DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: Amid freezing temperatures befitting such an occasion, last week, local resident Lance Brown was awarded a prestigious national award for his work building ice rinks for the benefit of families in need.
At a ceremony in Blackstock, on Thursday, Feb. 19, the longtime CTV sports anchor was honoured as one of Canadian Tire’s Great Canadian Hosers of 2015. Each year, Canadian Tire awards five new local champions from across the country for braving the cold to help keep their community active all winter long.
Mr. Brown spearheads an annual event, building ice rinks for deserving families in need. As part of the presentation Mr. Brown was presented with the coveted gold-hose trophy by Canadian Tire Uxbridge owner Pat Higgins. As well, a $1,000 donation to Jumpstart was made in his name, and an in-ice We All Play For Canada logo etched into the home rink of the family he helped this year.
Upon receiving the award, Mr. Brown noted that he is just one part of a team that brings rinks to a deserving family each year.
“I’m honoured to have received this award,” Mr. Brown told The Standard. “But, I’m just a conduit, others donate the materials and the equipment to give back to those in need and offer a hand-up.”
As well, Mr. Higgins remarked that it was an honour for him to be a part of the ceremony, and spoke highly of Mr. Brown’s charitable efforts.
“It was great to be involved with this, Lance does tremendous work in the community, and Canadian Tire is honoured to be able to present this award to him for all that he does to help others,” said Mr. Higgins.
The ritual of building backyard rinks has been a part of Mr. Brown’s life since childhood, and he noted that he is pleased to be able to carry on the Canadian tradition.
“My dad built me a rink when I was young. And then, I built my first when I was 17-years-old, which wasn’t all that hard since we lived in Edmonton. And later I built them for my own children. Now, we try and build one every year for someone in need, and it’s always a feel good story for everyone involved.”
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: The 2015 budget has been a hot-topic for Scugog Council, but the deliberations are nearing the final stretch. Before the final budget is given the seal of approval and put into action, Mayor Tom Rowett and councillors will open the budget up for comments and input from their constituents.
A special Council meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m. in Council Chambers, located at 181 Perry St. in Port Perry, to review the draft 2015 Capital and Operating Budget.
Shortly after the final preparations are made, the Township of Scugog will host a 2015 Draft Budget Open House on Wednesday, March 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Scugog Memorial Public Library, located at 231 Water St., Port Perry.
At the Open House session, Township staff and Council will present their proposed budget for the 2015 season - before opening up the floor to comments from the public.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Following the popular trend of community charity groups ‘100 Women/Men Who Care’ which have sprung up across North Durham, students at R.H. Cornish Public School have stepped up to form the next generation of good samaritans - with a twist of their own.
Unlike the adult version of the charity groups, the kindergarten to Grade 8 students that make up the 100 Kids Who Care movement will not be asked for cash donations - they will instead be asked to offer their time and assistance - in a campaign which hopes to effect change in their homes, schools, and communities at-large.
“The student’s first mission will be to perform three random acts of kindness, and have their sheets signed by parents or guardians - that’s their sign-up pledge,” said Co-organizer Mme. Campbell. “In the future, we hope to have the intermediate students and seniors come forward with their own ideas for good-will projects, and help the younger kids to learn.”
With an opening assembly attended by more than 160 students, the parent and teacher-lead ‘100 Kids Who Care’ project was off to a soaring start on Friday, Feb. 20.
The assembly included the reading of a storybook titled ‘Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed’ which carries a positive message of caring for family, neighbours, friends, and strangers.
At the end of their storybook reading, the students in attendance were told that “One act of caring can create an endless ripple effect, and it all starts with you.”
Mrs. Samuel, one of the teacher organizers behind the group, told The Standard that there is too much emphasis on what kids are not supposed to, such as ‘don’t bully, don’t be mean,’ - but that she hoped to create a positive environment and show their students and children what they are supposed to do. At each meeting, the students will be assigned a Mission of Caring to complete that month.
“Our students are wonderful, they help at home with dinner, cleaning up, and caring for their pets and siblings,” said Mrs. Samuel. “What we want to do is push them to think bigger, and start spreading kindness outside of their homes.”
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Thomas the Tank Engine will be rolling into Uxbridge for two weekends this summer.
Representatives from the York-Durham Heritage Railway made the announcement at council’s meeting on the evening of Monday, Feb. 23, that the beloved children’s character will be visiting Uxbridge on the weekends of Aug. 14 to 16, as well as Aug. 21 to 23, following months of planning and negotiations.
In what is planned to become an annual event, riders can experience a 25-minute train ride through the Oak Ridges Moraine aboard the heritage train, which will feature Thomas as the locomotive.
A portion of King St. will be closed during the event, which organizers expect will bring more than 10,000 people to town over each weekend. In addition to train rides, there will also be entertainment, face painting, food from local vendors and more to keep the entire family entertained.
Organizers added that they have already discussed the use of shuttle buses with township staff, after hearing concerns from Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor over the added traffic expected to be in town on both weekends.
Mayor O’Connor also suggested that the arrival of Thomas the Tank Engine could be promoted at BIA businesses through window displays.
“This event is a win-win scenario,” commented Mayor O’Connor, on the event’s potential positive effect on Uxbridge.
Ward 1 Councillor Pam Beach noted that the added visitors for the two weekends will be a great boost for the municipality.
“I’ve had a hard time keeping this quiet. It’s going to be a great boost for tourism and the town,” said Councillor Beach.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Durham MP Erin O’Toole paid a visit to Scugog Township’s new councillors on Monday, Feb. 9 - offering an update on Scugog’s relationship with Ottawa, and a look ahead for future grants.
During the regularly scheduled evening council meeting, MP O’Toole made his first delegation to Mayor Tom Rowett and councillors since their swearing-in earlier this year.
Topics included the future of preservation projects on Lake Scugog, the Connecting Canadians grant which Mayor Rowett hopes will bring Scugog up-to-speed, and a new bill affecting the Greenbank Airways site.
“When I was elected, I decided to perform regular updates to my municipal partners. I look at myself as the Federal partner for Scugog, and I want to ensure that our municipalities can thrive and grow,” said MP O’Toole.
The delegate continued to suggest that Mayor Rowett consider setting the sights of the soon-to-be-formed Grants and Funds Committee on a Recreation and Fisheries Grant - for the improvement of fishing and local ecology in Lake Scugog.
“With Scugog working closely beside the Scugog Lake Stewards, it should be a goal to start a project which benefits from Lake Scugog,” said MP O’Toole.
Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew notified MP O’Toole that the Township is currently exploring the option of dredging sections of Lake Scugog, to increase depth, promote healthy vegetation growth, and allow for more usage in the future.
She also lauded the efforts of the Lake Stewards for their on-going weevil introduction campaign, which aims to remove the weeds flourishing in the lake.
“The Recreation and Fisheries grant is available for one more year, and will open up this spring,” responded MP O’Toole. “I feel that the Township should look to support a local conservation team, like the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority or the Lake Stewards, on a project which will benefit the health, tourism, and fishing of Lake Scugog.”
He added that some of the projects, such as the weevil campaign, may not link directly to the fishing portion of the grant, but that he would help Scugog Township to investigate the matter further.
Moving on to the Connecting Canadians grant, MP O’Toole expressed joy in seeing the submission of Scugog Township’s application, stating, “This program was exactly targeted at under serviced rural communities like Scugog, and hopes to help these communities work with local and innovative Internet Service Providers. The grant was received, and is being watched closely by my office - you’ll hear from us as soon as we get word.”
Finally, Ward 1 Councillor Betty Somerville breached the topic of the Greenbank Airways project, and asked MP O’Toole to explain a new bill which passed through the house - relating to aeronautics in Canada.
“The Greenbank Airways issue was already alive and moving ahead when I came into power – I promised to look into the uncertainty around who has power over what,” said MP O’Toole.
Next, it was explained that Ottawa only holds sway over the actual air traffic, and not matters such as the placement of runways.
“We have now passed Bill C-43, and any future changes or amendments to the site can be applicable to a federal approval process - if there is a public out cry,” said MP O’Toole. “We can’t go back in time, but we can try to promote certainty. In the future, other municipalities shouldn’t have to use their own resources to go to court over these sorts of issues.”
With this new motion, any brand new or significant changes to the original designs could be taken under the jurisdiction of Ottawa, and up for review.
A round table discussion with MP O’Toole and representatives from Transport Canada will be held on March 19 at the Greenbank Lions Club Hall - further details will be published when they become available.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: 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 $400,000 will see an overall property tax increase of $82 or 1.7 per cent this year.
Uxbridge’s 2015 budget consists of $14.5 million in operating expenditures, and $8.7 million of capital expenditures, with the township portion of the tax bill expected to climb 3.9 per cent, plus an additional one per cent for the township’s Asset Preservation Reserve.
The township portion of the tax bill will climb approximately $53 per household, with local residents benefitting from uploading and funding of select programs at the Regional level, despite some funding cuts at the municipal level.
According to township staff, for every dollar in residential property taxes collected by Uxbridge Township in 2014, 17 cents went towards education, 23 cents stayed in Uxbridge, while 60 cents went to the Region of Durham.
“The focus of the 2015 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. “Since 2011, our Township has experienced many financial pressures; cuts in provincial funding, lack of growth and high assessment values have been the main challenges that Council and residents have had to endure. I wish we could keep the tax increase at zero, but that’s just not possible in today’s world.”
Specifically, Councillor Molloy noted that the Township has been impacted by cuts to the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, which was cut by 20 per cent this year, falling by $184,400. Over the past three years, these payments by the province have dropped by a total of $466,200.
As well, the municipality has seen only slight development and growth due to limited sewage capacity, in addition to limitations placed on the township through provincial Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine policies.
The township has also been unsuccessful in its last three applications to obtain infrastructure grants from the upper levels of government.
While Councillor Molloy added that it can be frustrating for the township to be turned down for funding in spite of responsible financial planning - the township has not taken on a debenture since Uxpool was constructed more than 40 years ago, and has been debt free for many years - he noted that the municipality will continue working to obtain funding.
“It can be frustrating when we’re turned down largely because of high assessment values and high average incomes, but we are planning to meet with delegates from the provincial government at the upcoming Good Roads Convention to keep the lines of dialogue open. We’re not giving up on this money. We think we deserve our share, and we’re not looking for a hand-out, just our fair share.”
Highlighting this year’s capital budget is the municipality’s new Fire Hall, which is slated to be built on Brock St., just east of Conc. 6.
“I believe that we will be able to get shovels in the ground later this year on the new Fire Hall,” stated Councillor Molloy. “It went slow for the first year-and-a-half, but we’re really moving now. Site alterations should begin in the fall, with construction to follow next year.”
The fate of the current Fire Hall on Bascom St. is yet to be decided, but should the municipality decide to sell the building - which was recently appraised for $600,000 - funds from the sale will go towards the expected $3.8 million cost of the new Fire Hall.
Councillor Molloy also noted that the township remains committed to bringing more businesses to Uxbridge while facing fierce competition from other municipalities.
“Is it the township’s responsibility to rent out every building along Brock St.?” added Councillor Molloy. “We bend over backward to try and bring business to Uxbridge.”
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: More than 600 local kids were able to get off the sidelines and get involved in recreation activities last year, as the local Canadian Tire Jumpstart program continued to make a tremendous impact in the community in 2014.
Since the program launched in Uxbridge in 2005, more than $180,000 in funding has assisted more than 1,700 local youths by removing financial barriers associated with recreation through the charity. Last year, more than $53,000 was raised locally, aiding almost 650 young people to be involved in sports and recreation.
“This sort of success is a double edged sword, and shows just how many kids are in need in Uxbridge Township,” Uxbridge Canadian Tire owner Pat Higgins explained to members of Council at a meeting in January, also noting that 100 per cent of money raised locally to support Jumpstart stays in the community. Mr. Higgins also added that almost 10 per cent of players registered to Uxbridge Minor Hockey this season are at least partially funded through Jumpstart.
Uxbridge’s Jumpstart program aids recreation in two ways. An individual child submission program, which provides financial assistance for children involved in sports and recreation such as karate, hockey, soccer and lacrosse. As well, there are community developments programs, which typically last 8 to 10 weeks, and are either free or low-cost, and include basketball, floor hockey and dance.
“The impact recreation has in our community is a ripple effect,” said Rebecca Harman, Uxbridge’s Jumpstart ambassador. “We get amazing feedback from parents with kids that are involved in our after-school programs.”
Ms. Harman also noted that families can get involved through the Take Time family program, which makes activities such as free bowling at Parish Lanes and free family swims at Uxpool.
“The Take Time family program is about getting families involved with their kids,” said Ms. Harman, adding that 186 people registered for a free family swimming membership, far exceeding the 50 people organizers expected.
One of the primary sources of funding for the local Jumpstart chapter since 2010 has been the Gary Roberts and Friends Charity Golf Tournament, held every August at Wooden Sticks. The event draws numerous NHL stars to Uxbridge, and has raised more than $130,000 for the Jumpstart chapters in Uxbridge and Scugog since its inception.
“We’re honoured to have Gary Roberts as part of our team and really appreciate that Jumpstart was chosen as the recipient,” said Amanda Ferraro, the Township’s Manager of Recreation, Culture and Tourism.
In addition, last year, the local Jumpstart chapter benefitted from donations of $20,000 from Canadian Tire Uxbridge, $5,000 from the Christopher Skinner Foundation, $3,500 from Mudnewton, $1,000 from Bodyfit, and a further $5,000 from other community initiatives.
“There’s nothing better than kids who are involved in sports and recreation,” said Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor. “Those are going to be our future leaders and it’s great to learn that we have one of the best chapters in Canada, right here in Uxbridge.”
For more information about Uxbridge’s Canadian Tire Jumpstart program, please visit:
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Durham’s Member of Parliament, and the newly-minted Minister of Veterans Affairs, honoured some of Scugog’s finest volunteers on Thursday, Feb. 12 - during a special Community Service Medallion Ceremony.
MP O’Toole recognized several North Durham residents who have exemplified extraordinary contributions to the community.
The presentations took place at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 419 in Port Perry with family, community and Legion members in attendance.
MP O’Toole presented Community Service Medallions to C. Ryan Edgar, Kent Farndale, Edward Groves, George Emmerson and Ms. Hillie Carnegie. Bob Murray also received a commemorative Victory Pin, and a certificate honouring his 97th birthday.
“From sharing a passion for the arts, to raising funds for local community needs, to serving this country at war or simply sharing a remarkable story of fate, all of these recipients are united in representing the best of our Canadian values. Communities only become a home we cherish because of the volunteers who are the lifeblood of the causes, places or events we all enjoy.” said MP O’Toole. “It is also very special for me as Minister of Veterans Affairs to honour two veterans from Scugog who continue to inspire Canadians. Mr. Emmerson and Mr. Groves are the sorts of men who inspired me to enlist.”
MP O’Toole created the special Community Service Medallion in 2013 to salute exceptional volunteers and leaders from Durham who make significant contributions to our area, to Canada or the world.
A statement from the MP’s office follows, detailing MP O’Toole’s comments on each recipient.
Mrs. Kent Farndale has dedicated her life to community volunteerism and has built her life around sharing her passion of the arts and celebrating the talents in artists.
Mr. C. Ryan Edgar has spent two decades committing himself to serving local, provincial and national community through his volunteer and fundraising efforts, most notably with Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Mr. Edward Groves is a WWII veteran who served with infamous Devil’s Brigade, the 1st Special Service Force (FSSF). The legacy of this brigade lives on, as many modern American and Canadian Special Forces units trace their heritage to this unit.
Mr. George Emmerson and Ms. Hilary “Hillie” Carnegie – George is a Canadian veteran who returned from WWII to tell an incredible story of a meeting with a Dutch prisoner of war, whose life he may have saved with the donation of two chocolate bars. Through a chance encounter decades later, Hillie heard his story and realized that Dutchman was her father, Henk Metselaar.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The search is on for the next great young entrepreneur in North Durham as part of an exciting new contest.
The Brock Youth Centre (BYC) is hosting a Business Ideas Competition, where youth from the surrounding area will be offered an opportunity to share their creative business ideas for a chance to win $1,250, with a total of $4,000 in total cash and prizes available to be won.
Young people from North Durham are invited to make their pitch, and submit their applications and submission ideas by Friday, Feb. 20, by e-mailing email@example.com for entry forms.
“This great initiative not only promotes collaboration and creativity in young adults, but also gives them a sense of confidence,” said a press release from the BYC.
The semi-finals of the competition will take place over three days early next month as part of after school sessions at the Library in North Durham’s three high schools. The semi-finals kick off at Port Perry H.S. on Tuesday, March 3, continuing at Uxbridge S.S on Wednesday, March 4, before wrapping up at Brock H.S., on Thursday, March 5.
The grand prize winner will be revealed at the Finals, which are scheduled for 7 p.m., on Thursday, April 9 at Brock H.S. in Cannington.
The BYC’s young entrepreneur contest is sponsored by the Brock Youth Centre, the Province of Ontario, South Lakes CFDC and BOOST.
For more information about the competition and for application details, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: The newly-elected council of Scugog Township received their first swing at the Illumination LP solar power farm near Purple Hill on Monday, Feb. 9, inside Council Chambers.
Scugog Mayor Tom Rowett and ward councillors received a letter which confirmed the Province of Ontario’s approval of the project, after a lengthy trial. Shovels are expected to hit the dirt at the site in March of this year.
The property, located along Regional Road 19 (Shirley Rd. and Russell Rd.) has been sought as the site for a ten megawatt solar farm by solar energy developers since the summer of 2011.
Canadian Solar, the most recent proponent of the project, was informed by the previous terms Council that the proposed site went against Scugog’s official plan - as it would mean the destruction of protected prime agricultural lands.
After reaching a tentative agreement with the council-of-the-day, which afforded the Township extensive safety measures and revenue, the project was dropped by Skypower and taken on by Canadian Solar - who declined to enter a similar agreement.
Instead, Canadian Solar has offered the Township solar panels and equipment, which would generate 30 kilowatts of solar power - and earn the Township approximately $225,000 over the next 20 years. Also, the Township will be given a preferred customer rate on any future solar equipment which they may wish to purchase.
After a staff study, the Township of Scugog has determined that target-sites for the supplied solar panels include both the Caesarea and Port Perry fire halls, the Perry St. municipal offices, and Scugog Arena on Reach St.
The budget meetings, which will decide where the solar panels are constructed, are currently underway and will be finalized by March 30.
The Community Liason Committee for the project, a group of environmentally concerned citizens which aims to voice the concerns of the public, has requested that Council attempt to reach a better compensation deal, and advocate for the protection of local roads and bird habitats.
Scugog Council decided to receive the letter for informational purposes, and to draft a response at a later date.