Casting light when a council meeting goes dark


city_scope_logo-cmykFor many of us, we’ve settled into a pandemic dictated routine where our days are punctuated with Zoom meetings interspersed with live-streamed gatherings, exponentially increasing our screen time.
Leaving us to wonder how much of this will pivot over to the new reality?
But what happens when one of these feeds fails or the audio stream is so out of whack it is impossible to follow along?
It has happened twice this month with city council: once with a reference committee meeting dealing with community grants and again this week with the scheduled council meeting.

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From 38 seconds to 90 days, living with unintended consequences


city_scope_logo-cmykThe city likes to refer to it as “unintended consequences,” we prefer a consequential collapse in communication.
We’re referring, of course, to last month’s surprise announcement the city is to proceed with a procurement process to designate new operators for the EarlyON system in St. Thomas-Elgin.
Community Living Elgin (CLE) has been the agency to deliver the EarlyON program since July of 2018.
One of the “unintended consequences” is the realization the city cannot possibly have the new delivery model in place for the Jan. 1, 2021 launch.
This is required to offer a seamless transition from the old model as the CLE agreement with the city expires at the end of this year.
And so the existing agreement will have to be extended into the new year in order to get the new operator(s) up to speed.

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Keeping the wolves from the front door and the homeless from the back


city_scope_logo-cmykLove where you shop.
That’s the branding employed by the St. Thomas Downtown Development Board as they promote shopping in the city’s historic core area along Talbot Street.
Although in this exceptional year, the downtown merchants have faced a double whammy: shuttering for several months due to the coronavirus and having to contend with the homeless who wander Talbot Street and frequent the back lanes.
Although they are now open again, for the most part, many shoppers are leery to venture downtown citing the less than inviting atmosphere.

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The funding is not a concern, the worry is the financial accountability on the part of city hall


city_scope_logo-cmykWell, wasn’t that quite the diatribe this week from Vishal Chityal and his counter ego Charlie Duke over at SupportiveLiving.ca. The lengthy Facebook posting was in response to last week’s item on COVID-19 precautions that may be in place at Walnut Manor, a home operated by SupportiveLiving.ca.
There hasn’t been pushback like that from Vishal/Charlie in the six years we’ve documented conditions at Walnut Manor, beginning with the closure of the kitchen by the health unit in 2014.
So, why is that?
And, the detailed itemization of the many protocols now in place at the facility including increased sanitization, temperature monitoring and PPE for frontline staff.

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A response to our “shocking statement” last week regarding Walnut Manor


The following is a response to last week’s item on Walnut Manor. It was submitted by the owners of the facility, SupportiveLiving.ca. We have included the submission in its entirety.

As background to the six years spent documenting the plight of the individuals warehoused at this facility, the following is a link to MPP Jeff Burch’s private member’s bill to protect vulnerable Ontarians. The home in question in this backgrounder is Walnut Manor, right here in St. Thomas.  https://www.ontariondp.ca/news/ndp-mpp-jeff-burch-tables-legislation-protect-vulnerable-ontarians-supportive-living-homes

On Dec. 28 of last year, City Scope posted the following item detailing part of the back story to MPP Burch’s bill. “An Award-Winning Team? What an Insult to Walnut Manor residents” can be found here. https://ianscityscope.com/2019/12/28/an-award-winning-team-what-an-insult-to-walnut-manor-residents/

In a shocking statement by Ian McCallum posted to his blog with regards to Walnut Manor, he has once again raised questions as to the operations of SupportiveLiving.ca in St. Thomas.

Ian McCallum chooses to attack SupportiveLiving on a constant basis to serve his own political agenda. For many months, well before COVID-19 was even a current topic, SupportiveLiving.ca was monitoring the situation closely.

Through this pandemic, SupportiveLiving.ca has been weeks ahead of public health guidelines in the fight against COVID-19, protecting our residents and frontline workers alike.

As of today, we are proud to say that our homes and residents are safe and well protected, which is a huge accomplishment, considering the number of residents we serve. Management and frontline workers are monitoring this situation on a minute-by-minute basis during these trying times and adjusting our policies and procedures accordingly.

SupportiveLiving.ca will continue to be a front runner in the fight against COVID-19 and will do everything in its ability to keep residents and frontline workers safe.

Under the guidance of our CEO, Vishal Chityal, who has tirelessly championed the rights of the homeless, the vulnerable and the weak, we will get through this pandemic and set a shining example of how homes for the vulnerable should be operated in Ontario.

Previous blogs written by Ian McCallum have perpetually reported false information on how SupportiveLiving manages Walnut Manor and its residents – today’s post is no exception.

For weeks, we have worked hand in hand with our communities, public health departments and stakeholders at large to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our frontline staff, external healthcare workers and most importantly, our residents.

We began enforcing strict policies within our homes since March 2, 2020 which include the following:

1. No visitor policy, including contactless delivery of supply chain essentials, weeks before anyone else in the industry

2. Mandatory screening of essential medical/psychiatric service workers to the residents of our homes, five weeks prior to the advice given by public bodies

3. 24-hour telephone support for our residents from doctors, family members and supports

4. We have halted new admissions as of March 26 to protect our front line staff and residents

5. Increased sanitization practices in commonly used areas within our homes – in addition to our already stringent policies on cleanliness within our operations

6. Temperature monitoring of our residents and an immediate 14 day isolation/quarantine of anyone exhibiting fever, cough, or other known COVID-19 symptoms

7. PPE available to all of our frontline staff. Gowns, masks, gloves and face shields have been in place in all SupportiveLiving homes and are available to staff, well before recommendations from public health officials. This PPE have been provided personally by our CEO Vishal Chityal and is not publicly-funded

8. Increased activities, supports and individualized mental health support has been made available to our residents on a 24-hour-a-day basis, all personally provided by our CEO due to the lack of public funding

The strict guidance that has been provided to us by our CEO has kept Walnut Manor as well as all of our homes across Ontario safe and infection-free thus far.

Our website and social media channels have consistently communicated the policies and measures that we have put into place, even before the crisis began in Ontario.

Pre-pandemic, SupportiveLiving.ca sounded the alarm in St. Thomas, Ontario and is on record with public health officials questioning the practices of other care homes and businesses with the intent of keeping Walnut Manor’s frontline workers and residents safe. SupportiveLiving.ca had taken swift action with regard to community spread weeks before official guidance in order to protect our frontline workers and residents.

Our mandate is to ensure the health and safety of our residents – pre-pandemic and now.

If Ian McCallum questions, “Is anybody monitoring,” the answer is a resounding YES. The real question to be asked here is what is his political agenda and why has he been spreading false rumours about our operations at Walnut Manor for years?

As a community, we need to be asking Ian McCallum what he is doing for the city of St. Thomas when it comes to our vulnerable population. His constant attacks in a time when communities are coming together now need to be questioned.

The community in St. Thomas is an intelligent community and will no longer accept the tabloid falsehoods that he spreads.
Future articles exposing these falsehoods and why Iancityscope.com continues to perpetuate his slander about SupportiveLiving.ca will be released shortly.

We wish all citizens of St. Thomas the best during this crisis and give special recognition to all the Frontline Workers in healthcare, retail, logistics, as well as all other industries that are keeping our city running.

Stay safe and stay well,
The Management and Frontline Workers of SupportiveLiving.ca

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Yes, St. Thomas Transit buses are being cleaned and sanitized. But, in a COVID-19 world, when did this begin?


city_scope_logo-cmykWith cramped quarters and no exit doors near the rear of the buses to keep passengers distant from drivers, is it safe to ride St. Thomas Transit in these far-from-normal times?
Well, it appears this week much attention is being paid to the safety of passengers and drivers. But what about the situation over the last month when the transit system was operating a regular service while others in the province had shut down or substantially reduced hours.
And, larger operators with full-sized transit buses could take the front door out of service and have passengers enter and exit the vehicles through the rear door, well away from drivers.
With the city’s fleet of what can only be described as glorified airport parking shuttle buses, the above is not an option.

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An award-winning team? What an insult to Walnut Manor residents.


city_scope_logo-cmykThe arrival of the email was as disturbing as it was unexpected and the tone of the opening paragraph introduced an icy chill to an otherwise warm and cheery Christmas morning.
“My brother just moved to this assisted living house a few weeks ago, disgusting is all I have words for this,” announced the email from Shelley Turner.
“I have written the ombudsman, spoke with the people in charge of this residence to no avail.
“My brother is a recent leg amputee, they assist in what? Taking people’s money? That’s the complaints I hear from within, besides the food that is deplorable, and the bed bug situation that has been there for a year now as I was told.”
Before delving deeper, I was resigned to reading another horror story about a poor soul warehoused away at Walnut Manor in St. Thomas.

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