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Update for strategic plan

South Dundas Economic Development Officer Nicole Sullivan is looking to complete an update to the South Dundas Strategic Economic Development Plan.

At the February 7th South Dundas council meeting, council agreed with Sullivan’s request and granted approval for a funding application to the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP). 

Sullivan had reminded council that the South Dundas Strategic Economic Development Plan, adopted in 2005, recommended periodic updates. However, she pointed out, “the township of South Dundas is now over half way through the ten year planning period and there has yet to be formal review of the plan.”

She submitted the project “for consideration as a 2012 capital budget item,” pointing out that “if EODP funding for the project is approved, it would offset the associated costs.”

“The timing is right,” agreed Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke.


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Doran Creek is on its own

“The motion is lost,” said South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds at the February 7th council meeting.

He was referring to Councillor Evonne Delegarde’s motion  that South Dundas “be responsible for road maintenance from this point on” at Doran Creek Estates, near Iroquois.

 While Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke once again spoke in favour of the motion, it was not enough. 

Mayor Steven Byvelds said, “one of the challenges that Swanks didn’t consider is that this is normal business. In talking to other municipalities, they do not do maintenance until final construction is done.”


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Council asked to plow lots of local conservation areas

“I do not recommend that we get involved with the snow plowing on these two plots,” said South Dundas Manager of Public Works, Hugh Garlough.

Garlough addressed council at the February 7th meeting where he lobbied against a request made by South Nation Conservation’s (SNC) Josée Brizard for help in maintaining the parking lots for two SNC conservation areas within South Dundas. 

In her letter to council, Brizard wrote, “it has come to our attention that many residents use both trails at Bob Graham and Two Creeks during the winter months. To facilitate the usage of these trails, SNC is inquiring about the possibility for the township of South Dundas to assist with the plowing of these two parking lots.”

She emphasized that “SNC will inspect the trails on a weekly basis and also will be grooming the trails when needed.”

According to Garlough, “there is a cost involved and the road department does not have time to send a truck or backhoe to these remote locations.”

He went on to say that he and his crew “worked with South Nation this summer. It went okay, but South Nation  didn’t really consider my time or my men’s time. They just called at the last minute.”

As Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke pointed out, however, Two Creeks “has become quite a recreational spot and it’s going to grow.”

In response to not plowing the parking lot, he added, “I guess it’ll mean parking on the highway.”

Debate ensued, revolving around two opposing facts: the importance of recreational opportunities for South Dundas residents and the inconvenience and cost of having to plow the parking lots.

Mayor Steven Byvelds reminded everyone that these are trails within South Dundas, saying, “I thought it was a great idea. It’s an opportunity where we can partner with them (SNC).”

“People are interested in it,” he added.

Locke suggested moving the topic to budget time. It was agreed that plowing could be covered in the recreation budget since, as Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald pointed out, “Ben (Macpherson) may have plans for recreation there in winter as well.” Macpherson is the South Dundas Recreation Program Coordinator.

Council inevitably agreed to refer the topic to budget.


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Valentine’s Day Draw leads to Canada Day fireworks

The Canada Day Organizing Committee has been hard at work raising funds for this year’s Canada Day festivities. A Valentine’s Day draw, just one of the group’s fundraising initiatives, took place on February 11th. The draw raised approximately $1,400. The first place prize, donated by the McIntosh Country Inn and Conference Centre, included accommodations and dinner for two. Bill and Beverley Aleck were the lucky winners of the first place prize. Carolyn Abrams won the second place prize, a $150 gift basket from Riley’s Valu-Mart. Bill Tupper took home the third place prize, a Valentine’s dinner for two at the Upper Canada Grill. The winners gathered on February 13th to collect their prizes. Hatherall, owner of Riley’s Valu-Mart, said, “we’re thankful for everyone’s contribution towards the fireworks and we’re hoping for another great celebration this year.”


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Flooding in the ‘burgs’

This issue of flooding in the villages of Morrisburg and Williamsburg was raised at the February 7th South Dundas council meeting.

Asked for an update on the flooding situation, Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald reported that AECOM is plotting “all the problems.” The study, he continued, “provides a really good shot of where the significant issues are with blockages and seeping through pipes.”

“Once Morrisburg and Williamsburg are done, they’ll show council and the public,” he said, referring to AECOM’s study of the drainage systems.

In response to concern over how much money is being spent on the study versus the work to be done, McDonald assured council that “most of the money is going to be spent where it should be spent – on the bricks and mortar.”


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Work to begin in Iroquois

“The construction of the Iroquois Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) upgrades is anticipated to commence on or about February 15, 2012 and be completed by September 16, 2013,” reads a South Dundas public notice.

At the February 7th South Dundas council meeting, Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald recommended that council accept the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) report and “proceed with the Iroquois sewage collection system rehabilitation work.”

According to OCWA’s report, they “were able to secure a tender price less than the estimated project cost” for the WWTP rehabilitation project. And so, “this project budget analysis would help to allocate additional dollars to the secondary project (sewage collection system rehabilitation.)”

Originally, South Dundas was granted $18 million from Infrastructure Canada (INFC) for the WWTP upgrades. According to a letter from OCWA, “we obtained approval to use any savings from the $18 million to conduct rehabilitation work on the sewage collection system.”

“The plan,” they reported, “is to conduct the sewer rehabilitation work alongside the Iroquois WWTP upgrade so both projects may be completed by the funding deadline of March 31, 2014.”

Council agreed with McDonald’s recommendation with Mayor Steven Byvelds pointing out that the subject “is pretty straight forward.”


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Aid agreement set up with North Dundas

“The chief has done a great job for us,” said South Dundas Councillor Jim Graham.

While South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services (SDFES) Fire Chief Chris McDonough was unable to attend the February 7th South Dundas council meeting, that didn’t stop council from approving the Automatic Aid Fire Agreement between the township of North Dundas and SDFES.

In McDonough’s written report, he explained that “providing timely fire protection services in the far reaches of our community can be challenging and so in some areas the initial response for emergencies is provided by neighbouring fire departments.”

He confirmed that South Dundas currently has fire protection agreements in place with both Edwardsburgh/Cardinal and South Stormont municipalities.

The annual stand-by fee for North Dundas has been set at $8,000 with additional charges for equipment use. North Dundas will provide first response in designated areas of South Dundas, acting on behalf of South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services until such time as SDFES is on-scene.

Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke said, “it’s great to finally see it get finalized.”


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Iroquois Legion Darts for Hearts

the 2012 Darts For Hearts at Iroquois Legion, Branch 370, held on behalf of the Heart & Stroke Foundation. The Tournament raised $3,097 for the Foundation on Saturday, February 11.

Included in that total was $1,345 raised on February 5 at the Gerry Sypes Memorial Tournament. His family made a special presentation to Cindy Rowe, area manager for Heart & Stroke. Left to right, below, are Rowe, Amanda Baker, Brenda Sypes and Diane Baker.

Cindy Rowe also took the opportunity on Saturday to present the Iroquois Legion with a special award for its 20 years of supporting Heart & Stroke.

“This award recognizes the Legion’s loyalty and commitment and contributions to the success of community based programs,”  Rowe said.

Darlene Riddell (above right) accepted the plaque on behalf of the Tournament organizers and the Legion, saying that “we are glad to accept this award, and we will display it proudly.”

Participants in the Darts Tournament enjoyed a full day which included food and 130 prizes generously donated by merchants in Iroquois, Morrisburg, Cardinal and Winchester. 

Organizers for the event were Wayne and Linda Bellinger, Randy Markell, Glen,  Caralee and Tony Easter, Carol-Lee Pemberton and Shelley Morrow, aided by Earl Nesbitt.


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Ash Wednesday Youth Day

From Junior Kindergarten to grade 12 teens, all area young people are invited to take part in a very special Ecumenical Ash Wednesday Youth Day, on February 22, at St. James Anglican Church in Morrisburg, 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Ash Wednesday traditionally marks the beginning of Lent for many Christians, and the start of the weeks leading up to Easter. It is a time of reflection, a time of good will and a time to find ways to grow closer to God.

Organized and run by the Lutheran and Anglican churches in South Dundas, the 2012 Ecumenical Ash Wednesday Youth Day will feature many interesting, exciting and fun-filled activities. Participants are divided into age groups when they arrive at St. James at 8:30 a.m. for registration. Older participants will spend some time at the Food Bank, learning how the community is helped by this organization. Throughout the day, all young people will enjoy crafts, outdoor events, games, music,  interesting learning activities and the chance to share ideas about this year’s theme, “Lord, Teach Me to Pray.”

Some of the special outreach activities planned for the day will revolve around the missionary work in Madagascar of Mary Sherwood, and the work of Chris Marshall and Shayna Campbell who are attempting to complete a maternity hospital in the heart of Uganda. Primary participants will be creating cards and messages that will be delivered to Sherwood’s orphanage in Madagascar in the spring. Junior and senior participants will hear and see a presentation by Chris’s mother, Karen Marshall, about efforts to open the much-needed hospital outside Mbiko in Uganda.

There is no cost or fee for the Youth Day. All organizers ask is that participants bring a non-perishable donation for the Food Bank. Lunch, snacks and drinks will all be provided. There will be adult supervision of participants and activities throughout the day. 

Registration forms are available at area churches, by calling 543-3904, or by simply coming out to St. James for 8:30 a.m. on February 22.

The annual Ecumenical Ash Wednesday Youth Day is open to all young people. It promises to be a day to remember.  


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Building a Maternity Hospital in Uganda

“Chris was a volunteer right from his earliest years,” said his mother, Karen Marshall. “After he came back from his 2005-6 tour in Afghanistan with the Canadian Armed Forces, and joined the Edmonton Police Department, he remained determined to find ways to help others, to make the world a better place.”

Chris and his partner Shayna Campbell, a pharmacist, agreed to take a year away from their respective jobs in Canada and pay their way to Africa: ultimately, they decided to volunteer at St. Francis Health Care Services, established in 1998, in a congested Ugandan slum area near Mbiko.

Shayna and Chris have seen children playing happily with a soccer ball made out of plastic bags. They have become friends with kids like Hakim, a proud member of the Shadow Idols Club, run by St. Francis, one way for boys to avoid roving, violent youth gangs. They have fallen “in love with the omoanas, Lugandan for children, who are everywhere since Uganda’s population pyramid looks like an upside down T.” They have jogged with boys who have no shoes, but dream of “running for Uganda in the Olympics.” 

On Christmas Day they joined the St. Francis staff for African food and dancing: Chris reported his lack of rhythm and Shayna won Ms Saint Francis! 

“There are a million reasons to stay in Uganda,” Shayna Campbell said. “The people are polite, welcoming, warm-hearted and sincere. ”

A deep desire to help their adopted African community over the long term has led Chris and Shayna to try and turn the ‘empty shell’ of a maternity ward at St. Francis Health Care Services into a finished hospital able to save mothers and children. 

St. Francis Health Care Services is (Chris and Shayna emphasize this) a grass roots organization, built and run “by Ugandans for Ugandans,” with little government funding, in the heart of Njeru. 

It also lies at the heart of the highest HIV prevalence rates in all of Uganda. 

Right now, under the leadership of Faustine Ngarambe, the centre serves 20,000 Ugandans, some treated with HIV medications, some orphaned by the AIDs pandemic, some hoping for education, some simply needing care in their last days. 

“At St. Francis, they have realized that fighting HIV means more than medically treating the disease. The staff has initiated income generating groups, youth groups and other projects to reach out to the community.”  

Keeping St. Francis a vital force in this poor community is a daunting task for its Ugandan founders. The needed maternity hospital was only partially completed before money ran out in 2010. Yet this hospital is the one project the director and his dedicated St. Francis staff most want to see completed: it will take at least $33,500 to do it. 

Finishing the St. Francis maternity hospital has become Chris and Shayna’s goal.

“Women’s health, especially their reproductive health, is a major concern,” Shayna Campbell explained. “(Chris and I) are passionate about the subject since it is not just maternal health we are talking about. It is the livelihood of a people.”

To their great delight the young couple has recently received the news that, following their direct, personal appeal, the Stephen Lewis Foundation has agreed to be the physical sponsor of their efforts to finish the St. Francis maternity hospital. The Stephen Lewis Foundation is world renowned for its dedicated work in Africa, especially in the fight against AIDS. 

With the Foundation’s support,  every dollar raised  in Canada will go directly to the maternity ward project.  The Lewis Foundation will also issue charitable receipts in Canada. 

Karen Marshall (543-4360), who is equally passionate about seeing the Ugandan hospital become a reality, is holding a special fund raiser/silent auction luncheon on Saturday, February 18, at noon, at St. James Anglican Church Hall in Morrisburg.  Using a power point program and notes created by Chris and Shayna, she will talk about the project and discuss how people can help. 

Shayna and Chris report that as of February 13, 2012, they have reached 47 percent of their $33,500 goal. 

They invite people to log on to to pledge and to see how the campaign is going.

“Uganda’s hopes and dreams are similar to the hopes and dreams of Canadians,” Shayna and Chris said. “It is important to invest in the mothers’ health to improve the lives of their children.”