Contract awarded for forensic mental health care projects in St. Thomas and London


Proposed St. Thomas facility

For Immediate Release March 14, 2011
From Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Steve Peters

Environmentally-friendly facility to boost local economy during construction

ST. THOMAS – St. Joseph’s Health Care, London (St. Joseph’s) and Infrastructure Ontario announced today that Integrated Team Solutions (ITS) has signed a contract to design, build, finance and maintain two new mental health care facilities in St. Thomas and London.

Today’s announcement signals that all contractual steps are complete, the financing set and construction can begin.

Construction will start in April 2011 and is expected to be completed December 2014. The project, which will include the construction of the two facilities totalling 689,700 square feet of new space, will provide
stimulus to the local and regional economies by creating construction jobs and supporting spin-off activity.
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2010 Public Sector Salaries, Municipality of Central Elgin


Salary figures released for 2010 (2009 salary in brackets)

CROCKER, DON Fire Chief $105,564 ($103,519)
LARMOUR,SHARON Director, Financial Services $110,193 ($106,400)
LEITCH, DONALD N Chief Administrative Officer $120,178 ($113,833)
PERRIN, LLOYD Director, Physical Services $115,846 ($113,833)

Formal Talks on Cleveland-to-Canada Ferry Service Could Soon Begin


February 16, 2011 – Local officials in Central Elgin have agreed to begin formal discussions with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority regarding the launch of a ferry service between Port Stanley and Cleveland.

On Monday Central Elgin municipal council passed a resolution that supports further discussions with Cleveland port officials.

Talks between the city and Port Authority are now expected to accelerate.

“Central Elgin council is enthusiastic about looking at the potential benefits that a Lake Erie ferry may create,” said Central Elgin Mayor Bill Walters. “We don’t know yet if this new ferry concept is
the right fit for our area, but we owe it to our residents and businesses to fully investigate this concept. We will be seeking public input before making any decisions.”

Port Authority CEO Will Friedman reopened discussions with Canadian officials about the ferry service last fall. The service had been contemplated for years, but did not materialize, in part because the Canadian government had not completed a long-awaited transfer of the waterfront property to local control.

With that issue resolved, and after preliminary discussions with Cleveland port representatives in recent months, Mayor Walters recommended this week to municipal council to have more serious
discussions about establishing a pilot program of cross-lake ferry service.

“We are delighted the Central Elgin officials want to discuss this potentially exciting opportunity,” Friedman said. “We believe there is interest on both sides of the lake for this service now, and we
see that interest only growing in the next several years with construction of several major developments in Cleveland, including a casino.”

Recent discussions have lead to a shift in thinking about the ferry service and the type of vessel that would be used. While the service was initially conceived of as a freighter/truck-driven service,
a pilot program would likely focus on tourism and recreation, with truck traffic a smaller part of the mix. In addition a smaller vessel capable of traveling at faster speeds would likely be used.

Friedman said HMS Global Maritime of New Albany, Ind. has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of operating the higher-speed ferry service. Mayor Walters said he looks forward to learning more about the potential service.
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Complete 2010 municipal election results from across Elgin


ST. THOMAS
MAYOR
Heather Jackson-Chapman, 3,666
Cliff Barwick, incumbent, 3,158
Al Riddell, 2,910

ALDERMAN
(seven to be elected)
Lori Baldwin-Sands, incumbent, 5,366
Jeff Kohler, 4,691
Mark Cosens, 4,592
Gord Campbell, 4,415
Dave Warden, 4,037
Sam Yusuf, 3,760
Tom Johnston, 3,681

Linda Stevenson, 3,294
Peter Ostojic, 2,948
Bill Sandison, 2,699
Ryan Dolby, 2,607
Rose Gibson, 2,243
Joe Docherty, 2,114
John Allen, 1,966
Joan Rymal, 1,945
Joseph Fric, 1,708
Wayne Northcott, 810
Shawn Claridge, 631
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The municipal vote — destined to be a political throw down?


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We’ve had some explosive election campaigns in the last 20 years or so — witness the Cliff Barwick versus Janet Golding battle that launched the political career of a young Steve Peters.

However, the prevailing atmosphere entering the final countdown to this month’s municipal vote is nothing short of distressing.

Does every lobby group, neighbourhood association and loose-knit organization have to put forth a slate of candidates which, if the rest of the voters don’t support, St. Thomas will go to hell in a hand-cart?

We have a city developer with his list of magnificent seven who must comprise the majority of the new council or we will languish in the quagmire, while the rest of the country passes us by.

My, what a responsibility we voters face if we fail to follow suit.
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Cooperation among St. Thomas and neighbouring councils top election issue – Chamber of Commerce survey


The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce has completed a pre-election survey of area businesses to list and rank priorities as seen by local employers and employees.

Of 26 topics and issues measured, harmony and co-operation among all local governments is the top issue. On an importance scale of 1 to 10, survey participants ranked harmony and co-operation with an average score of 8.93.

Rounding out The Top 10 issues:

2. Value for taxes 8.86
3. Having a visible “Vision” statement prioritizing short-term & long-term projects 8.36
4. Increasing local focus or resources on economic development 8.33
5. Downtown or commercial area(s) quality and development 8.06
6. Local buying/sourcing of products & services 8.00
7. Roads, water services, sewers and sidewalks 7.96
8. Waste management, collection & recycling 7.77
9. “Customer Service” by municipal staff 7.77
10. Municipal debt load 7.71

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Incurring the wrath of those who post three-legged signs


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The electoral tide just may have turned this week after the disturbing display of tag-team thuggery at Tuesday’s council meeting.

A crimson-faced Ald. Tom Johnston and a trying-hard-to-remain-detached Mayor Cliff Barwick partnered in a highly-orchestrated attempt to pummel Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman over last month’s boil water advisory.

If you remember, while the city and Elgin St. Thomas Public Health stuck to protocol (a procedure that seems to evolve on a continual basis) Jackson-Chapman utilized cyberspace to tweet the information hours in advance of officialdom.

Boy, was that a social faux pas on her part.
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