KAWARTHA LAKES: Two males were arrested over the weekend following an ongoing investigation into the theft of coin from a Lindsay car wash business.
The owner of a coin car wash situated in the area of Needham St. and Hwy/ 36 had been experiencing recent thefts of coins from his machines and had asked a neighbouring business to keep an eye open for anything suspicious.
During the noon hour, on Friday, Jan. 22, the neighbour called police to report three men loitering on the property without a vehicle.
The men were gone once police arrived.
The owner downloaded the electronic coin machine’s history and was able to determine that someone was repeatedly stealing coins by partially inserting a $20 bill into the machine which then forced it to make change.
According to police, shortly after 6 p.m. later that day, officers were called back to the coin wash to investigate two suspicious men loitering on the property. 20-year-old Devon Douglas Hedley of Dunsford was arrested following a short foot chase, and has been charged with two counts of theft under $5,000 and four counts of breaching a probation order. As well, 22-year-old Gregory Williams of Cannington was arrested on Sunday, Jan. 24 and charged with two counts of theft under $5,000 and one count of breaching his probation order. Both men are scheduled to appear in court on March 3.
The investigation revealed the men had been trading the coins to a local variety store. Police added that the total loss of coins is still being determined by the owner.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The Township announced on Tuesday, Jan. 26 that they will not proceed with the acquisition of Communicate Freely for the Scugog Island high-speed internet project as the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement.
“The proposed purchase meant that both parties had to agree, and we did not have that,” Mayor Tom Rowett said. “Communicate Freely has decided to move forward as an independent provider.”
According to a press release, Communicate Freely plans on still undergoing the Scugog Island Internet project, but as an independent company. instead of a partner to the Township.
However, the Mayor stressed that this does not mean that the municipal internet project is dead.
“Collectively, council has decided to keep the municipal services corporation and to look for and find other avenues in which to proceed with this,” he said.
Mayor Rowett told The Standard that project manager Laura Bradley has been asked to come forward with possible options on how the project can proceed.
“We know there are many opportunities to collaborate with other municipalities and stakeholders and we will actively seek out those avenues,” the Mayor said.
Communicate Freely had received a Federal Connecting Canadians grant in July of about $1.9 million, at the time making them the best partner for the Township’s high-speed internet service initiative.
Mayor Rowett said that he “did not forsee” this deal falling apart, and added that there was a level of dissapointment that the purchase fell through.
“There was an extreme amount of time and effort by council and staff invested in this and there is a personal disappointment that we were unable to move forward with this,” he said. “But we will continue to move forward with other areas on a project that we deem extremely important for the Township of Scugog.”
The Mayor also added that council could seek out other Federal and Provincial grant opportunities through the Municipal Services Corporation.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Council took the first step in the process to try to decrease a tax increase preliminarily set in the 2016 municipal operating budget at 3.29 per cent.
On Monday, Jan. 25, Councillors went through each township department in the 2016 municipal budget, making recommendations where they felt possible savings could be found.
One of those savings options was a motion brought up by Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back to reduce the collection line, on the Scugog Memorial Library’s portion of the budget by $500. The collection covers books, DVDs and other resources. Councillor Back said that this reduction reflects “the decreasing circulation of tangibles, for instance DVDs.”
Councillors also sought out any projects or initiatives that could be deferred to a later time to create savings in the present, such as a facilities asset management plan.
Councillor Back recommended that the majority of the municipal office capacity plan be deferred, saving the township $30,000.
The Ward 5 Councillor was hoping to defer the entire plan, but was told by acting CAO Don Gordon that there are “some security related items in that package,” that he would not be comfortable deferring.
Councillors will be continuing to look for savings at upcoming budget deliberations as they wade through a long-term plan for the removal of invasive plant species from Lake Scugog, as well as developing a maintenance plan for sidewalks throughout the township.
However, one portion of the budget that could be due for an increase is wages for councillors.
“We are grossly behind other municipalities in the full spectrum of remuneration and it might be severance across the board to compensation or anything,” Mayor Tom Rowett said. “I have heard that one of the reasons people don’t run for council is that the remuneration is quite low so it is a valid topic to have a report back on.”
Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido agreed with the idea of an increase, stating that most councillors are currently paid about $17,000 per year.
“It’s not like we are making $100,000 and asking for an increase on that,” she said. “There have been many times that I have had to ask for legal opinion at my own cost, and that $17,000 gets eaten away.”
Responding to the request, Mr. Gordon recommended that the township look at other examples to provide clarity on the subject for the next round of budget deliberations.
“The simplest thing would be to do a survey of municipalities that we think are comparable and bring that back to (council),” he said.
The next municipal budget deliberations will take place on Monday, Feb. 8. Following that, a budget open house is slated to be held at the Scugog Memorial Library on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
The final 2016 municipal budget is tentatively set to be approved by councillors at their meeting on Monday, March 21.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: After a tremendously well received first year, there are plans to expand the Honour Our Veterans Banner Program in downtown Uxbridge this fall.
Building on a project first launched by the Royal Canadian Legion in St. George, New Brunswick last year, the project honoured 67 different members of the military with their photos affixed to banners on Brock and Toronto St. from Oct. 1 to Nov. 12.
Uxbridge Secondary School teacher Tish MacDonald and Uxbridge Legion Branch 170 President Sherrill Hodgson appeared before Council at their meeting on the evening of Monday, Jan. 25, to provide an update on the project, which will expand significantly this year.
“We heard lots and lots of great stories, and that’s why we’d like to continue the program with your support,” explained Ms. MacDonald, adding that organizers have had tremendous interest from other communities such as Brooklin, Sunderland, Aurora and as far away as Massachusetts. To help facilitate the project in other areas, a guidebook has been produced and sent out to all of the branches of the Royal Canadian Legion in Durham Region.
Locally, the program will look to honour more veterans this fall. As Ms. Hodgson noted, there are an additional 40 brackets on lightposts in Uxbridge’s downtown core that could hold banners, bringing the total number to 107.
“We’ve also included a question on this year’s application if they’d like to have them in the hamlets,” added Ms. Hodgson, noting that those changes would likely have to wait until 2017.
Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy enthusiastically offered to take an inventory of potential locations throughout the hamlets in Uxbridge Township.
As they did in 2015, councillors voted unanimously to support the township covering the cost of installation for the banners, pegged at approximately $1,600.
“I think that’s a very small price to pay to honour those who paid the supreme price as well as those who came back,” opined Mayor O’Connor.
Applications for the 2016 Honour Our Veterans Banner program will be available in April from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 170 on Franklin St., as well as on-line at www.uxbridgelegion.ca.
KAWARTHA LAKES: The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating an incident involving an explosion at a seasonal residence located on Normwood Dr., on Four Mile Lake.
On Friday, Jan. 8, at approximately 10:05 p.m. officers from the City of Kawartha Lakes detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were dispatched to what was initially believed to be a structure fire.
Initial investigation indicated the home owners had contacted a gas company when they detected an odor. Both of the owners and the propane technician were injured in the explosion and were taken to hospital.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Council will be looking for any and all savings on Monday, Jan. 25 when they begin 2016 municipal Operating budget deliberations.
At a recent education and training session, Councillors were shown a preliminary budget that included a tax increase of 3.29 per cent. However, Mayor Tom Rowett said that he is sure that Council will be able find areas of cost savings to bring that increase down.
“We want to maintain existing services while finding cost savings in other areas. The idea is to come as close to inflation as possible,” he said.
Mayor Rowett also said that it will be helpful to Council when the new CAO takes the position sometime in February, replacing Ian Roger.
“One of the criteria during the recruiting process was we were looking for somebody who has had successes in alternative revenue sources, as well as with municipal networking.”
The Mayor added that there are some savings options that won’t be in the budget yet, but will help going forward such as LED streetlight conversion.
On Monday, Dec. 7, Councillors approved a 2016 capital budget of about $9.1 million, an increase of spending of about $13,500 from the previous year.
In 2015, council approved a 1.99 per cent municipal tax increase.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: After several weeks of number crunching, Councillors have put the finishing touches on this year’s municipal budget, which is slated to be approved and adopted next week.
It is estimated by township staff that the total property taxes for a home in the municipality assessed at $450,000 will see an overall property tax increase of $116 or 2.2 per cent this year.
The municipal budget for 2016 consists of $14.9 million in operating expenditures, and $9.1 million of capital expenditures, with the township portion of the tax bill expected to climb 3.7 per cent, plus an additional .7 per cent for the township’s Asset Preservation Reserve for infrastructure maintenance as well as an additional .5 per cent reserve for the impending replacement of the Brock St. culvert.
According to township staff, for every dollar in residential property taxes collected by Uxbridge Township in 2015, approximately 17 cents went towards education, 23 cents stayed in Uxbridge, while 60 cents went to the Region of Durham.
“The focus of the 2016 budget was to maintain existing service and program levels and minimize tax increases,” explained Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy, who serves as Deputy Mayor as well as Chair of the Finance and Emergency Service Committee. “Our township, with limited growth and continued provincial reductions in funding, has its financial constraints.”
Specifically, Councillor Molloy noted that the Township has been impacted by cuts to the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, which was cut by 15 per cent this year, as well as soaring utility costs. Treasurer Donna Condon explained to The Standard that the municipality has budgeted for a 10 per cent jump in the cost of hydro this year, in addition to the eight per cent hike last year. As well, water and sewer rates will be rising by approximately five per cent.
The end of more than a month of budget discussions left Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor lamenting a lack of input from the public.
“It is discouraging that every single meeting was open to the public, and only two people attended,” commented Mayor O’Connor. “It would’ve been nice to see some of the people writing letters to the editor about how they are on a pension with a half-a-million dollar house and can’t afford to live in Uxbridge come out to our meetings.”
The budget contains funding for a number of projects in the municipality including the new Fire Hall, new Animal Control shelter and the Brock St. culvert project. Although the culvert project is not slated to begin until 2018, Councillor Molloy noted that the township is looking to use the opportunity to potentially revamp its downtown core.
“We’re considering a lot of options for downtown. It’s not just going to be a culvert. This might be the only time we dig it up in 100 years, so we’d like to make sure we have a plan in place to make sure we end up with something great,” added Councillor Molloy.
As well, several parks projects highlight this year’s budget including accessibility upgrades to Elgin Park, an off-leash dog park near the Uxbridge Historical Centre and a playground in the Campbell Dr./Cemetery Rd. area.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
SCUGOG: An investigation is underway after a 59-year-old man was shot dead by a police officer following a confrontation at a Waterbury Cres. home on Saturday night.
According to police, on the evening of Jan. 16, officers were dispatched to 239 Waterbury Cres., in the Canterbury Common area of Port Perry after receiving a call concerning a “distraught” male in the area at around 9:20 p.m.
Police added that after a confrontation, the man was shot by a responding officer. He was then transported to Lakeridge Health Port Perry where he was later pronounced dead.
In the wake of the shooting, Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has been called in to investigate the incident. The SIU is called in to investigate when police are involved in an incident where someone dies, is seriously injured or is sexually assaulted.
As of press time, Durham Region Police and SIU representatives have not released the identity of the victim.
Speaking with The Standard, neighbours in the community, which caters to older residents, explained that the victim had been visiting the home, and was not a resident of the adult lifestyle community.
As well, neighbours reported hearing “two sharp pops” at the time of the incident.
“When I got up and looked outside, I saw a policeman over there pointing his gun and there was a body flipped over the snow bank,” explained a neighbour who did not wish to have their name used, adding that the officer approached the body with caution, still aiming his weapon before flipping the man over and checking for vital signs.
Other neighbours noted that they had heard multiple shots and saw the man lying near the street before additional cruisers and an ambulance arrived.
The SIU investigation is ongoing, and the province has assigned a nine-member team to the case, including six investigators and three forensic investigators.
KAWARTHA LAKES: Residents are reminded that parking is not allowed on City streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. between until April 30.
“We know that snow clearing is important to our residents and the parking restriction during the winter months allows City snow plows to get through and clear the roads without obstructions before morning travelers get on their way,” explained Aaron Sloan, Municipal Law Enforcement Manager. With the heavy snow accumulation earlier this week, City crews were challenged by vehicles parked overnight on City streets as well as property owners piling snow on City roads and sidewalks.
“With the snow accumulations we have had this week there have been some challenges with snow clearing due to vehicles parked on the roadways during the overnight hours,” said Rod Porter, East Maintenance Area Manager. “We would like to remind residents not to pile snow on roads or sidewalks and to ensure they don’t leave vehicles on City streets overnight.”
Overnight parking in municipal parking lots is also prohibited from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from until April 30, 2016 by municipal by-law unless covered by a permit in Lindsay.
The hours for prohibited parking in the following downtown areas are from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. – in Lindsay on Kent St. W. from Lindsay St. to Victoria Ave.; in Bobcaygeon on Bolton St. from King St. to Canal St.; in Fenelon Falls on Colborne St. from Water St. to Bond St.; on May St. from Water St. to Francis St, on Francis St. West from Colborne St. to May St., and in Omemee on King St. from Queen St. to Sturgeon Rd.
“Enforcement is ongoing and we appreciate everyone’s cooperation in helping to keep vehicles off City streets overnight to assist with snow clearing,” said Mr. Sloan.
If a vehicle is left parked on a city street or in a municipal parking lot it may be ticketed, towed and impounded in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act and fines may be levied. The by-law is enforced by the Municipal Law Enforcement Officers and Officers of the Kawartha Lakes Police Service.
For more information on the City’s Winter Control policies, procedures and FAQ’s visit www.kawarthalakes.ca.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The Durham District School Board announced on Wednesday, Jan. 6 that they have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement with the local branch of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.
Details of the deal are currently unknown, as they are being kept confidential until the deal is ratified. The school board is expected to hold a ratification meeting at their next board meeting.
“We are pleased with the efforts by all to reach this agreement,” DDSB Chairman Michael Barrett said.
ETFO Durham President David Mastin said he was happy with what the union was able to achieve in the deal, but cautioned that the leg work is not over yet.
“I’m quite pleased. We had a collective bargaining team that worked well and we worked through the issues in a way that was respectful,” he said. “It feels good to have a deal tentatively in place, but the process is far from over. We still need to take the agreement to our membership and they will vote on it.”
The Local ETFO is expected to bring the deal to the members for ratification sometime this month. Mr. Mastin added that, from the limited conversations he has had with elementary teachers, there is a “great deal of relief that something is agreed upon.”
A provincial deal at the central table was reached by all sides on Monday, Nov. 2 after the provincial Liberal government had threatened the union on Friday, Oct. 23 to dock teacher’s pay if the work to rule continued after Sunday, Nov. 1. However, as per the process, nothing from the central table agreement could be implemented until a local deal was reached.