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.
Got an eReader or a tablet for Christmas, and don’t know how to use it? Head on over to your local branch of the SD&G County Library for a computer training session.
The Library’s training sessions are tailored to each individual or small group’s needs, and include training with eReaders and tablets, online resources and the public library catalogue. “Providing resources for education and learning is an important part of what the Library does” said Erika Heesen, Communications and Marketing Librarian. “These training sessions are but one example of the many services the Library offers.”
These services include lending eBooks as well as print books. Using the Library’s OverDrive app or website at www.sdglibrary.ca, Library cardholders can borrow eBooks from the comfort of their own home. “The library is all about reading and learning, whatever format that might be in”, said Heesen.
Training sessions are a part of the Library’s regular programming, or can be booked by contacting any SD&G County Library branch.
June 28th will mark the official opening of the South Dundas Municipal Centre, located at 34 Ottawa Street, Morrisburg, and all are welcome, even encouraged, to attend.
The present building is well known in the area, having served as the Morrisburg Collegiate Institute for over 40 years. Now, it is renovated to meet the needs of the community.
“I feel that all South Dundas residents should come out and see what has been done to the ‘Old High School’ as it has been called for years,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds. “To take a historic building and transform it into a very useful asset that will be used by residents for many years, is quite an achievement in this day of tearing down old and replace with new that will never last as long as this building has.”
Ground breaking of the project began in 2012, and all tenants have now moved in as of May 2014.
“The services within this building are vital to the community,” said Mayor Byvelds. “They are now conveniently co-located and we look forward to showcasing what they have to offer.”
Offices within the building include:
• St. Lawrence Medical Clinic (Main Floor)
• SDG County Library- Morrisburg Branch (Main Floor)
• Morrisburg Visitor Information Centre (Main Floor)
• South Dundas Municipal Offices (Second Floor)
• Council Chambers & Mayor’s Office (Third Floor)
• Recreation Programming Room (Third Floor)
Residents are invited to join local dignitaries and staff at 10 a.m. for the ribbon cutting ceremony, with tours and refreshments to follow.
“We hope all residents are able to join us on June 28th to celebrate the opening of this new facility,” added Mayor Byvelds.
The contract for the building renovation was $4.1 million, including contingency, which was needed for building alterations required for both the clinic and municipal space. Next month, council expects to receive a staff report finalizing the cost of the project, taking into account details such as project management costs.
When that report is received, council can move forward with setting up a 20 year loan to finance the project. Council, at budget time, set aside reserves to cover the first loan payment.
A little over six months ago, the Morrisburg Business Improvement Area hired their first non-member as a coordinator, and this month, for the first time, they opened an independent office in the Morrisburg Plaza.
The office, located at 99 Main Street Morrisburg (beside Bo’s Barbershop) was generously donated to the Municipality of South Dundas by local lawyer Doug Grenkie. It was donated for the purpose of housing a public washroom facility.
The BIA decided that the washroom project fits nicely with the work of the BIA, and gives the organization the opportunity to have a standalone space.
The idea of a public washroom in the Morrisburg Plaza has been floated for several years. With the land donation, and the BIA involvement, it is coming much closer to becoming reality.
However, as of yet, there is no specific plan or time-line available for that project.
“What we needed first was a location,” said Grace McDonough, coordinator for the Morrisburg BIA. “Now that we have this location, we are working at applying for funding.”
The plan is to install one fully accessible public washroom in the space adjacent to the newly established and renovated office.
So far, little has been done to the space, as the washroom will require extensive changes to the area, and likely a relocation of the door to meet provincial accessibility requirements.
Several years ago, fund raising was done for a washroom facility for the Morrisburg plaza, as a South Dundas Chamber of Commerce initiative, carried out in partnership with the Morrisburg and District Lions Club, and fundraising matched by the Morrisburg Scotiabank. The $8,100 raised through those efforts, will go to the BIA in support of the washroom project.
While the washroom project is an important priority for the BIA in its new home, it is one of many initiatives the BIA will be involved in this year.
When McDonough was hired in 2013, it was just on the heels of a successful Antiquefest, which was done in partnership with the South Dundas Chamber.
This year, the BIA, with a committee of BIA members and community members will take on organization of the 2014 Antiquefest alone. Learning from observations and input from last year’s vendors, McDonough says this year, all of the vendors will be in tents in mall courtyard behind the clocktower, or a section of the parking lot that will be cordoned off for the summer event slated for July 19 and 20. “We plan to grow the event this year,” said McDonough.
In McDonough’s first year as coordinator, she participated in a number of pumpkin-themed events including spooky tales, pumpkin carving and window decorating and baking contests, and the BIA plans for many of those to return again this fall. Last Christmas, in addition to the seasonal decorations that adorn the Morrisburg Plaza, courtesy of the BIA, they were joined by the Seaway Valley Singers for carolling in the plaza, held a window decorating contest for its members and turkey draws for Plaza patrons.
“All of this is like nothing I’ve ever done before. I brought a basic skill set to this job, and have been learning a lot along the way. With so many great ideas, and lots of feedback from our members, I’m looking forward to applying what I have learned,” said McDonough. While looking forward to having a role in these returning events, McDonough anticipates some new initiatives to the plaza.
The Municipality of South Dundas has been setting aside funds for a revitalization of the Morrisburg Plaza, and the BIA is looking forward to having input into that project.
The BIA is continuing to work at various ways to promote the plaza, including advertising, promotions and events, more than just hosting its own events, McDonough hopes to be able to make the plaza a stop on established regional events and tours. Additional attractions such as an expanded farmer’s market are in the works. The BIA is interested in making the mall court yard more welcoming to visitors, by adding seating and bicycle racks.
“Not only would it give visitors a place to rest, it could also be a gathering place to sit outdoors and enjoy lunch,” said McDonough. “It’s just part of being welcoming community. The tourist season here is a short season, so we want to help our businesses.”
The Morrisburg Business Improvement Area consists of the geographic area of the Morrisburg Village Plaza. It is funded through a levy, administered by the municipality. The president of the Morrisburg BIA is Bill Ewing. The position is appointed by the municipality for the term of council. There are more than 240 BIAs across the province. BIAs have many functions including overseeing area improvements, promoting the area and advocating on behalf of the interests of the business improvement area.
The primary responsibility of the coordinator is to assist the board in implementing revitalization and promotion strategy, as directed by the board, while serving as a link between the board and the BIA members, as well as coordinating the activities of committees, community groups and volunteers.