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Old October 31st, 2007, 11:56 PM   #601
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some pics from a mish on the 20th oct.
from on top of stobies



and from the roof of "the fireplace"
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 02:14 AM   #602
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Cool pics!!!!!
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 02:16 AM   #603
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Chaos in the core

Thu, November 1, 2007

Thousands of workers forced out of downtown, big bucks in business lost after watermain break, sinkhole and power outage




An old watermain finally gave out yesterday at Dundas and Wellington streets. Power was out for more than 10 hours in the area of Dufferin, Ridout, York and Colbourne streets. (MORRIS LAMONT Sun Media)
The power was still out and there was a gaping sinkhole in the heart of London, but already the fingerpointing had begun.



As the head of the city's chamber of commerce estimated the loss in business yesterday from the downtown sinkhole and subsequent power blackout in the hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of dollars, the mayor blamed the provincial and federal governments for neglecting cities, leaving them without help in dealing with the crumbling services.

"We need support from other levels of government," said Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best.

"We have designated resources to get a head start on that (infrastructure renewal). (But) it would make a more significant impact if other levels of government realized without their help, these types of situations will occur."



Said Gerry Macartney, head of the London Chamber of Commerce: "These are the prices we pay as a city, as a province, as a country for largely ignoring the infrastructure needs all these many years."


A 12-inch watermain, at least 60 years old, burst beneath the northeast Wellington-Dundas streets intersection in the pre-dawn hours yesterday, ultimately collapsing a huge section of the road and leading to the cutting of power to scores of businesses.

Onlookers were stunned at the size of the sinkhole: It was as big and deep as a large backyard swimming pool.

It was the fourth large downtown blackout in the last year and it underscored concerns about the state of the city's infrastructure.

And the interruption it brought to businesses may have long-term implications, business leaders warned.

"This happens too frequently," said Macartney. "You could create some investment jitters where people say 'Do I really want to establish my business there?'

"The problem is if it keeps reoccurring."

Infrastructure replacement has long been on city council's radar: Council has approved a plan to double the annual budget for replacing it to $20 million, over 20 years. But other aging pipes could break down before being replaced, city officials admit.

"We could possibly see it again. Hopefully it doesn't happen in this sensitive an area but we can't predict that," said city engineer Pete Steblin.

"Just like every older city, the City of London has infrastructure challenges."

"You can't replace them all at once," Steblin said.

Other blackouts in the last year:

- Last Oct. 14, 20,000 customers were without power because of an equipment malfunction.

- On Jan. 12, three downtown office towers, the same ones affected yesterday, were darkened due to equipment failure.

- On May 7, 11,000 homes and businesses were affected when a cable blew in a downtown transformer.

Even with London's plan to increase spending on things such as watermains and roads, it's tough to keep ahead of breakdowns.

"This is a very good method of keeping pace," Steblin said. "You can't replace them all at once and you have to avoid boom and bust. You can't spend $100 million one year and none the next."

About 1,400 kilometres of watermain pipes snake beneath the city, and between 150 and 200 of them burst each year. Most aren't under major intersections and adjacent to hydro vaults -- the factors that complicated things yesterday.

City hall was among the buildings shut down in the blackout. And the timing wasn't lost on board of control, which was about to table the water and sewage budgets, nor other councillors.

"(It) brings home in a pretty practical way that we've got to pay attention to our water and sewers," Coun. Susan Eagle said in a darkened city hall. "We're being reminded how important that part of our budget is."

While Macartney suggested some chamber members are irked by the business interruption, one Dundas Street merchant was in a forgiving mood.

"(They city's) doing exactly what I want them to do. They're going to work on it until it's done," said Carol Bennett, whose arcade, Head 2 Head Games, was plunged into darkness.

"I'm sure you'll find a lot of people who are upset, but it's nobody's fault. It's just life."

DeCicco-Best, however, suggested Queen's Park and Ottawa could go a long way to helping London avoid any such future troubles.

"Every city across this country can give you a list of infrastructure needs that are very significant," she said.
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 03:53 AM   #604
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WOW NICE PICTURES!
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 04:10 AM   #605
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perfect spot for that to happen...

probably the most important intersection in the city for traffic..wellington and dundas.

is the intersection partially open now?
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 10:58 AM   #606
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haha walt. nice pics.... the fireplace haha you crazy ****ers. im never going there again
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Old November 4th, 2007, 06:07 PM   #607
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With London's horrid traffic, nobody probably even noticed the difference.
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Old November 4th, 2007, 06:39 PM   #608
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy2 View Post
With London's horrid traffic, nobody probably even noticed the difference.
Actually I heard traffic actually was great in London (according to a letter to the editor in the free press yesterday)

People know where to avoid, and yeah.

spent two hours in downtown london yesterday just walking around (I'm a Londoner displaced in Hamilton) It was soo refreshing to be back, you really realize just how beautiful the downtown area is when you walk around between Colbourne and Ridout along Queen, King and Dundas.

Apparently it could take up to 2 more weeks before work is complete...crazy!
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Old November 5th, 2007, 03:39 AM   #609
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I guess you could say the city finally had a "heart attack".
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Old November 6th, 2007, 05:02 AM   #610
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A-Channel news is now saying it could be up to a month before it is repaired!

crazy.

Update..looks like decided to upgrade a bunch of wellington, while it's ripped up now...might as well replace a lot of it. :P
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:57 PM   #611
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Developers high on London

Norman De Bono
Sun Media
November 6, 2007

Two industrial buildings are ready for tenants and at least five more are set to go up.

Industrial developers are bullish on London.

Two new buildings are ready for manufacturing tenants and at least five more industrial buildings will rise in the city during the next year as developers are confident London is poised to land big business.

"We see business moving from the GTA along Highway 401 to the London area," said Sean Ford, principal in Brampton-based Dancor Developments.

"We are really bullish on London. It is situated in a great spot; it has a great labour force; we think it is as good as Mississauga."

In total, three developers will spend more than $80 million on speculative industrial real estate in London this year and next and create more than 1.1 million square feet of vacant industrial space for leasing.

Dancor will build two buildings in the Skyway Industrial Park next year of 55,000 and 25,000 square feet, valued at $10 million, which it will lease to small and medium-sized industries looking for a home.

The Dancor projects will add to larger projects in the works. U.S.-based O.R.E. Development Corp. has built one building, 572,000 square feet, and will start work soon on another at 112,000 square feet. Both are valued at more than $40-million on 15 hectares of land at Highway 401 and Highbury Avenue.

In addition, ING Real Estate Canada has built one building on the 401, near Wellington Road, and plans at least two more on the four-hectare site, creating 400,000 square feet of space valued at $32 million.

ING already has a tenant, a distribution centre for Culligan Water, and will cut the ribbon on its building next week.

"A lot of real estate investment funds have been looking to London. . . . We have other large developers from the GTA looking here as well," said Peter White, chief executive of the London Economic Development Corp.

Along with geography and workers, price is the big attraction in London, said Ford.

While land in the GTA can cost $750,000 an acre with development charges of at least $8 a square foot, London land sells for about $200,000 an acre privately and city land for $65,000 an acre with no development fees.

"London, to its credit, has been listening to what my community has been saying. Development charges stop development," said Ford.

Dancor sees a market in London for "feeder tenants" -- small, starting businesses needing incubator-style space before they grow, he added.

The LEDC will use the new buildings as another marketing tool to try to attract business with the pitch there's space ready and waiting, added Heather Pilot, director of business development and attraction in manufacturing for the LEDC.

Although the buildings represent a massive investment, it's hardly a risk as experienced developers study their market, added George Kerhoulas, vice-president with Cushman Wakefield LePage.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 01:06 AM   #612
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Area real-estate sales could set new record

Wed, November 7, 2007

By HANK DANISZEWSKI, SUN MEDIA



The London-area real-estate market continued to hum last month and is closing in on another annual record.

The London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) said 705 homes sold in October, down slightly from the same month last year.

LSTAR president Mike Carson said year-to-date sales are still tracking 5.9 per cent above the same period last year. Total sales for 2007 are expected to eclipse last year’s record total of 8,916 units.

“Following an exceptionally active spring and summer market, it is encouraging that we are maintaining strong activity in all segments of the market,” said Carson.

St. Thomas is an especially hot market. By the end of October, 783 units had sold in the city, surpassing the total of 751 units for all of 2006.

The average price of a detached home in the London area is $216,407, up 7.5 per cent compared to last October. The average price of a condo is $146,326, up 4.9 per cent.

Carson noted a recent forecast from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation which predicted the increase in real-estate prices in London next year would rank in the top three centres in Ontario.

Carson said the London housing market should also get a boost from $80 million in speculative industrial development that has been announced in recent months.

But he urged the City of London to speed up the process of releasing new residential lots for development to keep up with demand. Carson said delays would just drive development out of the city.

“New home buyers will not have the choices that they want and will continue to look outside the city to meet their needs,” he said.
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Old November 9th, 2007, 01:31 AM   #613
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Urban planner offers unique vision for core

Urban planner offers unique vision for core

Thu, November 8, 2007

The retired Vancouver director for planning says downtown congestion is a good thing.

By JONATHAN SHER, SUN MEDIA



Here's something to ponder when you're bumper-to-bumper in downtown London: congestion is our friend.

So says one of Canada's leading urban planners, who as a guest of city hall, preached a vision of downtown yesterday so captivating it temporarily tamed a council split about how the city should grow.

A retired director of planning for booming Vancouver, Larry Beasley said his city achieved remarkable growth downtown while refusing to add a single lane of traffic.

"Congestion is our friend. It forces people to consider housing downtown," Beasley said.

A healthy downtown has a vibrant and beautiful mix of retail and offices, homes and green spaces.

But to restore a downtown to health, a city must attract enough residents there to make it viable for commerce -- and it appears, that while London has made progress, it has a ways to go.

London has 4,000 to 5,000 people living downtown, about half of what Beasley says is needed to attract a basic necessity -- a grocery store. It isn't enough to repair facades or even to spend $100 million, as council did, building big attractions such as a new library and the John Labatt Centre.

"They aren't the dynamic through which you will draw enough residential and retail. . . . It won't work, ultimately," Beasley said.

To draw residents downtown, London should create a safe, vibrant place for people to walk, enjoy life and access key services such as pharmacies, day cares, schools, parks and community centres.

Downtowns should be dense with development -- but not large, ugly buildings that make people feel small and unconnected.

Cities must design downtown neighbourhoods that create a positive experience and they can't expect that to happen if they leave questions of design to developers.

Among his other ideas:

- Ban strip malls.

- Make use of the only natural feature downtown that makes London unique, the Thames River.

- Design downtown primarily to meet the needs of residents, not commuters -- by reducing the number of one-way streets, for example.

- Require developers to pay to make the surrounding neighbourhood more enticing because they'll benefit, too.
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Old November 9th, 2007, 01:33 AM   #614
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LTC will put Smarter Buses on the Roads

Nov, 08 2007 - 7:20 AM


LONDON - A number of L.T.C. busses are going high-tech.
Nearly 200 of them will be equipped with what's known as "smart bus technology" by September of next year.

This technology includes GPS devices, and more electronic information signs at LTC hubs.

Those signs -- like ones already in the downtown -- will display the route number, name and arrival time of the next bus, with updates posted every minute.

Officials say the GPS devices will help bus drivers get to where they're going faster.

The upgrades cost 6-and-a-half million dollars, with most of that money coming from Government gas tax revenue.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 02:52 AM   #615
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Council creeps toward arts centre

Council creeps toward arts centre

Tue, November 13, 2007

By JONATHAN SHER, SUN MEDIA



London politicians agreed yesterday to consider building a performing arts centre -- but one accused them of pandering to their own elitist tastes.

"A number of well-to-do rich elected politicians are trying to make the poor people in town pay for this," Coun. Stephen Orser told colleagues.

In the coffee shops of his Ward 4, he said, which extends north and south of the Old East Village, residents worry the costs of a new facility could make taxes prohibitive.

"I haven't been able to find any support for this project -- none," Orser said.

Similar if less vociferous concerns were raised by many on council.

But all but Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen were willing to take the next step -- engage staff and pay $50,000 to a consultant to examine the feasibility of a performance facility and come up with a business plan on how one might be built and operated.

Their findings will be presented to council in June.

Leading the push for a centre was Controller Gord Hume.

"London is the only city its size in Canada, and I'm told in the United States -- but I don't know that -- that doesn't have a performing arts centre," Hume said.

While there's a cost to building a facility, doing nothing also has a cost, Hume said.

Such a facility is crucial if London is to attract and retain creative people, he said. "The leadership starts in this council."

But that's backwards, said Van Meerbergen -- council should respond to citizens, not tell them what they need.

Council shouldn't "ram it down the throats of taxpayers," he said.

In an earlier report, the city's finance chief, Vic Cote, wrote it would cost about $55 million, plus land costs, to build a performing arts centre with seating for 1,200 to 1,500 and a second building for sets and rehearsals.

Cote has estimated city taxpayers might have to pick up between 60 and 70 per cent of the costs, a suggestion that landed like a thud in a council focused on avoiding free-spending ways that led it to tighten its fiscal belt.

Yesterday, the talk was about the city paying a 25-per-cent share, plus land, provided the rest is given by senior governments and the private sector. But even that smaller figure left some asking if the city could find a cheaper way, by modifying an existing building or seeking partners, such as a hotel.

Told by Cote existing sites compromise acoustics, Controller Bud Polhill said he's more concerned about compromising roads and sewers.

"I want to make sure we don't have make-do roads, make-do-sewers and make-do affordable housing," he said.

Coun. Cheryl Miller said Londoners shouldn't have to choose between an arts centre and quality public works. "We deserve both," she said.

But Controller Tom Gosnell said the cost of a facility has to be measured against competing demands.

While council was split on the issues, it seemed also on its best behavior after claims of months of bullying conduct.

Yesterday's committee of the whole meeting was the first on a divisive issue to be chaired by London Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, who bumped Gosnell last week after some on council complained he'd lacked impartiality.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 02:53 AM   #616
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Building of a 14-storey apartment

Tue, November 13, 2007

By RANDY RICHMOND, SUN MEDIA



The city has a solution to the noise, drunkenness, speeding, partying and other woes associated with college students -- put more than 500 of them in one place.

London's planning committee agreed last night to the building of a 14-storey apartment building at the northwest corner of First and Oxford streets across from Fanshawe College.

"This is a good news story for this part of the city," Coun. Roger Caranci said.

But area residents crowded the council chambers and strongly disagreed, telling politicians stacking students on top of each other is no solution to their problems.

"This type of building will only add to the troubles," said a frustrated Ken Dow.

Many students don't care about the law, the neighbours or even children, added Campbell Milliken.

Between racing cars, loud parties, broken beer bottles, and violent students, his street is not safe, Milliken said.

"These kids don't care," he said. "You can't reason with these people."

"You put in that building and you are saturating the area."

Seventy-one residents of the area signed a petition against the development, citing:

- Loss of income for homeowners renting to students

- Ruining of the landscape in a neighbourhood of single family homes

- Increased traffic

Two huge melees involving hundreds of Fanshawe College students in the Fleming Drive area this fall put the spotlight on students living in residential areas of the city.

The apartment building, with 25-hour security, will draw students out of single family housing where they don't belong, said developer Jack Davis.

City planning staff supports the apartment building, where each unit is expected to house four students. The recommendation by planning committee goes to council Monday night.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 02:20 AM   #617
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City Looking into Making City Streets Nicer

Nov, 14 2007 - 6:30 AM


LONDON - Board of Control will be asked to approve a new Downtown revitalization program, later this morning. One that would cost taxpayers about half-a-million dollars each year.
The plan has been in the development stages for the past year, and is now ready for consideration by Controllers.

Essentially, they're trying to make Dundas Street and the neighbourhood around it look a little nicer.

Recommendations include providing tax relief to business owners who use the first floor of a building for things like specialty retail, entertainment and other key services.

As well, aid would be provided to owners of designated heritage properties who want to preserve or enhance their buildings.

The plan also calls for a revolving fund to help business improve facades that don't face the street.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 02:23 AM   #618
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Core businesses extol creative feel

Wed, November 14, 2007

By HANK DANISZEWSKI, SUN MEDIA



Metal trees and murals helped turned downtown London into a more creative space this year, says the head of the London Downtown Business Association.

Bob Usher gave a downtown update to about 200 people who attended the joint annual meeting of the LDBA and Mainstreet London last night.

Usher said the 32 artistic metal trees installed in the core last year have not been popular with everyone, but they have drawn attention inside and outside the city.

"What a fantastic opportunity to get people talking about our downtown," said Usher.

Usher said the number of metal trees will grow to 80 and LDBA will also contribute $10,000 to the planting of real trees. He said the mural on the King Street face of Galleria London has also attracted national attention and he promised it would be the first of "many more to come."

In an interview, Usher said much of the pessimism about downtown revitalization has vanished.

"We haven't had so much to celebrate in a long time and we are working hard to keep the momentum," said Usher.

The LDBA also unveiled a new logo and a new shared website with Mainstreet London, www.ldba.ca.

Mainstreet London has produced a new handbook for downtown business owners that lists all the available services and incentives offered by Mainstreet and the city.

Mainstreet manager Janette MacDonald said the downtown is taking on a creative atmosphere that will draw investors.

"We know that to attract the brightest and the best to have a creative city," she said.

MacDonald said a number of new restaurants and retailers opened in the core this year and the new Metro boutique hotel will open soon.

The LDBA also named several new Downtown Champions:

- Mike Smith, well-known restaurateur and owner of Joe Kool's, Jim Bob Ray's Fellini Koolini/Runt Club and Chancey Smith's. Smith also spearheaded the Clean and Green program.

- Jonathan Bancroft-Snell moved his art shop from Galleria London to Dundas Street in 2005. He has since expanded twice and has become Canada's leading ceramic art dealer and a downtown advocate.

- Tom Bird of Allied Construction and his brother David Bird, co-owner of Oxford Dodge Chrysler Jeep, bought and renovated downtown property for luxury loft apartments and retail space. David Bird died earlier this year.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 11:56 PM   #619
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14 story?

wait... 25hour security?

would love to see some pics of a possible building and layout with Fanshawe in a backdrop.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 12:42 AM   #620
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Plan may not satisfy Farhi

Plan may not satisfy Farhi

Thu, November 15, 2007

Chief administrative officer Jeff Fielding says the landlord wants to clear the Capitol property.

By RANDY RICHMOND, SUN MEDIA



A half-million dollar plan to save downtown may do little to appease the core's biggest landowner and one of his key properties, London's top bureaucrat warned yesterday.

"If I was (Shmuel Farhi), I would be in with a demolition request tomorrow," chief administrative officer Jeff Fielding told board of control.

The warning sparked a debate over politicians being intimidated into giving special favours to landowners. But it also persuaded controllers to change the way they choose landlords for city hall tenants.

Controllers also directed Fielding to meet with Farhi to determine how best to handle the former Capitol Theatre property on Dundas Street.

The debate began after board of control agreed in principle to several initiatives that would help owners of downtown properties.

The key and most expensive initiative would provide tax relief to people who use the first floor of a building for one of the uses targeted by the city, such as specialty retail, entertainment and key services.

The annual costs of all the programs would range between $455,600 and $623,700.

Controllers also agreed the city should support the downtown by renting as much as 25,000 square feet of space in the core for growing city departments.

The city would seek requests for proposals from interested landlords. That's when Fielding threw a curveball.

Farhi wants a commitment from the city to rent 4,500 square feet in the former Capitol Theatre for 10 years, Fielding said.

Farhi wanted to tear down the building a year ago to build a parking lot, but held off while city hall developed a plan for downtown.

He may not want to wait through the long proposal process to rent the space to city hall, Fielding said.

"You are going to get a demolition request on that site. That is going to happen."

The city can't reject its own purchasing process for one landlord, Controller Gina Barber said.

"I'm getting increasingly uneasy about people threatening to demolish buildings . . . and council being increasingly intimidated," she said.

Some consideration has to be given to Farhi's patience, other controllers said.

"He has been vocal but he has been co-operative," said Controller Bud Polhill.

Controllers did agree to give more weight to landlords who want to preserve buildings.

Farhi was out of the city and could not be reached for comment yesterday.
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