To the Editor,
I read with concern recent articles in the local press regarding the proposed draft of the 2015 budge. I question if this is not part of a “softening-up statement” so that we will accept an increase of perhaps half that value. Any increase in this economy is unacceptable; Uxbridge tax payers should demand nothing less. 2014 saw a municipal property tax increase of 5.5 per cent which was twice that of several neighboring municipalities. Are we not already the highest taxed municipality in Durham Region?
Granted, Uxbridge has received $500,000 less in provincial funding. Other communities are experiencing the same short fall, however, their tax increases are contained to less than four per cent largely due to efficiencies and aggressive economic development committees that promote their communities and attract new business to assist in shouldering the tax burden.
Where is Uxbridge’s latest Economic Development Plan for the next three to five years? The latest version – “Vibrant North Durham – An Economic Development Plan – Ideas and Actions” – is almost two years old. Which actions were completed or on-going and where are the results? The key question is: What growth in property assessments has Uxbridge enjoyed over the past two years? My guess is very little, if any, by virtue of comments by council members regarding tax increases.
My business career included the responsibility for business operations in Canada and the U.K. During my 30 year tenure, several difficult economic down-turns were experienced at which time tough decisions were made. Visiting plant and division operations and driving significant cutbacks. Yes, this did include people... that’s the grim reality.
Uxbridge’s present financial situation, which will not improve unless changes are made, requires our Council to understand that we cannot continue to do business as it has done previously. The intent to keep Uxbridge unchanged and a cloistered quaint little town no longer works. Our council must be encouraged to accept initiatives that will bring business and development – encouraging investment and its stakeholders “to park their tent here.”
Once again, the future of Epsom Public School is hanging in the balance, as the Durham District School Board recently voted to move forward with a review that may see the school shuttered after almost 140 years of serving the community.
Over the past 20 years, enrollment at the school has been on a steady decline, from more than 100 students in 1992, to the current 36 pupils, including no students in Grade 2 or 3.
This, much like the recent closure of Cartwright High School is the latest in a growing trend of disappearing rural schools, that have for years, provided outstanding results in the classroom, due in large part to their small class sizes.
While there will be plenty of blame directed at the School Board, the larger issue here is an overall lack of students at schools across the area. Elsewhere in North Durham, after more than 100 years, Uxbridge Public School will become French-only next year due to dwindling class sizes in its English stream.
An evaporating job market, coupled with steadily rising home prices has led to the destruction of a large portion of those who in previous generations, would have made up a thriving middle class in this area. The same middle class that led Epsom P.S. to receive an addition just 20 years ago.
The sad reality is that the trend of school closures due to lack of students will likely continue in North Durham. With scarce development opportunities and an overall lack of reasonably-priced homes, the area appears to be moving closer everyday to eventually pricing itself out of reach for most families with school-aged children.
To the Editor,
Operation Scugog served approximately 200 families this past Christmas. Thank you to everyone who donated food, gifts, money and time. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful volunteers. The recent food and toy drive was a huge success.
Business and private donors got on board, along with our adopters. Drop off locations such as BMO, Canadian Tire, CIBC, The Standard Newspaper, Foodland, Gus Brown, McDonald’s, Micklegate Realtor, PP Print, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, Scugog Visitor and Business Centre, Shoppers Drug Mart and Vos’ Independent had their toy boxes filled. The toy blitz days were supported by Canadian Tire, Walmart, McDonald’s, Shoppers Drug Mart, Vos’ and Foodland.
Thank you to Gus Brown for the use of the toy van, Designs by Deb for doing the detailing, and Flielers Ultramar for filling up the gas tank.
Thank you also goes to Mark Lee for once again being our toy van driver, Laura Armstrong and family for helping out every weekend with the toy van, Hope Christian Reformed Church for providing a delicious on our hamper day, Victory Christian Centre for the use of their facilities and Anchor Storage for storing all the toys and gifts.
Vos’ Independent and Canadian Tire had their annual ‘Toonie at the till’, Herrington’s displayed a donation box with the proceeds going to the purchase of ground beef for our clients. Canadian Tire as well as one of our volunteers and her Facebook friends along with the Port Perry Angels managed to collect over 100 hoodies.
Thank you to one and all for helping those in need. We are so fortunate to live in such a caring and giving community.
Later this week, the Ontario Community Newspapers Association will be naming the finalists for its annual Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year competition
And, as you can read on Page 9 of this week’s edition of The Standard, we were pleased to nominate a pair of local young people for this award, Joshua Morrison and Hayden Prince, who happen to be in the same class at Joseph Gould Public School in Uxbridge.
For as long as there have been young people, there have been those who bemoan about ‘kids these days,’ but with young people like this calling North Durham home, we should count ourselves lucky to have such great citizens in our midst, and what it bodes for our future.
These two are by no means the only young people in this area striving to make the world a better place, in fact on our front page this week, there are two little girls who raised money for the hospital in Port Perry, and recently, music students at Port Perry High School raised money for a young girl in the community battling cancer.
We often get bogged down in the bad news, and unfortunately there is still a lot of it. But, it’s great to see these sorts of good news stories get the attention that they so rightfully deserve.
Last week, Uxbridge councillors lamented the lack of volunteers in the community upon hearing that the local Optimist Club’s membership has shrunk to a dozen people. And it’s sad that this is becoming a frequent occurrence with many local service clubs who have provided so much for our communities over the years. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see and hear that the spirit of giving back to the community is alive and well in so many of our young people.
Letter to the editor - Scugog resident shares thoughts on Port Perry’s proposed growth - warns caution
To the Editor,
Comments have been made recently about development for Port Perry, “that sometimes change is good” and “it will be hard for most to argue against development” regarding the building boom that will be sweeping Port Perry saddens me. Both comments are focussed on money, new sources of revenue.
I did not move to Port Perry 18 years ago because of homeowners’ taxes. I moved to Scugog Township for its peacefulness and serenity that I found in the landscape; the lake, the forests, the scattered farms. I came here to be part of a small town -- fewer people and fewer problems. Now you say this is about to change for the better. I think not.
Another local newspaper stated that the new development “will ease the tax burden on those who already call Scugog home.” I highly doubt my homeowner’s tax will be reduced as a result of new development. In fact, I’m quite sure over time the government will see fit to increase it again, new development or not.
Has there been any thought about the increase in traffic this new development will bring? On a summer’s day, people are lined up in their vehicles as far as the eye can see at the intersection of Hwy. 7A and Simcoe Street. How will our traffic issues play out with an additional 850 households joining the community?
Who really profits from development, particularly when you condense housing to condominiums and apartments? The developer does. The more housing units, the more money the developer makes.
I have seen this scenario before in Rouge Hill and Scarborough. Developers bought the land around Port Union Rd. and tried to build highrises there but the West Rouge Ratepayers opposed it vehemently. Rouge Hill did ultimately get developed with the building of single-family homes. Developers also wanted to build condos, apartments, etc., in the Rouge Valley. Again the community fought hard against this development. As a result of their tenacity, the Rouge Valley did not get developed. It is now a national park.
In my opinion, the addition of 850 new housing units (some of which will be comprised of apartments and condos) is the beginning of a nightmare that will have us looking like Scarborough. Those who disagree with this new development will be opposing ‘Big Money’.
But, not all of us submit to this bigger-is-better profit motivated ideology.
At first glance, it appeared that this week’s cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that landed Durham MP Erin O’Toole the position of Minister of Veterans Affairs was a calculated move by the Conservatives with an election looming this fall. However, regardless of the motives of the Prime Minister for the move, it will no doubt be good for Canada’s veterans, as well as the residents of North Durham.
O’Toole is no stranger to cleaning up a mess, as he inherited the Durham Riding in the wake of Bev Oda’s resignation in 2012, shortly after re-election and on the heels of many much-publicized scandals, in which it appeared Oda was often living a champagne life off the backs of taxpayers.
As well, under Fantino’s watch, there have been numerous problems of late for Veterans Affairs - from the closing of regional offices to a damning report from the Auditor General on shortfalls by the Ministry to provide adequate medical care to veterans dealing with mental health issues.
It’s with great fanfare that O’Toole, a veteran himself comes into the job just over two years into his stint on Parliament Hill. With his experience having served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he already has a great deal of experience as an advocate for veterans, with a through understanding of the needs and concerns of those who have served our country.
Likewise, as someone who grew up in this area - having split his childhood between Bowmanville and Port Perry - O’Toole has shown to be a strong advocate for the needs and desires of the people of North Durham. As a rising star in the Conservative Party, who appears to have the ear of the Prime Minister, he should be able to continue his current trend of providing the strongest leadership for this area at the federal level that this area has seen in quite some time.
To the Editor,
How sad to read there are still those who insist on drinking and driving. I am sure no one intentionally wants to cause harm to themselves, their family or anyone else on the road and yet for some reason they haven’t got the message of Don’t Drink And Drive.
There is no point in writing anything else because it has all been said and we have all read the headlines and possibly buried a loved one.
So what is it going to take to get the message out?