Issue 24 2022 December 1 ND Times

Page 1

New Council sworn in

their service. Owen continued with a story about how he met Matthew Uhrig and his wife, inserting some humour that drew laughs from the crowd. He also spoke of Matthew’s gentle and professional character. Matthew then took the oath.

The 8th Council of the Township of North Dundas was officially sworn in during an inauguration ceremony taking place on November 15. The ceremony proceeded smoothly, opening with the singing of O Canada.

It is typical for politicians from throughout the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry to be invited to attend local swearingin ceremonies, and those who are available attend.

North Stormont’s new Deputy Mayor, Andrew Guindon was the only area politician available to attend North Dundas’ ceremony. He spoke briefly, commending the soonto-be sworn in Council members for their commitment to serving their community. Member of Parliament Eric Duncan and Member of Provincial Parliament Nolan Quinn were unable to tend and sent their regrets.

Each of the elected Council members was introduced by an invited guest. Shawn Doolan

went first, introducing Councillor-elect John Lennox. Shawn spoke of John Lennox’s military service, and attested to the quality of his character. John then took the podium to recite the oath of office.

Next, Owen Shortt introduced Councillorelect Matthew Uhrig. He opened by stating his confidence that all five members of Council #8 will serve in their positions honourably. Owen also thanked outgoing Council members Gary Annable and John Thompson for

Vince Zandbelt was chosen to introduce existing Councillor Gary Annable for the swearing-in of his new term. Vince talked about Gary’s accomplishments thus far on Council, and how he is eager to continue the work he has started. Vince also pointed out that Gary is known as a very active community volunteer, and is a lifelong resident of Winchester, whose family history includes others who have served in municipal government positions locally as well. Gary then took his oath, like those before him.

Sue Hamilton was tasked with introducing new Deputy Mayor Theresa Bergeron, who served a partial term as Councillor last term. Sue is a friend of Theresa Bergeron’s who spoke highly of her as a successful entrepreneur. She

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by Brandon Mayer The newly sworn in 8th North Dundas Council

A GIF star in our midst

ers have “seen” Robert’s image online, though few likely realize he lives in our own backyard.

“I love living in Spencerville,” Robert told the Times. “I was born and raised in the U.S. and lived the majority of my life in Los Angeles. When I moved to Canada in 2009, there was an adjustment to small town life, but the people here were so welcoming. Spencerville is steeped in history and tradition. They have embraced me and made me feel at home.”

yes, I’m often recognized locally. It’s actually quite fun to receive an email or a phone call from someone congratulating me on a project that I’ve completed. I feel quite proud because I’m a local, and it feels nice to be able to promote our local community and shine a light on it.”

35 Years of caring for her community


In fact, Sandra says she has seen a lot of changes in 35 years – from building renovations, to working with many different colleagues, to pandemic nursing over the past couple of years.

It has recently come to light that a resident of the nearby town of Spencerville is something of an online sensation. Robert E. Blackmon is well known in the social media community for his GIFs – short videos of only a few seconds repeating on a loop, usually to express a strong emotion. GIF databases are typically available above the keyboard layout in smartphones and other devices, allowing GIFs to be sent as a response to written messages. GIFs can

also be used in the comment sections of social media websites such as Facebook.

Robert is both a Hollywood actor and lifestyle coach by trade. He is originally from Detroit, but moved to Spencerville as his husband is native to the area. His GIFs have been used and viewed approximately 10.5 billion times (and counting), and his GIF of himself discarding a trash bag labelled “2020” attracted enough views – 360 million – to be considered among the most watched GIFs of the year. The odds are that a significant portion of read-

Asked whether he often gets recognized by others in the local area, Robert confirmed that he does, but certainly not just for the GIFs. “Over the years, I have established myself locally as a fashion designer, so many people have hired me for my services,” he said. “I also donate my time in various local community events. Since moving to Spencerville, I have remained active in some Hollywood events and projects, so my television presence is never far. I am also an occasional lifestyle contributor to CTV Morning Live Ottawa. So

It turns out that there is money to be made from GIFs as well. “When I first started making GIFs, it was just a fun thing to do to be a part of the app. But as my popularity grew, companies started reaching out to me asking permission to license them for their brands. And so now I actively work with companies and brands. Some companies license material that has already been created, but others have me create specific GIFs for them. They have been used for everything from marketing promotions to popcorn and even television shows. So this format has definitely become very lucrative for me!”

Pay attention to your smartphone everyone. You may just see a local star!

Acting like kids presents The Christmas Tree by Norm Foster

Sandra Fawcett graduated from St. Lawrence College in Cornwall.

Sandra says she is looking forward to spending more time with her granddaughter Edie.

Sandra Fawcett first came to Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) while in nursing school at St. Lawrence College. “I grew up on a farm and I liked the atmosphere at WDMH. It felt like home,” she remembers. So she stayed – for 35 years – until she retired at the end of October.

“I started as a new grad on the surgical floor and moved to Emergency shortly after,” explains Sandra. “I’ve always enjoyed critical care. It’s always

“I’ll miss it all. WDMH has a great team. They keep me young,” she says. “But what I won’t miss is shift work and working on holidays!”

“Sandra is an amazing nurse, colleague and mentor,” notes Clinical Manager Shannon Horsburgh. “She brought peace and calm to the department, and I witnessed first-hand how often the community felt reassured when they knew Nurse Fawcett was on shift. She will be forever missed, but her nursing (and hair) legacy will continue to live on at WDMH!”

Sandra is looking forward to spending time with family and friends, including her new granddaughter. She and her husband David also have a few trips booked.

Congratulations Sandra! You will be missed!

New Council sworn in

cont'd from front page

filled with laughs and Christmas spirit. Kate Egan and Scott Veinotte, the creative team behind local theatre and music production company acting like kids, like to think of themselves as forward thinkers. But this holiday season, the couple finds themselves looking back … waaaaay back, to this time last year. “We were just getting our feet under us, with the support of Stonecrop Acres Winery, and really enjoying the experience of producing and performing in our first acting gig as a couple. With Donnie Bowes directing us, and the talented duo of Lost at the Junction providing

music for the evening, we were having a blast with Norm Foster’s The Christmas Tree. Nothing could stop us!”

Nothing, that is, except the imposition of new COVID health restrictions in the week before Christmas. Similar restrictions had been doing a real number on local businesses for months. In fact, supporting Morrisburg’s Upper Canada Playhouse was the impetus for the show in the first place. Egan-Veinotte has spent more than 20 summers on that stage, so when they launched the “Help the Playhouse Get on with the Show” campaign, she wanted to contribute with a fundraiser. Even with the

production cut short after half of their performances had to be cancelled, they still managed to bring in over $4000 for the Playhouse. “We are so grateful to the many patrons who bought tickets to see the show, and then donated the money to the Playhouse fundraiser rather than ask for refunds. That was terrific support!”

But lots of people, in particular the performers, were disappointed that the show had to be cut short.

Marc Gervais and Norene Hyatt-Gervais at Stonecrop Acres felt the same way, and so the whole gang is back together again for a remount over a couple of weekends at the winery. And there’s a new beneficiary this time around. “It’s been a real struggle for so many coming out of COVID and into even more uncertainty. We’ll be supporting Community Food Share as they work to help so many in our own neighbourhoods feel a little more secure this Christmas.”

Along with a portion of the proceeds from the show,

there will be donation boxes ready to receive cash and gift cards for the local charity, which will be put towards building Christmas hampers for families in need.

Stonecrop Acres Winery and Vineyard provides the perfect backdrop for music and laughter – a wonderful holiday outing with friends and co-workers! Norm Foster’s The Christmas Tree runs at 7 pm on December 9, 11, 16 and 17, and at 3 pm on December 11 and 17.

Tickets available on-line at: https://www.eventbrite. ca/

Search: acting like kids presents The Christmas Tree by Norm Foster OR use the following link: https://www.eventbrite. ca/e/acting-like-kidsthe-christmas-treeby-norm-foster-tickets-459336185897 On-line tickets not your thing?? Call 613-8082917. We can help you out!

Limited tickets will also be available at the door.

revealed Theresa’s accomplishments, as well as some challenges that she overcame as a woman in business. Theresa lives on a farm in South Mountain, of which she is proud. Like the others, Theresa took the oath of office after her introduction.

The final member of the 8th Council to be introduced was Mayor Tony Fraser, returning to serve in the same position he filled last term. Bill Smirle, a former North Dundas Council member himself, was the individual chosen to introduce the Mayor. Bill opened by thanking all those who had put their names forward in a bid to serve their community. He then spoke of meeting Tony through a fire department meeting years ago. Bill had much to say about Tony’s character, and strengths as a leader. Finally, Tony was the last to take the oath of office, officially giving the Township a full 8th Council. Bill placed the Chain

of Command on Tony Fraser, and the Council was officially declared as organized. Council members were invited to sit in their assigned seats for the first time.

A special meeting of Council followed the swearing-in ceremony. Each member of Council took turns offering comments to the public to kick off the term of the 8th Council. Comments were brief, and mostly thanked supporters and mentioned general goals for the current term of Council. Mayor Fraser spoke somewhat longer than other Council members, filling his diplomatic duty as the leader of Council, with many words of thanks to give. The inaugural Council meeting was concluded after a short time. The first Council meeting to discuss regular Township business will take place on November 29.

The North Dundas Times The Voice of North Dundas 2 December 1, 2022
Spencerville GIF creator Robert E. Blackmon One Man, One Woman, One Tree ... A story One Man, One Woman, One Tree ... A story filled with laughs and Christmas spirit. Kate Egan-Veinotte. Scott Veinotte. Photos by Ian Lewer

Chill out, you’re not married

One of my favourite things about community newspapers like the Times is the open exchange of ideas through submissions and letters to the editor. Beyond these submissions that readers get to see, many spirited people also like to express their views privately to the Editor, especially when their strong views are political in nature.

One thing that has always struck me when it comes to the political views of many is their propensity to develop an unyielding attachment to the politicians they support, almost like a fan club. I can’t help but think that many people might benefit from the realization that it is okay to disagree with someone they voted for. Politicians in a democracy are first and foremost representatives. It is not their views which are supposed to guide their vote, but rather the views of their constituents. Disagreeing with them sometimes is therefore an imperative, even when we generally support their party and their politics.

One “current event” that has been lighting up the Times inboxes lately is provincial Bill 23, called the More Homes Built Faster Act. From what I can see, it is drawing almost exclusively negative attention from various agencies across the area, particularly conservation authorities and organizations whose mandate it is to promote and preserve nature. The concerns certainly seem warranted. Bill 23 strips away many rights from many entities. It removes requirements for public meetings regarding certain planning manners. It gives the provincial government the power to override municipal planning decisions when it comes to housing development, meaning that new developments can be imposed on small communities who simply don’t want them or can’t sustain them. Bill 23 also strips certain powers from conservation authorities, including those that protect against pollution and the destruction of designated conservation lands.

Do any of these changes have merit? I would argue that all legislation must have

some objective upsides in any society not run by evil tyrants. In the case of Bill 23, the obvious objective upside is the fact that barriers to new housing developments – or so called “red tape” –are reduced, paving the way for more houses and thus, hopefully, a gradual elimination of the current housing crisis. Despite this, governments should always be tasked with considering the journey just as much as the destination. The end must justify the means. Eliminating protected farmland, risking pollution, and impacting the layout and feel of small communities for those who prefer to live and raise their families in them are all means that aren’t necessarily justified in the name of building more houses. There must be a better way to locate available land and entice existing developers without eliminating the checks and balances that keep our province beautiful, healthy and safe. As with many pieces of provincial legislation, I would argue that Bill 23 is Toronto-centric. It fails to consider the importance of natural lands and farmlands in areas such

as ours. Sustaining a population of millions of people in a condensed city would not be possible if not for the farmlands in areas such as North Grenville.

So how does this all relate to disagreeing with politicians? Quite simple. Much like the situation with the CUPE education workers union, wherein the provincial government used the notwithstanding clause to stomp on the constitutional rights of ordinary workers, the situation with Bill 23 is one that a significant number of individuals and organizations are recognizing as wrong. The problem is the number of Ontarians, including many locals, who seem to be defending the government just because it’s the “blue” party that they’ve supported and always have. Some people need to chill out and realize they aren’t married to Doug Ford.

Why do so many of us instinctively behave this way? We act as though casting our vote in an election is akin to picking a hockey team to cheer for. This could explain why, when politicians do stupid things, we find excuses to explain it

away. This is not unlike Leafs fans continuing to cheer for the “best” hockey team that hasn’t taken home the Stanley Cup in 55 years. Whoops, I went there!

Let me be the first to break away from the trend. Faced with other options I did not like, and perhaps jumping on the dark blue bandwagon of our area, I voted conservative in the last provincial election. That does not mean that when dumb decisions are made, such as thinking an education union will quietly be legislated back to work with sneaky tactics, or thinking that a simple blanket solution can resolve a complex problem such as the housing shortage, I have to agree. In fact, not agreeing with the party you voted for is a power show of independence. One of the advantages of having a conservative MPP during the term of a conservative majority provincial government is that our local representative can’t simply waste away time pointing fingers and blaming. Unpopular legislation is the work of HIS government, and he must therefore answer for it. Probably the strongest

voices emailing or calling our MPP with a complaint are the ones who voted for him. After all, a conservative stronghold won’t remain as such if the supporters begin changing sides.

I will forever see myself as an independent voter. I vote for people, not parties, and I will always evaluate legislation through an objective lens. This advice comes partly from a teacher in high school who, in a humorous mocking voice, told us that so many people have the attitude of “I voted conservative because my grandaddy voted conservative”. It’s time to stop thinking that we owe our politicians some kind of fangirl or fanboy loyalty. We’re not married, even if I voted for you. And if we disagree, I won’t even have to sleep on the couch tonight.

Tid Bit Musings Eastern Ontario Mayors support CA concerns about Housing Bill 23

It is that time of year when everyone asks every child are you "good" or "bad" to validate Santa's pending visit. This is one of the first ways we program a young child's thinking and self-perception in an erroneous manner. Combine the terminology with the apparent discretion of who gets what and how much simply defines the unfairness of "Santa". Some children get oodles and others get little! It has no bearing on anything other than the wallet of a parent or perhaps the parents' feeling of duty!

Every child is good. Fundamentally every person is "good," but the behaviors and choices are often negative, even to the point of being detrimental. Learning from those choices develops our ability to conform

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Melissa Ottenhof 613 329 0209

to societal acceptance. When the consequences are inconsistent or even non-existent, confusion and ambiguity results. We do learn where and when certain language or behavior is tolerated and where it is not. Some folks are slow-learners!

The gift giving is symbolic of God giving us the gift of His son and the promise of eternal life. No other gift measures in comparison. Perhaps this is the time to acknowledge Jesus is the reason for the season. Teach-

ing your child the meaning of the varying Christmas symbols becomes the greatest gift you can give themthe Christmas tree, the star, the wreath, the candy cane.

As an adult, re-phrase the question away from are you "good" to what are you hoping to receive as a gift, or what are you choosing to "give" someone else? Now is not too late to readjust the terminology and contribute to positive self-esteem. It takes a village to raise a child- this is your part!

More than 30 Eastern Ontario mayors have endorsed a Conservation Authority letter to the province expressing concerns with provincial Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act. The letter, written by 10 Eastern Ontario CAs, was sent to Premier Doug Ford and relevant cabinet ministers earlier today. “We are overwhelmed and incredibly grateful for the support we have received from local municipalities,” said Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, General Manager of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. “It was disheartening that this bill only had a 30-day consultation period given the magnitude of the proposed ISSN 2291-0301

OFFICE 613-215-0735

changes and that this short consultation period fell during the turnover of municipal councils.”

In their letter, the Eastern Ontario CAs outline six key concerns with the bill and how the changes will negatively impact local development review processes, download new responsibilities to municipalities, increase costs to taxpayers, increase the risk of flooding, erosion and slope failure and damage the local environment.

But the CAs also provide recommendations to the province of how to improve Bill 23 and call for meaningful consultation with CAs, municipalities, and the development and agricultural sectors to identify real

Mailing Address P.O. Box 1854 Kemptville, ON K0G 1J0

solutions that will increase housing without having unintended and irreversible consequences.

It is well understood that water flows across municipal boundaries – and so do the impacts of development. That’s why over the past 70 years, municipalities have formed 36 CAs across Ontario to assess and understand the cumulative impact of development within each watershed. At a time when climate change is causing more frequent and intense storm events, the role of CAs has never been more critical.

Editor Brandon Mayer 613-215-0735

Accounting Pat Jessop

Classifieds 613-215-0735

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Mayor Fraser to serve as Counties Warden for 2023

North Dundas’ own Tony Fraser has been acclaimed as the 2023 Warden-elect of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Tony recently re-claimed his seat as Mayor of the Township of North Dundas when he ran unopposed in the October municipal election. Due to his role as Mayor of North Dundas, he has automatically been a member of Counties Council since 2018.

According to a release obtained by the Times, Mayor Fraser said he is

looking forward to advancing the interests of SDG Counties in 2023. “It is my commitment to serve as Warden in the upcoming year to the best of my ability with fairness, honesty and integrity,” he said. Mayor Fraser was nominated for the role by North Glengarry Mayor Jamie MacDonald, with North Stormont Mayor Frank Landry seconding the nomination. Council decides every autumn who will sit as Warden for the coming year. Typically, the vote takes place in October, but every four years the vote is delayed by the municipal election.

The Warden acts as the leader of Counties Council,

ensuring order and efficiency in the upper tier Council meetings. The Warden role for the United Counties of SD&G was plagued with dishonour early in 2021 when Frank Prevost, the South Glengarry Mayor who was serving as Warden at the time, was charged with child luring and sexual assault of an adult. At that time, now retired North Dundas Deputy Mayor Al Armstrong was asked to take over as Warden, and he remained in that role for the remainder of 2021.

For 2022, North Glengarry Deputy Mayor Carma Williams was elected as SD&G Warden. Her election was the first time since 2008 that a woman held the Warden’s office. That is when Estella Rose – another North Dundas name who was serving as Deputy Mayor locally at the time, filled the role.

With the most recent announcement of Mayor Fraser’s appointment, North Dundas is clearly well-represented at the Counties Council table. Mayor Fraser will be officially sworn-in as Warden on December 2.

‘Art in the Branches’ showcases young artists

“Ben’s Pioneer” will no longer be Ben’s

A local gas station – one of only three places to get gas in Winchester – will soon change hands. Ben Henry has been running the Pioneer gas station on County Road 31 for many years. A few years ago, the whole station was revamped, and remains a popular place to refuel and buy snacks and other essentials in town. On November 20, Ben announced online that he would be terminating his lease and moving on to the next chapter of his life. Congratulatory notes poured in, as locals noted what a positive impact Ben and his business have made on the community over the years.

One person commented that despite a change in ownership, the gas station will likely continue

a space where children can just BE and have FUN - and the stunning artwork they produce proves it!

A gifted artist in her own right, Rose Poirier is passionate about working with children and believes all children are gifted creatively. “Young people are so much fun to work with because they are incredibly insightful, imaginative, and can so freely think outside the creative box,” she says. “Every class, I’m inspired by their creative perspective, joie-de-vivre and honesty.”

to be known as “Ben’s Pioneer” (or simply “Ben’s”) for many years to come. It is true that small businesses – especially those that provide critical goods and services such as fuel – become absolute pillars of the community, such that they are often unofficially named after their owners despite the owners’ names rarely appearing on the signage. It is also true that long standing business owners leave a lasting legacy when they move on or retire, as their name is often attached to their businesses indefinitely.

This fact is easy to see in the frequency with which Winchester locals still ask whether “Ron’s” is open, referring to the full service gas station in the south end of town which was recently sold by long serving owner, Ron Blanchard. Another example is “Rick’s Gas Bar” in South Mountain. The for updates and more information. Be dazzled by the creations of the young artists from the Dreaming Heart Art Studio, on display all of December at the Winchester Branch of SDG Library,

Pioneer gas station in South Mountain was owned for years by the late Rick Cauvier, and despite now being in new and very capable hands, locals still call it “Rick’s”. I myself will call out to the others in the house with a familiar “Does anyone need anything at Ricks?!” before heading there. It’s a habit, and not at all a bad one. Small towns deserve to be proud of these quirks, particularly insofar as they honour the people who have made them great.

In Rick Cauvier’s case, he recently received an even greater legacy when the playpark in South Mountain was named the “Rick Cauvier Memorial Park” in his honour. In Winchester, Ben’s Pioneer will no longer be Ben’s in terms of ownership, but in all likelihood it will remain Ben’s in terms of namesake. Ah, the beauty of small town traditions.

547 St. Lawrence Street in Winchester. Artists wishing to participate in “Art in the Branches” can contact the North Dundas Arts Council at northdundasartscouncil@ for more information.

Winter may be a dark and snowy time of year, but this December’s “Art in the Branches” display at the Winchester Library will put a sparkle on it all! Featuring the artwork of North Dundas youth aged four to 13 years,

the stunning collection of some 20 pieces are the product of the Dreaming Heart Art Studio, a happy little creative space for children in Chesterville, Ontario.

Owner and instructor Rose Poirier teaches a vari-

ety of visual art classes from her home-based studio, with the goal of providing her students with confidenceboosting opportunities to freely express themselves, cultivate self-love, make friends and build skills. It’s

Sadly, Rose’s dream of her studio becoming a recreational staple in the community is now facing the challenges of a difficult economy. After her December art classes conclude, she will be taking an indefinite hiatus from teaching. She remains hopeful that the Dreaming Heart Art Studio will reopen in the not-sodistant future with greater success and longevity, then. Visit www.thedreaming-

The North Dundas Times 5 The Voice of North Dundas December 1, 2022 Taylor’d Safety Services Inc. Safety services tailored to your business needs 47 Christie Lane Winchester James Taylor, General Manager 613•797•3032 • 3D Design • Interlock • Natural Stone • Lighting • Planting • Water Features Services 613-316-7710
The Pioneer gas station in Winchester, known by many locally as “Ben’s Pioneer” L-R: SDG Counties Clerk/Director of Corporate Services Kimberley Casselman, CAO Tim Simpson, Warden-elect Tony Fraser and 2022 Warden Carma Williams Courtesy of Rose Poirier, The Dreaming Heart Art Studio

‘Date My County’ contest feels the love from around the world

A love match has been struck in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG Counties). On Aug. 5, SDG Counties launched the “Date My County Contest” with the goal of attracting more workers to the rapidly expanding region, which borders Quebec and Ottawa.

The response was overwhelming. Despite the fact that the contest was only open to Canadian residents, people from around the world began applying. They shared their dreams of a better life in a country they described as being a dream place to raise their families and start over.

“It felt like, suddenly, every part of the world knew where SDG Counties was. We began receiving applications from Mexico, Iraq, Switzerland and Hong Kong. We had numerous applications from the Middle East and as far away as Egypt and India,” said SDG Counties Manager of Economic Development Tara Kirkpatrick, who served as project coordinator for the contest.

Applications poured in from across Canada and included every walk of life, from physicians and journalists to students and retirees. Many of the applicants spoke about the rising cost of living in the cities they currently called home and their dreams of living a different life.

Small children voiced their dreams of having puppies and backyards to play in. Young professionals spoke about starting their careers in SDG Counties and finding their place in the world.

“A total of 177 applied to the contest and they all shared the same sentiment of yearning for this opportunity to start afresh and launch an adventure. For many of them, this contest represented hope for a better life,” said Kirkpatrick.

With the launch of the

“Date My County” contest, the county offered up the true Canadian dream: the chance to live virtually rentfree in a bustling region that has plenty of jobs and strong living conditions.

“The goal of the Date My County campaign was to showcase the region to young families and working professionals who might want to relocate to the region. I think we can safely say that we hit that benchmark,” said SDG Warden Tony Fraser.

As part of the contest, applicants were asked to submit a one-minute video and a brief, 50-word essay explaining why they should be selected. The winning applicant will act as a brandambassador for the County for a year and will be asked to journal about their experience in twice monthly blog posts shared to the Counties social media pages.

In return, the winner will receive up to a maximum of $1,500 per month, for up to 12 consecutive months, towards the cost of accommodations spent living in SDG Counties for the year that the contest runs.

Picking a winner was no simple matter, but ultimately one application simply stood out. Time and again, the Committee of Council tasked with the job of picking their brand ambassador came back to an application submitted by Emily Tohana and her partner, Michael Bricteau, of Montreal, Quebec.

In their submission, Tohana wrote that “originally from Whitby, ON and Rosemere, QC, we're now coming to you from Montreal! With family on the borders of Ontario and Quebec, and familial roots in Glen Roy, - back through René & Carmel Roy, - we would be honoured to have the opportunity to settle-in and show-off SDG.”

Emily and Michael’s video submission was largely filmed on location in SDG Counties during a family

vacation earlier this year and it truly showcased their love of life and adventure.

Emily Tohana has a background in therapeutic recreation and music care. She grew up immersed in music – singing, playing guitar and being involved in choir and community musical theatre. She says that she relished connecting with others through song and enjoys working alongside people with disabilities, including developmental, acquired brain injuries and dementia. She is eager to complete her Music for Young Children Certifications next so that she can pass on the joy of making music in others lives.

Although you might not guess it from her current remote role within an international consulting company, Emily is an active nature-lover and explorer. A goal of hers is to cycle across Canada using the approximate route that her own Mom and Aunt took from Green Valley, Ontario in 1980.

The way to Emily's heart is raw, organic fruits and vegetables. Turn them into a meal, and her heart is stolen; just ask her partner Michael, who described himself as an unbroken optimist and adventurer.

“Michael learned the best way to be picked up hitch-hiking was to write "elsewhere" on your sign. His big smile and that sign carried him around some of his travels in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, Czech Republik, Hun-

gary, Romania, India, UK, USA east coast, Mexico, Costa Rica, Cayman Islands, and Panama,” said his partner, Emily. As Operations Manager of a moving company, Michael says that he enjoys wearing many hats to support his team. Michael enjoys being outdoors and on-the-move, so it's no wonder he's working on his certification to become an arborist.

“He often prefers the alternative to the conventional, so chances are you'll catch him cycling across the city in -30C snowstorms, humbly mastering onearmed pull-ups or training on the monkey bars,” said Emily.

As a team, Emily and Michael will act as SDG Counties new brand ambassadors. Due to previous work commitments, they have committed to “dating” the county for a few months before moving to the region next year. They are excited to explore the area, which could one day become their forever home.

Quick Facts

Housing costs in SDG Counties remain some of the most affordable in Canada. As of June 2022, the average price of a Canadian home was $665,849. In the district of Cornwall and Region, which SDG Counties falls under, the average home price was estimated at $418,748 (Source: Cornwall Real Estate Board. https:// )

Job opportunities abound in SDG Counties! During the 2022 Cornwall and Area Job Fair, more than 500 jobs were posted. SDG Counties is home to great rivers to paddle, trails to explore and culinary delights to savour. Learn more about us at

A copy of Emily and Michael’s video submission is available here: https://

Claude’s Gardening & Landscaping Forum

by adding not more than 1 to 2 inches of the mixture, spreading with the hard side of a rake, so that the grass can grow through. You will need to repeat every few weeks until your lawn is level, so it may take some time depending on how rough your lawn is.

Dear Claude,

Dealing with a bumpy lawn. We have a well-established lawn (20 Years) on a clay soil. The lot is about 12,500sq feet (minus the house and driveway). We would prefer not to tear up the lawn to start over. Over the years, the lawn is getting more rough to walk on and mow, and I was wondering if you could provide some suggestions as to how to smooth out the topography. Spring rolling does not help on clay soil

From Ruff and Tumble

You’re right, rolling does not work on a clay soil. As a matter of fact, it compacts an already compacted soil, making things worse. The good news is you don’t have to tear up your existing lawn, but you will have to put in some time to remedy the problem.

You can use a 50/50 mixture of sand and topsoil or compost to fill in the low spots in the spring, once the weather warms up. This is where the time comes in! The idea is to gradually fill in the low spots

You could also aerate your soil first, using a plug aerator which removes a core, or plug, of grass and soil from your lawn. This would benefit your lawn as a whole before trying to level it.

Talking about lawns, please wait until your lawn has dried up before you do any raking in the spring. Beneficial insects are just waking up, so waiting until the weather has been consistently warm for a week will give them a chance to emerge from the soil and leaf debris. If you’re thinking of over-seeding your lawn, the best time is when soil temperature reaches around 10 degrees Celsius and air temperature around 18 degrees Celsius. The seed needs to have good contact with the soil to germinate.

Did you know that the Kemptville Campus Greenhouse is open to the public every weekday morning from 9:30 to 12? We’re happy to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. You can also check our Facebook page for upcoming workshops and plants for sale.

contact for any questions

The North Dundas Times The Voice of North Dundas 6 December 1, 2022 County Rd 1, Mountain Ontario
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Christmas Gift Guide 2022

Support local jobs, community growth, our hard-working farmers, sustainability & true health!

Let’s support our local business owners. They have proven that they care about us, so let’s show them we care and appreciate them by keeping our Holiday purchases local, healthy and organic.

Time and time again over the years, you have seen how they give to the community for fundraisers, as volunteers, taking part in special events and creating local jobs for our youth.

It’s time to start thinking about your gift list. Local retailers offer an abundance of gift choices that are sure to fill your Christmas with unique and local options.


Free for both floats and spectators. Donations of cash and/or non-perishable food items to Community Food Share and the North Dundas Christmas Fund are welcome and will be collected along the parade route. Shop local at our Vendor Show

Our Vendor Show brings together a variety of local crafters, artisans and other vendors. It’s a great way to get some Christmas shopping done and support local vendors at the same time. Admission is free. We will be accepting monetary or food donations for Community Food Share. Sam Ault Arena & Joel Steele Community Centre, 9 am to 4 pm, December 3.

Grahame's Bakery is home to a heritage wood burning oven, located in Kemptville, Ontario. You want the best for your dinner table? Make sure you add their delicious fresh baked goods to your shopping list. And don’t forget your family and/or friends. They make amazing breads, donuts, treats and cakes.

The North Dundas Times 7 The Voice of North Dundas December 1, 2022 115 Clothier St. E 613.258.2317 Order your Holiday and Christmas Season Baking EARLY PURCHASE CHAMBER BUCKS THAT CAN BE USED AT 90+ LOCAL BUSINESS Shop local L alee Carruthers loralee.carruthers Off. 613.918.0321 Realtor, Independently owned and operated C. 613.407.8869 51 King St W, Brockville, On SHOP NORTH DUNDAS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN ONE OF FOUR WEEKLY $100 GIFT CARDS OR THE $250 GRAND PRIZE GIFT CARD Full Contest Details At Visit northdundasparadeof for more details. Register online or by emailing Free Float Registration 8 float categories in our float contest. Winners receive a basket full of local goods. Food Bank Donations Drop off bins for food and unwrapped children’s toys at the Vendor Fair. Volunteers will walk along the parade route collecting monetary donations. Sweet Corner Park Stop by during the parade for hot chocolate, homemade treats and Fries for Charity. Parade!Live Old Town Hall Winchester Tickets @ @RTApuppets

JoAnne Laurin returns to Old Town Hall

JoAnne Laurin Concerts


The Mars Show

The first time singer JoAnne Laurin ever set foot in Winchester’s Old Town Hall, she brought along 25 friends to cheer her on at the Open Mic Café! At the encouragement of a coworker, the soft spoken Morrisburg woman decided to test the waters and fulfill a lifelong dream.

It was a dream that began when JoAnne was three years old, singing and dancing for her family. She came by her talents honestly, with her mom a singer and her dad a musician. But out there in the bigger world, she was shy and preferred to express her little songbird in the safety of a choir.

JoAnne’s coworker confronted her one day: “What about you? It’s always about taking care of others!” She had to admit that as much as she loved being a PSW and caring for her patients, whenever she sang, JoAnne felt free and in the midst of a huge, beautiful waterfall of sound.

So at a time when many of us are contemplating retirement and fancy boat cruises, JoAnne signed up for lessons with the School of Melody Music Makers, in Long Sault. What began as a gift to herself would soon become JoAnne’s gift to others.

“This little inner voice whispered that I needed to sing and I listened,” she says now. “It’s a very spiritual thing.” And on that fateful evening at the local open mic café, a woman in a wheelchair stayed behind to tell JoAnne how much her singing had lifted her spirits and made her feel happy. “I knew it was where I wanted

to be, singing for people,” JoAnne smiles.

And that is the magical essence of what happens when JoAnne Laurin sings for audiences. She takes great care in planning each concert, knowing how it will bring joy to people. Her song list covers popular tunes spanning five decades - songs she heard playing on the radio in her parents’ car when she was a little girl. Her wardrobe, the decorations on stage and in the lobby, the after-show reception – all are planned with her audience in mind. There will even be little gifts for any children in attendance!

Audiences will be particularly spoiled this year, with the stage decorated by beloved local artist Ron LeClair. Ron’s art was featured in November as the Art in the Branches’ first display at the Winchester Library, and he is a pillar of the “Art on the Waterfront” celebration each summer in Chesterville. A selection of Ron’s works will also be on exhibit in the lobby at JoAnne’s show, available for Christmas giving.

“Christmas in The Valley with JoAnne Laurin, Volume 2” takes place this coming Sunday, December 4, at the Old Town Hall, 478 Main Street, Winchester. Doors open at 1 pm. Tickets are $12, include the after-show reception, and are available in advance by calling 613543-0695, or at the door. Take a moment from your hectic holiday schedule to relax and indulge in a lovely afternoon of music and fine art. You’ll be glad you did!

Some three billion years ago, Mars was believed to have been a water world just like earth. It possessed great oceans and was most likely on its way to forming life in one form or another. Water is made up of hydrogen, the most common element in the universe and oxygen, the third most common element. Water is extremely important to the development and sustaining of life as we know it.

Because Mars is half the size of the earth, the planet lost its heat faster as its internal core stopped rotating. Similar to earth's core which produces a magnetic field around our planet, Mars’ core ceased producing its protective magnetic field thus allowing the solar winds to eat away at its atmosphere and the red planet lost its water.

Ever since the early telescopic observations made by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli in 1877 when Mars was in opposition, residing 56-million-kilometres away, he is said to have seen "canali" or channels on Mars. Seeing these features gave the impression of a possible civilization. Since then the red planet has been the focus of searching for ancient life and is also the base of science fiction writers and movie makers.

By the 2030s or 2040s, humans are expected to land on this fascinating world, looking for the possibility of life that might have once existed, even at the microbial level. After all, life is life. But Mars is now in the news for other reasons, it is now a very visible object in the night sky.

Appearing as a brightorange object rising in the northeast sky about forty-

five minutes after the sun sets in the west, Mars is nicely placed amongst the bright winter constellations of Orion the Hunter, Taurus the Bull etc. If you are still not sure where to look, any smartphone astronomy app will guide you.

So why is it so bright? Earth orbits the Sun in 365 days whereas Mars does so in 687 days. Just like the inner lap on a race track, Earth catches up and overtakes slower Mars every 26 months. This upcoming opposition will occur on December 8 at a separation of only 82

million kilometres. Over the weeks after opposition, our distance increases and Mars will slowly fade. Every seventh opposition is super close such as back in 2003 and 2020. The next opposition occurs on January 15, 2025.

Be sure to look at Mars the night before on December 7 as the Full Cold Moon will cover Mars for a little less than one hour. All of Canada as well as much of the US except for Alaska and the Southeastern states will see this amazing sight.

Throughout its 29.5-day orbit around the earth, the

moon moves its width every hour. Throughout the month, it covers stars as seen through a telescope and in rare events, bright planets. This should be a fantastic photo opportunity as the disappearance and later reappearance should be quite evident.

Known as "The Backyard Astronomer", Gary Boyle is an astronomy educator, guest speaker, monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada as well as a STEM educator. He has been interviewed on more than 55 Canadian radio stations as well as television across Canada and the U.S. In recognition of his public outreach in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union has honoured him with the naming of Asteroid (22406) Garyboyle.

Follow him on Twitter: @ astroeducator, Facebook and his website: www.

The North Dundas Times The Voice of North Dundas 8 December 1, 2022
photo courtesy JoAnne Laurin
T O R ® B ro k e r Cathy Hay 851-0954 R EA L ES TA TE L T D ., B R OKE R AG E EA L h I ND EPE ND E N T LY OW N E D A ND OPE R ATE D OPEN HOUSE 1-3pm DECEMBER 1st, 2022 506 MAIN STREET, WINCHESTER

Phone:613 329 0209



The Food Corner

It’s just about tree time for those of you who still go out and fetch a Christmas tree, either from a nursery or out in the wilds. Coming back from such an excursion, hot and hearty soups are in order. Mind you, even if you have an artificial tree, you’re still allowed to partake. Cheeseburger Soup is a lot of fun to prepare and even better to eat. This recipe cries out for your favourite Grahame’s Bakery bread for dipping: messy and great!

Cheeseburger Soup


½ pound of ground beef (or pork if you are on a budget)

5 tablespoons of butter

1 cup of onions, chopped

1 cup of carrots, shredded

1 teaspoon of dried basil

1 teaspoon of dried parsley

3 cups of peeled potatoes, cut in small cubes 4 cups of chicken broth ¼ cup of flour

1 X 16 ounce package of processed cheese (Velveeta) cut into small chunks 1 ½ cup of milk

A sprinkle of black pepper ¼ cup of sour cream


In a large soup pot, cook and break down the beef till browned and set aside In the same pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter

Sauté the onions, carrots, basil and parsley for about 10 minutes

Add the broth, potatoes and put the cooked beef back; bring to a boil Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft

In a small skillet, melt the rest of the butter, add the flour and cook till bubbly Add this “roux” slowly to the soup pot, bring to boil, then reduce heat Stir in the cheese, milk and sprinkle with the pepper; cook till the cheese is melted

Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream

Ladle into soup bowl and serve with another sprinkle of dried parsley I hope you enjoy your Cheeseburger Soup. It’s actually a full meal, given the hearty ingredients and the dipping bread. Vegetarians can use the recipe without the meat, of course and add ¾ cup of diced celery. Take care and be in touch at

The North Dundas Times 9 The Voice of North Dundas December 1, 2022 Help Support Your Local Businesses SHOP LOCALLY MELISSA OTTENHOF Marketing Consultant Phone:613 329 0209 Email:
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What have we learned in 30 years?

This week entails a visit to the Gifford-Jones archives. What follows is an excerpt from a column on diabetes published thirty years ago. What has changed in society? You be the judge.

November 1992:

Diabetes results from an abnormal handling of food by the body. Normally some food is converted into a sugar called glucose. This stimulates the secretion of the hormone, insulin, which acts as a "key" to allow glucose to enter the cells. Glucose is then used as "fuel" to provide energy.

There are two types of diabetes. Type I is inherited. It usually occurs before 30 years of age. In these cases, the pancreas produces little or no insulin. It's believed that the immune system in some people gradually destroys the pancreatic cells which produce insulin.

Type II normally strikes after age 40 and these patients are often grossly overweight. The pancreas still produces some insulin, but it's like a tired, overworked horse that's been badly treated for many years. The little insulin produced is also less able to penetrate the cells, a condition called "insulin resistance".

Too many people have been misled by Sir Frederick Banting's discovery of insulin in 1921. This

hormone, like a blanket that puts out a fi re, prevents diabetic coma and eventual death. But insulin cannot extinguish the smouldering diabetic ashes which may cause a variety of catastrophic complications later in life.

This smouldering condition affects the large and small arteries of the body. Like plumbing coated with rust, the arteries become narrowed. This is known as atherosclerosis. Prime targets are the coronary arteries resulting in premature heart attack.

Diabetics also suffer more often from diabetic retinopathy. The arteries at the back of the eye become more numerous, weakened, and often rupture releasing blood into the vitreous chamber of the eye. This causes adhesions which tug on the retina and may cause detachment of the lining which sends images to the brain.

About 30 per cent of Type I diabetics and 5 to 10 per cent of Type II diabetics develop chronic renal disease. High blood sugars cause degenerative changes in the nerves triggering numbness and pain in the feet. Damage to blood vessels and nerves also causes impotence in males.

Families must ask themselves a paramount

Baldwin's Birds

question. Is self-indulgence worth this terrible price? If the answer is "no", the next point is equally vital. Weight loss under normal conditions is not easy. But when diabetes strikes, losing pounds becomes a delicate balancing act. Blood sugar must be controlled while at the same time shedding pounds.

Prevention of Type II diabetes by controlling weight gain is the only sensible route. A first step to avoid obesity is to buy a scale. The next is to step on it every day.

Avoid sugar like the plague. The problem is that hidden sugar wears a coat of many colours. It's disguised in packaged foods, cereals, and soft drinks. Indirectly it's a major source of obesity and Type II diabetes. Don't compound the problem by adding more sugar to your food and beverages.

Eat whole-grain foods such as pasta along with fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods slowly release sugar into the blood following a meal and place less stress on the pancreas.

Exercise, exercise, exercise.

Don't expect help from the government or public health associations. They'll protect you from dirty restaurants, but not from Type II diabetes. Their failure to take an aggressive stand on this matter is the most flagrant lapse of responsibility in the history of medicine.

Statement from Dr. Paul on masking, preventing illness and protecting our community this cold and flu season

Over the past few weeks, we have seen the early return of seasonal respiratory illnesses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), influenza and colds, along with the continued COVID-19 pandemic. As you may have heard, we are also seeing an alarming number of hospitalizations, and local hospitals are at 100 per cent capacity. Pediatric ICUs in the area are also overwhelmed, especially with young children under 5 years old with severe cases of RSV and the flu. Keeping our community, including our most vulnerable, safe and healthy is our top priority, and with the severity and number of cases we are seeing, a community approach is key.

To keep yourself, your loved ones, and our community healthy, I would like to remind you of the ways that you can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness, protect our most vulnerable and alleviate the burden on our health care system.


Wearing a mask while you are out in public is a simple way to add a layer of protection, especially if you live with young children, the elderly or anyone otherwise at a higher risk for severe infection from respiratory illnesses. I am echoing the province’s strong recommendation that you make masking in public a habit once more. Not only in crowded public settings, but in any social situation, wearing your mask can help limit the spread. You should also wear a mask any time you have respiratory symptoms, even at home, to help protect those you live with.

More ways to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses

Beyond masking, there are other ways you can help keep yourself and those around you healthy. These include washing your hands frequently and correctly or using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, disinfecting surfaces often, and screening yourself daily, especially before attending work, child care or school. Getting your flu shot and staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations can also reduce the severity of illness, and both are available to everyone in Ontario 6 months and older. Additionally, keeping children, and babies especially, away from crowds, will also help minimize the risk of infection.

Lastly and most importantly, if you are feeling sick, please stay home. What may be minor symptoms for you, could be severe illness or require hospitalization for someone more vulnerable.

Treatments for severe illness

Treatments for severe illness from COVID-19 (Paxlovid) or the flu (Tamiflu) are available if you are at risk of severe illness. Please do not hesitate to seek treatment if you are eligible.

Supporting these practices in the community

For businesses, agencies, and organizations in our community, I look to you as leaders in promoting these practices through the following actions. While masking is not mandated, posting signage that strongly recommends mask use in your facilities, and asking your staff to be role models of proper mask use, can encourage others to wear their masks. You may also wish to provide masks for those who may not have one. I also recommend providing hand sanitizer throughout your premises, in accessible locations, to encourage your visitors, clients, staff, students and volunteers to use proper hand hygiene.

Finally, I would like to take a moment to thank you for all the work you have done and continue to do, to keep yourself and those around you safe. This cold and flu season has proven to be one of our most challenging yet, and I appreciate your efforts in making these preventative measures part of your day to day lives and in continuing to take care of one another. The more people who employ these small measures, the quicker and more efficiently we can curb the spread, decrease overcrowding in our hospitals, and protect our most vulnerable.

Thank you, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, MD, CM, MPH, FRCP(C), CCPE Medical Officer of Health Eastern Ontario Health Unit

Is it a Swansong or just the Cygneture Tune!?

The other day I was fortunate enough to have a friend, who lives by the river, call me to see if I wanted to go and see the beautiful swans that were feeding in the water at the

bottom of his garden. What a silly question! I grabbed my camera and was on my way, for a super treat, to see not just a pair of adult swans, but also their four, quite grown-up, but still immature cygnets. The latter, and one of the adults, were busy, with their bottoms up in the air, "bobbing" their heads for food on the bottom

of the river, whilst the other adult kept an alert look out for danger. They were in the company of a flock of Canada Geese, and readily they mingled together, and idealistically to me, were showing no animosity towards each other. Such a lovely sight, but then came my own question to myself and maybe also to you, what type of swan are they?

Hopefully my pictures and my bird books would give me the complete answer when I got back home. I was able to narrow my observations down to two,-- viz .a Tundra Swan, or a Trumpeter Swan, which are so very similar in many ways.

I never heard any sounds or calls from them during my observation time there, so cannot draw a comparison on that count. Their beaks are very similar, very black and the coloring stretches back to their eye, but the Tundra one has some yellow coloring near its eye, not apparent on my pictures! Is that because of the time of year? So, not getting anywhere on that count, I decided to look at the juvenile coloring and this was a bit more convincing since the Trumpeter juvenile has a mostly black beak, but the Tundra has the pink coloring, as is shown in my pictures, so I'm plumping for the Tundra Swan!

Perhaps you might think differently, but I hope you have fun trying to find out if I am mistaken through your own research! Stay safe and well, and be careful walking along looking up in the air as the geese, or swans, fly overhead, please don't fall!

Cheers, John Baldwin



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The North Dundas Times The Voice of North Dundas 10 December 1, 2022

Christmas puppet show coming to Old Town Hall

Ms. Bell is an alien who bakes muffins every Monday for her co-workers. David Udderman is a cow, who enjoys performing stand-up comedy for his friends in the barnyard. Tommy is a turtle, and the lead singer of the aptly named band, “The Turtles”. These are just a few of the over 100 colourful and creative characters that

inhabit Creatureville. Sarah Argue started Rock the Arts Puppets in 2009 and created the world of Creatureville. All the puppets used in the show are made by Sarah. Sarah shares her inspiration for starting her company: “I wanted to give adults and kids a break from their life, their story. A place where they can laugh together, be themselves, and

be positive. Or as we say in Creatureville, be Pozzy!”

In Creatureville all are welcome and encouraged to be themselves. Sarah and her puppets have travelled Canada sharing a message of positivity and embracing the humour in life. Sarah says: “I believe every situation in life has a positive and a negative. Sometimes it's hard to see the positive

Duncan recognizes Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medallion recipients

and we get stuck on the negative. That's why I created our puppet Pozzy! They are always around us even when we can't see them. A Pozzy gives humans a little positive boost when we need it in life. ”

On December 11, 2022, Sarah and her Creatureville Crew will be at the Old Town Hall in Winchester performing their Christmas show, Do You Believe? The show follows Ned, a lovable goofball, as he discovers the true meaning of the holiday season. The show is a great time for the whole family. “My goal is always to make three generations laugh”, she says. “The grandparents, the parents, and the kids. You're never too old for puppets!”.

There are two show times available on December 11, 11 am and 2 pm. More information about Sarah and her friends, as well as where to buy tickets, can be found at

Eric Duncan, Member of Parliament for StormontDundas-South Glengarry honoured recipients of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medallion at a ceremony yesterday. Some locals were deserving recipients of the award, including Becky Gilmer and Cathy Ashby.

In recognition of Her Late Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee earlier this year, recipients were joined by their family and friends at Co-cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Cornwall, where their accomplishments and achievements were highlighted, followed by a formal medallion presentation.

“We are here today to

celebrate some amazing Canadians, who often don’t seek recognition or the spotlight but are taking it today” Duncan stated. “Who for years, decades, and some for over half a century, have toiled behind the scenes to volunteer, plan and use their natural God-given abilities to step up and make a difference.”

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medallion was created by Members of Parliament across Canada to recognize exemplary Canadians and their contributions to their communities.

“Sometimes we need to make sure we don’t focus solely on the negative but take time to recognize those leaders in our com-

munity who are stepping up and doing their part to help others. It was certainly not easy to narrow down the finalists from a population of 103,000 to just fifty,” Duncan stated. “It shows how valued each of the recipients and their accomplishments truly are; they exemplify why we are proud to live in such a generous and giving community.”

The full list of recipients from yesterday’s ceremony can be found attached. Duncan was honoured to present medallions to two other deserving community leaders earlier this fall;the late David Murphy of Cornwall and Rev. Allan Tysick of Mountain.

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Sarah and her friends
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Ontario Federation of Agriculture re-elects President

to lead organization for a third term

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s board of directors has expressed confidence in the leadership of Peggy Brekveld by electing the Thunder Bay area dairy farmer to a third one-year term as President of the province’s largest farm organization.

Joining Brekveld on the OFA executive are Vice Presidents Drew Spoelstra and Crispin Colvin, and Executive Member Paul Vickers. Spoelstra was elected to a third one-year term as

Vice President. Colvin replaces outgoing Vice President Mark Reusser, moving into the position after serving one year as Executive Member, and Vickers is new to the OFA executive. The elections were held at a board meeting following the annual general meeting that wrapped up in London earlier today.

“I’m humbled by the support from my fellow board members, and I’m honoured to work on behalf of Ontario’s farmers for another year as president of the Ontario Federation of

Agriculture,” Peggy says. “I’m proud of how we’ve built on our partnerships in the industry and with our stakeholders and I’m looking forward to continuing that work to ensure our sector remains strong, viable and productive.”

Peggy, a director-atlarge with the organization, was first elected as OFA president in 2020. She previously served as an OFA Vice President from 2014 to 2020, and represented the northern Ontario regions of Algoma, Cochrane, Dryden, Kenora, Manitoulin-North

Shore, Nipissing East & West, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury East & West, Temiskaming and Thunder Bay as Zone 15 director from 2011-2014. Together with her husband Gert, she ownsand operates Woodstar Farm, a 70-cow dairy farm in Murillo, and she is a graduate of Class 12 of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program.

Drew Spoelstra is OFA’s Zone 5 Director representing the diverse agricultural areas of Halton, HamiltonWentworth and Niagara on the OFA board since 2013. Before becoming Vice President in 2020, he served four years as Executive Member. The Spoelstra family owns and operates Roy-A-Lea Farms Ltd. in Binbrook, where they milk cows and grow corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. Drew also manages

Loss of Local Decision-Making: Bill 23 does not work for Eastern Ontario

With housing affordability affecting much of Ontario, we understand your government’s target to build 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years.

Conservation Authorities (CAs) have always supported long-term sustainable growth. In fact, our role is to ensure land-use decisions made today do not impede future growth tomorrow. We accomplish this by ensuring development has minimal impacts on flooding, erosion, slope stability and water quality by guiding development away from natural hazards and protecting the function of natural features. This can only be accomplished when evaluating growth and its cumulative impacts across a watershed, which is the value and service CAs provide to municipalities. Water flows across municipal boundaries and so do the impacts of development.

In Eastern Ontario, CAs have been working closely with municipalities to reduce barriers to development and streamline processes to provide the best service possible to municipalities, communities, homeowners, and developers. For many, this includes modernizing

policies and procedures, streamlining approvals, reducing timelines, meeting and reporting on service standards, and promoting pre-consultation with applicants. CAs are not a barrier to growth, but an assurance that growth is safe and sustainable, and we have been a source of cost-effective expertise for municipalities and developers for decades.

We are committed to doing our part to help increase Ontario’s housing supply, but it needs to be accomplished through smart, sustainable growth that will not have detrimental impacts down the road.

We are concerned that some changes proposed in the More Homes Built Faster Act will:

• ·Weaken the ability of conservation authorities to continue protecting people and property fromnatural hazards such as floods;

• ·Diminish our ability to protect critical natural infrastructure like wetlands which reduce flooding,droughts and improve water quality in lakes and rivers; and,

• ·Place new downloaded responsibilities on municipalities related to natural hazards and natural resources that they are unprepared and under resourced to tackle.


1. Municipalities should retain the choice to enter into agreements with conservation authoritiesfor natural heritage and water-related plan review services.

-Recent legislative amendments by this government now require agreements to include defined terms, timelines, and performance measures, and CAs have demonstrated that they can provide these comments to municipalities ina cost-effective and timely manner. CAs are also already prevented by these earlier amendments from commenting beyond natural hazards if they do not have an agreement with a municipality.

2. Development that is subject to pla n approval should not be exempt from requiring a conservation authority permit.

-The planning process is not sufficient to ensure natural hazard concerns areaddressed through appropriate design and construction. This change would also place additional responsibility and liability on municipalities.

3. Conservation authorities should determine which types of developments are deemed“low risk” through their regulations policies.

-CAs are already able to create exemptions and streamline review pro-

cesses that areappropriate locally, given watersheds have unique conditions.

4. Maintain “pollution” and “conservation of land” as considerations when conservationauthorities are reviewing permit applications but provide a clear definition of each to ensurea consistent approach on how it is applied.

-Streamlining these definitions will allow CAs to provide consistency to municipalitiesand developers and meet obligations under other pieces of legislation that requirewater quality-related comments from CAs.

5. Continue to protect wetlands to reduce flooding, provide flow augmentation.

-Wetlands are critical pieces of natural infrastructure and municipalities cannot affordto build the infrastructure it would take to replicate wetland function to protectupstream and downstream communities from flooding and drought.

6. Do not freeze fees to ensure growth pays for growth.

-Recent legislative amendments by this government now require CAs to demonstratethrough their budget process that development review fees are offsetting, but notexceeding, program costs.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our con-

Roy-A-Lea Seeds Ltd., a dealership for Pride and C&M seeds, and together with his wife Heather, raises and shows Clydesdale horses. He is a graduate of Class 13 of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program.

Crispin Colvin is a soybean, corn and wheat farmer from Middlesex County. He represents the counties of Lambton and Middlesex on the OFA board as Zone 6 director and first joined the OFA provincial board in 2016 as a director-at-large.

Colvin is a part of various OFA liaison commodity groups and spent 16 years on municipal council in his region, serving as councillor, deputy mayor, mayor for Thames Centre, and Warden of Middlesex County.

Paul Vickers, a dairy farmer from Griersville, represents the counties of

Bruce and Grey on the OFA board as the Zone 2 director.

After first joining the OFA board in 2019, he was just acclaimed to the director position for a second threeyear term.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmerled organization based in Guelph, the OFA represents and champions the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit

cerns and recommendations with you.

Our goal is to support you in creating more housing in Ontario while ensuring changes to Ontario’s land use planning and permitting system do not have unintended and irreversible consequences on the protection of people, property, and natural resources.

We sincerely hope that you will remove the amendments we have highlighted from Bill 23 before it is passed, and that you will reconvene your government’s Conservation Authorities Working Group to work with your Ministry to propose alternative improvements and refinements to conserva-

tion authority development review processes.

Sincerely, Martin Lang, Chair

Raisin Region Conservation Authority James Flieler, Chair Quinte Conservation Authority

Pierre Leroux, Chair

South Nation River Conservation Authority Jan O’Neill, Chair

Crowe Valley Conservation Authority

Pieter Leenhouts, Chair

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority Eric Sandford, Chair Lower Trent Conservation Authority

Jeff Atkinson, Chair Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority

The North Dundas Times The Voice of North Dundas 12 December 1, 2022
Dear Premier Ford, Minister Clark, Minister Smith, and Minister Piccini Peggy Brekveld