My acclamation? Sorry, no comment on that


city_scope_logo-cmyk

He’s the hottest and sexiest political commodity in the country right now and surely any number of eager, imaginative up-and-comers would love to be a player on the Justin Trudeau team as it readies for the 2015 federal election.

And yet we are expected to believe not one single motivated individual stepped forward to challenge Lori Baldwin-Sands for the Liberal nomination in Elgin-Middlesex-London?

The former St. Thomas alderman will be acclaimed on Nov. 20 at a nomination meeting to be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

That’s right, it was no contest.
Continue reading

Beware of guys with carnations in their lapels


city_scope_logo-cmyk
A municipal election campaign that had all the excitement of watching paint dry exploded into life Tuesday with Cliff Barwick’s announcement he is seeking a return to the mayor’s office at city hall.
That pits the two primary combatants in the 2010 mayoral showdown — Mayor Heather Jackson and Barwick — in a rematch on Oct. 27.
But, it is going to get better.
Over the next week or so, expect either Ald. Jeff Kohler or Ald. Mark Cosens to join the fray.
If it’s the former, that sets up a tantalizing scenario pitting the last three St. Thomas mayors in a winner-take-all smackdown.
Continue reading

When a working toilet becomes a luxury


city_scope_logo-cmyk
You have to admire the patience of St. Thomas Police Chief Darryl Pinnell, who calmly answered a bevy of questions Thursday during an accessibility tour of the Colin McGregor Justice Building.
The walk-through of all three floors — including the lock-up area — proved an eye-opener in several regards. The structure is a daunting challenge for anyone with accessibility issues and the floor space available on the now-vacant second floor likely cannot be considered functional for police use without significant modifications
Designing work areas around the two large courtrooms remaining intact surely must be a design challenge.
There is not one single accessible washroom in the building, the one elevator is in the centre of the structure and originates in the jail area and even the existing main floor is a cluttered maze.
Continue reading

Jason McComb is walking for society’s lost souls


city_scope_logo-cmyk

There’s no doubt Jason McComb can be a thorn in the side of city administrators.
Not only is he an outspoken advocate for the homeless, he has taken it upon himself to patrol the downtown core in his solitary litter crusade – an undertaking that has put to shame the efforts of this city’s parks staff.
Well next Tuesday Jason is leaving town, if only temporarily.
That’s the day he begins his walk across the province to Ottawa to draw attention to the plight of the less fortunate in general and, in particular, those veterans who have been abandoned by the country they served.
He’ll put in 10- or 11-hour days trekking eastward with stops along the way, including Hamilton, in an effort to shatter the stigma of the homeless as panhandlers begging their way to the next bottle of cheap booze.
It’s a daunting undertaking at a time of year when the weather can be most unwelcoming.
Continue reading

2010 St. Thomas operating budget may put brakes on transit users


Posted by Ian:

When the budget comes down later this month one casualty of the “crunch,” as Mayor Cliff Barwick portrayed the city’s financial reality this year, is the transit system, in particular the paratransit component.

A report to council at Monday’s meeting advised St. Thomas Transit is shedding riders and maintenance costs for the four newest buses in the fleet could escalate at an alarming rate once the warranties expire.

Dealing with the latter issue first, why would the city purchase these vehicles, which Dave White, supervisor of roads and transportation, admits are only used by a few other communities and there is little “historical data” on them?
Continue reading

Enhanced patient care — sorry, not in the budget


city_scope_logo-cmyk
In the midst of the Christmas hustle and bustle, St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital announced it was shutting 20 transitional beds in Unit B of the Continuing Care Centre.

The beds weren’t needed, layoffs would be minimal and the process would be completed some time In February. One option, noted CEO Paul Collins, was to move acute medical units from the fourth and fifth floors into Unit B and the already-vacated Unit A.

A funny thing happened along the way, however.

The alternative level care patients were out of the beds in the CCC unit the first week of January, in advance of two reports dealing with the proposed relocation of the acute medical units.

Why the rush to displace these patients?
Continue reading

Tawdry opportunism at the Timken Centre


city_scope_logo-cmyk
Barb Gammon is seeing red these days and the St. Thomas resident is taking direct aim at city staff and members of council, in particular Ald. Terry Shackelton.

Her anger prompted a letter to the T-J to focus in on a highly questionable sighting earlier this month at the Timken Centre.

Barb writes, “When the weather gets cold, I will walk around the track at the Timken Centre. Last week as I made my rounds, I discovered a new sign at the end of the arena where the ice machine goes on and off of the ice pad.

“To my surprise the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) had been placed on a part of railing that the city was now calling accessible with an alderman’s name (Shackelton) next to the sign. This part of the railing is not accessible for wheelchairs to watch any part of the ice pad.”

Continue reading