Doors closed on nominations, let the campaigning begin in earnest


city_scope_logo-cmykAs of 2 p.m. yesterday (July 27) the window of opportunity to file nomination papers for the Oct. 22 municipal vote closed. The lineups are set, let the serious campaigning begin.
There were no new additions in the mayoral race at the deadline, so incumbent Heather Jackson will be challenged by Coun. Steve Wookey, former MP Joe Preston and musician/small business advisor Malichi Male.
In the hours and days leading up to yesterday’s deadline, the ranks of councillors seeking re-election and those vying for one of eight seats up for grabs swelled to 19.
Late entries include former alderman Lori Baldwin-Sands; Lesley Buchanan, St. Thomas Cemetery Company manager; Greg Graham; Rose Gibson in her fifth attempt to gain a seat; John Laverty, long associated with St. Thomas Energy/Ascent Group; Michael Manary, who unsuccessfully campaigned in 2006 and 2014; James Murray; and Kevin Smith. Continue reading

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Will council give green light to Sutherland Press building demolition?


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Entitled ‘Demolition of an Unsafe Building,’ a report to mayor and council Tuesday from Chris Peck, chief building official, would appear to clearly indicate the city has had enough dealings with the owner of the Sutherland Press building.
Peck is asking council to approve a tender submitted by Schouten Excavating of Watford, Ont., in the amount of $101,135 for demolition of what remains of the four-storey structure owned by David McGee of Toronto.
To recap recent history, on Sept, 16 of last year the city posted an emergency order on the building following a partial roof collapse at the southwest corner of the structure at Moore Street.

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Buckle up, we’re approaching ram speed


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The second meeting of the police building committee attracted a strange assortment of bedfellows Thursday morning at city hall.
Notables included former mayor Peter Ostojic, former alderman Marie Turvey and former Elgin County Board of Education chairman Bob McCaig.
Discussion of a new police headquarters, to be located on city-owned land adjacent to the Timken Centre, has generated such pushback the meeting had to be moved to a larger venue.
Deliberations had barely begun and McCaig couldn’t contain himself any longer.
“Why are you in such a hurray,” he blustered, as the committee attempted to establish a schedule for developing a request for proposal for architectural services.
“A group of people want to ram this through.” Continue reading

Stop the budget bus, we’re headed in the wrong direction


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The focus the government should be taking is job creation, especially in St. Thomas and Elgin. That’s the thumbnail analysis from Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek on the Ontario budget handed down Thursday.
“There’s pretty much zero for job creation or even getting our economy back on a somewhat level platform,” Yurek told City Scope on Friday.
“Spending is up $3.6 billion dollars at a time we’re trying to balance the budget. That’s just the wrong direction.”
Do you start with reeling in public sector salaries? Do you tinker with bargaining rights, as was the case with teachers?
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STEGH to Elgin county: don’t tell us how to run hospital


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Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. On Tuesday, Elgin county council met with Bruce Babcock, St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital board of governors chairman, and following the closed-door session, unanimously approved a resolution calling on the board to recruit a replacement for hospital President and CEO Paul Collins within a year.

“Elgin county ratepayers have expressed concerns with the contract of the recently retired hospital president and CEO,” advised Elgin Warden Dave Mennill.

“It’s is council’s considered opinion that the public’s perception of the circumstances . . . are irrevocably tainted and will negatively impact fundraising efforts.”

Keep in mind the city, county and the community at large must raise $12 million as part of Dalton McGuinty’s hospital revitalization promise.
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A last-minute change to your PC nominee line-up


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UPDATE: Jeff Yurek won the Ontario PC riding nomination for Elgin-Middlesex-London Saturday on the fourth ballot at Parkside Collegiate Institute.

Seems provincial Conservatives ensconced at Toronto headquarters turned their noses up at, and thumbs down on, Peter Osjotic’s nomination bid for today’s Elgin-Middlesex-London run-off at Parkside Collegiate Institute.

No reason given, when this corner approached Alan Sakach, director of communications for the Ontario PCs.

“It’s an internal organizational matter by the party,” was the extent of Sakach’s enlightenment.

Read the full story here .

However, a hot rumour making the rounds infers a copy of the 2003 McCarthy Tetrault report somehow made it’s way to TO and may have influenced the Ostojic decision.
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Peter Ostojic’s hopes of gaining Conservative nomination dashed in Toronto


City Scope has learned former St. Thomas mayor Peter Ostojic’s bid to gain the provincial Conservative nomination in Elgin-Middlesex-London was quashed at party headquarters.

Ostojic declared his intention to run in early February, however his bid was not approved in Toronto and he was informed Monday, less than a week prior to Saturday’s nomination meeting at Parkside Collegiate Institute.

Alan Sakach, director of communications for the Ontario PC Party, told City Scope on Tuesday five individuals are in the running: Lynn Acre, Tom Marks, Peter North, Delia Reiche and Jeff Yurek.

When asked to confirm Ostojic is not on the final nomination list, Sakach responded, “That is correct, he is not.”

Asked to explain the discrepancy in reports published in the Times-Journal about Ostojic’s nomination bid, Sakach stressed, “It’s an internal organizational matter by the party. We’ve got rules and a process and if there’s a dispute there is a process that is available to resolve that. In general, I won’t comment on people that may not be running, only when they are confirmed as running.”

When asked to confirm Ostojic had indeed filed his nomination bid, Sakach would only say, “There are lots of people interested in running for the party, but like I said I’m not going to comment on people until they are confirmed.”

PC Riding Association president Stan Stanek confirmed the decision was relayed to Ostojic on Monday.

“I haven’t been officially notified by the party, but apparently they’ve notified Mr. Ostojic and it was left up to him to let us know. And, in fact, he has let me know. It is a fact. It was disclosed Monday afternoon.”

Asked if this will alter the process for Saturday’s nomination meeting, Stanek said, “It doesn’t change the process, we’ll just be missing one candidate, which everyone was counting on. I was surprised myself, but that’s their decision.”

City Scope hopes to have comments from Ostojic on Wednesday and the full story will appear in the Times-Journal.