It’s been a City Scope tradition to greet the incoming year by surveying the past 365 days to savor the wit and wisdom of our elected representatives.
As a collector of quotes from a variety of sources, it lends credence to the words of wisdom from British author Dorothy L. Sayers: “I always have a quotation for everything – it saves original thinking.”
Of course, when media scribes document a response or comment to the pages for posterity, we must be prepared for the inevitable charge of being taken out of context.
Or, as one anonymous wag noted, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.”
With the preamble out of the way, let’s glean through a year’s worth of columns to fully appreciate what transpired in 2012.
At Monday’s city council meeting, Matt Janes, representing On Track St. Thomas, will officially unveil plans to purchase and develop the Michigan Central Railway bridge over Kettle Creek at Sunset Drive. The bridge was constructed in 1929 and at one time carried over 140 trains every day.
In his deputation to council, Janes will announce a vision to honour one of the most iconic structures in southwestern Ontario through the creation of Canada’s first elevated park.
According to Janes, the St. Thomas Elevated Park Project is the single most ambitious undertaking of On Track St. Thomas, the community development organization that assured the preservation of the CASO station and brought the rail-themed murals to downtown.
Easterly view of the Michigan Central Railway bridge, which spans Kettle Creek, Fingal Line and Sunset Drive, clearly shows the massive concrete piers that support the bridge, built in 1929 and last used 2005. Tracks and ties were removed this year.
Janes points in his report that, along with the Elgin County Railway Museum and the restored CASO station, the MCR Kettle Creek bridge is a prominent reminder of the city’s status as the Railway Capital of Canada.
“It is a signature attraction for rail aficionados nationally and internationally,” Janes advises. “As a public place it will be a high profile addition to the CASO-Trans Canada Trail and offer stunning views of the Kettle Creek valley in all directions.
Janes continues, “The On Track vision for the MCR bridge goes much farther however. Through an international design competition, it will become Canada’s first elevated park, joining similar structures such as the High Line in Manhattan and the Boulevard Plantée in Paris.