Council briefs: Woodstock council approves Gillespie street name

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Council approves further demolition at old Zabian’s site

Though much of the site of the former Zabian’s clothing store next door to Woodstock city hall was demolished after last year’s fire, Woodstock city council this week approved an extra $65,000 in demolition costs for some of the underlying structure.

In a report, staff said the above-ground structure was demolished by the former owners. The city then moved to purchase the site earlier this year, citing the potential future need to expand city hall into the site next door.

Now, the city needs to secure the basement portions of the site and some building materials.

The city will backfill the basement, remove some of the existing structure and make some repairs to the walls on the site. With consulting and contingency costs, staff said the work will cost about $65,000, to be funded from the capital projects reserve.

City honours former teacher with street name consideration

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Woodstock city council voted Thursday to honour a former teacher, basketball coach and community volunteer by adding a name to the list for consideration of future city street names.

Bill Gillespie will be added to the city’s list of potential street names after a letter from Peter Ewing, a friend of the late Gillespie, asking for the honour in recognition of Gillespie’s many contributions to the city. In keeping with city precedent, the last name only will be used if selected as a street name, given that full names are often cumbersome.

“I want to thank the Gillespie family. Bill was a great man. He was a teacher of mine, a coach of mine, a friend,” Coun. Jerry Acchione said. “No one in my recent memory deserves this more.”

Gillespie was a Huron Park secondary school graduate and eventual teacher, as well as basketball player and coach who taught at the school for 35 years. He was a two-time inductee to the Woodstock Sports Hall of Fame, Lions club member and major supporter of the Woodstock Terry Fox run. He died of cancer in March 2016.

Firefighters receiving provincial grant

The Woodstock Fire Department received authorization from the City of Woodstock to add money to its training budget after receiving a grant from the province.

Fire Chief Jeff Slager spoke to the issue at council, noting that training was an area where the department cut funding this year to minimize the impact on public coffers while the city wrestled with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.,

However, a provincial program from the Office of the Fire Marshal will bring in more than $14,000 for training under the Municipal Fire Protection grant, completely making up the cuts to the budget this year.

“They have recognized there are challenges fire services are facing, both through budgetary with COVID-19 and changes with the closure of the Ontario Fire College,” Slager said. “(This grant) is a great opportunity for us to continue moving forward with training programs we had originally planned for.”

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