JOE LEBOUTHILLIER The Standard
SCUGOG: With the ice on Lake Scugog thawed once again, one local group is walking around the lake for the sacredness of our water.
For the first time, Curve Lake First Nation's Sacred Water Circle Gathering (SWCG) will be held on the shores of Lake Scugog. SWCG honours the sacredness of water with a three-day event comprised of a ceremony, keynote speakers, First Nations teachers, and, of course, a traditional feast for all the hungry participants.
A three-day event taking place from Friday, May 2 to Sunday, May 4 will welcome International Elders and Spiritual Leaders such as Josephine Mandamin, from Wikemikong, Mantoulin Island, Ontario, and Charlie and Morris Neyelle from Délînê First Nation, Northwest Territories.
Those who attend will visit Petroglyphs Provincial Park in Woodview, watch performing arts, as well as hear many speeches from Elders.
The following Saturday, May 10, will see the fifth Annual Water Awareness Walk. Lake Scugog will be the setting for 2014. Before then there was Rice Lake twice (2010 and 2013), Stoney Lake in 2011 and Upper Chemong Lake in 2012.
There are over 110 First Nations communities across Canada that are advised to boil water daily because they're surrounded by unfit drinking water.
Anishinaabe Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, who has earned respect and become an inspiration and mentor to many, was asked why she carried water from three different directions to the centre of Turtle Island, Ontario. She replied "Nga-zhidchigemin!" This roughly translates to "I will do it for the water!"
DARRYL KNIGHT, BENJAMIN PRIEBE
& JOE LEBOUTHILLIER The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: North Durham was well represented on the recently released 2013 public sector salary disclosure list, the annual listing of public sector employees who earned more than $100,000.
A total of nine Township of Scugog employees cracked the recently released 'sunshine list' this year, for a total cost of over $1 Million.
Each member of Scugog's senior staff, plus the Township's four full-time firefighters, pocketed more than $100,000 last year.
Topping the salary soirée is Scugog CAO Beverly Hendry, with a yearly pay cheque of $148,658 - $7,382 more than her 2012 take-home.
New to the 2014 edition are Trena DeBruijn, director of finance ($102,353) and a handful of Scugog Township Fire Department employees.
Gord Gettins, chief fire prevention officer, earned $125,427, Fire Captain Todd Soomre earned $120,249, and Fire Chief Richard Miller brought home $102,241.
Clint Walker and Joe Goris, two of the Township's full-time firefighters, made the list this year - earning $105,613 and $11,143 respectively.
"The four firefighters [Goris, Walker, Soomre and Gettins] are on the list for 2013 due to a one-time arbitrated retroactive settlement, dating back to 2009," said Captain Soomre - explaining that the elevated salaries are a special phenomenon due to a 2013 settlement, which granted a 27 per cent pay increase over the past four years.
Repeats from last year include Ian Roger, director of works and parks, and Donald Gordon, director of community services - earning $122,653, and $102,314 respectively.
This year's sunshine list salaries add up to $1,029,648 - roughly a 188 per cent increase from last year's $357,549.
The top earner from Uxbridge Township was CAO Ingrid Svelnis, who took home a salary of $139,148 in 2013.
Joining Ms. Svelnis from Uxbridge was Treasurer Al Schultz, who earned $122,212. As well, Public Works Director Ben Kester and Fire Chief Scott Richardson each earned $107,168 in 2013.
Township clerk Debbie Leroux rounded out Uxbridge's 'Sunshine Listers' with $106,066 last year.
Further to the north, Brock Township had three staff members crack six figures in salary last year, led by CAO and Municipal Clerk Tom Gettinby at $137,253. Brock's Treasurer, Laura Barta ($115,243) and Director of Public Works Nicholas Colucci also appeared on the 2013 list.
Within the Durham District School Board (DDSB), there are a number of local employees who cracked the newest list.
The number one money-maker is Caysi Stark, principal of Port Perry High School, with a $125,967 salary. That is just under a $3,000 increase from her 2012 salary.
Port Perry HS vice principals Jon Lepage ($102,483) and Dean Geiger ($111,014) also made the list.
Uxbridge SS Prinicipal Steve David also made the list, making $120,283 in 2013. Mr. avid was joined by USS Vice Principals Steve Harland ($103,303) and Concetta White ($111,014).
Created in 1996 by the provincial government, the Public Salary Disclosure Act requires that any organization receiving funding from the province to disclose the name, position, salary and total taxable benefits of any employee that earns six figures or more in a given year.
The full 2013 list can be viewed on-line at www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/publications/salarydisclosure.
JOE LEBOUTHILLIER The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: At Scugog council's meeting on April 14, the Durham Region Roundtable on Climate Change (DRRCC) expressed their concerns about extreme weather.
Manager of Sustainability, Brian Kelly, and a fellow DRRCC member Todd Hall, presented to councillors the research they received from SENES, a specialized consulting firm based in Richmond Hill.
Their presentation to council noted that over the next 40 years, weather will become extreme and the people of North Durham need to be "prepared, protected and safeguarded" along with the surrounding infrastructure.
"There will be less snow and more rain in the future winter seasons," Kelly said. The DRRCC's presentation also showed a rainstorm in August 2040 to 2049 will produce 79 per cent more than received in August 2000 to 2009.
Extreme wind in the immediate areas will decrease by almost 20 kilometres per hour. As well, temperatures will get warmer in the winter months by about four degrees.
Between 2000 and 2009, average days per year with the humidex being above 40 degrees sat at three days. In the SENES report, it shows that number will grow to 24 days by 2040.
A projected 20 to 40 millimetres of more rain will fall in August and about 15 centimetres less snow will fall during the winter months. This is potentially dangerous for residents near lakes, as it will increase the chances of flooding.
Along with those stats, between 2040 and 2049 there will be around 1,100 more days of the year where the temperature will be above freezing. As for days below that and require heating, there will be almost 500 days less.
Local residents who use air conditioners in the weather above 24 degrees saw 12 days per year between 2000 and 2009. However, come 2040 there will be about 90 days per year that will require AC.
In 40 years-time, North Durham is expected to receive 217 per cent more rainfall and 75 per cent less snowfall in the month of February alone.
"The hardest issue that we have is that these stats are a long-way off," said Scugog Mayor Chuck Mercier. "It's hard to see it as immediate."
The councillors are unsure of what to do with no climate change price tags readily available.
"If we look at completing a plan early and paying attention to these numbers, we can potentially save money by extending the life of infrastructure by building it appropriately," said Hall. That being said, Kelly says they will not know exact costs until the municipality can provide them with volunteers.
"We need to really plan our next step," said Ward 5 Councillor Howard Danson. "I'm not sure if we have the money to plan for an event that may happen in the future, it seems like a luxury to pay for maybes."
The DRRCC wants a decision made before the municipal election this fall.
Councillors asked for more information, and the DRRCC gladly agreed to go out and talk to more experts on climate change.