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New London Transit App
Nice new app for #ldnont bus riders. RT @OnTime_London: London OnTime now available: itunes.apple.com/ca/app/london-… … took 10 days
Hospital gift shop volunteers donate $1million to help patients with mental illness
Buying flowers and gifts for patients at London Health Sciences Centre paid off in a big way Wednesday when Auxiliary volunteers donated $1 million to help those with mental illness get more seamless care as they grow from childhood to adulthood – the Transition Age Project.
London MPP Deb Matthews won’t rule out seeking Liberal leadership
Listen to the flattery, but don’t inhale. Health Minister Deb Matthews might be wise to take the advice of her brother-in-law, former Liberal premier David Peterson, in the next few days.
A day after Premier Dalton McGuinty’s surprise resignation, the London North Centre MPP said Tuesday she hasn’t ruled out running for his job as Liberal leader.
But no matter what she decides, her name isn’t far from political pundits’ lips. “It’s very, very early to be making any decisions,” Matthews said from Toronto.
Gas plants don’t doom London MPP Chris Bentley, insider says
If London MPP Chris Bentley has Liberal leadership aspirations, Ontario’s gas-plants fiasco hasn’t dealt them a fatal wound, a former party insider says.
The energy minister, who’s drawn tremendous heat over the controversy that preceded Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Monday resignation, is among a half-dozen Liberals considered candidates to succeed the 16-year leader.
To Greg Crone, a former news reporter and party staffer who now edits an online newsletter about Queen’s Park, there’s no reason to think Bentley will be hobbled if he enters the race.
“Job One is to become party leader,” said Crone, managing editor of QPbriefing.com. “I don’t think any card-carrying Liberal would hold this (controversy) against Chris.
Proposed office complex in southwest seen as a threat to downtown viability
Just as downtown revitalization gets on a solid footing, there’s concern new suburban office development could knock it down again.
Downtown London manager Janette MacDonald said downtown business and property owners are worried about the new South West Area Plan being considered by city council.
The plan to develop 2,700 hectares in the southwest corner of London could add up to three million square feet of commercial space.
MacDonald said there’s more concern over a proposal to allow for as many as four 5,000-square-metre office projects in the area.
Four out of five London office workers work downtown, supporting shops and restaurants, she said. Many are choosing to also live downtown, MacDonald said.
“That has been crucial to the core’s success. We want to keep those big offices downtown. . . . Don’t spoil our momentum by allowing this kind of development.”
Bob Usher, chairperson of the London Downtown Business Association, said cheaper suburban office space will inevitably siphon office development from downtown.
HEALTH SPENDING: The public health department is under pressure from London and Middlesex to give local taxpayers a break – Health unit wants surpluses tucked away
They’ve grown budgets quickly on the backs of taxpayers, but now public health officials in London want to stash unspent cash in a rainy day fund.
That’s not pocket change: the last two years the Middlesex-London Health Unit has had surpluses of $370,747, and $412,652.
Officials expect extra cash this year, too.
Health officials say they’re cash-strapped even though they’ve added $8.4 million to their annual spending since 2004, a boost of 59%. Next year they project a shortfall largely because of rising salaries and benefits — health officials have expanded their workforce by 70 in the past eight years.
“Annual municipal surpluses, if any, could be placed in the reserve fund to be used by the board to fund future strategic initiatives, technology enhancements,” wrote Bryna Warshawsky, acting medical officer of health, in a report to the health board to be considered Thursday.
Best-case London growth eyed at 2%
A report on the city’s growth over the next 30 years is being endorsed by London’s city planner — but not without an asterisk or two.
It will be delivered to city councilors Monday.
Part of London’s ReThink effort, the report was first presented by consultant the Altus Group to the city’s planning and environment committee in June. It calls for population and employment growth of 0.91% through 2041.
At that time, Mayor Joe Fontana argued the forecast was too low because of city initiatives already underway to attract business to the city.
Although no fundamental changes have been made to the projections after comments were received from the Urban League of London, the London Development institute, and the London police, Altus Group did offer other possible scenarios.
The final product includes the perfect-world scenario of 2% growth Fontana said is possible due to aggressive efforts and initiatives of the investment and economic committee.
An average of 6,100 new jobs each year would be required to attain that goal.
Tweeting a distraction, councillor claims
Well, at least he isn’t asking council to meet by candlelight with reports written in feathered pen.
But Coun. Stephen Orser is taking umbrage with the use of one technology — Twitter.
Monday, the London politician failed to get colleagues to consider banning the social media tool during council debates.
He also suggested, to no avail, using a “scrambler” to block all Internet access inside council chambers.
“In my view, if you’re dealing with a multi-million-dollar issue and tweeting to three people about other councillors, you’re not paying attention to your job,” said Orser, who doesn’t tweet.
Coun. Denise Brown pushing for details on proposed methadone clinic
The applicants seeking to set up a methadone clinic that’s drawn fire from London’s Old South neighbourhood better attend Wednesday night’s public meeting on the proposal — and bring plenty of answers with them.
That’s the message from Coun. Denise Brown, in whose ward the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres is seeking to set up an operation, pending approval from city politicians.
The chain runs clinics provincewide, and Brown is irked it hasn’t been more open with information for Londoners near the proposed site at 425 Wharncliffe Rd.
Demolition permit supported for Queens Avenue building
It might one day be part of a $50 million development, or it could be a parking lot, but a downtown building with heritage implications appears to be soon facing the wrecking ball.
During the Planning and Environment Committee meeting on Monday (Oct. 15), members voted to support the recommendations of its own heritage advisory committee, as well as city staff, in going ahead with the demolition of the building at 199 Queens Ave. It did not, however, feel the need to request demolition wait until solid development plan for the property was in place.
City Sort it Right iPad contest
Monday morning (Oct. 15) marked the start of Waste Reduction Week and London was just one of many communities from across Canada taking part in this national initiative.
In London, a major focus of the week is centered around the city’s recycling program and the need for residents to “sort it right.”
To that end, Mayor Joe Fontana joined with Jay Sanford, director of Environmental Programs and Solid Waste for the city, kicking off London’s own Sort It Right ! contest.