With the observation, “Our assets are the strongest link to the new city branding,” a pair of St. Thomas railway-based entities are seeking an exemption from paying municipal property taxes. Matt Janes of The Railworks Coalition – representing the Elgin County Railway Museum (ECRM), the CASO station and, in the near future, the St. Thomas Elevated Park – made a pitch to city council at Monday’s (Jan. 20) reference committee meeting requesting tax relief. While no decision was made at the meeting, there was no shortage of questions and comments from members of council combined with a healthy dose of skepticism from several quarters. In an email to City Scope on Tuesday, Janes outlined three objectives behind the deputation to council. Topping the list was the need to, “Stress how important the Railworks’ assets (ECRM, CASO Station and Elevated Park) are to “The Railway City” brand, and the economic activity generated by our organizations.”
It was a budget body slam last night (Dec. 18) in the council chamber at city hall. A bloc of five councillors sent a clear message to Mayor Heather Jackson as to who is behind the wheel on budget deliberations. Or at least the community grant portion of the 2018 city budget. Councillors Steve Wookey, Joan Rymal, Mark Burgess, Mark Tinlin and Gary Clarke voted to adopt the budget as is. The 2018 financial roadmap for the city included a $60,000 cap on community grants to any one group or organization. Jackson is opposed to a grant cap and therefore was in opposition to approving the budget as is. She did a little politicking of her own by asking for a recorded vote so those associated with the Talbot Teen Centre (TTC) and St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre – two pet projects – would be well aware of her sympathy. Continue reading →
Did you check out the notice in your latest St. Thomas Energy bill? Seems like the utility merger with Entegrus out of Chatham-Kent is moving toward consummation early in the new year, with the new entity to be known as Entegrus Powerlines. I guess when you only have a 20 per cent piece of the pie you don’t have any say in naming the beast. And by coincidence, the merger is the subject of a report from city manager Wendell Graves on Monday’s council agenda. It’s chock full of legalese and ratepayers have the right to a clear explanation of what is about to transpire on the eve of the merger. More important, what are the long-term financial implications because this appears to be less a merger and more a fire sale. So, we chatted with Graves on Friday as to what members of council are being asked to vote on as our elected representatives. Continue reading →
Friday’s announcement of the proposed merger of Elgin St. Thomas Public Health and Oxford County Public Health – which aligns with the province’s call for fewer health units with autonomous boards – is, no doubt, intended to create efficiencies. Such is the desired effect of any merger, no matter the business sector. To quote the media release, the two health units “began exploring a potential merger as a way of working towards a strong, unified rural voice for public health in Ontario.” To further quote from the release, “The intent to merge was formalized through a letter of intent signed by Oxford County Warden David Mayberry on November 8 and Elgin St. Thomas Board of Health Chair Bernie Wiehle on November 9. The letter of intent commits both organizations to a review of each other’s finances, operations and assets; to equally sharing any costs associated with the merger; and to pursuing the necessary statutory and regulatory change at the provincial level before the merger becomes official.” Continue reading →
Never has the Canadian flag looked so resplendent as it did on this brilliant late-autumn afternoon. Dozens upon dozens of them flapping vigorously in the stiff breeze, reaching out to welcome home for the final time John Gallagher, killed Nov. 4 while volunteering with Kurdish forces to fight against ISIS in Syria.
Several hundred people stood along the Col. Talbot Road
St. Thomas firefighters
overpass Friday — some for hours — patiently waiting to pay tribute to the former Wheatley resident.
Dozens and dozens of young people, several St. Thomas air cadets and numerous vets, individuals in wheel chairs and seniors gingerly hiking up the embankment to pay their respects, accompanied by a large contingent of city fire, police and EMS personnel.
All of them standing resolutely together to thank this young man — indeed all Canadians who have served and fallen — and in the process remind us we can put aside our differences and be proud of who we are.
It is unfortunate that Earl got the impression that the message was “nasty” but that was not my intent. I had sent my email to request further information, as I am concerned about the downtown area and want to gather as much information as possible to make sure I have all the facts before making any decisions.
I am concerned about the amount of time that the DDB is focusing on waste management with the many issues that are facing our downtown core.
I had requested a meeting last week with the Mayor regarding this issue and there is a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 31 with the Waste Management committee.
I am also concerned about costs as the City does provide a second garbage pick up to the Talbot area between Stanley and Balaclava. This is in an effort to assist with the waste management of this area and is at no additional cost to the DDB. I wanted more information from the DDB, as I am wondering if further education needs to be done for the storeowners and tenants in this area.
I want to ensure our downtown streetscape is welcoming for all.
In her inaugural address to the new council Monday, Mayor Heather Jackson sent a clear message she is ready to embrace change at city hall.
A priority is the implementation of a communication plan, which would include a communication officer working out of the clerk’s department. Speaking to the Times-Journal, Jackson stressed this would not be a new hire.
“It’s certainly not a new position,” advised Jackson. “Wendell (CAO Wendell Graves) and I have been talking about how we can make this happen without adding to the staff. We’ve got somebody now who does most of those functions but it’s not in anybody’s job description.”
Look for the manner in which council conducts business during its regular meetings to come under review in the new year. Continue reading →