Invigorated by the accomplishments of this council, Jeff Kohler is pursuing another term at St. Thomas city hall

city_scope_logo-cmykHe’s the longest-serving mayor/alderman/councillor currently in St. Thomas and earlier this month, Jeff Kohler declared his intention to seek another four-year term on city council.
Kohler has served in that capacity since 2010, but his introduction to municipal politics is a story unto itself.
He first threw his hat into the ring in 1997 and finished as third runner-up in that year’s municipal vote.
Referencing Eric Bunnell’s People column from April of 2000, Ald. Helen Cole had announced her resignation and council met behind closed doors to unanimously agree Kohler should fill the vacant seat.
The top vote-getter in 1997, Terry Shackelton had already moved on to council and the next hopeful in line, former alderman Hugh Shields, declined the appointment to council.

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Naming names, pointing fingers, seven years later


Almost seven years to the day, (Sept. 22, 2003 to be exact) municipal council unanimously approved a motion calling for an independent review of council and its working relationships at city hall.

The damning overview, known as the McCarthy Tetrault report, was delivered just prior to the municipal election. It held back little, naming names and pointing fingers.

The report concluded all those interviewed agreed “this past term of council has been extremely troubled.”

Flipping through the pages, you can’t help but dwell on those players still in the running, or hoping to make a comeback, and the brush they were painted with.
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‘People in a wheelchair don’t have the ability to cheat’

“I can’t do this without cheating.”

That was the honest assessment from Ald. Dave Warden this past Monday as he attempted to navigate a wheelchair into the downstairs washroom at St. Thomas Public Library.

This corner and accessibility advocate Ed McLachlan invited Warden to revisit the route taken four years ago when he agreed to participate in our initial accessibility challenge.

Backing into a stall was virtually impossible.

He was humbled when it came time to answer nature’s call.

“People in a wheelchair don’t have the ability to cheat,” stressed Warden, has he attempted to back into a stall and then wash his hands at the sink.

“Even if you could use those washrooms, what really concerns me is you cannot use those sinks. You can’t wash your hands and that is a major concern.”
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Ald. Terry Shackelton 1951 – 2010

“He was honest, that’s the greatest epitaph a politician can have: he was an honest guy.” – Mayor Cliff Barwick

“He really cared about the citizens and the best way to represent them.” – long-time friend and labour movement colleague Bev Wright

“He really had the interest of the community at heart.” – Ald. Gord Campbell

Kyle Rea

He was a politician, a champion of accessibility and a voice for organized labour who always gave of himself and fought for the average citizen.
But on Tuesday, that voice fell silent when St. Thomas Ald. Terry Shackelton, 59, died after a lengthy illness.
He leaves behind three children — Terry Jr., Barb and Laura– as well as partner Lesley Buchanan.
“He always truly believed in giving of himself to make the world a better place for all,” Shackelton’s death notice reads.
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