Sheds, located right next to a Brinston Road home, were completely destroyed by fire February 21.
Quick action by firefighters who arrived on scene at 10:22 p.m., kept the fire from spreading to the house.
“Firefighters made an aggressive attack and managed to control the fire before any significant damage was made to the adjacent home,” said Chris McDonough, fire chief for South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services.
When firefighters from the Iroquois Fire Station arrived on scene the two sheds were fully involved and flames were exposed to the house, reported McDonough.
“It was an excellent save for us and the homeowner,” he said.
An additional tanker from the Morrisburg station was also called to the scene.
The fire is thought to have been caused by a wood stove in one of the two sheds.
Damage is estimated at about $18,000; $10,000 for the buildings and $8,000 for contents.
South Dundas township and the Upper Canada District School Board have come to an agreement to build a new sidewalk that will make for a safer trip to school for students who walk to Morrisburg Public School.
South Dundas chief administrative officer Stephen McDonald confirmed that the new sidewalk will be located on township property along the fence on the north boundary of the old high school property.
What that means is that the Ottawa Street crosswalk will go back to its original location near Alice Street, rather than its more controversial present location at Second Street.
The partnership between the municipality and the board will see the board paying a substantial amount of the $12,000 sidewalk project cost and the municipality taking on the maintenance costs.
“This is a priority project, and it will be done ASAP,” said McDonald.
The final notice has been received and the Helping Hand, a mission of the Pentecostal Church, has until October 17th to vacate its location in the old Morrisburg High School, where it has been a source of clothing for those in need for the past 11 years.
Unfortunate, but true, the Helping Hand used clothing depot, answers a very big need in South Dundas and the surrounding area with an average of 2000-2,500 visitors benefiting from it each year.
The fact that the Helping Hand has to vacate is not a surprise as they were put on notice way back in 2009, that they were in their location on a monthly basis. With the upcoming renovation to the historic high school building to house an expansion to the St. Lawrence Medical and the South Dundas Municipal offices, the monthly basis has ended and the Helping Hand is closing.
The problem is that since they were put on notice of the eventual loss of their location they have been unable to find a new location that would be rent-free, or at the very least, very cheap.
“We have a lot of people not happy about it,” says Pentecostal minister, Rev. Duncan Perry. “But we can’t afford to go somewhere else. We have a couple thousand dollars (donations) a year coming in, but that is not enough to rent.”
“We don’t want to locate in the mall, and the only other building in town is the former St. Lawrence Parks building.”
According to Rev. Perry, that building is in such poor shape it is no longer an option, and he understands the Food Bank will replace the County Library in its lower level arena location should the library move to the high school, once renovated.
“I was really hoping they (municipality) would give us half of the bottom of the arena,” says Rev. Perry. “But I understand that it is going to the arena staff for a workshop/storage. It would have been a perfect fit for us.”
“We’ve been open for 11 years, and we are averaging 2,000 to 2,500 people a year. The $2,000 we receive in donations (goodwill donations from those who benefit from the Helping Hand, and donations from the community) is put back into the community.”
Recently, money was donated to the Breakfast Programs at Seaway High and Morrisburg Public Schools. “We’ve also given a lot to the Food Bank over the years.”
“People have come to us and told us that if we weren’t (Helping Hand) here, they didn’t know what they would do. The clothing donated to us is top notch and we made a decision at the start, that if we wouldn’t wear it, it wouldn’t be used.”
“One lady has been using it over and over through the years to clothe her children.”
“Those are the kind of stories we hear every week.”
“It is really amazing what we have done locally, and we’ve sent truckloads of clothes overseas when we couldn’t handle it all.”
The Helping Hand is run by volunteers and there is no charge for the clothing, although visitors can make goodwill donations.
“We have helped people from all over. We wish we could keep it open, we really do. It’s too bad, and I understand the town doesn’t have the money for a building.”
“I do believe the number of working poor is getting larger. It’s unfortunate we need a place like this but we do. If there was a place found, we wouldn’t even think about shutting it down. If they would reconsider letting us share with the Food Bank that would be ideal.”
That, however, according to Rev. Perry, is not an option at this time, and the Helping Hand is preparing to close by the October 17 deadline. Arrangements have been made for representatives from Agape in Cornwall to visit the facility, with the hope that they will be able to take the clothing.
Located at 40, Fifth Street West in Cornwall, the Agape Centre runs a Food Bank, Soup Kitchen and Thrift Shoppe.
South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds says he is appreciative of the service the Helping Hand provides to the community. “It’s unfortunate, but hopefully they will find somewhere in the community.”
Byvelds confirmed that the long-term plan is for removal of the former Parks building. “That building is done, and we are only spending what we have to, to keep it going.”
He says there has been some discussion of moving the Food Bank to the arena location, but the discussions are very preliminary and nothing is decided and nothing can or will be decided until the final plans are in place for the high school.
Those plans, are for the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic to occupy the first floor (ground level) and the municipal offices to occupy some or all (if necessary) of the second floor. Once these two entities are accommodated then the remaining space, including the third floor, will be considered.
Each Christmas, thanks to some very generous donations, children, who are in hospital at CHEO over the holiday season, are given the opportunity to select a gift from guerneys, sometimes wheel chairs, piled high with books donated by Reader’s Digest (Montreal).
The books are donated to Jeff Arsenault’s Morrisburg-based Garden Foundation. Once in the Foundation’s possession, Harland Veinotte Ltd. comes on board to have the several hundred books transported to Ottawa.
According to Arsenault, Reader’s Digest has been making children’s Christmases brighter through this gift of books for the last 14-15 years. On board in the effort is Trends International (Toronto) which adds to the gift assortment with donations of doodle-type books and poster kits.
For many of the years this projects has been underway, Veinottes has been making sure the gifts get to their destination.
Arsenault credits everyone in the effort. “Everyone is just great. We get several hundred books suitable for all ages. There are puzzle and games books, writing kits, cookbooks, even video games they can play with.”
“Unfortunately, there can be several hundred children in CHEO over Christmas. Some of them get to go home, but then have to come back.”
Once Arsenault goes through the books, to make sure everything is suitable and that there are no small parts that might go to little ones, Veinottes arrives at his home to make sure the shipment gets to its intended destination in Ottawa.
“Randy (Veinotte) is a really great guy. He does a lot of good stuff in the community. I don’t know what I would do if it weren’t for Veinottes. I can’t thank him enough.”