The Dundas Seed, Forage & Agricultural Show was held on March 9th at Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners. Exhibitors and visitors filled the hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Henderson of Terrdale Farms won this year’s top spot, the Premier Exhibitor. His daughter, Tracy Porteous, accepted the award on his behalf. Kelly Fawcett-Mathers, a representative for TD Canada Trust, sponsor of the award, presented the award to Porteous. The second award, Reserve Premier Exhibitor, and the third award, Premier Forage Exhibitor, both went to Ian and Tracy Porteous of Ayrporte Farm.
A wrinkle has appeared in South Dundas’ ongoing project to expand the Morrisburg’s commercial business park.
South Dundas council decided that offering more readily accessible commercial land in the Morrisburg Industrial Park was a priority, so this summer they broke ground on a project that has been in the works for several years.
The $535,000 road extension to extend roadway 500 metres north and 400 metres east to complete a loop to Prospect Road is underway and will make available municipally-owned commercial properties, located on the west and north sides of the new road.
“When South Dundas decided on constructing the road it was with the understanding that the wetland was not a current issue but may impact us down the road,” said South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds. “However, now it may become an issue sooner.”
Local councils and municipal officials have known for many years that the Provincial Government (MNR) had intended to designate part of South Dundas’ holdings of municipal land in the Morrisburg industrial park as a provincially-significant wetland, but a loop-hole meant that the designation had not been made officially thus leaving open one last opportunity for the municipality to open up access to the lands, allowing them to be properly marketed for economic growth.
“South Dundas is still allowed to do what we want, within reason, in the area,” said Byvelds.
That is why South Dundas undertook the study of the area and moved forward with the road project.
“None of the roadway and adjacent lands are in the wetland but they are within the 120 meter buffer area. One can develop that area with a study that proves the proposed development does not impact the wetland.”
In advance of this project, South Dundas and the United Counties had agreed that any employment lands that would eventually be lost to the PSW designation, would be shifted west of Morrisburg, through an expanded settlement area designation.
SDG is the planning authority for the region, by virtue of the Official Plan. A recent report to Counties Council revealed that, the province will not agree with the compromise.
“When this was put to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, they said we needed to do a study to determine what the future needs were and what was available to justify the proposal,” explained Byvelds. “The study indicated that there is enough vacant land throughout SDG to accommodate any growth for the next 20 years and as such, MMAH were not going to allow any expansion unless vacant land was traded off to do so.”
A trade off could mean that South Dundas loses potential employment lands completely, if the trade off is for land in another municipality within SDG.
South Stormont council is pushing the issue by passing a resolution supporting a proposed 260 hectare planning expansion of employment lands in South Stormont.
If approved by counties council, South Dundas would lose 160 hectares of potential employment lands and the other 100 hectares would come from other, much smaller vacant land parcels from all the other municipalities in SDG.
Counties council has made no decision on the matter, but it is expected that South Stormont will continue to push the issue.
“I acknowledge that some of the Morrisburg employment lands are wetland, however, I want to make sure the line is in the right place,” said Byvelds. The lines already exist on a map, and Byvelds is of the opinion that the designation extends too far to the south.
If the lines were a little further north, it would move the buffer area away from the commercial properties South Dundas will market for commercial growth.
Byvelds would like to see some of the vacant land being lost in South Dundas move to another area of South Dundas.
“I want to protect what we have and what we may be able to use in the future,” said Byvelds. “I am willing to work with our partners at SDG but it needs to be fair to South Dundas and all the townships.”
South Dundas and Counties staff will meet soon to determine a course of action.
“If it looks like things are changing, I would recommend South Dundas hires a firm to study the area and delineate the boundaries,” said Byvelds. “I strongly feel that there are less lands in the proposed wetland and it will be up to South Dundas to prove it, not MNR. I know this does not sound right but it is the way it is for now.”
Although the likelihood of Winchester District Memorial Hospital ever seeing an Ebola patient is low, there are still very prepared.
Since the Ministry of Health sent out the first Ebola alert to hospitals, WDMH went to work right away on developing a kit and process to ensure the safety of its staff and patients.
Those visiting the hospital emergency recently may have already noticed the difference.
Now, all patients walking in to the emergency room must answer a screening question through a closed glass partition.
It is not until after staff confirms that the patient has not travelled to Africa that they open that partition to continue the triage process.
If the patient is at risk of having come into contact with Ebola, the Ebola process takes effect. It involves the donning of protective gear, the patient being taken to a specific area of the hospital, public health being notified and the hospital following the directives of infectious disease specialists, which are at the Ottawa Hospital and CHEO.
Should a patient with Ebola risk arrive by ambulance, WDMH staff would do all they could to help the patient without leaving the ambulance, and that patient would be taken to one of the city infectious disease sites for treatment.
WDMH has all the equipment it needs to deal with an Ebola situation, and staff have been trained in the process, and the especially important donning and doffing process, which the demonstrated to area media last week.
“Even though the likelihood of seeing Ebola here is low, the risk is still scary,” said Laura Landry, the nurse leading the demonstration. “After all the training with the equipment, I actually feel quite safe, if this situation ever arises.”
Christmas is fast approaching. One of the events in South Dundas which makes the season a little more special is the annual concert by the Seaway Valley Singers.
The 46-voice choir, under the direction of Choir Master Robert Jones, will perform Sing Gloria! on Sunday, December 8, at 3 p.m. at the Iroquois United Church in Iroquois. Pianist Margaret Whisselle accompanies the singers as they celebrate the Christmas spirit in song.
A highlight of the concert will be Handel’s beloved Hallelujah Chorus, which will also feature trumpeter Shawn Snider. Dan Edwards, violinist, is performing with the Singers in the traditional Hymn of Advent. The Winchester Handbell Ringers plan to bring their beautiful sound to the concert as well.
By popular demand, Dr. Gerry Rosenquist is returning to act as Master of Ceremonies for the joyful event.
The Singers have been in rehearsal since the fall: their twice yearly concerts are eagerly anticipated in South Dundas.Tickets are $10 in advance (available from choir members, the Seaway Pharmacy in Morrisburg or by calling 613-543-3863). Tickets will also be available at the door for $12.
Sing Gloria! with the Seaway Valley Singers on December 8, and welcome the Christmas season.