DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: With a crowd of local business representatives, tourism partners, Scugog council members and the Durham Regional Chair in attendance, the Township of Scugog launched their new tourism website at the Scugog Memorial Public Library on Thursday, May 16.
“The northern municipalities have so many wonderful and unique experiences to choose from. The tourism industry is growing, and has a far-reaching economic impact, employing Canadians across the country. We acknowledge the great importance of tourism as an economic driver,” Mayor Bobbie Drew told those in attendance.
The site, www.scugogtourism.ca, features information about the Township’s history, information on where people can go to eat and drink or go to find bed and breakfasts or hotels, a listing of community events, information on outdoor locations people can check out and locations for people to go to shop.
“The website is going to be seasonal, so right now we are showing our spring, summer best foot forward. It’s been designed to attract the demographic of the folks that are coming to visit,” Scugog’s communications manager Lori Bowers explained.
Durham Regional Chair John Henry said this website is a great way for Scugog to market everything the area has to offer.
“What an amazing story this community has, and now we have an opportunity to sell that story not only within the Region, but throughout Ontario,” he said.
DURHAM: Cathy was hired by the Durham Regional Police Service on September 10th, 1990. She began her career as a uniform officer in the City of Oshawa. While in that position she identified her passion towards investigations but more specifically towards seeking a position within the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit (SAU). She was awarded a position in SAU, in September 1999.
These types of crimes can be horrific and life changing for many however she knew she possessed the ability to help and empower these survivors towards a path of healing. To this day, Cathy has developed relationships and maintained connections to many of those who she supported.
While in SAU, Cathy built strong relationships with many community partners and identified proactive opportunities to teach and educate children. One such example was the development of a program for grade eight students which educated them on dating, sexual consent, confidence and empowerment. This program was delivered throughout the Region.
Cathy spent over three plus years in SAU, and was eventually promoted to Sergeant.
The DRPS identified her passion when it came to the advocacy work she had done, and assigned her as their first Domestic Violence Coordinator.
While in that role, Cathy and her partner identified an opportunity to improve the life of survivors and their children; they designed and implemented (D.R.I.V.E.N) Durham Region Intimate-relationship Violence Empowerment Network. This program identified gaps within the community and allowed services to work together to better support survivors, including children.
Cathy’s career continued and she was promoted to Staff Sergeant. While in that role she mentored and coached many members, especially those who had a focus towards investigations and community wellness. She was in a position to provide opportunities, and support many members, to develop programs to help the lives of vulnerable persons within the community. She has always embraced and provided emphasis on relationship building and breaking down the silos. Some of the programs she has been involved in are: Gowns for Girls, Ontario Shores Mental Health committee, Special Olympics as well as local and provincial training to first responders on Sexual Assault, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence investigations. Cathy always included child advocacy within all of the training services and support she provided. Many of these events and training opportunities were done on her own time. Her passion is infectious and her heart is worn on her sleeve.
After many years, Cathy was promoted to an executive position within the DRPS as an Inspector. She is currently leading the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Unit (DEI).
Cathy has been able to connect many cultural partners, community members and DRPS members together, which has promoted a better understanding of our differences as well as recognizing our commonalities. She continues to inspire and empower youth within our community to be the change. Through her work as a DEI leader, she is positively contributing towards the wellness of our communities through, respect, kindness, understanding and empowerment for ALL.
Congratulations Cathy, we are so fortunate to have you here in Durham.
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
An error message blinking on his solar electric tractor’s dash panel means Tony Neale will be connecting its battery management system to his computer. Well, once the cord arrives from the Mendocino, California manufacturer, he will.
“I expected with a prototype that we’d be doing some of this,” acknowledges the Brock Township vegetable grower. “This” is working through the kinks of being an early adopter of electric battery technology. The 30 horsepower (hp) Solectrac brand tractor rolled off a flatbed truck at his Sunderland-area Wheelbarrow Farm last August.
Tony is willing to farm with a prototype because he likes his blue tractor’s benefits: Power for the battery comes from solar panels on his land, the torque provided by the electric motor is instant and superior to the internal combustion engine, and the tractor doesn’t produce engine noise or exhaust fumes. “The user experience is amazing!”
Neale says the larger electric vehicle market will perfect the battery management system before the tractor manufacturers do. “There’s no stopping it now. They will outperform in every single manner, but they don’t just yet.”
According to Solectrac, his tractor’s advanced lithium battery will provide four to eight hours of run time, charge to 80% in three hours, and the electric motor is 95% efficient.
For vegetable farming, 30 hp suits Neale. For larger farms, German tractor maker Fendt’s e100 Vario puts out 68 hp and recharges to 80% power in 40 minutes. John Deere’s prototype SESAM (Sustainable Energy Supply for Agricultural Machinery) electric tractor will be based on a JD 6R and will provide 174 hp.
Independence from fossil fuels is important to Tony and he also prefers to avoid contact with banks. When it came time to finance the new tractor, he said he’d rather pay interest to friends and customers. One and five-year bonds, with a four percent rate of return, were issued and, along with a Greenbelt Foundation grant, they provided the funds.
2019 will be Wheelbarrow Farm’s first complete season with the new tractor onsite, but Tony has lived at the Durham Road 13 location since 2008, when he made another alternative financing agreement, that time with his father, Ken.
The elder Neale was looking for a house within commuting distance of northern York Region, and Tony, newly returned from an apprentice farming stint, was in the grip of “Farm Fever”. He wanted a farm. Ken caved in and bought ten acres with a ten-year contract in place: Tony would pay rent and Ken wouldn’t sell the farm until 2018.
For a young man studying history and political science, and working in restaurants before he became interested in gardening, country life was a big shock. Despite the huge learning curve, he now grows produce without using synthetic fertilizer or black plastic mulch. Lots of labour, use of cover crops, and well-timed planting limits chemical pest control and water use on the farm.
Full-time staff and farm apprentices grow vegetables, perennials, flowers, and fruit and nut trees. Long-time friends Debbie Kinoshita and Garrett Maxfield helped Tony buy the land from his father in 2018, bringing much-needed marketing and finance skills to the business, including a unique Market Buyers Club that allows customers to pre-pay.
As field manager, Tony is kept busy supervising staff, attending Toronto farmers’ markets, delivering weekly produce shares, and selling at the farm Friday through Sunday. Wheelbarrow Farm has two annual projects: they plant 100 trees and donate 1,000 pounds of produce to not-for-profit organizations and foodbanks.
Tony uses sustainable agricultural methods, but relates to his neighbouring ‘conventional’ farmers. “There’s no real divide between us. They see that I’m out in the field, I see that they’re out in the fields. We talk about our different struggles, but we’re both farmers.”
Perhaps, before too long, those neighbours will replace their diesel-powered tractors with quiet, solar electric versions, making conversations easier to hear and making the divide even smaller.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The second annual Port Perry Walk for Dog Guides will be held this Sunday, May 26th.
After a successful first year, last year, organizers are looking to see more success this year.
“We blew our numbers last year. Our goal was $2,614, and 40 walkers,” Organizer Ivo Finotti said at a council meeting in March. “We ended up with $10,131 and 142 walkers. According to the Lions foundation, this was the best ever first walk.”
This year, organizers have a fund raising goal of $15,000.
Registration will begin in Palmer Park at 10 a.m. and the walk will start at 11 a.m. Dogs are welcome at the walk, but people do not need to have a dog to participate.
For more information, visit www.walkfordogguides.com.
BROCK: In recognition of Seniors’ Month, members of the public are invited to attend a community picnic and wellness day on the grounds of Lakeview Manor in Beaverton.
The event will be held on Saturday, June 1st, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lakeview Manor, 133 Main Street West, Beaverton
Activities will include a barbecue; a rummage sale; children’s games; free face painting and caricatures; and musical entertainment from a local band. In addition, Party Parrot Entertainment will be on site, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., and Zoo to You will be on site, from noon to 1 p.m. There will also be Wellness displays, with representatives from the health-care community available to provide information and answer questions related to health-care matters.
Seniors’ Month is recognized via an official proclamation made by John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer, on behalf of Durham Regional Council.
The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility promotes Seniors’ Month every June to recognize the valuable contributions made by seniors in communities across the province. For more information about Seniors’ Month, please visit Ontario.ca/SeniorsMonth.
Brock Community Health Centre is a partner in this event.
Lakeview Manor, one of the Region’s four long-term care homes, is located on 13 acres in the Township of Brock. It offers 149 beds, including two areas for short-term stays and two Adult Day programs (one at Lakeview Manor, and the second at Lakeridge Health in Port Perry). For additional details about the Region’s long-term care homes, please visit durham.ca.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
DURHAM: Hundreds of jobs at General Motors Canada’s (GM) Oshawa plant will be saved because of a $170 million investment the company is making in the site to transition it from vehicle production to stamping, sub-assembly and testing of autonomous and advanced technology vehicles.
The “Transformation Agreement” was announced on Wednesday, May 8th, and is expected to save 300 jobs, with more jobs possibly added in the coming years.
As well as stamping and sub-assembly, part of the property, at the southern end of the plant, will be converted into a test track for autonomous vehicles.
“We are very happy to hear that GM Canada will continue to be a part of Durham’s innovative tech cluster with plans that include converting part of the Oshawa Plant into a test track for autonomous and advanced technology vehicles. GM has made it clear they intend to grow and maintain the integrity of their operations in Durham Region. These plans will further our ability to support an autonomous vehicle industry cluster in Durham Region,” Durham Regional Chair John Henry said, in a statement released to The Standard. “Durham is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada with a diverse and skilled labour force, affordable real estate, extensive transportation network, and world-renowned research facilities. We will continue to work with our partners in all levels of government, post-secondary institutions and stakeholders to support residents during this transition.”
GM had announced in late November they were planning to close the plant at the end of 2019. However, because the facility will now remain open as result of the transition deal, Jerry Dias, Unifor National President, is pleased.
“By maintaining a footprint in Oshawa, and keeping the plant intact, we save hundreds of jobs and this gives us the ability to build and create new jobs in the future. We are in a much better position than we were five months ago when the plant was closing,” he said, in a press release.
Scugog Mayor Bobbie Drew feels this agreement is good for the entirety of Durham Region. “It sounds like it’s good news for Oshawa and then for Durham Region as well, because what’s good for one of our municipalities is good for all of us. It’s good to have people back to work, and it sounds like there’ll be good jobs and that’s all wonderful news,” she told The Standard.
In an email statement to The Standard, Uxbridge Mayor Dave Barton said he thinks this deal is great for Durham’s economy.
“I was pleased to hear the news of reinvestment in GM’s Oshawa location. These 300 direct jobs will help fuel our economy and keep more of our Durham Regional families secure in the coming years. I am also happy to hear that GM is reinvesting in engineering and testing in Durham Region. The technology in our vehicles is changing quickly. We must leverage our skilled workforce to keep these types of investments coming, which will bring more high paying jobs to Durham Region,” he said.
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
UXBRIDGE: After much consideration, Uxbridge councillors asked Township staff to prepare a report on re-zoning, the value, and the costs of preparing parklands for sale.
The previous council adopted an extensive Parks Master Plan in March of 2018 and included recommendations to sell five properties deemed excess to the town’s recreation requirements. One property, the ball diamond located west of the Brock Street arena, has already been sold.
At the May 13th council meeting, attention centered on a parkette, on the north side of King Street, between Balsam and Beech streets, which has been on the block several times. Residents usually object, and they shelve the plans.
Both Clerk Debbie Leroux and Parks Manager Bob Ferguson submitted reports concerning the park, with Ferguson noting that it needs trees thinned, retaining walls repaired and upgrades to playground equipment.
Council listened intently as CAO Ingrid Svelnis advised them to consider preparing for the sale of other lands while looking at the King Street property, reminding them it needs to be done in order to advance the Fields of Uxbridge plan.
Parkland includes two sites on Joseph Street, south of Mill Street, which is a visual part of Elgin Park; the south end of Herrema Fields, and Uxpool’s site at One Parkside Drive.
Council agreed with Ms. Svelnis when passing the motion.
KAWARTHA LAKES: Monday May 20th, Local MP Jamie Schmale announced $949,494 in funding, to 115 different employers across the riding, to create 289 summer jobs for young workers this summer.
Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) helps youth aged 15-30 gain the skills and experience they will need to be successful now and in the future. CSJ provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.
“Canada Summer Jobs program will allow us to help young Canadians with the skills and experience they need to get jobs,” stated Schmale. “These summer jobs in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock will help young people, employers and our local economy.”
“I would like to congratulate all of the local employers who successfully received funding on their applications through the Canada Summer Jobs program,” added Schmale. “This program is an asset not only to our riding and youth, but right across our country as well.”
SCUGOG: A handgun was used in a home-invasion style robbery on Wednesday, May 15th.
According to Durham Regional Police, at about 7:10 p.m., North Division officers were called to a residence on Old Simcoe Road near Paxton Street in Port Perry regarding a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle. They received, while units were responding, a second call for service, this time a home invasion-style robbery involving a handgun.
The investigation revealed three teens (2 males and 1 female) attended the address to purchase cannabis. While in the residence, the two male teens grabbed a quantity of cannabis and ran out of the home without paying. The male selling the cannabis and his girlfriend ran after the two as they entered a vehicle in the driveway. One suspect then produced a handgun and pointed it at the male to make good their escape.
The girlfriend of the victim climbed onto the hood of the vehicle as the suspects drove off. She held on for about 230 metres before the vehicle slowed down and she let go and slid off. She received only minor injuries.
Police have stated that no one was injured, and the investigation is ongoing. They also advise the suspects to contact a lawyer and turn themselves in. Anyone with more information is being asked to contact Det. McArthur of the North Division Criminal Investigation Bureau at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 2677. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Mayor Dave Barton and Regional Councillor Gord Highet voted, alongside their north Durham neighbours, in favour of a Durham Regional Council motion, resolving to “advise the Government of Canada that it supports, in principle, the development of an airport on the dedicated federal lands in the City of Pickering” at the April 24th meeting, in Whitby. The motion passed, with 21 in favour and six opposed.
The motion was introduced by Pickering Mayor David Ryan, under Other Business, and did not appear on Regional Council’s published agenda, catching long-time airport objectors, Land Over Landings, by surprise. The group called the motion “a farce” on their Facebook page.
Prior to the vote, Clarington Councillor Joe Neal attempted to table the main motion to the next Council meeting. Uxbridge’s representatives were two of nine Regional Councillors who voted in favour of the request.
Commenting to Uxbridge Council, at the administration committee meeting on May 6th, Regional Councillor Highet stressed the “in principle” portion of the motion and noted he said Pickering is tired of the airport issue and needs a decision. “Pretending nothing will happen, ever, that’s wrong,” said Highet, adding, if the airport isn’t built, “let the farmers move back.”
Mayor Dave Barton also emphasized the need for a decision, but cut short his explanation, saying, he will be releasing a statement soon.
During question period, both Councillor Highet and Mayor Barton reminded attendees they don’t represent Uxbridge at Regional Council. Highet concluded, “We act in the best interest of all of Durham Region.”