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Hydroplane races are back


It will sound like Thunder on the River on Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2 as the Long Sault Hydroplane Races thrill audiences with high speeds and amazing racing skill.  The event continues to attract some of the top racers in North America as they launch the racing season.  More than 110 hydroplanes will compete at Mille Roches Beach on the Long Sault Parkway in Long Sault, Ontario.  Racing will get underway at 11 a.m.

The Long Sault Hydroplane Race is one of the first races of the season and will include the Grand Prix class – the fastest automotive powered class in the world. The combination of both inboard and outboard hydroplanes allows the showing of more than 22 heats of racing action and 12 Grand Prix competitors! There will be lots of opportunities for visitors to get up close to the hydroplanes and to speak with the pilots and see for themselves what makes this event one of the most exciting in the region.

Race classes include:

Grand Prix Class –    Fastest automotive powered class in the world.

5.0 litre stock –         Reach speeds of 185 km/h.  Boats race extremely close together.

2.5 litre stock –         Exciting side-by-side racing using pump gas and 4 cylinder Ford engines.

1.5 litre stock –         Popular and small, these hydroplanes can reach speeds of 150 km/hour and are powered by Toyota four cylinder engines.

Tickets are $12 per person or $20 for a two day pass. Children 12 years and under are free.  Fees include day-use entry to the park.  Food and beverage services available on site.   As limited seating is provided, spectators should bring lawn chairs to sit and watch the action.  For tips on how to watch the race, visit the website


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Audit findings: Already good financial position improving


South Dundas’ financial position is better than last year, a year in which South Dundas already had a very strong financial position, this according to Jamie Pollock of the accounting firm Craig, Keen, Dispatie and Markell, which handles the yearly audit of South Dundas’ finances.

He presented the audit findings to South Dundas council at the May 21 meeting.

South Dundas’ net worth increased by 12 percent, its net financial assets increased by 11 percent and municipal debt decreased by one percent.

The result: an operating surplus of almost $624,000.

“You had a very good year and that’s why you are in better financial position than last year,” Pollock told council. He credits South Dundas staff with “good management of budget items. They were very close to budget on most line items.”

In terms of reserves and reserve funds Pollock also reported that South Dundas had a “very good year.”

For a township of this size, the auditors expect to see reserves of between $2.3 and $4.6 million.

“You’re at the high end of that range,” said Pollock who reported in the audit of the 2012 finances they found little change from last year with $4.1 million in reserve funds.

Looking at the big picture, Pollock remained positive reporting that South Dundas’ long term debt is decreasing and that South Dundas is managing the tax rate very well, as shown by little change in taxation revenue.

Taxation revenue is a little lower than it was five years ago and expenses are up about 10 percent, but still South Dundas has been able to maintain its strong financial position. “This shows good budget management,” commented Pollock.

“All financial indicators show that administration and council are doing a good job,” he said.

Regarding the surplus, South Dundas council will receive a report from their treasurer in the near future with recommendations about what should be done with the surplus funds left over from last year’s budget.


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Goodbye Township, hello Municipality


The Corporation of the Township of South Dundas will officially be renamed the Corporation of the Municipality of South Dundas.

South Dundas council approved the change at the May 21 council meeting.

Since the time of amalgamation in 1998, South Dundas councils have all considered the possibility of officially renaming the township. 

Last week the possibility became reality.

It was felt that, with new signs being designed, the municipal office moving to a new home, and a need for all South Dundas stationary to be replaced to reflect the new address, now is the right time to make the change.

Council agreed.

The bylaw that will make the name change official will be considered at the next regular meeting of council on June 4, 2013.

The date that the name change takes effect will be reflected in that bylaw.


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Unanimous support for Williamsburg library


South Dundas council is officially requesting that the SD&G Library Board reverse their decision to close the Williamsburg branch of the library.

South Dundas considered the resolution at the May 21 regular council meeting and unanimously agreed that they want the board to reverse their decision and find a way to provide alternate service of more than just a book drop to for Williamsburg. 

The request also states that the group who have been working to save the library, the library board and the township work together in the endeavour to continue to provide library service in Williamsburg.

“We need to put the books in the kids hands,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan.

This resolution is only one step in a process to save the library. 

With the township signing a lease agreement with TR Leger for the municipal building in Williamsburg, the municipality will have to find an alternate location for a Williamsburg library.

The library board, which operates independently from the municipalities, will have to discuss how this request will be handled at an upcoming board meeting. 

It will be up to them to decide whether or not they are willing to reconsider their decision.


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Paper ballot a pursuable promise


Past technical glitches and promises made during the last municipal election prompted South Dundas council to put off making a decision about the voting method for the 2014 municipal election.

South Dundas clerk Brenda Brunt brought a report to South Dundas council at the May 21 meeting recommending that council approve an alternate voting method of internet/telephone voting for the 2014 municipal election.

The telephone/internet voting method has been used in the last three municipal elections with much success when measured by voter turnout which has been outstanding at over 50 percent.

This alternate method has been used without offering a paper ballot option, one that council perceives is wanted by some South Dundas voters.

Referring to the technical glitches that meant voting hours were extended in South Dundas, South Dundas councillor Jim Graham said, “The last election left a bad taste.” He explained that during the last election, he was asked to support paper ballots in the next election, so he said he would not support this staff recommendation, as presented.

He asked that staff gather some information and costs regarding an option that would include the opportunity for a paper ballot.

“During the debate nights I said I would support paper ballots, and I’m sticking with that,” said South Dundas councillor Evonne Delegarde.

Although the voter turnout numbers and convenience of telephone/internet voting are appealing to South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan, he too agreed that the inclusion of a paper ballot opportunity does need to be examined. Council unanimously agreed to defer their decision on the matter while staff explores the option of including a paper ballot.


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Morrisburg waterfront design firm is selected, local connection tips scales


From a field of 10 submissions, Mark Thompson Brandt Architect & Associates has been selected  to complete a pre-feasibility and preliminary design for phase one of the Morrisburg Waterfront Concept Plan.

The successful consultant was selected by an evaluation team consisting of two Morrisburg Community Waterfront Committee members, the Economic Development Officer and South Dundas’ Mayor.

This study will more than eat up the entire $30,000 budget allocated to for the plan.

Because the proposal cost of $29,998 plus $990 in disbursements and HST, which is a little over budget, economic development officer Nicole Sullivan recommended that staff return to the proponent to identify any potential areas of savings. 

If that is not possible, council has given staff the go ahead to transfer some funds from the Morrisburg Waterfront Committee’s park amenities capital budget to cover the difference. 

This proposal includes sub-consulting by Wendy Graham, the landscape architect who has already been involved with the waterfront committee and with the design of the dog park – a factor which the mayor says added a little extra strength giving it good local flavour.


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Celebrating difference during Autism Awareness Day at St. Mary – St. Cecilia


To celebrate Autism Awareness Day earlier this month, the students at St. Mary – St. Cecilia Catholic School in Morrisburg did much more than just wear the ASD colours of purple and orange.

They also learned a lot about ASD, the importance of understanding, including and celebrating the differences of those with the condition of ASD.

On top of that, they raised funds to donate to the CHEO Autism program.

Autism Spectrum Disorder has many symptoms and levels within the spectrum.

It is a condition that affects the way the brain works and how people develop. 

People who have it don’t look different, but have particular ways of sensing, learning and understanding things. 

They especially have difficulty with communication and social behaviour. 

It can affect people in different ways and degrees.

Nobody knows exactly what causes ASD, but they do know that it is one of the fastest growing diagnoses in the world. 

Nationally, one in 88 children is diagnosed with autism. 

There is a growing movement among adults with autism who don’t think in terms of curing autism, but instead of celebrating difference.

This celebration of difference was how St. Mary – St. Cecilia staff and students chose to honour Autism Awareness Day. 

Pat Cole, Applied Behavioural Analysis Expertise Professional with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario helped educated the students during a special assembly.

She and a team of similar experts train all staff board-wide on how to help students and educators support each other in a way that is beneficial to all within the classroom, including those with ASD.

The highlight of the Autism Day assembly was a performance by Paskale Pilon, a High School Student from St. Joe’s with autism. He sang a heart-warming rendition of True Colors.

Through the school’s fund raising effort $685 was raised for the CHEO Autism program to support families in need. For every dollar donated, students received a ticket to win some great prizes donated by the Conners family, Mrs. Martel and Canadian Tire. Prizes included sports memorabilia, electronic accessories and recreational gear. 


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Building up to a big season at Upper Canada Village


Opening weekend attendance was down slightly at Upper Canada Village.

Gabriele Thomas Supervisor, Youth, Education and Domestic Programs, spoke with The Leader following opening weekend.

“Everything is open and operational again,” said Thomas. She’s not sure why but every year, leading up to the big weekend there’s always a bit of worry and doubt. “It’s like when you’re doing a play, you’re never sure you’re going to be ready, but somehow it comes together.”

Thomas credits the knowledgeable and skillful staff with the ultimate success of the opening weekend.

Though admissions were down slightly, she still sees the weekend as a success.

The uncertain weather throughout the weekend is likely the major reason for the slightly lower admissions.

With the reciprocal program whereby visitors to one attraction automatically receive admission to another of the St. Lawrence Parks attractions, Thomas believes a lot of those reciprocal visitors were missing from this year’s opening weekend gates.

“With the weather, I think we really lost out on some of that, especially from the campgrounds.” 

Thomas is looking forward to the rest of the season.

Over the next few weeks the village will be bustling with grade three children from area schools. They visit the village and try their hand at 18 different activities that tie in with their school curriculum.

The most popular weekend events are all returning for the season. Also returning for May and June are the biplane rides.

For those who want a different kind of ride, the village train now offers two loops, one to Crysler Beach and the other to Crysler Marina.

“It now has improved commentary, so for those who have not been on it for a long time, it may be worth a try again,” said Thomas.

One of the biggest events this summer may be the Bicentennial of the Battle of Crysler’s Farm. It takes place in July. “So far, almost 500 re-enactors are coming,” said Thomas, adding that she expects about 600 to participate. 

She explained that the camps and vendors will be set up in the middle section of the property, right near the entrance so they will be visible right from the highway. 

“It should be quite the event.” 

One of the new attractions this year will be a greatly expanded food lovers weekend, in which the commission plans to invite local food vendors and breweries to participate. “It should be a lot of fun,” said Thomas of the August event.

In the fall, British Home Child Day will be marked, and the  parks have an agreement with the local British Home Child group who will be offering a presentations at the Aultsville train station.

The popular Pumkinferno will be back, and improved in the fall and Alight a Night returns in the winter.

“We are hoping to extend the village season, because it’s good for the whole area,” said Thomas, claiming the success of Pumpkinferno truly showed the positive economic impact that extends to the community. “It is good for us, and it is good for the surrounding community.”


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NDDHS50 Reunion Plans Continue to Take Shape


Momentum is building for the big North Dundas District High School Reunion on June 28th and 29th. Hundreds of registrations are already confirmed and the list is growing by the day.

The Committee announced that the current early bird prices will expire in early June, so alumni are encouraged to register online or by mail by Wednesday, June 5th.  Prices will go up after that date. There are four different registration options to choose, ranging from the full package to just the Saturday night dance.

“We know there are still a lot of people who are coming, but haven’t registered yet,” said NDDHS50 Co-Chair Eric Duncan. 

“The 25th Reunion experienced the same thing, but we are encouraging people because it helps us build even more momentum with other graduates and staff.”

In addition, a few additions and changes to the schedule have been made:

A “Staff Lounge” event will be held from 2:30-4:30pm on Saturday at NDDHS. 

This is an opportunity for current and former staff alumni to reconnect and catch up. The cost is included with any registration purchased.

A “Band Memory Room” has been added to the school tours on the Saturday at NDDHS from 11:00am-3:00pm.

Local band “Shot in  the Dark” has replaced “Landmark” as the musical entertainment on Saturday evening

“We have really worked hard to spread the word about the Reunion, and more people are learning about it every day. There is something for everyone to do,” said NDDHS50 Co-Chair Patti Hall. 

“We need more people to register soon and call up their former classmates and get them to attend as well. Word of mouth is key to success.”

For more information on the Reunion, including the full schedule of events, visit or call Cheryl Guy at 613-774-3399.


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Eleanor Duff


A lifetime resident of the area, Eleanor Duff of Morrisburg passed away suddenly at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital, Ottawa, on Saturday, May 18, 2013. She was 87.  

Eleanor was born in Williamsburg Township on December 8, 1925 to her parents Wilburn and Minnie Hall (nee Robertson).  

Eleanor enjoyed cooking, gardening and working in her flower beds.  

Eleanor is survived by her son Kevin of Morrisburg and her siblings Viola (Jim) Fawcett of Iroquois, Lloyd (Jennie) Hall of Iroquois and Garry Hall of Morrisburg. Eleanor will be fondly remembered by grandchildren Mark, Amanda, Melissa and great-grandchildren Maleya, Kayt-Lynn, Parker, Jayden and Rylan.  She was predeceased by her husband Wally, her sisters Doris Storey and Gladys Shaver and her brothers Clifford and Clayton Hall.  

There was visitation at the Funeral Home.  

Interment of cremated remains was held at New Union Cemetery, Williamsburg, on Thursday, May 23rd at 10 a.m.  

Arrangements were entrusted to the Marsden and Mclaughlin Funeral Home, Williamsburg.  

Donations to Winchester Hospital would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.  Online condolences may be made at