Transforming Fingal’s old ball diamond into a heritage jewel


The crack of a wooden bat meeting a leather-covered baseball at the old ball diamond in Fingal is but a distant memory, however the Union Road site of games hosted by numerous editions of local teams is soon to be transformed into a heritage park.
A fixture into the 1960s, it was replaced the next decade when the Optimist Club provided Fingal with a more modern facility.
Southwold still maintains the green space north of the main intersection – site of the Fingal Foundry and Machine Shop – and a few years ago, a number of Fingal residents started having yard sales to raise money for playground equipment. Continue reading

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Commemorative plaque to honour the 20 souls lost in Elgin county’s worst disaster


The evening prior to Halloween, 1941, saw light rain and fog blanket Elgin county and through that murk, American Airlines Flight 1 lost its struggle to remain airborne, hurtling into a field southwest of St. Thomas.
About two hundred yards distant, in a second-floor bedroom of Thompson and Viola Howe’s farmhouse, five-year-old Ken slept peacefully, oblivious to the flaming wreckage visible from his window.
Thompson Howe was in the barn around 10:30 p.m. when the DC-3, christened Flagship Erie and en route to Detroit from Buffalo, hit the ground with such an impact it shook the ground as he completed the chores for the day.
Viola Howe, who witnessed the crash, had expressed concern when she saw the plane circling, apparently in distress. Her fear was the craft would hit the farmhouse.
In fact, there is speculation that perhaps the pilot, at the last minute, did all he could to avoid further loss of life. Continue reading

Land-use planner warns St. Thomas is suffering from ‘sign disease’


city_scope_logo-cmykIt was a sign of what lies ahead for city staff in St. Thomas. An overview of the proposed 2017 advertising sign bylaw ran into stiff opposition at this week’s reference committee meeting.
Amendments to the existing bylaw to deal with portable signs in the downtown core faced vocal opposition from more than two dozen small businesses and area sign companies.
The bylaw would prohibit portable advertising signs in the downtown business area and limit them to one per commercial lot outside the core and three per industrial lot.
A-board signs would still be permitted but would have to come in off the sidewalk at the end of the day.
It’s a restriction similar to what’s in place in London and Sarnia.

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What was once forgotten, is now lost


city_scope_logo-cmykIn January of last year we first wrote about the forgotten Talbot Street apartments, clearly visible from the mayor’s office across the street at city hall.
Even more shocking than the decrepit state of these hovels was the fact owner Trad Antoine had been approved by St.Thomas-Elgin Ontario Works for funding to add 10 one-bedroom units next door at 560 Talbot St., above the former Capitol Theatre.
Two of the apartments were to be reserved for clients supported by the YWCA of St. Thomas-Elgin and the remainder for Canadian Mental Health Association clients.
He was in line to receive $731,925 of Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) funding.
Just before Christmas, 2016, we checked in with acting director of St. Thomas-Elgin Ontario Works Elizabeth Sebestyen on the status of those new units given the fact Trad had packed up shop at his furniture business housed in the old theatre. Continue reading

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
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading