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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Ontario > SSP: Local London > London Issues, Business, Politics & the Economy

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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2009, 4:58 AM
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Smile Municipal Politics

A thread to discuss local politics issues in London.
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2009, 9:15 PM
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Ignatieff meets public in city today

Tue, April 14, 2009

FEDERAL LIBERALS


In his first visit to London since becoming leader of the federal Liberals, Michael Ignatieff is conducting a town hall meeting today.

The 4 p.m. gathering at the University of Western Ontario will see Ignatieff speak for about 10 minutes and spend the rest of his time exchanging views with the audience.

London North Centre Liberal MP Glen Pearson, who will introduce Ignatieff, said today is a good chance for Londoners to take a measure of him.

Ignatieff will share his vision for Canada but, just as importantly, wants to hear what Londoners think, Pearson said.

"He is going to be throwing it open for questions."




The 90-minute session will be held in Room 2050 in the Social Sciences Centre. The event is open to the public, and there is no cost to attend.

Following his town hall session, Ignatieff will speak to a dinner marking an alumni award at the law school for Doug Ferguson.

President of the federal Liberals, Ferguson is being honoured as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Western's law school.

The law school event is not open to the public.
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  #3  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2009, 3:12 PM
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London Council Split on South Street Demolition Costs

City Council seems to be taking a wait and see approach when it comes to deciding the fate of the hospital buildings on South Street.

Councillors were split last night over whether to contribute to the demolition costs, expected to be close to $10-million dollars.

About ten years ago, the city made a deal with the hospitals that they wouldn't have to pay anything to knock the buildings down but that deal now seems to be off the table.

One option put forward by City Finance Chief, Vic Cote, would see the city sell the valuable land and use the proceeds to offset demolition costs.

It's expected such a sale would generate $2.5-million dollars. Under the plan, the hospitals would kick in $1.2-million dollars and the province would ideally cover the rest of the cost.
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  #4  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2009, 3:14 PM
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Split vote on hospital demolition costs

LONDON CITY COUNCIL: More than $10 million is needed for the work, but the question remains how much each side will ante up


Victoria Hospital South Street campus from Wellington Street. (SUE REEVE/Sun Media) London city council split last night over whether to contribute to the demolition of aging hospital buildings on South Street, putting off a decision the city finance chief says is fraught with risks.

"This is a huge problem that we better resolve before (the hospital buildings are vacated by) June 2011," finance chief Vic Cote told council.

It will cost more than $10 million to demolish the buildings but so far London hospitals have only committed $1.2 million.

A deal supported by Cote would have the city sell the potentially valuable land overlooking the Thames River and using the proceeds to offset demolition costs. Cote estimates that would raise $2.5 million.

The finance chief fears that without the city's contribution there's no chance the Ontario government will come up with the rest of the money.

"In order to bring the province to the table we are going to have to demonstrate or willingness to partner," Cote said.

If the Ontario government doesn't offer the rest -- and it refused an earlier request --that would leave council with a tough choice: Stick the tab to taxpayers or risk the buildings become a blight on a Soho neighbourhood that's struggling to improve.

For some on council, that choice is clear. In 1999, hospital officials promised not to burden local taxpayers with demolition costs in return for city council giving hospitals $15 million for their massive building and restructuring campaign. The 1999 council then made that promise a condition of the grant money.

"The province should be responsible, not municipal taxpayers," Controller Bud Polhill said.

But Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell said the so-called promise is not so straight-forward.

"It's not cut and dry," he said.

Cote agreed and council heeded his advice that no decision be made until a city lawyer prepares and presents the strength or weakness of the city's position at a subsequent meeting.

"You should wait," Cote said.

Hospital officials backtracked from the promise last year, saying they had expected to get demolition money from the province, but their request had been rejected.

Demolition costs exclude the tab for saving parts of the century-old buildings for heritage, an expense Cote believes would be close to $100 million, a prohibitive cost for even supporters of heritage.

If the buildings hold great liability the land itself holds promise, council member say; the riverside site is walking distance from downtown in a neighbourhood the city is trying to revitalize.
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2010, 12:28 AM
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City Council decided they will not be allowing on-street parking at night this summer, unlike last summer when it was tried on a trial basis.

A real bummer. And in an election year.
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2010, 2:27 PM
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They don't want Tim Best parking downtown at night.
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  #7  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2010, 2:12 AM
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London as Ontario Capital ?

Wild Proposal for New Province

See Video!!!!!

http://www.atv.ca/london/news_72260.aspx

MPP Bill Murdock is once again putting himself in the spotlight with a controversial idea.

The midwetern Ontario member of the legislature is suggesting Ontario should be split up. Toronto, he says, can form its own province with its own interests. And the rest of Ontario will go its own way, with a new capital city, perhaps in London.

The private member's opinions have no support from his own party, or any other organized political group, but the concept is already getting lots of talk among the general public if only beause it is so radical.
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Old Posted Mar 17, 2010, 2:54 AM
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well theres a way to get a pop. boom but i cant see this happening unless the city of Toronto does it itself
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  #9  
Old Posted May 11, 2010, 10:58 PM
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London named 12th-best city

London has slipped one spot in MoneySense Magazine’s list of the best places to live in Canada, but still remains near the top 10 in the country.

In its just-released 2010 rankings, London takes 12th place out of 179 communities in Canada, down one from 11th a year ago.

Among the negative changes noted by the magazine is London’s increased unemployment rate, which went from 7% in ‘09 to 9% this year, it states.

London finished 42nd in its first survey, 2006, and finished 8th in 2007. It was in 14th place in 2008.

There were 179 cities included in the 2010 rankings, and just 154 a year earlier
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  #10  
Old Posted May 12, 2010, 1:11 AM
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We're still doing a lot better than Springfield and East St. Louis.
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  #11  
Old Posted May 12, 2010, 2:38 AM
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I am waiting for A-M to take credit. I am sure I won't have to wait too long.
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2010, 4:08 PM
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Talk of Selling London City Hall

With projected renovation costs mounting, city politicians are looking at possibly selling London City Hall.

It's one of the proposals currently on the table with a report from staff due back in November.

It's unclear where people now working at City Hall would go if the building was sold. One option might involve leasing more properties in the core.

In the meantime, members of Board of Control did recommend on Wednesday spending nearly $500,000 to fix a leaky roof under the City Hall observation deck.

Controller Gord Hume supported the plan but said he's frustrated with the amount of money being spent to fix up the city hall building.

"I've been saying for years that spending $20 million dollars renovating city hall doesn't make economic sense to me," said Hume.

"You're going to end up spending $20 million dollars of the public's money and end up still with an inadequate facility."

However, he still voted in favour of the motion because he believes the public asset needs to be protected.

Bud Polhill was the lone controller to vote against the proposal.

A final vote will be held during the next regular city council meeting on Monday.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2010, 4:14 PM
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A new city hall is a good idea, because the 1971-vintage building is becoming more and more of a liability.

The inevitable question is where to put a new city hall. I would go with the lot at Queens and Ridout, right across from the court house. Anne-Marie would only have to cross the street to attend her husband's trial, meaning less time is lost at city hall.

As for the existing building, Schmuel Farhi will most definitely buy it.
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2010, 4:54 PM
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Flatten City Hall. Close Wellington at Dufferin and extend Victoria Park past Wellington Road and make the park bigger. It's a gem of a park and such an asset to London. Then sign a lease with a developer to build a new city hall...preferably one that has nice design.
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2010, 6:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
A new city hall is a good idea, because the 1971-vintage building is becoming more and more of a liability.

The inevitable question is where to put a new city hall. I would go with the lot at Queens and Ridout, right across from the court house. Anne-Marie would only have to cross the street to attend her husband's trial, meaning less time is lost at city hall.

As for the existing building, Schmuel Farhi will most definitely buy it.
ideal site, unless there's space for redevelopment around King & Tablot with a beautiful view of Covent Garden Market as well as the JLC.
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Old Posted Jun 11, 2010, 12:49 PM
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How's about the city buy up the entire east side of the block of Richmond between York and King, gut the interiors, sandblast/improve the exterior, and have a linear city-hall that preserves/enhances the urban fabric and cleans out the decrepitude that is that portion of Richmond? Also, tear down Tim's patio at Fryday Nite Blight.
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Old Posted Jun 11, 2010, 5:31 PM
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I read in the paper today that the city has been offered a long term lease of space in the Bell Building. It would be significantly cheaper than renovating City Hall.

Perhaps they could go there for a bit while another City Hall is built. My personal recommendation is Queens and Talbot (just a parking lot there now) or somewhere on Dundas as the city always wants lasting development on that street.

I actually agree with building a new city hall. Many Ontario cities have recently built a new city hall and the fact that London's is old, cramped and in need of renovation strengthens this idea.

Besides, I hate that structure. I can't believe the heritage committee actually wants to preserve it as a historical building!
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2010, 1:40 AM
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The look of the current structure was criticized when it opened. The giant overhang that juts out towards Dufferin Ave was compared to a television.
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Old Posted Oct 1, 2010, 12:46 AM
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Is city hall on the move?

The city is preparing a bid to buy the Bell building to escape overcrowding at 300 Dufferin Ave.

The Dundas St. Bell building (Free Press file photo) London wants to make Bell Canada’s downtown building its new city hall and is preparing a bid to buy the tower.

But owner Shmuel Farhi, the downtown’s major landlord, insists the Dundas St. building is not for sale. Instead, he prefers the city — out of room at its 40-year-old city hall, and facing huge upgrading costs there — lease space in his newer tower partly occupied by 700 Bell workers.

“I am not a seller — I do not sell and I do not need to sell,” said Farhi. “I bought (the building) for a reason. It is part of the puzzle and Bell is a big part of my vision.”

That vision is to own anchor properties in every area of the core, bustling with tenants.

The issue now is being discussed at city council and the offer may be on the table soon, said city chief administrator Jeff Fielding.

Even if costly renovations are done to city hall, the Dufferin Ave. site may not be large enough for the city’s needs.

Farhi bought the Bell building in 2008 for $11 million. The city also tried to buy it then with an offer of $15.5 million, but it had conditions attached while Farhi’s offer did not.

“We will try again. It is the only building in the downtown with sufficient space to accommodate us,” said Fielding, who acknowledges Farhi has other ideas.

“We are exploring the opportunity now. He has not said he wants to sell it, but we will take a look at that opportunity,” said Fielding.

With its space crunch, London already has city hall operations spread across other downtown locations.

Farhi is urging the city to lease space at the Bell site — either for all of city hall, or two floors for some departments — to ease the crowding.

It’s a solution that’ll save the city $120 million, he added.

A long-term lease for 250,000 sq. ft. would give the city enough room for its growing staff at a fraction of the cost of building a new city hall, or renovating the existing one, he said.

His math works like this:

Renovating city hall may cost $10 million just to remove asbestos, and a total renovation may top $35 million, he estimates.

Building a new city hall of 250,000 sq. ft., the space needed, would top $80 million. At 5.5%, interest would cost the city about $4.4 million a year.

Farhi is offering 250,000 sq. ft. at the Bell site for $1.2 million in annual rent, more than $3 million savings over interest. During a 40-year-lease, the city could save more than $120 million, he said.

Mayor Ann Marie DeCicco-Best declined comment, declaring a conflict since the bar she owns with her husband, Tim Best, leases space in a Farhi building.

But Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell said council won’t support the city leasing a new city hall, since it wants to own its own.

“I am not sure the city wants to be in a situation of a long-term lease, or to leave a city hall that is still functional,” he said.

He supports the idea of renovating the Dufferin Ave. site and continue to lease space in the core.

“I am leaning more that way. As a rule, city halls are not leased. A city owns them.”

City hall opened in 1971 owning it has saved the city money for years, he added.

“We have paid that off many times over.”

In 1980, when it was built, the Bell building cost about $68 million. If built today, it would cost about $100 million, said Farhi.

Farhi owns 87 properties in downtown London, with about 500,000 sq. ft. of vacant space, he said.

Fielding declined comment on how much council is preparing to bid, saying that’s been the subject of closed meetings at city hall.

The issue will go to the next council meeting.

The city now pays Farhi about $2.1 million a year in leases on other downtown properties.

--- --- ---

BELL BUILDING


100 Dundas St., at Talbot St.

Eight floors, five occupied by 700 Bell workers

360,000 sq. ft.

Built in 1980.

Sold to London developer Shmuel Farhi in 2008 for $11 million.


CITY HALL


300 Dufferin Ave., at Wellington St.

Built 1971.

12 floors

120,000 sq. ft. of work space

11th-floor upgrades of more than $1 million, if repeated on every floor, would push renovation costs to $20 million, with little extra space.
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Old Posted Oct 1, 2010, 1:20 PM
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Didn't I just read this in another thread?
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