Infrastructure cash for sewer plant

The federal and provincial government will each provide up to $181,333 to Clearview Township – money that will go towards upgrades at the Creemore sewage treatment plant. Simcoe-Grey MP Helena Guergis made the funding announcement on Wednesday. “The government of Canada is committed to rebuilding infrastructure and stimulating the economy,” Guergis said in a statement. “I know how important this project is to Clearview Township and the residents of Creemore.” Ken Ferguson, the township’s mayor, said he was pleased with the funding news. “This funding will offset capital costs which will benefit all taxpayers,” Ferguson said. “I can only hope the commitment from both upper tier governments to invest in our economy and our municipal infrastructure will continue.” The upgrades at the plant are estimated to cost $543,999, with Clearview contributing the balance. An exact amount won’t be known until the project is tendered and a contract awarded, something that won’t happen until after the township’s budget is approved in March. Richard Spraggs, the township’s director of public works, said Clearview applied for the money in November through the Building Canada Fund. He said the cash will help pay for what’s called an equalization tank at the sewage treatment plant. “What it does is take in high flows and store them and later puts them into the system when the level flowing into the plant slows down. So basically it’s a big storage tank,” Spraggs said. In total, the tank will be able to hold about 1,000 cubic metres of water, he added. The township estimates the tank will cost roughly $500,000. High flows have been a problem at the plant, particularly in the spring. The suspicion among municipal officials is that people are using their sump pumps to transfer water into the system – a practice that’s illegal. They also suspect water could be infiltrating the system along the lines to the plant. Last spring, the high volume of water coming into the plant resulted in officials having to truck sewage water to Stayner’s plant, where it was subsequently processed. The funds from Ottawa will also help pay for what’s called a programmable logic controller – what Spraggs described as a computer system to operate the plant. “There’s one there now – this is a back up,” he said. “The main one we had became inoperable in the summer last year and we had to switch to the back-up. It was just wear-and-tear.” The township estimates the system will cost $43,000. “All in all though we’re pretty happy to have this money,” Spraggs said. He said the work at the 10-year-old plant will begin in September.


High-flying action

Midland’s own Travis LePage puts the boots to his ex-teacher, and now rival, Anthony Darko. The two grapplers entertained the crowd gathered at Midland Secondary School to watch a For the Fans Wrestling card.


New Inspector for Grey County OPP

The Ontario Provincial Police, Grey County Detachment introduced its new interim Detachment Commander, Inspector John Periversoff last week. Inspector Periversoff replaces Inspector Mark Vanlanduyt, who has been seconded to Wellington County Detachment to fill a vacant Detachment Commander position while a replacement is identified.  Upon completion of this process Inspector Vanlanduyt will return to Grey County. Inspector Periversoff’s career began in Burlington, Ontario and then he moved on to be a part of the Tactical Response Unit for many years. From there he has had extensive career experience as policing advisor to the Deputy Solicitor General, and experience in the OPP Commissioner’s Office, Chief Firearms Office, Department of Justice and many other key positions within the OPP. Inspector Periversoff has an approachable and professional style that reflects well in his working philosophy.  His philosophy is well known by officers, as he challenges them to new levels of professional achievement and works by setting examples himself. "The power of example is stronger than the example of power," states Insp. Periversoff. "Today’s decisions should not be tomorrow’s problems,"  he added. He has a demonstrated community minded spirit and is noted for his progressive and inclusive approach to providing public safety, security and well-being. "I look forward with anticipation to meeting and working with the Police Services Board members, fellow officers and community members of Grey County," said  Periversoff. "I am very pleased to have this opportunity to work in this community.  It’s beauty is eclipsed only by the kind and law-biding spirit of the community."


County approves roundabout tender

The first traffic roundabout in Grey County will be built in The Blue Mountains in the coming months. Grey County council at its regular meeting last Tuesday morning approved its Transportation and Public Safety committee’s (TAPS) recommendation to award the roundabout project to E.C. King Contracting for a total of $1,287,268.10. The Blue Mountains council approved the tender at its regular meeting on March 2. The roundabout is being installed in an effort to alleviate traffic concerns in and around the Blue Mountain skiing/village area. It will be installed beginning this spring at the corner of Scenic Caves Road and County Road 19. Grey County and The Blue Mountains are partnering on the installation of the project. Construction is expected to begin in early April. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held to mark the beginning of the construction. "We’re looking forward to this and we look forward to working with our partner on the project," said TAPS committee Chair and Chatsworth Mayor Howard Greig at the meeting. Grey County Warden Kevin Eccles said the roundabout would be a big help in controlling traffic in a busy area. "It will be great for moving traffic in and out of the eastern quadrant of the county," he said. This will be the first roundabout in Grey County. The traffic control system is common in other areas and replaces traffic lights.


Skating carnival on this weekend

Samantha Stewart, Brittany Gill and Hannah Skelton from the Collingwood Skating Club are gearing up for the 2009 Carnival. The carnival – which has a theme of an Afternoon at the Movies – takes place this Sunday at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena. Doors open at 12:15 p.m., with the show starting at 1 p.m. Tickets are $10 with children under five being free. Tickets are available at the door.


Neighbouring towns talk affordable accommodation

Representatives from Collingwood and The Blue Mountains met to discuss affordable housing solutions and plan joint projects for increasing the amount of units available in each town. The Blue Mountains mayor Ellen Anderson and Collingwod Mayor Chris Carrier both attended the meeting on Friday, March 6, which was chaired by Dawn Myers and Mayor Anderson. The Blue Mountains representatives included Rotarian Steve Schofield, BVO executive director, Carolyn Letourneau, Betty Langford of the centre for business and economic development and councilor John McGee. The Collingwood taskforce includes councilors Ian Chadwick and Norman Sandberg, Matthew Way resident Tom Schaefer, Mayor Carrier, Ralph Sneid, Garry Reid and Keith Hull, who was hired by the town to work on solutions for affordable housing. A majority of the discussion centered on the issue of NIMBYS. (Not In My Back Yard). Referring to residents of both towns who object to affordable housing units in the area saying they would be detrimental to the community. "How do we teach people that it just is not cool to not support affordable housing?" asked Mayor Anderson. "How do we shame them?" Schaefer, a resident of Matthew Way, a housing co-op in Collingwood, said it was important to change people’s perspective of affordable housing, which does not mean socially assisted housing. Keith Hull made a presentation to explain how affordable housing units, with the involvement of a developer and a unit shares program would be feasible in either town. Some discussion also focused on options for development charge (DC) bylaws specific for affordable housing development. Suggestions included waving DC’s, putting them off until the building is sold and offering extra stimulus with programs encouraging environmentally friendly building to counteract the DC costs. Both Carrier and Anderson agreed to keep meeting with their individual taskforces in their own communities, and have joint meetings once in a while to discuss any options for joint projects or Municipal Services Board issues.


Town looking for comments on burning bylaw

The Town of Collingwood is looking for public comment on its newly proposed open-air burning bylaw. Those wishing to speak to the proposed bylaw are asked to contact the clerk’s department. The town is currently mulling over the bylaw to replace the bylaw passed last year, which was considered restrictive and was passed without public comment. The previous bylaw didn’t allow the use of outdoor fireplaces, campfires and allowed very little outdoor burning. "I don’t wish to delay it," said Collingwood Mayor Chris Carrier. "I’m hoping we can deal with it a little more quietly. But not as quietly as we dealt with it last year." Under the proposed bylaw, residents must get a fire permit for $25, and all fires must meet fire department specifications. Residents will be allowed: • A fire for an outdoor fireplace with a spark arrestor – 15 feet away from any building, structure, property line, tree, hedge, fence, roadway, overhead wires or combustible article. • Cooking fire between sunrise and midnight that measures .3 metres in each direction and must be no less than 25 metres from any building, structure, property line, hedge, fence, roadway or overhead wires. • Special event permit, regulations will be set and agreed by the fire department. Collingwood Fire Chief Trent Elyea said the department prefers to have people use chimineas and commercial fire places, rather than just an open-air fire. "As long as it meets the requirements that we set out," Elyea said. He said people are having fires without a permit and said this bylaw will allow them to control it. "People are doing it anyway, this will allow us to regulate it," he said. If you are caught without a permit, you could be required to pay the cost of the fire department if they are called to your home. For more information visit www.collingwood.ca


Dentist part of medical mission

Stayner dentist Ted Proctor is part of a 26-member team heading to the Dominican Republic on March 29 for a one-week medical mission trip. Proctor, a Wasaga Beach resident, said the trip marks his fifth time to the impoverished country in the last three years. While in the Dominican Republic, Proctor will provide dentistry to Haitian refugees who have come to the country looking for work. He said that it was through long-time friends who visit the country for mission purposes that he learned of the opportunity to help. Proctor said he takes part as a way to give back. “Our country is so blessed – it’s our responsibility to help people and to share,” he explained. Spearheading the trip at this end are members New Life Brethren in Christ Church in Collingwood. But once the team arrives in the Dominican, they will work with Dominican Crossroads, a Christian ministry that operates in the hills outside Puerto Plata, a city in the northern part of the country. Proctor, a member of New Life church, said that Dr. Leslie Hutchings who practices in Stayner and Dr. Janet Clark who practices in Collingwood are also taking part in the trip, as are two nurses and several others who will work as medical support staff. “We’ll have people doing blood pressures, counting pills, that type of thing,” he said. Members of the mission trip will be traveling light in terms of personal items, he said. Each person going will bring what he or she needs for the trip in a carry-on bag. However, each person will also bring two 50-pound bags filled with supplies and items to give away, such as personal hygiene products, to those in need. Each person who is part of the team is responsible for covering his or her expenses. In total, the cost is about $1,200 for each person. Proctor said they will arrive in Puerto Plata and then take a roughly 30-minute bus ride to Crossroads, where the team will stay while in the country. Each day they will rise early and meet for breakfast at 7 a.m. and then board a bus at 8 a.m. and head to a village. “Every day we’ll be working in a different village,” Proctor noted. The Haitian refugees they will help have come to the country in search of a better life. Many harvest sugar cane or scavenge in dumps for materials they can sell. All are poor. Proctor said the homes people live in are primitive, made of scrap metal and wood. “These are Haitians who’ve left their country. They have no benefits, very little money and no help except for what outside organizations provide,” he said. Despite the incredibly tough existence the Haitians face, they are a beautiful and warm people, Proctor said. “They are spontaneous, loud, they’re happy, their needs and wants are very simple,” he said. In the villages, the team will provide basic care to people. For Proctor, that means doing emergency extractions without a proper dental chair, x-rays and lighting. “It’s the same standard of care, just in a primitive environment,” he said. At lunchtime each day, the workers will visit a local restaurant and then spend the afternoon distributing things such soap, toothbrushes, children’s shoes, baby clothes and school supplies to refugees. “Last year we took down over 1,000 pairs of shoes,” he noted. People wanting to help the group are asked to donate new or gently used items, such as baseballs, deflated soccer balls, children’s running shoes, plastic toys that don’t require batteries, school supplies, hygiene items and baby clothing. Items can be left at Proctor’s office at the Stayner Medical Centre on King Street or at Major’s Guardian Pharmacy – at the 45th Street or River Road location – in Wasaga Beach or at New Life Brethren in Christ Church, off County Road 124 in Collingwood. Monetary donations will also be accepted at Proctor’s office. Cheques can be made payable to New Life Brethren in Christ Church and a tax receipt can be issued. Last year, between Proctor’s team and another team comprised of Elmvale-area people, more than $20,000 in donations was collected – money that went towards such things as food and education supplies for the Haitians. Thanks to the financial support that mission trips to the country have received, Proctor said he’s seen progress, with schools and medical centres and churches getting built. He said that people who go on the mission trips are often changed by what they see. “When you can actually go, smell, taste and feel it – it changes your life,” he said.


Split council passes 2009 budget

Collingwood council narrowly passed its $59 million budget on Tuesday. By a vote of 5-4, council passed a budget that will leave taxpayers with a 1.12 per cent increase on the town portion of their tax bills. This is equal to $8.75 for every $100,000 of assessed value. According to treasurer Marjory Leonard this is up from $52 million from 2008. Mayor Chris Carrier and Councillors Norman Sandberg, Ian Chadwick, Mike Edwards and Dave Labelle voted in favour of the budget, while Deputy Mayor Sandra Cooper and Councillors Tim McNabb, Kathy Jeffery and Sonny Foley voted against the budget. Cooper said she was against the current budget process and felt the budget meetings should be held as their own separate meetings. She said it concerned her that the public was not able to comment on the budget. She said the other reason she wasn’t voting in favour of the budget was the cost of legal fees. According to Cooper, the town is slated to spend about $700,000 on legal fees. "That is more than an increase in 2009," she said. "I remember when $250,000 was a lot." Chadwick said there was a lot in the budget he was against. Chadwick wanted to see more money for the Georgian Bay Animal Rescue and he wasn’t in favour of the Heritage Park revitalization but said politics are about comprise and voted in favour of the budget. "There are a whole lot of things I didn’t like in it," he said. McNabb, who last year said those who voted against the budget were "grandstanding," voted against the budget. He said the sticking point for him is not putting money aside to offset future spending. "I’m not happy we’re not putting away money to offset money we’re spending this year," he said. Foley said he wasn’t supporting the budget, because he was against the Heritage Park plan. "I will not support the budget because of Heritage Park," he said. Jeffery – who said she has never voted against the budget in the past – felt it was a bad decision to not put money away to offset debentures. "I honestly feel we have missed our mark," she said. "This is a stick your head in the sand budget." Sandberg also disagreed with the removal of the minimum 2.5 per cent increase but said he would be voting in favour of the budget. "We did go through a process and as much as I think we are being really shortsighted, it was a democratic process and for that reason and that reason only, I will be supporting the budget," he said. Edwards – who voted against the budget in 2008 – voted for it 2009. He questioned those councillors who voted against, saying people can’t "pick and choose," and should look at the budget as a whole. Edwards then asked CAO Gordon Norris for his opinion on the budget. Norris said he would like to see multi-year budgeting, but overall felt this was a good budget that he could work with. "I don’t see a lot of growth in our assessment," he said. "This is an acceptable rate on a one-off basis." Carrier had predicted the vote would be 6-3 and was surprised by Cooper’s position considering she voted in favour of the First Street project and the Heritage Park revitalization. Carrier said the idea that some councillors wanted to raise taxes to put money into reserves, "doesn’t make sense." "I think it’s silly to say what the tax increase will be next year," he said. "If you don’t want to spend reserves, don’t spend reserves." Carrier is pleased with the budget, and said the town is making some capital investments and he’s confident they will see some growth.


Texting and driving don’t mix, say police

Police pulled over a suspected drunk driver in Tay Township last week, but it turned out she hadn’t had a drop to drink. She was, however, trying to send a text message while driving. Southern Georgian Bay OPP report the incident happened on Highway 12, near Rumney Road, around 6:30 p.m. on April 16. A 45-year-old Brampton resident was charged with careless driving. Police, in addition to reminding motorists to always focus on the road, credited the concerned citizen who reported this driver with averting a potential tragedy.