DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Council has decided to support two internet service providers’ applications for funding to bring high speed fibre-optic internet service to Uxbridge.
At a meeting on Monday, March 27, Council approved motions to sign letters of support for Telmax Inc. and Vianet Inc. for their applications to the federal government’s Connect To Innovate program.
Brian McCullagh of Vianet presented to council the company’s plan to bring the fibre-optic service to the rural communities within the Township of Uxbridge.
“We’re going to pass through five communities that have been identified by the federal government as underserved,” Mr. McCullagh told Councillors.
Those communities include Sandford, Siloam, Zephyr, Leaskdale and Udora.
Mr. McCullagh said this is a multi million dollar project, but stressed that the township does not need to provide any financial support for it. If the company is successful, the Connect to Innovate grant will fund up to 75 per cent of the project’s costs.
Mr. McCullagh also spoke about the company’s potential goals after they complete the fibre backbone build, stating the project will allow for “future builds.”
“If you can’t get a tree trunk built, you can’t build the branches,” he said.
Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet questioned if the company had any plans to service the urban areas in Uxbridge.
Mr. McCullagh responded, stating the company doesn’t plan on competing with some of the larger internet companies which already service the Uxbridge urban area.
“My residents are extremely excited about this,” Ward 3 Councillor Dave Barton said.
As well, at a meeting on Monday, March 20th, Howard Morton and Claude Pothier presented a plan to Councillors to bring fibre-optic service to the township as well as the rest of Durham Region.
“What we are talking about is levelling the competitive playing field for your communities,” Mr. Morton told Councillors.
The Telmax officials asked council for a letter of support for their grant application, as well as help from Township staff to prioritize areas in the township that need internet service upgrades.
“We are working both with Durham Region, who is supporting our Connect To Innovate grant, we are working with your peers in Scugog and Clarington and Oshawa and Whitby and Ajax to bring forward a unified network to unite the entire region,” Mr. Morton said.
Mr. Morton also told Councillors that the company is planning to hold a launch in Oshawa on Thursday, April 27th, adding that the company plans to undertake the project in Uxbridge with or without the grant.
“The grant is going to speed things up tremendously,” Mr. Pothier said.
Just like with the Vianet application, the Telmax officials said the Township does not need to chip in any financial help for the project.
Under the rules of the grant, all work on the project must be completed by 2021.
Mr. Morton said that, with the grant, it would take the company roughly about two and a half years to service the entire township.
SCUGOG: The Pine Ridge Garden Club is celebrating their 40th anniversary with an event next month.
On Tuesday, April 4th, the club will be holding an event at the Nestleton Community Centre, at 7:30 p.m., featuring books and pictures from the 40 years the club has been active. There will also be an anniversary cake, provided by Vos Independent. Inaugural and past members are invited to attend.
The club was founded by Frances Newton, and is a chartered member of the Ontario Horticultural Association District 17.
Started in 1977, with 35 members, it now currently has close to 100.
“There’s the misconception that a garden club is strictly for females,” Past President Shirley Love said. “That’s not the case. We do have male members.”
Club president Marilyn Trunks spoke about what the club means to the local community.
“It means a lot to the community. We do a lot of work in the community and we’re there to support [it] in many facets,” she said. “We put in thousands of hours of volunteer work every year.”
Some of the work they do includes: tending the gardens at the Scugog Shores Museum Village and the Nestleton Community Centre, holding information events for club members, and planting trees in people’s honour. In the past, the club ran the Scugog Spring Garden Show, for a number of years, and formally tended the gardens at the Port Perry Hospital. They’ve also provided bursaries for local high school students.
This year, the club was presented with a heritage award from Scugog Township, at the Mayor’s Honour Roll event, for the work they do at the museum. The club was also a Mayor’s Honour Roll recipient in 2008.
Mrs. Love said one of her favourite memories, from her 36 years as a member of the club, is being a part of their annual float in the Blackstock Fair.
“That’s a lot of fun. I’ve been a pig, I’ve been a cowboy, [and] I’ve been an Indian,” she said.
Mrs. Trunks spoke about the benefits of being a member of the club.
“It gives you a lot of knowledge, a lot of friends and a lot of fun,” she said.
The club will be holding their Plant, Bake and Yard Sale at the Nestleton Community Centre, on May 20th.
For more information on the Pine Ridge Garden Club, visit their website, at www.pineridgegardenclub.ca.
Special to The Standard
SCUGOG: The Uxbridge and Scugog townships have been working side by side to help support the construction of a new animal shelter.
“I feel that the animal shelter that has been in the municipality since, I’m thinking around 25 years, is almost fully depreciated,” Scugog mayor, Tom Rowett said.
Ginger Jackson, the woman behind the New Animal Shelter for Scugog and Uxbridge (NASUS), got the idea for the new shelter after seeing how old and outdated the current facility is.
“The animals look so sad in there,” Mrs. Jackson said. “If you’ve been to the present shelter. The population of kittens is way down because people won’t take them there.”
She said the current H-vac system, for the mother cats, is unacceptable. “If one cat got upper respiratory problems, they all would.”
Mrs. Jackson also said there is currently no isolation or quarantine for the cats and dogs. However, she said things will be different at the new animal shelter. There is a maternity suite and a negative H-vac system, so all the germs are kept in one area and won’t spread to the other healthy animals.
The new facility isn’t just for the animals; Mrs. Jackson said it’s also for the people that care for them.
“The people that look after the animals there are fantastic,” she said.
“They need a new place. And were going to offer it to them.”
The seven-acre lot of land the facility is being built on, was donated by the Uxbridge township in 2013. Jackson says there is plenty of room to expand if the time comes.
“The mayor of Uxbridge said, when we build the shelter we’re building it for 50 years,” she said. The support from the community, as well as both Uxbridge and Scugog townships, has been phenomenal, according to Jackson.
“Both townships have been at our backs every step of the way,” she said. Originally, the shelter was proposed to be built this coming spring, but in order for the townships to finalize the tender documents in time for construction, the date had to be pushed back to early next year. The tender documents will be released during late summer to early fall of 2017. This gives the townships enough time to finalize and prepare the tender release, which ensures the new shelter will be built at a competitive cost.
According to a 2016 cost analysis, prepared by George Brown College, it is expected to cost in between $1.4 and $1.7-million. The Uxbridge and Scugog townships committed to bridge financing of up to $300,000 at no interest rate, for the construction of the shelter. NASUS is set to payback the township over the next five years but Jackson says she hopes to much sooner through the Major Gifts Campaign. The Major Gifts campaign is a township supported effort, where a cabinet of highly influential people will speak about NASUS and collect donations, according to Mrs. Jackson. Through the campaign, donors will also be able to claim naming rights of certain parts of the shelter, to recognize their contributions. Mrs. Jackson has been planning and fundraising for the shelter for a long time and is glad to finally see a construction date next spring.
“We’ve been in this for six years. To see the light at the end of the tunnel really helps. We know its coming in 2018,” she says.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: When Vanessa Page first started as a newspaper carrier with The Standard, one of her goals was to earn enough money for a trip to Walt Disney World.
After about two and a half years of work, she was able to achieve that goal and got to take the trip to Orlando, Florida.
“I’m very proud of her for being able to earn the money and then not spend the money. She also had some other money making ventures during those two and a half years, such as running a couple little yard sales and sold some of her stuff at The Kids Cupboard, so I am very proud of her,” Vanessa’s mother, Nancy Page said.
Vanessa said the trip was “great” and one of its highlights was dining in Cinderella’s castle.
“It was really special, it was royal, [and] we got to meet princesses,” she said.
Vanessa also had a message for those who might be interested in being a carrier for The Standard.
“They should try it, it’s very fun and you can save money for a trip, birthday party, a toy maybe, really anything,” she said.
As well as earning money for a trip, Vanessa also recently held a birthday party fundraiser. This year, her family decided to use a website, called ECHOage, which is a party planning website where people can send out paperless invites to their party. Birthday kids are able to choose a charity the party will benefit, and the gift they would like. When people RSVP to the party, they can make a donation online via PayPal. The funds are then split, half of the money going to the child’s chosen charity and half going to the child.
Vanessa’s party raised $500, with $250 of that going to the World Wildlife Fund Canada chapter. She also plans to donate half of the money she gets, $125, to the Uxbridge-Scugog Animal Control Centre, located on Reach St. in Port Perry. Vanessa plans to save up the rest of the funds for a future family trip.
She explained why she chose to donate to the World Wildlife Fund.
“Instead of just doing the animal shelter here and the animals there, which are just usually cats and dogs, there are other animals in need all over the world.”
Mrs. Page talked about what it has been like to see her daughter’s charitable actions inspire others.
“I think that’s just the ultimate achievement and accomplishment, to have your good deeds to have inspired other people and the cycle to go around and around. It’s very encouraging.”
DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Council has decided the New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog will be built in the spring of 2018.
The decision was made at a meeting on Monday, March 20th. Council also approved bridge financing from the Township, of up to $300,000 for the build.
New Animal Shelter president Ginger Jackson was originally hoping the build would commence later this year.
However, Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor said she was concerned about the possibility of a winter build.
“We really don’t want to be dealing with, in my humble opinion, winter construction, and we’re in a site that would have to be snowplowed, we still don’t have any soil tests back, it’s getting later and later. Winter construction at the best of times is not a good thing,” she said. “I think this is the best scenario we can go with at this point.”
Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy agreed the Township is not ready to begin construction of the shelter.
“We haven’t even tendered it yet. We would be prepared in the spring to have the tender ready and to have a contractor picked, and as soon as the ground is good, they can start digging and they can start working,” he said.“Right now we don’t even have a tender ready yet and we don’t have a contractor. We’re a long way from being able to start this project now.”
Scugog council is expected to make decisions regarding the animal shelter at their next council meeting, on Monday, March 27th.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Thanks to support from the local community, the Port Perry Refugee Support Group has now been able to bring a total of four Syrian refugee families to Scugog.
The latest two refugee families sponsored by the group arrived in Port Perry on Thursday, March 9th.
“The fundraising support we got from the community has exceeded our expectations,” Mike Lorish, a member of the support group’s fundraising committee, told The Standard. “We were originally planning to do only one or two families, but when the funding came in we decided we were going to go for four families. So it’s been quite a ride, just being part of the organization and seeing that all come to fruition so quickly.”
Mr. Lorish added that local businesses have stepped up to help these families.
“The support we’ve got from business owners has been amazing. We’ve had owners donate services and goods, and doctors and dentists have donated services. It’s really been quite amazing, and it’s been fun to be a part of,” he said.
The group welcomed the first family to Port Perry in February of 2016. That family later moved to Oshawa to be closer to their ESL classes. A second family of Syrian refugees, the Ghilan family, arrived in Scugog in December of 2016.
Wendy Coenen has been working closely with the Ghilan family. She said the family is happy they are in a community where they feel safe.
“[The Ghilan family] loves Port Perry. They have said they have no intentions of ever leaving. They find it a wonderful town,” she said. “[Rehab Alfares, wife of Ahmad Ghilan] has said that it is the first time they have felt safe, in, she doesn’t know how long.”
Ms. Coenen also said that the Ghilan family helped greet the last two refugee families, when they arrived in Canada.
“They actually volunteered to go down to the airport to meet the families, and they volunteered to cook food for them for when they arrived,” she said.
Mr. Lorish spoke about what the process is like, for the group, after they are matched with a family from Syria.
“It’s hurry up and wait for weeks and months, then all of a sudden we get the phone call that they’re coming. All of a sudden, there is the apartments to get organized, to get them furnished and to get the shelves stocked, get the clothing for the families,” he said, explaining that they are usually given 48 to 72 hours notice of the refugee family’s arrival date.
The support group then supports the families in any way they can, including helping set up bank accounts, internet, ESL classes and health cards, coordinating rides and offering tutoring, among many other services.
“Basically if they need extra service, we find what they need,” Ms. Coenen said.
She also explained what it is like to see the faces of the families that arrive in Canada.
“It’s relief, it’s complete relief. I think they’re exhausted. Most of them have travelled for 24 hours, and they all have children so the children are exhausted. But they’ve all said the relief that they are here finally and that they’re safe, and that they’re in Canada, is overwhelming compared to how tired they are,” Ms. Coenen said. “As much as they are tired and exhausted, just knowing that they are here and they’re safe didn’t make them tired anymore, is how they described it.”
Ms. Coenen wanted to stress that every refugee family that comes to Port Perry is very appreciative of everything they are given.
KAWARTHA: Victoria Manor will host a Health and Wellness Fair, on March 29th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fair is open to the public, Victoria Manor residents and their families.
“We have invited health and wellness experts from across Kawartha Lakes, to help us share information about living a healthy lifestyle,” explains Jessica Wooldridge, Life Enrichment Assistant at Victoria Manor. “The fair is a great learning opportunity for anyone who wants to improve their overall health.”
Vendors attending the Health and Wellness Fair include: Lindsay Recreation Complex, 11:11 Full Circle Healing, Homestead Oxygen, Lindsay Orthopedic, Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Service, Community Care and Hospice, A1 Gluten Free Gals, Heather’s Homemade Holistic, and Nancy Sews.
Visitors will also be able to learn about various health disciplines and talk to specialists.
Victoria Manor is located at 220 Angeline Street South in Lindsay.
For further information, please contact Cheri Davidson, Manager of Communications, Advertising and Marketing, at 705-324-9411 extension 1355, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The Township’s councillors cost taxpayers $221,124 in 2016, according to a recent report from the finance department.
As a requirement of the municipal act, councillors saw a report detailing each member of council’s remuneration and expenses, from the year 2016.
Mayor Tom Rowett was paid $33,464 in remuneration, and $6,555 in benefits. He had $1,888 in mileage expenses and $4,677 in conference costs.
Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett had the highest mileage expenses on the list, at $2,875, the second highest conference costs, just behind Mayor Rowett, at $2,607 and second highest cellphone expenses at $619.
Ward 4 Councillor Wilma Wotten had the highest cellphone expenses at $653.
Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back had the lowest total of remuneration, benefits and expenses at $27,818.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Council is moving closer to deciding what they are going to do with Port Perry’s Old Mill.
At a meeting on Monday, March 6th, Council directed staff: to hire a contractor to install cross bracing inside the mill to keep the building safe; to prepare a 'request for proposal' for a design of a public square along the western portion of the grain elevator; and a 'request for interest', to invite those interested in leasing the main floor of the Old Mill to make a submission to the Township.
The request for proposal is expected to come to council for approval in April. Once the design is approved by council, councillors will consider the possibility of running a fundraiser. This fundraiser would involve the township accepting pledges for engraved stones.
With the request for interest, the Township is looking for submissions for tourist related uses such as a retail store, craft brewery, restaurant or winery.
The motion passed by council also states that subject to approval in a future budget, the Old Mill will be upgraded to meet Ontario building code requirements. Council’s goal is to start construction in 2018. It is estimated to cost about $500,000 for the Township to bring the building up to code.
According to a structural condition assessment, done for the Township by Greer Galloway Group Inc., the cross bracing is expected to cost the township approximately $1,000.
“We would like to get something done. Its been 10 years with everything just sitting,” Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett said.
Mayor Tom Rowett explained that he would like to have something done on the mill before the end of council’s term.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE/BROCK: The communities of Uxbridge and Brock, along with the Durham District School Board (DDSB) are in mourning, following the recent death of trustee Elinor Hansen.
Mrs. Hansen died in the early morning, on Tuesday, March 7th, at the age of 46. She was in her first term as trustee for Uxbridge and Brock, after being elected in 2014.
“It was with great shock and sadness that we learned of Elinor’s passing. Elinor was a lovely lady and a really wonderful, hard-working representative for our community. She will be missed. We are thinking of her family and friends, and offer our sincere condolences,” Uxbridge Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor said.
DDSB chairman Michael Barrett said one thing he remembers about Mrs. Hansen is how she “approached the job with great enthusiasm”, adding that she never lost that enthusiasm.
Mr. Barrett also described Mrs. Hansen as a “very kind and gentle soul”, and as someone who was very organized.
“You could always count on Elinor [to have] read every piece of paper, understood it, catalogued it, and indexed it,” Mr. Barrett said. “There was probably nobody as organized as Elinor was. She was the epitome of organization and detail.”
As well as being a trustee, Mrs. Hansen was also an elder for the Rouge Valley Mennonite church. She was also a supporter of literacy programming. Mrs. Hansen is survived by her husband Peter and her daughter Lynda.
"I met Elinor and her family at a Christmas Party at my brother's house. From the moment I met Elinor it was obvious she had a genuine interest in what I was doing. She listened more then she spoke and when she spoke it was always kind, thoughtful and intelligent,” Uxbridge Ward 3 Councillor Dave Barton said. “Elinor was elected about a year before I became involved in local politics. Once we were working together and helping one another with issues, I saw the same qualities that I noticed the first time we met. She listened to the issues and always replied in a kind, intelligent and thoughtful way.
We have lost an incredible mother, wife, sister, citizen, volunteer, and trustee. Peter and Lynda, we are mourning with you."