DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The annual Heritage Days Festival returns to the Uxbridge-Scott Museum grounds this weekend, offering visitors the chance to experience life in the 19th century through an assortment of interactive displays.
The event, which is now in its 43rd year in the community, and was formerly known as Steam Threshing Days, runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24, and features fun for the whole family in this celebration of Uxbridge's heritage and history.
All buildings at the museum will be open for Heritage Days and there will be displays and demonstrations all weekend, including a Kids Zone featuring many events, crafts, races and games.
As well, new this year is Re/Max hot air balloon rides on Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon, for a donation of a toonie towards the Historical Society.
Attendees can also pick up a Festival Passport and take part in a scavenger hunt around the museum grounds to learn about local history and win prizes.
New this year at Heritage Days is the King Brewery Beer & Cider Garden, which will also allow visitors the chance enjoy live entertainment at the Gazebo.
On Sunday, an Interdenominational Service will be held on the grounds at the Fifth Line Church, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Also, on Sunday, there will be a cake cutting ceremony at 1 p.m., with the Uxbridge Legion Pipes and Drums playing to honour Veterans. As well, visitors can take in the 'Uxbridge at War' exhibit throughout the weekend, which marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.
"This year, we wanted to put an emphasis on our veterans and try to work with the theme of 'Uxbridge at War' and commemorate the service of those who fought for our country," Uxbridge-Scott Historical Society President Brad Buss told The Standard.
Back by popular demand this year are Military Re-enactors, who will be setting up a camp as it was in 1847 and offering a demonstration to visitors.
"The Lloydtown Guard are re-enactors of the Rebellion of 1847, and we're really pleased that they were able to join us again this year. They are always a crowd pleaser and a real treat for everyone who visits," Mr. Buss added.
There are many other great things to take in as part of Heritage Days including: an Antique Cars Area and Parade sponsored by Williamson Chrysler, antique tractor and agricultural demonstrations, a First Nations lodge and exhibit, a blacksmith exhibit, a harness making and harnessing demonstration and a miniature railroad.
"We continue to try and expand Heritage Days and try to bring in new events and activities for the entire family to be able to have fun," said Mr. Buss. "We want to continue building on the growth we saw last year when we had a 30 per cent increase in attendance."
Admission to Heritage Days is $6 per person, with children under 12 admitted free. Veterans wearing their medals and/or uniforms will also be admitted free of charge, All funds raised during the event going towards the Uxbridge Historical Centre.
For more information on Heritage Days and other events at the Uxbridge-Scott Historical Centre call (905) 852-5854 or visit their web site www.uxbridgescotthistoricalsociety.ca/events/heritage-days.
The Uxbridge-Scott Museum is located at 7239 Conc. 6 at the corner of Brock St. and some residents may have to plan an alternate route due the ongoing roundabout construction at the corner of Brock St. and Conc. 6, just north of the roundabout.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
DURHAM: Epilepsy Durham, a local support network and charity group, aims to take awareness of seizure disorders to new heights by climbing in to and out of Arizona's Grand Canyon in October.
On Sunday, August 10, a crowd of supporters - including Uxbridge's Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor and members of council - gathered at the head of the Countryside Reserve trail to hike in support of the Epic Climb. Mayor O'Connor was joined by Councillors Mikuse, Molloy, Mantle and Northeast on the practice hike. The Township plans to make a donation to the cause.
"When we recieved a delegation in July from the Epic Climb group, I realized just how much the symptoms of epilepsy affect people. I was shocked that in 2014 it's still looked upon in an improper light," said Mayor O'Connor. "We decided to get behind this cause."
Epic Climb is a charity mission which will see a team of thirteen descend into the Grand Canyon, cross the Colorado River, and scale back up the other side – pausing to unfold their purple flag covered in the signatures of their supporters.
The team has raised an impressive $25,000 of their $45,000 goal, and are hoping to keep the momentum, and their training days, moving ahead.
"I began the project while I was suffering from a brain injury in May of 2013, I wanted to set a milestone for myself and bring attention to epilepsy," said Dianne McKenzie, Executive Director of Epilepsy Durham.
Dianne thought she would scale the towering walls alone, but remarked that her entire team got behind her as a support network, and nine others signed up as climbers alongside her.
"The training is quite exhilarating," said Dianne. "It really make me proud to hike for seven hours and then climb a muddy, rocky wall - what keeps me going is thinking of our ambassador Cameron's bravery going into surgery."
Cameron is a seven-year-old boy who has been named Epilepsy Durham's superhero - he began experiencing symptoms when he was very little, and has been exceptionally brave during the course of his treatment.
After visiting Sick Kids Hospital, the source of his illness was dicovered - but left the family unsure.
As a mom herself, Dianne wanted to help Cameron in any way she could. Once he was put into contact with doctors who specialize in epilepsy research, he was given a life-saving brain surgery, and has been declared seizure-free. Only twenty per cent of candidates for epilepsy related brain surgeries end up receiving the treatments, according to Dianne. Many are not given knowledge of the procedure.
All proceeds raised for the Epic Climb will go to help Epilepsy Durham's various programs, which give transport to children diagnosed with epilepsy, offer affected families support with medical costs, and give children a chance to visit a special summer camp.
Further, Epilepsy Durham welcomes in families coping with the illness, and offers hope - often putting them in touch with knowledgeable doctors and an insight to treatments.
For further information on sponsorships, or to begin your own Epic Climb, please visit the group on-line at www.EpicClimb.ca.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
A trio of Uxbridge girls are returning home from the National Rugby Festival with silver medals after competing last week as part of Team Ontario's Under-18 entry at the tournament in Calgary.
Uxbridge SS teammates from the Tigers' bronze medal winning team at OFSAA Zoe DeGroote, Julia Schell and Zosia Ruchlewicz were part of the team that took an undefeated record of 6-0 into the championship game, where they would come up just short of the gold, losing by a score of 10-7 against British Columbia.
The Ontario girls rolled through the round robin portion of the tournament, downing Quebec 13-7 in their opening game on Tuesday, Aug. 5.
From there, Ontario would continue to roll on Wednesday, Aug. 6, posting wins of 38-7 over Saskatchewan and shutting out the hosts from Alberta 29-0.
Ontario crushed Manitoba by a score of 51-0 on Thursday, Aug. 7, before wrapping up round robin play with a pair of shutout victories on Saturday, Aug. 9, defeating Nova Scotia 12-0 and British Columbia 17-0.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
Three Uxbridge players were part of the Team Ontario Under-18 boys entry that claimed bronze medals at the National Rugby Festival last week in Calgary.
Jason Simmonds, Rob Freckleton and Erich Milne all competed for Team Ontario at the Festival, facing off against the top young rugby players from across the country.
Ontario opened round robin play on Tuesday, Aug. 5, with a 23-15 win over Quebec. The next day, Ontario stumbled against British Columbia, dropping a 20-12 decision. However, the team would rebound in the round robin finale on Thursday, Aug. 7 as they squeaked past the hosts from Alberta by a score of 19-17.
British Colombia once again got the best of Team Ontario by a score of 19-12 as the playoff portion of the competition got underway on Saturday, Aug. 9.
But, the team would rally to take home bronze medals on Sunday, Aug. 10, as they upended Alberta by a score of 22-7.
The three Uxbridge players were all members of the Uxbridge SS Senior Boys side that finished fourth at the OFSAA Championships this spring.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
Project Y.O.U., a new local service group will be holding its inaugural event - a charity ball hockey tournament - this weekend at Uxbridge Arena and is seeking teams to join in the action.
Project Y.O.U. was founded earlier this year by and to serve the "Youth of Uxbridge" (or Y.O.U.).
Adrian Giacca made a presentation to council at their meeting on the morning of Monday, Aug. 11 to explain the goals of the group, and how it came to be formed.
"As a resident of this wonderful community I have been trying to involve myself with various groups and organizations. I noticed over the years I was often the youngest member and wondered why this was. I saw that there were no initiatives that the youth in this town were truly passionate about," Mr. Giacca explained. "Two months ago I wrote a quick message out to my social media networks asking if this kind of initiative would be of interest to this target group. In under two days I received an astounding response of interested young people who all wanted to contribute. Today we are now 70 members strong, who all contribute in various ways. We are proud to be a part of this community and this is how we will show it. Our aim is to provide the youth of this community an opportunity to reach their full potential."
The first event undertaken by Project Y.O.U. is a ball hockey tournament, slated for Saturday, Aug. 16 at Uxbridge Arena, running from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The event will feature two divisions, one for players 13 years and older and the other for the ages of 12 and under.
In addition to the ball hockey action, there will be food and beverages, prizes and give-aways as well as a live band, including a dunk tank and an inflatable hardest slap shot contest.
Mr. Giacca noted that the planning for this event could not have been possible without the generous support of The Bonner Boys, Gorgons, CRS Equipment Rental, and the Township of Uxbridge.
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor lauded the group for their undertaking as councillors pledged their support for the ball hockey tournament.
"This sounds like an awesome event," commented Mayor O'Connor. "To be able to rally youth, it takes youth."
The group is hoping for 16 teams to take part in the event, if if you know of anyone (yourself, a friend, a child, etc.) that would be interested in playing in the inaugural Project Y.O.U. Ball Hockey Tournament, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
Although the season may still be more than a month away, the Port Perry MoJacks and Uxbridge Bruins will both be opening training camp next week as the teams begin preparations for the 2014-15 COJHL season.
The Bruins will open training camp in Stouffville on Monday, Aug. 18 for the first of two sessions prior to opening their pre-season schedule on Thursday, Aug. 21 in Schomberg, where they will tangle with the Cougars, who compete in the Georgian Bay Mid Ontario Junior Hockey League (GBMOJHL).
Local fans can get their first glimpse of the Bruins this season the following night, on Friday, Aug. 22 in Stouffville at 7:15 p.m. as they square off in a rematch against Schomberg.
On Thursday, Aug. 28, the Bruins will return to Uxrena for a 7:15 p.m. tilt against the Alliston Hornets, a perennial power in the GBMOJHL.
Meanwhile, the MoJacks will open their training camp at Campus Ice Centre on Thursday, Aug. 21 for the first of back-to-back sessions on the ice.
The MoJacks will begin pre-season play on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 7:20 p.m., in Lindsay with a match-up against the Little Britain Merchants. The two sides will renew hostilities at Scugog Arena on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
From September 5 through 7, both teams will once again be taking part in the annual Pre-season Junior C tournament in Alliston.
On Friday, Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m., the MoJacks will be co-hosting an OHL exhibition game at Scugog Arena alongside Port Perry Minor Hockey that will see the Belleville Bulls pitted against the Erie Otters.
The Bruins open the COJHL regular season on Friday, Sept. 19 in Keswick against the Georgina Ice. The Bruins return to Uxbridge for their home opener on Friday, Sept. 26 for the first ‘Battle of North Durham' of the season as they host the MoJacks at 7:45 p.m.
The MoJacks will begin the season on Saturday, Sept. 20 in Lakefield against the defending All-Ontario champion Chiefs. On Sunday, Sept. 21, the MoJacks kick off the home portion of the schedule at their new start time of 2:25 p.m., at Scugog Arena when they lock horns with the Ice.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Oyez, Oyez, Oyez! M’lords, M’ladys, Port Perry’s waterfront and downtown will be home to the 30th annual Ontario Provincial Town Crier Champsionships on Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10.
Held in conjunction with the Scugog Farmers’ Market and the Brits on the Lake car show, residents and visitors are invited out for a full day of fun and revelry amidst ringing of bells and delightful cries of an age-old tradition.
Featuring 17 Town Criers from across Ontario, and North Durham’s own back-to-back-to-back champion Bill McKee, two full days of competition will be a sight to see and hear.
“This year, I decided on three themes to compliment Scugog,” said Mr. McKee. “We’ll each be writing a cry about farmers’ markets, microbreweries like our Old Flame Brewery, and something to do with British culture for our car show.”
To kick off the events, there will be a small parade into Palmer Park at 10 a.m. on August 9, with the competition concluding inside the tasting room of Old Flame Brewery at 2 p.m. On Sunday, August 10, the third and final cry will take place in front of the Port Perry Post Office on Queen St., at 11 a.m. - with an award ceremony afterwards.
“I’m very fortunate to represent both Scugog and Uxbridge Townships,” said Mr. McKee. “We have a very close-knit community in North Durham, and I’m proud to showcase it to fellow Town Criers from across the province.”
Often sighted wearing his signature tri-cone hat and swinging a large brass bell, reigning champ Mr. McKee will deliver the first benchmark cry at the competition, which all other Criers will be measured against - but he wasn’t always top dog of Ontario’s Town Criers, as Mr. McKee has played many roles in life.Until retiring in 2010, Mr. McKee was a 31-year veteran Constable in the Toronto Police Service, but sought a less stressful career after decades of service.
Indeed, Mr. McKee owes, or blames, his career as a Town Crier to his brother David McKee - a veteran of the competition circuit and current crier for the City of Brantford.
“I watched him cry for years and years, and I had a strong voice from doing some work with the Canadian Opera Company. He got me interested, and I say how much fun he had,” explained Mr. McKee. “One day, at the Uxbridge Art in the Park festival, I started doing cries and announcing the names of all of the businesses and artists there - it just kind of stuck.”
Mr. McKee bested his brother in his first competition in Plimpton - David didn’t let Bill win for another two years - but now that they both have some chops, they retain a healthy competitive spirit.
Uxbridge Township took on Mr. McKee as their official Town Crier in 1999, and Scugog Township followed suit in 2002 - utilizing his special services in Township events year-round.
“People often ask me what makes a good Town Crier. The truth is, it’s all based on the clarity and quality of one’s voice, and the words they choose to use to represent themselves,” said Mr. McKee. “The fancy clothes and friendly personality help as well - anyone can hold a scroll and yell, but it’s the passion that makes people smile.”
In competition, each Town Crier is also judged on their deportment while entering and exiting the stage, and whether or not they fit within the required 100 to 125 words. The cry must be fanciful and enjoyable, but not overly complicated - short, sweet, and to the point.
“Crying is a lot of fun, and you can’t let it stress you out. When I pen the cry, I just try to have fun with it and the words flow naturally,” said Mr. McKee “The best part is the children, they always run up to me to get their picture taken with ‘the pirate,’ I just laugh and tell them that I don’t dress like a pirate, pirates dress like Town Criers!”
The term ‘Oyez’ which begins many of Mr. McKee’s cries can trace its roots to French word ‘Ecoutez’ or ‘Listen.’ The Town Crier was often emplyed by local government or royalty, to issue edicts and notices. Announcements of tax hikes in Europe stemmed the phrase ‘don’t shoot the messenger,’ as it was a federal offence to harm a Town Crier, an agent of the Crown.
“Oyez is not so much asking if people can hear me, it comes from an older practice when many people weren’t able to read the newspaper - the Town Crier would instruct everyone within ear shot to stop and listen to the annoucnement,” said Mr. McKee.
“It takes a lot of Fisherman’s Friend to be a Town Crier - if you think you’re going to get sick, you don’t! All of the Town Criers across the world are a little bit nuts, just like me,” said Mr. McKee, whose favourite closing passage is a loud cry of ‘God Save the Queen, and God bless single malt!’
The Ontario Guild of Town Criers and Mr. McKee would like to recognize the support of a few choice local supporters, including the Baagwating Community Association, Township of Scugog, Ontario Guild of Town Criers, Vos’ Your Independented Grocer for their reception room, Old Flame Brewery, Parkwood Lodge No. 695, Meta 4 Gallery, Scugog Historical Society, Port Perry BIA, Scugog Chamber of Commerce and, Ocala Winery.
Mr. McKee would like to invite men, women and children of all ages to enjoy a day out in Port Perry on Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10 - and hopes that they have as much fun as he does. Ear plugs recommended, but not required.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
Bob Smith is a coach of a basketball team, an organizer and advocate of sports and a passionate, active father to his three teenage children. He plays on a basketball team and a lacrosse team, with his daughter and two sons and uses his spare time to train and coach like-minded people.
Bob also has Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating disease that can cause disability and weakness in parts of the body, such as the legs. Bob is able to enjoy life and remain so active and healthy thanks to his involvement with the Abilities Centre in Whitby.
The Abilities Centre is a 125,000 square foot, multi-faceted recreation and fitness complex, which focuses on providing access and support to people with disabilities in Durham Region.
"The Abilities Centre provides disabled people with resources for social interaction, physical education, sports teams and knowledge to improve their physical performance," said Bob. "They accomplish this by providing wheelchair accessible and adaptive gyms, equipment, and supportive groups and programming."
The Abilities Centre does not stop there; it provides music classes, social clubs, educational programs and a wide variety of different wheelchair sports teams to be a part of. The facility’s main drive is to promote community and social living for people with disabilities and to allow access to exercise and sports for all abilities, disabled and able-bodied.
Bob’s children are able-bodied, but they play the game of wheelchair basketball alongside him - entirely unique to Durham Region.
"You can play wheelchair basketball whether you are able bodied, partially disabled or have a more impacting disability," said Bob. "All three of my kids are able-bodied and they play alongside me and sometimes in tournaments; it’s a great time."
The concept of wheelchair sports may seem unorthodox to some, but they are very actually challenging, from wheelchair lacrosse to wheelchair basketball to sledge hockey.
Bob gives a basic run-down of the rules, "Wheelchair basketball is very similar to stand-up basketball, including the regulation courts and nets, except the players do not use their legs and they are in a special wheelchair designed for sports. The rules are slightly modified, such as traveling; instead of steps, players must dribble every two pushes they make with their arms."
The Abilities Centre holds Bob’s belief that anything can be made accessible and that life can be barrier free, no matter one’s ability level. The Ability Centre’s team have a range of able bodied and disabled athletes, ranging in age from seven years old to members in their sixties. Wheelchair sports are also highly recommended by occupational therapists because they are great exercise for the body and mind and great strength and aerobic training, according to wheelchair lacrosse coach Christine Comeau.
Bob explains why he loves to be involved in the Abilities Centre.
"I coach wheelchair basketball and play other sports because personally, being disabled, staying active is the best way to improve my health and to keep moving forward and training, despite the fact that I am in a wheelchair sometimes," Bob said. "Disabled people have certain limitations, but there are no barriers that cannot be overcome. Wheelchair sports remove those barriers and adapt the sports so that people with disabilities can stay active, competitive and social."
Bob and Christine are trying to spread the word about wheelchair accessible sports in Ontario and Canada.
"It’s unfortunate that wheelchair sports and the Abilities Centre is not more well known," Bob said. "I know there are lots of kids, teenagers and adults who are disabled and would love the opportunity to play, compete and be active without barriers and among likeminded people."
One highly involved team member, Jeremy Booker, has traveled the world on Team Canada for sledge hockey.
"I went to Sweden for the world championship of sledge hockey in 2004, the Torino Olympics in 2006 and the team brought home gold, and Vancouver in 2010," Jeremy said. Jeremy has always loved rough, contact sports and loves wheelchair lacrosse especially because of the amount of skill needed to wield a stick and push his chair at the same time.
Recently, the Abilities Centre hosted a tournament with the Wheelchair Lacrosse U.S.A. (WLUSA) team at the Civic Centre in Oshawa, during the Women’s Lacrosse World Cup. One of the player’s on the WLUSA team was Ryan Baker.
Ryan, a T6 paraplegic who has been in a wheelchair for 22 years since the day he was injured in a car accident after his high school graduation, traveled to Oshawa from San Diego, California to help promote wheelchair sports in North America.
"We started wheelchair lacrosse in 2009 in San Diego, but there was no organization that was supporting the growth of competitive sports for people in wheelchairs," said Ryan. "Me and my friends took it upon ourselves to start it with a team and a rulebook."
Ryan’s success has been slow but steady, but he is always excited to see new interest from athletes and is very happy to visit the Abilities Centre. His goal is to create a wheelchair lacrosse team in every major city across North America, to give people with disabilities an improved quality of life.
"People in wheelchairs work, have families and own businesses, but the recreational aspect of our lives can be hard to access, says Ryan. "Wheelchair sports help us to re-assimilate, develop social routine and foster relationships with like-minded people. Everyone has a need for sports and friendship, whether you are disabled or not."
Disabled or able bodied, male or female, young or old; wheelchair sports and the Abilities Centre offers an exciting new take on recreation and exercise for everyone.
In order to get involved, check the Abilities Centre web site at www.abilitiescentre.org, phone 905-665-8500 or come visit at 55 Gordon Street, Whitby.
Further information can be found at the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association’s website at www.ontwheelchairsports.org.
BLAKE WOLFE The Standard
DURHAM: Local commuters using GO trains and buses won't be paying a little extra after all, following a lively discussion by Regional council regarding the potential introduction of parking fees at the service's lots and garages.
The issue of GO parking fees was one of a pair of amendments introduced by Ajax Mayor Steve Parish, during a discussion of Durham's response to a provincial report on the next phase of the Metrolinx transit expansion project. Twenty members of council voted against the proposal.
The notion of investigating a parking fee was previously removed from the report, during a discussion at the Region's Finance and Administration committee. Durham Finance Commissioner RJ Clapp explained that the parking fee was originally discussed with Durham Region Transit as a "mechanism to assist local transit expenditures."
The Ajax mayor's second amendment - regarding proposed changes to the Region's Development Charge Act, which would allow for Durham to direct more funding toward its cycling plan - was also voted down.
According to Mayor Parish, the GO parking fees could serve as a way for the Region to not only recoup some costs related to the maintenance of Durham Region Transit, but to also help reduce rush hour gridlock by limiting the number of vehicles parked at GO lots.
"We pay a lot of money for our transit service and everything that enhances that service," said Mayor Parish. "But there's no such thing as free – free means someone else is paying for it. By charging a reasonable fee for parking at GO stations, that makes people make a sound economic decision whether to take the car or take a bus. The Westney Rd. station is very much overloaded during rush hour. This won't raise big money, but it will send a message and the money is best raised by helping people make a better decision regarding transit. Along the lakefront municipalities, gridlock is an issue that is costing the Region millions of
dollars every year."
Several councillors weighed in on the matter, with many stating that such additional fees would serve only to punish transit users and possibly put more cars on the road.
"You're penalizing people for using transit," said Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster, "and you're going to have the opposite result of what you're looking for."
Other councillors raised the matter of commuters travelling from North Durham communities of Scugog, Uxbridge and Brock.
"What about northern communities?" said Oshawa Councillor Nancy Diamond. "They have no service. To be charged an additional charge to drive to a GO station is not reasonable. We have to look at the reality of what we already pay and what our responsibility is. It's not acceptable that further costs be put on Durham commuters."
Added Scugog Councillor Bobbie Drew:
"At first blush, it seems like the responsible thing to do, however, in discussion at the community level, it revealed that more than half of our municipalities do not have sufficient transit service to get them down to the GO. We in the north and in Clarington should not expect to pay parking when we don't have any other alternative."
Whitby Mayor Pat Perkins said that if such a fee were to be introduced, it would have to "provide incentive to users rather than appear as a cash grab," through measures such as premium parking spots for monthly transit pass holders. She added that such fees could also push vehicles into adjacent neighbourhoods and the parking lots of local businesses.
"By imposing costs to everyone, you'd find adjacent properties would be used for parking," said the Whitby mayor, citing similar issues that previously arose from a Pickering GO station. "If you charge people to use facilities, it will have the same impact on neighbours. It will be a cost to those neighbours to put in security to top people from using lots for free. It's counter-intuitive to go this route."
Regional Chair Roger Anderson said that the solution to the gridlock problem lies not with charging commuters to park but with aging infrastructure across the GTA.
"The six billion dollar deficit is because of old Toronto infrastructure," said the chair, citing the Allen expressway as among the problem areas.
"There's a whole bunch of issues if you charge for parking which may add to the problem. It's a catch 22."
BLAKE WOLFE The Standard
DURHAM: Durham's 'legacy landfills' throughout the Region's rural communities could be mined for recyclable materials and to reclaim the land for other future uses, said Works Commissioner Cliff Curtis, during a recent discussion of the Region's 2013 Solid Waste Management Servicing and Financing Study.
The document, presented and approved by the Region's Works committee on Jan. 10, detailed a number of items to be considered for the department's 2013 budget, as well as projects to be taken on by the department over the next five years.
The study went to Regional Council for approval on Jan. 23.
Those items include ongoing remediation projects at former landfill sites in both Oshawa and Brock Township, estimated to ring in at approximately $1.5 million and $4.2 million respectively over the coming year.
Discussion of the study quickly turned to proposed mining and reclamation of Durham's 'legacy landfills' - mostly those sites in Durham's rural communities that were assumed by the Region when it was incorporated in 1974 - to recover recyclable materials such as metals and prepare those former landfills for future use. The report outlined the project costs associated with reclaiming the Blackstock site as approximately $750,000. The report states that any waste materials would then be sent to the Durham-York incinerator in Clarington, and the former landfill hopefully returned to 'its original designation as part of the Greenbelt Natural Heritage System as defined by the Region's Official Plan.'
Reclamation of the property could also eliminate the need for the establishment of additional buffer lands around the defunct landfill, earmarked for 2015 at an estimated cost of $500,000.
Increased buffer zones have also been proposed at the same cost for the Scugog and Scott landfill sites, the latter of which has also been identified in the report as a potential candidate for future mining and reclamation.
"The intent is not to mine every legacy landfill, mainly those in rural areas," said Mr. Curtis. "Landfills are a perpetual responsibility and are generally bad news."
The report touched on a number of other issues pertaining to Durham's waste management program, including potential increases to the Region's waste diversion rate through the acceptance of additional plastics and porcelain into the recycling stream. Replying to a question from Scugog Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew regarding any potential increase to the diversion rate through these programs, Works staff said that such initiatives contributed only 0.1 per cent to Durham's diversion rate in 2012, which currently sits at approximately 53 per cent. The Region is aiming for a diversion rate of 70 per cent in the coming years.
Safety and dumping issues were also raised during the meeting.
Oshawa Mayor John Henry said that although the Region's battery recycling pilot program was by and large a success - even landing Durham a Guinness World Record for most batteries collected in a single 24-hour period - residents need to be advised of the potential hazards associated with storing nine-volt batteries, which can short out and possibly ignite when in contact with other metal objects. Mr. Curtis said that the public will be notified of the matter in conjunction with the next battery pick-up.
Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster raised a matter of a different kind - the dumping of waste at Durham's thrift stores and clothing donation boxes. While the Clarington mayor said that other municipalities have offered financial incentives like tax credits to charities for collection of unusable items, Mr. Curtis said that "there is no room in the budget" to initiate such a program, adding that it's more "a matter of public education.
"People use those facilities like transfer stations," said the Works commissioner. "Most of that (unusable) material should be going to the dump."
Mr. Curtis went on to explain that the business of recycling is changing with less paper entering blue boxes and items like packaging more in demand by processors paid to take recyclable materials from municipalities.
"Recycling is an expensive proposition but its the right thing to do," added Mr. Curtis.