To the Editor,
Saturday, as I was settling in for the night I heard sirens approaching Queen St. That’s always a scary thing because usually in a small community we all know or know of the people the sirens are going to help.
One of the heritage buildings downtown had a seemingly minor fire issue. This issue was big enough to call 911 and for people to be fearful. The volunteer firefighters didn’t know what they were heading to when they got the call. There were a lot of firefighters at the scene, reassuring the distraught tenants, backing up the gathering crowds and exploring the building. They were professional, courteous and worked as a team.
I was one of those people in the crowd watching and surmising what could have happened and piecing bits of the story together. As I walked back to my home I thought about how that could have been anybody’s building, cottage or home and how these firefighters would just get that call and come. They just show up ready for the worst. I don’t even like to think about the things they see.
I would like to thank all those volunteer firefighters that showed up tonight. That showed up last time and will show up next time. I always knew they were out there but I guess it takes those sirens at your neighbour’s doorstep, the red lights in your face and the smell of smoke to really appreciate our volunteer firefighters. Tonight they didn’t get to “settle in”, they were too busy making myself, my neighbours and our community a safer place to live. You are appreciated and valued. Thank you.
As regular readers of this newspaper have no doubt realized, it’s that time of year once again, and the communities of North Durham are buzzing with charitable activities, such as toy drives and collections for food banks in the area.
Many of us in this area are extremely fortunate, and the generosity of local residents is second to none when it comes to ensuring that everyone is able to enjoy the holiday season. Every week, we are inundated with acts of kindness right in our own backyards, and local residents routinely fill vans with goods to support those in need.
It’s important to remember that most of the work carried out to aid those in need is done by a dedicated team of volunteers, and for generations, they have formed the backbone of our communities.
So, while we wholeheartedly urge everyone to continue supporting these initiatives leading up to Christmas, let’s not lose sight of the fact that life continues for these people once the holiday season has come and gone.
Our wish is that we can continue to have such great support for local food banks throughout the year, and their shelves are overflowing with pasta sauce, canned fruit and vegetables, juice, diapers, formula and other non-perishable food items so that everyday can be a little bit brighter for those in our community that are less fortunate.
North Durham has shown time and time again that it’s more than up to the challenge of lending a hand, so when the calendar changes over to 2015, let’s make it the year of giving back.
To the Editor,
It came as somewhat of a surprise to see that Chuck Mercier got ousted as mayor. I always thought he was a great guy and filled the role well. However, I can understand the true reason for his downfall when I pass the Greenbank Airport.
I owned the property on the south end of the airport when Jim Bailey owned it and have driven and walked over the entire property hundreds of times.
It was as flat as a pancake and only needed asphalt to upgrade the runways. A Dash 7 aircraft even landed there years ago on the grass.
The buildings are now in a valley and will never be useful if indeed an airport ever becomes a reality there. They are building mountains so that if ever made into an airport, the planes will drop 50 feet into the north, south, east and west of the “runways”. It will look like an aircraft carrier.
I guess they won’t have to worry about hitting hydro lines. They’ll be below the runway.
To have our local politicians take the position that they can’t do anything about it because it is a “Federal” responsibility is simply hogwash. Can’t they pick up a phone to the MP?
Everyone knows it’s a scam to make money. What Scugog is getting is literally peanuts to the amount the owner is getting.
To think that they are going to continue “filling” for months and maybe years to come is nauseating. When I pass by there now, I have to look away.
I can only think that the great people of Greenbank are furious and said so with their municipal vote. It’ll be interesting to see their response provincially and federally.
Dr. Morley Pitts
Uxbridge’s hopes for funding from the Province for the long-awaited Downtown Flood Alleviation project were dashed this week with the news that their request from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund had been turned down.
The reasons given by the province were all too familiar for the municipality: high household income rates among residents, user fees and service charges imposed by the township, high municipal taxes and perhaps most troubling of all, a lack of debt for the township.
It’s baffling that the higher levels of government continue to punish municipalities that manage their money (mostly) wisely, while doling out millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to municipalities where fiscal responsibility is an afterthought. As well, the matter is one of public safety with the downtown culvert currently vulnerable to large-scale flooding in the event of a major storm.
The Liberal government in power would be wise to take some lessons from municipal leaders in North Durham, unlike Queen’s Park which is currently facing a revenue shortfall of more than $500 million for this year.
The answer to these growing infrastructure issues facing municipalities across the province is not to continue having local governments force their hands into the pockets of the local tax base. Nor is it by incurring mountains of debt that could take generations to be paid back, if they are ever paid back.
Instead, the provincial government should look to take examples from what is working in places like Uxbridge - which has not had to borrow money to complete an infrastructure project since UxPool was completed in the early 1970s - and use them as a guide to help get their own financial mess cleaned up.
Refusing to fund these projects because some members of the residential tax base could potentially be wrung for even more money is so shortsighted, it could only come from Queen’s Park.
To the Editor,
On behalf of our family, we would like to thank the entire staff of S.A. Cawker Public School for all their efforts with our daughter’s “CN Christmas Wish Surprise!”
Without the outstanding cooperation and efforts of Principal Mr. Shering and the entire staff of teachers, none of this amazing day could have been possible.
We would also like to thank Ms. Reid and all the parents of the students in Room 214, for keeping the surprise a secret and allowing such an incredible event to unfold!
Rob & Kelly Jacobs
‘Ask and you shall receive’ was the message sent recently by Councillors in Uxbridge, as they voted by the narrowest of margins to go ahead with the recount in Ward 1.
The race to represent Ward 1 was the closest in the township during the recent municipal election, with just 22 votes proving the difference, as Pam Beach wrestled the job away from Bev Northeast, who had held the position since 1991.
With no threshold for triggering a recount present in the Elections Act, it was up to Uxbridge Councillors to decide what to do in terms of the recount. Although, the matter could have also been taken to Ontario Superior Court, such as was the case in 2010 when Larry O’Connor was eventually found to have edged Terry Clayton by a mere three votes in the race for Mayor in Brock Township.
In that case, the original margin was six votes - nearly four times less than the current race in Uxbridge’s Ward 1 - yet, Councillors have made the choice to proceed with the recount. The decision is made all the more confusing when the comments from Township Clerk Debbie Leroux that she “doesn’t expect any change” are added into the mix.
For someone who has served on Council for as long as Ms. Northeast has, it must be a difficult reality that the voters have chosen a new voice to represent them, and she is well within her rights to request a recount, no matter how slim the chances of a change in result may appear.
However, just because you ask council for it, shouldn’t mean you automatically receive it. A price tag of approximately $8,000 for one councillor’s peace of mind seems awful steep for a municipality and a Council that goes to such great lengths to account for every dollar spent in its annual budget.
To the Editor,
I am writing to express my thanks to the people who voted for me in Ward 2 as well as to those who joined the electoral process and voted for my opponent, Janna Guido. This was democracy in action.
Being your Ward 2 councillor was what I consider to be the best job that I have ever had. It had some challenges, but the rewards were great
I would like to wish Janna the best of luck for her term in office. Being a ‘rookie’ councillor, as I was four years ago, has a steep learning curve, but the end results are well worth it. Ward 2 has several important developments (commercial and residential) as well as the associated challenges, coming up over the next term of council. It will be a busy time
I would also like to thank all of the Scugog staff who helped me and worked with me on the many different and complex projects that I became involved with. Their help was invaluable. I could not have done my job without them. They are a great team
Thank you again to all who participated in the election. I hope to stay involved in our wonderful community and continue working with all of the good friends and associates that I have made over my time on Council.