As was his vision, Jay Burstein says Elgin Centre will again be a happening place

city_scope_logo-cmykElgin Mall has wonderful potential according to the small, family-owned real estate investment company that acquired the 263,000-square-foot property in October of 2016.
At the time the mall was operating at a roughly 50 per cent vacancy rate.
Jay Burstein, spokesman for the new owners stated, “Our goal is to try and lease the vacant space as quickly as possible and try to make this mall the vibrant place it once was.”
A rather major concern was the large vacant space at the west end of the mall, formerly occupied by Zellers.
“We recognize the fact the former Zellers space is something we really have to look at,” admitted Burstein. “If we could find one tenant for that space, that would be awesome.”
Just shy of five years later and what is now known as Elgin Centre is again making headlines.
Preparatory work has begun at the very same spot in the shopping centre to make way for a $16 million, 95-room Holiday Inn Express and Suites scheduled to officially open next October.

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Who is accountable for accountability?

It was a rubber-stamp item on Monday’s city council agenda; authorizing the deposit of $59,047.62 into a reserve account of Valleyview Home.
The money is the final distribution of funds from the estate of Ralph Counsell, a former Valleyview resident who donated $400,000 to Valleyview with the stipulation the money be used in the activation department for the benefit of residents.
The activation department is responsible for the recreation, therapeutic and social activities of the residents.
In a report to council in November of last year, Valleyview staff recommended items like a Karaoke machine, bingo machine and cards, televisions, decorations and a movie projector, among other things, be purchased.
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A female role model — she’s right in our own backyard


A week ago in this corner, we promoted several local individuals for consideration when re-naming Edward Street Public School.

Including Edra Sanders Ferguson, who was the first woman to practise law in St. Thomas, the first woman in the city’s history elected alderman and the first woman to run for mayor.

Now, add to those credentials the Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours, which was awarded to Sanders Ferguson on Thursday.

Responding to this honour, she writes, “I was very surprised to receive this prestigious honour as I did not know I had been nominated. I have now learned that it was a young woman who nominated me. I would guess that most nominations are made by the rich and powerful. I am so pleased that a young woman without power or influence would take such an initiative — and be successful.”
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No financial accountability? Then no public funding


Members of city council will don their referee shirts Monday as the Downtown Development Board and North America Railway Hall of Fame escalate their funding feud.

The jousting dates back to last summer when the DDB, under chairman Mark Cosens, “loaned” NARHF the sum of $10,000.

Now, the DDB wants the sum repaid, however it is being stymied at every turn by NARHF.

Dan Muscat, current DDB chairman, is attempting to obtain records from NARHF to determine the status of the loan.

“This situation is a city council issue as it is the past DDB board (under the leadership of Cosens) that sanctioned the loan,” asserts Muscat, in a letter to council.
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Some choice … cut services or hike municipal taxes

Hit taxpayers in the pocket or scour the corridors of city hall for cost-cutting opportunities.

That’s the options facing council and staff in the finals days before the 2010 operational budget comes under scrutiny a week from Monday.

Mayor Cliff Barwick has made numerous references to tough decisions that have to be made this year and in to 2011, so we went right to the source this week for a status report on the financial health of St. Thomas and the implications for residents.

“I think you’re in a situation where the taxpayer is going to be hit to some degree, but at the same time, we have taken a substantial number of items out of the budget,” Barwick told City Scope on Thursday.
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2009 Public Sector Salaries, Elgin/St. Thomas health sector

Salary figures released March 31,2010 for 2009 – 2008 salary in brackets.

St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital
COLLINS,PAUL President/Chief Executive Officer $204,727 ($200,920)
CRAIG, DR. IAN Pathologist $469,263 ($421,529)
FLETCHER,KATHRYN ANN Pharmacist $115,866 ($117,347)
GRANT, ANITA Director, Patient Care $108,617 ($104,240)
HILLMAN, MARY-ELLEN $103,804 ($117,733)
HOPKINS, MALCOLM Vice President, Corporate Services $154,130 ($150,778)
KOLATOR-COTNAM, SUSAN $103,929 (new)
LAMBERT, BRENDA Vice President, Patient Services $128,995 ($125,294)
MOORE, ANNE Registered Nurse $104,711 ($101,902)
THOMPSON, HEATHER Director, Patient Care $105,387 ($101,338)
WASTY, DR. FASAHAT Pathologist $334,805 ($149,963)

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health
ST. JOHN,CYNTHIA Executive Director $150,075 ($123,627)

Canadian Mental Health Association, Elgin branch
DEBRUYN, HEATHER $104,541 ($101,180)

Community Living Elgin
MCCALLUM, TOM $103,610 ($104,814)

Family and Children’s Services of St. Thomas and Elgin
POTGIETER, ROD $135,000 ($132,382)

West Elgin Community Health Centre
ABUSHAWISH, GHASSAN $119,836 ($203,096)
MARDELL, KEVIN physician $259,400 ($222,072)
MELITTO, CATHERINE $112,819 ($108,403)

VON Middlesex Elgin
LECLAIR, LINDA $103,000 ($100,042)

How well is St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital performing?

St. Thomas, ON – A new consumer website is helping Elgin county
residents learn more about how their local area hospitals are

Unveiled for the first time today (Apr 16/09), gives Ontarians an unprecedented opportunity to learn more about how their local hospitals are performing by location, type of care, indicator, or hospital name.

By making hospital performance information easy for people to
access, is empowering patients and helping hospitals become even more accountable than they already are,” says Tom Closson,President and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association.

St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) has long been committed to public accountability and transparency, and is pleased to have this new site designed with the average person in mind.

“At STEGH we value accountability,” says STEGH CEO Paul Collins. “This new OHA website offers another opportunity for our community to monitor our performance.”

Patients rarely access existing hospital performance information, and
when they do, they often find it very technical and difficult to
understand. However, it is clear that patients want to know more – and understand more – about their hospitals so that they can actively manage their own health care. is about involving patients. is designed solely as a public education tool.
Patients should not use the site as a guide to choosing a hospital.

Like all public reporting on health system performance, this site
strives to inspire improved performance, enhance patient safety and
strengthen the public’s confidence in Ontario’s hospitals.