Seaway Valley Crime Stoppers had its 50/50 winning ticket picked on October 15th at Jim Mustard’s Variety store in Iroquois. Jim Mustard has been a supporter of the program since its inception in 1992. The winning ticket for the 50/50 was sold at the Williamstown fair this past August; the winner was Denis Tousignant of Greenfield, North Glengarry Township ($1550.00). The winning ticket was pulled by Nelson Zandbergen in front of Mustard’s Variety store.
“Council wasn’t elected to be experts,” so says Nigel Bellchamber, local government consultant who facilitated a planning and priorities session for South Dundas council and senior staff, February 11, at the McIntosh Country Inn, Morrisburg.
“I think the session was a good refresher of council/staff roles, as we can all get into poor habits,” said South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds following the meeting.
Bellchamber spoke about the decision-making process which starts with identifying an issue.
“These issues can come from anywhere, once they are identified, they are thrown to staff for analysis and recommendations,” said Bellchamber, a municipal expert.
“Staff are paid to solve problems. It’s not up to council to solve them themselves,” he said.
Once staff makes a recommendation, council then decides whether or not to support the recommendation.
“Eighty-five percent of the time council agrees with staff,” said Bellchamber. After the decision is made, it is then up to staff to implement the measures.
“That’s the way it should work,” said Bellchamber.
When council and staff are in sync, it allows council to spend the bulk of their time on, what Bellchamber calls, the most important issues, meaning those decisions which are more contentious or difficult.
While the morning was spent discussing council and staff roles, the focus of the afternoon session was working together to identify priorities.
“We did identify some priorities and they will come to light in the budget process and over the next two years,” said Byvelds.
While council members had the opportunity to identify and rank their priorities, Byvelds did not see one that stood out among the group.
The cost of the special session was approximately $2,000.
New welcome gardens, which have been installed at Iroquois and Morrisburg, will be complete this week.
“The project was ‘grew’ from the feedback that the Municipality collected during last year’s community strategic planning process,” said Nicole Sullivan, South Dundas economic development officer. “Residents identified a desire for greening/gardening at the gateways and centres of activity. Welcome gardens were one of the suggestions made to accomplish this goal.”
The gardens have been designed to be attractive year round, explained Sullivan and Erin VanGilst, the Master Gardener who designed and planted the gardens. VanGilst runs Create It! Garden Design & Instillation from her home in Williamsburg.
The gardens feature a mixture of perennials that bloom in the spring (Daffodils), summer (Hydrangeas, Daylilies) and fall (‘Autum Joy’ Stonecrop, ‘Karl Foerster’ Grass). There are also shrubs such as a Service Berry that were chosen specifically because their branches are colourful year round.
Each garden also has “structural” elements that will give its shape definition throughout the year including rocks and evergreens.
In Morrisburg, three Serbian spruce trees have been planted, while in Iroquois, the buoys have been integrated into the design.
The Iroquois design is representative of a seaside garden, where stones are being installed to represent the stream and the plants, the waves, explained VanGilst.
“To add an extra element of interest for the public, we’ve also integrated a number of plants that are historic to the area including Lavender ‘Munstead Old English’ and Bluewood Asters,” said VanGilst.
“To identify these plants, we used a list of the area’s heritage plants that the Carman House Museum had compiled to help with the gardening of their Heritage Garden,” added Sullivan.
The cost to have the gardens designed and installed as well as purchase all the plants was just over $13,000, less than the $20,000 budgeted for the project. “We used compost and rocks that the Municipality already had which resulted in some of that cost savings,” noted Sullivan. “The gardens were designed to have minimal ongoing cost with all of the plants being perennials.
“We’re looking forward to this competition, and we’re going there to win.”
Seaway District High School’s building construction team is ready to take part in the 2013 Skills Canada Competition which is being held at St. Lawrence College, Cornwall, April 10. Made up of (above, left to right) Jordan St. Louis, Vicki Van Hoof, Josh O’Connor and Kris Alexander, the students in Seaway’s construction program know the competition will be tough, but they say they will be ready.
“The competitors come from all of the Upper Canada boards and from the Catholic boards. Our Seaway kids are really keen; they didn’t have to be pushed to take part in this event,” said Seaway teacher, Henry Looyen.
The Skills Canada Competition offers students the opportunity to test their classroom and practical skills in a number of technical categories. “We are also sending students to carpentry trials, to welding, small engines and automotive trials,” Looyan said.
Seaway’s construction team will have six hours to completely build and finish a shed.
The judges for the competition are drawn from the professors and teachers at the College, and from the apprenticeship programs. Judges will rate each team on the speed with which they work, the quality of the product, and whether teams meet code and spec standards.
The generosity of local South Dundas company, Cruickshank Construction, has been crucial to the young builders.
“Through Jordan, whose mom works for Cruickshank Construction, we asked for their support,” Looyen said. “The company immediately said yes, and donated $250 to us to purchase materials for building a practice shed this week in preparation for the contest.
We are really grateful to Cruickshank’s for helping us out in this way.”
Seaway’s completed shed will be presented, after consultation with Cruickshank’s, to a deserving member of the community in about a month’s time.
“We have a mixed grade level team here,” Henry Looyen explained. “The students come from grade 10 to the senior grades. All week in class we will be working on team skills, planning, and seeing that every person is doing a job. Time really is our ‘worst enemy.’”
Jordan, Vicki, Josh and Kris all volunteered for the competition and are looking forward to the challenges. They point out that while Mr. Looyen will be with them in Cornwall, he is forbidden by the contest rules to coach them in any way once the clock starts.
“This is going to be a team effort: we definitely plan to win. We’ll be fine,” the students laughed, looking at their teacher, “even if the shed goes up crooked.”