Tiny homes hold a big vision for a more vibrant St. Thomas


city_scope_logo-cmykUnveiled this past Monday (May 3) by St. Thomas developer Doug Tarry and Lindsay Rice of the YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin, Project Tiny Hope offers just that. Big on hope packaged up in quality, energy-efficient, supportive affordable housing for St. Thomas.
The undertaking to take shape at 21 Kains Street, the former home of Elgin Handles, will consist of 20 tiny homes and 20 units in a three-storey apartment building.
A dream come true for Tarry, who enthused you can’t beat the location.
“You’re five minutes from everything. You’ve got banking, grocery stores and you’re a minute from the trail system. We’re really pumped about this project.”
Doug Tarry Limited contributed $280,000 for cleanup of the brownfield site which is expected to begin later this year. He is partnering with the YWCA and Sanctuary Homes of Elgin-St. Thomas.
The latter donated $200,000 to purchase the lot.

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Oh bridge, wherefore art thou?


city_scope_logo-cmykThe operative word in this week’s headline is art.
Art on a grand scale. As in a massive movie-themed mural painted on Pier 9 of the Michigan Central Railroad trestle, which hosts the St. Thomas Elevated Park atop the impressive structure.
The expansive visual treatment, to be undertaken by mural artist Daniel Bombardier, also known as Denial, is the brainchild of the St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation.
Because the mural would be an alteration to the bridge designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, council’s consent is required and the matter will be on the agenda for Monday’s May 3 meeting.
At an April 14 meeting of the Municipal Heritage Committee, support was given to the project, “subject to any paint or colour scheme being complementary to the historic character of the designated property.”
Serge Lavoie, president of the elevated park promotes it as “a worthy addition to Canada’s first and only elevated park.”

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Question of compensation dogs former Ascent chairman


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The retirement of Ascent (formerly St. Thomas Holdings Inc.) CEO Brian Hollywood at the end of June and the resignation of former board chairman, Ald. Tom Johnston, the same month has this corner puzzling over the timing of this double play.
Especially in the case of Johnston who tumbled from board chairman to out the door in a matter of weeks, prompting the question: How much pressure was exerted by the board of directors on Johnston?
Was it the fact Ascent lost $1 million in 2011, down from a profit of $584,501 in 2010.
Or, how about the possibility Johnston was continuing to receive compensation in some fashion as Ascent board chairman, in spite of a city bylaw enacted in 2009 that eliminated remuneration for members of city council sitting on outside boards?
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There’s life – and pressing concerns – beyond the GTA


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Two examples this week to illustrate Premier Dalton McGuinty’s complete disdain for life beyond the confines of the Greater Toronto Area.
From the don’t-bother-me-with-the-details file, McGuinty made it clear this week he’s not interested in observing first-hand the incendiary conditions at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.
Not only will the Premier not accept a challenge from Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, to visit the beleaguered facility, he won’t comment any further beyond his observation two weeks ago on a visit to London.
“Obviously, there is more work to be done and I know this is a very important file on the minister’s desk.”
Where, for too long, the file has sat.
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Tour the CASO station in St. Thomas with architect, developer, inventor and writer Lloyd Alter


CASO station, St. Thomas

CASO station, St. Thomas


The shortest distance between New York and Chicago runs on the north side of Lake Erie, so the Canada Southern Railway was built in 1872, was bankrupt in 1874, and sold to the Vanderbilts who owned the Michigan Central. The station was the headquarters of the company, and the second floor served as their head offices. The three hundred acres surrounding it were their main shops and yards, making the railroad the economic lifeblood of St. Thomas. Post WWII the MCRR started packing up, was merged into Penn Central, sold off the St. Thomas facilities to Canadian Pacific and Canadian National who abandoned the station, and it started falling apart, a victim of vandals and pigeons.
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