Joy and Leanne Casselman of Old Homestead Farm welcomed several two-legged and four-legged guests to their farm September 11, when the Giddy-Up for Bonnie fundraising ride passed through South Dundas. The seven people, and eight horses, were riding from Lindsay to St. Andrew’s West, to raise funds for a dear friend battling cancer. The 440 kilometre journey, included most of the group on horseback, with a team hitched to a covered wagon. Joy was thrilled that the group found her farm, where they camped for the night. The organizer of the ride had driven the back-roads route a few weeks before, stopping at various farms suitable to overnight the camping riders’ horses. They were here on day 12 of their 14 day journey. The ride was more challenging than they anticipated. However, making it a little easier were the people they encountered along the way.
A handful of South Dundas residents are among the 30 residents of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarrry who will be receiving a special decoration on December 9th.
Monday, SDSG Member of Parliament, Guy Lauzon, announced the names of local community leaders who have been selected as recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“We were overwhelmed with the response to nominations and the number of worthy candidates for the Medals,” said MP Lauzon.
“We are so blessed to live in such a great community and country. These individuals have truly made a difference and are excellent examples of leaders and Canadians who make us proud.”
The following SDSG residents were named as recipients: Joan Farlinger, Doug Grenkie, Dr. Graham Houze, Trevor Tolley, Helen Tupper, Sean Adams, Bill Bresee, Pastor Thurland Brown, Jim Brownell, Wayne Burns, Father Bernard Cameron, Shirley Coons, Mamie David, Rose Desnoyers, Barbara Ann Glaude, Ernie Filion, Ken Heagle, Sandy Lalonde, Rachelle Lamond, Gilles Latour, Rick Marvell, Dr. Mary Randlett, Gerald Samson, Josee Sauve, Rick Shaver, Sue Tarle, Theresa Taylor, Karen Torrie-Racine, Sandy Weagant and Miriam Wheeler.
A new commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada.
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. A formal ceremony to present the honors will take place on Sunday, December 9th at the St. Andrews Catholic Church in St. Andrew’s West. The event will begin at 1:30 pm and is open to the public to attend.
Dillon Consulting Limited, on behalf of the township of South Dundas, held four Community Vision Cafés last week on March 21st and 22nd.
According to Economic Development Officer Nicole Sullivan, approximately 70 people in total attended one or more of the four cafés. Both the Morrisburg and Iroquois meetings each saw upwards of 20 residents in attendance, while the Dixon’s Corners and Williamsburg locations saw, on average, about 10 residents.
Recreation and economic development seemed to be the two most common concerns for residents who attended the cafés.
As for the actual cafés, Mayor Steven Byvelds opened each of the café consultations with a welcome message and invitation to participate fully. “This is your meeting,” he said, “not council’s meeting. We’re looking for your ideas.”
“Don’t be afraid to dream somewhat,” he added.
The cafés were led by Rory Baksh and Sari Liem of Dillon Consulting Limited.
Baksh began each meeting with the same clear message: “the café gives citizens an opportunity to chart their own future. It’s important because who knows this community better than you? You should be the ones who have a voice in shaping where this community goes.”
And, as one resident at the Dixon’s Corners café pointed out, “as a result of the amalgamation, there’s a lot of different cultures trying to fit together.”
Baksh suggested that ideas be “achievable, practical and economically realistic (and) support long-term continuous improvement.” In addition, ideas “should reflect your passion and your voice.”
“The plan that will come out of this process will very much be the work of the citizens.”
Liem followed Baksh’s opening statement, saying, “there’s no wrong answer. Be creative, but be realistic. Discuss rather than debate and, think positively.”
“As community members,” she added, “you have the strongest voice.”
Following the opening remarks, the interactive portion of the meeting got underway.
The first exercise was recognizing and listing the assets and strengths that South Dundas already possesses. The township’s strengths were divided into seven categories: human; social capital; cultural; natural; economic and financial; built; and political.
Baksh pointed out that “we’re focussing on what assets are here. We have to understand what we value so we can plan for the future. A community is shaped by the assets and things that we care about.”
Liem added, “think of these assets as opportunities we can leverage on.”
Residents named the river, the open green space, the rich history of the area and the wealth of volunteers as just some of the assets found in South Dundas. The lists were, in fact, lengthy.
Following the compilation of current assets, residents were asked to complete an exercise called the Wishing Well. Participants were encouraged to “take one step into the future” and make some wishes for South Dundas. The guidelines for doing so were clear: wishes should be smart, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Some of the more common wishes arising from the Dixon’s Corners group included changes to recreational facilities, beautification projects, additional industry, and changes to educational opportunities within South Dundas.
One participant was clear about not wanting industrial wind turbines. Another suggested that Williamsburg get a facelift, while another dreamed of a monorail connecting South Dundas to places like Ottawa, Cornwall and Brockville.
The Wishing Well exercise brought forth many of the same ‘wishes’ in each of the café venues. The Morrisburg café added things like “create a heritage preservation society” in addition to having more sidewalks and trails.
Following the Wishing Well task, residents were invited to go farther into the future and form a Vision Statement for where South Dundas should be in 10 years.
According to Baksh, “a good vision is understandable, inspirational, distinctive, and ambitious.” He specifically pointed out that “it shouldn’t be something cookie-cutter from somewhere else.”
After brainstorming in small groups, each group presented their vision statement for South Dundas to the whole group.
One group, using a metaphor, pointed out that “you have to have a foundation for a house before you start building a house” and talked about small steps that lead toward grander dreams down the road.
Visions were similar in that they focused on providing “safe, healthy and supportive living” in South Dundas.
There was emphasis on preserving what’s here in terms of history, environment, and infrastructure.
A woman attending the Dixon’s Corners café said, “ I’d like to see services stay in the community. If we want people to stay in our community, we need to encourage local businesses and services so people stay within South Dundas instead of driving outside.”
Residents at the Iroquois Civic Centre café voiced the need to preserve the golf course.
In addition to protecting current services within South Dundas, there was general agreement that the township needs to grow by welcoming more businesses, small and large, as well as more tourists.
Following the Vision Statement presentations, Baksh and Liem, at each café, made a list of community priorities or key points based on that meeting’s vision statements.
The key points that arose during the Morrisburg café consultation were: develop business along Highway 401; waterfront park; youth centre; seniors support centre; more industry to grow; public washrooms downtown; sidewalks; hiking/walking/biking path along Lakeshore Drive; and, more things for teens.
Before leaving, café attendees were given the opportunity to “vote” for the wishes/ideas that they felt were most important. In addition, they were invited to sign-up for future action plan groups based on some of the key points.
Baksh concluded each café consultation by ensuring attendees were aware of the process going forward. In April, there will be a status report.
At the end of April or early in May, he revealed that there will be another round of workshops. These workshops will focus on action plans centered around specific themes.
The final draft of the plan will be available in June.
In addition to the ideas provided by South Dundas residents, Baksh said that some of the photos submitted online would also be used in the final draft of the plan document.
The draft report will be posted online and Baksh enouraged all in attendance as well as each South Dundas resident to “read it over, provide comments. We certainly encourage that.”
By the narrowest of margins, the SDG County Library Board passed motion, at the June 20 meeting that will keep a library in Williamsburg.
In a 4-3 recorded vote, the motion states that library staff will work with South Dundas to find a suitable location in Williamsburg for a branch of the SDG Library system.
“It is now up to South Dundas to move forward on sourcing a suitable location for the Branch,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke, who is a member of the library board. Locke voted in favour of keeping a branch of the library in Williamsburg.
“We are pleased with the result of the library board meeting,” said Kharla Ward, one of the library users who fought to keep a library in Williamsburg.
“As time is of the essence, we look forward to working with the library board and the South Dundas council to settle into a new location before the August 1, 2013 deadline.”
The library has been asked to vacate the space by August 1, in order for South Dundas’ new building tenants, the TR Leger School of Adult and Alternative Education to move in.
According to Ward, committee members, along with Mayor Steven Byvelds and Deputy Mayor Jim Locke, have looked at a house, a commercial building (the former Canadian Tire) and have also discussed the possibility of a new building for the Williamsburg branch of the library at J.C. Whitteker Park. She also mentioned that perhaps T.R. Leger could still consider finding them a space.
While Byvelds and Locke did participate in one meeting, with the Friends group to discuss potential locations, it will be up to South Dundas staff, library staff and the Friends organization to choose a location and then bring their proposal to South Dundas council for funding approval.