DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Councillors and numerous local residents on hand opposed in the addition of gas pumps a convenience store and coffee shop, an upcoming downtown revitalization project, recently got their first glimpse at the revised version of the proposal.
Developers presented their revised plans for the project, slated for the corner of Victoria Dr. and Brock Sr. West in downtown Uxbridge on the former Co-op property at 4 Victoria Dr., during council's meeting on the evening of Monday, Feb. 22.
The project now a separate endeavour on the west side of the train tracks at 168 Brock St. West, featuring a convenience store and coffee shop, with a proposal to include gas pumps waiting on a decision from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA). The possibility of an eight-pump gas station to the project has led to backlash from local residents amid environmental concerns, as well as potential issues with traffic volume and the high volume of pedestrian traffic, in particular kids walking to-and-from school.
"There is a school in the area (Uxbridge Public School) and it's a major throughfare for kids on the west side of town walking to the high school," commented Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet.
As well, the design of the building planned for the existing foundation of the doomed First Leaside corporate offices project has been re-imagined, with a less futuristic and more scaled-down version that developers mentioned being "more sensitive to the existing, traditional streetscape." In addition, the building is now four storeys, instead of the original plans for five.
The addition of a gas station to the project site, which is in close proximity to the Uxbridge Brook did not sit well with several members of council.
"There are so many ways it could make our town better and fit in better with what residents want. There's already lots of places in town to get those products." commented Ward 3 Councillor Dave Barton.
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger added skeptisicim over the location. "I don't know if it's the right location for a gas station. I know you've likely done your homework, but living here, it's hard to wrap your head around."
A representative from the development group explained that traffic counts had been done that indicated very similar amounts of traffic to Toronto St., and noted that the gas station/coffee shop/ convenience store option made more economic sense than leaving the site as a parking lot.
The developer explained that his preference would be to build senior's residence buildings on the property, but that is not allowed because the area sits in a floodplain.
Township CAO Ingrid Svelnis confirmed that because of the site's location in the flood plain, housing for vulnerable portions of the population would not be permitted. In addition, Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy noted that a previously interested party did not proceed with a project due to the inability to offer underground parking at the former Co-op site.
As Ward 4 Councillor Fred Bryan explained, the downtown project remains on hold awaiting approval from the LSRCA over the gas station, as well as an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board from a local resident over the inclusion of a drive-though window at the coffee shop. He added that regardless of those decisions, a convenience store and coffee shop were on their way to the property.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: Christians in North Durham will once again be celebrating the World Day of Prayer on Friday, March 4.
The World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical movement annually held on the first Friday of March, bringing all Christians together for a common day of prayer; it started in the 19th century when Christian Women in Canada and the United States started involving themselves in missions both at home and in other countries.
This year’s services have been written by the World Day of Prayer Committee of Cuba and the theme is “receive children, receive me.”
The emblem of this year's celebration is the white butterfly jasmine, which is the national flower of Cuba.
“There can be no better emblem for the 2016 World Day of Prayer service, written by the World Day of Prayer committee of Cuba. The service transmits their witness and experience of being Cuban and Christian,” a press release stated.
In Scugog, there will be a service at the Port Perry United Church at 294 Queen St. at 1 p.m.
Pastor John Benschop from Victory Christian Centre will be the guest speaker for the service. For more information on the Port Perry service, contact Brenda Walton at 905 982 2699.
There will also be a service at the Blackstock United Church at 3440 Church St., at 2 p.m.
In Uxbridge, the service will be hosted by Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church at 70 Toronto St. North at 6:30 p.m.
All the services are open for everyone to attend.
ROB DRAL The Standard
SCUGOG: The Blackstock Winter Festival and Demolition Derby is in Scugog this Sunday, Feb. 28th at the Blackstock Recreation Centre.
The festival features attractions for the whole family, including: horse drawn sleigh rides, live entertainment, indoor skating, vendors, food, face painting, an indoor beer garden for the adults in attendance, and of course the demolition derby put on by Impact Motorsports, which includes four different classes of competitors.
The festival begins at 11am until 2pm; when the demolition derby starts. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children under 5 are free.
Steven Waters of The Blackstock Agricultural Society is looking forward to what he believes will be a big event.
“We're hoping for around 50 derby vehicles. Classes we have are: full size trucks, full size cars. pro modified mini. and new to Blackstock, a youth mini class, with drivers aged 14-16 years of age”, said Waters.
The Blackstock Winter Festival is put together entirely by volunteers and the Blackstock Fair Board.
“I would like to thank the Township of Scugog and the Roads Department for all of their support, as well as the Scugog Fire Department and to all the volunteers with the Blackstock Fair Board”, said Waters. “I would also like to thank our various sponsors: All Flags Auto, Durham Transmission Service, Asselstine’s Country Yamaha, Cartwright Karate, and Cozy Home Heating & Air Conditioning. This event wouldn't be made possible without their support.”
Money raised at the festival will be used to help support the Blackstock Agricultural Society.
For more information please visit www.blackstockfair.ca/WinterFestivalAndDerby.html or call Steven Waters at 905-244-3213.
KAWARTHA LAKES: The City and its full-time firefighters ratified a new four-year contract on Thursday, Feb. 18.
“We are happy to have come to a freely negotiated settlement that is fair to both parties,” said Tim Brasier, President of the Kawartha Lakes Professional Firefighters Association. “With such pro-active leadership and Council we are pleased the agreement allows the Municipality to provide the needed service in a cost effective manner while providing the residents with the quality of service they deserve.”
CAO Ron Taylor said the ratification is a great news story.
“This is a great news story for both the City and our full-time firefighters,” said Mr. Taylor. “The firefighters understand our challenges and constraints and we were able to negotiate a contract that addresses their needs, while also being respectful of the City’s needs.”
The City’s full-time firefighters will receive an average 2.2 per cent wage increase annually over the length of the contract. Additionally, the firefighters association has agreed to work with the City on operational changes that will result in no net financial increase to the taxpayer over the course of the contract as a result of the wage enhancements.
“I can’t stress how much I appreciate the work of our firefighters and staff in negotiating this contract,” said Mayor Andy Letham. “We have been successful now in both our Kawartha Lakes Police Service and firefighter contracts, in negotiating deals that are supported and respected by all sides.”
Fire Chief Mark Pankhurst echoed the mayor’s comments noting the tremendous respect between the two sides in negotiating a contract that served everyone’s interests.
“We all came to the table and wanted to be part of a solution to some of the economic challenges we are facing in the City,” said Fire Chief Mark Pankhurst. “The signing of this contract is another component of our overall long-term plan to deliver sustainable fire service excellence across the entire municipality.”
“Everyone was very respectful and worked hard through the entire process recognizing we all needed to do what was right for the community,” the Chief added.
“We look forward to continued service and co-operation, moving forward, to keep the City of Kawartha Lakes a safe place to live and play,” added Kawartha Lakes Professional Firefighters Association Vice President Brian McCuaig.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Firefighters from Scugog, as well as Clarington battled a shed fire at 11451 Regional Rd. 57, south of Blackstock on Friday, Feb 12.
The fire broke out at about 10:30 a.m. in a large drive shed. Deputy Fire Chief Rob Gonnermann said that crews arrived to find the fire mainly attacking the upper level of the building.
“There were flames coming through the roof. It was definitely involved, mainly in the second storey,” the Deputy Fire Chief said.
No cause of the fire has been determined as of press time, but Deputy Chief Gonnermann said that the fire originated “in the area of the furnace.”
The Deputy Chief also told The Standard that it took fire crews about an hour to put out the fire. Clarington Firefighters assisted as part of the mutual aid agreement between the departments.
ROB DRAL The Standard
SCUGOG: Thanks to the continued support of the Port Perry community, the first of two Syrian families sponsored by the Port Perry Refugee Support Group arrived to a warm welcome from the community on Saturday February 13th! Group spokesperson, Karen Stiller, updated the group Tuesday morning. “Our welcome and settlement team reports that the family is doing well, that the kids are enjoying TV and their new toys”, said Stiller.
Another family is expected to arrive within the coming weeks. According to the group’s website, “The family we are sponsoring could arrive within days, or within weeks. There are a lot of moving parts and timeframes change quickly and without much warning.”
The interchurch support group was matched with two families of refugees with the help of the Christie Refugee Welcome Center in Toronto. Both families consist of 2 parents and 3 young children. Grandparents are also relocating with one of the families.
The support group has set up various temporary housing options for the families, which they must support for at least a year. The support group is made up of the extended community of Scugog and five churches: Victory Christian Centre, Hope Christian Reformed, New Song, Port Perry United, and Emmanuel Community Church.
Port Perry Refugee Support Group spokesperson, Karen Stiller, says the the funds donated by individual citizens in Port Perry, including the group 100 Men Who Care, plus the fundraising done by local churches has exceeded expectations and she is thrilled with how much the community has come together to rally around the families.
“We would like to assure the people of our gratitude. We are thankful for the generous community of Port Perry and are confident in the potential to help more families than we thought”, said Ms. Stiller.
So far, the group has raised well over $50,000 (their original goal) as well as most of the furniture needed and is now focusing efforts on small household items, clothing, toys, and pantry items.
The group is also hosting a number of fundraising and awareness events in the next couple of weeks:
This Saturday Feb. 20, a celebration and thank you night is taking place at Emmanuel Community Church in Port Perry. The event starts at 7 p.m., and features guest speaker, Mohammad. Mohammad is also a recent refugee to Canada and will be talking about the struggles that refugees face in a new country and what can be done to help them resettle and help them feel welcomed. Dessert will also be served, so get there early!
A week later, on Saturday Feb. 27, at the New Song Art Gallery, The Port Perry Refugee Support Group welcomes the public to join them for the opening reception of “Art for Refuge”, an art show featuring a wide variety of art from paintings and wooden signs to sculptures. “All art was created around the theme of refuge or refugee”, says Ms. Stiller and was made by local artists who then donated the pieces towards the cause. Currently, 25 artists have donated a piece of art to the fundraising event. The art show runs from Feb. 27 to Sunday, March 27. All proceeds go to supporting refugees.
For more information on events or donating, please call, New Song Church at 905-982-2064, visit /www.newsongportperry.ca, or look up and join “The Port Perry Refugee Support Group” on Facebook.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The world’s biggest mass action to end violence against women, One Billion Rising, is coming to Port Perry next Saturday, Feb. 20.
Participants will have a chance to carry a sign protesting violence against women and to walk down Queen St. in support of the cause. People can either custom make their sign, or can pick up a sign on location during the event.
The event is being organized by the Durham Rape Crisis Centre.
Lynn Cohen, Public Education Co-ordinator at the Centre, told The Standard this is one way that the organization is looking to reach out to clients in the North Durham area.
"We rarely have opportunities to go to the north. We have been talking a lot lately about promoting the agency to Northern Durham Region so that we are reaching as many people as we can,” she said.
The event will start at Palmer Park at noon, and is expected to be over by 2 p.m. Ms. Cohen said that this event helps to give women a greater confidence regarding their experiences.
“It gives women permission to talk about what has happened to them,” she said. “Often times they are ashamed of what has happened to them or are afraid to talk about it because they think there might be repercussions. This event says ‘Don't be afraid to speak up.’”
Ms. Cohen also added that this event is all about an entire community coming together to end violence against women.
“It is an issue that affects every community. It is about standing up for those women who have experienced violence in their lifetime. It is a community coming together and having a collective voice.”
The One Billion Rising campaign was launched in 2012. According to the campaign, one in three women on Earth will be beaten or raped in their lifetime.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: A 7-year-old boy was airlifted to Sick Kids childrens hospital in stable condition after falling off a ski lift at Lakeridge Ski Resort club in Uxbridge on Thursday, Feb. 11.
Durham Regional Police were called to the resort at 11:49 a.m. According to police, the boy was seated in the chairlift with three other people when he lost a ski as the lift went up the hill. The boy then turned to look back, slipped and fell.
Police also added that a boy sitting beside him grabbed him and held him for about two minutes as resort staff prepared to respond. The lift was stopped, and a net was set up to catch the boy, as he was hanging from 40 feet above the resort. The boy then fell on the net and bounced onto the hill nearby.
Shortly after the fall, the boy was transported to Uxbridge Cottage Hospital before being airlifted.
According to the Lakeridge Ski Resort, the boy was on a school trip at the time of the incident.
Resort Director of Outside Operations John Tustian said that nobody wants an incident like this to happen, but lauded the staff at the resort for their quick response.
“The crew did a great job and acted just like they were trained to react,” he said. “We have been proactive in trying to reduce incidents like these from happening. It’s not good when it does happen, but the staff did what they were trained to do.”
Mr. Tustian also added that the entire ski industry in Canada has been “grappling” with how to reduce incidents like these from happening.
The classmate who grabbed the boy as he fell, as well as staff at the resort, will be recommended for Citizen Recognition Awards for their actions according to Durham police.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Councillors made further modifications to the municipal Operating and Capital Budget on Monday, Feb. 8, bringing the residential tax increase down to 1.2 per cent.
At the meeting, Council was shown a revised budget that included a residential tax increase of 1.99 per cent, and had a final chance to make changes before the budget open house being held on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
One of those changes was a motion by Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back to take $75,000 extra from a 2014 budget surplus that was originally meant for the township’s rate stabilization contingency.
“We still have a weak, fragile economy and I want to be able to look my constituents, especially my senior constituents, in the eye and say that I have worked my hardest to make sure that they can afford to stay in the community that they enjoy,” she said.
The Township also set up a temporary 5 per cent floor for any draws from the rate stabilization fund for this year’s budget deliberations after a recommendation from Mayor Tom Rowett. Treasurer Trena Debruijn is currently investigating what kinds of limits other townships have on their reserves, and is expected to make a recommendation to council once she has all the information.
“It creates a clear direction. We’re not just pulling in the dark, there is a policy in place,” Mayor Rowett told The Standard.
As well, Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew made a motion to add $10,000 into the budget for the township to deal with invasive plant species, as well as another $10,000 for Township sidewalk work. Both will be funded through rate stabilization funds.
“The invasive species can cause a real problem with our roads, as the root system travels underneath the roads and breaks them up,” she said. “Although we have made some excellent progress with our sidewalks, I don’t think now is the time to stop. Our seniors in particular need to have a safe walking route.”
The township’s municipal tax increase in the budget had previously been preliminarily set at 3.29 per cent. The open house will take place at the Scugog Memorial Public Library at 6:30 p.m. Following that, council will have a third chance to make changes on Monday, March 7.
ROB DRAL The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Town of Uxbridge may soon have some new neighbours of the insect variety. During a Council Meeting on Feb. 8th, Christopher Campbell of Hiveshare Honey proposed to Council that live beehives be set up around prominent areas of Uxbridge to spread awareness and educate the public about the importance of maintaining a healthy honey bee population.
According to Mr. Campbell, “1-in-3 bites of food we eat is naturally pollinated by honey bees. Awareness and understanding of honey bees leads to longer and happier lives for our grandchildren.” The beehives would be maintained and looked after personally by Mr. Campbell and range from $250 for a quarter hive to $800 for a full hive.
Mr. Campbell also guarantees 16 liters of honey per beehive, even if production of certain beehives falls under the 16L mark. All the honey produced by the beehives would then be given to the town to do with what they please, such as donating the honey to a local food bank.
Council did show support for the initiative, saying education concerning honey bees is important, but did bring up some glaring safety concerns that would first need to be addressed.
“This is a tremendous educational opportunity for the public. Education is 90 percent of the problem”, said Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor. The Mayor along with other councillors then expressed their concerns with the beehives being placed in urban areas because it would be a threat to the people of Uxbridge that struggle with serious bee sting allergies and others that might be afraid of the bees being in high traffic areas. Local beekeepers also share the same concerns regarding the beehives.
“Local beekeepers are worried and don’t really support it”, said Ward 2 Councillor, Pat Molloy. Councillor Pamela Beach of Ward 1 suggested that live beehives be placed in areas with less traffic such as rural farmland or be displayed at local schools as an educational tool. Councillor Beach also suggested to Mr. Campbell that he get in touch with the Ontario Farmers Association for their input regarding homes for live beehives.
Mr. Campbell did offer an interesting solution to the problem. He suggested that fake beehives be placed in high traffic areas, instead of real ones and even offered to visit with his hive suit and smoke and pretend to work on the fake beehives in order to raise awareness and capture the attention of the public.
“I like the idea of them being fake in urban areas. We would like to take up the offer”, said Mayor O’Connor. The Mayor then continued by saying she would like to see if fake beehives can be placed in prominent areas such as Elgin Park including a brochure that the public can read to learn about the issue of a low honey bee population. “This is a good way of informing the public about how important this insect is”, said Mayor O’Connor.
To learn more about the Hiveshare program, please call 905-722-9806 or visit www.hiveshare.ca