South Dundas council agreed to the removal of the Morrisburg tennis courts at the June 18 council meeting.
“The condition of them: they’re not fit to be used,” said South Dundas councillor Evonne Delegarde.
“The issues with the property outweigh the use they’re getting,” agreed councillor Jim Graham.
“We can’t put money into them, when we don’t own the property they are on,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan.
According to reports, the Morrisburg tennis courts originated in the 1970s/1980s with the assistance of Wintario funds.
The property was owned by the Village of Morrisburg and subsequently sold to the adjoining owners – Chartwell (The Hartford Retirement Centre) and the Upper Canada District School Board (Morrisburg Public School). As a result the municipal tennis courts ended up on land that the municipality does not own.
“As the property where the tennis courts are located is not owned by the township, a long term commitment from the owners is required to justify any investment by the municipality,” said South Dundas chief administrative officer Steve McDonald in his report to council.
The UCDSB has no interest in the tennis courts, and have given consent for their removal. “Chartwell has also confirmed their position that the removal of the tennis courts will give them an opportunity to revisit opportunities for more seniors housing on their site,” said McDonald.
“We don’t own the property, and they’re looking for it back,” said Councillor Mellan. He suggested that perhaps a single tennis court could be built in a different location in the future.
McDonald told council that with the school year coming to an end, and with the township having summer students available to help with the work to remove the courts, now is the time to do it.
Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign has been supporting local communities since 1996.
Fast forward ten years, and the Winchester location made its first gift benefitting the WDMH Foundation in support of the Winchester District Memorial Hospital.
Since then, a total of $55,267 has been given to the WDMH Foundation, as a result of the Smile Cookie Campaigns at Tim Hortons locations in Long Sault, Morrisburg and Winchester.
This year, $8,304 was raised, and the cookies were so popular that they sold out before the campaign was over.
Owners Denise and Robert St. Denis, along with their nephew, Corey Adams, and all of the staff at the three locations, have worked tirelessly every year during the Smile Cookie Campaign in the last week of September.
They believe in supporting WDMH, and they want to see the campaign succeed for the Hospital.
Troy Cross, Executive Director of the WDMH Foundation shared his gratitude, “many thanks to all of the customers who purchased a Smile Cookie this past fall, and to the hard-working staff at every location for helping to put smiles on patients’ faces with every sale”.
A school is much more than walls and boards and desks, books and playing fields. A school is people: the students who attend it, the teachers who make classrooms welcoming, the parents who faithfully attend every event (and wrestle with homework!), the community that supports and encourages it.
On Friday, June 28, Timothy Christian, which is devoted to “helping children understand God’s world” is inviting everyone to come and help celebrate its 50 years as a vital part of the South Dundas community.
I had the opportunity to spend a morning at the school. Along with principal Gary Postma, my special guides June 12 were members of the 2013 grade eight graduating class: Gwen Knight, Emily Tibben, Cilicia Pol and Kyle Havenaar. (Unfortunately fellow grad Jade van Dyke was not able to attend.)
Gwen is a recent transfer to Timothy Christian. She came last year to grade seven from Rose-des-Vend in Cornwall. “It was easy to fit in here,” Gwen said. “When you go to a big school, you have to find your way. I knew people here by day two.”
Emily, Cilicia and Kyle said, with grins, that they had all been at Timothy Christian “forever.”
What are some of their first memories of school?
“I remember visiting Mr. Postma,” Kyle laughed. “Then I found I liked nap time a lot.”
“It was great,” Cilicia said, “because we all got a turn sleeping in the Puppet Theatre, which had this big pillow.”
“I remember painting with chocolate pudding,” said Emily, who will be the 2013 valedictorian. “It was gross, but a lot of fun. And we got to eat the ‘paint’ later.”
They talked about field trips to places like Mont Cascade and Cosmic Adventures. They also described science fairs and “fun fairs” that involved some hilarious, if silly games like major “bubble gum blowing.”
Timothy’s Got Talent is a popular yearly school event. Auditions are held and various acts are chosen, including stand up comics. “The best comic in school is Noah, in grade three,” all four students agreed.
Teachers are “very involved. They seem to like it here, they support us, and they really like kids. Class is usually fun.” (“Maybe not math all the time,” Kyle grinned.)
Were there any embarrassing moments in your school careers?
“Oh, no,” they said solemnly. “Everyone in this group was totally perfect.”
When the laughter died down, a story about sticking grade seven student Aiden into a garbage pail in the girls’ bathroom came out. “It was just for fun. He thought it was funny too. But just as he got out of the pail and was heading out the girls’ door, Mr. Postma caught him…He caught us too.”
Later the students took me on a tour of several colourful, and bright classrooms. We visited the junior/senior kindergarten students, the grades one/two and finally dropped in to the grade seven/eight classroom. Then the grade eights and I joined the entire school outside for a very special 50th anniversary Timothy Christian photo.
Chair of the Timothy Christian board of directors, Art Pol, also took time from his busy schedule to come by the school June 12 to talk about the big celebration of the school’s 50 years.
“We formed an anniversary committee last year,” Pol said. “They have really worked hard setting up events, caterers and booking halls. They are also putting together a special booklet that will have pictures of all the graduating classes and all the staffs over the years. On Friday night, people can come to the school to meet and greet and remember, as classrooms will be set up with memorabilia and photos past and present.”
Saturday the committee has arranged a car rally, a barbecue and games at the school. “This is all open house. Everyone is invited.”
On Saturday evening, a special banquet (ticket holders only) will take place at the Matilda Hall. The guest speaker is Dr. Brenda L. Berkelaar, assistant professor at the College of Communications, the University of Texas at Austin, and a former Timothy Christian student.
On Sunday, a celebration service will be held with guest pastor, and another Timothy Christian graduate, Tim Lumies, preaching the sermon.
For 50 years, what has Timothy Christian meant to this community?
“For my family, it’s important to educate the child,” Art Pol said. “But for six hours a day, I know my kids are with teachers who also care about what’s going on in their hearts.
I see it as a triangle of home, church and school. These forces work together to develop the whole child and to equip him or her to better face the future.
Timothy Christian is developing our youth and our future leaders, teaching them that morality matters in a leader.”
“Celebrating a half century of Christian education in our community is very special,” Art Pol explained. “God has led us through all the struggles of the past. He continues to guide and to bless us.”
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.