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$2.7M tender awarded, sewer work set to go


South Dundas has about $6 million worth of government funding at their disposal to rehabilitate its sewer systems in Morrisburg, Iroquois and Williamsburg, and the work will begin early in the new year. 

At the December 18 council meeting, South Dundas awarded a $2.7 million tender for sewer work to Insituform Technologies Ltd.

The work associated with this tender includes the relining of sanitary sewers, manhole repairs and other associated work.

The engineer’s estimate for this work was over $4 million, so council was pleasantly surprised to see the bids come in more than a million lower than expected.

The type of sewer work taking place  is designed to address inflow and infiltration issues. 

Once complete, it should alleviate some of the pressure from the municipal sewer plants that are seriously overburdened during large rainfall events.

This work will start early in the new year and take about 16 weeks to complete.

With the remaining funds, the replacement of the sewer main along Lakeshore Drive is a priority.

“A lot of these sewer issues have gone back to the last term of council, so a lot of people will be glad to see this work get underway,” said South Dundas councillor Jim Graham.


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Seaway students stage protest


The students are the collateral damage, and they want it to stop. 

That was the message the 40 Seaway District High School students who walked out of class Thursday, December 20, took to the street.

“Really we want to stay neutral in the whole situation,” said grade 11 student Christyn Veinotte, one of the organizers of the student protest.

She explained that the protest was done with respect to stay mindful of all sides involved, without being overly disruptive. “We just stayed outside for 40 minutes because we thought we could raise just as much awareness with a short protest as a long one,” she said. 

“It was important that we do this to raise awareness. There’s power in numbers so the more schools who do this, the better.”

Not only does it allow them to voice their opinions, Veinotte believes it puts pressure on all those involved to find a way to improve the situation. 

“About 90-95 per cent of those people driving by gave us the thumbs up or honked, which is a lot of support. A lot more than we thought we would get,” said Veinotte.

All this labour unrest has meant the elimination of extra curricular activities.

“That especially impacts those who are motivated to come to high school by those extra curricular activities. It hurts our high school experience more than anything,” said Veinotte. “I think taking away our extra curricular activities has gone too far.”


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Draft bylaws are now available for comment


Two draft bylaws which will go before council for their approval early in the new year are now posted on the township of South Dundas website.

Each of the bylaws spurred lengthy discussions among council members when debated last month. 

The point of them being posted on the township website is to give members of the public the opportunity to peruse the lengthy, documents, and to provide comments, before they become law.

They will be posted for comment until January 11, 2013.


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South Dundas to take back water and sewer operations


 As of January 1, 2013, section 19 of the Safe Drinking Water Act extends legal responsibility to the people with decision making authority over municipal drinking water systems, including municipal councillors.

That has prompted South Dundas to undertake a thorough review of the provision of water and wastewater services, and to make a change.

The report was presented to South Dundas council at the December 18 meeting.

Currently, South Dundas contracts the operation, maintenance and management of its water and sewer systems to a third party contractor – Caneau Water and Sewer Operations Inc. 

When that contract expires in June, South Dundas will take over direct management of the services and provide these services in house.

“The bottom line here is we have to have properly trained personnel in our plants to ensure the safety of our drinking water,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan. 

“I like the idea of eliminating a level of bureaucracy because come January 1st, it’s our asses on the line, so it would be nice to be hands on with the goings on of our plants.”

Although South Dundas mayor Byvleds did not approve of the expression used by Mellan, he did say, “Councillor Mellan is correct.”

Byvelds said it is time for South Dundas to bring the operation of the water and sewer plants in house. “We have the opportunity to bring this in house, and get the accountability where it needs to be. There have been challenges with upper management that we wouldn’t have to deal with.”

In bringing plant operations in house a staffing model of four certified operators and an operator in training is proposed.

Even with the creation of the new positions and the purchase of vehicles and equipment, the municipality expects to be able to operate the plants, in house, for less than the roughly $400,000 paid out to Caneau annually.


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Angel Tree Helps Bring Joy

“This community has, as always, been very generous, even in these difficult times, with our Angel Tree drive,” said Morrisburg & District Lion, Wayne Domanko, chair of the 2012 Angel Tree drive in South Dundas. “The drive is designed to provide gifts for area children who might otherwise not receive a present this Christmas morning.”

Helping the Lions to make this a successful drive were the Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank and SDS Kerr. The Morrisburg Legion, Branch #48, the Ladies Auxiliary, Canadian Tire, the South Williamsburg Recreation Association, St. Mary-St. Cecilia grade eights and Morrisburg Public School’s Penny Drive, all made generous donations to the Angel Tree. 

Lions and spouses will organize the gifts, make some additional purchases and deliver the presents to the Legion on December 19, to be turned over to the South Dundas Christmas Exchange. “I am deeply appreciative of the work and financial contributions all our donors have carried out to make this a special Christmas for our kids,” Domanko said. "All the schools and businesses have been enormously supportive of our efforts."



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Wish Tree at WDMH Lit

The Winchester District Memorial Hospital Wish Tree has been officially lit, and the Hospital Foundation hopes that the spirit of giving in the community will be strong this holiday season. 

Last year gifts totalling over $49,000 were given in support of high priority needs at the hospital. To date, more than $30,000 has already been donated, with a deadline of December 31 about two weeks away. 

This year, 23 students from Morrisburg Public School attended the official Wish Tree lighting ceremony on Tuesday, December 11, in the main lobby of the hospital. 

Two MPS students, Cameryn Broad and Kristyn VanHoof, were given the honour, with Troy Cross, executive director of the WDMH Foundation, of throwing the switch to light the tree.

The Morrisburg students, with teacher Sarah Barclay-Thomas, had earlier delivered close to 400 hand made Christmas cards to the hospital, intended for patients who might have to spend Christmas in hospital care. 

“We also brought Christmas jingle bells, paper snowflakes, Christmas ornaments and special art work with us,” teacher Barclay-Thomas said. “Morrisburg Public School does not have a large population, so many of our students, from kindergarten to grade six, created more than one special card. We wanted to be sure that every patient was remembered. We look forward to coming to Winchester at this time of year, to sing, visit patients and present our cards to them.”

Accompanied by Joanne Sidorchuk, manager CCCU Rehab and Diagnostics, the students visited several floors of the hospital before the tree lighting ceremony. One of the highlights of their visit was the ability to deliver “welcome to the world” cards, especially designed for babies, to day old Kaley Kelly and her parents, Corinne and Chris.

Then the students joined hospital officials and guests in the lobby, where the Village Voyces choir performed songs of the season.

 “This Wish Tree is a symbol of the light our loved ones and caregivers have brought into our lives,” said Troy Cross. “Many, many people have touched our lives and this Tree represents them. 

Everyone recognized on this tree has given a gift to the hospital, recognizing a loved one who has passed, a friend or a member of our staff. The gifts we receive at this time serve our hospital not just in this season but also onward. 

And it is a real pleasure to see Morrisburg Public School students with us, touring our hospital to sing and give cards to our patients.”

This year, several hundred generous donors have given their support to the Wish Tree campaign. In the past, Scotiabank (whose seven branches support the campaign), was the sole matching partner of the Wish Tree program. This year Scotiabank will be joined by new sponsors Dan R Equipment, MacEwen Petroleum, Riveredge Farms and Russell Meadows Retirement Community.


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Iroquois clinic project makes room for expanded services

In January, the project to renovate the former St. Cecilia school in Iroquois into a new St. Lawrence Medical Clinic building will get started and it should be complete around April.

The SLMC has received preliminary budget and design documents, and it was based on those documents that they decided to go forward with this project.

The new clinic will have space for three doctors, which is one more than the current clinic. It will also include space for ancillary services that SLMC may be eligible for such as RN run programs, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, etc.

“We don’t have space for that now, that’s one of the main reasons for the expansion,” said Stephen McCann, business manager for the SLMC. 

This addition makes room for the SLMC to recruit another doctor. “We’re working on that too,” he added.

“We are trying to be forward thinking and to take advantage of the Ministry programs that are available that will benefit the community. Right now, we don’t have the space to take advantage of those programs,” McCann explained.

The Township of South Dundas will be owners of the renovated building and lease it back to the SLMC for a 20 year, renewable lease, that will cover all capital and ongoing costs.


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Besner hired as the new Counties EDO

The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry announced the hiring of Terry Besner as its new Economic Development and Communications Officer.

Besner will bring to the Counties expertise in economic development services, having held positions previously in both the public and private sector. 

“We are pleased that Terry has made the decision to join our team at the Counties,” said CAO Tim Simpson. “We interviewed a series of highly qualified candidates, but we were particularly impressed by Terry’s credentials and what she would bring to the table.”

In October, Counties Council made the decision to deliver economic development services internally after over a decade of being delivered through the SD&G Community Futures Development Corporation. 

“It was a large undertaking to bring economic development in-house, but one that Council fully supported. I look forward to working with Ms. Besner,” said Warden Bill McGimpsey.

Besner at one time worked for the SD&G CFDC as projects manager.

Besner will be responsible for spearheading various economic development initiatives in partnership with local municipalities, as well as the implementation of the Counties’ corporate communications strategy.  She will assume her new position Jan. 8, 2013.


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Big donation from The Bargain! Shop

The Bargain! Shop in Morrisburg presented the Dundas County Food Bank with a cheque for $4,000 on December 13.

Barry Greer, Eastern Ontario District Manager for The Bargain! Shop recently received a very welcome phone call from The Bargain! Shop’s senior management team. He was told that The Bargain! Shop was going to donate $4,000 to the charity of their Morrisburg store manager’s choice. “It was a nice surprise to get that phone call,” said Greer.

Morrisburg’s store manager is Susan Shaver.Shaver did some research into area charities and decided that the funds would be donated to the Dundas County Food Bank.

“Especially this time of year, there are a lot of people in need,” said Shaver. “This is a worthy cause.”

Dundas County Food Bank chair Alvin Runnalls was happy to receive the donation saying that the food bank is serving significantly more people this year.

South Dundas Food Bank coordinator Norma Smith said that food bank use is up 13 percent over last year.

She said she is seeing a lot of new people and at the South Dundas location in particular they serve a lot of large families.

“I see so much need here,” said Smith. “But, I get to see so much generosity too.”


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WDMH investment in education pays dividends

Winchester District Memorial Hospital has long been a teaching hospital and in recent years they have formalized many educational partnerships that have put this rural hospital in a position that not many other rural hospital’s enjoy.

“Every hospital has a smattering of academic affiliations, but no other hospitals our size have an academics program the scale of what we have here,” said Cholly Borland, WDMH CEO when he spoke with local media December 6. WDMH has affiliation agreements with 17 universities and colleges.

In the last 2.5 years more than 700 students have spent time at WDMH thanks to its teaching program. They have included students in more than a dozen disciplines such as medical and nursing students, student paramedics, also those studying in the fields of administration, diagnostics, pharmacy, midwifery and nutrition.

Having all these students spending time at WDMH has a huge benefit to the community. 

The role of teacher taken on by the preceptors keeps our local health care providers sharp. “Fresh blood, a second set of eyes and new ideas that students bring keeps our preceptors on their toes,” said Borland.

The exposure of so many medical students to WDMH and family medicine practices allows students to decide if rural medicine is for them, and it allows areas served by WDMH an edge in the recruiting process.

Dr. Brian Devin, who acts as WDMH site director for family medicine, knows the importance of having an exposure to rural medicine, which is his field of choice even though he is from a large city. “We’ve recruited six family physicians. and four of them are still practicing here,” said Devin. “We could always use more, but technically, we are not under-serviced right now. That shows that our investment in education does pay dividends to us.”

The students of family medicine fully appreciate the experience that WDMH offers. 

Dr. Stehpanne Brassard, a second year family medicine resident said, “I have felt like part of the team from day one.” Brassard explains that city hospitals are often filled with “the weird and wonderful” but rural hospitals offer a special experience. He explained that while he has seen a little of the weird and wonderful here, he has had so much more of a patient experience and learned a lot about continuity of care. “It’s fun when you look after someone through pregnancy, deliver their baby and then get to take care of the baby,” said Brassard. “Family medicine allows you the opportunity to practice at the full scope of your education,” added Devin.

“The health care providers who accept to be preceptors and the patients in the community are key to the success of this program,” said Sylvie Forgues-Martel, chief liaison officer for academic and medical affairs at WDMH. “The patients are very often the teachers,” said Devin. “It’s an important part of our learning,” said Brassard. “The patients are incredibly accepting, very trustful and very happy to participate in our learning, which is great. The more exposure we get makes our learning more complete, and we get a lot of exposure here.”