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Canada supports economic growth in Eastern Ontario

 

Eastern Ontario businesses and communities will benefit from a renewed investment in the region announced today by Guy Lauzon, Member of Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).  

A Government of Canada investment of $30 million over the next three years will support the renewal of the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP), resulting in a greater number of economic development initiatives and improved partnerships throughout Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. 

“I am happy that the Minister has made the decision to approve funding for a three year period,” said Lauzon, “this will permit EODP to develop a multiyear strategic plan.”

“I am proud today to announce that our government is moving forward with its commitment to create jobs and economic growth here in eastern Ontario,” said Minister Goodyear. “This additional investment in the Eastern Ontario Development Program will offer new opportunities for the people, businesses and communities in this region.” 

 The Program is managed by FedDev Ontario and funding will be delivered by 15 Community Futures Development Corporations located throughout rural Eastern Ontario.

“This announcement is welcome news for SD & SG,” said Carma Williams, Vice Chair SD & G Community Futures Development Corporation, “it will allow us to do multi-year planning.”

Press Release

“The Eastern Ontario Development Program has been a catalyst for business and community development across eastern Ontario for a number of years,” said Dan Stanford, Chair of the Eastern Ontario CFDC Network. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Government of Canada so that Community Futures Development Corporations can support projects that will grow and diversify the regional economy.” 

To find out more about the Eastern Ontario Development Program and how to access program funding, please refer to the backgrounder or visit the FedDev Ontario website at www.feddevontario.gc.ca. 

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If you build it, they will come

 

 Quick, answer this question: How many hiking trails are within close distance to where you live?

Thanks to South Nation Conservation (SNC) you can add a new one to the short list. Two Creeks Conservation Area, just off County Road 2 between Morrisburg and Iroquois, is free and open for visitors.

At the October 18th South Dundas council meeting, SNC Assistant Works Superintendents David Fitch and Mike Leger gave a presentation on the progress made and the plans that remain. SNC Board Chair Lawrence Levere was also present.

The 400 acres of property previously owned by Domtar became available for purchase when Domtar closed. 

SNC took the opportunity to purchase the land and credits Don Graham for the find: “he was a great help to us to get this thing started.”

Graham, a member of DIAMONDS Conservation Land Trust (DCLT), had an agreement with Domtar whereby the land was used for trails and open to the public.

Graham explained that when Domtar began “to pull out of things locally, we (DCLT) had to get out too because we didn’t have an agreement” with anyone else for use of the land.

DCLT and Graham talked with SNC and left information about the area and the situation in the hope that they would pick up the land, and with it the project.

“Their purposes are exactly what Diamonds were,” said Graham. “I supplied background information” to help SNC.

“The future now looks rosy; looks like it could be fun for Morrisburg, Iroquois and South Dundas,” he said. Two Creeks is “a real boon to the township.”

Fitch reported to council that local contractors, Lloyd McMillan Equipment Ltd. of Iroquois and Cruikshank Construction of Morrisburg, have been helping out on the park.

It’s been “very good for us and for the township, working together on this,” said Fitch.

He told council that one of the first steps, “getting the parking lot back in order and usable,” is now completed.

In addition, the first trail section is “about 99 per cent completed.” The second and third trail sections will take longer, probably  years, to complete. The “time frame depends on usage of the park.”

As for the trail that’s completed, Fitch reported: “Right now we have about four and a half kilometers of trail that’s been reestablished.”

“We’ve had to put a lot of hard work into this (as there was) quite a lot of bush hogging in there to get it cleared out.”

“Approximately 150 tons of gravel” was used due to wet and low areas. Fitch estimates that by the time SNC is done they’ll have used “half a million tons of gravel.”

“Because of the length of the trail, we can’t do it all in one shot,” he explained. Also, due to the “creek that runs through the property, (SNC) had to build a bridge across.”

Building the bridge required a permit and an on site inspection. The trails are five feet wide and the bridge, which has been “heavily constructed to hold vehicles (is) 52 feet long with ramps down both sides.”

The “possibilities are endless with this park,” Fitch said, predicting: “You’ll find there’s going to be a lot of use in this park.”

He showed council a picture of  the “Two Creeks Conservation Area” sign that SNC plans to erect on County Road 2, saying, “this should bring a lot more people to the park.”

South Dundas Deputy Mayor Jim Locke complimented SNC saying, it “looks like a job well done. (There’s) a lot of potential.”

“This is going to get used quite a bit,”  he predicted.

While motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trails, bicycles are welcomed.

In terms of money spent on the project, Fitch told council that so far SNC has spent “about $6,000 to $7,000 in materials.”

“We didn’t waste anything,” he continued. It was “all planned out; we knew what we needed.”

The “parking lot was the biggest expense, “ he explained. It “might have been under $10,000 total.”

“Over the years there will be quite a bit of money put into it. Eventually there will be over ten kilometers of trails.”

Councillor Evonne Delegarde inquired as to whether the trails would be open in winter. Fitch replied, “most are closed in the winter time, but are used year round, 24/7.”

He further explained “closed” meant that the trails are not groomed during winter, but the area is still “open” and accessible to the public.

SNC’s Levere added, “we’re not in the business of keeping people out of our parks for legitimate uses.”

Many people use SNC trails for hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, biking and more.

According to their website, SNC “encourage all watershed residents to become familiar with the unique beauty of your natural surroundings and understand the importance of maintaining our local environment.”

They ask that visitors “take only pictures and leave only footprints.”

South Dundas Mayor, Steven Byvelds said, “I hope we can promote this together.”

Levere responded with a slightly altered quote from the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

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Sears fashion fund raiser

 

Time to step out in style with a little help from Sears and River Rat Treasures. 

On Sunday, November 6,  beginning at 1 p.m., Seaway District High School parents council is joining Sears, Iroquois, in putting together a bold, bright show of the latest Sears fashions as part of a school fund raiser. 

“Every year, Sears and River Rat Treasures stages a fashion fund raiser,” said Candace Menges, co-owner of Sears and River Rat Treasures in Iroquois, “and chooses a local charity or organization as the recipient. This year we were approached by the Seaway District High School parents’ council. Chair Leslie Disheau explained the school is raising funds for classroom equipment and learning materials, such as SmartBoards,  We were glad to help: Seaway will be this year’s recipient of proceeds from our annual fashion show.”

Also lending their support in the community will be Scotia Bank, Morrisburg, which has agreed to match any funds raised by the fashion show. 

With the backing of corporate Sears, Menges has arranged for over 16 volunteer models, ages seven to 70, to walk the runway at the afternoon show. 

“Our models are a wide variety of ages, shapes and sizes,” she said, “because Sears offers a wide variety of stylish clothing in all shapes and sizes. Among the models for the show will be Seaway principal Terry Gardiner and guidance head, Mark Lewis.”

With a Mardi Gras theme, and all the colour and fun of Carnival, this fashion show is sure to thrill guests. 

Local vendors will have displays around the Seaway gymnasium, (where the fashion show will take place). They will be offering some great deals, discounts and specials to visitors. Look for outstanding door prizes and enjoy some delicious refreshments served by the parents council. 

As an additional bonus, the first 100 ticket holders who arrive at the show will receive a very special gift. 

With the Christmas party season nearing, and, for some lucky travellers, upcoming cruises, this timely fashion event will show off great clothing ideas from Sears.

“We’ll be showing every day wear, evening, party and cruise wear for both men and women,” Menges said. “There will be some wonderful fashions for guests to enjoy.”

Tickets for the Carnival of Fashion are $10 for adults, $5 for youth and children under four, free. 

Advance tickets can be purchased at Sears Iroquois and Morrisburg and from the Seaway parents council.

Don’t miss the Carnival of Fashion Fund Raiser on November 6 at Seaway High School. 

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Doug MacLeod Blues Concert at Morrisburg United Church

 

“I pretty much believe the blues chose me,” said Doug MacLeod, in his slightly drawling, mellow voice, at the outset of an interview with the Morrisburg Leader. “To sing the blues, you’ve got to be singing from the heart.”

MacLeod, who is reckoned one of the finest blues singer-songwriters in North America, is coming to Morrisburg for a one night only concert on Friday, November 11. Blues by the Lakeshore will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the United Church of Morrisburg. 

From California MacLeod shared insights into his life and music and why, for over 28 years, he’s been a blues man.

Born in New York City, MacLeod grew up in the 60’s. 

“I had a turbulent childhood,” he laughed, “and the result was I had a big chip on my shoulder. Then my family took a trip to St. Louis, and I heard people singing the blues for the first time. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe the sheer joy those singers had.”

Blues has its roots in the black experience of the American South. 

From the outset, MacLeod found himself drawn to these black musicians who, despite facing widespread prejudice (so much part of the 60’s scene) and often all the drawbacks of poverty, none-the-less expressed themselves in rich and soulful music. 

“I thought to myself, I want to be around this joy,” MacLeod said. 

He began to play and to sing with some of these Old Masters, gradually absorbing their culture,  and living their lives, making the blues his own. 

“What I learned is singing the blues really means making a negative life positive. Maybe you don’t have control over every thing that happens to you in life, but you can survive. I find that I am comfortable with this music. It speaks to my soul. And,” MacLeod added, laughing, “you gotta be what you are, not what you ain’t.” 

A born story teller, whose warm and witty songs reflect his own experiences and his out look on life, MacLeod has been given the title Master of Original Acoustic Blues. He’s played gigs with some of the greatest blues men, performers like Big Joe Turner, George Smith, Pee Wee Crayton, and Joe Louis Walker. 

MacLeod’s songs have been featured in TV movies and on the show In the Heat of the Night. Two of his songs are on Grammy nominated albums by Albert King and Albert Collins. 

He hosted Nothin’ But the Blues on Los Angeles’ KLON-KKJZ radio for five years and is a noted authority on finger style acoustic guitar. 

MacLeod has released 18 studio albums, several live records and a live performance DVD. During his Morrisburg concert he will be performing some numbers from his March 2011 release, Brand New Eyes.

MacLeod said that his blues inspirations are definitely varied and often anchored in his own experiences.

“I’m honest about my life and honest in my music when I sing about love and hard times,” he explained. 

“Truth be told, although I have a wonderful life now and I’ve been happily married for years, let’s just say there’s a lot of girls out there in my past who may not have a lot of kind things to say about me,” he laughed. “Ernest Banks once told me never write or sing about what you don’t know about.”

He hasn’t ignored so-called ‘issues’: he penned the Outspoken Politician Blues and he’s written about lies and liars. However, blues, MacLeod said, “make a mighty big canvas. You can write love songs, sad songs, protest songs.  I think Willie Dixon put it this way, ‘blues is the true facts of life.’”

Doug MacLeod will be performing solo during his Morrisburg concert. While he has worked with bands, especially in his first four albums, he admits that he is more comfortable performing alone.

“I often change my songs somewhat from performance to performance. The way I sing a song on Friday isn’t exactly the way I sing it on Saturday. It can drive a band crazy when you do that: they don’t know where you’re going to start or go.”

Audiences attending Doug MacLeod’s concert on November 11, at The United Church of Morrisburg, can look forward to a memorable evening with a colourful, multi-talented and charming musician. 

“I love telling stories around my songs. I tell stories from my life, some poignant, some humorous, all true. When I sing, I invite the audience into the song. I invite them to become part of the music.”

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert are on sale for $25 each at the Basket Case in Morrisburg,   by calling 613-887-9210, or by booking online at www.troubadourstudio.ca.

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Lakeshore Drive United Church Fall Bazaar

 

Lakeshore Drive United Church served up another successful Fall Bazaar, Saturday, with huge crowds sitting down to a luncheon after shopping at the various tables which included a food sale, a silent auction, and a plant sale. All of the items were donated by members of the congregation. Event coordinator, Minnie MacKay was thrilled with the turnout and thankful to everyone who pitched in to help out. “They had a difficult time getting a convenor so I took it on. But, it’s been great. Everyone knows what they are doing.” 

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New Novel for Morrisburg resident, John Gleed

 

Have you ever dreamed about a world where you can live wherever you want, without regard to what you can afford? Have you wished that you could go into any store and just take what you wanted no matter what the price sticker said? This is the kind of world in which the subjects in the novel, “Earth’s New Beginning” find themselves…but this freedom came at a great cost!

This new novel by Morrisburg resident, John Gleed, will be available shortly as a paperback from Aventine Press. It is available now as an electronic book (ebook) on Amazon Kindle, Chapters/Indigo Kobo, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony eReader and more.

The story gives an account of how the human race came to an extraordinarily rapid and unexpected near-extinction early in the twenty-first century. No thermonuclear or biological war, pollution catastrophe, or any kind of human created disaster played a part in this downfall of modern man.

A highly infectious contagion kills most of the Earth’s population in less than three months. The Sleeping Death Contagion (SDC) virus causes the death of nearly every infected victim as they sleep, in less than four days. 

The nature of SDC was such that it could have resulted in the extinction of the human race. The high level of infectivity and the short time period to fatality had catastrophic results. Only a rare and random genetic immunity to the fatal effects of the virus prevented the total extinction. However, it leaves less than one in a hundred thousand survivors (0.001 per cent) – less than three thousand in North America.

The story follows the experiences of four different survivors in Canada (in the Morrisburg area), England, Kenya and the United States through the rapid spreading of the infection around the world.

It then follows their individual survival stories for the first nine months after the disease strikes.

John Gleed is a retired high-tech executive living in Morrisburg, Ontario, Canada on the Canadian shores of the St. Lawrence River, bordering New York State. He has always been interested in apocalyptic fiction about what might happen if a worldwide catastrophic disaster occurred. 

“Day of the Triffids” by John Wyndham, “No Blade of Grass” by John Christopher,“On the Beach” by Neville Shute and “The Stand” by Stephen King are among his favorite novels.

He was born and grew up in the small village of Dishforth in rural North Yorkshire, England. He emigrated to Canada in 1969. He spent most of his high tech career in Ottawa, Canada with Nortel and Systemhouse and he was a founder of the Canadian software company, JetForm Corporation. He retired in 2002, when the company was taken over by Adobe.

For more information, see www.earthsnewbeginning.com. 

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Help is out there students learn at Mental Health presentations

 

 “Imagine driving down a dark road in pouring rain, then discovering your windshield wipers don’t work. That’s how my head feels all the time.”

A year ago, former Seaway student David (“Davi”) Freire took his own life. He had struggled with bipolar disorder for most of his youth. In the end, the darkness won.

On Tuesday, October 14, David’s mother, Augusta Waddell, joined Angele D’Alessio of the Canadian Mental Health Association, to make two presentations to the students and teachers at Seaway District High School in Iroquois. 

Both D’Alessio and Waddell firmly believe that fostering good mental health, and offering treatments and understanding to young people coping with mental illness, are essential – the sooner, the better. As Augusta Waddell pointed out, the first signs of her son’s debilitating mental illness appeared when he was barely six years old. 

“One in five people are affected by mental illness,” D’Alessio told the students. “The problem is far more widespread than many people realize. Illnesses which often specifically target young people include anxiety, stress and depression.  Over 40 per cent of  mental health workers’ case loads involve youth.”

The October 18 presentations to the grades 7-8 intermediate school and to grades 9-12, were interactive, lively and involving. Again and again, D’Alessio emphasized the message, “Get help. Mental illness is treatable. Recovery is possible.”

D’Alessio pointed out that education about mental illnesses is currently desperately lacking in most Ontario schools. 

In 2001, the Upper Canada District School Board agreed to include a mandatory mental health unit of one week in the health component of grade 11. However, unless a student actually takes that particular grade 11 physical education course, there are no other mandatory programs available in schools. 

“We need to expand workshops and presentations so they reach all kids in the high school,” D’Alessio said. “We have to reach into the elementary schools too, to teach children how to deal with stress and anxiety. Coping abilities need to be ingrained at an early age.”

In the meantime, she pointed out that there are places for troubled teens and their families to turn, including Help Lines and mental health units in many villages and towns. 

There is currently a satellite office, tied to the Main office in Cornwall, of the Canadian Mental Health Association right in the Morrisburg mall. Case managers Linda Lloyd and Stephane Fortin are available for  those who need support.

 However, the true realities of ignoring or stigmatizing mental illnesses were strongly brought home to the students of Seaway when Augusta Waddell told the story of her son, David’s,  struggle to cope with his mental illness. 

“By age six, Davi was sad and anxious, finding it hard to sleep. Although for a time he seemed to cope well, smiling and taking part in lots of activities and sports, the down times began to increase,” Waddell told the students. “By grade 10 at Seaway, Davi was avoiding his family, his friends and stopping activities he had always loved.”

David struggled daily with his bipolar illness, trying to hide how he was feeling, trying to keep friends and fellow students from finding out. Like so many young people, he was ashamed of what he was going through. 

Society is neither understanding nor forgiving of mental illness. This, essentially, is part of the problem.

“Hiding mental disorders because of the stigma can be dangerous,” Waddell told students, “as it prevents many people from seeking help. Many are afraid to admit to a mental illness because they see it as a sign of weakness. We need to be open to the pain which most afflicted with mental illness feel.”

It is too late for David, Waddell concluded, but not too late for other young people to get the help they need. And it is never too late for friends and family to reach out and offer support to a person who is going through the trauma.

“There is no health without mental health,” Augusta Waddell assured the Seaway students. “If you are suffering in silence, I urge you to speak to someone, the school counsellor, a teacher, a parent, a friend, and get the help you need, because the help is out there.”

 

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Septic system inspections to be handed over to SNC

 

What seemed like a simple matter of transferring a contract from one subcontractor to another, quickly became a controversial topic for discussion at the October 18th South Dundas council meeting.

Don Lewis, Manager of Planning and Enforcement for South Dundas, proposed to council that the township consider entering “into an agreement with South Nation Conservation (SNC) to deliver Part VIII of the Ontario Building Code (OCB) pertaining to the design, construction, and maintenance of sewage systems.”

Lewis outlined the situation and reiterated his recommendation from the written proposal presented.

South Dundas, as well as neighbouring municipalities, received a letter from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) on August 3, 2011 terminating their role as subcontractors for administering Part VIII of the OBC effective January 1, 2012.

Sewage systems became the responsibility of the municipalities in 1997 whereby they were given permission to subcontract to health units or to conservation authorities.

With this new development, a meeting was arranged with the Chief Building Officials of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry on August 11 “to discuss possible options of delivery methods.”

Two options mentioned were contracting SNC or doing the job “in house” whereby the township would hire additional staff specifically for the task.

Lewis believes that “entering into a contractual agreement with SNC would be the most advantageous and create a seamless transition for Municipalities, contractors and landowners.”

“SNC has expressed an interest to administer the program at the same fee structure set out by the EOHU at $650 per new application,” he continued.

Lewis further explained: “When delivering the program the delivering agent must also deal with the complaints pertaining to grey and black water issues as well which are difficult for yearly budget purposes.”

In addition, “SNC currently have staff trained to deliver the Part VIII program.”

Lewis admitted that inspection of new septic systems would be the “easy part,” adding that there “will be the necessity of mandatory inspection of existing sewage systems within the influence areas to be defined by the Source Water Protection Committee.”

“Quite honestly, I’ve had a fairly good working relationship with SNC,” he offered.

In response, Councillor Archie Mellan voiced concern about having SNC showing up on doorsteps unannounced to inspect resident’s septic systems. He wanted to know the specifics behind the mandatory inspection of the existing septic systems in terms of rules, regulations and guidelines.

“I think we (council) should have some say. Who is setting the guidelines?” He continued, saying he doesn’t “want to get into a situation where SNC is calling the shots.”

South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds said, “I do concur with Councillar Mellan” in his concern with a “broad-based mandatory system.” 

Following inquiry about the length of the contract, Byvelds asked Lewis: “Are you going to have a clause to get out” of the contract?

South Dundas Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald told council that, if council agrees, staff would ensure that an “out clause” be put into the contract.

Council was informed that the township of South Stormont has decided to enter into a contract with SNC for one year.

Council decided it would be prudent to look at the original contract with EOHU “to get an idea” of how to proceed in designing a new contract with SNC.

Byvelds suggested adding an extra service to the contract with SNC for the rural taxpayers: “an annual or biannual education program on septic systems (outlining) what they should be doing.”

He said that he felt “people need to be educated” on the proper care and maintenance of septic systems including things like what can and cannot be put into a septic system.

He told council, “I’d feel a little better letting them know what’s going on.”

To clarify the situation, South Dundas Deputy Mayor Jim Locke asked, “are we at the mercy of SNC or the province?”

Byvelds replied: “Provincial guidelines interpreted by SNC,” continuing, “they do have a good reputation, but to be fair, it is their interpretation of the rules.

In the end, council agreed to move forward with the proposal. Once staff has negotiated an agreement with SNC, McDonald reported that they will “be bringing the agreement back to council for approval.”

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New guide is a big success

 

Are you one of the many South Dundas residents enjoying a new class thanks to reading about it in the South Dundas Recreation Guide?

Ben Macpherson, Recreation Program Coordinator for South Dundas Township, told council in a report that “the response to the Recreation Guide has been very positive. All the programs run through South Dundas Recreation have sold out.”

In fact, “new classes were created to accommodate the larger numbers.”

Macpherson told the Leader “the guide cost $5,682 after tax. This was the first guide ever done for South Dundas so it was done with all the bells and whistles. Future guides likely won’t be full colour, high gloss, from front to back.”

He explained that the opulence of this first issue was done to get people’s attention, “to inform people of what is out there for them do.”

“At this point I plan to put (the guide) out twice a year. Once for Fall/Winter and once for Spring/Summer.”

“If anyone is interested in running a program or have a program going that would fit into the guide then they can contact me directly” at 613-543-2937 or bmacpherson@southdundas.com.

“I am always open to running new programs, the more programming being offered to South Dundas, I believe makes South Dundas an even better place to live or visit.”

“It’s people in the community that I rely on to provide the instruction of the programs. We have several teachers from the area who are now running cooking classes, art classes, dance classes and basketball programs. I have professionals teaching yoga and kickboxing and boot camps.”

As for programs added for this fall, there are: art classes for kids; yoga with classes for beginner and intermediate levels; senior yoga; adult swing classes; and, boot camp classes.”

Defining his role, he said, “I am here to find the space, coordinate times and do all I can to get the word out to the community about the programs and events.” 

Macpherson reported that “new courses being created are advertised mainly on the South Dundas website (www.southdundas.com) under Recreation News.”

He also posts the information on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, “any programs involving kids goes out to the schools who distribute the information to students. Fiona Carr of the Ontario Early Years Centre also  helps to get information out through her centre.”

Macpherson shared: “It has been my goal to create or continue to offer programming for people of all ages.”

“When I started in my position, one of the biggest concerns expressed was that nobody knew what was happening. I think the guide addresses that concern.” 

“I want people to get out and be active, whether through sports or other activities in the community.”

“The next guide I will be putting out will be for the end of February.”

Macpherson invites those with programs for the guide or those who wish to advertise with the guide, to contact him for details. 

The South Dundas Recreational Guide goes out “to every household in South Dundas” and it is meant “to help promote active healthy lifestyles.”

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Road sign tampering is definitely a no-no

 

The SD&G OPP would like to remind all users of the Township and County road’s that damaging or removing “ROAD SIGNS” are criminal offences.

Damaging a sign could result in a charge of mischief, removing one could result in a charge of theft.

Having a (stolen) sign in your possession could result in a charge of possession of stolen property.

More importantly, removing a sign could lead to disastrous consequences. The signs are placed there for the safety of all who use the roads. Removing any sign could lead to an unwanted collision and serious injuries.

SD&G OPP is asking that if anyone observes someone removing or damaging any “ROAD SIGNS” to call their local OPP detachment or Crime Stoppers and report the incident.

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