The Dundas Seed, Forage & Agricultural Show was held on March 9th at Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners. Exhibitors and visitors filled the hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Henderson of Terrdale Farms won this year’s top spot, the Premier Exhibitor. His daughter, Tracy Porteous, accepted the award on his behalf. Kelly Fawcett-Mathers, a representative for TD Canada Trust, sponsor of the award, presented the award to Porteous. The second award, Reserve Premier Exhibitor, and the third award, Premier Forage Exhibitor, both went to Ian and Tracy Porteous of Ayrporte Farm.
The Morrisburg High School will retain its architectural character and, at the same time, it will be home to new-age enhancements.
Once South Dundas council made the decision to ‘recycle’ the old Morrisburg High School building, things quickly got underway and Colbourne & Kembel Architects Inc. were hired in the fall of 2011 to draw up plans for the project.
In terms of a timeline for the project, on March 8th, Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald reported that “a tentative schedule is to have drawings complete by April 20th with the tender period commencing thereafter and running until June 5th. A recommendation will be made to council in June. The timeline to complete the renovations will be part of the tenders.”
The plan for the building is to keep as much of the original structure as possible, thus protecting a bit of South Dundas heritage.
At the same time, changes are being made inside and out to make the building safer, more user-friendly, and perhaps a bit more stylish.
As for the interior, according to McDonald, “the lower level (gym) is being filled in order to construct the main level that will house the medical clinic.”
“The main level currently exists on the north and south sides of the lower level. The main level will be extended across the existing gym to connect the existing north and south entrances.”
“The township offices are located on the second floor. Council chambers and municipal programming space is planned for the third floor.”
As for getting from the first floor to the third floor, McDonald has confirmed that “yes, an elevator is included in the plan. The brick portion in the centre is the elevator.”
As for exterior additions, “the glass and spandrel panels (shown in the picture) are an addition,” he said.
The main front entrance of the Morrisburg Collegiate Institute will not actually be used as such when plans are completed. According to McDonald, “the existing entrance fronting on Ottawa Street is being maintained as an architectural feature to maintain the facade of the original building. The doors will be replaced by windows.”
The main entrance to the ‘new’ building will instead be located “under the canopy north of the elevator tower. This entrance will provide access to the entire building.”
Parking for the Institute will remain similar to what currently exists. “We plan on providing 75 parking spaces, mainly by utilizing existing asphalt areas. The existing parking area in front of the clinic and behind the high school will be utilized and the area that housed the outdoor rink will be used.”
The subject of what to call the new building came up during the March 5th, South Dundas budget meeting. It is most often referred to as simply ‘the old high school’ and, sometimes, by its original name, the Morrisburg Collegiate Institute.
On March 8th, McDonald confirmed that the subject of building names hadn’t come up before the meeting and, at this point, there hasn’t been any indication, discussion, or decision made on what the building’s official name might be going forward.
After two full days of deliberations, March 5th and March 12th, the South Dundas 2012 budget is now complete.
At the first meeting on March 5th, Mayor Steven Byvelds began by reminding council that “it’s still tough times out there.”
Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald said, “our budget process is evolving every year. The municipality is in a good financial position with a healthy reserve.”
As for the 2012 budget, “it’s really a no-frills budget. There’s really nothing in this budget that’s not needed. The capital budget is up. That’s where most of the increase is located.”
According to Treasurer Shannon Geraghty, there is a 3.5 per cent increase, dollar for dollar, over last year’s budget. This year’s budget is $4,886,565 whereas last year, in 2011, the budget was $4,721,453.
In terms of money allocated for capital projects, last year council spent $1,190,214 on capital projects. This year, the budget for capital projects has increased to $1,657,113 with the bulk being taken up by the roads department ($1,532,361) and the fire department ($225,855).
The tax rate for South Dundas has gone down by 3.24 per cent.
This doesn’t mean that South Dundas resident’s taxes are going down by 3.24 per cent, however. Each home’s taxes are based on the MPAC (Municipal Propertay Assessment Corporation) as well as the combination of tax rates from three sources: South Dundas township; United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, and the school board.
Geraghty explained that “right now we’re looking at tax rates decreasing, but people will be paying more because their assessments (MPAC) are increasing.”
There is a 5.06 per cent average increase on assessments due to MPAC’s four-year phase in. If an individual’s assessment is over that percentage, they could see an increase. If their assessment is below that percentage, they could see a decrease.
According to Geraghty, last year’s average assessment was $149,090, which equated to $739.90 in taxes for the municipal portion of the tax bill.
Following the same format this year, adding in the 5.06 per cent assessment increase, the average assessment for 2012 could be $156,634, which would equate to $752.15 in municipal taxes.
The Counties of SD&G council will meet for budget discussions again on March 19th.
The South Dundas budget will be officially passed at the upcoming March 20th council meeting.
On March 2nd, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC) announced they would be taking back control of Farran Park in Ingleside from the township of South Stormont when the lease expires at the end of the month.
On March 9th, South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis told The Leader the decision came as a surprise and a disappointment. “Residents have expressed disappointment too,” he added.
“St. Lawrence told us last week that they were going to take over the park,” said McGillis. “We were upset, but there’s nothing we could have done about it.”
“We’ve done everything we could. Nobody can say we didn’t try.”
McGillis referred to several attempts at reaching an affordable lease agreement with SLPC who, as McGillis pointed out, has a new procurement policy that doesn’t allow for long-term leases. “There wasn’t much in the way of negotiations,” he said.
A feeling of loss for the township is palpable when speaking with McGillis. “There’s an untapped resource here,” lamented McGillis. “The potential that we’re losing out on is significant.”
“There’s a lot of upset local residents that use the park. They felt it was more intimate with our own municipality running this park.”
During the March 9th discussion, disappointment remained at the forefront for McGillis. However, he also recognized the need for cooperation between South Stormont and SLPC saying, “their door is open and ours is too.”
“They assured us everything is going to run the status quo. Hopefully they’ll hire the same people.”
“They have a lot of ideas,” he continued. “Hopefully they’ll come to the conclusion of doing what they’ve said.”
And, “hopefully it works out in the long run for the betterment of the community.”
South Stormont has been responsible for the operation of Farran Park since July of 1990. As reported in the October 10, 1990 edition of The Leader, the park had been closed by SLPC due to “cost-cutting measures.”
Following a July invitation for bids on five of their parks, SLPC granted a long-term lease for Farran Park to South Stormont.
“It’s a wonderful thing to have,” said Syd Drennan, a long-time Morrisburg resident, “I’m glad to have it.”
Drennan was talking about the Aging at Home program run by the J.W. McIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre.
According to Executive Director Janet Lever, the centre, “under the umbrella of the Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation was successful in their application for Aging at Home funding to provide assisted-living services for high risk seniors.”
“Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) approved the proposal for the 20 spaces of assisted-living services, 10 in Iroquois and surrounding area and 10 in Morrisburg and surrounding area.”
In a recent release, the LHIN stated: “Seniors in the Champlain region are benefitting from a new assisted-living program that help them maintain their independence.”
The program is “funded by the Champlain LHIN and operated by various community agencies.” These include several agencies in Ottawa, as well as agencies in Barry’s Bay, Arnprior, Hawksbury, Almonte, Carleton Place, Cornwall and Williamsburg.
Levere revealed, “since we started, 17 individuals have been supported with this service. We are waiting for a couple of assessments to be completed and expect to be up to 20 soon.”
“The aim of the program,” according to the Champlain LHIN,” is to increase health services for seniors in their own homes. This relieves the pressures on hospital emergency rooms. It also prevents premature admissions to long-term care homes, freeing these beds for people who need them the most.”
In agreement, Levere said, “we want them to stay independent and this can help them stay independent. We are in the business to help people stay at home and stay in the community.”
“And, stay out of the emergency department,” added Joyce Alguire, supervisor of the Aging at Home program for J.W. McIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre.
The Champlain LHIN professed that “early results show that clients in the program – even though they are generally more ill – visit the emergency room less often than seniors who are not enrolled in the program.”
In fact, Alguire revealed, this is the first winter that Drennan “hasn’t had hospitalization.”
According to Drennan, he has been in the program “pretty much since it started – about a year.” He was first referred to the program following a lengthy stay at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital last winter.
While he said he was well cared for by nurses and doctors who were “great,” he was happy to get home and would prefer not to go back.
While referrals for the program can come from different sources like a physician or caregiver, it’s the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) that assesses applications and makes decisions.
The Aging at Home program, Drennan said, “is good for anybody that needs it. It’s a good thing to have. It’s excellent.”
In Drennan’s case, he has regular visits during the week. “I’m going to be fine with the ladies coming every day,” he said with a smile.
Alguire pointed out that Drennan also has family members living with him who also help out a lot. “When families are involved, they stay involved,” she said. “We don’t try to take over.”
“Everybody works together,” added Levere.
Drennan does things for himself as well. While his personal support worker might start dinner, for example, he will often finish it. “I get to do a little bit,” he said.
As for the service provided, Drennan said, “there’s nothing that has to be changed. It’s great. The ladies are wonderful.”
In a pamphlet circulated by the J.W. McIntosh Senior’s Support Centre, Assisted Living in Dundas County, the available services are listed as: personal care, light housekeeping, medication prompts, exercises, meal preparation, shopping, laundry and linen change, security checks, Emergency Response System installed in the home, and 24 hour Urgent Response.
It is Alguire’s job to meet with prospective clients to determine what their specific needs are and to set up a schedule reflecting those needs.
Levere hopes to spread awareness that this service, which is free of charge, does exist here “in the rural area. It’s not just in the city.”
“The J.W. McIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre has provided community support services since 1991,” Levere reported, “including adult day programs, meals on wheels, and transportation.”
“The Assisted-living Services as well as the Supportive Housing Services, Respite Apartment Services and the Going Home program are all part of the J.W. McIntosh Centre’s Aging at Home initiative to keep seniors at home and avoid hospital admissions.”
For more information about assisted-living services in Dundas County, contact the CCAC at 1-800-538-0520 or the J.W. McIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre at 613-535-2924.
On March 21, Brian Porter of Brockville will again delight the Canadian Club audience with his presentation of the Brockville Infantry.
An amazing actor, this is Porter’s third time presenting to the Canadian Club. He has written a book on the Brockville Infantry Company, and will perform in full period costume.
Porter is replacing the previously booked speaker, Dave Phillips, who had to withdraw his speaking engagement.
The doors for the March 21 evening will open by 6:30 p.m. at the Legion in Morrisburg, and the Canadian Club executive will great members and visitors with a reception of juice, crackers and cheese. As well, the Legion bar will be open.
Canadian Club, president Dave Black will begin the formalities at 7 p.m. A full pork dinner will be followed by guest speaker, Brian Porter.
Charlotte Grey, one of Canada’s best known authors will speak to the club on April 18. Her topic of “Gold Diggers Striking it Rich in the Klondike” is the eighth and most recent of her best sellers. A turkey dinner will precede her presentation.
The final meeting for the Canadian Club season will be on May 16, and will bring Adrian Harwood as guest speaker.
Adrian is news anchor at CBC TV, Ottawa. He has a special interest in volunteers and the work they do in society.
This will follow a prime rib dinner – a perfect night out – all for $20.
The Canadian Club averages just over 100 members/visitors at each meeting. Visitors and new members are always welcome. Visitors can attend, simply by reserving a ticket.
Prior to each dinner, a member sells tickets on a Canadian Flag. The proceeds (approximately $150 ) go to a different local charity from each meeting.
Tickets are $20 and are available by reservation by calling Clara at 613-774-2407 or 613-447-8167 (cell).
“We’ve talked about being open and fair so much that we thought we should go back and look at our procurement policy,” said Clerk Brenda Brunt at the March 6th South Dundas council meeting.
Brunt presented council with a recommendation to amend the procurement policy in an effort to “change some of the wording to ensure it was an open, fair, and transparent process.”
Council agreed. Councillor Archie Mellan said, “I think it’s a very good document.”
The submitted report stated that seven “principles will be upheld to ensure the process is objective, accountable and fair.”
The principles are as follows:
• “The underlying concept of procurement shall be to obtain the best quality of goods or services at the lowest possible price;
• The process shall be fair and the policies shall apply equally to all bidders;
• Procurement decisions shall be made in an unbiased manner without influence of personal preferences, prejudices or interpretations;
• Purchasing ethics, or moral principles or code, shall be respected and followed by personnel who are responsible for buying goods or services;
• There shall be clarity and disclosure in arriving at procurement decisions;
• Environmentally friendly procurement shall be encouraged, as will group purchasing across departments, with other municipalities and/or organizations, when beneficial and practical;
• The lowest or any tender shall not necessarily be accepted due to non-compliance with criteria set in the tender document.”
South Dundas budget deliberations for 2012 are complete and grant allocations have been decided.
At the first meeting, March 5th, Treasurer Shannon Geraghty told South Dundas council that grant requests were “a little over $40,000” while only $20,000 had been allotted for that purpose.
Rather than alter the allotment, council decided to go through the requests first.
While almost all groups requesting grants received money, most didn’t receive their requested sum. In fact, two groups didn’t receive at all.
Allocated grants are as follows:
• Canada Day Committee, Morrisburg – $2,000
• Santa Claus Parade – $300
• Williamsburg Community Association – $300
• Canada Day, Iroquois – $2,000
• Dundas County Hospice – $500
• Bluegrass Festival – $3,000
• Iroquois Lawn Bowling – $2,000
• St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage – $1,000
• Upper Canada Playhouse – $1,500
• Iroquois Festival Committee – $1,000
• Seaway District High School Graduation – $750
• Cruickshank Amphitheatre – $3,000
In total, council approved $17,350 in grants, leaving $2,650 in the original grant budget.
“Last year it was decided that was a one time thing,” said Councillor Jim Graham in reference to the Iroquois Festival Committee.
The debate centered around whether this was actually a ‘community’ festival benefitting the community or a ‘plaza’ festival benefitting the businesses.
Councillor Evonne Delegarde pointed out that this year the focus will be on the War of 1812.
Mayor Steven Byvelds said, “I do agree this is a fine line.”
This will be the last year for this particular grant.
Another huge discussion was had over the Iroquois Lawn Bowling request. As Byvelds pointed out, “I see an issue of fairness. Compare it to the Morrisburg Curling Club.”
It was suggested that this would be the last year the Iroquois Lawn Bowling would receive grant money.
As for the matter of how much to give to whom, this came down to an attempt at fairness. Both Morrisburg and Iroquois Canada Day celebrations received the same amount, to be fair. This raised an issue with the Bluegrass Festival receiving more than Canada Day festivities. In the end, it was decided that Bluegrass needed some help getting started.
Following grant deliberations, council discussed the new application format put into effect last fall, requiring groups to fill out forms and meet qualifications. The point of the new process is accountability. Byvelds suggested adding a component to the forms: “For next year, tell us exactly what they did with our money.”
As for the new application’s November deadline, Graham added, “it makes people plan ahead instead of doing things at the last minute.”
South Dundas Councillor Archie Mellan raised the issue of recycling needs in South Dundas at the March 6th council meeting.
“There’s no place in South Dundas for electronics recycling,” said Mellan. He said that Manager for Public Works, Hugh Garlough, told him that “a few years ago we had an agreement with the House of Lazarus.”
According to Mellan, the original agreement was terminated because of logistical issues.
Mellan said the current issue is finding a safe location for drop-offs and ensuring that the items are not thrown around and damaged. The electronics are not recyclable if they’ve been damaged. There is a difference between ‘broken’ and ‘damaged.’
It was asked that staff “come back with something on this.”
Council was reminded, at the March 6th council meeting, that noise pollution will be an inevitable by-product of the construction upgrades taking place at the Iroquois Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Manager for Planning and Enforcement, Don Lewis, recommended that council “consider a noise exemption request to permit proposed construction activity that may occur from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday.”
Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke was assured that there was no one in close proximity.
Council agreed with the recommendation and granted the exemption.
Looking to the future, Mayor Steven Byvelds suggested that staff consider “amalgamating these noise by-laws into a South Dundas by-law.”