DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: A motion to change the speed limit on township roads that are part of the Durham Cycling Route to 60 km per hour was debated by councillors at their meeting on Monday, Nov. 16.
The motion, which was brought up by Ward 1 Councillor Betty Somerville, would include portions of Ashburn Rd., Marsh Hill Rd., Scugog Line 6 and Medd Rd. Councillor Somerville said the reason she made the motion was to ensure the route was safer for all who travel it.
“I’ve had a lot of complaints about (parts of the route) being 50 kilometres. People are passing people and it’s just unsafe,” she said.
Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back questioned why the municipality would want to alter the speed limit on Ashburn Rd. for the second time since September.
“We changed it from 70 to 50 and got new signs and now we want to change it again?” she asked.
Scugog Director of Public Works and Parks Glen Smith tried to clarify the intention of the motion.
“I think the logic of this motion is the speed is 50 on Asburn and 70 on Marsh Hill Rd., so we are not consistent all the way through,” Mr. Smith explained, adding that the township does have an inventory of signs if the speed limit were to change.
Ward 4 Councillor Wilma Wotten wondered if there was any piece of legislation that said cycling routes should change their speeds.
Scugog’s engineering technician Lori Fox responded, saying that there is a provincial plan that has studied what speeds should be on cycling routes.
“There is not an actual law for that, but there is a cycling plan that the provincial government has undertaken, and it does say that cycling routes can go on roads up to 80 km per hour,” she said.
However, the motion was later referred back to township staff to talk to Durham Trails as well as other municipalities on speed limit consistencies across Durham. The motion has been tentatively set to return to council on Monday, Dec. 14.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Dave Barton is the newest member of Uxbridge Council after winning the Ward 3 by-election on Monday, Nov. 23.
Mr. Barton emerged victorious from the field of eight candidates when unofiicial results became available just after 8 p.m. on Monday, taking 27.1 per cent of the vote (355 ballots). There was a 100-vote margin between Mr. Barton and runner-up Dave Granic.
John Haddock finished in third place with 198 votes, followed by Lynn Klages with 144. Ted Eng’s 105 votes were good for fifth place, Bob Harrison was not far behind with 92 votes, with Mike Whiston’s 82 votes and Bev Northeast’s 79 rounding out the crowded field in what was believed to be the most contested municipal election in Uxbridge’s history.
“I knew I had the skills to win, but I was up against seven great candidates,” Mr. Barton told The Standard. “I worked very hard during the campaign, knocking on every door. Right up to the last minute, I was out meeting with residents. There were some houses I went back to four times before I was finally able to meet with someone.”
There will be little time for Mr. Barton to savour his victory however, as he will be sworn in and begin his new role as Ward 3 Councillor at council’s next meeting, on the evening of Monday, Nov. 30. He pledged that his hard work on the campaign trail will continue over the next three years as a councillor.
“There’s a lot to do, especially with the budget coming up and gravel pit issues on Wagg and Old Stouffville Rd.,” added Mr. Barton. “It’s not daunting, and I’m more than up to the task. I’m looking forward to assisting council as much as I can, and being a strong voice for Ward 3. The budget will be a bit of baptism by fire. It’s important to do everything we can to look at where every dime is going, because every dime belongs to the residents of Uxbridge.”
More than 54 per cent of eligible Ward 3 voters cast a ballot in the by-election, which was carried out to fill the position on Council previously occupied by Pat Mikuse, who passed away in July. Mr. Barton noted the impressive legacy she leaves behind as he prepares to represent the residents of Ward 3.
“Pat was an amazing councillor and did great service for residents, returning every call and listening to their concerns. It’ll be a tough act to follow, because she was so passionate about this town.”
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The public is invited to have their say in the municipal budget process at a special open house being held next week.
Prior to the council meeting on the evening of Monday, Nov. 30, the township will be hosting a special Public Budget Open House inside Council Chambers, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
According to a press release from the municipality, the event will give local residents an opportunity to meet with members of Council and Staff to discuss/comment on proposed future Operating budgets and Capital projects. This will be an informal session with no formal presentations being made.
Councillors have been busy this week meeting with municipal department heads to pre-review budgets ahead of the public presentations that will take place next month.
There are currently four deliberation sessions scheduled in December for the 2016 municipal budget which will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 8, Thursday, Dec. 10, Tuesday, Dec. 15 and Thursday, Dec. 17 starting at 1 p.m. at Town Hall, located at 51 Toronto St. South.
Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy, Chair of the Finance Committee commented that although there are always challenges when dealing with the budget, he’s confident in the abilities of township staff and his fellow councillors.
“Although we’ve got the new fire hall started, there’s still some big demands for funding. Be it the downtown culvert or accessibility upgrades to Elgin Park,” he told The Standard. “Our asset management plan is working very well. These challenges aren’t insurmountable, we can do it.”
If residents would like further information on the Municipal Budget process, they are encouraged to contact Treasurer Donna Condon at 905-852-9181, ext. 210.
SHIRLEY LOVE Special to The Standard
SCUGOG: Members and guests were quite amazed at the wonderful Christmas arrangements that were made and demonstrated by the instructor at our most recent meeting.
On Oct. 8, Pine Ridge Garden Club was very pleased to present a bursary of $500 to Roscoe Fisher, who has graduated from Port Perry High School to attend Sir Sanford Fleming College to study Fish and Wildlife Technology. We were told that Roscoe is an “awesome kid” and we wish him well in his future academic endeavours.
On Oct. 29, some members met at the Port Perry Nursing Home for the Club's annual Hallowe'en party. This was a very ‘spooktacular’ evening with members dressing up in various costumes. Entertainment and snacks were provided by the club and it is very gratifying to see how much the residents enjoyed themselves.
The Club’s November meeting was membership night and if you didn't get a chance to renew that evening, you can still renew at the December meeting. The cost to join is $15 for a single or $20 for a family membership. For this you get ten exciting and informative meetings with very knowledgeable speakers on a variety of outdoor topics.
Our next meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and is our annual family pot-luck supper. This evening is also our
Annual General Meeting, with election of Officers, as well as the Club’s Awards Night. In addition, there will be entertainment, with Liz Austen joining us to perform a selection of Christmas songs. There will also be a special Christmas Craft sale featuring items made by those talented members of the Club.
Please plan on joining us at 6:30 p.m. at the Nestleton Community Centre, located 3967 Hwy. 7A, in Nestleton. For more information on the Club, call 905-986-5330 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The 2015 edition of the Uxbridge Community Toy Drive officially kicked off on Friday, Nov. 13, in the hopes of making the Holiday season bright for everyone in Uxbridge.
“Believe it or not, there are a lot of people in Uxbridge who need help. It seems to be growing every year and we’re working with more and more groups that need assistance. This is a local effort, and we guarantee that 100 per cent of the toys we collect will stay right here in Uxbridge Township,” Canadian Tire owner Pat Higgins, one of the organizers of the Toy Drive told The Standard.
Mr. Higgins added that he was thrilled with the efforts of the community last year, as Uxbridge rallied to donate more than 2,200 toys and $3,500 in cash donations.
The Toy Drive van, which has once again been generously provided by Williamson Uxbridge will be hitting the streets this week, and those attending the Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, Nov. 21 are encouraged to bring along a new, unwrapped toy to help fill the van.
As well, toys can be dropped off at numerous locations around Uxbridge including: Canadian Tire, Zehrs, M&Ms, Walmart, McDonald’s, Little Acorn, and all Uxbridge Bruins home games.
On Friday, Nov. 11, the Bruins will be hosting their annual ‘Teddy Bear Toss Night’ when they take on the Port Perry MoJacks at 7:45 p.m. in a ‘Battle of North Durham’ at the Bear Den. When the Bruins score their first goal of the night, fans are encouraged to wrap a new teddy bear and toss them onto the ice. The Bruins are hoping to top the 101 bears donated last season.
The Toy Drive is often in need of gifts for teens and infants. A full wish list can be found through the Toy Drive’s web site at www.uxbridgetoydrive. com, as well as the Toy Drive’s Facebook page.
To ensure that there is time for volunteers to be able to collect, sort and distribute toys in time for Christmas, donations are encouraged to be in by Friday, Dec. 18, although donations will be accepted right up until stores close on Christmas Eve.
It takes the work of many people to make sure the Toy Drive is successful every year, and several community groups lend their time every year. If you are interested in volunteering to assist with this year’s Toy Drive, please register at www. uxbridgetoydrive. com.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The township’s plan to provide high speed internet to Scugog Island took another step forward on Monday, Nov. 16, as councillors learned that the project will cost the municipality less than originally expected.
At their regular Monday meeting, council approved a motion to apply for a debenture from the Region of Durham for $5,650,866 for the project, repealing an earlier expression of interest to the Region for a debenture of $7,100,000 after costs of the project were reworked.
The new debenture would pay $750,000 in short term debt financing over a five year term, as well as a little over $3,000,000 in long term debt financing over 20 years, beginning in March 2016 and over $1,800,000 over twenty years effective as of January 2017.
Ward 4 Councillor Wilma Wotten questioned how the township could repay the debenture if the project doesn’t “go the way (council) wants it to by 2017,” the year that the project is forecasted to start receiving revenue.
Treasurer Trena Debruijn responded by saying that there are measures built into the debenture to alleviate the risk.
“The debenture is broken up into multiple parts, so if it wasn’t proceeding down the road that we were hoping it would, we could make a decision not to take out the next debenture,” she said. “Secondly, if it doesn’t go down the road that we want, not a lot of the equipment will need to be purchased.”
As well as the debenture, council also pre-approved the budget item in the amount of $6,355,166, and will continue discussions on the matter during their upcoming 2016 municipal budget deliberations.
Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew questioned whether council had enough information to commit to the next step of the high-speed internet project for Scugog Island.
“When is the drop dead time to say either yay or nay? If it is tonight, then I’m not ready,” she said. “There is a great deal of discomfort with going into debt.”
Mayor Tom Rowett clarified, saying that this project is meant to “stand on its own two legs and provide alternative revenue sources to go towards areas such as the roads.”
Councillor Drew later said that she is not “against progress or against change,” but that she just wanted to know from township staff when the last “off ramp is” before the point of no return.
Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett referenced a point in Port Perry’s history to make a point that the township must stay current.
“Around 1908 was the first Port Perry municipal services. Keep in mind, it is progress and sometimes we need to make a decision to stay with the times,” commented Councillor Kett, Scugog Island’s representative on council.
As well, the township is currently working to set up a public information session for residents to be informed and offer their opinions on the project. Tentatively targeting Thursday, Nov. 26 as the date for the session. More information on the session, once it is scheduled, will be made available to residents through the township’s web site at www.scugog.ca.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The future of Uxbridge Cottage Hospital got a healthy diagnosis earlier this week, when plans were unveiled to transform the site into a local health hub.
As Markham-Stouffville Hospital President and CEO JoAnne Marr explained to councillors at their Monday, Nov. 16 meeting, the concept of a health hub will be explored for the site, beginning later this year.
“The hospital is near and dear to many; we know that,” Ms. Marr explained. “A local health hub would bring together a number of health, social and community services.”
She added that the concept of a health hub has helped to transform a number of rural community hospitals across the province, such as in Campbellford, Hanover and Sioux Lookout to ensure they remain vibrant active and centres for the community. The consultation process is expected to begin later this year, with public input on what types of services are most desired by local residents from a health hub.
“We want to make sure that we have our facts straight, and we want to know what you want to see and what is most valuable to the community,” added Ms. Marr.
It was also noted by Ms. Marr that the process of converting to a local health hub can take as long as ten years, and warned that in the hospital’s current state, an infusion of capital may be needed beyond the next five years, with the nearly 60-year-old hospital beginning to show its age.
Cottage Hospital is currently operating with 20 beds, but Ms. Marr stated that it has been proposed in the 2016 budget to increase the allotment at the hospital to its full capacity of 25 beds “to alleviate some pressures in the community.”
The concept of a local health hub was enthusiastically endorsed by councillors.
“The hospital has served this community very well and for that to continue, we need to rise to the challenge explained here today,” commented Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor.
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger expressed concern over a possible lack of beds. However, Ms. Marr was confident that they would remain as the hospital underwent its transformation into a local health hub.
“It contains them now, so it would likely contain them in the future. I can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be maintained, or even expanded,” replied Ms. Marr.
Mayor O’Connor added the suggestion of working with Durham Region to explore social services and long-term care partnership opportunities, noting that the nearest social services office is located in Port Perry.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The proposed addition of a PumpPark to the Uxbridge Rotary Skatepark will be getting another push next week.
A public information meeting regarding the project is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., at the Uxbridge Arena Hall, located at 271 Brock St. West. This is an excellent opportunity for community members of all ages to be involved in the project, which is currently undertaking the process of forming a Committee of Council to move forward with this proposed addition to the Uxbridge Rotary Skatepark.
In September, Rotary Club member Stephen Snoddon and Brent Lunn of the Optimist Club presented their idea of adding a hard surface PumpPark, directly connected to the existing Uxbridge Rotary Skatepark to councillors, who were very enthusiastic in endorsing the idea.
As the pair explained, the idea had originally been floated in 2012, but had been shelved until recently, due to the ongoing maintenance that a dirt course would require.
This year, the idea came back to the forefront in the wake of several hard surface pump parks being built in Europe and other areas of Canada, including Brockville, Ontario.
A PumpPark course features a progressive design with an assortment of bumps, which would make it an ideal fitness option for BMX cyclists, skateboarders, scooters and in-line skaters of all ages and skill levels. As well, an additional objective of the PumpPark project is to have the facility directly connected to the Uxbridge Trail network.
“(PumpPark riding) is a phenomenon, it’s just exploding,” Mr. Snoddon explained. He also added that the addition would act as a draw for more users, both from within Uxbridge and beyond.
“Adding a PumpPark would greatly expand the usage and demographics of that park. If we were to build it big enough, it would create a destination for people well beyond this town,” added Mr. Snoddon.
The total cost of the project was pegged by the pair at approximately $350,000, with the Rotary Club expected to commit $75,000 and an additional $25,000 from another project partner. Another $100,000 would come from community fundraising and other initiatives, with the balance of funds contributed from an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant.
Councillors were very enthusiastic about the idea, and will further discuss funding for the project during upcoming 2016 municipal budget deliberations.
“I think something like this would be wonderful,” commented Mayor Gerri-Lynn O’Connor. “I think we could do something really fantastic for this town. This is very, very exciting and I think it’s something we should be contributing to through the budget process in 2016.”
Mr. Snoddon was hopeful that the Trillium grant application can be submitted next spring, with construction beginning later in the year.
Attendees to the symposium on Nov. 18 will have an opportunity to learn about the progression of the genre from early BMX parks to today's state-of-the-art hard surface, multi-use PumpParks.
In a press release, organizers add that it is important for the project to be a collaborative effort, and noted that it is important that the Committee of Council be representative of a wide range of future users of the facility and other members of the broader community.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: A plan to use dredging to clean up Lake Scugog recently received an endorsement from councillors.
The plan was presented to council at their Monday, Nov. 2 meeting by Rob Messervey, the Chief Administrative Officer of the Kawartha Conservation Authority. The two-part project would see dredging start on a section of the Port Perry Bay in front of Palmer Park, and then later move to the Port Perry Boat Launch. The Healthy Lake Scugog Working Group estimated that about 67,500 cubic metres of organic material would be removed from the bottom of the lake through dredging.
Mr. Messervey added that the material will be placed on “key areas along the shoreline.” Areas in front of the Marina and the Scugog Memorial Library would be separate from the plan as they are currently serviced by a weed harvester.
“We have a tremendous opportunity with this project, and in so many ways, not just locally, but I would suggest regionally as well,” Mr. Messervey told council, adding that there are numerous economic
benefits to the proposal.
He also said that this project would improve the environment of the lake for fish and water fowl. The next step for the working group will be to find a consultant, through a request for proposal process, that will handle the design and costs for the project.
As well as an endorsement, council will also consider municipal funding in the 2016 budget once the costs have been clarified.
Ward 2 Councillor Guido questioned how often the lake should have to be dredged.
Mr. Messervey responded, saying that “it’s not going to be a regular requirement.” He also added that the work may have an impact on the lake’s fish stock for a short period of time, but that they will come back to a “more productive habitat.”
The working group estimates that the first phase of the project could start in late 2016, or in 2017 if all goes according to plan.
KAWARTHA LAKES: In Eastern Ontario, deer are the most active from October to January. Their increased activity can mean greater risk of animal collisions on the road. The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group, a home and auto insurance company focused on clients throughout Eastern Ontario, have launched their very first “Steer Clear of Deer’ campaign. The goal is to help local drivers remember to look out and drive with caution throughout deer season.
The campaign consists of media outreach for awareness as well as the creation of a free Steer Clear of Deer car kit. The kit includes; deer whistles to help warn off deer (to be mounted on a vehicle), a removable dashboard sticker (to keep deer avoidance on the minds of drivers) and a card with instructions of how to avoid (and if need be) handle deer collisions.
Last year, the Commonwell processed 165 animal impact claims totalling more than $825,000 in injuries and damages. 70 per cent of the claims were in the Lindsay region alone.
“As we shift from fall to winter driving conditions, drivers can be more focussed on the road beneath
them than in front of them,” said Tim Shauf, President and CEO of the Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group. “We all prepare for the winter with snow tires and take caution in bad weather, but its easy to forget there’s also increased animal activity. The kits are our way to help drivers remember to stay alert and steer clear of deer.”
A limited number of Steer Clear of Deer kits are available at regional Commonwell offices in Lindsay, at 336 Angeline St. S.
Steer Clear of Deer Tips (Featured in the kit):
1. Buckle up and Take it Slow
Driving within the speed limit gives you more time to react and could give you the time you need to stop and avoid a collision.
2. Expect company
If you see one deer, look for its buddies, they rarely travel alone. Deer typically travel single file.
3. Expect the unexpected
Deer are wild animals and can be extremely unpredictable. Don’t assume that they will stay out of your way. Slow down and cautiously drive past.
4. Honk away
If a deer is getting close to the road, honk your horn a few times to ward it off. This may be just enough noise to keep it from crossing the road.
5. Stay alert at dawn and dusk
Deer are most active between dusk and dawn. Be extra cautious driving during these times.