Funding approved for Newspaper Digitization

Ceremonial shovel in the ground for Roundabout project – Dignitaries from four levels of government were on hand for the official ground-breaking for the Morrisburg Roundabout and Street-Scape project on July 22. Work began on the project a few weeks ago, however this was the first opportunity to bring together representatives from all involved levels of government. The $4.2 million project is funded, in part, by a $3 million contribution from the federal/provincial Investing Canada Infrastructure Program. Project completion is expected late this fall, with landscaping work continuing into next spring. Pictured (l-r): SDG Counties Manager of Infrastructure Michael Jans, Assistant General Manager Coco Paving Inc. Morrisburg Dan Byvelds, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell, South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds, SDG Counties Warden Allan Armstrong, SDSG MP Eric Duncan, and SDG Counties Director of Transportation and County Engineer Ben deHaan. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

CORWNALL – After $200,000 spent digitizing old newspapers and photographs in SDG Counties, council approved an additional $50,000 reserve to continue the work after 2021.

The “Digitization Reserve” will fund late additions to the archive project as some donations are still being made to the Dundas County Archives, Glengarry County Archives, and the Lost Villages Museum.

The three historical preservation entities partnered with SDG to begin the digitization project in early 2020.

Council at the time approved $100,000 in funding as part of a two-year plan to preserve old newspapers including The Leader, Chesterville Record, and Glengarry News, along with defunct newspapers like the Winchester Press, Williamsburg Times, and Iroquois Post. The photo archives of the LVHS are also being digitized in this program.

The archive launched online earlier this year but is not complete as more work was contracted to Image Advantage for 2021, totaling another $81,500.

Eric Duncan, member of Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, sits on the project’s steering committee and made the request for a reserve to be established at the June 2021 SDG council meeting.

Continuing work past 2021, the contractor will charge 85 cents per page or photo for digitization.

The committee estimated that there are about 40,000 pages and photos in the project still to digitize, calling the reserve funding “our final request.”

SDG has $6.3 million in working reserves, the reallocation of $50,000 for the archives is less than one per cent of its reserve.

Other County Council news…

SDG Counties is getting its new radio tower and system. Council approved a bid from Ontower Inc. to demolish the existing radio tower in Newington and build a new two-way radio tower at the same site.

That contract, priced at $198,225.40, is only for the tower system. A second contract was awarded to Five9 Solutions at a price of $111,992 for the new two-way radio system for the tower.
Since 2019, the county has looked at reviving an unused communications network for use by the Transportation Department.

The new system, which will primarily be used for snow plow truck operations, will cover some of the signal drop-offs that occurred by relying on cell phone signal availability.

Originally SDG tried to involve the six lower-tier municipalities in the project but not all parties agreed with that option, leaving the county to go along on its own for the equipment change.
County staff considered the two-way radio system better, in part, because two-way radio systems are exempt from the province’s distracted driving legislation and therefore do not require special “hands-free” equipment to operate in a vehicle.

The $310,000 project is over-budget, but staff told council that it is looking for funding grants to cover the shortfall.

Brinston storm sewers

Council approved a $75,368 tender to Clearwater Structures Inc. for lining storm sewers along County Road 16 in Brinston. The new storm sewer lining is expected to last 50 years. Work will be completed on the project in 2021.

Committee appointments

Three new appointments to boards were made in the changes after the mid-term replacement of County Warden.

New Warden Allan Armstrong appointed Councillor Bryan McGillis (South Stormont) to the Joint Liason committee for the balance of the year. Armstrong already served on this committee, which works with the City of Cornwall on shared services between the two governments.

Councillor David Smith (South Stormont) was appointed to the SDG Library board as the Warden’s Designate, also for the balance of 2021. Armstrong also appointed Councillor Kirsten Gardner (South Dundas) to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. She served on that board in 2019.

COTW meeting in September

SDG Council will meet at a special Committee-of-the-Whole meeting on September 29 at 9 a.m. The meeting will discuss a number of items including a road signage policy, weed spraying vs. mowing, a strategic plan for the historic and non-historic portions of the former jail, a flag policy, live streaming meetings, and a remote work policy.

2022 draft budget December 8

Council also set the meeting date for the 2022 County Budget. The draft budget will be presented and debated on December 8 and 9.

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