City hall is the battleground this week in a growing controversy.
The central player in all of this is the Horton Market and whether it should be allowed to open at the end of the month to provide a sales venue for area fruit and vegetable growers, among others.
On Tuesday (May 19) city council, by a 5-4 margin, defeated a motion to provide a letter of support for plans to be submitted to the health unit allowing the popular Saturday market to open for the season under COVID-19 restrictions.
We’ll break down that vote in a few minutes.
It didn’t take long for the controversy to flare up, not unlike the divisive environment associated with debate around the city’s twin-pad arena and the new police headquarters.
The final numbers have been submitted and it’s a bitter lesson for mayoral candidate Mark Cosens, who found you can’t spend your way to the top.
March 27 was the deadline for candidates to file campaign expenses for the 2014 municipal vote and all 22 individuals met that target.
Cosens claimed $15,244.94 in expenses, which was well beyond double the amount logged by Mayor Heather Jackson at $5,883.59.
Cliff Barwick, who filed months ago, spent just over $4,000. Continue reading
A reinvigorated party, ready to head to the polls and unseat Kathleen Wynne and the scandal-plagued Liberals.
That’s the prognosis from Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek as his party emerged from last weekend’s pep rally in London.
“All of the caucus left pretty invigorated and ready to go behind Tim (Hudak),” Jeff told City Scope on Thursday.
“Tim has even come out on fire in the legislature all week and really focused on jobs and the economy. He has really loosened up and he’s ready to go for the next election.”
We’ll zero in on jobs in a moment, however we had to peg Jeff down on the party’s leader who just doesn’t seem to resonate with the majority of voters.
It’s an atmosphere that has been described as poisonous. A department where the director is accused of harassing, bullying and belittling a long-time employee who, as a result, is now absent from the workplace on stress leave.
A situation where an individual charged with the financial welfare of a $110 million corporation is in flagrant and repeated violation of that organization’s respect in the workplace policy
What is shocking is the venue – the treasury department at city hall – and the actions of city treasurer Bill Day have put CAO Wendell Graves and human resources director Graham Dart between a rock and a hard place.
And, no matter what action they deem necessary, it could cost St. Thomas ratepayers dearly.
It’s been all quiet on the STEGH re-scoping front of late so time for an update courtesy of hospital CEO Paul Collins, in the form of a personal message sent to his “colleagues.”
Collins advises, “At the time of my last update to you on April 19th we were meeting with the Ministry Capital Branch in Toronto to discuss our STEGH project “re-scoping” approach. Our discussion with them focused on reducing the over-all cost of our project.”
Cost savings can be achieved by possibly eliminating some elements, like new hallways for movement through the existing buildings and reducing the size of new areas like the emergency department and mental health, while maintaining ministry planning and space standards, Collins suggests.
“These changes are possible only because since submitting the original plan in 2009, we have learned a great deal about how to plan and use space better,” he suggests.
“We have continued to work with the ministry on our “interim” plan to demolish the Snell building, move Ambulatory care from the first floor west wing to ground floor CCC and renovate the vacated first floor west wing, all to accommodate the new Mental Health program in this temporary space, beginning 2013.”
Watch for the matter of a new home for Elgin St. Thomas Public Health to heat up dramatically in the coming days.
The health unit has been out of the public spotlight of late and that’s not a bad thing after the drama and controversy that dogged the previous board of directors.
The new board, including Elgin Warden Bill Walters and St. Thomas Ald. Dave Warden, has got the organization focused on moving forward.
However, will it withstand the fallout from a forthcoming announcement on a move from its current digs at 99 Edward St. to a two-acre site that is not the west Talbot Street property owned by Shmuel Farhi?
Budget deliberations are a critical indicator of the direction city council will follow in the coming fiscal year and the sometimes quirky priorities of our municipal representatives.
After a warm-up session Thursday, council will get down to brass tacks on Monday as they tackle Part 1 of the 2012 capital budget.
Members are being asked to approved expenditures of just over $8 million, of which $2 million will be sourced through the 2012 property tax levy, the same as 2011.
In total, the requests for capital in 2012 total $22.4 million, requiring property tax supported funding of $9.5 million.
A last-minute addition to the City Scope lineup this week, predicated by the death Tuesday of Edra Sanders Ferguson in her 105th year of “an overflowing life.”
The Times-Journal, and this corner in particular, championed “Ma Ferguson” as she was known for many years by Toronto lawyers.
The photo on the front page of Friday’s T-J offers a tantalizing taste of the individual who served as the first woman alderman in St. Thomas; to initiate a Red Cross Clinic in Guelph; and to be appointed the first Division Court judge in Ontario (later to become the Small Claims Court).
St. Thomas native and Order of Canada recepient Edra Ferguson, left, and Tara Muzumdar, the Belmont House Nursing Home employee who nominated her.
We will forever cherish the personal note from Edra’s nephew, St. Thomas lawyer John Sanders
, sent this past June after the announcement she was to receive the Order of Canada for her contributions in the fields of law and women’s rights — the oldest person ever to receive the Order of Canada.
Better yet, today’s (Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011) Bygones photo on page 2, sent along by Gina Coady at Elgin County Archives, transports us back to 1926 and a striking Edra as a member of the Alma College debating team.