DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Lucy Maud Montgomery Society of Ontario is hoping to see a large turnout at this year’s Gardens of Uxbridge tour.
The 23rd annual tour, and third one put on by the Montgomery society, will be held next Saturday, June 22nd, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The tour will run rain or shine.
“We've got eight gardens again this year. Two of them are in Sandford, two of them are north of Leaksdale and the rest are in the town of Uxbridge,” organizer Barb Pratt told The Standard.
Ms. Pratt said organizing the tour every year makes sense for the local society.
“Lucy Maud Montgomery was an avid gardener herself, so it makes sense that we are running this tour in her name,” she said.
Ms. Pratt also explained why she believes people should take part in this tour.
“If you are a gardener, you can learn lots of new techniques from other gardeners. You can see garden designs, some professional, some amateur. And, who doesn't want to walk through beautiful gardens?” she said.
During the day, people are encouraged to stop at the historic Leaskdale Church for tea and scones, which is included in the ticket price.
Tickets are $25, and can be bought at Blue Heron Books and Tin Mill Restaurant in Uxbridge, Luke’s Country Store in Port Perry, Kate’s Garden in Markham or online at www.gardensofuxbridge.org. The day of the tour, people who bought tickets are to bring their ticket receipt to Shobrook Gardens to receive their tour passport.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Uxbridge Tennis Club will have to wait their turn for construction of tennis courts at the Fields of Uxbridge, located north of Uxbridge on Main Street.
Experiencing court-time shortages, the club proposed using in-kind donations of gravel and excavating services, to construct a base for four new courts in 2019. The club believed, once the base had settled, construction could begin in 2020.
The parks committee of council met on June 3rd and agreed with Parks Manager Bob Ferguson’s recommendations: the club should have full funding in place for the $250,000 project, and construction should be delayed until the size of the Aquatics Centre is finalized.
He also asked that care be taken when starting to bump projects ahead of schedule, writing: “it ultimately bounces a planned project back from its original schedule… All projects are considered to be time sensitive, and we must do our due diligence, to make sure that we are not making mistakes on the land space we are working with.”
The club’s recent deputation stated, it was seeking $150,000 in Trillium Grant funding, plus other donations. Ferguson calculated a shortfall of $73,000 for the project and concluded it couldn’t proceed, since township funds were budgeted for 2023.
Mayor Dave Barton agreed with Parks Manager Ferguson the timing wasn’t right, adding: “If we can get a head start (on a project) to get solid infrastructure ahead of time, I agree with that; however, we can’t have them start tearing up the Fields of Uxbridge ahead of getting the funds.”
Mr. Ferguson agreed with the concept of allowing for the maximum size of an Aquatic Centre, in order to progress with other projects, noting the baseball diamond project was stalled and waiting for the same information, but urged council to follow the Master Plan.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Scugog council recognized their crossing guards for the work they do and honoured township staff for their years of service, at a meeting on Monday, June 3rd.
Several township crossing guards were in attendance at the meeting. Scugog Mayor Bobbie Drew said she appreciates the role crossing guards play in the township.
“They are there in all kinds of weather and early hours. It’s hard to accomplish anything else in the day when you are a crossing guard. We just want to recognize and appreciate, on behalf of myself and council, and certainly the community at large, all of the work you do in keeping our most vulnerable citizens alive and well and safe,” she said.
Council also awarded their 2019 employee service awards:
Dave Pentland was recognized for 35 years of service, while Tracy Wright was honoured for 30 years of service; Cameron Gordon was recognized for 15 years of service, and Sandra Frey was honoured for 10 years of service; Kim Cox and Mackenzie Lane were both recognized for five years of service.
Mayor Drew also received recognition for her 15 years of service to the township.
“It gives me great pleasure to recognize our Mayor Bobbie Drew on 15 years of valuable service to the Township of Scugog,” CAO Paul Allore said. “Mayor Drew did two terms as ward councillor, two terms as regional councillor and is now our mayor.”
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The proposed Aquatic Centre, slated for construction at the Fields of Uxbridge in 2022, had Uxbridge Council’s attention during the June 3rd Parks Committee meeting and at a special Debt Financing 101 presentation.
Amanda Ferraro’s report stated, “in order to be ‘shovel-ready’ for any upcoming grants, we should be moving forward on construction drawings” and she said the first step would see staff and stakeholders reviewing the 2013 design for a six-lane pool and additional therapy / children’s pool.
Ms. Ferraro, Uxbridge’s Director of Community Services, told the Committee the design needs its numbers (costs) updated “at a high level, to have a good idea of what we’re moving toward,” and proposed updating other plans, as well.
“I really don’t want to open this up to new ideas, as it might make us start all over again,” she said. “The responsible option was six lanes and a therapy pool … An indoor track was $2.5 million in the day, and was eliminated.”
Regional Councillor Gord Highet was concerned about the cost of adding two more lanes to the six-lane pool design, something the local swim team and avid lane swimmers have wished for. He noted, Uxbridge’s aging population is looking forward to the warmer waters of the therapy pool. Ms. Ferraro agreed: “With eight lanes, two lanes could be open all day, but with seniors and preschoolers in the therapy pool, it leaves room for lane swimming. It’s (eight lanes) a want versus a need.”
Continuing to respond to Highet’s costing concerns, Director Ferraro said there could be cost savings due to advanced technologies, “but staffing costs don’t change,” and with a bigger facility, more personnel would be required and that cost wouldn’t change over time. The current pool’s operating costs are $235,000 per year.
The Committee agreed to spend $4,000 to update the concept design, investigate the additional two lanes and a walking track, and determine the siting of the building at the Fields of Uxbridge.
Councillor Garrod’s request, for a dedicated meeting about the pool, was included in the approved motion. “It’s the showpiece of the Fields of Uxbridge. Let’s get it done. Then we can go on with the Master Plan.” Both the ball diamond and tennis court projects are awaiting site plan requirements for the aquatic centre.
Following a brief lunch break, Treasurer Donna Condon presented Council with information regarding debt financing. The Treasurer's presentation included a slide, outlining ways of financing the project “over time, to ‘soften’ the impact”.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: A Scugog man in his 40s has been charged with careless driving after a vehicle accident occurred in Port Perry on Tuesday, June 4th.
Before 5 p.m., a Toyota Prius collided with a dump truck at the intersection of Reach St. and Old Simcoe Rd. A six year-old boy was airlifted to a hospital in Toronto with serious injuries.
As of press time, Durham police say the boy is currently in stable condition. The boy was a passenger in the Prius. The driver of the Prius was charged with careless driving.
MARISSA CAMBELL Special to The Standard
DURHAM: Durham District School Board (DDSB) celebrates literacy, Canadian authors and kids reading at the 19th Annual Durham Forest of Reading Celebration
On May 13, approximately 1000 students from the DDSB and Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) attended the Ontario Library Association (OLA) Forest of Reading Celebration at Ontario Tech University (formerly UOIT). The event capped off a year’s worth of reading, as students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 pledged to read 10 books and then vote for their favourites.
The Forest of Reading program is run by the OLA for schools and public libraries across the province and encourages a love of reading. In Durham, the year-end celebration marked the 19th collaboration between DDSB, DCDSB and Teacher Librarians from both school boards. Thirteen Canadian OLA authors attended the event and winning books make up the Silver Birch and Red Maple program for 2018/2019.
DDSB Libraries, Innovative Education Facilitator Richard Reid wants students to recognize the value of literacy, the value and importance of reading and the diverse array of material available in the program.
“Kids are reading everything from comic books to non-fiction books that will spark their wonder and curiosity,” says Reid. “There’s a wealth of culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy in the books selected as well, so kids will see their voice represented in the material.”
Success in literacy
Kevin Sylvester, author of The Almost Epic Squad: Mucus Mayhem and winner of the 2019 Durham Silver Birch Award in Fiction loves the annual event. “The thing that blows me away is the numbers — the amount of kids who are interested in a reading event,” says Sylvester. “It isn’t about celebrating ‘straight As’ or excellence in school, it’s about celebrating reading a book you liked. It’s about participating in an activity where you get to read for fun, debate the books and then pick your favourites.”
While Durham celebrated with their winners, 50,000 other students from across the province were celebrating at the same time. Winning authors then attended the culminating event in Toronto where they awaited the results of the province-wide vote. But as Sylvester notes, “It’s not about winning, it’s about reading.”
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Edward Jones Investments, in Port Perry, is looking to educate Oshawa GM employees on their options moving forward.
The company will be holding a seminar on annuities at their office, at 183 Casimir St., Unit 1, in Port Perry, on Tuesday, June 18th at 7 p.m.
The GM plant in Oshawa is set to end vehicle production by the end of this year, and despite a “Transformation Agreement” being reached recently, to transition the site to stamping, sub-assembly and testing of autonomous and advanced technology vehicles, only 300 of the around 2,600 jobs will be retained.
Speakers at the event will be Financial Advisor Michael Stewart of Edward Jones and Brad Worden of Sun Life Financial.
Michael Stewart has been with Edward Jones since 2007.
Seating is limited, so those interested are asked to RSVP to Marilynne, by calling 905-985-6282.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Uxbridge community will be celebrating one of their residents, a World War 2 veteran, with a parade and ceremony this week.
This Thursday, June 6th, a parade and ceremony will be held in Uxbridge, to both recognize the 75th anniversary of D-Day and to recognize Fred Barnard, a veteran who landed on Juno Beach with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, in the first wave of assault.
“Over the years, Fred Barnard has attended many remembrance related events at Uxbridge Secondary School and in the community. As Fred has not been able to get out to school and community events lately, where we try to honour and thank all of our veterans, we wanted to bring the event to him! We wanted to take the opportunity, on this, the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, to say thank you and let him know that We Will Remember,” organizer Tish MacDonald told The Standard.
She also spoke about what it was like to get to know Mr. Barnard.
“I first met Fred 10 years ago, when hosting a remembrance event at Uxbridge Secondary School with our Vimy 2010 students. Past Legion President, Jack Ballinger, brought Fred over, and that was the first time I met him. Fred was quiet and humble, and at that point in time had rarely talked about his wartime service. Fred continued to come to remembrance events at Uxbridge Secondary School (USS) after that, and I am very thankful that so many of our USS Vimy Remembrance Tour students have had the opportunity to learn the story of service of both Fred and his brother Don over the years,” Ms. MacDonald said.
The parade will begin at 7 p.m., on Campbell Drive and will run from house number 35 to house number 17. Participants in the parade are expected to include: Uxbridge Legion Pipes and Drums, Uxbridge Legion and Colour Party, Uxbridge Fire and Colour Party, Uxbridge Scouts, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada representatives, and local veterans. Following the parade, there will be a brief ceremony, at 7:10 p.m., at 21 Campbell Drive.
“As the number of Second World War veterans is quickly decreasing, we must take every opportunity that we can to acknowledge their service, to honour and thank them, and to let them know that We Will Remember,” Ms. MacDonald said.
For more information, contact Ms. MacDonald at 905-649-0180.
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Simon Nasr is a true believer in the benefits of medical cannabis, after seeing how the product helped his brother-in-law cope with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Now he wants to bring the “real science and testing of cannabis” currently being done in Israel, to Uxbridge; however, local by-laws are too restrictive, and he visited Uxbridge Council on May 27th, to test their openness to change.
Telling Council his company, Northern Spirits Biosciences Group, wants to grow their own cannabis, in order to provide its researchers with standardized product for research and development purposes, Mr. Nasr said, By-Law 2016-63’s restriction of marijuana farms to 100 acres, makes turning his ten-acre 5560 Highway 47 property into a Canadian hub for cannabis innovation impossible.
During his presentation, Mr. Nasr showed Council a satellite view of the property and explained he has come to an agreement with abutting land-owner Wayne Buckingham on driveway access. Pointing out a 3,000 square foot facility, which is currently used for growing personal-use cannabis, Simon Nasr said, Northern Spirits plans to add a 20,000 square foot building in Phase 2.
Responding to Councillor Beach’s statements, regarding existing complaints from neighbours about odours, Simon pointed to the map and said the barn is 250 feet away from other buildings and “R & D will work with powders and distillates”.
Councillor Ruona wondered at the timing of Northern Biosciences entry into the cannabis market: “Aren’t you late to the party?” he asked. Mr. Nasr replied, his company was not interested in supplying plants to consumers, instead it is seeking a micro-licence for 1,000 square feet, allowing them to test product strengths.
Mr. Nasr, who explained he’d already been in contact with Township staff on the issue, emphasized his experience with highly-regulated environments, his brother-in-law’s law enforcement experience, and assured Council of the firm’s focus on creating reliable, consistent product strains for the manufacture of beverages and edibles.
Township Planning Consultant, Elizabeth Howson, advised Mr. Nasr to bring forward a zoning by-law application for his site, instead of asking for a review of the township-wide by-law.
Mayor Barton stated, he was “pro-business”, and then expressed concerns about criminal activity, odours, and traffic associated with other Uxbridge cannabis growing sites. He advised Mr. Nasr saying, “be aware of those and decide if you want to move forward, or not”.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Scugog council received an update on their dog park project at a meeting on Monday, June 3rd.
At the meeting, councillors saw a report from Carol Coleman, Scugog’s Director of Public Works, Parks and Recreation, which provided information on the results of the survey, a proposed design for the dog park and the next steps for the project.
In April, the Township put out a survey for residents to provide their input on the project. Ms. Coleman’s report stated the top three things people felt were most important for the design of an off-leash dog park is that it “be fully fenced, that there be parking [and] that there be shade.”
The survey also found a majority of respondents “agreed with the proposed location”, which the report states is “the wooded area next to Cawkers Creek between the Carolyn Best Ball Diamonds and the Scugog Soccer Fields” off of Old Simcoe Rd.
A total of 177 surveys were completed, according to the report.
In her report, Ms. Coleman wrote Township staff met with the president of the Port Perry Snowmobile Club during this process, and the “president indicated that there are already a number of people that use this trail to walk dogs and that he didn’t feel there would be any issues with sharing the trails.”
Regarding the proposed design, Ms. Coleman’s report states the design includes a fenced-in area of about one hectare in size, which is the same size as the Uxbridge Off-Leash dog park. The design also includes double entry gates at southwest and northeast corners, grass walkways, “clearing a larger area for dogs to run”, signage with the rules of the park and a garbage bin at one of the entrances.
The Township’s next steps, according to Ms. Coleman, are to follow up with agencies to find out if there is any environmental work required, proceed with making improvements to the Carolyn Best parking lot, prepare a request for quotations for the fencing and signage for the park, and then the Township expects to construct the park this fall.
“It is expected that both the construction of the dog park and improvements to the Carolyn Best Ball Diamonds parking lot can be completed within the approved budget of $45,000,” Ms. Coleman’s report read.
Ward 4 Councillor Deborah Kiezebrink asked Ms. Coleman when she expects to have the final rules for the park come before council.
“Staff will be reviewing those a bit more, and coming up with finalized rules. We don’t want to have excessive amounts of rules, but we also want to make sure that all the people are protected. As for timeframe, we can circulate a draft to council before we print the sign,” Ms. Coleman responded.
Ward 5 Councillor Lance Brown questioned if the Township would be liable for one dog attacking another at the park.
“The park is a public place, so any aggression between dogs, any issues of that sort would go to animal control,” Denise Stephenson, a Scugog bylaw officer, said. “No more [liability] than if someone was walking down the street, or in Palmer Park, or anywhere else.”
Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido said this park will be beneficial for Scugog residents.
“For those that are in town that have a smaller property, or they just want the opportunity to socialize their dog with other dogs, this is a great benefit,” she said.
Council later voted to endorse Ms. Coleman’s report.