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Architects have been hired

The former Morrisburg Collegiate Institute will soon be getting a new lease on life.

South Dundas CAO Stephen McDonald put forth three recommendations in reference to the old high school at the November 15th council meeting.

He began, saying, “I’m actually quite pleased to be presenting this report tonight. The process has been quite long and at the same time it’s allowed for lots of time for input from the clinic and the public.”

He recommended that council approve “the intended uses as illustrated in the conceptual floor plans” for the clinic and for the municipality.

The second recommendation asked that “the Mayor and the Clerk be authorized to execute an agreement with Colbourne & Kembel, Architects Inc. (CKAI)for the provision of Architect’s Services.”

McDonald’s third and final recommendation asked that the “CAO be directed to investigate and report to Council on the options available for financing this project both during and after the construction.”

He told council that CKAI “were retained by the Project Managers earlier this year to provide design development including concept building elevations and preliminary floor plans. They  have submitted a proposal to provide architectural services for the remaining phases of the project, utilizing the services of Eastern Engineering Group Inc. for engineering services. Our experience with CKAI to date has been positive as has been our past experience with Eastern Engineering and we have no hesitation in recommending that they continue with this project.”

“The True North Group estimated the cost to renovate the existing building for the proposed uses to be $2,572,470,” he reported.

McDonald believes it may be possible to “bring that number down to somewhere between one and a half to two million dollars.”

He also told council, “the total cost of architectural work is eight per cent of the contract.”

He suggested that “completion and turnover” of the project is expected by the end of July.

Mayor Steven Byvelds said he “thinks the partnership we’re going to have with the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic makes it well worth it.”

He believes South Dundas will be “a more efficient municipality for it.”

“I’m looking forward to watching this project progress,” he said.

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Municipal drains to receive some TLC

Several South Dundas municipal drains will be getting some much needed attention now that tendered bids for each of the jobs have been approved.

On November 15th, Manager for  Planning and Enforcement, Don Lewis presented council with work agreements for ten municipal drains asking that council approve the contracts.

Prior to this, municipal drain maintenance tenders were sent out for each drain separately to the following companies: Ault Excavating; Cruickshank Construction; Fawcett Brothers Excavating; Lloyd McMillan Equipment; and, Quintan Products.

Ault Excavating and Quintan Products tendered bids for each of the drains. Fawcett Brothers Excavating tendered a bid for the Howard Mellan Municipal Drain. No other companies submitted bids.

Quintan Products had the lowest bid for the Carkner Municipal Drain project at $38,485.66.

Ault Excavating held the lowest bids for the nine remaining projects, as follows:

Ault Munroe Municipal Drain for $13,482.19

Eva McIntosh Municpal Drain for $18,155.01

Lee McIntosh Municipal Drain for $8,546.83

Barkley Creek/ McKenzie Municipal Drain for $31,218.97

Van Moorsel Municipal Drain for $23,430.26

Glen Becker Municipal Drain for $14,411.26

Marcellus Municipal Drain for $30,420.16

Howard Mellan Municipal Drain for $7,127.28

Landon McInnis Municipal Drain for $11,248.56

Lewis gave a brief overview of each drain project in terms of the length in lineal feet as well as in terms of when the drain had last been maintained.

While the majority of the municipal drains hadn’t received maintenance in approximately 15 to 16 years, a couple of them have been waiting since the 1970’s and1980s.

Once completed, the land owners will be sent invoices to cover the cost of the work done. The province will pay one third of the cost for those drains located on agricultural land.

Council approved each of the contracts as presented.

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New Hope for Brave Little Boy

Their deep belief that the future can indeed be brighter for six-year-old Charlie, took the family of Matthew and Kelly DeJong thousands of kilometres around the globe to Quigdao, China, in the early fall of 2011. 

“Charlie has cerebral palsy,” said mother, Kelly DeJong. “However, his long term prognosis at age six was very poor.”

Charlie had no independent functions. He was unable to chew and swallow solid food, which meant that he would probably have to be attached to a feeding tube in the near future. Spastic muscles refused him the ability to sit up independently, walk or speak. He was unable to regulate his circulatory system, suffering extremes of cold and heat. He could not control his eyes well enough to focus on many things. 

“Yet Charlie is a healthy, happy little guy,” his mother said. “We wanted to give him better opportunities. We hoped for any improvement in his quality of life.”

The DeJongs contacted the doctors of the Beike Institute, China, specialists in pioneering stem cell research and treatments. Following intensive medical testing and examinations, the Institute agreed that Charlie was a candidate for treatment. 

Through the year-long efforts of neighbours, family, businesses, service groups (including the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club) churches and the simple generosity of caring strangers, the family was able to raise the $50,000 needed to pay for the out-of-country treatments.

On July 14, Charlie and his mother, along with cousin Hanke DeJong Thompson, left Ottawa on the first leg of a journey that would take them to Vancouver, then to Hong Kong and finally to Qingdao, mainland China. Father Matthew and siblings Abigail and Thomas joined Charlie and Kelly in China for the final two weeks of the six weeks of treatments.

During those challenging weeks, doctors at the Beike Institute kept Charlie on a series of treatments that would have been tough on an adult, let alone a small boy. 

He received his first two stem cell treatments through IVs, but the next six were delivered through spinal injections, two a week, under general anaesthesia. This was ultimately very hard on him: a decision was made to give his last two injections intravenously. 

He faced intensive deep tissue massage, acupuncture treatments and electric wave therapy every day. 

A foot ball player from Canada, also undergoing spinal cell treatments,  actually refused any further spinal injections after the first. “Later he told us that Charlie was the bravest kid in the hospital,” Kelly said. 

On her second day in China, Kelly slipped on the “beautiful but lethal” granite walkways around the hospital and broke her foot.  

To Charlie’s “mortification, I ended up on the same table as him, getting therapy on my foot as he was receiving it on his arms and legs,” Kelly recalled, laughing. 

The DeJongs learned there are some profound differences between Eastern and Western methods of treatment.

 “In China, symptoms are treated in a very business like manner. Chinese doctors are very passionate about their jobs, but they have little patience with unco-operative or semi traumatized patients. Children are treated like mini adults and expected to behave as such,” Kelly explained. “There are none of the emotional connections, the  compassion between doctor and patient expected in Western medicine. When I broke my foot, essentially I was told to walk it off, to not make a fuss.”

“Yet,” said Matthew DeJong, “the people we met in China would have done anything for us. Patients stay on special floors at the Chengyang People’s Hospital, and translators are with families day and night. These people were always ready to interpret medical information (doctors seldom speak English) to deal with all our concerns and issues. Everyone, even street vendors, offered their help. This is a beautiful country. I think we all left part of our hearts in China.”

Has the family seen changes in Charlie since his return from China?

“Absolutely,” said Kelly. “He is now able to regulate his own body temperature. His muscle control is greatly improved; he is moving his body more easily and he seems to have developed much more stamina. This is incredible in a child who is spastic. He is struggling harder than ever to control the muscles in his mouth. I think he really wants to speak.”

“Charlie could never focus well on anything,” Matthew said. “Since he came home he has been able to focus on television and computer screens, following the action and dialogue and roaring with laughter at the comedies. His ability to pay attention has really improved.”

For Charlie one change that is highly significant is his new ability to chew. 

It first appeared after his fourth stem cell injection. 

For his entire life Charlie has only been able to eat puréed baby foods. His spastic bite reflex would not allow him to control chewing muscles. If he did attempt solid food of any kind, he threw up or choked. 

“I was eating a grilled cheese sandwich one day,” Kelly said. “and he indicated he wanted some. He actually chewed and swallowed some tiny pieces. This was a phenomenal change. I have since been able to introduce lasagna, eggs, hamburgers, things he could never have touched. He chews slowly, but he chews. He has reduced the future need for a feeding tube by 80 per cent with this change.”

The long treatments in China ended on September 8 with a joyous family re-union in Ottawa with grandparents Albert and Reina DeJong and Heather and Dick Hamill. 

“The doctors and staff in China often heard me telling Charlie to ‘keep your head up,’” said Kelly DeJong. “They began calling him ‘Taito’, which in Chinese means Head Up.”

Charlie DeJong is a determined young man, one definitely facing a challenging future with his ‘head up.’

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Hockey team gets a break

The November 15th South Dundas council meeting saw a lot of discussion surrounding the Morrisburg Rink rental fees.

The issue was raised due to a letter received by the Township,  sent by Bruce Mullin about the “more-than-double” rate of the ice rental fee for Seaway District High School’s hockey team.

According to Mullin’s letter, last year the team paid $37 per hour for ice time, but this year the rate has gone up to $87 per hour.

The Morrisburg Rink’s rental fees are $125 per hour for adult prime time rental, $95 per hour for children’s prime time rental, and a universal $85 per hour for non-prime rental. All prices are before the addition of HST.

Manager for Recreation, Don Lewis, provided council with a breakdown of rink costs. It costs “$24 per hour for electricity when the compressors are running. When there’s no rental, it costs $8 per hour.”

“The hourly rate for one of our employees (with benefits calculated in) is $29.66 per hour.”

“It’s $53.67 in total. That does not include the natural gas we burn for heaters or the zamboni. These are just two of the key things,” he continued.

In checking with other arenas, Lewis found that Morrisburg’s prices are comparable.

“People think that when the rink’s not being used that it’s not costing us as if it was being used,” said Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald.

The main concern seemed to revolve around two points: what is fair and consistent for everyone; and, what can council do to help support the existence of a hockey team for the local high school.

Councillor Jim Graham pointed out: “They got a rate last year and they were expecting it this year. My suggestion is that we give them a reduced rate on their practice time. This year they got hit with something they weren’t expecting.”

Mayor Steven Byvelds said, “one of the challenges I have is that we went through the budget. We felt they were fair. There’s no expectation to make money. It’d be nice to break even. There’s a lot of cost we haven’t accounted for.”

He pointed out the probability that “if we allow a break on this one” then minor hockey might ask “‘if the high school can get a break, then why can’t we?’”

He later said, “I just think it’s fair that we try to be consistent.”

He admitted that the hockey program for high school students “gets them out and gives them school spirit.”

He said, “we try to be fair and still run our business and try to keep deficits to a minimum.”

Council members each saw the need to be fair and the need to keep deficits to a minimum, but many also wanted to do something for the high school’s hockey team.

In the end, it was decided that for 2011/2012, ice rental fees for Seaway’s team will be $50 per hour for practice ice time and $85 per hour for tournament ice time.  The following years will see the team paying the same price as everyone else.

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Planning for a better tomorrow

Where do you think Dundas County should be ten years from now in terms of housing, health, food, economic development, transportation, and environment? 

This question forms the foundation for the Dundas County Community Forum held on November 18th at the Christian Reformed Church in Williamsburg.

Pauline Pratt, Executive Director for the House of Lazarus said the event “was sponsored by The House of Lazarus and the Townships of North Dundas and South Dundas, in partnership with the Linking Hands Network.”

“This Community Forum was the next step in the House of Lazarus’s Linking Hands in Dundas project. The overall vision of the project is to develop sustainable solutions to the increasing poverty we are experiencing in North and South Dundas, and create communities that are more resilient,” said Pratt.

“We had a wide representation at the Forum that included municipal leaders, business and farming community, social service agencies, churches and concerned residents,” informed Pratt. However, she continued, “several key invited stakeholders were not there.”

Peter Clutterbuck, Community Planning Consultant for the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO), facilitated the full-day event.

 According to their mission statement, SPNO “exists to strengthen the capacity of voluntary, community-based social planning organizations to: share knowledge and skills; promote social justice and human rights; provide a common voice to influence policy development and implementation; and, improve quality of life and community well-being.”

In reviewing the day, Pratt said, “we were very pleased with the results of the day. A vision for Dundas 10 years from now was developed in several key areas identified by the participants.” They include economic and entrepreneurial development and training; food security; navigating services; transportation; health; community connectivity; and, housing.

“Each group identified the resources in the community that could contribute to their vision, as well as gaps and barriers, and identified the first steps that could be undertaken in the next couple of years.” 

South Dundas Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke, who attended the forum, said, “I attended as a representative of Council to show my support to the organizers and be informed for anything that might come to council as a result of the forum.”

“The day was well organized and was attended by many agencies and there was considerable input from the respective attendees.”

“As with many of these types of forums, there is a long ‘wish’ list. It will depend on who is willing to take up the torch and work towards making those ideas that are doable, happen.”

“I feel, as a member of council, it will be a wait and see position. To be open to presentations by those who take up the torch on matters that are reasonable and financially feasible.”

Fiona Carr, a Family Resource Co-ordinator for the Ontario Early Years program, also attended the event as part of her work: “We wanted to make sure we are doing what we can.”

She continued, “I was really happy with the turnout. I was so happy to see the Mayor. It was so great to see so many people from Morrisburg. We have so many people who care.”

As for looking to the future, Carr said, “if we can get organized, we can do anything.” She referred to the South Dundas Playground in Morrisburg and the amazing turnout of volunteers helping out organizers on the day of the build in September 2011.

Dundas County Food Bank (DCFB) Chair, Brenda Millard was also in attendance. She said, “I attended the Community Forum to represent the DCFB and give input from our perspective and hopefully that of the 340 families we now serve. I was also interested in an update from the Social Audit which took place last year. I understood that a Trillium Grant had been received to implement some of the recommendations from the audit and I suspected that some important issues affecting rural poverty would be discussed.”

“The meeting was worthwhile and meaningful, not only for social interest groups, but for the public of SD&G. Issues for those facing poverty were organized by Peter Clutterbuck and interest groups met separately for discussion. I participated in a group which identified the sustainability and access of nutritious, safe, and sufficient food in rural areas, particularly in the lives of the poor.”

“The Linking Hands Committee, which evolved from the Social Audit has recognized an important need in organizing the forum; they are to be commended for their commitment to resolving issues of rural poverty in Eastern Ontario.”

South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds also attended the event. When asked why he attended, he said, “my plan was to listen to the challenges and see if there were things the Township and Counties were already doing and what we need to get involved in.”

As for how the day went, he said, “it was an interesting day. There were a lot of ideas exchanged especially in the morning when participants were asked to dream of a Dundas County in 10 years. I participated in the economic portion and the number one idea was a trade school to train our youth for the service industry, which makes sense for us. I really did not have any objectives and tried to keep an open mind.”

“One comment that came out loud and clear was that the two councils need to meet more often to discuss the direction for all of Dundas County. We have met once this year and Mayor (Eric) Duncan and I have a good communication line. We will need to look at meeting more often.”

In terms of what should happen next, Byvelds said, “I think the Linking Hands group needs to come up with concrete, doable ideas and present them to Council. This is something the community needs to be involved in.”

“I think the day went well. The biggest challenge will be moving forward with practical ideas.”

In his review of the day’s success, Clutterbuck referred to the group’s diversity: “Getting that mix of people is a real achievement.”

“They worked very effectively the whole day,” he continued. “I was quite impressed with the high quality of thinking.”

In terms of a next step, Clutterbuck said the organizers are working on “producing a consolidated report” and, following that, “should invite people back” to discuss “possible ways toward trying to accomplish these visions.”

The first step is determining what can be done and how to go about it. The real question, he says, is “what do you want to work on first?”

According to Pratt, “participants in the forum signed up for specific working groups that will begin work on the next steps identified by each group. The next meeting of the Linking Hands Network is Monday, November 28, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Riverside Recreation Hall in Riverside Heights.”

For more information, please contact using one of the following: linkinghandsdundas@gmail.com or house.lazarus@gmail.com or 613-989-3830.

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Hospital headlines

On November 16th, Cholly Boland, CEO for Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH), spoke with reporters, giving updates on what is happening at the local hospital.

He told reporters that there’s “a lot of things we do that are worthy of note.”

“We are in the process of developing a research initiative.”

In addition, “we have academic programs and placement programs for everything possible,” said Boland. He reported talking to many students at the University of Ottawa as well as the Elizabeth Bruyere Institute.

He said WDMH has “nurses and doctors at every stage of their training. We have two medical residents.”

Boland is also trying to attract administration students to the hospital through visits to the University of Ottawa.

He said the “backbone” of the hospital is technology, where computerization and the full implementation of patient information will allow all departments to be “connected with one source of communication.”

Boland believes that the health professional’s “biggest tool is information.” 

Having a patient’s information all stored in one location that’s easily accessible to all health care professionals is “really invaluable. It’s really going to move us ahead.”

Boland also talked about working in conjunction with the Ottawa Hospital “to bring more services (like surgery) here and,” he continued, “helping Ottawa, which is a bottleneck” with lengthy emergency room wait times. 

The integration of Dundas Manor with the hospital is expected to be “concluded some time  early next year, subject to the government giving us final approval.”

As for the controversy over the purchase of Dundas Manor, Boland said, “the owners of Dundas Manor were looking for a buyer and they could have picked anyone. We’re a public organization. We’re all about health care.”

“None of the money will go to profit; it will all be reinvested.”

According to Boland, “the first driving force is  to provide quality healthcare.”

“We do some really progressive senior services care here.” 

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Area Lions ‘see’ to Winchester District Memorial Hospital needs

Eleven Lions club representatives from around the Winchester District Memorial Hospital’s catchment area gathered together in the hospital’s ophthalmology clinic last week to celebrate a grant from the Lions Clubs International Foundation of $74,696.63.

Helen Porteous, Secretary of the Metcalfe Lions Club welcomed everyone, and shared how much the regional Lions clubs have contributed to the newly renovated Winchester District Memorial Hospital.

“Clubs from all across Lions District A-4 have pledged and raised over $124,000 for the Ophthalmology department at WDMH, and now the Lions Clubs International Foundation is showing their encouragement for all of our hard work by making a grant of $74,696.63,” said Porteous. “Through this support, as well as the support of the generous doctors at WDMH, like Dr. Gerry Heymans, we have been able to raise over $200,000 directed towards quality eye care, close to home.”

Although not present for the cheque presentation, Metcalfe and District Lions Club member Ann Velthuis has had cataract surgery on both of her eyes at WDMH, has recovered well and so appreciates the quality of care she received. 

“Our eye doctor from Ottawa began working at WDMH and our experience has improved so much.  Now we don’t have to pay so much for parking or gas to drive into the city and my eyesight has improved so much that I can read the bottom line on the eye chart.”

Troy Cross, Executive Director of the WDMH Foundation and Lynn Hall, Senior Vice-President, Clinical Services & Chief Nursing Executive at WDMH were there to accept the cheque on behalf of the WDMH Foundation. 

Both he and Hall thanked all those present for all of their hard work in organizing events and raising money for this hospital, helping to keep quality care, close to home.  

Cross commented how impressed he is with these community efforts. “Whenever a Lions club gets together, problems get smaller. And communities get better. This is a quote from the Lions website and it couldn’t be more true for WDMH. Their commitment to vision health will save the sight for hundreds of patients from our communities. Vision care close to home will benefit our families for years to come. The Lions are true community leaders.”

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) supports Lions’ compassionate works by providing grant funding for their local and global humanitarian efforts. 

LCIF is a leader in providing support for preventing blindness and restoring sight for people around the world.  Our sight programs range from developing and improving eye care systems to providing sight-restoring surgeries and treatments to distributing medications to those most-at-risk for eye diseases. 

 

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Iroquois Matilda Lions give to Christmas Exchange

The Iroquois Matilda Lions Club donated $500 each to the Christmas Exchange on November 17th at the Morrisburg Food Bank.  The Christmas Exchange supplies Christmas dinner to those in Dundas County who may otherwise have gone without on Christmas Day. Boxes, filled with everything needed to make a scrumptious meal, are available for pick up a few days before the holiday.

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Buoy oh Buoy

 Iroquois has a jaunty new nautical look these days. On Tuesday, November 15, the community welcomed two completely refurbished Canadian Coast Guard Channel Markers to their new home just in front of the shopping plaza. 

“These markers recognize Iroquois’ long connection to the Seaway with the locks here, the Galop Canal, the Marina and our extensive boating areas,” said local businessman, Jeff Beaupre. 

“These brightly painted buoys will draw attention to tourism and also to boating safety.”

Several community organ-izations and businesses assisted in the project including the township of South Dundas, the Iroquois-Matilda Lions, Frank Ault Excavating, Swank Construction, the Iroquois District Business Group and the Coast Guard through Bill Mullin.

The twin buoys should soon become landmarks in the South Dundas region.

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