No throwing caution to the wind in this chapter of the Sutherland Saga


city_scope_logo-cmykThe Sutherland Saga forecast for next week?
Cautious for the next few days.
With the 30-day appeal period having expired this past week and no indication Sutherland Press building owner David McGee intends to challenge the June 28 decision handed down by Justice Peter Hockin that, in essence, the four-storey downtown edifice is in fact unsafe, is that the wrecker’s ball we hear approaching?
Not so fast, advises city manager Wendell Graves who indicated Friday the city is taking a cautious approach at this time.
He advised while no word has been received from McGee or his lawyer Valerie M’Garry an appeal is in the works, it is better to err on the side of caution while seeking advice from legal counsel. Continue reading

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Last stand imminent for Alma College chapel


city_scope_logo-cmykAfter years of broken promises, neglect, vandalism and the ravages of weather, the final countdown has begun for the Alma College chapel.
Mind you little remains of the chapel — opened in 1948 and, in more caring times, known as Ella D. Bowes Chapel — save for the brick walls and a barely hanging together roof.
Friday morning, new owner Gino Reale of London was given permission by the city to demolish the chapel in which many St. Thomas and area couples were married.
He told this corner the structure was far beyond any hope of restoration and had become a serious safety hazard after several small fires and a roof courting collapse.
Final rights for the chapel could come as early as the beginning of the week.
Most frustrating in all of this is previous owner George Zubick had been issued a list of cleanup priorities by Wade Woznuk, at that time property standards officer for the city. Those included repairs to the chapel roof with an engineer “to inspect to determine extent of structural damage and required repairs.”
Those repairs were to include new asphalt roof shingles. Continue reading

A letter to St. Thomas residents from the Zubick family


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Alma College plaque

To the City of St Thomas,

We are finished with Alma.

This news brings both relief and sorrow to us. It has been a long, long journey and it is good to be done. Unfortunately, we never realized the dream of rebuilding Alma. We had great plans. We wanted to restore the building, and bring it back to its former glory. The situation came down to the fact that we could not do it. And for that, we are sorry for our part.

Alma College was a wonderful, historic building with so many fond memories. People would gather and recall beautiful periods of their lives. The stories were great to listen to.

What we did not know was that the way it had been built and having the historic specifications on it scared most of the developers away. The added environmental concerns added to the story. The need to reconstruct the façade put it into a financial burden that no one wanted to tackle. Continue reading

Alma College sold to London developer


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Gino Reale of London stands outside the gate of the former Alma College with the music building and chapel still standing.

Reduced to a neglected jumble of bricks, rubble and a couple of crumbling structures, the former Alma College property has been sold to a London-based property manager.
The deal closed March 7 and Gino Reale, who deals in real estate development and land acquisitions, confirmed two days later he is acting on behalf of a group of investors.
The 11-acre site had previously been owned by the Zubick family of London who purchased it for approximately $900,000 in 1998.
Under the corporate name Alma Heritage Estates, several proposals were put forth by the Zubicks including a pitch to the city to locate a new Valleyview Home on the Moore St. property.
In 2005, Alma Heritage Estates applied to city for a demolition permit to level the former school for girls.

Continue reading