The recent closure of Kings Buffet in St. Thomas for the better part of a week due to a cockroach infestation in the kitchen area re-opens debate on the merits of a colour-coded rating system for local food premises, similar to the program in place in London and other municipalities.
In fact Elgin St. Thomas Public Health does visit food premises to conduct routine inspections and re-inspections, according to a fact sheet on their web site here.
Food premises are any premise where food or milk is manufactured, processed, prepared, stored, handled, displayed, distributed, transported, sold or offered for sale.
According to the health unit, public inspectors do a risk assessment for every food premise in St. Thomas and Elgin county every year.
So, what are they looking for?
Editor’s note: Paul McKeever is the leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario and coincidently was the Freedom Party candidate in Elgin-Middlesex-London in the 2011 provincial election.He forwarded this letter to City Scope and it is printed here in its entirety.
December 22, 2011
Sunmedia’s Queen’s Park columnist, Christina Blizzard, today wrote about Ontario’s health care system and the deficit. It concludes:
Liberals have socked us with the two biggest tax hikes in the history of the province — the health care levy and the HST. And now they’re crying poor? They created this mess. We’re just paying their bills.
Without knowing it, Steve Peters altered the shape of Ontario politics Thursday.
Had he not announced his retirement some time back, he would easily have retained Elgin-Middlesex-London for the Libs and handed Dalton McGuinty his 54th seat and a majority government.
Instead, the baton was handed over to Lori Baldwin-Sands who was thoroughly thumped by Jeff Yurek, who rode an 8,700-vote lead all the way to Queen’s Park.
You knew it was going to be a long night for area Libs when Baldwin-Sands’ celebration HQ at the Knights of Columbus hall at one time was mainly populated by firefighters enjoying the Leafs’ game.
While the Aug. 24 announcement from Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews is encouraging news for redevelopment of St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, it has led to some confusion for area residents in the countdown to the Oct. 6 provincial vote.
Several readers have contacted this corner to question whether the project will proceed should the Dalton McGuinty government be shown the door in three week’s time.
In other words, is the $100-million-plus undertaking a go, no matter what?
City Scope went right to the source this week and talked with the main contenders running in Elgin-Middlesex-London.
The general consensus? The funding announcement has been met with a heaping dose of collective skepticism.
Last week’s letter from Jennifer Swales read here charging rule changes adopted by St. Thomas Minor Hockey Association smack of discrimination prompted a flurry of emotional letters to the editor, phone calls and emails.
In summary, under the new rules, if a child has received a subsidy for house league hockey, they cannot try out or play on a travel team.
“Individuals who made this rule based on ‘financial concerns’ for the parents smack of righteousness and assumptions and we all know what that does,” Swales charged.
In response to her email of Aug. 16, STMHA president Chris Smith offered the following rebuttal.
“Our Board of Directors are not ignorant to the economic landscape of our city, nor are we trying to ostracize any families, however you must understand our economic pressures,” stressed Smith.
We’ve badgered the administration at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital for some time now, so it’s interesting to note CEO Paul Collins will make a guest appearance Monday at city council with a presentation on redefining the hospital’s future.
In summary, the vision encompasses new adult mental health programs, a new emergency department that is double the size of the existing area, new surgical suites and centralized ambulatory care housed in Complex Continuing Care.
The redevelopment represents a $106 million investment in St. Thomas and Elgin.
It’s a business case that was presented to the ministry of health in July, 2009, where it has languished ever since. However, it is a project the hospital has advocated for many years and should there be a change in government come October, it could add a whole new dimension to wait times.