DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog has launched a $105 million lawsuit against GFL Environmental Inc. and its principals and consultants for damages the township alleges occurred because of illegal dumping at the Greenbank Airport site.
The lawsuit, a statement of defence and counterclaim after Greenbank Airways filed a $10 million lawsuit against the township last year, was filed by the Township in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Friday, March 3rd.
Defendants listed in the counterclaim include: GFL Environmental, the company’s CEO Patrick Dovigi, airport owner Robert Munshaw, 2307880 Ontario Inc., John Packer, D.L. Services as well as two of its employees, Douglas LeBlanc and Kevin McClintock.
Mayor Tom Rowett explained why the Township has decided to file this large of a countersuit.
“We engaged with experts in the field, environmental consultants, engineers as well as legal to determine what costs we were looking at for a full remediation and that’s the sizable amount that it is to fully remediate it,” he said. “We had asked for remediation of those specific boreholes that were done and the sites and we came up with a remediation plan and there was no movement on it. We were then presented with the lawsuit that they had moved on and we had felt that it was important that we file the countersuit for everything that we feel is a cost liability to the township for dealing with the remediation of that site.”
CAO Paul Allore also explained, in a press release, the Township’s thought process behind the countersuit.
“The Township of Scugog has been left high and dry to deal with this situation,” he said “Considerable funds have been expended to retain environmental engineers, soil specialists and legal expertise over the past year.”
Soil above Table 2 contamination standards was found at the site in 2015 after Golder Associates conducted borehole tests.
However, Mr. LeBlanc said the Township had been informed about where the exceedances were before Golder conducted the tests.
“We told the town at all times where the contamination was. We were very transparent. It was published on a website, it was brought up at steering committees and we told them where it was. We never hid anything. When Golder went to sample, they knew exactly where to look and exactly where to sample because we had already told them where it was.”
The Township estimates that it would cost $100 million for the removal of the contaminated soil and prohibited materials and the restoration of the site. Among the other damages listed in the counterclaim include $2.6 million for interim environmental protection measures such as stormwater and groundwater management, $1 million for engineering, consulting and testing fees, $500,000 for legal fees and $374, 286 in unpaid fees.
The Township’s lawyer Charles Loopstra explained to The Standard that the delay in the filing of the countersuit was because the Township wanted to first address the jurisdictional court challenge that claimed that Scugog’s site alteration bylaw does not apply to a federally-regulated aerodrome.
Mr. Loopstra also said the Township “disputes the legitimacy of the proposed airport development.”
Mr. Munshaw questioned the intent of the lawsuit.
“Last year, Greenbank Airport filed a lawsuit against the Township of Scugog because the Township was not allowing the continued importation of fill to complete its airport renovations. Late last week, the township issued a press release on a countersuit they filed in March of this year which presumes all of the fill at the airport needs to be removed, which we do not believe to be necessary,” he said.
He also said that there “is no evidence that there has been any impact to groundwater from the activities on the site.”
“We believe it is an inflammatory amount and an overstated case,” Mr. Munshaw said.
Mr. LeBlanc alleged that Reach Industrial Park Rd. in Port Perry is much more contaminated than the Greenbank Airport site.
“There’s a million times more contaminants and different contaminants there than there is at Greenbank [airport site] but you don’t see the political outcry because it is not a political thing. This whole site is all about politics right now. You had four councillors and a mayor that ran on closing [the Greenbank Airport],” he said.
Mr. LeBlanc also opined that the exceedances on the site are minor. However, Mayor Rowett stated that any exceedance, big or small, needs to be dealt with.
“It doesn’t matter what people’s point of view of the exceedances are, whether it is a small exceedance or a large exceedance, the fact is that there’s exceedances over Table 2 and the agreement was Table 2. So as far as the contract is concerned, there should not have been any exceedances that wouldn’t be remediated.”
Intern to The Standard
“Not too long ago Durham had the highest unemployment rate in all of Canada for youth that were unemployed and underemployed,” said Lisa Smith-Maxam, founder and CEO of The Staff Room (TSR) and TSR Canada.
The Staff Room is a human resources management consulting firm, as well as a staffing agency. TSR Canada is similar but focuses on career coaching and helps young people get jobs.
TSR Canada is currently working towards becoming a non-profit organization to help the Durham Region employ more young people, disabled people, and newcomers to Canada.
Lisa said the organization isn’t trying to get people temporary jobs, instead they are helping them find a career and build a future.
“We’re not after getting them a job at a retail store. We are after getting them a career with a company.”
When Lisa spoke at a council meeting in mid-April, Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger said he was surprised to hear Durham Region has such a high youth unemployment rate.
With the Oshawa mall expansion and the 407 extension coming in, he said Durham Region shouldn’t be facing a youth unemployment problem.
Mr. Ballinger mentioned how UOIT and Durham College bring many jobs to Oshawa and the Durham Region.
He also cited Durham Regions growth assessment, which predicts the population and number of jobs in Durham Region will grow significantly by 2031.
“I actually really do believe Durham Region will be growing in jobs and numbers,” Mr. Ballinger said. “It is going to peak in 2031, in the next 14 years I see a lot more jobs coming to Durham Region.”
Ms. Smith-Maxam said, something must be done now to lower youth unemployment, or the issue will only get bigger. Youth don’t have the same opportunities for employment like they did 40 years ago, Lisa said too many university graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Most workplaces require experience in the field for entry level jobs and youth aren’t being given the opportunity to get it.
Depending on the field, TSR Canada helps their clients get internships or the experience they need for the job they are looking for.
“We try to help them get that experience employers are wanting,” Lisa said.
She said they encounter a lot of bright and talented individuals that just need to be pushed in the right direction.
“We have some extremely talented students here and extremely talented youth in general and some of their ideas are phenomenal,” Lisa said. “But they are not reaching their full potential because they aren’t being shown how.”
TSR Canada has worked with kids in grade seven and eight to reinforce the importance of staying in school and working towards a career. The organization then comes back to those kids in grade 11 and 12, to reiterate the message, as they navigate what their future might look like.
Lisa Smith-Maxam hopes to continue to run similar programs moving forward, and would like to see the provincial and municipal governments fund initiatives to employ more youth.
“I think that funding is something that definitely has to be done. We need to pour money into our youth,” Lisa said. “The youth are our future.”
She is finding people are leaving Durham after they graduate, because they can’t find jobs in their field of study.
“Some of our goals are to bring more employers back to Durham,” Lisa said.
TSR Canada hopes the Uxbridge township will be able to provide a venue for a future youth job fair in the coming months. The organization also hopes to work with the provincial and municipal government to lower youth unemployment.
Intern to The Standard
UXBRIDGE: A new trustee has been appointed by the Durham District School Board (DDSB) for Uxbridge and Brock townships after the passing of former trustee, Elinor Hansen.
On April 18th, Gordon Baxter was appointed to fill the vacancy for the position. The board chose to appoint the runner up in the 2014 election instead of spending $40,000 on a by-election.
Mr. Baxter has spent a long-time volunteering with School Committee Councils, during his 40 years living in Uxbridge. He also has prior experience as a DDSB trustee, having worked the 2003-2006 term and has ran in almost every election.
“I am looking forward to going to the schools, meeting the parents or guardians, and helping wherever I can.” Mr. Baxter said. “That’s where my heart is. I like helping people, especially with all the problems and day to day stuff with schools.”
Board Chairperson, Michael Barrett worked with Mr. Baxter during his time as trustee from 2003 to 2006 and says he has been a strong voice for the community.
“He was a strong advocate for making sure the school meets the needs of the community,” Mr. Barrett said.
He is confident Mr. Baxter will be a good fit for the position, because of his time spent volunteering with the board and prior experience as trustee.
“Gordon has always had, and continues to have involvement in his community, whether it’s through the regional school’s community council or through his own community councils,” Mr. Barrett said.
He also feels the transition into the role will be smooth for Mr. Baxter.
“He is certainly going to hit the ground running, because he understands the structure. A lot has changed in the last decade, but he will be able to get up to speed very quickly, as we deal with some very significant issues at the board,” Mr. Barrett said. “I certainly am looking forward to working with Gord,” Mr. Barrett said.
The trustee’s job involves voicing concerns from the community, balancing budgets, creating new programs, and getting funding from the government.
Mr. Baxter hopes to help open a new school in Beaverton during his time as trustee.
SCUGOG: Luxe Beauty Studio in Port Perry offers residents a one stop shop for all of their hair, makeup and photo needs.
The business, located at 141 Perry St., officially opened on Saturday, April 1st, and is owned by Ron and Ashley Prestage.
“My wife (Ashley) has had this idea since she was a teenager. She went to hair school specifically to open a place like this,” Ron Prestage told The Standard. “We do have a full functioning salon in here, a full functioning beauty bar and a full functioning photo studio, but the difference that we have is the way that those things function together. The vision wasn’t just it’s a salon or it’s a makeup shop, but here what we wanted to do was incorporate all three.”
The salon side of the business offers everything a normal salon would do, including cuts, styling, hair colouring, as well as men’s barbering. In the photography studio side, Ron, an award winning photographer, does everything from family shoots, to pet photography, graduation shots, modeling photos and business headshots.
“We also kind of see ourselves as kind of a lounge and hangout,” Ron said. “With the full makeup line being accessible to anybody, and being a try me bar, anybody can come in and just play with it, try different things. Obviously there is the retail side of it, but we just want it to be that kids, women can come in, try different makeup and see what works for them.”
Ron also said they are excited to be a business that carries the R+Co product line.
“We’re the only people in the [Region of Durham] to carry it,” he said.
Luxe also recently held their first kids birthday party.
“We did a 10 year-old’s birthday party where a group of five girls came in and they got fully pampered. They got their hair and makeup done and then we did a photo shoot with them. We put their face on the cover of a mock magazine cover and emailed it to them,” Ron shared.
He also explained why the couple decided to set up the business in Port Perry.
“I grew up in a small town, in Pefferlaw, and my wife, kind of the same thing, but we love the small town feel, so we chose Port Perry as a place to open Luxe because of that. We always would come to the area and the neighbourhood on weekends, because we loved the way that the community and the city supported things in the community. We looked into [Port Perry] specifically, and ended up finding this amazing location.”
The design of the interior of the business reflects the personality of the owners, Ron said.
“I think one of the beautiful things, about the way that it turned out, was that what you see in the space really represents who Ashley and I are. We didn’t want it to feel cluttered and small, we wanted it to feel open and inviting, and that’s really who we are. That’s the important side to it for me is developing relationships with people.”
During the Port Perry BIA’s Diva Night, Ron encourages women to come to the business, as LUXE will be offering free samples, hair styling and makeup touch-ups, and will finish off with some fun in the photo studio.
SCUGOG: The G-Moms of Port Perry are inviting the community to come out to their annual ‘Gala on the Greens’, being held at the Royal Ashburn Golf Club, on Saturday, May 13th.
The fundraising event will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. This year’s guest speaker for the event will be Dr. Michael DeGagne, the seventh President and Vice-Chancellor of Nipissing University. Dr. DeGagne has worked with the federal government in management of Aboriginal programs and as a negotiator of comprehensive claims. He has also served as the founding Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
The event will also feature a marketplace, where people can buy a plethora of unique items, in addition to a silent auction. Some of the items in the silent auction include: airplane and theatre tickets; a week at a cottage; and other special excursions. There will also be a fashion show including a lunch, put on by Jillian’s.
The G-Moms of Port Perry are part of the ‘Grandmother to Grandmother Campaign’, and work in partnership with the Grannies in Africa, who are raising their orphaned grandchildren due to the Aids Pandemic.
Tickets are $75, and can be bought at Royal LePage and Coldwell Banker in Port Perry. For more ticket information, e-mail Marg Webert at email@example.com ail.com
SHIRLEY LOVE Special to The Standard
SCUGOG: Over sixty past members, guests, and present members helped celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Pine Ridge Garden Club, on a cool rainy night.
The Speakers brought a little Spring into the Hall, with their presentation of slides on various species of tulips here and abroad. Refreshments were served, and the most delicious and beautifully decorated cake, supplied by Vos’ Independent, was enjoyed by all.
Our next meeting, on May 2nd, is our “Spring Flower Show”. No matter the weather, our members always surprise us with their entries in the shows.
Speaker for the evening is Dugald Cameron, who will speak on “Climbers and Other Tidbits”. Dugald is a very knowledgeable speaker, and before retirement was the owner of Gardenimport Inc.
Please mark your calendars for one event you won’t want to miss, the Club’s Plant, Bake and Yard Sale, on May 20th, at 8:30 a.m., at the Nestleton Hall. There will be a wide variety of Perennials, Annuals and Vegetables for you to choose from, at a reasonable price. When cleaning out your yards, donations of Perennials would be appreciated. The bake sale is always popular, and there will be a lot to choose from.
Membership in this very popular club is $15.00 for a single and $20.00 for a family.
Please join us at the Nestleton Hall, for 7:30 p.m., on May 2nd, all will be most welcome. For more info. Please contact S. Love, at 905-986-5330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The largest free family fishing day in Ontario, Huck Finn Youth Fishing Day, is set to return to Elgin Pond this weekend.
The 15th annual event will be held on Saturday, April 22nd. People will have a chance to catch one of the hundreds of brook trout that will call the pond home. A parade will kick off the community event, leaving Elgin Park at 9:15 a.m. Children are encouraged to dress up in their best Huck Finn themed outfits and to decorate their wagons and bikes as well, to take part in the parade.
Fishing will begin at 10 a.m. and will run until 1 p.m. All participants have a chance to win a prize. As well, to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, this year there will be a special large fish that will be marked with a Canada 150 tag. If someone catches that fish, they will receive a special prize.
“I think, next to the fair, it is probably the biggest event in Uxbridge, and it’s free,” organizer Pat Higgins told The Standard. “It is really neat to see people coming out year after year.”
He added that the event is something that people mark on their calendars each year.
“People were asking us before Christmas what the date of the event is,” Mr. Higgins said.
Registration ribbons are available at locations across the Township, including Uxbridge Canadian Tire, the Uxbridge Legion, Blue Heron Books, Uxpool, and Presents, Presents, Presents.
The event has been sponsored by Uxbridge Canadian Tire since it started, and has received support from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Township of Uxbridge, the Royal Canadian Legion, the Optimist Club, the Uxbridge B.I.A. , the Pickering Rod and Gun Club, the OFAH, Zone “G”, and the Durham Regional Police.
For more information on the event, contact Pat Higgins at 905 852-3315 or Amanda Ferraro at 905- 852-7831.
Intern to The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: Boys and Girls Club of Kawartha Lakes (BGCKL) have made a difference for youth and parents in the community for the past 47 years.
They work with 8000 kids each year, supplying them with just over 111,000 snacks and 45,000 rides to and from their programs annually.
They offer a variety of services from licensed child care before or after school, to sports programs. As well they offer a subsidization program for families that can’t afford to pay for their services.
The Executive Director of BGCKL, Scott Robertson, says he thinks subsidization is the best way to help low income families.
“A lot of our services are offered at low to no cost to start with and then if families can’t afford the fees we will subsidize them as needed.” Mr. Robertson said, “The approach we use is, what can you afford to pay?”
Mr. Robertson says the club is mainly interested in getting kids involved and out of the house.
“They’re having fun, they are meeting new friends, they’re in the community and not parked in front of a screen all the time,” he said.
They run a lot of different sports and recreation programs for older kids and physical literacy for younger youth.
Through the physical literacy programs, BGCKL are trying to familiarize young children with the basic movements of sports to instill those skills into the kids from a young age.
“If you can engrain the movements early on, it really creates a lot more potential for them to be more active for the rest of their life.” Mr. Robertson says, “It really sets them up to be lifelong participants in sports.”
A former member, volunteer, and current employee of the club, Kyley Stevenson had benefitted from their sports programs in her youth.
“It helped me out with my confidence and got me into sports. I ended up playing basketball at Brock,” Kyley said.
Boys and Girls Club of Kawartha Lake aren’t just working towards fostering a healthier generation of kids. The club is also the leading provider of early intervention and prevention programs, to support physical, mental, educational and social health for young people from infancy to early adulthood.
They offer kids with information about mental health as well as counselling, Mr. Robertson says the focus is targeted prevention.
“We have trained staff in there equip to deal with various issues youth are struggling with,” he says.
“The nice part is the kids come to have lots of fun but if they need some other supports from us or other organizations they are right there as well.”
BGCKL helps kids with homework or any problems they may face at school.
“I struggled at school and I remember them helping me do my homework there. They have a really great staff, that develops strong relationships with the youth,” Kyley said.
The staff becomes very involved and gets to know all the members of the club. She remembers inviting staff to her basketball games and says, “It meant the world seeing them there.”
Mr. Robertson said, “The staff are here because they care about the kids and their families.”
BGCKL was a godsend for Kyley’s parents. Both her parents worked in Toronto which was a 2-hour commute so the before and after school programs benefited them greatly.
“I know it really helped my parents out, knowing we were going to a good place,” Kyley said.
Parents from Lindsay and surrounding areas, living in low income families wouldn’t have a place to send their kids if BGCKL didn’t exist, according to Mr. Robertson. The Kawartha Lakes location is close to 50 years old now, and took a long time to get where it is today.
Over the years BGCKL has offered local opportunities for leadership which provides youth with good life skills that can transfer into the workplace later in life.
“They are better equip to be good employees for local business,” Mr. Roberson said.
This is just one of the ways BGCKL positively impacts the economy.
“We are a big employer here in the community. We employ about 120 staff,” Mr. Robertson said.
BGCKL has a 3-million-dollar annual budget that is almost all spent locally, right in the community.
BGCKL has also built many attractions for visitors in the area. They recently finished building a beach volleyball complex and are in the process of building a basketball court and a new playfield. Future projects include a splash pad and skateboard park.
“The beach volleyball courts, the skateboard park, and the splash pad are going to attract visitors to the community and boost the economy with more folks buying lunch’s, shopping, and doing things while they are here in town.”
Through fundraising Boys and Girls Club of Canada raise about a quarter million dollars each year, to help with subsidizing and operational costs.
BGCKL has made a positive impact on the community and economy since starting in 1970. According to the Boys and Girls Club of Canada, 69 per cent of alumni say their involvement in the club “saved their life.”
Intern to The Standard
SCUGOG: Many seniors slow down as they get into their seventies or eighties, but a 94-year old man from Port Perry is staying active.
Ted Burns is a Second World War veteran, who still lives at home in Port Perry, almost completely independent. He is also active in the community and says he likes to keep moving.
“Stay active. Don’t sit around lying in bed all day,” says Burns.
Burns is part of Canada’s aging population, which is quickly approaching the five million mark. The current growth rate for seniors is double the rate of growth for the rest of Canada.
There are more Canadians 65 and older than those who are 15 and younger, according to Statistics Canada, meaning more than one out of six people living in Canada are 65 or older.
His daughter, Micheline Hill-Burns, says he’s making an effort to stay active and involved.
“He has stayed active, he’s made sure he’s kept involved in the church, and his community,” she says.
He still drives his own vehicle and passed a driving test for re-examination in January.
Driving is important to Burns, as it gets him to and from his church, Immaculate Conception, four to five days a week.
He helps Father Marco Testa as an altar server during the week and helps with the collections on the weekend. As well, Burns has served as a Eucharistic minister for the past 25 years.
This isn’t his only involvement in the church. He also runs the euchre club, which typically brings in 20 to 30 people.
“He even picks up other seniors on his way to cards,” says Ms. Hill-Burns.
The veteran has helped the Knights of Columbus with it’s Remembrance Day ceremony for 20 years now.
“We came up here [to Port Perry] in ‘96 or ’97. I did the first one for the Knights, and have done it every year ever since,” says Burns.
According to his daughter, he still gets his own groceries, makes his own meals, and does most of the housework.
“He’s positive and a good role model for everyone, very gentle and kind,” she says.
Up until four or five years ago he was completely independent. These days, he receives help shovelling his driveway and cutting his grass.
Burns remains incredibly healthy and active for someone of his age but he still enjoys a shot of rye and ginger ale every day before dinner.
He said he is going to try to come out to the Remembrance Day service again this year, and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.
Intern to The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Anyone with extra pairs of shoes, that they would like to donate to a good cause, are asked to contact Jenny Alexander.
She is collecting shoes, from the Uxbridge community and surrounding areas, to donate to less fortunate families living in Cuba.
Jenny vacations in Cuba, sometimes two or three times a year. While she is in Cuba she likes to bring down things like clothes and toiletries for those in need.
“They are always exceptionally grateful for anything we give them,” she said.
Jenny got the idea of bringing shoes down, after learning from a waiter at her resort how expensive shoes are in Cuba, specifically Cayo Largo, the island in Cuba where she stays.
“This is the first time I reached out to the community and the response has been incredible. I have quite a few bags of shoes to sort through.”
After posting, in the “Sandford Community” Facebook group, how she is collecting shoes, before her trip to Cuba on May 5th, she received an overwhelming response.
She received nearly 40 pairs of shoes a few days after reaching out to the community, and posting to the Facebook group.
“I will take any type of shoes, but predominately, I would like to take down children’s shoes,” she said. “A pair of shoes last them only 6 months because they grow out of them so quickly.”
“Shoes for Cuba” is a solo venture, Jenny came up with independently. If this visit goes well, she would like to expand the project to get different communities involved to make an even bigger impact.
“I am very grateful for the people that donate. It is something that, if it works out, I would like to do more and make a bigger thing, and get more people involved from different areas,” she said.
If anyone is interested in donating shoes to Cuba, they can email Jenny, at Jenny.Alexander.email@example.com, and she would be happy to give them to a family in need.