After a much-enjoyed two-week Christmas hiatus, City Scope returns eager to document what transpires in the new year and what got us to this point over the past 365 days. When looking back at 2022 – the fourth and final year for the previous municipal council – St. Thomas Mayor Joe Preston lists housing as the top story. And Preston is quick to add growth in the city is not going to stop any time soon. “We’re excited with what we’ve been able to accomplish on housing and have left bookmarks as to how we can move forward. “Yes, it’s probably the Number 1 story across Ontario and we feel very comfortable with St. Thomas at all ranges, from the homeless side to the single-family homes side, have made incredible progress.” Preston goes on to note the work undertaken in the past four years paves the way for what needs to be accomplished on the housing front by the recently elected council. In reflecting on other accomplishments of city council in the past year, Preston turns to the acquisition of 800 acres of farmland east of Highbury Avenue.
The governing bodies of the health units in St. Thomas/Elgin and Oxford county on Jan. 10 approved proceeding to the next level in merging the two bodies. Locally, the health unit is the governing body and so municipal councils in St. Thomas and Elgin were not involved in any vote to move forward with the merger, whereas in Oxford the county serves as the governing body and municipal council had to approve a motion to proceed. To be known as Oxford Elgin St. Thomas Health Unit, the new entity would serve approximately 204,000 residents. A new, autonomous board would be composed of four representatives from Oxford and two each from St. Thomas and Elgin county. Continue reading →
With demolition of the Sutherland Press building slated to begin Oct. 30, according to city manager Wendell Graves, what happens once the structure is down and the site cleared? The Sutherland Saga may yet have life to it. Before looking at the possibilities, Graves ran through what is going on behind the scenes prior to levelling the four-storey building. “They may start moving things in next week,” he explained. “Chris Peck, our chief building official is working with the contractor (Schouten Excavating of Watford). “One of the things they are finalizing is the demolition contractor’s engineer is working with the chief building official just to finalize the methodology as to how it comes down.” Continue reading →
The ceremonial ground-breaking was held last month and now it is down to serious business at Veterans Memorial Garden, to be located on Moore Street, across from BX Tower. The garden will incorporate the city’s war memorials in one downtown location. This would include the First World War soldier in front of St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital and the Second World War and Korean War memorial at Princess Avenue. Standing on the site of the garden recently, Tony Bendel, representing Lord Elgin Branch 41, Royal Canadian Legion, described the layout. The soldier will be moved to the north end of the garden while the Second World War and Korean War memorial will be in the centre and become “the focal point. And currently right now in Toronto there is a bronze statue being cast of an Afghan soldier and that will be at the far end (south end of the garden near Centre Street). They will be building a rock wall and that soldier will be sitting on that.”Continue reading →