Meaford nurse nominated for bursary

Meaford Hospital nurse Elizabeth Engel has been nominated for a special bursary from the Royal Bank of Canada. As part of its Adopt-a-Nurse program, the Royal Bank awards a nurse that upgrades their skills a $500 bursary. Meaford Hospital nominated Engel for the award. The Royal Bank in Owen Sound has pictures and biographies of the nominated nurses on display at its branch. Members of the public coming into the bank can take a look at the nominees and cast a ballot for the nurse they feel should receive the special award. Meaford Hospital Director of Patient Care Elaine Burns nominated Engel for the award. "Elizabeth is very deserving of the nomination. She has worked very hard over the past year to become fully certified to work in the OR (operating room)," Burns explained in an interview last week. Burns added that Elizabeth’s skill enhancement benefited the hospital and added to its already outstanding roster of medical professionals. "She is a great nurse. She’s very patient focused," said Burns, adding that Elizabeth teaches CPR and often volunteers to sit on special committees. Burns also pointed out that the course Engel completed to upgrade her nursing skills is very difficult and time consuming. "It’s a very tough course. Normally nurses take the course over two years of college on a part-time basis. Elizabeth finished it in six weeks," said Burns, adding that such dedication required sacrifices including: time away from her family, extra traveling and lodging away from home. "I give her great kudos," said Burns. Engel was busy Monday afternoon working at the hospital. She told The Express the nomination is very exciting for her. "It’s really amazing. I’d like to give a lot of the credit to the nurses here at Meaford Hospital. They’re great to work with and they’re very encouraging," she said. "We have a great hospital in Meaford," she added.


Energy board approves rate increase for COLLUS

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has approved a rate increase for what COLLUS Power Corporation can charge its customers. The OEB announced the rate approval on Fri., May 1, for implementation as of that date. COLLUS is based in Collingwood and serves customers in that community, Stayner, Creemore and Thornbury. In a news release issued last week, COLLUS says the rate increase is connected to its $3-million capital budget, “the bulk of which is for a new substation, to be located beside the operation centre on the property at the corner of Stewart Road and Sixth Street, at an estimated cost of $2.2-million.” COLLUS says the addition of the substation will allow for increased reliability and permit the company to accommodate growth. Tim Fryer, the chief financial officer at COLLUS, says the construction of the substation should start this month and be finished in March 2010. The rate approved by the OEB will result in an increase of $1.56 per month for a residential customer consuming 1,000-kilowatt hours of electricity. “This represents a 1.4 per cent change, as the monthly bill is expected to move from $109.01 to $110.57 after May 1, 2009,” the company said. COLLUS says a general consumer of 2,000-kilowatt hours of electricity will see an increase of $5.21, a 2.6 per cent change as the monthly bill is anticipated to move from $203.43 to $208.64. Officials with the local electricity distributor note the rate adjustment will also help recover some costs incurred implementing smart meters, an exercise that COLLUS says is underway. The province has instructed electricity providers to have smart meters in all Ontario homes and businesses by the end of 2010. Smart meters use wireless technology to transmit detailed data about electricity consumption to providers. The meters will allow what’s called a “time-of-use” electricity price structure. The meters will measure hourly electricity use – the province says – so electricity prices can be different at different hours of the day. Conventional meters measure how much electricity is used in total from one reading to the next and have to be read manually. The province and electricity providers hope the change to smart meters and time-of-use pricing will encourage people to think about how and when they use electricity. Once operational in 2010, consumers will be able to see – via the Internet – their electricity consumption each day. Fryer says COLLUS hopes to have all of its smart meters installed by the end of 2009.


Green energy comments

Green Energy Act comments Clearview Township council is commenting on the province’s proposed Green Energy Act. In a resolution passed last Monday night, council outlined a number of concerns its has with how the act will impact municipal operations and people living in the township. Before the proposed act is passed, council would like the province to investigate how green energy projects will impact public health. Council also wants to province to look at how green energy projects will impact land use, including property values. Furthermore, the municipality is concerned about the fact that stipulations in the proposed act will remove local planning control over green energy projects. Council is also concerned because the act doesn’t appear to contain any process for the public to comment locally on proposed green energy projects that might take place in the municipality. Clearview council also says it doesn’t believe any large scale energy conversion projects should be situated in the Niagara Escarpment area and that a minimum two-kilometre buffer beyond the boundaries of the Niagara Escarpment Plan area would be appropriate. The provincial government introduced the Green Energy Act in February, saying it will “attract new investment, create new green economy jobs and better protect the climate.” Clearview’s resolution will be forwarded to officials at Queen’s Park. Margaret Street subdivision A public meeting regarding a subdivision proposal for a Margaret Street property in Stayner was held last Monday night. Local residents who live near the site spoke at the meeting. They expressed concern about the number of vehicles that would use Margaret Street during the building phase. They also raised concerns about the general increase in traffic that would result along Margaret Street once the homes are occupied.   Some residents said that homes would be situated too densely in the subdivision. Drainage of the site was another issue that came up. Others said they are worried the proposed subdivision won’t blend in well with the existing neighbourhood.   The public meeting was held because the property requires a zoning bylaw amendment to accommodate changes to an approved subdivision draft plan. The site was approved for 114 residential units but the new owner of the property – The Cortel Group – wants to build 181 units. The property, currently home to the Ashton Meadows Golf Club, also contains a portion of land to the east that can be built on in the future. Rossalyn Workman, a planner for the township, gave an overview of the project, as did Terry Geddes, The Cortel Group’s project manager for the site. Geddes is a former Collingwood mayor and Simcoe County warden. The changes proposed by The Cortel Group are under review by municipal staff. One-year extension wanted Clearview Township council is asking the province for a one-year extension in order to bring its Official Plan into conformity with the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The deadline to conform to the Golden Horseshoe plan is June 16. Clearview wants the extension because of outstanding issues with the County of Simcoe’s Official Plan and other county planning issues. The township plan and the county plan must dovetail and so until the outstanding issues are resolved at the county level Clearview can’t complete its plan. Municipal officials, however, note that background work on the plan will continue.