UXBRIDGE: The Uxbridge Jumpstart chapter had another successful year in 2018.
At a meeting, on Monday, April 15th, local Canadian Tire Uxbridge owner Pat Higgins, along with Amanda Ferraro and Hunter Jarvis, presented council with an update on the chapter’s accomplishments.
In 2018, Uxbridge Jumpstart funded $77,201 in programs and registrations, assisting over 1,840 kids and families. Jumpstart helps kids participate in sports and activities by providing them funding,
“It was just a great year,” Mr. Higgins said. “Pretty phenomenal numbers for a town this size.”
The Uxbridge Jumpstart chapter is one of the most active, on a per capita basis, in Canada.
“A typical town our size would be funding somewhere in the area of $7,000 or $8,000, compared to our $77,000, and would be helping maybe 100 kids and families. We have a very, very active chapter here,” Mr. Higgins explained.
Jumpstart Uxbridge is funded by the Gary Roberts and Friends golf tournament, fundraising at the Uxbridge Canadian Tire store, and donations from local charity organizations.
“The best part is that 100 per cent of the money raised in Uxbridge stays in Uxbridge,” Ms. Ferraro said.
Jumpstart Uxbridge will be holding their fifth annual Jumpstart Games, at the Uxbridge Arena on July 19th, which is a free event for kids.
“Some staple activities [at Jumpstart Games] are wheelchair basketball, tennis, seated volleyball, noodle hockey, obstacle courses, [and] the big parachute,” Ms. Jarvis explained, adding the Toronto Raptors’ mascot attended last year’s event.
Jumpstart Uxbridge also provides yoga programs, at Uxbridge Secondary School and local elementary schools.
“There’s a lot of people in need in Uxbridge,” Mr. Higgins said.
Since 2005, Jumpstart Uxbridge has contributed over $453,000 to the Uxbridge community, helping over 6,500 kids.
Special to The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: With warmer weather finally on the way this week, the spring season for local high school sports will be heating up in North Durham, as LOSSA regular season action gets underway for most sports.
Girls rugby is first out of the gate, on Wednesday, April 24th, with the Junior and Senior teams in action for Port Perry and Uxbridge. Starting at 2 p.m., Uxbridge will host a doubleheader against Ajax, while the Rebels will trek to Pickering for the season-opening matches.
The Tigers and Rebels will both be looking for strong seasons, with two entires, the local league granted to the OFSAA provincial championships, to be held in Clarington in early June. Uxbridge claimed bronze medals at last year’s OFSAA championship.
Boys rugby is part of a busy Friday, April 26th, with the Tigers travelling to Donald Wilson SS in Whitby, and the Rebels playing host to Ajax, in Port Perry.
The co-ed ultimate frisbee season also starts on Friday, with Uxbridge at Dunbarton in Pickering for a doubleheader against the host Spartans and Pickering HS. The team from Port Perry will be in Courtice to take on Anderson (Whitby) and Pereyma (Oshawa).
Closing out a busy Friday is the first of four LOSSA Mountain Biking events, all of which are held in Uxbridge Township, at Skytop, with the races getting started at 2 p.m.
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Despite the allure of playoff hockey, Goodwood residents gathered at the community hall, last Wednesday night, to discuss appealing Uxbridge Township Council’s decision to allow a grain mill on agricultural land near the village.
The clock is ticking for the group, as they must notify the township by May 6th, to have the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) hear their case. The request for appeal must come from a resident or a corporation and must be accompanied by payment of a $300 fee for each reason for objection.
At the hall, the newly-formed Goodwood Conservation Association (GCA) handed out mill-related fire risk information and collected names and email addresses. More importantly, they polled residents on their appetite for contributing money for the many costs associated with an appeal.
Acting as host, Mark Josephs took to the microphone and assured residents the meeting would be over by 8:30 pm. He asked the GCA’s David O’Leary to present information on the hazards associated with grain processing mills and related fire protection requirements. Mr. O’Leary did so, adding, his personal experience with local fire protection, and steps he’s taken to protect his home, to his well-researched presentation.
Next up was Conrad Richter, whose business lies east of the proposed grain mill. Mr. Richter has been spearheading research into the mill’s effects on the area. Following the change in allowed uses of his neighbour’s land, Mr. Richter has focused on learning about LPAT and the appeal process.
Richter told the crowd the LPAT is so new, having replaced the Ontario Municipal Board in 2017, the lawyers and planning professionals don’t have a lot of experience with the new appeal process. He reviewed the steps and timing, as he understood it, and concluded the group should try to raise a minimum of $10,000 “to get rolling” and expect to be involved in the action for about a year.
Not everyone in the hall was sure if the April 8th land use decision was being appealed, as some GCA executive members said it was; while funding levels seemed to be a consideration in whether someone would pay the fee and set the process in motion. It became clear an appeal would be launched, but not the basis for the action or the person or entity pulling the trigger.
Mark Josephs brought the official part of the meeting to a close, at 8:27 p.m., as promised. The Township of Uxbridge will have worthy opponents in this well-organized and focused group of residents, who clearly care about their community.
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
Over the past few years, large-scale farming has changed the look of the countryside. In this fourth article in a series, The Standard looks at the practice of burying plastic tubing in farm fields, known as tile drainage, to aid in surface water drainage.
Motorists capable of looking away from the road, while driving through rural areas of Durham Region and the City of Kawartha Lakes, may have noticed fresh, black lines of disturbed earth on the surface of farm fields. Spaced anywhere from 25 to 100 feet apart, the marks indicate a subsurface drainage system has been installed.
Aimed at removing excess surface water from the root zone as quickly as possible, and usually consisting of continuous plastic tubing, measuring about five inches across, the first systems buried consecutive pieces of four-inch round or horseshoe-shaped clay pipes, thus the name “tile drainage.”
Tile drainage systems are installed on poorly drained land, by licensed drainage contractors, and the practice itself is given considerable attention by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Considered a farming “Best Management Practice” (BMP), land is considered “improved” with drainage installed.
Durham Region seems to agree with OMAFRA. Currently reviewing its tree-cutting bylaw, the Region will allow farmers to cut as many trees as needed in order to install tile drainage systems.
Design considerations must account for the soil type, such as clay, sand, loam, and peat, and for topography, gravity, crop types, climate, and a place to send the drainage water, usually a ditch. Once these factors are considered, the depth, spacing, and pipe size can be calculated. All installations are mapped by the contractor and submitted to OMAFRA. However, a drainage system must have its outlets kept clear and the pipes kept free of tree roots, in order to prevent malfunction.
Farmers can apply to their municipality for a “tile loan,” featuring 10-year terms and annual repayments, and may be worth up to 75% of the project costs. The provincial government sets the interest rate, which is fixed for the full term of the loan. The municipality inspects the installation and then liaises between the landowner and OMAFRA, acting as the banker.
According to OMAFRA, “The benefits of tile drainage for crop productivity, farm efficiency, and even for reducing environmental impacts have been studied and are generally well known to farmers.” Crops don’t do well when they are under water and farm machinery can access the land sooner when it drains quickly. Expensive fertilizers and pesticides stay within reach of the roots when applied to dry land and are not as likely to migrate to wetlands and streams.
Conservation authorities, universities, environmental groups and farmer-led organizations have had the topic of nutrient loss and aquatic ecosystems in their sights for many years. One study, published in 1989 by Environment Ontario, made use of the early personal computers to record the impacts of tile drainage.
By 2009, more than 80% of some North American catchment basins may have been drained by tiles and surface ditches, said a study published in Critical Review in Environmental Science and Technology. The abstract noted, natural channels were being straightened and deepened, affecting aquatic habitat, connectivity, sediment dynamics and nutrient cycling.
An Associate Professor in University of Waterloo’s Geography and Environmental Management department, Merrin Macrae, supervises graduate students in subjects, including: agricultural water quality; agricultural tile drainage; and nutrients, revealing an ongoing interest in the subjects by the scientific community.
David Malcolm, who wrote a letter to The Standard expressing his concern about the changes to farm fields in Scugog Township, is clearly not alone in his concern about the negative effects of tile drainage on streams, lakes and wetlands.
With climate change and increasing population levels pressuring rural lands, “business as usual” needs a second look. Now, monitoring all kinds of activity can be seen as a best practice.
AgScape, the voice of agriculture in the classroom for Ontario, has hired Glenna Banda as its new Executive Director. A native of Saskatchewan, Glenna has been Executive Director of The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington (CFGW), for the past nine years. An Environmental Science graduate of the University of Guelph, Glenna lives in Guelph and is an active volunteer and the co-founder of the Southern Ontario Amazing Race. As the Executive Director at CFGW, Glenna tripled fund raising revenue by developing diverse fund raising plans and creating a culture of philanthropy that has inspired staff, volunteers and the community, and resulted in the CFGW being named One of Canada’s Top Children’s Charities by Financial Post Magazine.
“We’re thrilled Glenna has agreed to join AgScape as Executive Director,” says Audrie Bouwmeester, Chair of AgScape’s Board of Directors and Dairy Education Programs Manager, at Dairy Farmers of Ontario. “Glenna impressed our panel with her demonstrated leadership skills and her proven ability to thrive in a non-profit environment.”
“Joining the AgScape team feels like coming home,” said Glenna Banda. “Having grown up in rural Saskatchewan, I feel a real connection to what AgScape does and I am eager to help ensure its ongoing sustainability and success.” She added: “With the support of AgScape’s Board and staff, we will build on the amazing impact AgScape has already demonstrated with its innovative, science based approach to teaching students about agriculture and food.”
Glenna Banda starts in her new role as Executive Director, AgScape on May 8th.
AgScape is a charitable organization providing reliable and balanced resources to Ontario schools on agriculture, food production, environmental sustainability and related topics. AgScape, formerly OAFE, was created in 1991 with the mission of building awareness and understanding of the importance of our agriculture and food system. For more information, visit www.agscape.ca, follow us on Twitter @AgScapeON, Instagram @AgScape_ON like us on Facebook.com/AgScapeON
DURHAM: More than 1,100 Grade 3 students from across Durham Region attended Durham Farm Connections, an educational program that meets Ontario curriculum requirements and allows students to be a farmer for a day.
The three-day event, held April 2nd to 4th at Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin, included live animal displays and hands-on demonstrations by local farmers. This involved dairy, beef, poultry, sheep, maple syrup, vegetables, apples and crop stations. A Durham Region farmer was at each station, to speak with students and answer their questions.
“For 14 years, Durham Farm Connections has provided interactive opportunities, for students and residents to learn about local agriculture in Durham Region,” said Brian Bridgeman, Commissioner of Economic Development and Planning. “Each year the program does an amazing job at showcasing the value of agriculture in our community and the local economy.”
As part of the program, an Open House event was held on April 3rd. This collaborative opportunity allowed the general public to learn about agriculture in Durham Region, as well as get a first-hand look at local farming. With more than 975 individuals in attendance, the program was able to contribute 680 kilograms of food to the local food bank.
“The Durham Farm Connections volunteer committee delivers a quality, interactive program. We would like to thank all 120 volunteers for their effort and dedication to this program. We are also grateful for the support from our local school boards, sponsors, and agricultural organizations,” said Nancy Rutherford, Manager of Economic Development, Agricultural and Rural Affairs.
The Durham Farm Connections program provides agricultural education opportunities, for both farm and non-farm communities in Durham Region. It has been recognized with an Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-food Innovation Excellence, as well as a Watershed Award from the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA). Durham Farm Connections is also the 2018 recipient of the Farm & Food Care Champion Award.
Durham Farm Connections also organizes an annual High School Program, aligned with the Grade 9, 11 and 12 science curriculums, and focuses on agricultural research and technology.
To learn more information, visit durhamfarmconnections.ca.
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: Back in the year 2000, Kathleen Holmes and her mother, Eileen, worked from home, covering furniture with soft padding and durable fabric, as part of an established upholstery business. Her step-father, Roly Carr, and her business partner, Erma Burkhart, also lived on the 25-acre Salem Road farm, housing horses and a few chickens as well.
One day, Kathleen wrote to an alpaca breeder, asking for information about the camel-like animals she’d seen in the pages of Harrowsmith, a country lifestyle magazine. Only imported to Canada from South America since 1988, the alpaca is a gentle herd animal whose fleece is non-allergenic, soft, warm and durable.
With the letter sent, Kathleen and the other 363 Salem Road residents went on vacation. In Harrison Hot Springs, BC, Kathleen found herself in front of bulletin board featuring an article about a nearby alpaca farm. A visit was arranged and after a few hours in the company of the fuzzy cuties, Kathleen was in love with the huacaya alpaca.
She thought about the alpacas on the long drive home to Manilla, “and when we got home, I still couldn’t shake what it was like to be around these animals.” The huacaya alpaca looks more like a Teddy bear than the less-popular Suri breed, whose hair hangs in longer cords.
Her stepfather sensed something was bothering Kathleen, and when he heard she was thinking about alpacas, he told her to go find some. “I found a farm within a few hours of us, went to visit, and within a few weeks I owned alpacas!”
Three adult females and two babies arrived that September. Two females were pregnant, and the crias, the name for Alpaca babies, would be born in the spring. It was supposed to be a hobby.
In 2002, Kathleen used her needlework skills and fabric knowledge to create Salem’s first alpaca-fleece-filled duvet. Now she sells 200 light-weight, warm, breathable and non-allergenic duvets a year, and has trouble keeping up with demand.
Named after the road, Salem Alpacas was one of the early breeders in Ontario. Their breeding program produced champions for both fleece and physical structure, known as confirmation, and the women helped found the provincial alpaca association. It didn’t take long to reach a herd size of 40 animals.
As word of Salem’s quality stock spread, city dwellers started buying animals and keeping them at the farm. At one time, there were 70 animals on 25 acres and there wasn’t enough room for Salem’s breeding program to expand.
Kathleen began to feel unwell. Thinking mouldy furniture sent by antique dealers for reupholstering might be causing the symptoms, she set aside those types of repairs. Despite the change in work, symptoms persisted.
After testing and treatment, Kathleen began to feel better but didn’t have the energy to look after her aging mother, run th5e upholstery business, and manage the farm. She decided to gradually shift to full-time farming.
With Salem Alpacas receiving most of her attention, Kathleen provided farm services, educational seminars, craft workshops, and tours. Erma, friends, and family helped with shearing. The little farm succeeded in meeting her revenue goals.
As a result of promoting alpaca fibre at shows and events, demand increased for its soft clothing and toys, and a store was added at the farm.
After 19 years, Kathleen still loves alpacas. She says you can think of them as being rather like cats; they’re curious and they like to think it’s their own idea to do something. They are great pets and can be housed in a three-sided shed in a field, fenced with two-inch by four-inch grid wire, at least five feet high.
If you're interested in alpaca farming, three is a good number to keep. Three female alpacas led Kathleen and Erma to a home-based business, centred around really cute animals, managed by two gals closing in on retirement age. Careful, though, because three can quickly become 70. They are hard to resist.
CLAUDIA SYTSMA The Standard
When your home or business is under attack from fire, flooding or heavy winds, it is imperative an immediate response is taken, to effectively minimize damage to your valuables and assets.
Rainbow International Restoration is a “firetruck ready” service, on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing the speedy, effective, and certified professional attention required. Jim and Brenda Howard, owners of Rainbow International Restoration-Oshawa, have the equipment, know how, and contacts with all other service providers, to ensure there will be an immediate and coordinated effort for all emergency calls affecting your property. This will give you peace of mind, and help you to move forward, as the company states, “Happily, Even after.”
Rainbow International Restoration was founded 38 years ago in the United States, and has now expanded into 8 countries, partnering with top emergency response organizations, and working with all insurance companies, to help their clients with their restoration.
Brenda Howard said, “we are set apart from other companies by our code of values, which we refer to as RICH. R is for respect, I is for integrity, C is for customer focus, and H is for having fun in the process. Every day before we begin work, we review these values with our staff and we discuss their importance. My husband, Jim, and I are Christians, and we feel that the values that this company adheres to aligns very well with our own values. We care about the people we provide service for, and they are treated as if they were family. We go the extra mile for everyone, because when we respond to a call, we know that our customers are facing a very difficult situation.”
Just recently, Jim and Brenda were called by a client in distress, as a tide of water began encroaching on his barn threatening to flood and damage 25 antique cars being stored there. Immediately, they knew what to do, and enlisted the help of Martyn's Mini Hoe Services, who arrived shortly, and dug trenches around the barn, saving the cars. In another instance, an office in Oshawa was seriously damaged by smoke, caused from a fire in the stairwell of the building, and was uninhabitable, seriously affecting the business' ability to continue operations which threatened its viability. But within three days, Jim and Brenda, coordinating with other services, restored the office, and all 100 employees were able to return to their jobs.
Brenda Howard explained,“we can respond to so many other different challenges for home and business restorations, such as: mould remediation; odour removal; cleaning services inside and out; trauma cleanup; damage caused from high winds, utilizing cranes for tree removal; reconstruction of buildings; and response to floods from internal leaking pipes or external waters flowing in; or sewage backup. We have also worked with many real estate agents to prepare and upgrade homes for the marketplace.”
Megan McCalmont recently experienced an emergency situation, when her home began flooding, for the first time in 17 years, because of the spring snow melt. Water came rushing down a hill, located nearby, and flowed into her basement window creating a waterfall, also washing across her electrical panel. Megan said, “I panicked, and called a friend who called Rainbow (International Restoration) and they were here within a half an hour. They brought pumps out immediately, and reassured me that they could take care of what was happening. I was not well at the time, and Jim and Brenda told me to rest, and that they would take care of everything. They brought in other people, and the cleanup was done within days. I was so sick during this time, and couldn't eat and I remember I told Brenda that I was really craving a strawberry milkshake from McDonalds. Well, the next day, Brenda made arrangements, and the milkshake was delivered to me, along with some flowers. They took care of me, and took very good care of all my valuables in my home as if it were their own. I can't say enough about how much better they made everything work out.”
To find out more about Jim and Brenda Howard's Rainbow International Restoration-Oshawa, which provides service throughout Durham Region and the Kawartha Lakes, you can call (905) 266-2884, or go to their website, at www.rainbowintl.com/oshawa. There is also information on Facebook, at Rainbow International Restoration.
KAWARTHA LAKES: Members of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) and the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) held a constructive meeting with their federal counterparts, on April 18th, as part of ongoing advocacy efforts, to advance priority projects for Eastern Ontario, and dialogue with the federal government on issues of interest.
Co-hosted by both EOWC Chair Andy Letham, Mayor of Kawartha Lakes, and Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Francis Drouin, this meeting is an annual gathering of Federal MPs and the heads of Council from across the region. Members of the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus, representing the region’s large cities, were also present to advocate alongside the EOWC and EORN.
“On behalf of the EOWC and its partners, I would like to thank our Federal MPs for their presence and interest in our region’s growth and development,” stated Chair Letham. “Most of all, we recognize their ongoing commitment to the EOWC’s number-one priority, being the improvement and expansion of the cellular and mobile broadband networks in Eastern Ontario, and we look forward to achieving this goal together in the coming year.”
The EOWC also used the opportunity to welcome the federal government’s financial commitment to local government, in Canada’s 2019 Budget, released last month. The budget consisted of a much-needed increase in funding for rural municipal priorities, aligned with the EOWC, including affordable housing, rural broadband, energy efficiency and infrastructure investment. Among them are:
A one-time $2.2 billion top-up to the Federal Gas Tax Fund, doubling funding to municipal governments this year;
A $2.7-billion investment for rural and northern broadband expansion, with the objective of connecting all Canadians to high-speed internet by 2030;
An additional $1 billion to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), to help municipalities invest in energy efficiency, including $350 million for grants and loans for large public buildings and $300 million to improve energy efficiency within sustainable affordable housing; and funding initiatives to help increase housing affordability, including the expansion of the Rental Housing Construction Finance Incentive, to provide low interest loans for affordable rental construction projects.
For more information, please visit www.eowc.org.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Ontario Progressive Conservative government unveiled their first provincial budget, on Thursday, April 11th. Following the budget release, Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy spoke to The Standard about his thoughts on the budget. “I’m very pleased. It was important for us to have a budget that was responsible and pragmatic,” he said.
The Ontario government has a plan to balance the budget by 2023-2024. Mr. Bethlenfalvy explained that 2023-2024 is the exact right time to see balance in the budget.
“We saw it as the Goldilocks budget. If we went too soon, that wouldn’t be right, if we went too long that also wouldn’t be right. I think we got it just right,” he said.
MPP Bethlenfalvy mentioned free dental care for low-income seniors and the government’s childcare tax credit as a couple of the pieces of this budget he’s proud of. The childcare tax credit is for families who have total incomes of up to $150,000. “Families could receive up to $6,000 per child under seven, up to $3,750 per child between the ages of seven and 16, and up to $8,250 per child with a severe disability,” read a press release from the Ontario government.
The Ontario government is also changing rules regarding alcohol in the province, such as allowing municipalities the ability to decide whether they will allow people to drink in parks, and letting licensed businesses serve alcohol starting at 9 a.m., rather than the previous 11 a.m. start.
“Ontarians want choice and Ontarians are responsible in the choices they make,” MPP. Bethlenfalvy said.
The government also decided to change the licence plate design, a change Mr. Bethlenfalvy said will “save taxpayers a lot of money.”
Mr. Bethlenfalvy told The Standard the government also followed through with their promise not to “raise one penny of tax.”