Former Elgin MP Ken Monteith was cut from a special kind of cloth

city_scope_logo-cmykHe is remembered as the consummate politician and a mentor to those considering tossing their hat in the political ring.
Former Elgin MP and Southwold resident Ken Monteith died on Feb. 3 at the age of 84.
City councillor Steve Peters recalls Monteith not only was a well-respected politician, but he also continued to give back to the community after he left politics.
“Ken was the consummate public servant. He started in the 1970s on Southwold council. Served as the warden in 1981, and went on to become the MP in 1988.
Monteith served as Elgin MP until 1993.
“But even after his defeat, he continued to give back to the community, whether it was supporting the hospital or the plowing match.”
Most recently he helped fundraise for Hospice of Elgin.
“Ken really had a life-long commitment to helping others in the community. He’s the type of person that is going to be really difficult to replace because a lot of times people will retire, but Ken stayed active until the end.”

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Timken Centre deficiencies will spark debate


At its first meeting of the new year, city council will get an insight into the deficiencies encountered in the seven years since the Timken Centre opened.
The report was triggered by the failure last November of three compressor motors in less than a week, which prompted staff to bring in Ascent (formerly St. Thomas Energy) to conduct monitor the hydro supply coming into the building.
Since the $12.1 million twin-pad facility opened, there appear to have been an inordinately high number of electrical-related problems reported and upgrades undertaken.
In fact, since 2006, over $200,000 has been spent on deficiencies, including the addition of a six-ton rooftop HVAC unit right off the bat for the multi-purpose room to meet the capacity rating, at a cost of $12,500.
In 2007, close to $30,000 was spent on the replacement of a heat recovery unit and since then there have been ongoing roof repairs, ongoing repairs to the electrical wall pack and parking lot lights and replacement of various lighting units and other electrical-related components.
Staff has contacted similar-sized recreation facilities across southwestern Ontario which were built around the same time to compare maintenance costs and the Timken Centre fares on par with these venues.
While each of these facilities had their own unique issues, the Timken Centre deficiencies appear to centre on electrical-related components or systems.
The monitoring undertaken by Ascent will determine whether there are spikes in the incoming hydro service or internal electrical problems that led to the successive failure of the three compressor motors.
Or perhaps, to meet the severely stretched capital budget for the Timken Centre, were inferior electrical components installed from the get-go to meet the financial constraints?
Kinda like a whats-it off this '71 Pinto should do the trick.

Friday’s Times-Journal featured a wonderful insight into the life and career of John Wise, courtesy of People columnist Eric Bunnell. All of those polled were in agreement: the former Elgin MP was nothing short of “an honourable man.”
The tributes continue online, via the T-J website and Facebook page. Here are just a few of the personal observations.

John Wise and family in a photo taken in January, 1979, from left - Susan, 6; Elizabeth, 9; and wife, Ann Wise.

John Wise and family in a photo taken in January, 1979, from left – Susan, 6; Elizabeth, 9; and wife, Ann Wise.

Teresa L. Lunn writes, “So sorry to hear this, he was such a nice man
. . . always willing to talk to anyone (he will be truly missed). St Thomas has lost a true friend.”
“John was always a gentleman. I remember him when I was just a toddler and he called me by name. No matter how you voted, he worked for every one,” writes David Nichols.
Steve Thomas observes, “Best MP we ever had.”
“As a past Aylmer and a St. Thomas resident and knowing John, he was one of Ontario’s finest,” praises Ken Holmes.
And finally, Denise Payne opines: “John was an amazing man
. . . still have the pin i’m a wise guy . . . even though I was little I still remember sitting in his campaign office . . . RIP John . . . a well deserved rest . . . bravo!”
John should serve as the benchmark for so many of today’s egocentric politicians who are driven solely by personal gain.
To know him was to appreciate the element of class and dignity he brought to the political theatre.

Monday’s council agenda includes the 2012 semi-annual attendance scorecard, covering the period from July through December, a total of 21 meetings.
With two exceptions, members are to be commended for a perfect attendance record.
Ald. <strong>Jeff Kohler was absent for three meetings over that period of time, while Ald. Sam Yusuf was missing on four occasions or nearly 20% of the time.
No doubt this can be explained as conflicts with hospital board meetings.

Whatever happened to the metal statues of the hockey player and figure skater that were commissioned seven years ago to be housed at the front entrance of the Timken Centre?
Weren’t these to be paid for from money garnered by the arena fundraising committee?
If it is taking this long to complete the figures, they must be of an incredibly intricate design or else the size of Jumbo.

A public information session to deal with potential locations for a new skate park facility will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 3 to 8 p.m. in the D.J. Tarry Room at the Timken Centre. Don’t miss your opportunity to have your voice heard.

“He was a man who considered public service a duty and took his role as the people’s representative very seriously.”
PC Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek pays tribute to former Elgin MP and federal agriculture minister John Wise, who died Wednesday in London at the age of 77.

City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to