA is an advocacy body encompassing partners from municipalities, counties, educational institutions and businesses in the region.
Today, under the presidency of St. Thomas resident Serge Lavoie, SWEA is comprised of 10 counties, including Elgin, and four independent cities, none of which is St. Thomas.
As heritage week draws to a close,on Sunday February 22nd 2009,let us not forget all the historic buildings we’ve lost under Culture Minister,Aileen Carroll,and all those buildings that are continuing to face demolition by neglect.Minister Carroll has stood up many a times in the legislature,to boast about the “improved & strengthened” heritage act,but she knows it’s window dressing at best,for she has not enforced the heritage act,as it was intended,instead allowing building after building to fall,or allowing owners to demolition by neglect,until the buildings are so unsafe,the culture ministry just gives the go ahead,to tear them down.Owners of historic buildings in the province of Ontario,are fully aware of Aileen Carroll’s lack of interest in protecting our built heritage,so to speed up the demolition process,they remove windows & doors leaving these historic buildings vulnerable to the harsh Ontario weather,and it doesn’t take an engineer to figure out,the longer the building is open and unprotected,the sooner the owner can apply for a demolition permit.Minister Carroll has failed miserably at protecting Ontario’s built heritage,and if there are any people that doubt that statement,I urge you to drive to the City of St.Thomas,and view what remains of Alma College.On the property at 96 Moore Street,you will find 2 historic structures that survived the horrific blaze in May of 2008,you will also find an outdoor amphi-theatre,all of which are continuing to face,demolition by neglect.We lost the main structure,and will lose the 2 remaining structures,if this minister does not take an interest.The property deserves to be designated as “Provincially Significant”,and if the culture minister could bring herself to realize this fact,St.Thomas,Ontario would then have a reason to celebrate “heritage week”.
Having remained out of the spotlight since last summer, the Elgin County Court House is back on the radar, following a letter sent Feb. 5 by the Elgin Law Association to Ontario Realty Corporation.
At its last meeting, the association acknowledged the court house is “an impressive building of historical and architectural significance,” and it supports preservation of the Wellington Street facility that predates Confederation.
Province supports new culinary and visual arts facility through RED grant
WEST LORNE – The Ontario government is boosting the rural economies of Elgin and Middlesex counties by turning heritage properties into a showpiece cultural centre.
As guest of the Elgin St. Thomas Archives Association, Mayor Cliff Barwick’s
presentation Wednesday on heritage building preservation was so laced with negativity, it made his bland New Year’s address stand out as stirring motivational oratory.
And as was the case in his state of the union to open the 129th council of the Corporation of the City of St. Thomas early in January, Barwick proved a master of buck passing this week before 50 or so gathered in the public library’s Carnegie Room.
Erie Street United Church, Ridgetown, Ont.
I’ve attached a photo of the Erie Street United Church,in Ridgetown,Ontario.The church was recently demolished,after you FAILED to issue a “stop work order” on the demolition.It’s fast becoming a trend,that you readily give the go ahead to bring down every heritage building that is threatened,without so much as a second look.