St. Thomas Times Journal
Editorial Letter
February 10, 2003


Recently a group of us from St. Thomas asked Brian Squires to come and share the vision of Alma College.

As Brian and his wife, Kathy, shared their vision, it brought tears to my eyes. He stated, "It is not about money it is about relationships. It is about bringing people together." He shared what he sees when he looks at the Alma College site. Words cannot express what he shared.

He saw Grandma (who is in the nursing home) excited about life. He was excited because its Saturday and there are weddings going on at the Alma chapel. There was enthusiasm because they are using Alma College for making a movie (the last movie was Mr. Headmistress). He saw people excited because their son/daughter is coming and they are going to take the train ride to Port Stanley. He saw joy because it is summer and there is a play happening at the amphitheatre. Brain and Kathy see the seniors and the youth being connected in this place.

Brian and Kathy want to restore Alma. They want to make it into a retirement home. They want the city (which is all of us) to partner with them. How do we do that? We can put Valleyview nursing home on the Alma site. Then the bank will give Brian and Kathy the money to restore Alma. They are going to make Alma into retirement apartments. They want to restore the building, the chapel, the amphitheatre and the grounds.

It will be so beautiful for all of our seniors. What a better way to say to the seniors, "We appreciate you."

We asked Brian, "What does it cost us?" He said it would cost us a $1 per year to lease the land.

"What are the risks?" If Brian and Kathy do not do what he proposes we (the city) get all the property and the land.

I will close with this. Here is a comment from the Alma Alumnae Guest Book on line. Ann Leeson, who is a former student of Alma College (1963-1965, lives in Toronto) wrote this:

I have just read (an advertisement in) the St. Thomas Times-Journal "Extra" outlining Brian Squires' plans for Alma. Indeed they are lovely and appear to restore and utilize current facilities. What needs to be done is the people in St. Thomas must let the city council know that they must support his plans and expect the council to do so as well … Let's hope the City of St. Thomas opens it eyes.

Lori Burwell
St. Thomas, Ontario