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Region of Durham launches new mobile-friendly website
December 14, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Don Beaton
WHITBY -- Don Beaton, commissioner of corporate services, spoke to guests at the launch of the new durham.ca website, for the Region of Durham.  The new website is mobile-friendly and resident-centric, and features accessibility improvements, news and emergency notifications as well as public meeting and event calendars.  December 13, 2017 - Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland

DURHAM - The Region of Durham's new website was launched on Dec. 14, after extensive community consultation and development.

The new durham.ca is mobile-friendly and resident-centric, featuring accessibility improvements, news and emergency notifications, as well as public meeting and event calendars.

A new eProcurement system - bids and tenders - launched as part of the project in early 2017.

“The development of the new durham.ca has been a transformative exercise for the Region of Durham.  Both staff and the community collaborated on developing a new, innovative website that will continue to provide service excellence for residents,” said Durham regional chair Roger Anderson.  “This much-needed investment in our website, one of our most important communications tools, will help us reach our goal of sharing information with the public in an open, transparent and timely way.”

The new website has several new features, including an interactive regional services map and A-to-Z listing, to assist residents in accessing information for both municipal and regional services; a subscribe function for news, notices and emergency alerts; event calendars; and a search bar.

In addition, the websites DurhamTourism.ca and InvestDurham.ca are now part of the new durham.ca.

More than 1,000 responses were received from the initial durham.ca website survey.  Additional focus groups took place and included participation from regional staff, councillors, mayors and members of the public.

Residents are encouraged to continue to share feedback on the new website by emailing youropinioncounts@durham.ca or by using the online feedback form.

Successful Emergency Preparedness Exercise Complete
Ontario Power Generation
December 08, 2017
(www.opg.com)

PICKERING, ON, Dec. 8, 2017 /CNW/ - Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and more than 30 partner organizations have successfully completed a large-scale, emergency preparedness exercise at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

Exercise Unified Control 2017
Ontario Power Generation - Exercise Unified Control 2017 (CNW Group/Ontario Power Generation Inc.)

During the two day exercise on December 6 and 7, OPG, Region of Durham, City of Toronto, City of Pickering, and other provincial and federal government agencies worked together, tested each organization's emergency response plans, and ensured all participants were able to work together to help safeguard the health and safety of the public in the extremely unlikely event of a nuclear emergency.

Safety is the top priority at OPG and at the core of its operations.  The company routinely leads and participates in emergency preparedness exercises to ensure it is ready to respond to any potential incident.  OPG's nuclear facilities are staffed with highly trained personnel, and feature multiple safety barriers, including rapid shutdown technology, airtight containment buildings, standby generators, emergency power generators and auxiliary generators.

In 2017, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) awarded OPG's Darlington and Pickering nuclear stations its highest safety ratings.

In the more than four decades that nuclear power has served Canada's energy needs, no member of the public has been harmed because of a radiation emission from a nuclear power plant.

Daily summary videos for ExUC are available: ExUC Day One, ExUC Day Two.

Quotes:

“Safety is a core value at OPG,” said Glenn Jager, OPG Nuclear President and Chief Nuclear Officer.  “This exercise clearly demonstrates that, in the unlikely case of a nuclear incident, we have a plan in place that will protect the health and safety of the public and the environment.”

“We appreciate the dedication of all partners, whose efforts contributed to a successful exercise,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer.  “ExUC provided Regional employees with an opportunity to work in co-operation with other participating organizations to test and evaluate the effectiveness of our emergency response plans.  As a next step, we have identified action items to help ensure that the Region is better positioned to respond in the unlikely event of a nuclear incident.”

“Being prepared to respond to emergencies helps ensure Ontario is as resilient as possible in order to keep our families and communities safe, said Ross Nichols, Ontario Fire Marshal and Chief, Emergency Management.  ”Exercises like Unified Control bring key emergency management partners together to test our plans and make sure we can work seamlessly together to effectively respond to critical incidents.“

SOURCE Ontario Power Generation Inc.

For further information: Ontario Power Generation, 416-592-4008 or 1-877-592-4008, Follow us @opg

New nursing clinic opens in Ajax
Keith Gilligan
December 6, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Central East LHIN Home and Community Care Nursing Clinic
AJAX -- (From left) Jennifer Inget, service co-ordinator, Cheryl Riley, nursing supervisor, Lynn Park, regional director, and Linda Nguyen, registered nurse, attended the opening of a Central East LHIN Home and Community Care Nursing Clinic in Ajax on Dec. 1.  The new clinic at 11 Harwood Ave.  South means that home care patients who require nursing services such as wound care and IV maintenance can now book appointments to come to the clinic at a time most convenient for them and design their care schedule to best suit their personal needs.  December 1, 2017.  - Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland

AJAX - A new nursing clinic in Ajax will allow patients to receive care closer to home.

The Ajax Home and Community Care Nursing Clinic will offer such services as wound care and IV maintenance.

Located at 11 Harwood Ave.  S., the clinic is open seven days a week, and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily.

Amorell Saunders N'Daw, vice-chairwoman of the Central East Local Health Integration Network, said the clinic opening and having the facility means “residents can get the services they need closer to home.”

Ajax-Pickering MPP Joe Dickson said, “Getting care in a clinic setting allows the patient to take a more proactive role in their health care.  They can arrange their own schedule to meet their own needs.”

Having a clinic means hospitals aren't being used, Dickson noted.

He said patients would recover quicker.  “It's a win-win situation.”

Ajax Mayor Steve Parish said, “Nothing is more important in the community than our health care.  It affects every one of us.”

While going to the hospital is “great, anything that helps is welcome,” Parish said.

There's pressure to reduce expenses and the clinic will allow people to “age in place and stay in their home.  It will keep them out of expensive facilities.”

Pickering church presents `A Charlie Brown Christmas'
Free shows, dinner at St. Paul's on-the-Hill
Mike Ruta
December 6, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Lucy and Linus
PICKERING -- Olivia Downes as Lucy and Merrick Baskie as Linus in 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'.  See the production at St.  Paul's on-the-Hill Anglican Church in Pickering on Dec. 16 and 17.  - Photo by Edward White

DURHAM - A Charlie Brown Christmas is a favourite TV program in the holiday season.

And for the second time in recent years, young people at a Pickering church will bring it to life on stage in a free production followed by a free dinner.

The fun and food is at St.  Paul's on-the-Hill Anglican Church, 882 Kingston Rd., on Dec. 16 at 5 p.m.

“It's quite an exciting time for them because they actually get to feel what it's like to be on stage,” says Jacquie James, co-director along with Catherine Amell and Dee James, of the young people in the cast.

Many were too young to know about the classic cartoon, so they had to watch it and see a DVD of the previous production to see how it translates from TV onto the stage.  The goal is to try and keep it as similar to the TV version as possible.  In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown is depressed by the commercialization of Christmas and seeks to find its true meaning.

James says about 30 south Durham children and youths ranging from junior kindergarten to Grade 12 are involved and have been rehearsing since late September.  She explains that a core group of six to eight performers returns each year.  Newcomers are given small roles until they prove themselves after two or three years, when they are ready to tackle the bigger parts.

“We try to get kids that come from all spectrums in life,” she says.  “Everybody gets a chance.”

James notes that her daughter and her husband, as teens, played Lucy and Charlie Brown.

The church's young people have put on a Christmas production for about two decades and James says the all-ages show is “open to everybody, all walks of life.”

“Our hope is that we can bring a little bit of joy to people that might not be able to afford going out,” she says.

Wonderful Holiday Season Wishes
December 2017
Wonderful Holiday Season Wishes
 
Retail Pages
December 2017

Wow, time flies! It was 20 years ago, December 1st, 1997, that I was first swore in as Councillor in the City of Pickering.  It has been, and continues to be, an honour to serve the good people of Pickering.  I have been reflecting on the years, and I thought I would share a few highlights.  

We have a wealth of great residents - youth to seniors (our youth at heart), the many faith, cultural, and community groups, seniors' organizations, the arts, sports groups, community advisory communities, and volunteers at the museum, women and other community supports - to note only a few.  I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you and seeing you in action.  I am not alone in appreciating the dedicated work of volunteers in the community.  

City of Pickering staff, from outside and inside workers up to the executive team and CAO, do an amazing job for residents.  They fight fires, repair and clear snow from roads, clean our parks, plan our communities, run programming in our libraries and recreation centres, and manage our meetings - to name just a few services.  Thank you staff for what you do at the City and Region to make our community a great place.  

On Council, I have had the pleasure of serving with two great Ward 3 Council colleagues: Councillor Rick Johnson who worked tirelessly for Ward 3 residents for over 20 years before his unfortunate passing and current Councillor Shaheen Butt who is a great people person and brings energy, and new ideas and approaches to the role of Councillor.   Both Mayor Wayne Arthurs and Mayor Dave Ryan have provided strong leadership and vision.  Rounding out councils have been a number of dedicated men and women, including present Councillors Ashe, McLean, Brenner, and Cumming.

On the ground I believe Pickering is developing into a better-rounded and complete community for residents to live, work, and play.  Transit including GO and Durham Transit has improved; sidewalks, bridges and roads have, and are, being upgraded; we are seeing a greater selection of restaurants and entertainment; increased investment in a range of housing options; and growth and attraction of businesses.  On the horizon is the new community of Seaton, the innovation and employment corridor along Highway 407, the exciting Durham Live project, and an arts centre.  Sure, there are, and will be challenges, but I think we are heading in a good direction, working together for a better community.   Send me your views and ideas at dpickles@pickering.ca.  

The city has many events for residents to enjoy the festive season.  And I have highlighted some below.  I, and my family, as well as other members of Council will be attending some of these festivities and we hope to see you there.  If you are able, please consider donating your time, food, or funds to those less fortunate this time of year.  

As my family celebrates Christmas, I wish you and your family the best of the season according to the faith and traditions of your family.  I also hope the New Year brings you special moments, joy, and prosperity.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

Joyful Night
Tuesday, December 5th
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Pickering City Hall Lobby

Canada150 Free Family Skating Party
Sunday, December 10th
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Pickering Recreation Centre Arena

Pickering Council Meeting
Monday, December 11th
7:00 pm
Council Chambers, Pickering City Hall

Mayor's Light Tour
Wednesday, December 13th
7:00 pm

Seniors' Holiday Party
Tuesday, December 19th
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Pickering Central Library

Tim Hortons Free Family Skate
Wednesday, December 27th & Friday, December 29th
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Centre Arena

Free Public Skating - Courtesy of Pickfair Family Dental
Thursday, December 28th
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Centre Arena

New Year's Eve Family Countdown
Sunday, December 31st
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex

Mayor's New Year's Day Levee
Monday, January 1st
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Pickering Civic Complex

For more information on the above events and a list of other City and community meetings and events, visit calendar.pickering.ca.

Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season
December 2017
Holiday Wishes
 
Pickering library collecting mittens and more to donate to Herizon House
November 22, 2017
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
Mitten Tree
PICKERING -- The Pickering Public Library is once again collecting mittens, scarves and hats to put on a tree in the library.  New this year, staff will collect personal care items.  The items will be donated to Herizon House women's shelter.  - submitted photo

PICKERING - Knitters, crocheters, sewers, makers and givers are invited to help bring comfort and warmth to families living at Herizon house this holiday season.

Inspired by the children's book The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen, the Pickering Public Library will have its own tree to display donated warm winter accessories and even some extras this holiday season.  All items collected will be donated to Herizon House, a shelter for abused women and their children.

“I think that it's just a great way to give back to the community.  and I think it's an easy way,” said children's librarian Sarah West.

She explained the story, The Mitten Tree is about an elderly woman whose children have grown up and moved out of the house.  She often sits by the window and watches the children play.

“She starts to notice that a lot of the children don't have mittens so they can't play in the snow,” West said.

So she knits the children mittens and hangs them on the tree by the bus stop for them to take.

“We transformed that into our mitten tree,” said West, who started the program four years ago.

So an evergreen will be decorated with mittens, hats, gloves, scarves and more inside the library.

“This year we've expanded it to accept toiletries,” said West.

Past years have been hugely successful, she said.

Amazon/Airport Matter
November 22, 2017

On the Amazon/airport matter I have seen some widely inaccurate information posted by others on some sites. Some have even inaccurately and inappropriately purported to state my position on certain matters.  I am not going to engage in the downward spiral of those “discussions”, an unfortunate drawback sometimes associated with this media.

I encourage residents to take the time to review the facts and correct information and not rely on some inappropriate and misleading comments out there on social media. Whether you support my positions, Council's positions, or simply want more information, you deserve to get the accurate record.

The actual video of the Council meeting and the approved Council minutes can be viewed.  On my website davidpickles.com you can view my fall 2017 eNewsletter in which I further elaborate on my position on the staff report and recommendations including reference to my Council approved 2014 motion on the proposed airport - requesting a business case, environmental assessment, and public consultation process before a decision is made on an airport.

The City also has posted information on their website (see the feature "News and Updates"); a further link is included to the Council minutes with the recorded vote on the Amazon/airport staff recommendations. To repeat, the vote was 5 to 2 in favour (Councillor Butt and myself voted against the recommendations).

As always, Pickering residents are welcome to email me with their views, for, against, or undecided on this, or any of the positions I support.

Lest We Forget
November 11, 2017
Lest We Forget
 
Retail Pages
November 2017

New Seaton Community Taking Shape

What is the Seaton Community?
The idea for Seaton was born in the early 1970s when the provincial government of the day proposed the development of a new community northeast of Toronto.  The new community (which came to be known as North Pickering) was to have 150,000 to 200,000 people and be built in conjunction with a new federal airport to the north.  However, for a variety of reasons the airport was not built at the time, and the Province reconsidered its plans for North Pickering.

Over the years, a number of different concepts for these lands have been proposed.  In 2006, a plan called the Central Pickering Development Plan was completed by the Province.  This Plan calls for the development of the urban community of Seaton having up to 70,000 people and 35,000 jobs on the east side of the West Duffins Creek.

Update on Seaton
Travelling along Taunton Road, you can see that over 100 homes are under construction on the south side of the road.  Residents will start moving in during the spring of 2019.  What you can't see is the trunk sanitary sewer pipes and water distribution pipes that are being installed deep underground throughout the Seaton lands.  You will notice periodic road closures to accommodate this servicing.

Water and sewer trunk mains are also being extended north to allow servicing of the Employment Lands.  The Employment Lands include over 800 acres that are located on either side of Hwy 407ETR.  Most of the lands are located in the Pickering Innovation Corridor neighbourhood.  The City is currently in discussions with a number of businesses who are interested in acquiring land in the Innovation Corridor to bring their businesses (and jobs) to Pickering.

A priority of mine, and of the City, has been the attraction and retention of businesses and jobs in Pickering.  Besides bringing needed jobs and opportunities to Pickering residents, businesses provide revenue to the City to support infrastructure, facilities, and delivery of services to residents.  Such revenue from business can help offset revenue that would otherwise come from property taxes from residents such as you and me.

Hwy 407/Whites Road Interchange
The Hwy 407ETR and Whites Road interchange is one of two new interchanges planned for in the Seaton community.  his interchange will provide safe, reliable and convenient access to the Seaton employment lands (Innovation Corridor).  The other interchange will be at Sideline 22.

The province, 407ETR, the Region of Durham, and the City of Pickering are working together on the construction of the Hwy 407ETR and Whites Road interchange, the construction of Whites Road from the interchange to Hwy 7, and a new intersection at Whites Road and Hwy 7.  Construction is currently underway and is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2018.  The Seaton Landowner Group is responsible for constructing the extension of Whites Road (generally along Sideline 26) from the south end of the new interchange to Taunton Road with a similar completion date.

Amazon HQ2/Pickering Airport
At the October Pickering Council meeting, Council considered an economic development department report on attracting Amazon and other major businesses to Pickering.  Amongst the staff recommendations was a recommendation to support an airport in North Pickering, subject to a federal aviation needs study and the applicable environment assessments.  The Amazon report, including the airport recommendations, passed at Council in a 5 to 2 vote with fellow Ward 3 Councillor Shaheen Butt and myself voting against it.

I support the attraction of business to Pickering, including possibly Amazon, to bring jobs and revenue to Pickering.  There are many cities pursuing Amazon and it would be great if we were successful but it is not the only possibility; there are also other businesses that we are working with to come to Pickering.

In 2014 I brought a motion at Pickering Council, which was adopted by Council, which requested a business case, an environmental assessment (EA), and a public consultation process be completed prior to any decision by the federal government on an airport.  Although the federal aviation study is under way, it has not been completed; as well, an EA and public consultation process has yet to begin.

It was with this in mind that I did not feel it was necessary to address the status of an airport in the Amazon report, nor to support the Amazon report airport recommendation.

The responses I have received from residents have been interesting.  Most residents support attracting Amazon and other businesses for the jobs and revenue to offset property tax increases.  On the airport itself, the residents' response has been quite curious.  Some are unhappy the recommendation passed but happy I voted against it, while others are unhappy that I did not support it, but pleased it passed.

Ultimately it is the federal government that will make the decision on an airport.  It is my view that all residents should have the benefit of all pertinent information available to them - the business case, the EA, results of public consultation, and any other available information - to assist them in taking an informed view before the federal government makes a final decision on whether or not to proceed with a Pickering airport.

Access to Council Agendas
Did you know you can view Council agendas on the City website and even subscribe to get email alerts of the posting of agendas? The public can view Council agendas on the City's public website calendar page when they are normally posted by the Friday prior to the Monday council meetings.  To receive notification of upcoming Council meetings, there is an electronic service that organizations and residents can subscribe to that will automatically send an email to the subscriber alerting that the agenda has been posted.  Visit pickering.ca/eNews to access this helpful City service.  While there, subscribe to receive other City news, alerts, and eNewsletters by email.

Connect With Me and the City
Thank you for taking the time to read this update - and I welcome your feedback and comments.  You can reach me by email at dpickles@pickering.ca.  I also invite you to connect with me on Facebook or through my website davidpickles.com.

And while I am always available to help, please keep in mind our Customer Care Centre who provide an important link between you, the Mayor, Members of Council, and City of Pickering municipal departments.  Their main priority is to ensure that you, the "customer," receive prompt attention and service regarding any municipal concerns you may have.  Reach the Customer Care Centre from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, by phone at 905.683.7575, or by email at customercare@pickering.ca.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

Pet Adoption & Licensing Day
Saturday, November 4th
9:30 am - 2:00 pm
Pickering Town Centre

Remembrance Day Ceremony
Sunday, November 11th
11:00 am
Pickering City Hall - Cenotaph

Pickering Council Meeting
Tuesday, November 13th
7:00 pm
Council Chambers, Pickering City Hall

Altona Forest Hike: Tree Bark & Buds
Saturday, November 18th
10:00 am - 12:00 p.m.
1883 Altona Road

Free Public Skating
Sunday, November 19th
2:30 pm - 4:15 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex - Arena

Retail Pages
October 2017

Although the summer seemed to breeze by, followed by a hot and humid early fall, I hope you and your families had a great summer and school break.  Before the snow starts to fly, take time to enjoy some of the fall traditions - the cooler days, the turning colours of the leaves, and the end of much of the road construction.

It has been a hectic year of construction including major work along Brock Road and Kingston Road.  It was nice in recent days to drive over the fresh smooth pavement and see fewer orange pylons at the intersection.  A few projects are still being completed and some will begin as early as the spring weather permits.  These projects provide safer roads, bridges and sidewalks for all - drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.  Thank you for your continued patience and think short term pain for long term gain!

I and my colleagues on City of Pickering and Region of Durham Councils will soon be ramping up work on the 2018 City and Region budgets  In considering projects and programs, we will be bearing in mind the many views that have been shared with us in our interactions with residents over the year as Ward 3 City Councillor Shaheen Butt and I distributed thousands of neighbourhood newsletters by personally going door-to-door - and more by Canada Post - and we hosted three residents' Meet and Greets.  It's not too late to speak up, so please contact us to share your views and priorities.

A priority of mine is to retain and grow existing businesses and attract new businesses to the City.  Businesses, big and small, create jobs, create choices and opportunities for residents, and provide revenues to the City that helps offset taxes that would otherwise come from you and I as residential property tax payers.  The lands on either side of Highway 407 in Pickering (Seaton) are designated as employment lands and a new Whites Road/Highway 407 interchange is currently under construction.  We are working with a number of businesses looking to locate here.  I look forward to good news soon.

Another significant project is the Durham Live project, an exciting proposed hotel, convention centre, casino, and entertainment complex to be located on the northwest intersection of Church Street and Bayly Street on vacant employment land in Pickering.  Since my motion to have Pickering be a willing host for a gaming facility was approved at City Council and the City approved the required zoning, the Ontario Municipal Board ruled in favour of Pickering's planning approval for Durham Live, which the Town of Ajax had contested and lost.  The Town of Ajax has now appealed this decision to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice's Divisional Court and the appeal will be heard later this year.  Such an appeal does not stay the Board's decision.  The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLGC) has granted a license to Canadian Gaming who will be finalizing their business plans with OLGC that we truly hope includes an exceptional development located in Pickering.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

Council Meeting
Tuesday, October 10th
7:00 pm
Council Chambers, Pickering City Hall

E-Waste Collection
Saturday, October 14th
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex, Arena Parking Lot

Party in the Park with Tom Thomson
Saturday, October 14th
4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Dr. Nelson F. Tomlinson Community Centre

High-Rise Fire Safety Seminar
Thursday, October 19th
Pickering Recreation Complex

33th Annual Durham Regional Police Children's Games
Saturday, October 28th
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex

Pickering council votes to bid for Amazon, tweaks stance on airport
Pickering wants Amazon's second headquarters within Seaton employment lands
October 11, 2017
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
Amazon new Toronto office
Employees enter a secure area in Amazon's new Toronto office, the first in Canada on June 20, 2017.  The City of Pickering believes its Seaton neighbourhood would be the best home for Amazon's second North American headquarters.  - Bernard Weil/Toronto Star

PICKERING -- Pickering council has stepped away from the past and taken a new stance in support of the development of an airport in Pickering, subject to the results of a study that's currently underway.

At the Oct. 10 meeting, council approved the City of Pickering's plans to bid as a candidate to host Amazon's second North American headquarters (HQ2).  Landing Amazon would attract 50,000 jobs to the area, and construction costs are expected to exceed $5 billion U.S.

Pickering feels the Pickering Innovation Corridor would be an ideal spot for HQ2.  It lies within the Seaton employment lands, and is designated for prestige employment uses.  Infrastructure Ontario officials have advised city staff that the Seaton employment lands will be included amongst other sites, as part of the GTA metropolitan area proposal to Amazon.  The city will work with the Region of Durham to provide all of the necessary information for the HQ2 proposal, which will be submitted in conjunction with Toronto Global, a team of experienced business advisors representing municipalities in the GTA.

Many different recommendation were approved by council regarding the bid, but one specific item had people speak up on the long-debated airport issue.

It read: “That the federal government be advised that the City of Pickering supports the development of an airport in Pickering, subject to the results identified in the Aviation Sector Analysis - Pickering Airport Study and the appropriate Environmental Assessments.”

The study is currently underway by KPMG, which the government is waiting to review before making a decision.

The city staff report identified a Pickering airport as having the potential to become a significant economic catalyst for attracting major commercial investment to the city, spurring additional infrastructure investments, and creating thousands of new jobs.

“Of course we need the infrastructure here to support a major company like that and hopefully other companies that would be interested in Durham Region, and to that I support an airport in our community,” said Pickering resident David Sim.

Despite asking for an accelerated decision on the matter last year, council has a long history of opposing an airport on the federal lands in Pickering, which were expropriated in the 1970s by the federal government for a potential airport in the future.

“I think tonight's efforts are coming too fast, too quick, with not enough analysis and fact finding,” said Pickering resident and former councillor Peter Rodrigues.

Land Over Landings has long opposed an airport and has a focus on using the lands for agriculture and tourism.  In fact, a study is currently underway to determine the economic opportunities that agriculture and tourism would bring.

The group's treasurer David Masters wondered why there is even talk of an airport in the Amazon report.  He noted Amazon wants an international airport within 45 minutes of HQ2.

“There is one,” he said.  “It's only 30 minutes away and it's a damn good airport.”

He noted there is no way an airport will be built by the time Amazon would set up shop if it chose Pickering.

“Do you think it's going to be built by 2019? It's taken 40 years to get here,” he said.

Durham Regional Chairman Roger Anderson confirmed his support for both the Amazon bid, and for an airport.

“Again the greatest economic development opportunity to the region of Durham to date is without question a Pickering airport,” he said.

Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles said he supports attracting industry to Pickering, but he felt the motion indicates that the city supports development of an airport in Pickering, and for that reason, did not support the recommendation.

Pickering resident Mike Borie felt the city should have done more to make people aware of the matter in advance of the meeting.

“I personally contacted 51 residents in my immediate area and only one resident was aware of any of the facts or changes being debated tonight and that one person was me,” he said.

Mayor Dave Ryan supports an airport in Pickering and believes Pearson International Airport is on its way to reaching capacity.  and that the KPMG study will indicate there is a business case for an airport.

“As of tonight, with this resolution, if it passes successfully, we can say `we believe there's a positive business case.  The federal government is bringing that report forward hopefully next year and the city is ready to embrace it,'” he said.

All but Coun. Pickles and Ward 3 City Councillor Shaheen Butt supported the recommendations.

Fall fun in Durham Region
Brandon Pickard
October 5, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Fall Leaves
The leaves are beginning to fall, the trees are ablaze with gorgeous colours, and our dreams of pumpkin spice and apple harvests are coming true.  Welcome to autumn in Durham Region! The harvest season brings a wealth of activities, events and attractions to the region, with fun around every corner.

The leaves are beginning to fall, the trees are ablaze with gorgeous colours, and our dreams of pumpkin spice and apple harvests are coming true.  Welcome to autumn in Durham Region! The harvest season brings a wealth of activities, events and attractions to the region, with fun around every corner.

There is no better way to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage than by taking a trip on York-Durham Heritage Railway's Fall Colours train rides.  Passengers enjoy the beauty of autumn, while travelling through the picturesque Oak Ridges Moraine.  Several trips are available throughout the month of October, in addition to special Halloween trips, where the whole family can enjoy entertainment and Halloween-themed activities aboard a specially decorated train.

Apples are on the menu at the annual Applefest in historic downtown Bowmanville on Oct. 14.  This popular annual street festival celebrates everything from our local apple growers and fresh apple treats, to unique handmade crafts and food products.  There are many activities for the kids to enjoy too! Carnival rides, jumping castles and more will delight the little ones, while adults can shop the many independent shops and restaurants in the downtown.  The event offers free parking and admission.

If you've never been to a Party in the Park, then the hamlet of Claremont is where you want to be on Oct. 14.  The City of Pickering and community partners are hosting a celebration of the art and life of Group of Seven painter Tom Thompson.  Join your fellow art lovers at the Dr.  Nelson F.  Tomlinson Community Centre for an evening of unique experiences, entertainment and dancing for the whole family.

Those looking for something spooky to do this month should head up to MacLeod Park in Cannington on Oct. 27 for the Cannington Haunted Trail and Maze.  The event offers a fun, frightening haunted Halloween experience for those who love a good scare!

Finally, looking ahead to November, the region welcomes the 2017/2018 Eastern Regional Quidditch Championship.  The championship games sweep into Oshawa's Civic Recreation Complex on Nov. 11 and 12.  Spectators and students are welcomed and encouraged to come out and check out the action of this up-and-coming sport.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun fall activities in the region.  Be sure to check out the Durham Tourism events calendar at www.durhamtourism.ca for details on the events above and more ideas to get out and explore Durham this harvest season.  Sign up for our e-newsletter, connect with us on Twitter at @DurhamTourism, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/durhamtourism.

Until next month - enjoy your time exploring beautiful Durham Region!

Durham school board asks province to fund new Oshawa high school, two new elementary schools
Pickering parents frustrated a school for their area didn't make the list
Jillian Follert
September 23, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Forest View Public School
OSHAWA - One of the newest schools in Durham Region is Forest View Public School which opened in 2016.  The Durham school board is looking to have three new schools built in Oshawa.  - Justin Greaves/Metroland file photo

DURHAM - New schools in Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax could be in the cards if the province approves a funding request from the Durham District School Board.

The board recently submitted a list of capital funding requests to the Ministry of Education for consideration.

The proposed projects would be required to open no later than the 2020-21 school year.

The list includes a new French immersion school at Williamson Road West and Winterton Way in Ajax, a new elementary school at Lazio Street and Samandria Avenue in Whitby, and a new high school at Bridle Road and Winchester Road in Oshawa.

“We review all our areas of new development where we have future school sites,” says Christine Nancekivell, senior manager of facilities services for the DDSB.

She says those three proposals represent areas with the “greatest enrolment pressure.”

Just because the DDSB has asked the province for funding, doesn't mean money will come through.

For example, this is the third time the board has asked for funds for a new high school in north Oshawa.

“Even though it's a high priority for us # there could be other school board submissions that are more urgent,” Nancekivell says, explaining that the province is weighing requests from every school board in the province.

Noticeably absent from the DDSB's list is a request to fund a new school for the Duffin Heights area in Pickering.

Frustrated parents and Pickering city councillors have been pressing the school board for years, saying a new school is desperately needed.

Students in that area currently attend Valley View P.S.  and Valley Farm P.S.

Parents say Valley View P.S.  is overcrowded - the school has a building capacity of 139 students, but currently has 332 enrolled.

“Having a neighbourhood school solves several challenges we face each day.  As taxpayers we feel deprived,” says concerned parent Ajith Sathyanarayana, whose nine year old attends Valley View P.S.

Sathyanarayana is concerned about the number of portables at the school, access to washrooms with such a large student population, the lack of a child care facility at the school and heavy school bus traffic in the neighbourhood.

Nancekivell said a new school in the Duffin Heights area can't be included in this round of submission, because the future school site won't be available to the DDSB until summer 2020, which doesn't leave enough time for a 2020-21 opening.

The site for the new school is currently a City of Pickering operations centre.

Pickering plans to have a new operations centre open by the summer of 2019, after which the future school property will need an environmental assessment, as well as site remediation and demolition.

A request for the new Pickering school is expected to be included in the next set of submissions to the ministry, for schools opening in 2021-22.

Pickering Regional Councillor David Pickles says he is talking to city staff to see if there is a way to hand the site over to the DDSB sooner.

“We've started construction of new (operations centre) site, we're hoping to move very quickly on that,” he said.  “What we don't want to do is have (the DDSB) hold it up based on any uncertainty # we don't want to be the roadblock.”

The DDSB's funding request for 2020-21 also includes a rebuild of Beaverton P.S.  to consolidate that school with Thorah Central P.S., as well as an addition for Pierre Elliott Trudeau P.S.  and the purchase of about 20 new air-conditioned portables.

Pickering's first mayor George Ashe honoured with renaming of local library
George Ashe served Durham residents for four decades in several capacities
Krisen Calis
September 20, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Kevin Ashe attending ceremony
PICKERING -- The City of Pickering officially re-named the Petticoat Creek Library and Community Centre to the George Ashe Library and Community Centre during a ceremony on Sept. 15. Kevin Ashe along with other members of the Ashe family shared a laugh with assembled guests during the ceremonial event. Sept. 15, 2017 - Ron Pietroniro / Metroland

PICKERING - Pickering's first mayor was given a special tribute Friday when a lively community space was fittingly renamed after him.

The former Petticoat Creek Library and Community Centre is now named after George Ashe, who lived from 1932 to 2014 and spent a good part of his life dedicated to public service.

Council voted to rename the facility the George Ashe Library and Community Centre at its last meeting before summer break, and the ribbon cutting and celebration took place just days after the first council meeting in September.

“This is overwhelming really,” said George's son and Ward 1 regional Coun. Kevin Ashe.

The facility serves kids and teens, seniors and more at the community centre, and of course provides the opportunity for people to learn at the library.

“It's fitting a library was named after my dad because he was an enthusiastic reader.  After public life dad always had a book in his hands, and they were real books,” Kevin said, joking that they were not ebooks, but the ones with pages and creases.

Mayor Dave Ryan spoke to George's large family, and special guests in attendance.

“It is truly important to memorialize and pay tribute to the contributions of individuals like George Ashe who have helped make this community great,” he said.

Ryan explained George had a long and distinguished political career in the earlier days of Pickering, when it was still a town.

“We had drive-ins and sprawling farm fields, and as the population began to grow, George became the dynamic leader of our political landscape,” he said.

Prior to moving to the GTA, the Ashe family lived in the Ottawa area, where George served on school boards, and was an Alderman for Nepean Township in the early 1960s.

Just two years after moving his family to Pickering, George was elected deputy reeve of Pickering in 1969 and became the first mayor in 1973, leading Pickering through its first term of town council.  He went on to provincial politics in 1977, when he was elected as the Progressive Conservative MPP for Durham West.  

George was re-elected in 1981 and 1985, and his roles at Queen's Park were numerous, but included serving as parliamentary assistant to three ministers before he was appointed as Minister of Revenue, Minister of Government Services, and Minister of Energy, and chair of the Management Board of Cabinet.

He concluded his public service as a Catholic school board trustee in Clarington.

“This is indeed a fitting honour, for a great man who played an instrumental role in Pickering's history,” said Mayor Ryan.

Kevin's moving speech about his father was well received by the crowd of family and friends, some of whom travelled far for the event, as well as current and former staff, and politicians.  All current Pickering councillors, former councillor and current Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O'Connell and former mayor and MPP Wayne Arthurs were among those in attendance.

Kevin also spoke highly of his mother, Margaret (Margo) Ashe.  He said public service and public life can be a burden for families, and said his mother was a big supporter of his father during his time in politics.

His mother not only campaigned for George, but for Kevin, too.

“She loved campaigning; dad hated it,” he laughed.

In 2013, George was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service.

On Aug. 3, 2014, George died after a lengthy struggle with Parkinson's disease.

Kevin said his family has become a strong supporter of Parkinson Canada, which provides services and education to people living with the disease, and supports researchers who are working to find a cure.

The Ashe family donated some of George's personal items to the Pickering Public Library for its archives, which includes photos, newspaper clippings and programs from both the inaugural council meetings for the Town of Pickering and the Region of Durham.

Region gets $15m for housing upgrades
Dave Flaherty
September 20, 2017
(oshawaexpress.ca)
Area MPPs
Area Liberal MPPs Tracy MacCharles, Joe Dickson and Granville Anderson recently announced $15 million in funding for Durham Region over the next five years for upgrades to social housing buildings.  (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

$15 million in provincial funding over the next five years for Durham's aging fleet of social housing apartment buildings is a good start, but John Connolly says it will take more, much more, to get where the region needs to be.

The influx of cash was jointly announced by Liberal MPPs Granville Anderson (Durham), Joe Dickson (Ajax-Pickering) and Tracy MacCharles (Pickering-Scarborough East) on Sept. 15 at regional headquarters in Whitby.

While Connolly, the region's director of social housing, says investments from upper levels of governments are always welcomed, more consistent and long-term funding is needed.

“Our needs are more#We need to look 10, 15 years down the road,” he noted.

Pickering regional councillor David Pickles, who was standing in at the announcement for regional chair and CEO Roger Anderson, echoed this sentiment, explaining the majority of Durham's social housing stock is aging, having been built mostly in the 1960s and 1970s.

Calling the funding announcement a “step in the right direction”, Pickles channelled an often used quote of Anderson's, stating “we have to do better.”

The provincial funding will be used for upgrades in social housing buildings such as energy efficient heating, improved insulation, and window replacements.  It will be funded by proceeds from Ontario's carbon market.

About $3.3 million of the overall funding will come over the next two years, with $11 million slated for Durham Region between 2019 and 2021.

While Connolly says most of the region's social housing projects are in “fair to good” condition, 69 per cent according to building condition assessments performed last year, millions of dollars in additional investments will be required in the future.

“We are looking at $220 to $240 million across the board.  These are well-used important assets.”

While the federal government is developing a national housing strategy for Canada, details on potential funding from the senior level of government for social housing projects have been scarce.

As reported previously in the Oshawa Express, the Durham Region Local Housing Corporation has identified $4.9 million of priority maintenance work over the next five years, including $560,000 of “immediate critical priorities”.

According to Connolly, “most of the capital requirements identified relate to normal capital replacements, and for older sites, added costs due to proposed remediation of designated substances (e.g.  asbestos) in conjunction with normal capital replacements (e.g.  roofing, windows, balconies, roadways, etc.).”

The $560,000 in `critical priorities' include conducting a comprehensive study of one site's foundation and water proofing system, replacement of attic insulation at one site, installing isolation backflow preventers for domestic water services and the repair and installation of minor items to address health and safety issues related to passenger elevators.

Ontario Making Major Investments in Social Housing Repairs and Retrofits in Durham Region
Province Modernizing Social Housing Infrastructure with Energy-Efficient Upgrades
September 15, 2017
Social Housing Investment Durham
 

NEWS

Ontario is providing new funding for repairs and retrofits to social housing in Durham Region, in order to improve living conditions and fight climate change.  This investment is part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province's carbon market.

Tracy MacCharles, MPP Pickering-Scarborough East, Joe Dickson, MPP Ajax-Pickering and Granville Anderson, MPP Durham, were at Durham Regional Headquarters in Whitby today to make the announcement.  Durham Region will receive up to $14,360,308 for repairs and retrofits to social housing apartment buildings over five years, contingent on carbon market proceeds.

The investment will help improve the lives of low-income and vulnerable tenants in the Region of Durham with upgrades to social housing buildings such as new energy efficient heating, improved insulation, and window replacements.

Proceeds from Ontario's carbon market must by law be invested into programs that help households and businesses reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on energy costs.  Programs include home energy retrofits, public transit, social housing retrofits, and electric vehicle incentives and infrastructure.

Ensuring everyone in Ontario has a safe and affordable place to call home is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

QUOTES

“Repairs and retrofits to social housing are essential in order to provide comfortable and efficient homes in our community of Durham Region.   This major contribution funded by the province's carbon market, will ensure residents have access to energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly homes that will reduce our carbon footprint.”
- Tracy MacCharles, MPP Pickering-Scarborough East

“This investment is critical to the improvement of the lives of my Ajax and Pickering, as well as Durham low-income and vulnerable constituents.   Energy efficient upgrades will modernize social housing, thanks to the carbon market proceeds.”
- Joe Dickson, MPP Ajax-Pickering

“Social housing is hugely important for the Durham Region, as it provides some of our most vulnerable with safe places to call home.   This significant investment-made possible by proceeds from the Climate Change Action Plan-will help us to upgrade these important buildings, thus supporting energy efficiency and improving living conditions for our constituents.”
- Granville Anderson, MPP Durham

“We are pleased to receive this provincial investment.   These funds are an important step forward to help improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable in our community.   We will continue to work with all levels of government to ensure that our residents have access to safe and affordable housing for years to come.”
- Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer

QUICK FACTS

  • The province will invest up to $657 million for repairs and retrofits to social housing apartment buildings across the province over five years, contingent on carbon market proceeds.
  • Ontario is investing more than $2 billion over the next three years in affordable and sustainable housing across the province, including millions more for repairs and retrofits to social housing buildings.
  • Under the Green Investment Fund, Ontario has already invested $82 million on energy retrofits for high-rise social housing towers of 150 units or more.
  • Ontario's five-year investment of carbon market proceeds to social housing repairs and retrofits in Durham Region includes contributions of $3,319,502 in 2017-18, and $11,040,806 between 2018-19 and 2020-21.
  • The Climate Change Action Plan and carbon market form the backbone of Ontario's strategy to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 80 per cent by 2050, while investing in programs that help Ontario families and businesses save money and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

LEARN MORE

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan

Ontario's Green Investment Fund

Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan

Durham chair Anderson talks potential airport, projects planned for Pickering
Kristen Calis
September 12, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Roger Anderson
Durham Regional Chair Roger Anderson.  Sept. 2017 - Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland

PICKERING - Regional Chair Roger Anderson believes the greatest economic development opportunity available to Durham is an airport in Pickering.

During his annual address to Pickering council on Sept. 11, he said if the federal government was to go forward with an airport, it “would have businesses snapping up the 800 acres of employment lands along Highway 407 and creating the jobs in Seaton.”

The federal government has yet to make a decision on the land designated for a possible airport, which was expropriated in the early 1970s.

Anderson also spoke of the region's progress in the past year in several areas, including increasing its accountability and transparency through adjusting council composition to better reflect population patterns, and creating an age-friendly strategy for Durham.

In Pickering, in particular, in 2016 the region invested in road expansion at five locations, much of which was on Brock Road.  The section from south of Rossland Road to the CP Rail bridge is a $15.2-million project.  The section from Bayly Street to Highway 401, in conjunction with the province's work on the 401 overpass, was a $3.7 million investment.

The other key road works in 2016 at Liverpool, Whites and Brock roads widened Highway 2 for bus rapid transit.  He said this work, valued at $25 million will wind up in 2017.

Mayor Ryan said in reference to road work, the city is becoming concerned with the amount of time it's taking for projects to be completed.

For example, Concession Road 3 between Brock Road and Church Street has been closed for three years.

“It's totally unacceptable on behalf of our residents,” he said, adding it has a direct impact on residents and businesses on main arteries.

Anderson was asked if it's an issue all municipalities are facing.

Ajax, Pickering benefit from environmental funding from province
Altona Forest and shores of Lake Ontario get a boost from Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund
Kristen Calis
September 7, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Larry Noonan and Chantal Whitaker
PICKERING -- Larry Noonan, co-chair of the Altona Forest Stewardship Committee, with Chantal Whitaker, coordinator of sustainability for the City of Pickering.  Pickering is embarking on a project with several partners to enhance the tree canopy of Altona Forest.  September 1, 2017 - Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland

PICKERING - Some Ajax and Pickering environmental features are flourishing thanks to recent funding from the provincial government.

The City of Pickering has received $5,470 from the Province of Ontario through the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, which will be used for habitat enhancements on city-owned land that buffers Altona Forest.  The 2,241 square-metre site is located at the south end of Altona Forest adjacent to Autumn Crescent and surrounds a stormwater management pond.  

Partnerships with local organizations and schools, as well as successful funding applications, keep the 53-hectare park in the middle of Pickering healthy.

“It's a gem in our urban environment,” said Pickering sustainability co-ordinator Chantal Whitaker of the forest.

The project, which is being done in partnership with the Altona Forest stewardship committee, the Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) and St.  Elizabeth Seton Catholic School, will enhance the tree canopy in that small area buffering the forest.  A total of 150 trees, including white oak, silver maple, spruce and willows, and fruit berry shrubs will be planted in recognition of Ontario and Canada's 150th anniversary.  Eight habitat boxes for a variety of song birds, bats, and owls will be installed, as well as an educational interpretive sign.

“Without the government's money we would pretty well be stopped at the things we could do,” said Larry Noonan, chair of the stewardship committee.

He noted many partnerships also help maintain the forest, which provides essential habitat for a large number of plants and animals which include, foxes, coyotes, hawks and rare amphibians, migratory birds and song birds.

“It's a haven for birds in here,” said Noonan.  “It's beautiful.”

The city, the TRCA, TD Friends of the Environment and local schools often help out either with finances or through volunteering.

Noonan says it's important that young people get involved in their local environment, and Altona Forest being near several schools gives them that opportunity.

“If you give them a hand in saving, cleaning or creating a new area, you give them a sense of ownership,” he said.  “It spreads out like a wave in a pond (from) throwing a stone.”

This work compliments another community enhancement project that is taking place just further north through the city's Celebrating Sustainable Neighbourhoods program, which is being spearheaded by the Altona Forest stewardship committee, after it won up to $10,000 from the city for the project.

This project includes planting seven native trees, and installing an access walkway, a bench, a butterfly garden and lighting.

“This fall both of these areas will be complete, which will be an incredible enhancement to the forest,” said Whitaker.

Also from the Great Lakes Guardian fund, $25,000 went to A Greener Future, which is undertaking a larger-scale cleanup of the north shores of Lake Ontario and getting local residents involved and educating them on the impacts of litter found.

Litter cleanup events took place this spring and summer in 100 locations along Lake Ontario from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Kingston.  Locations in Durham included Rotary Park, Pickering Beach Park, Lions Point Park and Ajax Waterfront Lakeside Park in Ajax, two parks in Oshawa, three in Whitby and three in Pickering.  Some of the interesting items found in Durham include heart monitor patches, a measuring scoop, a pill box, a flip phone and a bag of garbage from the 1960s or 1970s.

“I would like to acknowledge this year's Great Lakes guardians who are working hard to protect our community's water quality, wetlands and beaches.  These local projects, in particular in my riding of Ajax and Pickering, are restoring and enhancing our corner of the Great Lakes to keep them drinkable, swimmable and fishable for everyone to enjoy,” said Ajax-Pickering MPP Joe Dickson.

The Love Your Lake project will continue next year, and A Greener Future is looking for volunteers from local organizations and schools, for example, for next year's cleanups.

“It's important for people to know that picking up litter, it might not seem like something that's important, but in the long run it's so important because it's about our health and our safety.  We find a lot of syringes and toxic stuff.  We want to make sure we're keeping our soil and water healthy,” said executive director and founder Rochelle Archibald.

The group also hosts the Butt Blitz, an event that aims to remove as much cigarette butt litter as possible from the environment across Canada.

“I think getting people out in their communities to help is kind of like the first step.  It's not even a hard thing to do.  It's simple.  After you do a cleanup, you feel really good about yourself.”

To get involved in the next Love Your Lake cleanup kicking off in May 2018, is to visit www.agreenerfuture.ca and sign up for the newsletter.

Pickering adopts 'Please Slow Down' campaign
September 6, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - The City of Pickering is adopting a 'Please Slow Down' campaign, which encourages drivers to do just that in local neighbourhoods.

The campaign allows residents to place a lawn sign on their property annually from April 1 to Nov. 30.

The executive committee approved the program Sept 5.

Ward 1 city Coun. Maurice Brenner brought forward a motion that the city investigate the possibility last spring.

Pickering staff found similar campaigns in Toronto and Mississauga have received a positive response from residents.

Staff has budgeted $5,000 in order to purchase up to 1,500 signs.  It will be included in the 2018 budget.

The signs will be provided at the request of a resident.  Pickering will promote how to get the signs closer to the launch date.

Information Summary on Rouge National Urban Park
September 9, 2017

As many of you know I brought forward a motion at Pickering Council requesting the federal government consider adding two parcels of federal airports lands to the Rouge National Urban Park.  These lands about 900 acres would have provided great links to adjacent communities of Claremont and Seaton and protected significant environments.  I worked with the Green Durham Association on the motion and request.  Unfortunately, the motion was not approved by Council.  A number of residents have asked for more information.

I have provided maps, the motion and draft Council minutes, and a NewsAdvertiser article for your information.

Back to School
August 27, 2017
Back To School
 
Retail Pages
August 2017

We are at the mid-point of summer.  Although it's been a bit wet, I hope everyone has had some time - or will soon - to take a vacation and spend some time outdoors and with their family.  Winter comes too soon.  I have noted below some upcoming events and more are noted on the City of Pickering website (calendar.pickering.ca).

Although Region of Durham and Pickering Councils have fewer regular meetings, the business of the City and working for residents continues for us through the summer.  I, often with Ward 3 City Councillor Shaheen Butt, have taken the opportunity to visit many of our neighbourhoods and hamlets, to travel many of our roads, and to tour many of our parks and other facilities.  This helps us to prioritize the needs of residents, identify future initiatives, and prepare for budgets.  We have enjoyed reaching out to, and hearing from, residents through knocking on doors, paper and electronic newsletters, and neighbourhood meet and greets.

What am I seeing and hearing? First, like many of us, residents are looking for the right balance between property taxes and municipal facilities and services.  We all want good roads and sidewalks and clean and enjoyable recreation centres, libraries, and parks.  Most residents have ideas on improvements but also don't want a jump in taxes.  The most common comments I have received are the need for speed and parking enforcement, completing sidewalks along main roads, keeping parks safe and clean, and improving road conditions - including the completion of the many road projects underway.  In fact, most residents have suggested a road or two that could use some work!

I walked and biked a couple of the tours and it was an eye opener.  For example, biking along Brock Road from Rossland Road to Bayly Street rather than driving gives a better appreciation for the distances involved as well as the small, but important, things like fixing pot holes and cracks on roads and sidewalks, clearing of dirt and debris, mowing boulevards, collecting litter, and regularly placing benches and garbage cans along routes.  Likewise, walking through parks such as Pinegrove and Woodsmere Parks identified clean up and maintenance needs which, unfortunately, are often a result of littering or vandalism.

I am also always amazed that many of the residents I encounter I know from their involvement in the community including seniors organizations, community cultural and recreational groups, local businesses (more about businesses in a future article), and through their volunteering in the community.  Most agree that Pickering is a good community to live and raise a family.

I appreciate hearing from residents and benefiting from your support in realizing the opportunities and addressing the matters of concern to Pickering residents.   From me and my family to you and your family, have a safe and enjoyable rest of summer!

Upcoming Meetings/Events

City Centre Farmers' Market
Tuesdays until October 3rd
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Civic Complex Parking Lot (The Esplanade South)

Tom Thomson: His Life and Art Exhibit
June 1st - September 3rd
Pickering Museum Village

Movies in the Park
Wednesday August 16th & Wednesday August 30th
Esplanade Park

Summer Concert Series
Thursdays at 7:00 pm
Sundays at 2:00 pm
Esplanade Park Gazebo

Tim Hortons Free Swim
Tuesdays, August 8th/15th/22nd
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Dunbarton Pool

Pickering Food Truck Festival
Friday, August 11th - Sunday, August 13th
Esplanade Park

Dish Up Dinner
Thursday, August 24th
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
East Shore Community Centre

PARA Waterfront Festival
Saturday, August 26th
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Millennium Square

For more information on the above events and a list of all City and community events, visit calendar.pickering.ca.

Have a Safe Summer
July 25, 2017
Safe Summer
 
Free programs offered for teens in Ajax, Pickering
Keith Gilligan
July 18, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM - Three free programs are being offered for teens in August.

The Carea Community Health Centre is offering the programs for youths aged 13 to 19 years.

The Community Leadership Crew provides participants the chance to get leadership experience and training.  Also, those taking part can earn community volunteer hours.

The program involves two days of training followed by a community event where participants can put their new skills to the test.  Leadership training dates are Aug. 8 and 10 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Ajax site, 360 Bayly St.  W., Unit 5.

A Spa Spectacular is set for Aug. 3 for young women aged 13 to 19.  There are activities available, including home spa treatments, crafts, and a chance to learn various stress management and relaxation techniques.

It runs from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Ajax site.

For those looking to cook up some culinary experience, Dish Up Dinner has three sessions where those taking part get hands-on practice.  Each day has new, healthy, and delicious recipes while participants learn to make and plan meals at home.

Sessions are on Aug. 22, 23, and 24 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. a the East Shore Community Centre, 910 Liverpool Rd. S., Pickering.

While the programs are free, prior registration is required and can be done by calling 905-428-1212.  Space is limited.

Durham Regional Transit
New Route 603
Pickering-Uxbridge
July 12, 2017
New Route 603 Map
Click image to view full size PDF 
Retail Pages
July 2017

Greetings!

Well, summer is finally officially here, although a wet one so far! I hope you, your family and friends, have the opportunity to participate in some of the many City and community events happening this summer, some of which are noted below.

Grande Esplanade | Creating a Sense of Place in our City Centre

Pickering's City Centre will be undergoing an exciting and bold transformation.  We hope to see the development of a new arts centre, senior/youths centre, an expansion to City Hall and the Central Library, along with high-rise residential.  These dynamic new elements would be connected on a human scale via the Grande Esplanade - a pedestrian and bike friendly thoroughfare where residents and visitors can meet, gather, and experience.

At this time, we are doing preliminary work to develop the framework for the Request for Proposal which will ultimately define the vision.  The City will be partnering with the development community to bring the Grande Esplanade project to life, and hopes to have plans finalized by late 2018 with construction starting in early 2019.  Check out our website for more information about `Creating a Sense of Place in our City Centre'.  

Skateboard Park Strategy

Pickering is preparing a Skateboard Park Strategy in association with the ongoing Recreation and Parks Master Plan process, to guide the planning and development of skateboard facilities city-wide.

City staff have recognized the current need for additional skateboard facilities within south Pickering as well as the future need within the Seaton community.  The Skateboard Park Strategy will provide direction on the number, location, size and style of skateboard parks needed to adequately service our community.  The strategy will be a Council approved, long term action plan that will guide the future direction of the City's skateboard facilities.  In order to develop this plan, a number of important factors will be considered including demographic data, recreation trends, inventory of existing and proposed parkland and their suitability for skateboard facilities, municipal best practices, and resident/user/staff input.  

The Skateboard Park Strategy is scheduled to be completed by Fall 2017.   Project information, updates, documents and opportunities for participation can be found at pickering.ca/recreationandparks.

Support the Mayors' Monarch Pledge

Pollinators such as butterflies, birds, bats, and bees play a vital role in maintaining a healthy environment and sustainable food system.  Unfortunately, many of these species are under threat, including the iconic Monarch butterfly, whose population has decreased by 90% in the last 20 years.

As part of our Sustainable Pickering program and Mayors' Monarch Pledge commitments, the City is undertaking many actions to address these issues, including working with partners to install large pollinator friendly gardens.  These gardens are certified by Monarch Watch, and are called Waystations, meaning they provide the necessary habitat to support the species in each of their life stages, from nectar plants to feed on, to host plants to lay eggs on.

But these actions alone are not enough and we're calling on you to help! When planning your own garden, please include pollinator friendly native plants.  Not sure what to plant? We have a list of beautiful plants, their bloom times, and pictures on our website, along with other interesting ways you can help pollinators.  Visit the `Take Action' section of our website at pickering.ca/sustainable to find out more.

Tom Thomson: His Life and Art

Many people associate artist Tom Thomson with the origins of The Group of Seven, and places such as Owen Sound, Georgian Bay, Algonquin Park and Toronto.  But did you know that he was born right here in Claremont, Pickering Township in 1877?

This exhibit will commemorate the 140th anniversary of Tom Thomson's birth in Pickering and the 100th anniversary of his death, including an exploration of the Thomson family, the life and work of Tom Thomson and his mysterious death in 1917.  Exhibit will run June 1 to September 3, 2017.  Admission is included in the entrance fee to the Museum.  For more information, contact Ellen Tayles at 905.420.4660 ext.  3717.

Local Hockey Player, Drake Caggiula, to be honoured with Jersey Ceremony

On July 23rd, Ajax/Pickering Raiders and Pickering Hockey Association will partner with the City of Pickering to recognize the achievements of Pickering's own Drake Caggiula of the Edmonton Oilers.  This is the third ceremony recognizing Pickering residents who have grown through community sport to become members of the National Hockey League.  Drake's Edmonton Oilers jersey will join those of Glenn Healy (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Andy Andreoff (Los Angeles Kings).

Special guests at the event will include Glenn Healey, Andy Andreoff and members of City Council.   Residents are invited to attend the celebration on Sunday, July 23, 2017 at 7:00 pm in the Delaney Rink at the Pickering Recreation Complex, 1867 Valley Farm Road, Pickering.  Autographs will be available after the ceremony!

Upcoming Meetings/Events

City Centre Farmers' Market
Tuesdays until October 3rd
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Civic Complex Parking Lot (The Esplanade South)

Tom Thomson: His Life and Art Exhibit
June 1st - September 3rd
Pickering Museum Village

Pickering Celebrates Canada 150!
July 1, 2017
Canada 150 Celebrations
Click Image for Complete Poster 
Happy Canada 150!
July 1, 2017
Happy Canada 150!
 
Pickering to rename facility after first mayor George Ashe
Kristen Calis
June 24, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - The City of Pickering will rename the Petticoat Creek Library and Community Centre after its first mayor.

Council voted to rename the facility the George Ashe Library and Community Centre at its last meeting before summer break.

Ashe served the community for more than 40 years, and he and his wife were longtime Pickering residents.

“It's quite an honour,” said his son and current Ward 1 regional Coun. Kevin Ashe.  “My three siblings are thrilled by the city's gesture.”

The project is part of an effort to honour Pickering's history in the spirit of Canada's 150th birthday.

“Clearly, his steadfast commitment and leadership to this community is deserving of permanent recognition through the renaming of this community facility that serves to bring people together in learning and life,” said the staff report.

George was elected `deputy reeve' of Pickering in 1969 and became the first mayor from 1973 to 1977, leading Pickering through its first term of town council.

He was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1977, representing the riding of Durham West, and was re-elected in 1981 and 1985.  He served in many capacities, including as parliamentary assistant to each of the minister of revenue, the minister of government services, and the minister of energy.

George was instrumental in securing government funding for the construction of the Pickering Recreation Complex in 1983.

After leaving legislative government, he was elected as a separate school trustee in Clarington.

George continued to serve the public in many capacities over the years, and in 2013, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service.

Coun. Ashe didn't know the renaming plans were underway, and was pleasantly surprised when Ward 3 regional Coun. David Pickles and Pickering chief administrative officer Tony Prevedel approached him about the idea.

“It's in my ward, too, which is nice because I pass by it all the time,” said Coun. Ashe.

George was a strong advocate for literacy.

“Being in politics, you always read, but not always for pleasure,” said Coun. Ashe.  “But, he always enjoyed a book.  Similar to me.  I don't really read fiction.  I read biographies, non-fiction and political books, and dad did the same thing.”

George died on Aug. 3, 2014, after a lengthy struggle with Parkinson's disease.  When his son cleared his dad's items out of the residence, he noticed an awful lot of books.

Plans for the renaming are underway and the date for the official ceremony is still to come.

Council approves $28.8 million for Pickering operations centre
June 22, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - The City of Pickering is about to take on its most expensive capital project in 31 years.

Council approved the project costs, and the tender, for a new operations centre at the final council meeting before summer break.

With a plan to achieve full occupancy of the new operations centre in advance of the 2019-2020 winter season, this construction project is scheduled to start by this July.

The tender was awarded to Aquicon Construction Company Ltd.  in the amount of $26.9 million, including HST.

Before HST, the project is $28.8 million and after the HST rebate, it will be $25.9 million.

The existing operations centre on Tillings Road in Pickering was constructed in the early 1970s and occupies around 10 acres.  A staff report says the facility is at the end of its economic life and is unable to meet the operational needs of the public works department.

The new operations centre will be located on Clements Road, east of Squires Beach Road in Pickering.  The roughly 25-acre site was purchased by the city in 2012.  It will be supplemented by a future northern satellite facility, and the timing and location for this building will be determined based on the actual growth of Seaton.

The new facility was designed to accommodate the public works department's current and future operational needs, which includes the maintenance of new roads, sidewalks, parks, and property associated with the planned growth of the city.

There is no taxpayer-funded debt for the project, with $16 million coming from the operations centre reserve fund and $9.9 million being financed through debenture financing, which will be paid back from future development charges.  Just $1,660 will be funded from property taxes.

Greenwood residents experience well water problems coinciding with expansion of 407
Kristen Calis
June 21, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Ed Tait
PICKERING - Ed Tait is one of a number of residents in Greenwood who have experienced problems with their well, which they believe is a result of the construction of Hwy.  407.  June 9, 2017 - Jason Liebregts / Metroland

PICKERING - It was during the extension of Highway 407 from Brock Road in Pickering to Oshawa that Greenwood resident Ed Tait started noticing problems with the quality of his well water.

“We had an increased amount of silt our filter system had to put up with,” he said.

He is part of a group of residents that wants some answers to their well problems, which they say only became an issue since the extension of Highway 407 began.

“They really haven't been that forthcoming,” he said of the Ministry of Transportation and the 407 proponent.

A motion recently passed by Pickering council noted the residents' concerns, and said the ministry and the 407 proponent (identified as 407 East Construction General Partnership - 407ECGP - by the ministry) and their consultants undertook water and well monitoring studies and found the construction did not impact local wells.

But, the motion notes the ministry and 407ECGP have declined requests by both the residents and councillors to meet with local residents, present their findings and answer questions - and council is asking them to do so.

“It doesn't really benefit residents if they don't hear all questions and answers,” said Ward 3 Regional Coun. David Pickles, who brought the motion forward.

Tait first became aware of others dealing with similar problems when he met a neighbour for the first time, and that person mentioned their well “had gone off.”

“They experienced a lot of problems with iron buildup, and funnily enough, we had the same experience,” said Tait.

Tait said a lot of people have been put out-of-pocket dealing with their well problems.  For example, he went from changing his water filter every two months to once a week in the time that Highway 407 was being constructed.

lthough he originally told the ministry in a complaint that six other households were affected, he and another concerned resident later put up notices at local mailbox announcement boards, asking people to get in touch with them if they had problems with their wells.

“We got quite a few responses.  We got something like 14 to 16 responses,” Tait said.

Most people suffered discoloration and stains in sinks and toilets, and toilet tanks had a lot of iron bacterial growth.

Ministry spokesperson Bob Nichols said 407ECGP undertook an investigation of the claim after receiving the complaint.

“A report was prepared with the findings of the investigation, and these were provided to the resident, City of Pickering staff and Coun. Pickles,” he said.

He said 407ECGP reviewed well monitoring data collected in or around Greenwood.

“None of the data from sample wells showed influence of contamination as a result of the construction dewatering activities for Phase 1 of the Highway 407 East project,” he said.

Nichols also said a groundwater monitoring and sampling program was conducted by the ministry pre-construction only, as well as by the 407ECGP just prior to and during the construction of Phase 1 of the Highway 407 East project.

He explained private wells in the monitoring program were identified during the environmental assessment, but Greenwood was outside the area of influence.

“On completion of Phase 1 of the Highway 407 East project, residents identified in the EA and who participated in the program during construction were asked if they wanted to continue to have their wells monitored during the post-construction phase,” he said.  “Well monitoring is continuing for all residents who want it.”

Greenwood resident Lou Mussari, also affected by high iron levels, said in an email his well water was tested - but only once, on Aug. 5, 2014.

“(The) 407 commissioned a firm to get water samples before construction began, and came to our home before, but never came back during or after construction to get another water sample,” he said.

Nichols said all wells previously sampled will be resampled as part of the post-construction groundwater monitoring program, which began in January and is expected to last two years.

Mussari's costs related to his well problems, for upgrades and replacements to his water filtration system, totalled more than $2,790.

Mussari also questions why an independent firm did not investigate the well water complaints.

Tait said his well problems have mostly cleared up, but noted others remain in a tough spot, and a group still wants to meet with the ministry and 407ECGP.  If the well problems weren't a result of the construction of Highway 407, Tait questions what other road construction has caused them.

Nichols said, “When appropriate, the MTO and/or 407EDG will continue to provide information and support.”

Pickering residents invited to give input on skate park strategy
June 20, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - Pickering is preparing a skateboard park strategy to guide the planning and development of skateboard facilities city-wide, and the public is invited to provide input.

City staff have recognized the current need for additional skateboard facilities within south Pickering, as well as the future need within the Seaton community.  The strategy will provide direction on the number, location, size and style of skate parks needed to adequately service the community.

Factors to be considered include: demographic data; recreation trends; inventory of existing and proposed parkland and their suitability for skateboard facilities; and resident, user and staff input.

The public can drop in to the public open house on Tuesday, June 27 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the West Salon of the Pickering Recreation Complex.  A skate park design workshop will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. They can also submit written comments at any municipal facility or email them to communityservices@pickering.ca.

The strategy is scheduled to be completed by fall 2017.  Project information, updates, documents and opportunities for participation can be found at www.pickering.ca/recreationandparks.

Pickering raises more than $13,000 toward permanent animal shelter
Kristen Calis
June 20, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - Pickering is $13,000 closer to a new permanent animal shelter, thanks to money raised during Responsible Pet Ownership month activities in May.

“The current shelter is leased and is not purpose built,” said Lindsey Narraway, supervisor of Pickering Animal Services.  “As Pickering continues to grow, so will the needs of our pets, and we want to ensure that we are prepared for when that time comes.”

With the help of local partners, Pickering Animal Services hosted rabies and microchip clinics as part of the month's events.  This year, 142 animals were vaccinated against rabies, and 46 additional animals were microchipped.

The city also hosted the 6th annual Petapolooza Pet Trade Show.  More than 700 people attended and more than $3,500 was raised.

Also, a pet adoption day at the Pickering Town Centre resulted in 14 animals being adopted through Pickering and Oshawa Animal Services.

Pickering Animal Services accepts donations all year round and it can be done online by visiting www.pickering.ca/animals.

For more information on Pickering Animal Services or events, email Narraway at lnarraway@pickering.ca.

Happy Father's Day
June 18, 2017
Happy Fathers Day
 
Pickering council says no to banning election signs on regional roads
June 13, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Councillor David Pickles
Ward 3 regional Coun. David Pickles brought forward a motion at the June 12 meeting, asking the Region of Durham to implement a bylaw to ban municipal election signs from regional property in Pickering, including roads and boulevards, for the 2018 municipal election.

PICKERING - Council did not support a motion to ban election signs on regional roads in Pickering at its final meeting of the year.

Ward 3 regional Coun. David Pickles brought forward a motion at the June 12 meeting, asking the Region of Durham to implement a bylaw to ban municipal election signs from regional property in Pickering, including roads and boulevards, for the 2018 municipal election.

Coun. Pickles' motion stated signs on public road boulevards can block the line of vision, impeding traffic and pedestrians.  It also said signs include iron bars, wooden sticks, and wire that can create safety concerns, and that signs are viewed as aesthetically unpleasing as they are often vandalized and grouped in large numbers for long periods of times at intersections.

Former Pickering Coun. Peter Rodrigues was against the motion, arguing it's unfair for new candidates looking to gain recognition.

“This motion strongly aids the current councillors in gaining re-election,” he said.

Coun. Pickles said signs don't win elections, adding he won when he ran for the first time with fewer signs than the other candidates.

He noted council passed a bylaw against the signs on city roads in 2013.

“It was a good idea for city roads,” he said.  “I think it's a good idea for regional roads as well for the very same reasons,.”

Ward 2 city Coun. Ian Cumming said: “I think they may be an ugly part of the election, but they're a necessary part of it.”

Ward 1 regional Coun. Kevin Ashe said the signs are only up for 23 days and was afraid banning signs on the roads may decrease an already low voter turnout.

Letter from Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
RE: Council's motion about dust concerns from Strada Aggregates Inc.
June 30, 2017

June 30, 2017

Ms. Debbie Shields
City Clerk
City of Pickering
Pickering Civic Complex
Pickering ON L1V 6K7

Dear Ms. Shields:

Thank you for your May 17, 2017 letter to the Honorable Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (Minister), advising of Council's motion about dust concerns from Strada Aggregates Inc.'s facility located on Notion Road in the Town of Ajax.  I am responding on behalf of the Minister.

Continue ...

Pickering couple calls for officials to investigate dust from stone crushing plans
June 7, 2017

For years, a Pickering stone crushing plant has been making a mess of the neighbourhood and residents are fed up.

Watch the video from Global News.

Pickering residents sick of dust from nearby stone crushing facility in Ajax
Kristen Calis
June 7, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Michael Hewitt and Pearl Lofters
PICKERING - Michael Hewitt and Pearl Lofters are some of the many residents in Pickering who have had enough of the dust coming into their home from a stone-crushing facility on Notion Road in Ajax.  June 2, 2017 - Jason Liebregts / Metroland

PICKERING - Pearl Lofters and her husband Michael Hewitt are tired of sweeping the dust off their porch, car, lawn, plants, and even from inside their house.

They say they've been suffering from the dust that's coming from a nearby stone crushing facility, Strada Aggregates Inc., for the past three or four years.  They have lived in their home for 25 years.  The plant is located on Notion Road in Ajax, near the Pickering border.

“I clean every day.  You can even write your name sometimes,” Lofters said of the dust accumulating in the Notion Road and Pickering Parkway area.

And she and Hewitt, who has allergies, are tired of breathing it in every day, too.

“It's terrible when you can't enjoy your home,” said Hewitt.

Lofters, a registered nurse, worries what the dust is doing to their health.

“Dust is not a good thing to be breathing in,” she said.  “And it sticks in the throat.”

Questions to Strada Aggregates, which prides itself as being a big part of Toronto's overall recycling solution, were not answered by press time.

A mountain of debris, dirt and asphalt at Strada is hard to miss when sitting in the couple's backyard.

“Even though we would sell the place, they'll look outside.  So we're stuck,” said Lofters.

She has collected more than 85 signatures from neighbours, asking Strada and political leaders to help remedy the situation.

She said trucks drive by and wet the roads in an apparent attempt to keep the dust down, but it isn't helping.

Lofters' and Hewitt's neighbour Raymond Alexander says his car is never clean as a result of the dust, and the fine steel particles in the dust have caused damage to the paint job.

“My wife hasn't opened the back window for about three or four years,” he said.  “I don't go in the backyard anymore.”

Alexander pointed to a nearby home, which the previous owners had sold, tired of the dust.

The City of Pickering last year asked the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to investigate and address air quality and dust issues and complaints on behalf of residents, and to take appropriate action to address these concerns.

Council also passed a motion at its most recent council meeting asking that the MOECC report to the City of Pickering on its investigations, findings and any corrective actions the ministry has required Strada to undertake to address the dust problem.

“Now therefore MOECC be requested to take further investigation and resolve the dust concerns as appropriate,” the motion states.

Ward 2 regional Coun. Bill McLean pointed out at the council meeting when the matter was discussed, the MOECC gave a new compliance approval to Strada in March, which it relayed to Ajax.

“I'm very confident and comfortable with the fact that this issue is being addressed, that residents are being looked after by the ministry and Ajax,” McLean said.

But Ward 3 regional Coun. David Pickles, who introduced the motion, said there should be communication with Pickering as well, and added he continues to receive complaints about the dust issues.

“Today I don't think enough is being done and complaints are still coming in in regards to this facility,” he said.

MOECC spokesperson Gary Wheeler confirmed in an email, the environment compliance approval (ECA) for air and noise was approved on March 22.  The company applied for approval to operate mobile crushing and screening units at the site.

The review states emissions to the air include particulate matter and products of combustion such as nitrogen oxides.

The ministry received 18 total comments from members of the public, which were considered as part of the ministry's review of the application.

“The comments raised concerns related to particulate emissions and dust from the site,” he said.

The ministry has received and is reviewing Pickering's motion.

“The ministry has not received any dust complaints since July 2015 concerning the Strada Aggregates Inc.  facility.  Ministry staff will be visiting the site to follow up with the company about the requirements set out in the ECA,” said Wheeler.

Requirements include: developing and implementing an air quality monitoring program, when requested by the Ministry, to measure the concentration of suspended particulate matter and/or dustfall discharged from their facilities and to monitor the dust mitigation measures; and to develop and implement a detailed complaint response procedure for recording, investigating and adequately addressing complaints.

Notice of Motion
Rouge National Urban Park - Additional Lands
June 12, 2017

WHEREAS: 5,200 acres of land in the City of Pickering are being transferred to the new Rouge National Urban Park;

Read the full motion.

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map2
Click image to view fullsize PDF 

map3
Click image to view fullsize PDF 

Notice of Motion
Banning Municipal Election Signs on Regional Roads
June 12, 2017

WHEREAS the use of municipal election signs on public road boulevards can create traffic and pedestrian safety concerns by blocking the line of vision, impeding traffic and pedestrians and signs blowing on to the roads.  Signs also include iron bars, wooden sticks and wire that can create safety concerns even long after campaigns are over;

Read the full motion.

Notice of Motion
Duffin Heights West Parks
June 12, 2017

WHEREAS: The relatively new development of Creekwood in the West Part of Duffin Heights neighbourhood is a relatively high density neighbourhood presently containing 472 households and about 1,500 residents;

Read the full motion.

Council could ask region to ban election signs on Pickering regional roads
May 31, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - In an attempt to address traffic and safety concerns, Pickering council will decide at the next council meeting whether or not they want a ban election signs on regional roads.

The motion coming forward on June 12 will ask the Region of Durham to implement a bylaw to ban municipal election signs from regional property in Pickering, including roads and boulevards.

“We banned election signs on city boulevards, but the ban didn't apply to regional roads,” said Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles, who introduced the motion.

Although there are Region of Durham bylaws in place to regulate election signs on regional property and roads, there is no ban.

Regional roads in Pickering include Kingston, Brock, and Altona Roads.

If passed, the bylaw would be in place for the 2018 municipal election.

The motion notes that municipal signs on public road boulevards can block the line of vision, impeding traffic and pedestrians.  It adds signs include iron bars, wooden sticks, and wire that can create safety concerns, even long after campaigns are over.  It notes signs are also viewed as aesthetically unpleasing as they are often vandalized and grouped in large numbers for long periods of times at intersections.

Heroes, volunteers, athletes and more honoured at Pickering Civic Awards
Kristen Calis
May 31, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Chantal Gauthier
PICKERING -- Chantal Gauthier was the recipient of an Amateur Sports Award during the City of Pickering 2016 Civic Awards ceremony at city hall.  The annual awards are handed out to deserving people, groups and businesses in categories such as heroism/bravery, environmental and community.  May 29, 2017.  - Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland

PICKERING - Clint Neuls is used to attending special events such as the Santa Claus parade as an auxiliary officer with the Durham Regional Police Service.

But when he was on a shift on Good Friday of last year, Neuls was thrown into a certain situation and took actions that put him in front of Mayor Dave Ryan on May 29, accepting an award for bravery/heroism at the 2016 Pickering Civic Awards.

“Tonight is all about you, and what you do to help make our community such a wonderful place to call home,” Mayor Ryan said to the recipients at the ceremony held at City Hall.

Winners are nominated by peers and residents for the outstanding contributions to the community.  

Neuls and a detective constable responded to a call that Good Friday about a distraught man on the railway overpass near Dixie Road in Pickering.  The detective constable tried to build a rapport with and talked to the man, who was poised to jump from the bridge.  Neuls was about to direct traffic when he learned a freight train was approaching.

“I could see down from the road he was in trouble.  He was pulling the guy off,” Neuls recalled.

Adrenalin took over.

“If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done it,” laughed the modest Neuls, who said it was nice to be recognized, but added the detective constable was the real hero that day.

Ryan explained to the audience that the detective took hold of the man while Neuls rushed onto the trestle and grabbed hold of the detective constable's vest, pulling both the officer and the man out of harm's way.  They tumbled down the embankment and the distraught man continued to struggle, but all of them came away form the situation unharmed.

Neuls was also honoured at the Police Appreciation Dinner and Awards Night, and was the first auxiliary officer recognized at the annual event.

Pickering Pine Ridge Secondary School student Thomas Armenis received an amateur sports award.  He joined the 856 Pickering Kinsmen Royal Canadian Air Cadets when he was 12 years old.

“I went in with not a lot of confidence in myself, but you make friends and they support you too,” he said of when he joined cadets.  “In the air cadets, everyone helps you.”

He's earned numerous medals and awards.  He has a flair for the air rifle and together with his team, he won a silver medal at a national air rifle competition last spring and placed eighth overall in Canada out of more than 1,000 cadet competitors.

“It makes me proud of what I've done, but I'm also proud of the team I'm on that got me here,” he said of receiving the civic award.

Thomas credits his time as a cadet with making him stronger and teaching how to handle challenging situations, and appreciates his peers for supporting his goals.

The team recently won gold at the Regional Marksmanship Championships in April, which sent them to Gimly, Man.  in May for the National Marksmanship Competition.  The team once again brought home gold.

Awards were handed out in 17 categories.  Young people were also honoured for their volunteerism and leadership at the awards.

“One of the reasons why Pickering is such a wonderful place is how we nurture and showcase our talented youth,” Ryan said.

THE AWARD WINNERS

Special Citation Award
Johanne Blake

Bravery/Heroism Award
Clint Neuls

Lifetime Achievement Award
Ed Whitehead

Individual Volunteer Award
Robert Bracht
Janet Cobden
Dennis Gazarek

Service Group Award
Project Linus Canada

Community Group Award
The Pickering Reading Circle

Amateur Sports Award
Thomas Armenis
Alexia Cajilig & Aaliyah Scott
Chantal Gauthier
Peter Zowkewych

Youth Volunteer Award
Maya Mahabir

Youth Leadership Award
Corri McRae

Sustainability Award
Pickering Naturalists

Arts Award
Onton See

Heritage Award
Nimble Thimbles Costume Committee

Economic Development Award
Provincial Sign Systems

Local Business Award
Decks R Us

Environment Award
Rochelle Archibald

Access Award for Disability Issues
Helen Dionne
Enhanced Day Program Inc.

NEWS RELEASE
Health Department begins 2017 West Nile virus surveillance activities
May 26, 2017

Whitby, Ontario, May 26, 2017 - Durham Region Health Department has started West Nile virus (WNV) surveillance and control activities for the 2017 season.  WNV is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on the blood of birds that carry the virus.  The disease is not passed from person to person or from bird to person.

WNV has been found in birds, mosquitoes, horses and humans in Ontario since 2001.  In 2016, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported 46 cases of the virus in Ontario, compared to 33 in 2015.  Durham Region reported one confirmed and one probable human case of WNV in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The Health Department has routinely trapped adult mosquitoes as part of its ongoing WNV surveillance activities.  In 2016, 10 of the mosquito pools that were trapped tested positive for WNV, compared to no positive mosquitoes trapped in 2015.  In addition, as part of seasonal WNV monitoring activities, the Health Department also uses indicators such as adult and larval mosquito surveillance to determine the risk of WNV for area residents.  “Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water,” explained Ross MacEachern, Manager, Environmental Health with the Health Department.  “As a result, area residents are reminded to remove or cover any standing water around their homes to help reduce the development of mosquito larvae.”

The Health Department recommends the following specific steps to help minimize potential breeding sites for mosquitoes:

  • Chlorinate rain barrels or cover them with mosquito screening.
  • Drain water from areas such as pools and chair covers, and also from containers such as ceramic pots, wading pools, bird baths, planters, etc.
  • Check that roof gutters are cleared and draining properly.
  • Clean and properly maintain swimming pools and outdoor hot tubs.
  • Remove all unused tires from your property.
  • Ensure that drainage ditches are not backed up.

To help reduce the possibility of being exposed to WNV, residents are also encouraged to take the following precautions:

  • Wear shoes, socks and light-coloured clothing with long sleeves and full-length pants when outside, especially overnight, between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin, following Health Canada's safety tips on using personal insect repellents.  More information on using insect repellents containing DEET can be found at www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/about-pesticides/insect-repellents.html?_ga=1.190416748.61038264.1464190033.
  • Ensure doors and windows have screens that are tight-fitting and in good repair.
  • Keep grass, shrubs and hedges trimmed.
  • Turn over compost piles regularly.

Throughout the summer, the Health Department will conduct a number of activities to monitor WNV concerns across the Region, including implementing a weekly adult mosquito-trapping program, a larval mosquito surveillance program and a larviciding program involving regional catch basins, as well as identified mosquito breeding stagnant water sites.  For more information on WNV and the Health Department's surveillance activities, please call the Health Department's Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613, or visit www.durham.ca/westnile.

- 30 -

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham

Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999 or glendene.collins@durham.ca.

If this information is required in an accessible format, please call 1-877-777-9613.

THIS MESSAGE IS FOR THE USE OF THE INTENDED RECIPIENT(S) ONLY AND MAY CONTAIN INFORMATION THAT IS PRIVILEGED, PROPRIETARY, CONFIDENTIAL, AND/OR EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER ANY RELEVANT PRIVACY LEGISLATION.  No rights to any privilege have been waived.  If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, retransmission, dissemination, distribution, copying, conversion to hard copy, taking of action in reliance on or other use of this communication is strictly prohibited.  If you are not the intended recipient and have received this message in error, please notify me by return e-mail and delete or destroy all copies of this message.  THIS MESSAGE IS FOR THE USE OF THE INTENDED RECIPIENT(S) ONLY AND MAY CONTAIN INFORMATION THAT IS PRIVILEGED, PROPRIETARY, CONFIDENTIAL, AND/OR EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER ANY RELEVANT PRIVACY LEGISLATION.  No rights to any privilege have been waived.  If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, re-transmission, dissemination, distribution, copying, conversion to hard copy, taking of action in reliance on or other use of this communication is strictly prohibited.  If you are not the intended recipient and have received this message in error, please notify me by return e-mail and delete or destroy all copies of this message.

Pickering City Centre to bustle with activity Saturday
Fifth annual How-To in 10 Festival one of three big events at One The Esplanade
May 24, 2017
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
How-to-in-10
PICKERING - The How-to-in-10 Festival is one of three events taking place at One The Esplanade on Saturday, May 27, 2017.  It allows residents to learn skills in an easy, fun and convenient way.  Ala Al Barbarawski watched while her friend Serena Paterson applied lipstick at the how to apply retro makeup booth at the Pickering Public Library during the How to in 10 Festival in 2014.  - Kaitlin Abeele / Metroland File Photo

Pickering city hall, central library, and Esplanade Park will be host to Experience Your City on May 27, an ensemble of three events offering up engaging, free activities and entertainment for the whole family.

The How-To In 10 Festival, hosted by the library, is one of the events at One The Esplanade that are meant to inspire creative learners, appreciators of the arts, and lovers of all things fun.

“The current role of the library is to facilitate lifelong learning and to do it in collaboration with the community,” said Sabrina Yung, the library's manager of community engagement.  “We really feel the How-To In 10 festival allows us to demonstrate this role.”

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the festival will feature 35 booths, and eventgoers can learn how to: ace a putt; prepare for safe travel; create an artisan cheese board; grow a perfect tomato; virtual reality; and more.

“We try to encourage the vendors to make it as hands-on as possible and where possible to have some kind of a take-away,” said Yung.

Organizers change up most of the vendors each year to keep the lessons fresh, and to give different businesses opportunities to participate.

“We really try to focus on local where possible,” said Yung.

For example, Ajax-based Falcon Brewing Company will teach festival goers how to enjoy a beer.

Prizes will also be up for grabs.  Attendees must collect 20 different stamps (each booth has a different stamp) to complete their ballot for the prize draw.

“Everyone is invited,” said Yung.  “The event is targeted toward adults really, although we make it family-friendly so adults with or without children can attend and enjoy the event.”

Visit www.picnet.org/2017HowToInTen for more information, and those attending are encouraged to use #How2Ten on social media.

Also that day, the 20th anniversary of Artfest on the Esplanade and I am Ontario will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Artfest will feature more than 100 artists from across the province who showcase and sell a variety of original art, including paintings, photography, pottery, wood carvings, jewelry and more.

Also, in commemoration of Canada's and Ontario's 150th, staff and a youth committee will host the I am Ontario youth arts showcase.  Highlights include live performances, an art show and sale, a juried competition for the selection of a youth-designed public art piece, youth-led workshops and hands-on art activities.

Station Gallery's and Rapport Credit Union's Creativepreneur Session for Youth will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is geared toward those looking to launch their career as an artist, craftsperson, or creative professional.  They can hear from established arts professionals, learn to make a lasting first impression, pitch their skills, and promote their work.

Finally, Your City will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public can visit city hall to meet staff and learn how municipal government works.  Attendees can ask a Pickering pro about parks and trees, meet kittens and cats available for adoption, build a butterfly craft in celebration of the Mayors' Monarch Pledge, and more.  A Touch-a-Truck exhibit will allow guests to learn about vehicles of different shapes and sizes.  Mayor Dave Ryan and various members of council will be available from 1 to 2 p.m. to greet guests and tour their office area.

The Canadian Progress Club, Durham Women will host a charity barbecue, and food trucks Smoke's Poutinerie and Hawaiian Dairy Ice Cream Truck will be on site throughout the day.

Visit www.pickering.ca/greatevents for more information.

Claremont Garden Club
Two Events in Claremont
May 22, 2017

The Claremont Garden Club will be having its Annual Plant Sale on May 27 from 9:00 am to Noon at the Four Corners in Claremont which is located at the intersection of Central Street and Old Brock Road.  They will have various herbs, vegetables, native plants, perennials and annuals, as well as some garden ornaments.  The Succulent Sisters have made up some of their fabulous planters which will be on offer.

You might also want to mark your calendars, as the Claremont Garden Club will also be hosting its first garden tour: The Gardens of Claremont, Garden Tour and Tea to be held on July 8th.

Check out the Claremont Garden Club's Facebook page and website (www.claremontgardenclub.ca) for further details on these two events.

V!VA Volunteer Fair
May 18, 2017
V!VA Volunteer Fair
 
Petapolooza, Pickering's Popular Pet Tradeshow, is back!
News Release
For Immediate Release
May 3, 2017

Petapolooza, Pickering's Popular Pet Tradeshow, is back!

Pickering, ON, May 3, 2017 - Pet owners and animal lovers can mark their calendars for Saturday, May 13th, as Pickering's leash-free park welcomes the 6th annual Petapolooza event.

This year's tradeshow includes over 30 exhibitors, free, fun and educational activities, industry professionals, rescue organizations, wildlife education shows, exciting giveaways, including swag bags for the first 50 people, and more.

The event will take place from 10 am to 4 pm in the upper level of the leash-free area at Grand Valley Park, located on the Third Concession, west of Valley Farm Road.  Parking will be available onsite.

“There will be family fun for all animal lovers,” said Lindsey Narraway, Supervisor, Animal Services.  “The WoofJocks Canine All Stars will be preforming an action packed show at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm.”

In celebration of Responsible Pet Ownership Month, the City will also be hosting an onsite rabies and microchip clinic for dogs and cats, between 12 pm and 4 pm.  The cost is $20, and only cash payments will be accepted.

Admission is $5, with free admission for seniors 55 +, children under 12 years, and pets.  All proceeds will go towards the development of a new Animal Shelter in Pickering.

Petapolooza would not be possible without the gracious support of the following Responsible Pet Ownership Month partners; Global Pet Foods, TACC Developments, Pet Valu, Gates Wildlife Control, OPG, Pickering Honda and Denise Shea - RE/MAX Rouge River Realty Ltd.

For more information on Petapolooza, visit pickering.ca/petapolooza or call 905.427.0093.

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As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet.  An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here.  Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.  To celebrate both Canada's and Ontario's 150th anniversary in 2017, the City of Pickering invites residents and visitors to share in the unique experiences related to Arts, Culture, Heritage, Diversity, Environment, Youth, Sports Excellence, Innovation and Accessibility.  Visit pickering.ca/150 to get involved.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Narraway
Supervisor, Animal Services l Corporate Services
905.420.4660 ext.  3501
1.866.683.2760
lnarraway@pickering.ca

flyer
Pickering Named One of the Top American Cities of the Future
News Release
For Immediate Release
Apr 20, 2017

Pickering Named One of the Top American Cities of the Future

Pickering, ON, April 20, 2017 - The City of Pickering has been recognized as one of the 2017/2018 American Cities of the Future by fDi magazine.   Pickering was ranked in the top 10 among micro cities - placing fourth for connectivity and sixth for business friendliness.

fDi magazine is published bi-monthly by the Financial Times Ltd.  and is the world's premier publication for the business of globalization.   fDi shortlisted over 421 locations across North and South America in five categories: economic potential, business friendliness, human capital and lifestyle, cost-effectiveness, and connectivity.

The City of Pickering was also recently named one of the world's Smart21 Communities of 2017 by the Intelligent Community Forum.   Coupled with the fDi distinction, Pickering is garnering international recognition as a preferred destination for the next generation of knowledge-based business and industry.

“We are proud and honoured to be recognized as one of the leading business destinations in the world, which is a reflection of our outstanding economic development and business engagement efforts,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.  “With the advent of 800 acres of prestige employment in our Innovation Corridor, intensification of our City Centre, and potential for an airport, Pickering offers unrivalled investment opportunities.”

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As a gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet, and boasts a world class EN3 Cluster of Energy, Environmental and Engineering companies.  Pickering is home to the largest industrial sector in Durham Region, including a wide range of manufacturers who ship their products across the globe.   Seaton is a new community located in Central Pickering, designed to attract 30,000 new jobs and 60,000 new residents to the City by 2031.   New business can take advantage of direct access to major highways; an educated and skilled labour force; state-of-the-art infrastructure; and a wealth of emerging greenfield employment lands fronting Highway 407.

Media Contact:

Mark Guinto

Manager, Business Development & Public Affairs | Office of the Mayor

905.420.4660 ext.  2013 | 1.866.683.2760

mguinto@pickering.ca

Pickering Fire Services Gets Real about Fire Education
News Release
For Immediate Release
April 12, 2017

Pickering Fire Services Gets Real about Fire Education

Pickering, ON, April 12, 2017- Pickering Fire Services is once again teaming up with fire departments across Durham Region for the `Get Real Durham!' spring fire education campaign.

The three-week campaign focuses on educating residents about fire safety, and fire-related problems in their communities.

During the campaign, select Pickering households will receive an automated telephone message from Pickering Fire Chief, John Hagg, identifying what residents can do to protect their family from fire.  Additional households will also receive a `Get Real Durham' information card in the mail, and a visit from Pickering firefighters, who will be going door-to-door, educating residents on the reality of fires in the community.

“The Get Real Durham campaign has been very successful,” said Fire Chief, John Hagg.  “It is an excellent opportunity for our firefighters to interact with our residents and answer any questions they have regarding fire safety and prevention.”

The Fire Chief hopes that through education, awareness, and teamwork, fire-related fatalities, injuries, and property damage can be reduced across the Region.

Visit facebook.com/CityofPickering during `Get Real Durham' for fire statistics and tips.  Additional information on protecting one's family from fire is available at pickering.ca/GetRealDurham.

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As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet.  An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here.  Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.  To celebrate both Canada's and Ontario's 150th anniversary in 2017, the City of Pickering invites residents and visitors to share in the unique experiences related to Arts, Culture, Heritage, Diversity, Environment, Youth, Sports Excellence, Innovation and Accessibility.  Visit pickering.ca/150 to get involved.

Media Contact:
Julie Ineson
Fire Inspector | Fire Services Department
905.420.4660 ext. 8517
1.866.683.2760
jineson@pickering.ca

Pickering bylaw to save low-income seniors, people with disabilities $200
Kristen Calis
April 12, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Tax Break
PICKERING - The City of Pickering is offering a tax break of $200 for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities in 2017.  People will need to qualify for the grant, and the savings will be reflected on their tax bill later this year.  A group of seniors played carpet bowling at the South Pickering Senior's Club on Liverpool Road.  April 7, 2017 - Ron Pietroniro / Metroland

PICKERING - A new program in Pickering will save low-income seniors and people with disabilities $200 on their taxes this year.

Council was expected to enact the Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Persons with Disabilities Property Tax grant bylaw on Tuesday.

The $200 represents the estimated increase in city share property taxes from 2014 to 2017.

“The thing is, I tried to put a science behind the number, as opposed to picking something out of the air,” said Pickering treasurer Stan Karwowski.

Pickering council had adopted a notice of motion by Ward 1 City Coun. Maurice Brenner in June, asking the Region of Durham to review and amend its property tax deferral program for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities.  The region hasn't yet recommended changing its regionwide program.

While Coun. Brenner says the $200 is a great help, a tax deferral program through the region could mean the difference between seniors staying in their homes and having to find alternate living arrangements if it gets too costly.  The deferral program would allow seniors to defer property taxes against their estate or until they sell the property.

“It will certainly keep people in their homes until they find options,” said Coun. Brenner.

The region does have a seniors tax deferral program.

“But it doesn't kick in until the overall property tax goes up greater than five per cent,” Coun. Brenner said, adding that is very rare.  

Coun. Brenner plans to meet with staff at the region to talk to them about amending the program.

Canada 150 Photo Fun - Peggy's Cove
April 6, 2017
Canada 150
Looks sunny in Peggy's Cove today! 
Pickering to upgrade 7,000 street lights to LED
April 4, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - More than 7,000 street lights are being replaced throughout Pickering with LED lighting to save costs and energy.

The executive committee voted Monday to hire Realterm Energy Corp.  to convert the city's current high-pressure sodium and mercury vapour street light luminaires to energy-efficient LED lighting.  The work is going to cost just more than $6.4 million including HST.

The hamlet of Whitevale will get lights that best reflect the character of the heritage district, and staff will consult with the Whitevale and District Residents' Association on this matter.

The city retained Realterm in 2016 to audit the city's street light infrastructure, and it found by upgrading to LED the city would save around $456,000 in annual energy costs and $235,000 in annual maintenance costs for a total savings of around $691,000 per year.

The staff report notes LED street lights provide other benefits, including increased safety, enhanced visibility, and reduced light pollution.

In total, 7,234 lights will be replaced, and funds have also been allocated to cover the cost of replacing 24 wooden poles within the Bay Ridges and West Shore neighbourhoods.

News Release

You're Invited!

Phragmites Information Meeting
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 7:00pm
Heritage Hall,
Purple Woods Conservation Area
38 Coates Road East, North Oshawa
Phragmites

Have you seen the tall, yellowish, swaying reeds and feathery plumes as you drive along the roads in Durham Region? It looks pretty and harmless but did you know this plant is invasive and threatens habitats such as wetlands? The plant, called Phragmites (pronounced “frag-mite-ees”) (Phragmites australis), is also known as Common Reed, and it presents a significant threat to watershed health across southern Ontario.   

The Scugog Environmental Advisory Council, in partnership with Central Lake Ontario Conservation, Kawartha Conservation, North Durham Nature, Scugog Lake Stewards and Nature Conservancy of Canada are hosting a Phragmites Information Meeting with renowned wetland ecologist and Phragmites activist Janice M Gilbert, Ph.D.   The event will take place on April 19th from 7:00 to 9:00pm at Heritage Hall, Purple Woods Conservation Area, 38 Coates Road East, North Oshawa.   The public is invited to come out and learn about this invasive plant, what you can do to stop it, and meet community members that are working together to establish an invasive species management program for Phragmites.

“Phragmites is extremely aggressive, spreads quickly and can reach heights of up to 5 metres (15 feet), allowing it to out compete native plant species therefore reducing wildlife habitat,” says Diana Shermet, Natural Heritage Resource Analyst with Central Lake Ontario Conservation.  “With the plant's ability to spread quickly, we need everyone's help to control it while it is still manageable in the watershed - but time is running out.”

For more information on the Phragmites Meeting please contact Diana Shermet at the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Office (905) 579-0411, ext. 107 or email: dshermet@cloca.com.

Veterans help Pickering students remember Vimy Ridge
Barbara Howe
April 3, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Dunbarton Vimy
Dunbarton Vimy
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING -- A group of 37 students and staff from Dunbarton High School departed on Monday afternoon for their trip to Vimy Ridge.  The school received a donation of $1,500 from Royal Canadian Legion Branch 606, represented by Myrna Picotte, and $500 from the Korea Veterans Association of Canada, represented by Bert Picotte, to help with the cost.  April 3, 2017.

PICKERING - Students from Dunbarton High School in Pickering were all smiles as they packed up their kit bags on April 3.  They are on their way to Europe to participate in the 100th anniversary memorial celebrations of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.  

Before they left, they wanted to thank two local organizations that donated funds toward their expenses.  

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 606 in Pickering and the Korea Veterans Association of Canada's Oshawa branch stepped up with gifts of $1,500 and $500, respectively, after Mary-Lou Littleproud - parent of Grade 12 student Warren Littleproud - approached them recently.

“I wanted to thank them very much for the donations and supporting the children while they're in Europe,” said Littleproud.  “They'll learn more on this trip than from any textbook.”

A total of 37 students are travelling to London from Dunbarton HS for the first part of the trip.  They will converge with 9,000 other students from across Canada at the Vimy Ridge Memorial in Arras, France, for the ceremony on April 9.  

It is expected the event will be held in front of a crowd of 25,000, led by members of the British Royal Family, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the leaders of France and Belgium.

Jonathon Demaray, a history teacher at Dunbarton HS, is leading the trip.   He said the trip was an important experience for the students.

“I've been fortunate to have visited the memorials in Belgium and France before, and that first-hand experience is so valuable to share when teaching the First World War to students,” said Demaray.  “Allowing students the opportunity to experience these memorials allows them greater understanding of the sacrifices that were made by young men on both sides of the Great War.  It's an experience they won't soon forget and something I'm happy to be able to share with these students.”

The Dunbarton delegation is just one of 18 schools from Durham Region participating in this historic event.  Approximately 1,000 students will be leaving the region between April 3 and April 14 to attend the ceremony and participate in educational experiences in different locations across Europe.

Pickering celebrates Earth Month in April
Events for people of all ages in April and May
Kristen Calis
March 29, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Earth Month
Earth Month
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING - The City of Pickering is hosting a number of events and initiatives to celebrate sustainability during April, which is Earth Month in Pickering.  These include 20-minute makeovers and Take Pride in Earth Day, which will involve planting 150 trees.  City of Pickering employees, Kristy Gagon, the coordinator of environmental engagement, and Chantal Whitaker, the coordinator of sustainability, planted a few flowers in the outdoor garden beds at City Hall.  March 27, 2017.

PICKERING - Earth Month is coming up in Pickering and there are plenty of ways for residents to go green.

A big part of the month is the 20-Minute Makeover, which the City of Pickering is promoting from April 16 to April 22, but people can participate at any point during the month.

“We just try to do a big push because ...  we're having a big problem this year with litter,” said Jeff Goring, acting co-ordinator of environmental awareness.

People, groups, schools, workplaces and organizations are invited to give up just 20 minutes of their time at some point throughout the month to clean up an area near them.  The city provides the materials needed to clean up, and will pick up the garbage.

Last year the city gave out more than 3,000 gloves to people participating.

“It makes a huge difference,” Goring said of the small commitment.

Take Pride in Earth Day is taking place April 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pickering Operations Centre, at 2570 Tillings Rd. The event is hosted by the city, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Environment Stewardship Pickering.  The plan is to plant 150 trees and the event will include a visit from some animal ambassadors from Earth Rangers.

“We just try to make sure we have something for everybody so everybody is part of that overall goal of making Pickering a better place,” said Chantal Whitaker, Pickering's sustainability co-ordinator.

Environmental Stewardship Pickering, a collaborative committee that works together with the community to organize environmental events and activities, is also hosting different workshops.

Polar Bears, Climate Change and Opportunities will take place Thursday, April 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Dunbarton High School, 655 Sheppard Ave.  The school and the city have partnered to host the free community awareness night about polar bears and the effects of climate change.  A short Nature of Things documentary will be followed by a presentation and discussion with Dr.  Greg Thiemann about his research and upcoming cultural opportunities in Churchhill, Manitoba.

Gardening for Birds, Butterflies and Beyond is taking place Tuesday, April 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Pickering Nuclear Information Centre, 1675 Montgomery Park Rd. Attendees will learn how to protect native species, such as monarch butterflies, nesting songbirds and hummingbirds with beautiful landscape features.

The environmental initiatives don't stop there, with events continuing into May.

Last year, nearly 1,000 people took advantage of the free compost giveaway, which will also take place this year on Saturday, May 13 from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of the Pickering Recreation Complex, 1867 Valley Farm Rd.

On Wednesday, May 17, a workshop on saving money and growing vegetables will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m., also at the rec complex.  A local expert will share innovative, simple and inexpensive ways to grow vegetables in the backyard, apartment or condo.

For those wishing to do their part to make Pickering, or even their own backyard, more sustainable, Whitaker encourages people to take a look at www.pickering.ca/sustainable and click on Take Action.

It includes a variety of different tips and ideas, and downloadable activities and colouring sheets for kids.

“That's a really good place to start,” said Whitaker.

To register for programs or for more information call 905-683-7575 or send an email to customercare@pickering.ca.

Sustainable Pickering Day - Destination Pickering
March 25, 2017
David and Chantal

While at the Sustainable Pickering event with our staff coordinator Chantal our conversation was interrupted by a charging moose. LOL 

David and Chantal and moose

 
Take Pride in Earth Day
April 22, 2017
Earth Day
 
Durham police looking for missing Pickering man Griffin Scott
March 22, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Missing Griffin Scott
Missing Man
Submitted Photo
PICKERING -- Griffin Scott, 22 of Steeple Hill in Pickering, left his residence at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21 and has not made contact with his family since.  His intended destination is not known at this time.  He has gone missing before, however, he is now overdue taking his medication.  He may be in the Toronto area.  March 22, 2017

PICKERING -- Police are asking the public for help in finding a missing 22-year-old Pickering man who is overdue in taking his medication.

Griffin Scott, 22, of Steeple HIll, was last seen by his family on March 21 when he left his home at roughly 5:30 p.m. He has not contacted them since.

They don't know where he was heading but police say he may be in the Toronto area.  The family is concerned because Scott is now overdue in taking his medication.

He is white, five feet nine inches and roughly 130 lbs.  He has short dark brown hair, brown eyes and a slim build.  He was clean shaven and has a tattoo of the letter “B” on his right knee and noticeable damage to his right eye.  He was wearing a dark black and grey winter coat and dark polyester Adidas-style track pants.

Police are asking anyone who sees him not to approach him and to contact police immediately.

Anyone who knows his location should call their local police service.  In Durham call 1-888-579-1520.  Tips can also go to Det.-Const.  Conforti of the West Division Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-888-579-1520 ext.  2521.

Pickering has big plans for a downtown
Pickering CAO sees vision coming to life during next term of council
Kristen Calis
March 22, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Downtown Pickering
Pickering Downtown
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING -- The City of Pickering plans to transform The Esplanade South from Glenanna to Valley Farm Road into a bold, new city centre core.The transformation will start with expansions to City Hall and the library and will include an arts centre, a seniors' centre and youth programs.  The Esplanade South will eventually be closed down to vehicular traffic, and will become a grand boulevard exclusive to pedestrians.  City of Pickering CAO Tony Prevedel looked over a model of the area.  March 13, 2017.

PICKERING - With city hall, Esplande Park and the main library branch at the centre of it all, the recreation complex and the Pickering Town Centre nearby, and now plans to accommodate seniors, youth and the arts crowd, the future downtown Pickering is on the horizon.

“We've got the pedestrian bridge and this whole transit-friendly mobility hub,” said Pickering chief administrative officer Tony Prevedel.  “We've kind of got the makings of a perfect storm.”

The city is featuring a model of its current vision of downtown at city hall.  But it's still going to evolve.  During budget discussions, the city set aside money to make way for the conceptual redevelopment of more than two acres of land in the city centre.

“Our plan is to transform the Esplanade South from Glenanna to Valley Farm Road into a bold, new city centre core,” said Mayor Dave Ryan at a recent Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade event.

He said both city hall and the central library will be expanded, as Pickering's population is expected to double in the next 20 years.

It will become more walkable.

“We want to create the south esplanade as a pedestrian friendly walkway, a boulevard,” Prevedel said.

The long-awaited arts centre, featuring both performance spaces and studios, is set to go on the southeast corner of Glenanna Road and Esplanade South.

It will become the new home to what Mayor Ryan called “the large, but underserved arts community.”

When Pickering's budget was passed, Justice David Stone, Durham West Arts Centre Foundation board chairman, said the commitment from Pickering brings the shared vision of a state-of-the-art performing and cultural centre in the city's downtown core closer to reality.

“In addition to providing high-quality arts and entertainment programming, the arts centre is an investment that will provide tangible, economic benefits to the entire region in terms of increased revenue from cultural tourism,” he said.

The city also envisions a new seniors and youth centre as part of the project.

The East Shore Community Centre has a very active seniors club that has outgrown its current home.

“They're bursting at the seems,” said Prevedel.

Instead of undertaking costly renovations to the current facility, the city would like to build a new facility that could provide adequate program and recreational space while being fully accessible for everyone.

“Accessibility is critical as well,” Catherine Hodge, Pickering's senior co-ordinator of business development and marketing, said of the new downtown.

A new youth centre will feature a full gymnasium and community rooms that would accommodate a variety of different sports, programming, and initiatives, said Mayor Ryan.

This downtown project will be a public-private partnership, which will include residential buildings where people can live in a more urban environment.

“There is a huge development pressure right now for condos and residential towers,” said Prevedel.

Hodge said the plan is to create a more modern environment that will attract tech savvy employment and businesses.

“It's critical to attracting new investment into our business community down here,” she said.

Hodge said the city has undergone extensive consultation with the public and most people seem to be on the same page when it comes to seeing a change from traditional suburban atmosphere of Pickering.

“I think it was pretty unanimous they were all looking for this centralized gathering space in this community to make it a cohesive city,” she said.

Prevedel says this vision could start coming to life in 2019, but admitted that's being optimistic.

“It will happen during the next term of council,” he said.

Sustainable Pickering Day
March 25, 2017
Sustainable Pickering Day
 
News Release
Durham Region to participate in Earth Hour March 25
WHITBY, ON
March 21, 2017
(durham.ca)

The Regional Municipality of Durham will participate in Earth Hour, on Saturday, March 25 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., by reducing lighting at several of its facilities.  Local businesses and residents are encouraged to join the Region in promoting energy efficiency during this time and throughout the year.

“Let's go dark for the good of the environment! In celebration of Earth Hour, I encourage Durham residents and businesses to join us in reducing lighting.  All non-essential lighting at Regional facilities including headquarters, water supply plants and water pollution control plants will be turned off,” says Susan Siopis, Commissioner of Works for the Region of Durham.  

All year long, energy conservation is a priority for the Region of Durham.  Regional facilities employ the use of timers and motion sensors to reduce lighting levels during off-peak hours when staff members are not present.  In addition, energy-efficient light bulbs are utilized.  Most recently, the Region has installed new automated systems in various facilities to allow better control of the heating, air conditioning and ventilation ensuring that the optimal indoor temperature and air quality is maintained by in the most efficient manner.  Durham Region always considers the latest green standards and the most energy-efficient technologies in all new construction and renovation projects.

The Region's water efficiency program also helps contribute to energy savings.  Water Efficient Durham's mandate is to encourage efficient use of water among all users, because by saving water, you not only save money but also save the energy needed to treat and transport the water through the system.  For more information, visit www.durham.ca/waterefficiency.

The Region of Durham's Works Department is responsible for the management of Regional facilities, transportation and field services, water supply, sanitary sewerage and waste management.  For more information, visit www.durham.ca/works.

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For more information, please contact Corporate Communications.

Doug Sanders appointed to fill vacant Oshawa regional council seat
Gail Bates will fill city seat previously held by Sanders
Reka Szekely
March 21, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Doug Sanders
New Councillor
Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland
OSHAWA -- City councillor Doug Sanders during a council meeting Monday night.  Councillor Sanders has been appointed to Regional councillor, filling the vacant seat that was left following the death of Nancy Diamond.  Gail Bates has been appointed to city councillor.  March 20, 2017.

OSHAWA - Oshawa councillors opted to promote city Coun. Doug Sanders to the regional seat left vacant by the death of Nancy Diamond and then to appoint longtime Oshawa resident Gail Bates to fill the city councillor seat vacated by Sanders.

Council was required by law to fill the vacancy by either appointment or via a byelection and tackled the issue at the March 20 council meeting.

Before making the decision council heard from members of the public who mainly favoured holding a byelection, though other options included appointing former councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri to the regional seat.  Marimpietri finished ninth overall in 2010 losing a regional seat by 134 votes.

Greg Milosh said he didn't believe in promoting a city councillor to the regional seat because if someone had wanted the regional job they should have run for it.

“I think the residents should pick their representative on council,” he said.

Alex Down advocated appointing one of the three city councillors to the regional job and then holding an open call where anyone could apply for the city seat.  She felt a byelection would be too expensive.

“If we do host a byelection that's too much money being spent for the limited time we're looking to cover a seat,” she said.

City staff estimated a byelection would cost between $150,000 and $175,000 and would be held sometime between June 3 and Sept. 1.

In voting to appoint Sanders, Coun. John Aker said he believed Oshawa needed the seat filled at the region as soon as possible.

“We need our full complement of votes there,” he said.  “There are votes that are very important to us and we have to be well represented by our current eight members of the 29-member council.”

Coun. Pidwerbecki, who moved the motion to appoint Sanders, said Sanders was well aware of what was going on in the region as a result of his work as a city councillor.

Coun. Bob Chapman nominated Bates, who finished fourth in the city council race for three seats in 2010, and said Bates has been involved in the community for 30 years.

“She, in my opinion, possesses common sense and reasonability and I think she will serve the citizens of Oshawa well,” he said.

Both votes passed on a 5-3 split with Aker, Chapman, Pidwerbecki, Sanders and Mayor John Henry voting for the appointments and Amy McQuaid-England, Rick Kerr and John Shields voting against.

The latter three all said they favoured a byelection.

“Regardless of my feelings toward the individuals who are appointed to these positions, the basic value we should have is a value for democracy,” said McQuaid-England.

Sanders said it was tough being appointed for the second time in his career.  He was initially appointed to his city council seat in 2011 and won when he ran for a seat in 2014.

“We were as open and transparent as we could be, I know all the citizens are not going to be happy with what the decision is because a lot of them were going byelection but tonight they gave us many choices,” he said.

At the region, Sanders said he's hoping to focus on transit issues and plans to continue to push regional chair Roger Anderson about the completion of construction on Bloor Street.

Both Bates and Sanders said they agreed with members of the public who felt council should have a policy on how to approach vacancies.

“I really believe in the democratic process,” said Bates.  “I understand why the appointment took place because of the length of time left in term and that should be the only reason why they felt they had to have an appointment.” A retired registered nurse and 35-year resident of Oshawa, Gates said she's particularly interested in Oshawa waterfront issues and the revitalization of the downtown.  She will become a member of the city's finance and corporate services committees and is hoping to make an impact during the remainder of council's term.

“With only 18 months I think we can work through that, probably accomplish a few things not a whole great slate of things, obviously, there's not enough time and then see what happens in the next election.”

Sanders's appointment was confirmed at the council meeting as he was already vetted to ensure he met the qualifications for office, however the city clerk must still qualify Gates and the council will pass a bylaw making her appointment official which is expected to occur by March 23 allowing her to participate in the next round of city committee meetings.

Sanders said he and Diamond were great friends and he didn't think her shoes could ever be filled.

“As Nancy always said we have work to do and we have tough decisions and these are tough decisions that had to be made today,” he said.

No decision made on sell-off of Canada's airports: finance minister
Bruce Campion-Smith, Ottawa Bureau
March 20, 2017
(thestar.com)

OTTAWA-Ottawa has made no decisions on the sell-off of Canada's big airports and the government continues to weigh its options, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says.

The federal Liberals have been looking at the potential sale of major airports, now run by not-for-profit airport authorities, to reap a windfall that could be directed to other spending priorities.

While the Liberals prepare to deliver their second budget on Wednesday, Morneau told the Star that the issue remains under consideration.

“When we think about assets the government owns, I think we need to make sure that they are contributing to our opportunities for growth.  We haven't come to any conclusions on airports,” Morneau said in an interview last week.

“I will continue to look at any asset the government has to make sure it's helping us to grow the economy as best as possible.  In the case of airports, we'll look towards ensuring that we have a positive passenger experience and a good airport system,” he said.

Both the Conservatives and New Democrats pressed the government on the issue in question period Monday, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was noncommittal about what the upcoming budget might say about airport privatization.

“I am wondering if the prime minister could show Canadians exactly where in the Liberal election platform this was ever mentioned.  Since he has no mandate to do so, will the prime minister guarantee that he will not privatize Canadian airports?” NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said.

One study by the Vancouver Airport Authority estimated that the federal government could raise between $8.7 billion and $40.1 billion by selling off the country's eight largest airports, including Toronto's Pearson International.

But that possibility has sparked concerns in some aviation quarters.

Some fear that selling off airports to the highest bidders would mean higher fees for travellers.

Sen.  Dennis Dawson, chair of the Senate committee on transport and communications, used a speech to a Quebec audience last week to speak out against the idea, painting it as a short-term fix to reduce deficits with little thought to the long-term consequences for passengers.

“It is understandable that the minister of finance is constantly seeking sources of funding to address deficits and pay for costly infrastructure programs,” Dawson said.

“Let's hope that the entire government will be there to promote and defend the real interests of air travellers and Canadian taxpayers,” he said, according to a prepared text of his remarks.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau himself has been noncommittal when asked about the issue, saying only that his “No.  1 priority” is “service to passengers.”

“To put it bluntly, whatever we can do to lower costs, offer more choices and destinations, shorten security waiting, shorten customs waiting times, create a bill of rights - or we call it a rights regime for passengers so they have rights as well with respect to airlines - those are all things that are priorities for me,” he said earlier this month.

“Anything we consider with respect to airports or airlines will be with that focus in mind.  So that's the driver,” he said.

The budget may deliver relief for frustrated air travellers who have been stuck in security lines.  It may do so in the form of a promise of service standards, such as those in place at other airports, to ensure the timely screening of passengers.

“It's an ongoing project of ours.  We have heard from Canadians, and Canadians would like the waiting time to be reduced, and it's something that I'm certainly seized of,” he said.

Garneau said he's aware of the example of European airports, notably London's Heathrow, where 95 per cent of passengers are screened in five minutes.

“There are certainly some European airports that have given themselves targets, and we're looking at that and looking at technology and looking at ways in which we can improve or reduce the waiting times,” he said.

Garneau declined to say whether Ottawa would be prepared to boost funding to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the agency responsible for airport screening, to make the improved service a reality.

“I'm not going to discuss financial issues.  We're looking at what it is that we can do to shorten the time, and, in due course, we'll have things to say,” he said.

Protect yourself against mumps
With Toronto facing its worst outbreak in years, learn how to keep yourself safe
March 15, 2017
Graeme McNaughton
(oshawaexpress.ca)
mumps
With the outbreak of the mumps virus, seen here, in Toronto has not made its way easy to Durham Region, health officials say residents can still take precautions to prevent getting sick.

The City of Toronto is on the verge of having its worst outbreak of mumps in recent history, with 31 confirmed cases thus far.  While the Region of Durham has been spared thus far, that doesn't mean residents can`t be proactive.

Mumps, also known as epidemic parotitis, is caused by the mumps virus.

“The most common symptom is the swelling of the salivary glands or parotid glands, and it can make your neck or cheek bulge out on one or both sides,” says Denise Sampson, a public health nurse with the Region of Durham.

“Rarely, it can have serious complications that could include swelling of the testicles and ovaries, hearing loss or a type of meningitis.  Those are rare, though.”

Other symptoms of mumps include fever, muscle pain, exhaustion and headaches, with symptoms typically coming 16 to 18 days after exposure and lasting for seven to 10 days.

Sampson says mumps is spread via direct contact with an infected person's saliva or nasal secretions.

“If you live in a household with someone who's diagnosed with the mumps, living in close quarters, being in contact with their secretions - kissing, coughing, sneezing, sharing food or drinks, eating utensils, lipstick, toothbrush, mouth guards.  Sometimes when young kids share toys, they put their mouth on it,” she says.

The outbreak in Toronto is believed to have started in bars in the city's west end, primarily hitting people ages 18 through 35.  However, the outbreak has now reached younger parts of the population, with the Toronto District School Board reporting four confirmed cases there.

Sampson says the reason many in the 18-35 age demographic are more susceptible to catching mumps is because of changes to vaccination schedules more than 20 years ago.

“Some people only did get a one-dose series.  The immunization schedule changed at a certain point.  But what the general thought is that anyone born before 1970 has what we call herd immunity.  There was enough mumps circulating in the community at that time that you had immunity or you likely had the mumps,” Sampson says.

“Those people born between 1975 and 1995 were likely only offered a single dose of the MMR vaccine as a young child.  And then in 1996, there was quite a campaign that was done related to measles, and some children got the MMR vaccine or some got a measles only vaccine.”

While the number of mumps cases in Durham Region is low - there were only five reported cases in the region in 2016 - there are steps people can take to help prevent themselves from getting sick.

“The best way to make sure you don't get it is make sure that your vaccines status is up to date, especially depending on which age group you're in.  Then you can reduce your risk by not having exposure to other people's mouth and nasal secretions - don't share food, drinks, water bottles, towels or mouth guards,” she says, adding that people should also be sure to wash their hands and stay home if they're sick.

“That's for many infections that are bacterial or viral out in the community.  The winter is a great time to breed certain things, so it's a good time to use those skills.”

To learn whether your vaccinations are up to date and if you need another mumps vaccination shot, please consult with your doctor or other health professional.

For more information, you can call the Durham Health Connection line at 1-800-841-2729.

Facts About Mumps
Durham Health
March 14, 2017
(durham.ca)

What is it?
Mumps is a disease caused by a virus, which begins as an infection of the nose and throat but may spread through the blood to many parts of the body.  Mumps was a major cause of viral meningitis prior to widespread use of the mumps vaccine.

Most people with mumps recover fully, however mumps can occasionally cause complications including temporary or permanent hearing loss, mumps encephalitis (swelling of the brain), infection of the testes in post pubertal males (sterility is rare), and the ovaries in females.  Mumps can also cause meningitis, an infection of the fluid and lining that cover the brain and spinal cord.  Mumps infection during the first trimester of pregnancy has been associated with a higher chance of miscarriage.

How is it spread?
The virus is spread from person to person by direct contact with nose or throat secretions from an infected person through sneezing, coughing, kissing, or sharing drinks.  The virus can also be spread through indirect contact when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and someone else then touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose.  A person with mumps is able to spread the infection from 7 days before to 5 days after symptoms develop.

What do I look for?
Fever, swelling and tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands, usually the parotid glands (at the angle of the jaw) are common symptoms of mumps.  Respiratory symptoms may also occur.  Approximately 20 to 30% of mumps infections do not cause swelling of glands and don't have any symptoms.

How is it treated?

There is no specific treatment for mumps.  Supportive care including rest, fluids and pain relievers may be given.

How can I protect myself?

  • Mumps is best prevented by vaccination.
  • See Facts About...Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccine or Facts About...Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella Vaccine.
  • Keep up to date with vaccinations and speak to your doctor/health care provider about your need for other vaccines.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow and encourage others to do the same.
  • Wash your hands after handling nose or throat discharges (i.e., after disposal of facial tissues containing nose and throat discharges).
  • Do not share water bottles, straws, eating utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, toys or anything else that has been in contact with saliva, nose or throat secretions.
  • If you are ill, stay at home and isolate yourself from others.

For the most up to date information, visit Durham Health Facts About...Mumps page.

FAX about ... Increases Mumps Activity
Durham Health Department (durham.ca)
Mumps Fax
Click image to view fullsize PDF 
Happy Holi!
March 12, 2017

"I was pleased to attend with the Durham Hindu Heritage and Community Centre."

Holi 01
Holi 02 Holi 03 Holi 04

Click image to view full size photo 
Durham Region Health Department encourages regular cancer screenings as a part of Colon Cancer Awareness Month
NEWS RELEASE
March 10, 2017

Durham Region Health Department encourages regular cancer screenings as a part of Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Whitby, Ontario, March 10, 2017 - March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Durham Region Health Department is encouraging all residents to learn about colon cancer risks and what you can do to prevent them.

“Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in Canada and is the second leading cause of cancer death,” explains Brian Dallaway, a public health nurse with the Health Department.  “When caught early through regular screening, there is a 90 per cent chance that colorectal cancer can be cured.”

Men and women over the age of 50 can get checked every two years with a fecal occult blood test (FOBT).  The FOBT is a free test that you can do at home.  This test looks for blood in the stool which may be a sign of colon cancer.  You can get an FOBT kit from your health care provider, or by calling the Telehealth Colorectal Screening Program at 1-866-828-9213.  While rates of screening are rising, less than half of eligible Durham Region residents are getting checked.   Women, newcomers to Canada and aboriginal populations have the lowest cancer screening rates.

Last year, Cancer Care Ontario launched MyCancerIQ, an innovative online cancer risk assessment tool that determines your risk of developing breast, cervical, colon and lung cancer.  My CancerIQ is designed for Ontarians to build a cancer risk profile that highlights individual cancer risks compared to other Ontarians.  This tool also provides you with a personalized health action plan so you can immediately begin to reduce your cancer risk.  My CancerIQ is available online at www.mycanceriq.ca.

For more information about cancer screening please visit www.durham.ca/screening or call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

- 30 -

Media inquiries:
The Regional Municipality of Durham
Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999 or glendene.collins@durham.ca
If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact 1-800-841-2729.

Pickering executive committee approves plans for online voting in 2018 election
Kristen Calis
March 8, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - Pickering residents may not have to actually head to the polls to vote in the 2018 municipal election.

On March 6, the executive committee approved plans to go ahead with online and telephone voting in the 2018 municipal election, but it will be up to council for final approval on March 13.

Internet and telephone voting would ideally be available for an eight-day advance voting period.  Voters would receive an information package in the mail, which would contain their elector identification number and information about the voting process, as well as a secure website address where they would go to register.

The city still plans to keep some polling stations open in 2018 on election day.

Although the use of Internet/telephone voting reduces costs as compared to traditional paper ballot voting, maintaining some polling locations on election day will offset most of those cost savings.  But a staff report says savings are expected to be realized after several election cycles, when Internet/telephone voting is expected to become more commonplace, and polling locations can be eliminated.  The last municipal election cost the city around $200,000 and the 2018 election, even with online voting in place, is expected to cost around the same.

While online voting is believed to encourage participation, allow residents and voters who are out of town to vote, and enhance accessibility, some concerns exist with voter authentication.

“Basically that's the only issue, is that it's at-home voting and no one's supervising it,” said city clerk Debbie Shields.

But the staff report noted, to date, of the 97 Ontario municipalities to use Internet voting, none have identified a case of voter fraud or other process problems sufficient to challenge an election.

In the 2014 regular election, the Town of Ajax solely used Internet and telephone voting and saw an increase in their overall voter turnout from 25 to 30 per cent.  The 2016, the Town of Whitby North Ward One by-election also used Internet and telephone voting and saw a voter turnout of 29 per cent compared to 26 per cent in the regular election.

Pickering introduces new, convenient online registration system
March 8, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - The City of Pickering is introducing a brand new registration system this spring that allows for fast and convenient searching, browsing and registration for programs and activities, any time, anywhere, from mobile devices and computers.

Active Net offers improved online user experience and greater program registration flexibility and reporting capabilities.  More accurate and timely data will support better understanding of program participation and allow adjustments to recreation programming in line with the changing needs of the public.  Programs can be searched by keyword, day, time, location and more.

Visit ca.apm.activecommunities.com/cityofpickering/ to view the website.

Registration for spring and summer aquatics programs starts on March 21, and leisure program registration begins on March 23.

Pickering Museum Village staff seek public input
March 1, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - Pickering Museum Village staff are collecting public feedback to help develop a new strategic plan.

Durham's largest living history museum has more than 7,000 schoolchildren visiting the site each year.

Museum operations co-ordinator Katrina Pyke is seeking public input to shape the museum's next six years.

Public Input sessions will be held for those who register to participate on Monday, April 3 in the evening and Monday, April 10 in the afternoon at the Pickering Recreation Complex, 1867 Valley Farm Rd. Register by calling 905-420-2222 or emailing customercare@pickering.ca and choosing the afternoon or evening session.

Visit www.pickering.ca/museum to follow the strategic plan development process, or to complete an online survey.  Updates will also be posted @PickeringMuse on Facebook and Twitter.

Pickering consulting public on recreation master plan
Pickering News Advertiser
March 1, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - The City of Pickering is preparing a Recreation and Parks Master Plan to guide the development of recreation and parks facilities, programs, and services over the next 10 years.

Public consultation is being done in the form of telephone surveys, online surveys, comments and a public open house.  Public input sessions and a pop-up event took place in January and February.

Submit comments by March 31 in writing at any municipal facility, or send by email to communityservices@pickering.ca.

A public open house will be held at the end of the process to present the draft master plan.

The master plan is scheduled to be completed by the fall.  Project information, updates, documents and opportunities for participation can be found at www.pickering.ca/recreationandparks.

Pickering council passes 2.69% tax increase
Council shows support for new city centre project in downtown
February 28, 2017
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
Mayor Dave Ryan
Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan
Mayor Dave Ryan noted Pickering has had less than one per cent assessment growth year over year for more than a decade.

PICKERING - Council approved a 2.69 per cent property tax increase Monday night when it approved the 2017 budget.

This means the average Pickering taxpayer can add an extra $40.40 to the municipal portion of their tax bill this year.  That's based on a home valued at $423,149.

Council unanimously approved an amendment by Ward 1 city Coun. Maurice Brenner that a two-to-2.5 per cent tax increase guideline be set for 2018, excluding special levies and a dedicated levy for escalating electric utility costs.

Last year, a similar guideline was also set, which Coun. Brenner said was a factor in bringing in the lowest tax levy in 17 years.

Ward 2 regional Coun. Bill McLean said this guideline highlights the financial pressures that the city faces, such as taxes and hydro costs, that residents also experience.

“We're really no different from the homeowners who are trying to manage their home,” he said.

Ward 3 regional Coun. David Pickles said the city reached a good balance between a tax increase and services.

He said he hopes businesses will grow and provide revenue along Highway 407, and added the Durham Live project, a proposed large entertainment complex that would include a casino, would also serve Pickering's bottom line.

The budget included $2.5 million to purchase land for future economic development activity near Hwy.  407.

Mayor Dave Ryan noted Pickering has had less than one per cent assessment growth year over year for more than a decade.

He said the success of the city in the future will depend on its ability to attract businesses to Pickering, which will offset the residential tax base.

“I think we have a very exciting future in front of us, one that we can certainly accomplish,” he said.

Council also approved hiring a consultant for the Pickering City Centre Project, which will include an expanded city hall, library, seniors' centre, youth programming and an arts centre.

“The commitment from Pickering reaffirms our partnership and brings our shared vision of a state-of-the-art performing and cultural centre in the city's downtown core closer to reality,” said Justice David Stone, chairman of the board of directors of the Durham West Arts Centre Foundation.


Commentary from Councillor Pickles

2017 City of Pickering Budget

City staff and Council are presently discussing the proposed City capital and operating budgets.  A public budget meeting was held February 16th.  The budget proposed and recommended includes $91.1 million for operations and $45.1 million for capital.  A few highlights from the proposed capital budget include:i

  • Rotary Frenchman's Bay Park Improvements
  • Westney Road (North)- Reconstruction & Paving
  • Michell Bridge - Reconstruction
  • West Shore neighbourhood sanitary sewer replacement
  • Highway 7 - Streetlights
  • Duffin Heights Village Green East - New Park Installation
  • Duffin Heights/Brock Road - Completion of Streetlights/Sidewalk/Multi-Use Path
  • Rossland Road - Completion of Reconstruction
  • Bus Rapit Transit bus-only lanes at Kingston Road & Whites Road intersection
  • Sixth Concession Road - Completion of Reconstruction
  • Finch Avenue (South) - Temporary Sidewalk
  • Glengrove Park - Reconstruction
  • Alwin Circle - Resurfacing
  • Squires Beach Road at Clements Road intersection traffic signals
  • Pickering Parkway - Resurfacing
  • Kingston Road - Sidewalks/Streetlights
  • Palmer Bridge - Bridge Replacement
  • Altona Road - Temporary Sidewalk

This results in a City of Pickering increase of 2.69% to City portion of property taxes.  However, the City portion of the total taxes is only approximately 30% of your property taxes; the Region of Durham portion makes up approximately 55% and the Province of Ontario (schools) makes up the balance (15%) of the total tax bill.  With a 2017 Region of Durham tax increase at 1.8% and no increase to school taxes, the overall total property tax increase in Pickering is approximately 1.80%. This is below the inflation rate of 2.0% and lower than many other GTA communities.  I believe this budget represents a fair and balanced investment in our municipal facilities and services to residents.  In a future article, I will discuss the matter of property reassessments by MPAC.

A close look at property taxes shows why Toronto council is slow to raise rates: James
Residents pay among the lowest rates in the GTA. But that is only one part of the story.
Royson James, Toronto Politics Columnist
February 25, 2017
(thestar.com)

Property taxes are a great bargain in almost all area municipalities - considering what we get in return.  And no matter how you look at it, the Toronto homeowner has it pretty good.

But a careful look at this year's budget documents shows Torontonians are not making off like tax bandits.  There are reasons for the low property-tax bill.  Some unique Toronto costs are not included.  The average doesn't account for hundreds of thousands who are tax-challenged.  And when your taxes are based on the real estate market, it is not unusual for some to be house rich and cash poor.

All that said, there is room to increase the property tax burden in a city where residents demand high-service standards and city councillors are loath to cut programs.

The average Toronto homeowner had the lowest property tax bill ($3,077) when compared to 25 other jurisdictions in the GTA and Ottawa and Hamilton last year.  But the Toronto tax bill does not include water and garbage disposal; plus, Torontonians pay an added land transfer tax.

Taken together (property tax, water, waste and land transfer tax), Toronto's tax bill falls to second lowest at $4,278.  Only Milton's is lower at $3,967.  Mississauga is not far away at $4,322, while Vaughan is sixth highest at $5,450 and King Township is king at $7,170.

Of course, user fees for parks and recreation, parking, permits and transit add to the “taxes” and vary widely across cities, but the bulk of the tax haul, all in, shows Toronto in an enviable position.

We are talking taxes on average.  The actual tax bill is much larger for a large number of people.  And the Toronto average is pushed lower by the large number of condo dwellers and their lower assessments.

The tax rate is what generates the tax amount.  And Toronto shines here - with the lowest tax rate (.69 per cent compared to 1.56 per cent in last place Oshawa) for several reasons.  The city has a large tax base over which to spread the burden.  And, historically, the large commercial towers downtown carried a disproportionate percentage of the tax burden, thus shielding residents.

Note that municipalities around Toronto - in an effort to attract business away from the core, loaded on a greater percentage of taxes on their homeowners and shielded businesses.  That partially explains why Mississauga's rate for homeowners is .87 per cent, Brampton's 1.1 per cent and Vaughan's .82 per cent.

Toronto is on a multi-decade mission to recalibrate the burden so that homeowners carry more and business carry less.  That means if the city now levies a 3 per cent tax hike on residents, the amount on business is capped at 1 per cent.

A sidebar on Oshawa: Its highest tax rate demonstrates the fact it does not have the businesses, tax assessment and commercial clout to spread the tax burden.  As such, you might expect Oshawa taxes to be among the highest.  But no, it was 11th among the 25 municipalities last year at $4,650 all in.  Either the council has found a way to squeeze a dollar better than anyone else or service levels are below their neighbours'.

Stung by criticisms that its taxes are too low, Toronto's councillors requested city staff provide other data showing how real estate values skew the city's tax burden.  Most people agree that property taxes are not progressive.  They do not reflect a person's ability to pay.  Income tax does and municipalities have asked for income tax to replace property taxes, but to no avail.

So finance staff figures show the average Toronto home has a household income of $98,033 - just five spots from the bottom among the 25 municipalities.  King tops out at $192,369; Oshawa has the lowest household income at $85,762.  So, despite the high real estate values, the average Toronto homeowner doesn't have the large income of their neighbours.

But when property taxes are measured as a percentage of household income, Brampton comes out worst at 4.6 per cent, with Oshawa second-worst at 4.5 per cent.  Toronto? Below the average 3.4 per cent - another plus - exceeded only by Milton, Oakville, Halton Hills and Burlington.

Some Toronto councillors have never accepted the fact that property taxes are based on the market value of a property.  Downtown properties are higher valued and so pay comparatively higher taxes, even if the home does not consume more services, they argue.  So, CFO Rob Rossini included some slides in this year's budget presentation to show the tax impact on different Toronto neighbourhoods.

They show taxes on a detached three-bedroom bungalow with one and a half baths and a one-car garage.  Such a property in Toronto's east end out to Scarborough was still the lowest at $2,728, compared to Pickering at $4,737 for a similar property.  In the west end, the taxes were higher at $3,503 (Mississauga was $4,277.) In North York, it was higher still at $4,017, more than Brampton and 19 of the 28 municipal regions compared.

And finally, in downtown, the taxes came in at $4,903 - second highest, next to Markham.

A similar study of taxes on a two-storey, three-bedroom home with a two-car garage and two and a half baths shows similar results.  The Toronto east-end property still has the lowest taxes in the entire region and a downtown property, if you can find the typical suburban home downtown, with the highest taxes.

The detailed examination of all sides of the tax debate doesn't change the fact that Toronto property taxes are lower than what's levied in the region.  But it adds layers to the annual debate and probably explains why city council is slow to jack up rates.

There are people out there - up in North Bay or down in Sarnia or out Kingston way - who think Ontario is subsidizing Toronto.  Actually, the opposite is the truth.

They resent announcements of $100 million for the Toronto Transit Commission when their local bus system gets $1 million.  But that's how it should be, considering the TTC carries 200, 300, 400 times the number of passengers.

They buy into the culture of anti-Toronto resentment that may be cathartic but economically destructive to the province, for if Toronto is lagging, Ontario drags.

The resentment bubbles vigorously to the surface at budget time.  Usually, Toronto trundles up to Queen's Park with the perennial ask for more cash.  It seems the city has an insatiable appetite.  The budget dance grows tiresome.  Ontarians look at the city's average property tax bill and sees red.  “You are not paying your fair share.  Raise taxes on your citizens before you hold a hand out to the province.”

If only it were that simple.

Even if city council were to double property taxes on Toronto residents, this fact remains: the province has robbed Toronto taxpayers of billions of dollars by dumping the costs of social services and housing onto local taxpayers.  Social housing cost, which is universally considered the responsibility of provincial and federal governments, rests heavily on the city's ledger.

Queen's Park should be paying for the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner - just like it does for Highway 410 or 427.

And there is a reasonable claim that all Ontarians should pay for more of the operating costs of the TTC.  Instead, the TTC must cover more than 70 per cent of its costs through the fare box - a percentage unheard of in world-scale public transit systems.  And the rest comes from Toronto property owners.

Housing, social services and transit are three of the crippling responsibilities that burden the big city.  Toronto accepts more than its share of the province's poor, disabled, homeless, transit-dependent and citizens who are dependent on the social safety net.  When city politicians run up to Queen's Park and ask the province to pick up provincial responsibilities, it is particularly hurtful to hear the rest of the province pile on instead of saying, thank you.

No one expects that dynamic to change.  What complicates the discussion is the fact everyone has an opinion on how much taxes Torontonians pay.  We read the real estate section and see the property taxes paid on a million-dollar home and are galled.

It is a little more complicated than that.

Pickering taxpayers can expect 2.69% property tax increase
Increase equals an extra $40.40 per year on average home
By Kristen Calis
February 17, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - The average Pickering taxpayer can expect to pay an extra $40.40 on their tax bill this year.

That's based on a home valued at $423,149.  The City of Pickering's executive committee approved a 2.69-per cent property tax increase at the budget meeting on Feb. 16.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you've delivered us a budget that is both historic and progressive,” Mayor Dave Ryan said to staff.  “Historic because it's the lowest budget increase in 17 years.  And it's progressive because it still provides a vision and strong foundation for the next decade of growth as our city continues to evolve.”

The committee approved a $200 tax break for seniors and people with disabilities.

The big item in the capital budget is $23.6 million for a new operations centre on Clements Road.

Roads projects are costing $5.7 million, with the largest being the full road reconstruction of Westney Road from Eighth Concession Road to Ninth Concession Road, costing $1.8 million.

The committee also approved $2.5 million to purchase land for future economic development activity near Highway 407.

The budget will come before council on Feb. 27 for final approval.

Pickering Fire Services urges residents to practise preventative measures following fatal fire in Brampton
February 17, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
 Pickering Fire Department
Pickering fire department

PICKERING - In the wake of the recent fatal fire in Brampton, Pickering Fire Services wants to remind the community of the importance of having working smoke alarms on every storey of the home, and practising a home fire escape plan.

“We want to ensure that these types of tragedies do not happen in Pickering,” said Pickering Fire Chief John Hagg.

“Early warning is crucial as many fatal fires occur at night when everyone is asleep,” said Hagg.  “While the Ontario Fire Code requires working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas, our fire department recommends that you install a smoke alarm in every bedroom.  For added protection, larger homes may require additional smoke alarms.”

Some other tips include installing a carbon monoxide alarm adjacent to each sleeping area if the home has a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage.  For optimum protection, it's recommended that additional CO alarms be installed on other levels and/or areas of the home that are in proximity to a CO source, subject to the distance limits provided in the product's instruction manual.  Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pressing the test button.

Regarding a home escape plan, all exits must be unobstructed and easy to use.  Everyone should know at least two ways out of each room, in the event that a door is blocked by smoke or fire.  All windows should open easily and screens and bars should be easy to remove.  One person should be responsible for helping children, older people, people with disabilities or anyone who may need extra assistance.

For more information, visit www.pickering.ca/fire.

Pickering celebrates Ontario and Canada's 150th birthdays
Events scheduled in Pickering throughout 2017
Kristen Calis
February 16, 2017
(durhamregion.com)
Canada 150
Pickering Canada 150
Benjamin Priebe / Metroland
PICKERING -- Sharon Milton, right, supervisor of recreation services for the City of Pickering, worked with a committee on Feb. 9 to plan one of Pickering's many anniversary events for Canada's 150th birthday this year.  February 9, 2017.

PICKERING - In the year that both Canada and Ontario celebrate their 150th birthdays, the City of Pickering will pay homage to the province and country at the events it hosts throughout the year.

The city will celebrate throughout all of 2017, featuring activity enhancements, new events and programs.

The celebrations kicked off immediately at the Mayor's New Year's Day Levee, which included the launch of a community art project celebrating The Group of Seven's Tom Thompson.

“Tom Thompson was born in Pickering and is an iconic Canadian artist,” said Tanya Ryce, supervisor of cultural services.

The city has hired an artist to create an outline of a painting by Thompson and she's teaching people how to fill it in using various materials.

“It's been broken up into a number of squares in a grid pattern,” said Ryce.

The project will travel to the Family Day event on Feb. 20 and hopefully to a few more this year, said Ryce.

The museum is also hosting a Tom Thompson exhibit in the summer.

The city has received grants from both the federal and provincial governments for event enhancements and is waiting on a couple more.

New on the agenda is the Journey Through Confederation on May 4.  This youth active living fair is supported by a $40,000 grant from the Canada 150 Fund.

The theme, Pickering's Confederation Journey - 1867 to 2067, will celebrate who we are as Canadians in 2017 and who we want to be in the future, said Ryce.

The event, for teens aged 13 to 19, will include inclusive, accessible heritage sport and recreation; entrepreneurship; art; dance; theatre; fashion; food and technology.

Another major event will take place on May 27, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture, Tourism and Sport.  The city will host a youth arts showcase - with the theme “I am Ontario” - an addition to Artfest on the Esplanade, Pickering's free annual event that celebrates the arts.

The youth-led project will be open to all residents of Ontario who are 25 and under and will include performances on the stage; an art show and sale; a juried competition for the selection of a designed public art piece; workshops and seminars; and immersive hands-on art activities to showcase local and iconic artists.

Canada Day festivities will be grand as usual in Pickering, but with a surprise guest Ryce is excited about, but can't yet disclose.

Residents can look out for a pop-up booth at various events, in which attendees can travel across Canada through the use of a green screen.

“What you're generally going to see is, as a community we're celebrating the things that make Ontario and a Canada a great place to live, work and play,” said Ryce.  “We're going to celebrate all that is Canada, who we will be and who we have been through all our events.  It's just a different lens from what we normally do.”

Residents are invited to share their Canada 150 celebrations with the city by tagging #PickeringProud or #Canada150 in social media posts.  They can visit www.pickering.ca/en/Canada150.aspx for a full list of events, more information and to learn how to get involved.

Land Sale Mixed Use Development
2510 Brock Road, Pickering
February 15, 2017
Land Sale
Click image above to see full size image 
The Regional Municipality of Durham
News Release
Passing of Regional Councillor Nancy Diamond
February 13, 2017

Whitby, Ont.  - On behalf of The Regional Municipality of Durham, we send our deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and council colleagues of Regional Councillor Nancy Diamond, following her sudden passing.  She faithfully served her community for many years.  

“Councillor Diamond was a formidable force in municipal politics”, said Regional Chair and CEO Roger Anderson.  “She was a strong female leader at a time when it was less common to see women in senior public service roles.  She also led many local community endeavours and will be truly missed”.  

Nancy was born in 1941 and served as Oshawa's mayor for 12 years from 1991 to 2003 after sitting as a city councillor from 1988 to 1991.  In 2010 she returned to Oshawa City Council and Durham Regional Council and was re-elected in 2014.  Among her many accomplishments, Councillor Diamond championed the creation of a university in Oshawa, economic development and transportation initiatives.  She pursued solutions to gridlock and the development of social housing with admirable determination.  Councillor Diamond embraced multiculturalism, keeping taxes low, and the advancement of local and national prosperity.  

A book of condolences will be available at The Regional Municipality of Durham Headquarters, located at 605 Rossland Road East.  Flags at Regional Headquarters have been half-masted in her memory.  Her family will be in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult and private time.

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Media inquiries:
The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Sherri Munns - Director, Corporate Communications
905-668-7711 ext. 2068 or sherri.munns@durham.ca

If this information is required in an accessible format, please call 1-800-372-1102 ext. 2036.

Durham warns of scammers trying to sell water filters, treatment equipment
Keith Gilligan
February 10, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM - Salespeople going door-to-door who want access to test water or examine water meters are not connected with Durham Region.

The region has been contacted by residents asking about such salespeople, but Durham doesn't sell or endorse water filters or treatment equipment.

John Presta, the director of environmental services for Durham, said, “Some of these individuals make false or misleading statements about water quality and/or the mandatory replacement of water meters.  The region provides clean, safe drinking water which meets provincial water quality standards.  Our water undergoes daily monitoring and testing and does not require further filtration or monitoring at residents' expense.”

If someone shows up at your door, remember the following to protect yourself from scams:

  • Ask for identification.  All regional employees and authorized contractors carry photo ID.
  • Did you request this house call? Regional staff will not visit without sending an official letter and/or scheduling an appointment.
  • Call the visiting organization, or the region, to confirm that the visit is legitimate.
  • Don't feel pressured to sign contracts on the spot, or to let anyone into your home.
  • Never give out your personal information.

Durham provides safe drinking water through the municipal water supply system, meeting Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards.  The quality and safety of the region's water is confirmed at an accredited laboratory, which is licensed by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

The region has established a residential meter replacement upgrade program with its contractor, Neptune Technology Group, to replace or upgrade the meters in homes at no charge to residents.  If the meter at your premises requires replacement or an upgrade, before contractors show up, you will receive an official letter from the region notifying you of the upcoming water meter replacement or upgrade.

You will also receive a letter from Neptune Technology Group advising you of how to book your appointment.  The letter requests that residents set up an appointment with the contractor.  Neptune installers will arrive on the arranged date and they are uniformed, carry ID, and are highly skilled to ensure a professional installation.

Information on water-quality testing is available from the region by contacting the works department at 905-668-7711, and from water quality reports, available online at www.durham.ca/water.

Ontario Providing More Transit Funding for Durham Region
February 1, 2017

Ontario is boosting support for Durham Region, providing them with reliable, long-term funding to improve and expand local transit and offer more travel options for commuters and families.

Starting in 2019, Ontario will increase funding for Durham Region and other ... READ MORE

Transit Announcement
Announcement of transit funding for Durham from the Province of Ontario
Regional chairman pushes for Pickering airport campaign at Oshawa business luncheon
Reka Szekely
January 27, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

OSHAWA - Durham Regional chairman Roger Anderson called on members of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce to push for a Pickering airport at his annual speech to the group.

Anderson pointed out that the federal government picked up the lands for a potential airport in north Pickering more than 40 years ago.  The regional chairman said he's discussed the issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on three separate occasions and called the federal government “wishy-washy” on the issue.

“The federal government has an opportunity to create 35,000 to 40,000 jobs in Pickering.  It's time they made a decision,” he told the group at the Jan. 24 luncheon.  He also pointed out the region has spent $70 million servicing the lands for the airport.

Anderson said those jobs would allow kids who grew up in Durham and went to school in the region to live and work here as adults.

The father of two referenced his battle with cancer and his upcoming surgery when talking about the importance of having family close by.

“Right at this moment, there's nothing I want more than my kids to be close to me, nothing, especially in a couple of weeks,” said Anderson.  “This is important.  I want my grandchildren to be close.”

He asked the luncheon attendees to pick up a card listing emails for federal and provincial officials and contact them about the importance of building an airport in Pickering.

“It's our future, it's your future, it's your kids' future, it's your kids' kids' future,” he said.

Anderson also touched on a number of other infrastructure issues, including provincial transit issues.

He pointed out that the Durham connectors to Hwy.  407 - the 412 and 418 - will be tolled while similar connectors in other parts of the GTA are not and said he wouldn't mind the two hours of additional premium time each morning on the Durham portion of the 407 if the province removed the tolls on the connector highway.  Durham drivers will pay extra to use the toll road between 6 and 10 a.m. while the window for the rest of the 407 is 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

He also talked about the need for better GO service.

“Extracting progress for Durham on the transportation file has taken constant pressure, constant pressure on the province from myself, from our mayors and our staff,” he said.  “Durham will continue to press the province and more importantly Metrolinx - who operates GO - for transit funding and timing commitments that better match the growing demand and the pace of development along Durham Region's lakeshore communities.”

He briefly joked about the new presidency of Donald Trump in the United States, saying that he thought they would get along before making more serious comments on the issue.

“It does worry me, but I do believe the fact that Canada and Ontario are the biggest trading partners for the United States, the fact that 21 states in the northern parts of the U.S.  do more trade with Ontario than any other country will have some influence on whatever Donald Trump is going to do with the NAFTA agreement.”

Pickering Civic Award Nominations
January 5, 2017
Civic Awards Invite
Click the image above to open the 2016 Civic Awards Nomination Form 
Pickering City Centre Transformational Zone
January 4, 2017
article_sample
Click on image above to read the full article 
Pickering 101 teaches residents how to understand local government
January 4, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - The City of Pickering is offering a free, eight-session course designed to help Pickering residents understand how their local government works.

This will be the city's second year of delivering the course.  'Pickering 101 - Your City.  Right Now.' was designed to guide and enhance the city's engagement efforts.

Through weekly two-hour classes, city staff will teach participants how to understand and actively engage in the planning and processes behind the facilities, services, events and programs that touch their everyday lives.

“The city is committed to building a culture of community engagement, and to provide residents with a greater sense of agency, purpose, connectedness and responsibility,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.  “We welcome all backgrounds, experiences, and abilities - it's about building trust, and making meaningful, lasting relationships with those who call Pickering home.”

The course will run on Wednesday evenings, from March 29 to May 17.  Interested applicants can register at www.pickering.ca/pickering101.

News Release
For Immediate Release
January 4, 2017

Pickering 101 - Your City.  Right Now.

Pickering, ON, January 4, 2017 - The City of Pickering is offering a free, eight-session course designed to help Pickering residents understand how their local government works.

This will be the City's second year of delivering the course, Pickering 101 - Your City.  Right Now., a recommendation first identified in the City's Community Engagement Strategy, which was designed to guide and enhance the City's engagement efforts.

Through weekly, two-hour classes, City staff will inform participants with the knowledge they need to understand, and actively engage in, the planning and processes behind the facilities, services, events and programs that touch their everyday lives.

“The City is committed to building a culture of community engagement, and to provide residents with a greater sense of agency, purpose, connectedness and responsibility,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.  “We welcome all backgrounds, experiences, and abilities - it's about building trust, and making meaningful, lasting relationships with those who call Pickering home.”

The course will run on Wednesday evenings, from March 29 to May 17, 2017.  Interested applicants can register at pickering.ca/pickering101.

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As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet.  An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here.  Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.

Shauna Muir

Coordinator, Communications | Office of the CAO

905.420.4660 ext.  2134 | 1.866.683.2760

smuir@pickering.ca

Pickering library helps residents operate new technology devices
January 3, 2017
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING - Pickering residents who received a device over the holidays and need some help learning how to use it, don't have far to go.

Pickering Public Library members can book a 45-minute appointment with technology staff.  All appointments will be held at the Central Library, 1 The Esplanade S, Pickering, and are offered during the following times:

  • Saturday, Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 11 from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 17 from 1 to 5 p.m.

For more information or to register, visit www.picnet.org/node/2591.

Retail Pages - January
January 2017

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Wishing you all good health, happiness and success in the coming year and always.

Welcome Councillor Shaheen Butt, City Councillor - Ward 3

I welcome City Councillor Shaheen Butt to Pickering Council.  He was officially sworn in on Monday, December 12th with his family in attendance.  I look forward to working with Councillor Butt as part of the Ward 3 Team.  

Shaheen and wife, Ishrat, are home owners and property tax payers in Pickering where they have raised their two sons and daughter.  He has had a long career in corporate and consulting businesses.  Shaheen received a Pickering Civic Award in 2014 recognizing his many community volunteer contributions.  

Please welcome Shaheen to Pickering Council.  He can be reached at the Pickering Council office at 905.420.4605 or by email at sbutt@pickering.ca

Gary Polonsky's report on proposed airport released

The long-awaited report on the proposed Pickering

airport has been released and the author makes four recommendations:

“Undertake the analysis required to make a decision on the need for an airport including timing, type, size, location, capitalization, infrastructure, governance, and other pertinent factors”

“Continue engaging with stakeholders in the community throughout the process of making a decision on an airport and subsequent stages”.  

“Avoid interim development that could jeopardize aviation options, until after a decision is made on a potential airport, and continue to foster success of agricultural activities in collaboration with the farm community”.  

“Establish a Pickering Lands Advisory Network, consisting of a diverse representation of stakeholders for two broad purposes: a) to liaise with and advise Transport Canada on matters such as are referenced in this report; and b) to enable Transport Canada to

share information throughout all phases of development on the Pickering lands“.

Should you have any comments or questions please contact me.

When will my road be plowed?

Depending on the severity of the storm, the south urban area of Pickering can expect both salting and plowing within 12 to 18 hours after the storm.  The north rural area can expect salting or sanding and plowing within 24 hours.  Factors affecting these times include heavy snowfalls mixed with freezing rain and Ministry of Labour regulations that prohibit drivers from driving for more than 13 hours without a rest period.   For more information, maps and snow safety tips, visit www.pickering.ca/en/living/snowremovalclearing.asp.

eNewsletter

In order to keep you informed about Ward 3 and City news, subscribe to my eNewsletter.  To receive your free copy, please visit www.pickering.ca/eNews and check the box beside “Councillor David Pickles Newsletter” to subscribe.   By subscribing, you will receive periodic up-to-date information on important issues in Ward 3 and across the City.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

Executive Committee Meeting
Monday, January 9th
2:00 pm
Council Chambers

Planning & Development Committee Meeting
Monday, January 9th
7:00 pm
Council Chambers

Council Meeting
Monday, January 16th
7:00 pm
Council Chambers

Visit the City of Pickering's website at www.pickering.ca for a complete listing of events.  Click on the `Living' drop down menu and then on `Events Calendar'.

David Pickles
Regional Councillor - Ward 3
905.420.4605 | 1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739
dpickles@pickering.ca

Gary Polonsky's report on potential Pickering airport released
Kristen Calis
November 29, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Gary Polonsky
Gary Polonsky
Metroland file photo
PICKERING -- An independent advisor's long-awaited report on the possibility of an airport in Pickering has been released, and author Gary Polonsky makes four recommendations.

PICKERING -- An independent advisor's long-awaited report on the possibility of an airport in Pickering has been released, and author Gary Polonsky makes four recommendations.

The former Durham College president and founding president of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology was named in summer 2015 as an independent advisor to meet with local interests on the potential economic development opportunities surrounding for the federally-owned land in north Pickering, which includes a potential airport.

The federal government expropriated 18,600 acres of land in 1972 for an airport that hasn't come to be.  Transport Canada has since transferred 10,200 acres to Rouge National Urban Park, but still retains around 9,600 acres for economic development.

Polonsky met with business, government, aviation, agriculture/conservation, First Nations and academic stakeholders to hear their views on potential uses of the land.

The report summarizes each group's view, and recommendations.

Polonsky first recommends undertaking the analysis required to make a decision on the need for an airport including timing, type, size, location, capitalization, infrastructure, governance, and other pertinent factors; and second, to continue engaging with stakeholders in the community throughout the process of making a decision on an airport and subsequent stages.

Third, he suggests avoiding interim development that could jeopardize aviation options, until after a decision is made on a potential airport, and continue to foster success of agricultural activities in collaboration with the farm community.

Finally, he suggests establishing a Pickering Lands Advisory Network, consisting of a diverse representation of stakeholders for two broad purposes: to liaise with and advise Transport Canada on matters such as governance, financing, commercial activity on and around the airport, and to enable Transport Canada to share information throughout all phases of development on the Pickering lands.

Jets & Jobs
Jets and Jobs
Click image to view full document 
Pickering council appoints Shaheen Butt as ward 3 city councillor
Finished second in race against late Rick Johnson in 2014 municipal election
Kristen Calis
November 22, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Shaheen Butt
Shaheen Butt Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING - Shaheen Butt, who was the runner-up to the late ward 3 city councillor Rick Johnson, was appointed to the empty seat at the Nov. 21 Pickering council meeting.  Nov. 22, 2016

PICKERING -- To the disappointment of ward 3 residents at City Hall Monday night, council appointed a new local representative rather than calling a byelection.

“We need a representative from ward 3,” said longtime Brougham resident Gord McGregor.  “Not someone they picked, not someone they liked, not someone who follows the same line of thought that they do.  We need some honest people on there.”

The seat has been vacant since the death of ward 3 city Councillor Rick Johnson on Sept. 27.  Ward 3 is the area in which the federal government is considering building an airport, a sensitive topic to many residents who live nearby.

At the meeting on Nov. 21, council narrowly voted down a motion to call a byelection and chose to appoint Shaheen Butt, who came second to Johnson in the 2014 general election.  Butt will be sworn in at the December council meeting.

“The real reason I'm not supporting a byelection is the cost,” said ward 1 Regional Councillor Kevin Ashe.

He said an elected councillor would only serve for about a year before campaigning for the next general election begins.  And since a byelection wouldn't occur until late February or March, the seat could be vacant for six months after Johnson's death.

Coun. Ashe added winter elections historically have low voter turnout, and in the 2014 municipal election, ward 3 had the lowest number of people who went to the polls.

“It would not be unheard of to have a byelection turnout of less than 10 per cent,” he said.

During the meeting, ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean said “This is not a dictatorship where we get to appoint who we want” when he made a case for a byelection.

“It's up to the people of ward 3 ...  to vote for whomever's going to represent them in the best fashion,” he said.

Ward 1 city Councillor Maurice Brenner, who won his seat in January's byelection, also supported residents electing their next councillor.

“There are no consolation prizes for second place in politics,” he said.

Mayor Dave Ryan's vote against a byelection created a tie, meaning the case for a byelection was off the table.

“As people were asking us to spend their tax dollars judiciously it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to spend it that way,” he said after the meeting.

He felt there would be a dismal turnout in a dead-of-winter byelection, compared to 32 per cent in the ward in the 2014 general election.  He said the January 2016 voter turnout was just 14 per cent.

He said had Johnson's death occurred before he was sworn in, the Municipal Act would demand that the runner-up to the elected person automatically take the seat.

“When I put all of that together, it was logical to me and I think it supports the best interest of the community as a whole to support the appointment that I did,” he said.

Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles opposed a byelection.  He noted council has both appointed councillors and held byelections in the past and felt Butt received sufficient support when he finished second.  So he brought forward a motion for the appointment.

Butt, a 15-year ward 2 resident, had received 22 per cent of the vote in the 2014 general election, compared to Johnson's 57 per cent.

Former ward 3 Regional councillor Peter Rodrigues, who is openly opposed to an airport, spoke at the meeting, and indicated council didn't want a byelection for fear he would be re-elected.

McGregor shared the same sentiments.

“They're all against Peter because he's a guy at last who's going to put in some honesty, because Peter's an honest guy,” he said after the meeting.  “I'm just fed up with it, as I sit there with my mouth shut.  Enough is enough.”

Coun. Ashe and Mayor Ryan told reporters they do not know Butt's thoughts on a potential airport.

Resident Angie Jones was not pleased with the appointment.

“We all want to know where he stands on an airport,” she said.  “That's what we want to know because Rick Johnson was always against it.”

Butt attended the meeting but was not ready to share his thoughts on an airport.

He could understand both sides of the heated debate over an appointment versus a byelection.

“It was a battle and I understand the emotions that went through in ward 3,” he said.  “I think what they fail to know is they don't know me yet.  I'm willing to fight for them, I'm willing to talk with them, I'm willing to represent them.  That's what it's all about.”

Whitevale residents want natural Seaton park immediately north of hamlet
Planning and development committee will discuss Infrastructure Ontario's plan to build subdivision in the area
Kristen Calis
November 10, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
NAME
Seaton Park
Justin Greaves / Metroland
PICKERING -- Brigitte Sopher (left) and Mary Evans, residents of the hamlet of Whitevale, check out an old gravel pit north of the hamlet, where they would like a section treserved as a natural park, and not developed.  Oct. 6, 2016.

PICKERING -- Immediately north of the hamlet of Whitevale, hikers, joggers, nature lovers and locals enjoy the hills, trails and meadows of a former gravel pit that has now flourished as a living ecosystem.

But that could change as the large development of Seaton in central Pickering takes shape.  The community is expected to attract 70,000 people and 35,000 jobs and has been in the works since the 1970s.

Infrastructure Ontario, which manages the provincially owned land, has submitted a plan of subdivision to the City of Pickering.  The planning and development committee will consider the application and a zoning bylaw amendment at an upcoming meeting.

The Whitevale Marsh Preservation Committee is asking for a compromise that would benefit both current Pickering residents and those moving into Seaton.

“Within this considerable development, we are only asking for a small fraction, two to three hectares, to be left natural and managed for the enjoyment of all,” the group wrote in a letter to Ajax-Pickering MPP Joe Dickson and other members of the provincial government.

IO spokeswoman Bianca Lankheit said in an e-mail the gravel pit lands were designated as `residential' in the Central Pickering Development Plan in May 2006.

“In addition to aligning with City of Pickering's Official Plan Amendment and the Region of Durham's Official Plan, the plan of subdivision also reflects the Ontario Municipal Board's approved land use, which was determined in March 2013,” she said.

Lankheit said developing these lands will help create a work/live environment that's envisioned for Seaton.

But the Whitevale committee would like to see a natural park that would act as a transitional area between the manicured urban parks planned for the development and the existing Seaton Trail, a popular spot located along the West Duffins Creek in Pickering.

“We would like everybody to use the park,” said longtime Whitevale resident Brigitte Sopher.  “We are trying to take advantage of the feature that is already there.”

They suggest the flat expanses of land along North Road and north of the pit be developed, and the lower areas leading to the marsh be managed and enhanced with native species and trail heads.  The residents are not opposing the elementary school planned for the area, and feel the area could be beneficial to the children for ecological studies and projects.

“With a little TLC you could really see this thriving,” said Mary Evans, Whitevale resident.

The residents are looking for the City's support in the matter.

“I do think there is an opportunity for the City of Pickering to get behind it,” said Sopher.

Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles has met with the residents and says there could be room to tweak the plans to maintain more of the trails and offer more connections, possibly a trail head, with areas for parking.

“I don't think it's an all-or-nothing proposition,” he said.  “I hope maybe the Province can scale back some of the development plans to maintain some of the trails.”

Coun. Pickles will sit down with Infrastructure Ontario to discuss options.

“It's a really pretty area and it would be nice to preserve some of the trails,” he said.  “If we can preserve some of the trails and provide more access to the trails, they may be more willing to entertain that idea.”

Coun. Pickles says the Whitevale group's suggestions will be discussed when the application goes to the planning and development committee.

News Release
For Immediate Release
Pickering Landmark gets National Recognition November 8, 2016

Pickering Landmark gets National Recognition

Pickering, ON, November 8, 2016 - The LED-backlit Pickering crests, located on the east and west faces of the Pickering Civic Complex Tower, have been recognized at the 2016 Sign Competition Awards at Sign Expo Canada.

The City of Pickering congratulates Pattison Sign Group, the sign and visual communication company that led the crest installation work, and who received the esteemed award in the Fascia Signs/Channel Letters (Tenant Signage) category.

Sign Expo Canada is the Sign Association of Canada's National Trade Show, and is regarded as Canada's premier industry event.  The Trade Show showcases the latest and best products and services in the sign industry, as well as features the renowned Sign Competition, Wrap and Design Competition, and Creative Competition.

The pin-mounted, stainless steel crests were installed in summer of 2016, as part of a larger masonry repair project at Pickering City Hall.

Although Pickering's Logo has evolved over time, the crest, originally created in 1974, remains on a number of prominent landmarks in commemoration of the municipality's rich history.  The themes of atomic energy, industry, agriculture, greenspace, and Lake Ontario are all represented in the design.

Visit sac-ace.ca for more information on the winners, and pickering.ca for more information on the history of the City of Pickering Crest.

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As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet.  An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here.  Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.

Media Contact: Shauna Muir
Coordinator, Communications | Office of the CAO
905.420.4660 ext.  2134 | 1.866.683.2760
smuir@pickering.ca

Remembrance Day Ceremony
November 6, 2016
Remembrance Day
Laying a wreath in memory of my grandfather at yesterday's Remembrance service at City Hall. 
14th Annual Police Apprectation Dinner & Awards Night
October 28, 2016
PADAN
14th Annual Police Appreciation Dinner & Awards Night 
News Release
For Immediate Release
Pickering Named One of the Top 21 Smart Communities in the World
October 27, 2016

Pickering, ON, October 27, 2016 - The City of Pickering has been named one of the world's Smart21 Communities of 2017 by the Intelligent Community Forum.  The Smart21 program recognizes the global elite municipalities that are successfully leveraging the power of technology to create a more connected, engaged, vibrant, and sustainable community.

“The City of Pickering is thrilled to be named one of the world's top smart communities,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.  “The Smart21 international recognition boldly states that Pickering is making the necessary investments to its technology infrastructure in order to attract the best and brightest residents and businesses to our City”. The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) is a think tank based out of New York City that is comprised of a global network of cities and regions.  The ICF received approximately 400 submissions from around the world for the Smart21 Communities of 2017 awards program.  This is the very first year that the City of Pickering has participated.

The ICF has identified six indicators critical towards building an Intelligent Community:  Broadband; Knowledge Workforce; Innovation; Digital Equality; Sustainability; and Advocacy.  Some of Pickering's winning Intelligent Community initiatives include:

  • Pickering Public Library (PPL) Connects is an outreach program which teaches digital literacy skills; and loans out laptops and portable hotspots to low income households in order to provide equitable access to digital technology.
  • Access Pickering features 35 permanent wireless access points across the City, which currently sees over 5,000 residents connecting every month.
  • Celebrating Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program facilitates group projects that support Pickering's 55 indicators of sustainability.  To date, the program has engaged thousands of residents and visitors and provided significant funding to implement a number of community enhancement projects.
  • Downtown Intensification Study incorporated community engagement to develop the vision for a bold, vibrant, and livable downtown.

“Technology is the backbone of an intelligent community ecosystem, and will drive our transformation into a more sustainable, modern, agile, resilient, and smart (SMART) community,” said Dale Quaife, Manager, Information Technology, and Project Lead, Intelligent Community Initiative. “This recognition not only validates the innovative and leading work we are doing - it also provides more incentive for Pickering to continue with and expand its Intelligent Community efforts.”

Visit pickering.ca/smart for more information on Pickering's Intelligent Community initiatives.

-30-

As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet. Recognized by the Intelligent Community Forum as one of the world's top Smart21 Communities, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here. Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.

Media Contact:
Mark Guinto
Manager, Business Development & Public Affairs | Office of the Mayor
905.420.4660 ext. 2013  |  1.866.683.2760
mguinto@pickering.ca

Report to Executive Committee
Northern Roads Hard Surface Strategy
October 11, 2016
Report
Click on image above to open full report in PDF form 
Paving Pickering's roads
Council approves hard surfacing strategy for loose roads in the north
October 26, 2016
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
Louis Mignault
Roadside Strategy
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
PICKERING -- Longtime Pickering resident Louis Mignault has been waiting for Pickering to improve its roads in the north part of the city for years.  He is pleased that the City of Pickering has approved a strategy to fix the roads in the area, particularly Westney Road.  Oct. 20, 2016

PICKERING -- Longtime north Pickering resident Louis Mignault is pleased that he'll have to wash his car a little less in the future thanks to a new roads strategy adopted by City council.

“I have suffered for 30 years of that incredibly horrible dirt road,” Mignault said of Westney Road.

The Northern Roads Hard Surfacing Strategy identifies existing loose surface roads to be upgraded to hard surface roads, from Taunton Road to the Uxbridge-Pickering Townline.  Council adopted the strategy at its Oct. 17 meeting.

Based on criteria such as maintenance cost savings, financial resources available, average daily traffic, and resident concerns regarding road conditions, upgrades to five roads will be up for approval in the 2017 capital budget for a price tag of $11.6 million.

“All the roads on there we're expecting will be in the five-year forecast,” said Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles.

Staff plans to finish Westney within the next two years, and the others will follow.

“At least we know which roads we're looking at,” said Coun. Pickles.  “We can rationale toward them, we can budget for them.”

Mignault petitioned the City 15 years ago, along with 60 others, to do something about Westney.

“It was basically a country road slapped together and since it is a valley it gets a lot of water problems.  Every time there is a bit of rain you get huge potholes and mud and of course in the spring when the ice melts it's just a disaster area,” he said.

The City maintains about 61 kilometres of paved roads in the area (which includes both northbound and southbound lanes), and 104 kilometres of loose surface roads.

“Particularly the cars were always filthy so it was very difficult to get to where you were going with clean clothes because you couldn't help touching your car because it was caked with mud very often,” Mignault said.

He said the mud would damage his brakes and his wheel balance.

“The big advantage is we could always find our car in the parking lot,” he joked.

The avid cyclist also packs up his bike and drives to the paved roads in Uxbridge so he can ride on a smooth surface.

Mignault believes most of the City's attention has been on south Pickering in the past and he's pleased to see improvements taking shape in the north.

The roads will not only provide better connectivity to regional roads and Hwy.  407 and Hwy.  7, but to Seaton employment lands in the future as development continues in the north.

The approval stems from a past motion brought forward by Coun. Pickles.

“It's been a while in the making,” said the councillor.  “It's a good strategy, it's good work, it helps the City plan and will make a difference for residents in north Pickering as well.”

The roads will be reconstructed, rather than resurfaced, due to the gravel base quality and thickness, which is currently inadequate.

According to a staff report, the average operating cost for loose surface roads is more than four times that of hard surface roads.  From 2011 to 2015, the average maintenance cost for loose surface roads was $7,700 per kilometre and the operating cost for hard surface roads was $1,801 per kilometre.

Northern Roads

ROADS TO BE PAVED IN NORTH PICKERING

  1. Westney Road - 7th concession Road to 8th concession Road, and 8th Concession Road to 9th Concession Road
  2. Sideline 14 - Hwy.  407 to 7th Concession Road
  3. 7th concession Road - Sideline 32 to Sideline 26, Sideline 26 to Sideline 22 and Sideline 22 to Brock road
  4. Kinsale Road - Hwy.  407 and 7th concession Road
  5. Sideline 24 - 407 to Whitevale Road
Barrier Free Project
October 27, 2016
form_for_barrier_free_project
Click image to access full size PDF form 
Letter - Northern Road Hard Surface Strategy
letter
Click image to view entire letter 
Trans Canada Trail Pickering Portion
October 20, 2016
Pickles on Bike
Took a ride with Bruce MacDonald on the Trans Canada Trail today, through our section in Durham Region (the Pickering portion). It was a bit wet, but still had a great conversation on how we might improve it. 
Map of Ride
 
Pickering Councillor Rick Johnson remembered as a 'larger than life character'
Hundreds attend funeral in Claremont for man who loved family and community
October 2, 2016
Keith Gilligan
(durhamregion.com)
Eulogy for Rick Johnson
Rick Johnson funeral
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
PICKERING -- Councillor Kevin Ashe gives a eulogy during the funeral for Rick Johnson, the longtime and colourful Pickering city councillor who died suddenly on Sept. 27, at the Dr.  Nelson F.  Tomlinson Community Centre in Claremont.  October 1, 2016.

PICKERING -- There were tears, laughter and smiling nods as mourners remembered Rick Johnson, the “very much larger than life character” who passed away on Sept. 27.

Johnson, a long-time Pickering politician, was remembered for his work in the community, his funny side, his love for his family and his love for Pickering.

It was standing room only at the Nelson F.  Tomlinson Community Centre (formerly the Claremont Community Centre) on Saturday, Oct. 1, as more than 300 people turned out to remember Johnson.

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan told the gathered that all of Pickering council was at the ceremony.

“None of us are here today for anything other than we called Rick Johnson our friend,” Mayor Ryan said.  “Rick did a great job.  He did a good job for all of us.  He was dedicated politician who liked to play hockey and none of us wanted to go into the corner with him.” Johnson served on Pickering council for more than two decades, starting in 1988.  He held office continually until he lost his Regional Council seat in 2010.  He was re-elected a City councillor in the 2014 municipal election.

Kevin Ashe, a fellow Pickering councillor, said it wasn't easy to speak about Johnson because “there's so much emotion attached to it.  Number two there are so many stories and number three, there are so many stories that I can't say in public.”

He noted Johnson was a businessman, a musician, he loved to play sports, particularly hockey, slo-pitch and golf.  Johnson was extremely good at fundraising, having “raised tens of millions for charity.”

Johnson raised money for the Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital, the local Big Brothers association and to help build Herizon House, a shelter for abused women and children.  “It arguably wouldn't be built without Rick's involvement,” Ashe said.

He noted Johnson's election signs had the slogan `We Want Rick Johnson back.'

“That's never more appropriate than today.  He was a guy's guy, a man's man.  There was an underlying tenderness and a sparkle in his eye,” Ashe added.

Fellow Pickering councillor David Pickles noted, “Rick had the gift of gab and 90 per cent of it was about politics, sports and music.  And, some of it was true.

“Some times, in quieter times, he would speak about (wife) Susan and how much she supported him in politics, business and music,” Pickles said.  “A lot of people never saw that quieter side, but it was certainly there.”

Of all his fundraising, Pickles said Johnson was “most proud of establishing the women's shelter.  Rick is still a legend there for his fundraising.”

Johnson's friend Gord `Jigger' James said, “I'm not involved in politics.  I'm just his buddy.”

James played hockey with Johnson for years, with James at centre and Johnson one of his wingers.  “He was that guy who went into the corner and brought the puck out.”

He remembered the time when he and Johnson woke up on Feb. 14 and realized they hadn't bought Valentine's cards for their wives.  The two hustled over to a drug store in Stouffville and then hurried back to the Johnson's Brougham house.  They signed the cards in the car and James asked Johnson how many cards would Susan be getting from guys named Rick.  Just him, Johnson said.

“Then why did you sign the card `Love Rick Johnson'?” James asked.

“He's not leaving.  I'm not saying goodbye to him.  The stories I shared with you will always be with me,” James said.  “He was my best man and my winger.  Maybe God needed a winger more, but he'll always be with us.”

Another friend, Kurrie Storey, noted, “He was very much a larger than life character.  He was almost cartoon like, between Wile E.  Coyote and Capt.  America.  I never met a character like him and I never will.”

Reverend Karen Smart noted Johnson was a “vibrant, up-front kind of guy.  He and Susan were married for 41 years and they built a warm and welcoming home in Brougham.”

Rev.  Smart read a note by Johnson's son Chris.

“My dad taught me how to catch a ball, swing a golf club, how to skate and to shake hands and look the person in the eye,” Chris wrote.  “My dad taught me how to be the man I am today.”

Johnson is survived by his wife Susan, son Chris, daughter-in-law Cathy, mother Lorene, siblings Randy, Doug, Mark and Denise, and his `grand-dogs' Hershey and Nestle.  He's predeceased by his son Russell, father Ivan and brother Mike.

He was buried at Brougham Union Cemetery.

Visitation & Funeral Arrangements
for Rick Johnson
September 28, 2016

The following arrangements have been confirmed:

Visitation at McEachnie Funeral Home on Friday from 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm.

There will be additional visitation at the Dr. Nelson F. Tomlinson Community Centre on Saturday, at 12 pm, followed by the Service at 1:30 pm.

News Release - City and Community Mourns Loss of Councillor Rick Johnson
September 28, 2016

For Immediate Release

City and Community Mourns Loss of Councillor Rick Johnson
Pickering, ON, September 28, 2016 - We are deeply saddened at the loss of our friend and colleague Councillor Rick Johnson.

Councillor Johnson was a dedicated and passionate advocate for Pickering and represented Ward 3 tirelessly for over two decades.  In that span, he worked diligently on behalf of Pickering as both a politician and as a community leader.

Councillor Johnson has held a number of respected roles over the years, including Deputy Mayor, Durham Region Public Works Chairman, Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority Chairman, Veridian Energy Corporation Director, Durham Non-Profit Housing Director, Durham Region Master Transportation Plan Chairman, and Member of GTA Regional Public Works Chairs Committee.  He served as a Local Councillor from 1988 to 1991, Regional Councillor from 1991 to 2010, and returned to the City in 2014 to serve as a City Councillor.

Councillor Johnson had a down-to-earth style that won him many friends and supporters. His influence went beyond Pickering and can be felt across Durham Region. Expressions of condolence are flooding into City Hall from those who have been touched by Councillor Johnson's compassion and generosity.  For those of you who wish to offer condolences to his family, an online form is available on the City website and a book of condolence is available at City Hall.

Details regarding funeral and visitation arrangements are forthcoming and will be shared on the City website.  Our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies go out to Rick's wife Susan, his son Chris, the rest of his family and many friends and supporters.

He will be missed.

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Media Contact:
Joanne Hanna
Executive Assistant, Mayor l Office of the Mayor
905.420.4660 ext. 2198
1.866.683.2760
jhanna@pickering.ca

UPDATE: Pickering councillor Rick Johnson dies suddenly
Longtime resident served as councillor starting in 1988
September 28, 2016
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
Rick Johnson
Rick Johnson
Justin Greaves / Metroland
PICKERING -- The flags at Pickering City Hall are flying at half-mast after longtime and colourful Councillor Rick Johnson died suddenly on Sept. 27 after being taken to to Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital on Sept. 26.  A book of condolences has been set up at Pickering City Hall.  Sept. 28

 


PICKERING -- The mood was sombre and the flags were flying at half-mast at Pickering City Hall on Wednesday, after longtime, charitable and colourful Councillor Rick Johnson died suddenly.

The 62-year-old Ward 3 City councillor was taken to Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital on Monday, Sept. 26.  He died on Sept. 27.

“Rick was one of those community people that was frankly larger than life,” said a “heartbroken” Mayor Dave Ryan.  “He seemed to know everybody and everybody knew him.  He was very down to earth and had many friends and supporters.”

Mayor Ryan, a colleague and friend of Coun. Johnson's for more than 20 years, wrote on his Facebook page, “His influence went beyond Pickering and can be felt across Durham Region.”

The longtime north Pickering resident not only served the City on a political level but was also often seen out and about, whether it was playing hockey or baseball in Claremont, live music with his band, or simply meeting and greeting residents at various events throughout the city, such as his involvement as both auctioneer and golfer in the annual Mayor's Charity Golf Classic.

In fact, his friend Joan Wideman recalls a conversation with the councillor about his love of music at the recent golf tournament.

“He was very welcoming, a very fine man,” said Wideman, vice-president of corporate services for Pickering-based business, The Lenbrook Group.

Coun. Johnson held a diploma in agriculture from the University of Guelph and worked in the field for many years.  After high school and throughout university, he worked for S A Wideman Transport in Claremont.  When he was a young university graduate, he worked for Bobby Baun in north Pickering as his farm herdsman.  In the 1980s and 1990s, he ran Nash Can Booking Agency, through which he booked famous country music acts from Nashville.

“He loved country music,” said Wideman.

Even before his time on council, the musician put together a band, Rick Johnson and the County Jamboree.  He also started the Brougham County Jamboree on his farm which for 11 years drew crowds of a few thousand in the early years, and worked up to 5,000 each day.  His band continued to entertain audiences at many events over the years and was going strong until his death.

He eventually opened up a business selling hot tubs out of an old hardware store Brougham.

“He loved that hardware store,” said Wideman.  “And he loved the history of it.  He had a great respect for tradition and history.”

But he wasn't NIMBY.

“He understood diversity and welcomed it,” said Wideman.

Rick Johnson
Rick Johnson stands on Brock Rd. just south of Hwy.  7 in the hamlet of Brougham on August 19, 1999.  (Paul Irish Toronto Star photo)

 


Coun. Johnson served the municipality politically since 1988, when he was first elected as a local councillor for Ward 3.  In 1992, he began representing the City at Durham Region headquarters when he won a seat as Pickering Ward 3 Regional councillor.

His colleague, Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles said on Facebook he had the pleasure of knowing Coun. Johnson for more than 25 years, 14 of those as the Ward 3 team on council.

“Rick worked hard for the residents and charities in our community,” he said.  “His down-to-earth style and care for individuals was always apparent.  I enjoyed working with him and will miss him greatly.  Many did not see the many small things he did such as dropping off food and clothes for families in need.”

Coun. Johnson had taken a short break from politics when he was defeated in the 2010 election, but he stayed active in the community in that time.

He soon made his return to politics when in the next municipal election in 2014 he chose to run again, and was easily elected as City councillor for Ward 3.

During his time on council, he served in many capacities, which included deputy mayor; Durham Region public works chairman; Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority chairman and Veridian Energy Corporation director.

The vibrant councillor won many awards for his community service, including a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and a Paul Harris Fellow award.

Ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean is deeply saddened by his longtime colleague's passing.

“He was an excellent councillor who represented all residents of Pickering, especially those in ward 3,” he said.  “He was a caring, giving individual who raised tens of thousands of dollars for many great charities and was instrumental in getting a woman's shelter built in our community.”

He said Coun. Johnson will be greatly missed at City Hall and around in the community.

“I will also miss his many stories,” he said.

Ajax Mayor Steve Parish said, “When I heard, it was a real shock.  I guess it was a shock to everyone.  It's real tragic.

“He was part of the community and council.  He was active in charitable work,” Mayor Parish added.  “He was larger than life, the way he lived.  In some ways, it made him very effective in his political work and charitable work.  He was a character, but a good-hearted character.”

Durham Region Chairman Roger Anderson said, “Rick's contributions to our community were substantial.  His commitment to Pickering and the Region was always evident as he strived to find solutions in the best interest of the public.  Rick also went the extra mile to support charities from across the region in an effort to help sustain healthy communities.  We will miss him.”

Coun. Johnson was married to Susan, with two sons, Russell and Chris.  Russell died in a car crash when he was a teenager.

A book of condolences is set up at City Hall, One The Esplanade.

 


 

Durham bylaw would change makeup of regional council
Durham council passed a bylaw this week to change its composition, after a year-long review process.
Noor Javed
Sept. 16, 2016
(thestar.com)
Roger Anderson
Chair Roger Anderson says the process to examine the makeup of Durham council ensures "our urban and rural communities are treated equally." (Jesse McLean / Toronto Star file photo)

Durham Region's population growth over the past few decades could soon be reflected in the makeup of its regional council.

Council passed a bylaw this week to change its composition, after a year-long review process with local politicians and community members.

While the size of the council will remain the same - 28 members, plus a regional chair - the makeup will change slightly for three municipalities: the Town of Ajax and Town of Whitby would gain a seat each to increase their numbers to 4 and 5, respectively, while Oshawa would go down by two to a total of 6 representatives.  There would be no changes to the other five municipalities.

“This process allows us to ensure our urban and rural communities are treated equally; a direct reflection of Regional Council's mandate to be fair, effective and responsive,” said Roger Anderson, regional chair, in a news release.

“Durham Region is growing and evolving.  This electoral process reflects our progressive community and demonstrates our desire for transparency.”

The largest population growth in Durham Region between 2005 and 2015 was seen in Ajax, with an increase of 30 per cent, followed by Whitby with an increase of 19 per cent, according to the region.

In order to become law, the bylaw needs to get approval by a majority of the smaller municipalities.  A spokeswoman said councils are being asked to pass the bylaw by December 2016.  Once that happens, the bylaw would come into effect for the 2018 municipal elections.

This is the third time the region has changed its composition since it was established in 1974 with a 30-member council plus a regional chair.  In 1989 it increased to 32 members plus the chair, and in 1998 it was reduced to its current size.

According to analysis presented to council, using the 2011 census, each councillor represents 21,715 people.

Some residents have suggested the council could function with a further reduction in size.

Both York and Peel regions, with over a million residents, have smaller council sizes than Durham.  York's council is made up of 20 councillors and a regional chair.  Peel's council is made up of 24 councillors and a chair.

Durham Region Transit opens bus-only lanes in Pickering
Province announces study to look at lanes from downtown Oshawa to Scarborough Town Centre
Keith Gilligan
August 17, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
NAME
DRT Pulse
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING -- Durham Region Transit unveiled the newest improvement to its PULSE service during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Kingston Road.  The second segment of the widened bus lanes from Liverpool Road to Glennanna Road on Hwy.  2 was recently completed.  August 11, 2016.

PICKERING -- The Province is providing $10 million to study bus-only lanes from downtown Oshawa to the Scarborough Town Centre.

Provincial Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca made the announcement in Pickering on Aug. 11 at the opening of 900 metres of bus-only lanes between Liverpool and Glenanna roads.

The $10 million will allow Durham to plan, design and engineer a bus rapid transit program from downtown Oshawa to the Scarborough Town Centre, Mr. Del Duca noted.

Durham Regional Chairman Roger Anderson said, “It's always good to have news out of Queen's Park and today you brought good news.”

The Province, through Metrolinx, and Durham have been building bus-only lanes along Hwy.  2 for the PULSE service, which runs from Oshawa to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

The $10 million will pay for an environmental assessment to enhance the service in Durham and extend the service to the Scarborough Town Centre.

In an interview, Mr. Anderson said, “It's good news for Durham.  We can move forward with the EA.  It's a big project.”

The EA would take up to two years to complete.

“Now, we have the money, we can move forward,” Mr. Anderson noted.  “It's great news.  It's a bit of a surprise.  We're always ready to move transit forward.  For us, it's a big step forward.  We have the funding and we can start it.  It's a big step, a really big step.”

If the lanes are built, land acquisition would be needed.

“We might even have to move the bus off Hwy.  2.  There's pinch points,” he added, pointing to Pickering Village in Ajax and along Hwy.  2 in Whitby.

During the ceremonies to open the bus lanes, Mr. Del Duca said, “This project is so crucial to the quality of life here in Durham.”

“I'm fond of saying our province is truly in the midst of a transit renaissance,” he said.  “We want to ensure every corner of the province grows.”

Expanding transit means attracting jobs, economic growth and helping the environment, he added.

The new lanes run 900 metres from west of Liverpool to Glenanna.  The construction work for the entire stretch will be completed in 2018.

Mr. Anderson noted Durham is “competing for jobs, so we can't rest.  We're expanding GO east to Bowmanville, with four stops.”

Opening the bus-only lanes means it “truly is a big day for Durham.  It's also a big day for the PULSE service,” he said, adding having more lanes will mean “more frequent and faster service.”

The PULSE service has buses going along every seven-and-a-half minutes during morning and evening rush hours.

Mr. Anderson said since the bus rapid transit ridership has increased 50 per cent since it was implemented.

“Hwy.  2 is the heart of our system,” he said.  “Since 2006, we have carried 11 million riders.  That's proof as the service is increased, people will use it.”

Pickering Regional Councillor David Pickles said, “Our downtown is undergoing a dramatic transformation.  The Province kick started it with the pedestrian bridge.  With BRT, our downtown will be even more accessible.  Together, we are building a stronger community.”

Marshall Centre Point Towns
August 4, 2016
Marshall Centre Point Towns
Marshall Centre Point Towns Artist Rendering 

Marshall Homes will be constructing 136 stacked townhouse units on the site of the former BC Produce Store at 1555-1575 Kingston Road.  City Council has approved the sale of the adjacent City owned lands to facilitate access to the development from Kingston Road (with no vehicular access to Avonmore Square).  Marshall Homes will be constructing a small parkette over the portion of Lennox Lane that connects to Avonmore Square for pedestrian use.

It is anticipated that construction for this project is to commence in the fall of 2016.

Enjoy the Summer
August 2016
Enjoy Summer
 
Retail Pages August
August 2016

Hello,

It's been a couple of hot hot weeks and although it can get a bit extreme, I still prefer it to the cold of February or March.   In these editorials I have been trying to note matters of interest to residents.   Many residents have asked about the services provided by the Region of Durham, particularly Health and Social Services, for which I am the Committee Chair.  One of the many responsibilities include inspecting and posting reports of restaurants and personal services shops for the protection of residents.  I hope you find this informative.   Enjoy your summer.   As always you are welcome to stay informed by visiting www.davidpickles.com or emailing me at dpickles@pickering.ca.

What do our Public Health Inspectors do?

Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) for the Durham Region Health Department inspect over 3500 food premises throughout the Region.  PHIs inspect food premises to ensure compliance with the regulations, provide food safety information to owners/operators and the general public, and provide training and certification of food handlers to prevent and reduce the burden of food-borne illness.  DineSafe Durham is the Health Department's food safety disclosure program where the community has access to inspection results from the on-site posting of red, yellow and green signs plus detailed inspection results on the website.

PHIs also inspect 700 personal service settings that offer services such as: tattooing, piercing, nails, aesthetics, hairdressing, spa services, etc.  These inspections are conducted to ensure owners/operators follow proper infection prevention and control practices aimed at preventing and reducing the burden of infectious diseases.  The new “Know Before You Go” PSS disclosure program requires owners to post red, yellow or green inspection signs at the entrance to their establishments that provide summary results of the latest inspection.

For information on DineSafe Durham visit: https://www.durham.ca/dinesafe/

For information on “Know Before You Go” visit: https://www.durham.ca/knowbeforeyougo/

Durham Region's Age-Friendly Durham Community Survey

For Durham Region residents 55 and older, for their caregivers and for community organizations, The Region of Durham has launched a survey to gather feedback on key Regional Services.

To access the survey visit: www.durham.ca/AgeFriendly.  Paper copies are also available by contacting AgeFriendly@durham.ca or at various drop box locations throughout Durham.  

Upcoming Events

Pickering City Centre Farmers' Market
Tuesdays from June 14 to October 4, 2016
8:00 am - 3:00 pm
One the Esplanade, next to the Civic Complex.
Come out and experience local fresh produce, food, the arts and sustainability in the heart of our City Centre

Waterfront Concert Series
Every Thursday from July 7 to August 25 (No concert August 11)
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Millennium Square, Beachfront Park, Pickering
Bring your blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a free evening concert at the lakeshore (weather permitting).

Esplanade Park Concert Series
Every Sunday from July 10 to August 28 (No concert August 7)
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Esplanade Park (behind Pickering City Hall)
Bring your blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a free afternoon concert in the park.  In the event of rain, the concert will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Pickering Food Truck Festival
The Food Truck Festival will feature over two dozen food trucks, a beverage garden, musical performances, and vendors.  
August 5-7
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Esplanade Park (behind Pickering City Hall)

Tackle Share
The City of Pickering is partnering with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters for this event to encourage people to get out and fish in the City.  Borrow fishing equipment for free.
Saturday, August 13
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Millennium Square

Visit the City of Pickering's website at www.pickering.ca for a complete listing of events.  Click on the `Living' drop down menu and then on `Events Calendar'.

David Pickles
Regional Councillor - Ward 3
905.420.4605 | 1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739
dpickles@pickering.ca

As one study is complete, federal government orders second study on possible Pickering airport
Gary Polonsky's report on north Pickering development, airport complete
Kristen Calis
July 24, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Gary Polonsky
Polonsky Special Advisor
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING -- Former Durham College and UOIT president Gary Polonsky talked to Pickering-Scarborough East MP Corneliu Chisu at the Pickering Community Centre.  Mr, Polonsky has been named as an independent advisor to the federal government.  Mr. Polonsky will meet with interest groups and report to the government on potential economic development opportunities around a future airport in Pickering.  July 31, 2015

PICKERING -- Gary Polonsky's detailed report on the potential land uses for north Pickering, including a possible airport, is not the last on the long-debated subject.

The federal government chose the former Durham College president and founding president of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology last summer as an independent advisor to meet with local interests on the potential economic development opportunities on the land.  Meanwhile, there are more studies being done.

The federal government expropriated 18,600 acres of land in 1972 for an airport that hasn't come to be.  After transferring 10,200 acres to Rouge National Urban Park, it still retains around 9,600 acres for economic development.

After interviewing numerous sources from all angles, Mr. Polonsky submitted his final report in June.  He cannot disclose his recommendations until the report's made public.

“It's not what I want to see for the land, it's more along the lines of possibilities and some ideas on the process to get to a final decision,” Mr. Polonsky said of his report.

Transport Canada spokesman Daniel Savoie said in an e-mail the report will be made public in the coming months.

Admittedly, Mr. Polonsky wasn't interested in the subject before being given the job -- the whole process had taken more than 40 years and effectively gone nowhere.

“But then, as I began to read about it and meet people, many who had strong views, I definitely developed a passion for it and I still have that to this day,” he said.

Now keeping on top of his new interest, Mr. Polonsky will keep an eye out for two other studies that are currently underway.   In May, Transport Canada hired KPMG to undertake a Pickering lands aviation sector analysis to: update supply and demand forecasts for aviation traffic in southern Ontario; develop and evaluate options for the type of airport and its potential role in the southern Ontario regional airport system; and provide an assessment of the revenue-generating potential and economic impact of these options.   This work is expected to take around two years.

Both Mr. Polonsky's and KPMG's reports will support future decisions regarding the Pickering lands, said Mr. Savoie.

Also, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport, is currently studying passenger growth forecast for southern Ontario, along with regional airports.

Pickering council 2016 report cards
July 14, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Pickering Council Report Cards

Dave Ryan

DAVE RYAN

Mayor

This year's grade: A

Last year's grade: A

Attendance: Council 12/12, Committee 17/20, Regional council 11/14, Regional Committees 21/32

Expenses: $21,630

Regional expenses: $695.75

Mayor Ryan has been able to maintain a house of calm, even with yet another shake-up of council, following former councillor Jennifer O'Connell's election to the federal government that saw one councillor change positions, and another return after years off the job through a byelection.  The mayor speaks up on important issues, such as development plans for Seaton and Duffin Heights, the vision for the downtown, and maintains his strong belief in Durham Live in Pickering being right for the area, but he never grandstands.  He's a strong supporter of the arts community and the hospital and remains active in the community.


Kevin Ashe

KEVIN ASHE

Ward 1 Regional Councillor

This year's grade: A-

Last year's grade: B+

Attendance: Council 11/12, Committee 20/20, Regional council 9/9, Regional Committees 18/26

Expenses: $8,325

Regional expenses: $196.88

Coun. Ashe's grade improves this year for two reasons: he was appointed by his colleagues as being competent enough to fill outgoing councillor Jennifer O'Connell's seat at the Region of Durham - and he's been doing a good job - and because he was able to cut down on his City expenses.  In fact, he's no longer the biggest spender.  He brings forward motions, including one to give $5,000 to the Fort McMurray relief fund.  He speaks up on many issues at council and asks questions of staff and delegations.


Iam Cumming

IAN CUMMING

Ward 2 City Councillor

This year's grade: B-

Last year's grade: C+

Attendance: Council 12/12, Committee 20/20

Expenses: $2,099

Coun. Cumming is finding his way as a local councillor, so his grade improves.  He's informed on local topics and asks questions of residents and staff, and is visible in the community.  In the winter, he raised concerns about motorcyclists using Frenchman's Bay, and he worked with staff to help improve safety at local parks that residents had safety concerns about.  He brings his good business sense and entrepreneurial way of thinking to council meetings.  He has the lowest expenses and perfect attendance, always appreciated by the News Advertiser.


Rick Johnson

RICK JOHNSON

Ward 3 City Councillor

This year's grade: B

Last year's grade: B

Attendance: Council 12/12 Committee 19/20

Expenses: $10,078

Coun. Johnson often speaks on issues relating to the residents of the north, including the time he worked hard to help a Brock Road resident and business owner who was affected by the name of the road being changed.  He has brought forward motions this year, and played a big role in the renaming of the Claremont Community Centre to the Dr.  Nelson F.  Tomlinson Community Centre.  We would like to see him cut down on his expenses, which are the highest among Pickering councillors.  Since he has a large ward, the reason he says for his high expenses, and worked hard this year, his grade doesn't drop.


Bill McLean

BILL MCLEAN

Ward 2 Regional Councillor

This year's grade: A-

Last year's grade: A-

Attendance: Council 11/12, Committee, 18/20 Regional council 13/14, Regional Committees 34/39

Expenses: $5,955

Regional expenses: $6,331

Coun. McLean spoke up this year against controversial changes to Ontario's autism program, prompting both Pickering and Durham Regional councils to pass motions requesting the Province to reverse its changes.  He speaks up for residents, including the time at the Region he helped a longtime Pickering resident who's well water supply was cut off after many years, which was most likely due to construction of a nearby development.  He brings forward motions, including one urging the Province to ban all door-to-door sales in the home services sector to help protect seniors.


Maurice Brenner

MAURICE BRENNER

Ward 1 City Councillor

This year's grade: B

Last year's grade: N/A

Attendance: Council 5/5, Committee 8/8

Expenses: N/A

A veteran when it comes to Pickering politics, Coun. Brenner hasn't lost his knack for tackling issues head-on in the community.  In mere months of returning to council after he was elected in the January byelection, he's introduced and seconded a number of motions.  One of his motions requested CN Rail to erect fencing around areas where there are safety concerns.  He's keeping an eye on Metrolinx and transit development plans.  He encourages public consultation on many issues, asks thoughtful questions and often speaks from an access ability and human rights angle.  


David Pickles

DAVID PICKLES

Ward 3 Regional Councillor

This year's grade: A-

Last year's grade: A-

Attendance: Council 11/12, Committee 19/20, Regional Council 13/14, Regional Committees 22/31

Expenses: $6,438

Regional expenses: $2,493.84

Councillor Pickles continues to ask important questions at council and committee meetings, often speaking up regarding Seaton developments.  He's also visible in the community.  We appreciate that he keeps his expenses relatively low, despite serving a large ward.  At the Region of Durham, Coun. Pickles was named the new chairman of the health and social services committee when it was left vacant.  Regional councillors voted 19-8 in selecting him over Oshawa councillor and committee vice-chairwoman Amy McQuaid-England.  He is a smart and capable councillor.

News Release
For Immediate Release
Pickering Among the First Canadian Cities to Take Mayor's Monarch Pledge
July 5, 2016

Pickering, ON, July 5, 2016 - On behalf of the City of Pickering, Mayor Dave Ryan has taken the Mayors' Monarch Pledge to increase action and awareness to help the monarch butterfly.

The National Wildlife Federation's Mayor's Monarch Pledge encourages Mayors in Northern America to take at least three actions in one year to address issues that contribute to the loss of this species. Mayor Ryan is one of four Canadian Mayors who have pledged so far.

Municipalities that pledge to complete eight or more actions are recognized as part of the Mayors' Monarch Leadership Circle, and Pickering's goal of completing nine make it one of the first Canadian Cities to earn this distinction.

In the last 20 years, the monarch butterfly species has declined by 90 per cent, and as pollinators, they play an intrinsic role in the health of our environment and community.

"Over the past several years, Pickering has developed and implemented a number of initiatives to assist not only the monarch butterfly, but also other pollinators," said Mayor Dave Ryan. "By participating in the Mayors' Monarch Pledge, we want to help this species, while also encouraging other Canadian cities to do the same."

To get involved or to learn more about Mayor Dave Ryan's Monarch Pledge visit www.pickering.ca/en/living/pollinators.asp

-30-

As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet. An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here. Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.

Media Contact:
Chantal Whitaker
Coordinator, Sustainability l City Development
905.420.4660 ext. 2170
1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739
cwhitaker@pickering.ca
Retail Pages July
July 2016

Hello,

School's out for summer! Although Council does not formally meet in July and August, Members of Council continue to work for constituents and community groups all summer and keep up with City and Region of Durham projects. I am always available to residents looking for information and assistance. I will be updating my website www.davidpickles.com shortly, so have a look and contact me should you have any questions. I can also be reached at dpickles@pickering.ca

Economic Development News

On May 30th the City presented the 2015 Civic Awards. Search Engine People was presented the Local Business Award celebrating their position as Canada's fastest growing company in the search engine optimization and on-line marketing sector. The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade took home the Economic Development award, in recognition of their 60 years of business support excellence in our community.

Over the past few weeks, the City has helped celebrate a number of Grand Openings as we welcomed C.F. LED Lighting, Value Village, Regus Business Centre and Plumbers Supply to our community.

Don't forget that Tuesday is farmers' market day, from 8am to 3pm, in the parking lot on Esplanade South next to City Hall. Eat healthy and eat local!

Share your opinion on the quality of life in Pickering!

The City of Pickering is currently updating the 2012 Measuring Sustainability Report, which set a baseline for indicators of a healthy community with respect to environment, economy, society, development, and consumption. As part of the update, we are conducting a resident survey about the quality of life in Pickering. The survey asks questions about themes such as: health and safety, physical wellness, public participation, community services, affordable housing, mental health, climate change, and sustainability. Survey results will be analyzed and reported through the updated Measuring Sustainability Report in early 2017.

Visit pickering.ca/survey to provide your input before the end of July.

Those who take the survey have a chance to win one of the following: one-year Health Club Membership at the Pickering Recreation Complex ($460.00 value), Family Season Pass for the Pickering Museum Village ($85.00), and one of three sustainability gift baskets.

Questions or requests for alternate formats can be directed to us at 905.420.4617 or sustainability@pickering.ca.

Pickering residents are invited to compete in annual Celebrating Sustainable Neighbourhoods program

The City of Pickering is inviting people to come together and complete an activity for a chance to win thousands of dollars for a community enhancement project.

It allows people work to on projects that make Pickering a better place environmentally, socially, or economically.

Groups are encouraged to complete activities that they enjoy doing, or to be recognized for activities they are already doing. Some of the initiatives that groups have done in the last three years include, litter cleanups, helping charities, community gardening, volunteering, organizing group fitness, beautifying the city, and environmental awareness.

Participating groups can be made up of immediate neighbours, schools, places of worship, friends, businesses, and existing community groups. Groups have until the end of November to complete their activities. At the end of the program, all participants will be invited to a celebration where a winner will be chosen by fellow groups through a peer vote. The winning neighbourhood group gets the opportunity to work with the City on a community enhancement project valued up to $10,000.

Sign up today at pickering.ca/csn or call 905.420.2660 ext. 2170

Upcoming Events

Pickering City Centre Farmers' Market
Tuesdays from June 14 to October 4, 2016
8:00 am - 3:00 pm
One the Esplanade, next to the Civic Complex.
Come out and experience local fresh produce, food, the arts and sustainability in the heart of our City Centre

Waterfront Concert Series
Every Thursday from July 7 to August 25 (No concert August 11)
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Millennium Square, Beachfront Park, Pickering
Bring your blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a free evening concert at the lakeshore (weather permitting).

Esplanade Park Concert Series
Every Sunday from July 10 to August 28 (No concert August 7)
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Esplanade Park (behind Pickering City Hall)
Bring your blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a free afternoon concert in the park. In the event of rain, the concert will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Pickering Food Truck Festival
The Food Truck Festival will feature over two dozen food trucks, a beverage garden, musical performances, and vendors.
August 5-7
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Esplanade Park (behind Pickering City Hall)

Visit the City of Pickering's website at www.pickering.ca for a complete listing of events. Click on the `Living' drop down menu and then on `Events Calendar'.

David Pickles
Regional Councillor - Ward 3
905.420.4605 | 1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739 dpickles@pickering.ca

The Regional Municipality of Durham
News Release
30 June 2016

Regional Council approves Terms of Reference for new Affordable and Seniors' Housing Task Force

Whitby, Ont. - Durham Regional Council adopted the Terms of Reference for a new Affordable and Seniors' Housing Task Force. The task force will review information related to the Region's current rental housing supply, consider the input of industry experts, and explore best practices being used by other municipalities and organizations.

“In our updated Durham Region strategic plan, Regional Council made a commitment to reduce homelessness and consider innovative options for affordable housing,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “The new task force will continue this dialogue and establish a strategic direction to support our growing region.”

On March 14, the Government of Ontario released an update to Ontario's Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy (first introduced in November 2010). This update provides a framework to support the review of opportunities related to the supply of affordable and seniors' housing across Durham Region.

The task force meetings will focus on:

  • Committee Education-reviewing information on the status of the Region's current rental housing supply and existing housing-related policy tools.
  • Information Sharing-considering information on housing policy, the Durham Region Strategic Plan 2015-2019, the Regional Official Plan, and At Home in Durham, the Durham Housing Plan 2014-2024; examining the available tools for municipalities to support existing social housing units; and encouraging new, affordable rental developments.
  • Fostering Collaboration-collaborating with the federal and provincial governments, area municipalities, Durham residents, financial and housing development industries, as well as other businesses, agencies and institutions.

The following members were appointed to the Affordable and Seniors' Housing Task Force: Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer; Regional Councillor David Pickles, Chair of the Health & Social Services Committee; Regional Councillor Bob Chapman, Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee; Town of Ajax Regional Councillor Colleen Jordan; Township of Brock Mayor John Grant; Municipality of Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster; City of Oshawa Regional Councillor Dan Carter; City of Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan; Township of Scugog Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew; Township of Uxbridge Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger; and Town of Whitby Regional Councillor Elizabeth Roy. The work of the task force will be supported by an inter-departmental staff group led by the Region's Social Services Department.

The task force will report back to Durham Regional Council in fall 2016 on recommended strategies related to the creation and maintenance of affordable and seniors' housing, in order to inform the 2017 Regional Social Housing Servicing and Financing Study.

For more information on the Affordable and Seniors' Housing Task Force, or to access a copy of the Terms of Reference, please visit www.durham.cawww.durham.ca.

- 30 -

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Happy Canada Day
July 1, 2016
Happy Canada Day
 
Have a Safe & Happy Summer
June 2016
Have a Safe Summer
 
Your City.  Right Now.
June 2015
Your City Right Now Summer 2016
Click image to view full size PDF. 
UPDATE: Hwy. 407 from Pickering to Oshawa opens June 20: toll free until end of 2016
Jun 17, 2016
Parvaneh Pessian
(durhamregion.com)
407 Opening
Hwy. 407 east extension opens
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
WHITBY -- Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca announced the Hwy. 407 extension from Brock Road in Pickering to Harmony Road in Oshawa will open to traffic June 20.  He was joined by Durham policitians for the announcement on Hwy. 407.  June 17, 2016

WHITBY -- The first section of the new Hwy. 407 in Durham will open next week and drivers can travel on it for free until the end of the year, the Province has announced.

“I am absolutely thrilled to announce that the first phase of Hwy. 407 is now complete and will open officially to traffic on Monday morning,” said Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca in Whitby on Friday, June 17.  

“Commuters will be able to drive along Hwy. 407 from Brock Road in Pickering to Harmony Road in Oshawa and along Hwy. 412 (in Whitby), which connects the 407 to Hwy. 401.  There will be an initial toll-free period for these sections of highway.  Drivers will not have to pay toll fees until 2017.”

The Hwy. 407 East project is part of the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario's history -- about $160 billion over 12 years.  It's intended to help manage congestion, support economic growth and the efficient movement of people and goods through the eastern GTA and beyond.

The second and final construction phase will include extending Hwy. 407 from Harmony Road to Hwy. 35/115, and Hwy. 418 in Clarington connecting Hwy. 407 to Hwy. 401.  This final section will be built by 2020, with an interim opening from Harmony Road to Hwy. 418/Taunton Road by late 2017.

“The Hwy. 407 East Project will provide significant economic spin-off benefits to the region both now but also for years to come,” said Mr. Del Duca, adding that the improved flow of traffic will also benefit families by shaving time off their daily commutes.

“Highways 407 and 412 will provide alternative options to those commuters and will help people get to and from their destinations faster.”

Map of 407 East

Regional Chairman Roger Anderson said the extension is a welcome addition to Durham, creating a path to major opportunities for local residents, as well as businesses.  

“It's an opportunity for economic development,” he said.  “Both sides of the 407 in Durham Region are developable with industrial and commercial development, the Province owns 800 acres of land just east of here, Whitby and Oshawa have lands abutting the 407.  It's a great opportunity for creating jobs for our new residents moving into Durham on a daily basis.”

Whitby Mayor Don Mitchell added that the opening will also bring long-awaited relief to residents affected by road closures, gridlock and other issues related to the ongoing construction.

“Most people are anxious to see it get going.  The decision was made a long time ago to run the route here so let's just get it done, get all the mess out of the way and relieve the congestion, which has been a real serious problem,” he said.

“It's a serious problem everywhere but Winchester Road has been awful for years so this should fix a lot of that and that will make a lot of people in the area a lot happier.”

Pickering City Centre
Farmers' Market
Right Here, Every Tuesday
June 2016
Pickering City Centre Farmers Market
The Esplanade South Parking lot will be closed Tuesdays for the market - parking for staff and public is available at Pickering Town Centre.  Thank you, and we appreciate your support! 
Build Hwy. 407 through Durham and businesses will follow, say local officials
First phase of highway extension slated to open this spring
Keith Gilligan
June 2, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Highway 407
Highway 407
Justin Greaves / Metroland

DURHAM -- Looking south, Hwy. 412, the link to Hwy. 407, near Dundas Street West in Whitby.  May 30, 2016.

DURHAM -- When the Hwy. 407 east extension opens later this spring, it'll bring with it enhanced opportunities for business, transportation and employment, say local officials.

The first phase of the extension, from Pickering through to Harmony Road in Oshawa, is due to open in late spring, said Kalvin Reid, a spokesman for the 407 East Development Group, adding an exact date isn't available yet.  It was originally to open in December 2015.

When Hwy. 407 and Hwy. 412, the link from the 407 to Hwy. 401 at the Ajax-Whitby border, are opened, Durham will benefit, says Kathy Weiss, director of economic development for Durham Region.

“The extension of the 407 will improve transportation infrastructure by helping to reduce traffic congestion through the GTA and Durham Region, resulting in efficient movement of goods and people through the area, specifically Durham,” she said in a statement.

“It will also provide stimulus for facilitating economic growth by providing a much-needed, high-capacity transportation system, and will add 800 acres of employment lands into the Durham Region inventory.  Further, the 407 will provide direct major highway access to the proposed Pickering airport and surrounding employment lands, creating an aviation cluster in Durham Region.

“This is all in addition to the creation of thousands of construction and engineering jobs.”

Thousands of Durham residents and businesses will have an alternative route to Toronto and areas to the west, including Pearson International Airport.  And people and businesses in Toronto and points west will have another way to get to Durham and points east.

Lisa Hausz, the manager of business development and marketing for Ajax, said transportation options are top considerations on where a company decides to locate.

“They're always looking for land, labour and transportation,” she said.

Transportation options are not only for moving goods, but ensuring employees can get to work, she noted.

“They all work together,” Ms. Hausz added.

That's important as traffic congestion in the GTA costs about $6 billion annual in lost productivity.

Economic development is “broader than transportation options.  What we promote is access to all of them -- rail, road,” she said.

When a company approaches the Town, she said transportation options are outlined.

“We highlight the 407.  We make sure they know where the ports are, the airports.”

Companies will build transportation options into their business case, “options for moving product.  When they look at the 407, it's one of the options,” she noted.

“We would like to see more truck traffic, but it's not there yet with the pricing.  It will become very viable in the future,” Ms. Hausz said.

The importance of the highway isn't lost on local officials.

At a recent Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade meeting, Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan said, “The 407 could become a technology corridor linking like-minded businesses and institutions in York and Durham regions.

“This becomes even more significant when the first phase of the Hwy. 407 expansion is completed later this spring.  This critical investment in our infrastructure will help drive economic development across Durham Region,” Mayor Ryan said.

“And with the 407 expansion, this intermodal hub would then have easy access to the Durham airport in Pickering, the 800 acres of employment lands in Seaton, the large commercial centres in Markham and Vaughan, and also Pearson Airport and its business parks,” he noted.

“Access to a regional reliever airport, a municipal aviation airport, rail, water, six lanes of Hwy. 401, and now Hwy. 407 could transform Oshawa and Durham Region into a transportation and logistics powerhouse,” Mayor Ryan said.

Environmental groups have opposed building the highway, fearing it will perpetuate urban sprawl.

Pat Valentine of Land Over Landings said the group's concerns are primarily with the federal lands in Pickering.

“We don't think having a highway there will be enough to make an airport happen.  There are so many reasons an airport can't happen.  I don't think there's a connection.  There's no business case for an airport and there's never been a business case for an airport,” Ms. Valentine said.

The highway would be a “boon for people on Brock Road.  It will help with land south of the federal lands, with Seaton.”

She noted the land south of the 407 is serviced, but “there's nothing north, except 44 years of neglected farmland.  That's where we're concerned.”

Hwy. 407 in Durham has been on the books for decades and had been promised for years.  When it finally made its way into Durham in the late 1990s, it ended at Brock Road in Pickering.  And for years, that's as far as it got.  Extending it east of Brock out to Hwys. 35/115 has been a priority of local and regional politicians.

With work wrapping up on the first phase through Oshawa, construction on the second phase to 35/115 in Clarington is under way and the timeline for completion is 2020.  The second phase includes a 407-401 link, Hwy. 418, near Holt Road.

Pan Am and Parapan Am Games medalists among recipients of Pickering Civic Awards
Annual ceremony honours students, volunteers, heroes, businesses, groups for outstanding achievements
Kristen Calis
June 1, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Pickering Civic Awards
Pickering Civic Awards
Justin Greaves / Metroland
PICKERING -- Special Citation Award recipients Braxton Stone Papadopoulos and Nikkita Holder showed off their Pan Am medals during the City of Pickering 2016 Civic Awards.  The awards recognize the outstanding achievements of residents, community organizations, and local businesses.  May 30, 2016.

PICKERING -- To Pickering hurdler Nikkita Holder, winning a Pickering Civic Award reaffirmed that she's on the right track.

“This is definitely a great surprise at a perfect time and it kind of reminds me that I deserve this,” said Ms. Holder, who won bronze in the 100-metre hurdles at the 2015 Pan Am Games.  “I deserve this award and my medal and I'm looking forward to doing more good things.”

Ms. Holder, focused on competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics, received a special citation award as Mayor Dave Ryan and members of council handed out the 2015 Civic Awards on Monday, May 30.

She was one of five Pickering athletes who won medals at last year's Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, all of whom received Special Citation Awards Monday night.

Many other community members were also honoured at the ceremony.

“Together with the efforts of many other committed residents, they help nurture our unique sense of community,” Mayor Ryan said.

Gord Taylor received a lifetime achievement award.  He and his wife operate a dairy farm in north Pickering and host school groups interested in learning about farms.  He was active at Valley View Public School, coached soccer, baseball, ringette, and is active at Mount Zion Community Church, among many other volunteer efforts.

He was modest after receiving the honour.

“I didn't do all those things for an award; I did it because that's what I thought you're supposed to do,” he said.

Having already won many awards in his young career, including one at the 36th annual Young Artists Awards in Los Angeles, and a Joey Award in Vancouver, Alex Thorne, 14, received an arts award at his hometown's ceremony.

He currently is the voice of Zuma on the TVO and Nickelodeon hit PAW Patrol, and is the voice of a villain on the new animated show PJ Masks.

“It was surprising,” he said of learning he'd won a Civic Award.  “But I felt honoured.  I was happy.  Very happy.”

The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade received the economic development award, for growing and sustaining the economic strength of the community and ensuring it remains a prosperous place to retain and grow business.

Executive director Kathy McKay said it was an honour to receive the award.

“It's a great event and just to see what else is going on in Pickering, it's a great opportunity,” she said.

2015 Pickering Civic Awards recipients

Special Citation Award

Mitchell Chase

Nikkita Holder

John Moonlight

Taylor Sharpe

Braxton Stone-Papadopoulos

Bravery/Heroism Award

Marc Sammons

Ashraf Abd El Maseeh

Lifetime Achievement Award

Glenn Healy

Gord (Fuzz) Taylor

Individual Volunteer Award

Cathy Munro

Mala Mahabir

Vinod Mahabir

Paul Savel

Service Group Award

The Knights of Columbus, St. Isaac Jogues Church Council

Community Group Award

Probus Club Pickering

Amateur Sports Award

Courtney Stott

Jeremy Stott

Youth Volunteer Award

Abby Gatehouse

Julia Hagner

Shanthosh Pushparajah

Youth Leadership Award

David Raguseo

Cameron Penn

Sustainability Award

Victoria Petrogiani

Arts Award

Alex Thorne

Herongate Barn Dinner Theatre

Cultural Diversity Award

Pickering Ajax Italian Social Club

Heritage Award

Backwoods Players Theatre Company

Economic Development Award

Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade

Local Business Award

Search Engine People

Environment Award

Adam Narraway

Rosebank Public School

Access Award for Disability Issues

Pickering Soccer Club

Dentistry on Liverpool

Pickering council concerned about rail service noise
May 30, 2016
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Pickering council is asking Metrolinx to use innovative and creative ways to minimize noise resulting from rail service in the city.

Metrolinx is currently undertaking The Big Move transportation master plan, which focuses on the future of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

A motion passed by CIty council at its most recent meeting notes enhancements for the Rouge Hill GO Station and the potential GO rail electrification on the Lakeshore East corridor, which runs parallel to the Pickering's urban area, are intended to improve passenger service and help reduce road congestion and gas emissions.  But council believes noise from the increased rail service will also result in a negative impact on the abutting residents and businesses.

The motion says there are many innovative and creative measures that can be used to help minimize the impact of noise associated with rail service.  These include features such as walls, living walls, trees, berms or a combination of them.

Pickering has concerns with Ajax company's proposal for mobile crushing and screening units
May 26, 2016
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Pickering council is concerned about an Ajax company seeking air and noise approval from the Ministry of the Environment for mobile crushing and screening units related to its aggregate producing company.

Strada Aggregates Inc.  is located on Notion Road in Ajax.

A motion by Pickering council stating its concerns, passed at the most recent council meeting, states residents in the vicinity have expressed issue with the high level of dust and noise.

Emissions to the atmosphere include particulate matter and products of combustion such as nitrogen oxides.  Public consultation on this matter closed on March 25 and the ministry is considering the request.

International Day Against Homophobia/Transphobia
Flag Raising Ceremony
May 17, 2016
Flag Raising
Flag raising ceremony at Pickering City Hall on Tuesday, May 17 to recognize International Day Against Homophobia/Transphobia.  The flag will be displayed until May 27, 2016.
Pickering contributes $5,000 to help Fort McMurray
May 17, 2016
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering is contributing $5,000 to Fort McMurray relief efforts.

Council approved the donation at the Monday, May 16 meeting.  The contribution will go through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario's Fort McMurray Disaster Fund, and it will be matched by the federal government.

The motion was brought forward by Ward 1 Regional Councillor Kevin Ashe and Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles.

The devastating wildfires continue to spread and Fort McMurray's entire population was evacuated weeks ago, with many people living in temporary shelters.  It has a population of around 88,000 people.

“I think what really hits home to many of us is Fort McMurray is a municipality that is similar in size to the City of Pickering,” said Coun. Pickles.

Whitby and Ajax are among other municipalities that have made contributions to help Fort McMurray so far.

“It's happening all across the province,” Coun. Ashe said of the generosity.

To donate to Fort McMurray relief fund, look for the Fort McMurray Appeal link at www.durhamregion.com.

Welcome Centre Tour
May 17, 2016
Welcome Centre Tour
“I was pleased to visit the Ajax Welcome Centre with centre staff and Durham Region staff”  For more information, visit www.cdcd.org
Pride Durham Week

A flag raising ceremony will take place at Pickering City Hall on Monday, May 30 at 1:00 pm to recognize Pride Durham Week.  The flag will be displayed until June 6, 2016.

Statement by The Friends of the Ajax Pickering Hospital on a new Durham Health Corporation
May 9, 2016

“The Friends of the Ajax Pickering Hospital strongly support the recommendation of the Scarborough/West Durham Expert Panel to create a new Durham Health Corporation that will include the Ajax Pickering Hospital and the existing sites of Lakeridge Health Corporation.  

We are very concerned that many media articles repeatedly refer to the integration of the Ajax Pickering Hospital with Lakeridge Health Corporation.  This is not what the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr.  Eric Hoskins announced on April 28, 2016.  The Minister supported all of the recommendations of the Scarborough/West Durham Expert Panel, including the creation of a new Durham Health Corporation.  

West Durham is experiencing huge population growth.  For example, Ajax is the fastest growing municipality in Durham, the population of Pickering is expected to grow with Seaton, and Whitby continues to expand to the north.  A new Durham Health Corporation would focus exclusively on the needs of this rapidly growing community and is required to make certain every resident has the hospital services that they deserve.  

A single Durham Health Corporation with fair and equal representation from all the areas and encompassing all the hospitals in Durham Region is needed.“

Media Contact: Walter Donaldson, chairperson of The Friends of the Ajax Pickering Hospital, 905-427-7834, wd.donaldson@sympatico.ca

UOIT Fast Facts Pamphlet
May 2016
UOIT Pamphlet
Click image above to see UOIT Fast Facts Pamphlet 
Retail Pages - May

Hello.

In May, celebrating Mother's Day is a big event for the Pickles family.  Brenda, my wife of 26 years, and I will make sure we let our mothers know how much we appreciate them.  As well, our daughters and I will do something special with Brenda.  Don't forget to let your mother know you are thinking of her on Mother's Day!

2016 Budget

Following up on my April article on the recent budget discussions, the City's budget was passed at the Council meeting on March 29, 2016.  The combined City, Region and school taxes average tax rate in Pickering is 2.07%

The 2016 Capital Budget is $35.1 million of which $25.1 million is for infrastructural renewal.  Significant projects include the $5.5 million LED streetlight replacement program which will include the replacement of all Bay Ridges neighborhood's wooden poles that have reached the end of their useful lives.  Over 7,000 street lights throughout Pickering are expected to be retrofitted with LED fixtures, which will result in significant savings in utility and maintenance costs for the City.  Other major capital projects include $5.9 in accelerated road infrastructure projects, Delaney Arena improvements of $2.3, City Hall accessibility upgrades of $1.3 million and the design and site preparation of a new fire hall to serve Seaton.  I will outline many of the road projects in my June article.  

For further information and to view the City's Budget visit: www.pickering.ca/en/cityhall/budgets.asp

Pickering City Centre Farmers' Market

For five years now, you've been enjoying the best of fresh local food, fun and festivities from the Pickering Town Centre Farmer's Market.  The City is now taking over the market and is committed to helping bring local food to your table, along with a touch of local culture and family activities.  This summer, look for the Pickering City Centre Farmers' Market to raise its tents on June 14th and running every Tuesday from 8am to 3pm, until October 4th.  We'll be located in the public parking lot on Esplanade South, just steps away from the old market, and right next to the Central Library. We're excited that many of your favourite vendors have already told us they'll be back.

Street parking is limited, so our friends at Pickering Town Centre have generously allowed market patrons to park on the mall site.  Accessible parking spots will be designated on the south side of Esplanade South directly next to the market.  Look for more exciting details about the market in the weekly Community Page ad section or on our website at www.pickering.ca/farmersmarket.  

 

Upcoming Events

Free Compost Giveaway
Saturday, May 7
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex, Arena Parking Lot
Pick up your free compost for a healthy garden.  Bring your containers and shovels.

Pickering Horticultural Society's Plant Sale
Saturday, May 7
9:00 am - 11:00 am
Gazebo, Esplanade Park

Mother's Day Planting
Sunday, May 8
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex
Children can join us to plant a gift for mom, as well as help plan the Children's Gardent at the front of the Recreation Complex

Artfest on the Esplanade & Durham West Blues Fest
Saturday, May 28
12:00 pm
Esplanade Park
Annual outdoor art show and sale in Esplanade Park, presented in partnership with PineRidge Arts Council.  Durham West Blues Fest partners with Artfest to offer award-winning Blues performances at the gazebo.

Your City
Saturday, May 28
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Pickering City Hall
Your City showcases the broad and diverse selection of City services available to our residents featuring one-on-one interactions with City staff, interactive displays, and other unique learning opportunities.

How-To Festival
Saturday, May 28
11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Central Library
If you like to learn new things and never seem to find the time, check out How-To in 10 Festival, hosted at five libraries in the Durham Region.  

Petapolooza
Saturday, May 28
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Grand Valley Park
Petapolooza brings together pet enthusiasts within our community and gives them an opportunity to meet industry professionals, rescue groups and others in the pet industry.

Whitevale Spring Festival
Saturday, May 28
Whitevale

Civic Awards
Monday, May 30
7:00 pm
Pickering City Hall, Council Chambers
The City of Pickering recognizes the outstanding achievements of local citizens at this awards ceremony.

Visit the City of Pickering's website at www.pickering.ca for a complete listing of events.  Click on the 'Living' drop down menu and then on 'Events Calendar'.

David Pickles
Regional Councillor - Ward 3
905.420.4605 | 1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739
dpickles@pickering.ca

Merger talks begin for Veridian, Whitby and Oshawa hydro utilities
Reka Szekely
April 29, 2016
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- The hydro utilities in Oshawa and Whitby as well as Veridian Corporation have announced they are considering a merger of the three companies which would create a single utility covering the majority of Durham Region's population.

Officials announced on April 28 that a memorandum of understanding to consider potential benefits and the feasibility of a merger among Veridian Corporation, Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation and Whitby Hydro Energy.

Altogether, the three companies have 220,000 customers mainly in Durham Region, though Veridian also has customers in Port Hope, Gravenhurst and Belleville.  Veridian is the largest with 119,000 customers including all residents in Ajax and Pickering as well as some areas of Clarington, Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock in Durham.  The OPUC has 57,000 customers in Oshawa while Whitby Hydro has 41,500 customers.

In Oshawa, the sole shareholder in the OPUC is the City of Oshawa.

Mayor John Henry said the OPUC has stated it will hold at least two public open houses during the discussions of a potential merger and he believes bringing the three utilities together would improve services and hold costs.  For example, he points out savings in the consolidation of billing services and the creation of a single monitoring centre.  He said the sale of the OPUC or privatization are not on the table.

“(In) the City of Oshawa, we have a resolution that we would not sell our utility,” he said.  “A merger brings some size and volume to us as a city, it will help to protect our residents.  It's discussion only, there's nothing binding this yet but it was thought that this would be important to look at and to discuss.”

In their statement announcing the merger talks, the three utilities pointed to provincial policy which supports utility consolidation including the 2012 Ontario Distribution Sector Panel Review and the 2015 Advisory Council on Government Assets.

Mayor Henry points out that just east of Durham, Peterborough is considering selling its utility to Hydro One.

“Larger protects us from some of the challenges that are currently going on in the province ...  it would be a real challenge if other utilities around us were purchased and we were to stand alone,” he said.  “So here we have an opportunity to create a regional utility and we can be stronger by the number of people it serves and it protects our residents.  Simply size helps.”

Veridian CEO Michael Angemeer also touched on provincial policy in his statement.

“The timing also makes sense, as Ontario has created a policy framework in favour of utility integration that has resulted in successful mergers west of Toronto that will act as a catalyst for economic growth in those parts of the province,” he said.  “The mergers and acquisitions that have formed Veridian have resulted in benefits to shareholders, communities, customers and employees while achieving a high level of reliability and employee and public safety.”

Part of the process, said Mayor Henry, is the valuation of the three electric utilities.  While dividends from Whitby Hydro and OPUC go to their home communities, dividends from Veridian are split proportionally among the four municipal owners: Ajax, Pickering, Clarington and Belleville.

Last year, the City of Oshawa received a $1.7-million dividend from the OPUC and the mayor said any merger should see the City continue to receive a dividend.

“I would not enter into a deal that didn't allow our City to capitalize on the return of its investment,” said Mayor Henry.  “The dividend is key to our planning here in the City and I think the dividend for the each of the communities is important.  It's something that helps us meet the needs of our residents.”

Ajax, Pickering hospital to become part of Lakeridge Health
Health minister announces break-up of Rouge Valley
April 28, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
NAME
Rouge Valley Health System
Rouge Valley Health Systems Ajax and Pickering hospital.

Minister of Health Eric Hoskins made the announcement in Scarborough Thursday morning.

Mr. Hoskins was following the recommendation of an expert panel that examined hospital corporations in Scarborough and west Durham and concluded the Ajax facility should be part of Lakeridge, while Rouge Valley Centenary should merge with The Scarborough Hospital General and Birchmount campuses.

In a press release, Rouge Valley board of directors chairman Fred Clifford expressed his disappointment in the news.

“Our patients and their families remain our top priority,” he says.  “While this is a very disappointing outcome, our board and leadership team remain committed to delivering the highest quality of care to our patients.

“I want to assure our staff, physicians, and volunteers that our commitment to them has not diminished,” Mr. Clifford said.  “We will do everything we can to support them during this time of transition.”

The Ajax site had been part of the Rouge Valley Health System since the 1990s.

THE REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF DURHAM
NEWS RELEASE
25 FEBRUARY 2016

Region warns residents of aggressive water treatment sales tactics in Durham

WHITBY, ON - The Regional Municipality of Durham would like to remind residents to be wary of door-to-door salespersons currently canvassing Durham homes selling water treatment and metering equipment that is not endorsed by the Region.

“Residents have been contacting the Region to inquire about door-to-door salespersons who want to test the residents' water or see their water metre,” says John Presta, Director of Environmental Services.  “The Region of Durham does not sell nor endorse water filters or treatment equipment for residents.  The Region provides clean, safe drinking water, which meets provincial water quality standards.  Our water undergoes daily monitoring and testing and does not require further filtration or monitoring at residents' expense.”

Information on Durham's extensive municipal water quality testing is available online at www.durham.ca/water.

If someone shows up at your door, remember the following to protect yourself from scams:

  • Ask for identification.  All Regional employees and authorized contractors carry photo ID.
  • Did you request this house call? Regional staff will not visit without sending an official letter and scheduling an appointment.
  • Call the visiting organization, or the Region, to confirm that the visit is legitimate.
  • Don't feel pressured to sign contracts on the spot, or to let anyone into your home.
  • Never give out your personal information.

The Regional Municipality of Durham provides safe drinking water to residents using the municipal water supply system, meeting Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards.  The quality and safety of the Region's water is confirmed at an accredited laboratory, which is licensed by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change-a requirement of the Ontario Drinking Water Regulations set by the province of Ontario.

The Region of Durham has established a Residential Meter Replacement/Upgrade program with its contractor, Neptune Technology Group, to replace or upgrade the meters in homes at no charge to residents.  Before contractors show up, residents will receive an official letter from the Region of Durham notifying them of the upcoming water meter replacement.  Residents will also receive a letter from Neptune Technology Group advising you of how to book your appointment.  The letter requests that residents set up an appointment with the contractor.  Neptune installers will arrive on the arranged date; they are uniformed, carry ID, and are highly skilled to ensure a professional installation.

- 30 -

Media inquiries:
THE REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF DURHAM
Joanne Paquette - Manager, Communications
905-668-7711 ext.  3732 or mailto:joanne.paquette@durham.ca

Lori Rosamond | Administrative Assistant to Commissioner of Works
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Regional Municipality of Durham | 605 Rossland Road East | Whitby, ON L1N 6A3

905-668-4113 x3519 | lori.rosamond@durham.ca | www.durham.ca

NEWS RELEASE
Durham Region Health Department offering free hepatitis A vaccinations related to recall of Costco Nature's Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend frozen berries
April 20, 2016

Whitby, Ontario, April 20, 2016 - Durham Region Health Department is advising members of the public who consumed Nature's Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend frozen berries in the last 14 days to get a hepatitis A vaccination as soon as possible.  The Health Department will be holding free hepatitis A vaccination clinics for individuals affected by this advisory.

This advisory concerns product that was purchased from any Costco location in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador between Dec. 11, 2015, and April 15, 2016.

“Anyone who ate this product within the last 14 day, and who was not previously fully vaccinated against hepatitis A is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr.  Robert Kyle, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health.

Durham Region Health Department vaccination clinics will be held by appointment only as follows:

Region of Durham Headquarters, Whitby - 605 Rossland Rd. E.

  • April 21 to 22 - 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • April 23 - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • April 25 to 29 - 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Township of Scugog Building, Port Perry, 181 Perry St., 2nd floor

  • April 22 - 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • April 25 - 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Health Department is unable to accommodate walk-ins or individuals without appointments at these clinics.

This listing of hepatitis A vaccination clinics is also available at durham.ca.  To book an appointment, call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.  Vaccine may also be available through local health care providers and through Costco stores.  Please contact store locations for details.

Independent businesses that purchase from Costco for subsequent retail sale to the public may also be carrying this product.  These businesses should check their supply and remove any affected product immediately, and also contact the Health Department at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.  Food premises outside of Durham Region are advised to contact their local public health unit.

The Health Department is also asking anyone who ate the recalled product to monitor for signs and symptoms of hepatitis A, practise thorough hand washing and contact their health care provider with any concerns.  Symptoms of hepatitis A may include fever, stomach pain, dark urine, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, clay or ash-coloured bowel movements, and jaundice.  Symptoms can occur from 15 to 50 days following exposure, but usually occur within 28 to 30 days.

In addition, anyone who ate the recalled product within the last 50 days and is a food handler or works with vulnerable populations should contact the Health Department at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729 for more information, or speak with a health care provider as soon as possible.  People who live outside of Durham Region are encouraged to contact their local public health unit.

For more information about hepatitis A or hepatitis A vaccine, visit durham.ca/factsabout.  For details about the Health Department's hepatitis A vaccination clinics or to book an appointment, please call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729, or visit durham.ca.

- 30 -

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext.  2999 or glendene.collins@durham.ca

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

SpringFest 2016
Springfest Flyer
 
Road work on Kingston, Brock roads in Pickering begins April 18
April 6,2016
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- More than half a year of work on Kingston and Brock roads will begin on April 18.

The reconstruction of Kingston Road, from west of Brock Road to east of Bainbridge Drive; and the reconstruction of Brock, from south of Kingston to north of Finch Avenue should be completed by Nov. 1.

Work consists of storm sewer replacement, local water main replacement, road widening, sidewalk reconstruction and traffic signal replacements.

Most construction will occur in the daytime, Monday to Friday.  Some road-crossing construction and road resurfacing will be done overnight.

During peak traffic periods, at least four lanes and separate left-turn lanes will be open on both Kingston and Brock.  During non-peak traffic times, left-turn lanes may be closed, and through lanes may be reduced to one lane in each direction.  Road and entrance closures will occur at night.

More information and future updates will be posted on www.durham.ca/cdeap.

Pickering council to consider 3.99 per cent property tax increase
Major projects include new Seaton fire station, street lighting replacements
Kristen Calis
March 18, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
City Hall
Pickering City Hall
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
PICKERING -- City Hall in Pickering.

PICKERING -- Pickering residents can expect a 3.99 per cent property tax increase in 2016.

That's an additional $56.62 on a house valued at $376,900 on Pickering's portion of the tax bill.

It's below the proposed 4.9 per cent increase, which staff and council whittled down during budget discussions on Thursday.

“It's a good solution for Pickering residents,” said Stan Karwowski, City treasurer.

The proposed budget includes a base increase of 2.6 per cent plus special levies for large projects.

The City, which was originally proposing a .3 per cent levy for LED street light upgrades, will continue with the project but will now take that money out of the 2015 surplus.

A roads and bridges levy was reduced from the one per cent that was originally proposed to .39 per cent.

A one per cent special levy will be used to participate in the federal government's anticipated infrastructure funding.  The City will learn more about this grant program when the federal budget is released on March 22.

“If there's roads and bridges infrastructure money, we have projects ready to go,” said Mr. Karwowski.

He noted the overall increase to the residential taxpayer (the bill is split among the City, Durham Region and the school boards) is 2.07 per cent, which compares favourably to the Toronto January inflation rate of 2.1 per cent.

Resident David Sim said “I'm happy they've gone back and taken another look and were able to lower the rate” but he feels the City should try to stay in line with the inflation rate on its own portion of the tax bill.

Mayor Dave Ryan pointed out that 20 years ago, the City passed zero per cent increases.

“Eventually it catches up,” he said.

Of the $57.8-million capital budget, $49 million is for infrastructure renewal.

“That's what's driving this budget,” said Mr. Karwowski.

The LED street light replacement program, costing $5.5 million, will include the replacement of all of the Bay Ridges neigbourhood's wood poles, which have reached the end of their life.  More than 7,000 street light fixtures are planned to be retrofitted with LED fixtures throughout Pickering.  They should save around 67 per cent in electricity use, and lower utility costs by more than 50 per cent.

Major projects include the replacement of the City's operations centre on Tillings Road, budgeted at $26 million; accessibility upgrades at City Hall for $1.3 million; Delaney Arena improvements, costing $2.3 million; and the design and site preparation for a new fire hall to service Seaton.

Ward 1 City Councillor Maurice Brenner suggested the City consider marketing some of its own services to private companies in the future to help increase the municipality's revenue.  For example, it could provide operations work such as groundskeeping to malls and plazas.

The final budget will go to council for approval on March 29.

Residents asked for feedback on accessible parking in Pickering
March 16, 2016
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering is asking for the public's input to help improve accessible parking spaces.

The City is proposing changes to its traffic and parking bylaw in order to ensure that accessible parking spaces in Pickering are appropriately provided, marked and maintained, and to comply with the Province of Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

The City is proposing the following changes to the bylaw: to increase the minimum number of off-street accessible parking spaces required on public and private properties; to introduce two types of off-street accessible parking spaces; and to improve the pavement marking detail required for accessible parking spaces.

These amendments have already been presented to, and approved for public consultation by Pickering City Council.

Visit pickering.ca/accessibleparking for more information, and to provide feedback by April 15.  Contact Nathan Emery, coordinator of traffic operations, for more information by sending an e-mail to nemery@pickering.ca or calling 905.420.4660, ext.  2054.

Construction of sewer and watermain to cause traffic delays in Pickering
March 16, 2016
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Drivers can expect some delays near Old Taunton Road and Taunton Road West in Pickering beginning next month.

The Region of Durham's contractor will install a trunk sanitary sewer and trunk watermain from just south of the Canadian Pacific Railway to the Durham Region Reservoir construction site, located on the south side of Taunton Road.

The Region's contractor, Hard-Co Construction Ltd., has begun the clearing and grubbing operation and will begin sanitary and watermain construction in early April.  The contractor is expected to complete the work by the end of September.  The tunneling required to install the sewer and watermain beneath the C.P.  Railway will be a continuous 24-hour operation.  This component is expected to take about four weeks.  Unfavourable weather conditions may influence the overall work schedule.

Lane restrictions will be in effect throughout the project on Old Taunton Road and Taunton Road West.  Access will be maintained for emergency services, garbage pick-up, buses and local residents throughout the construction project, but delays should be expected.  Residents will be notified in advance of construction work that's immediately in front of their properties.

Drivers are asked to exercise additional caution for pedestrian safety and the safety of the construction workers.

Anyone with questions or concerns can contact one of the following Durham Region works department staff members: Chris Worona, project inspector, at 905-261-7707 or chris.worona@durham.ca or Roger Beynon, project Supervisor at 289-928-0703 or roger.beynon@durham.ca.

For service disruptions, call 1-866-278-9993.

Pickering Councillor David Pickles new chairman of Durham health and social services committee
March 14, 2016
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- Pickering Councillor David Pickles is the new chairman of the health and social services committee.

Coun. Pickles replaces Lorne Coe, who resigned from Regional council after winning a provincial byelection in the riding of Whitby-Oshawa.

Regional councillors voted 19-8 on March 9 in selecting Coun. Pickles over Oshawa Councillor and committee vice-chairwoman Amy McQuaid-England.

Councillors also approved appointing new Whitby Councillor Derrick Gleed to the health and social services committee.

Durham has new planning commissioner

DURHAM -- Brian Bridgeman is the new commissioner of planning for the Region.

He replaces Alex Georgieff, who retired in mid-February.

Mr. Bridgeman started working for the Region in 2005 and spent 10 years as the director of current planning in the Region's planning division.

“I look forward to working with an exceptional group of forward-thinking professionals to support council's efforts towards sound planning and economic prosperity,” Mr. Bridgeman said in a statement.  “My aim is to work with staff to develop and implement new ideas that will help Durham Region meet strategic goals.”

Over the years, Mr. Bridgeman has been involved in a number of committees and working groups, including the emergency management working group; corporate climate change committee; Planning Act working group; conservation authorities liaison committee; and Development Directors of Ontario.

He received a bachelor of environmental studies degree from the University of Waterloo, a diploma in public administration from the University of Western Ontario and has also completed the leadership program at Queen's School of Business.

Pickering council to consider 3.99 per cent property tax increase
Major projects include new Seaton fire station, street lighting replacements
Kristen Calis
March 14, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Mayor Dave Ryan
Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan
Handout photo
PICKERING -- The Pickering property tax increase is expected to be lower than the 4.9 per cent jump that was originally proposed for 2016.

Council and staff were able to drop the increase to 3.99 per cent after a day of budget meetings on Thursday.

“It's a good solution for Pickering residents,” said Stan Karwowski, City treasurer.

The proposed budget includes a base increase of 2.6 per cent plus special levies for large projects.

The City, which was originally proposing a .3 per cent levy for LED street light upgrades, will continue with the project plans but will now take that money out of the 2015 surplus.

A roads and bridges levy was reduced from the one per cent that was originally proposed to .39 per cent.

The increase includes a one per cent special levy, which will be used to participate in the federal government's anticipated infrastructure funding.  The City will learn more about this grant program when the federal budget is released on March 22.

Resident David Sim spoke to the committee, before the increase was reduced to 3.99 per cent, stating he wasn't pleased.

“It seems in Pickering it keeps going up,” he said of the tax increase.

Mayor Dave Ryan pointed out that 20 years ago, the City passed zero-per cent increases.

“Eventually it catches up,” he said.

The LED street light replacement program, projected to cost $5.5 million, will include the replacement of all of the Bay Ridges neigbourhood's wood poles (around 300), which have reached the end of their life cycle.  More than 7,000 street light fixtures are planned to be retrofitted with LED fixtures throughout Pickering over the next year and a half.  The LED units are expected to save around 67 per cent in electricity use, and lower utility costs by more than 50 per cent.

The replacement of the City's operations centre on Tillings Road is budgeted at a total cost of $26 million.

Another major project is the design and site preparation for a new, single-storey fire hall that will service Seaton.

Accessibility upgrades at City Hall are budgeted at $1.3 million.

The final Pickering budget will go to council for final approval on March 29.

Gary Polonsky gives insight into report on federal lands, possible Pickering airport
Report on possible scenarios for the land in north Pickering due by end of March
Kristen Calis
March 13, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Polonsky Special Advisor
Polonsky Special Advisor
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING -- Former Durham College and UOIT president Gary Polonsky talked to Pickering-Scarborough East MP Corneliu Chisu at the Pickering Community Centre.  Mr, Polonsky has been named as an independent advisor to the federal government.  Mr. Polonsky will meet with interest groups and report to the government on potential economic development opportunities around a future airport in Pickering.  July 31, 2015

PICKERING -- Despite retiring 10 years ago, Gary Polonsky has landed back into full-time work.

The former Durham College president and founding president of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology is learning about and will soon report on possibilities for controversial land in north Pickering.

The federal government expropriated 18,600 acres of land in 1972 for an airport that hasn't come to be.  Transport Canada recently committed to transferring 10,200 acres to Rouge National Urban Park, but still retains around 9,600 acres for economic development.

Mr. Polonsky, an independent advisor, is meeting with local interests on the potential economic development opportunities in the area, which could include an airport.

“Essentially my mandate is to listen to people and to report honestly what they say and all that takes the form of a report,” he said.

He interviews many people a day -- from government officials to the aviation community to agricultural and conservation groups -- and says each has been “fantastic.”

Some focus on growth and commerce and profits and jobs, and others on eating local, fresh food, and respecting and living on the land.

“So it's a challenge to me but a question I keep asking myself is, 'Is there a scenario that would be great for both? Or at least good for both?'” he said.

He noted some foresee as many as 60,000 jobs in the area.

“Imagine if that kind of a windfall could befall our community, whether they're air related or agricultural related or a combination.” he said.

He didn't make any recommendations in his interim report and isn't sure he'll offer any in the end.

His final report will include forward-looking perspectives which could be recommendations, observations or conclusions, or a series of 'what if' scenarios and questions.

“Whether they're actually called 'recommendations' or not, they will try and provide a useful format for the minister to consider as he and no doubt the prime minister make the final decision,” he said.

He spoke highly of Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, former astronaut.

“I think whatever he decides, Canadians can be encouraged and take comfort in knowing a person of that ilk is at the helm,” he said.

Mr. Polonsky believes the report could be made public by fall.

Durham Chairman Roger Anderson rallies Clarington business group to support Pickering Airport project
Board of trade address asks local business community to advocate for Durham airport
Jennifer O'Meara
March 12, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Roger Anderson
Roger Anderson
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
Durham Regional Chairman Roger Anderson, who also serves as chairman of the Durham police board.  September 3, 2015.

DURHAM -- Regional Chairman Roger Anderson spoke to the Clarington Board of Trade in an effort to rally the local business community to push for the development of the Pickering Airport on Thursday, Feb. 10.

Mr. Anderson said the proposed Pickering Airport will drive business investment and economic opportunities in Durham.  He said Toronto Pearson Airport will reach capacity in 22 years and a new airport will be needed.  Developing the proposed Pickering Airport site would create thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

“I'm talking thousands and thousands of good jobs.  I just can't emphasis enough how important it is ...  There's an opportunity, ladies and gentlemen, I mean one that we'll never get again,” said Mr. Anderson.

He told the business community that jobs were the No.  1 issue in Durham Region and that as a group, local business men and women could help pressure higher levels of government to usher in large-scale economic investments.

“If you speak somewhat united and deliver a clear message, people like the prime minister pay attention,” said Mr. Anderson, who passed out a list of contact information for politicians including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all Durham members of Parliament.

He also said Durham Region needs investment in transit and social housing.

The CBOT crowd at the Clarington Beech Centre included representatives from local industries, developers and politicians.  CBOT executive director Sheila Hall thanked Mr. Anderson for addressing the group and said Clarington would love to see more Regional investment in creating serviced lands -- especially in south Courtice -- and better broadband connectivity.

Retail March
March 7, 2016

Hello.

Having the pleasure to serve residents on the Regional Council for the Region of Durham for just over a year now, I thought I would address some questions I have heard from residents about the Region of Durham The Region of Durham consists of eight municipalities: Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Clarington, Oshawa, Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock.  Each of the eight municipalities have Council representatives that sit on Regional Council for a total of 28 Regional Councillors, plus the Regional Chairman.  Pickering has four Council representatives - one from each of the three Wards in Pickering, plus the Mayor. Pickering Councillors that sit on Regional Council also continue to sit on and serve their respective municipal council - that is the Pickering Regional Councillors sit at both the Durham Regional Council and the City of Pickering Council and continue to serve residents in both roles.  In the last municipal election, the Regional Chair, Roger Anderson, was directly elected for the first time.  The size and allocations of Regional Council seats is currently being reviewed.  Regional Council has four main committees: Finance and Administration, Works, Planning & Economic Development and Health & Social Services.  I am the Pickering Council representative on the Health & Social Services Committee.

For more information about the Region of Durham and the Regional Council Review, please visit www.durham.ca

Updates from Economic Development

Noodles & Company has opened their doors at the 1899 Brock Road Smart Centre.  Well known in the US, this is only the second location to open in the GTA, serving up an endless array of your favourite noodle dishes.  Councillor Ashe and I along with our spouses, were pleased to have enjoyed a hot lunch at Noodles & Company during their opening weekend.

Applications are under review for a variety of business operations including the construction of a new free standing Beer Store on Pickering Town Centre lands, as well as a new cross dock trucking facility on Silicone Road, and a major expansion to offices at the Signature Aluminum plant in the Brock Employment Park.

Pickering Awards Neighbourhood Group $10,000

Valley Plentiful Community Garden won February's ‘Best Group Effort’ at the Celebration event, held in recognition of the City's 2015 Celebrating Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program. Valley Plentiful Community Garden coordinates and maintain a 95-plot community garden in Pickering's City Centre was awarded the opportunity to work with the City on a community enhancement project valued at $10,000. To find out more about the groups, or to get involved in the 2016 Celebration Sustainable Neighbourhoods program, visit pickering.ca/csn

Upcoming Events

Mayor's Virtual Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, March 10, 2016
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Virtual Town Hall
Join the Live Discussion! Mayor Dave Ryan is hosting a Virtual Town Hall meeting. Listen in or ask Mary Ryan any Pickering related question you may have. To receive a phone invitation, please email your name to mayor@pickering.ca or call 905.420.4660 ext. 2198

March Break Free Teen Program
Monday, March 14 - Friday, March 18
Various locations throughout Pickering
Pickering Free Program will be offering special March Break programming. For a complete list of programs visit www.pickering.ca/teen or call 905.420.6588

March Break - OPG Free Family Swim
Wednesday March 16
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm & 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex Pool

Fire Station 5 Open House - Sparky's Birthday Party Friday, March 18, 2016
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Fire Station #5, 1616 Bayly Street

Durham Region Special Needs Olympics Swim Meet
Sunday, March 20
8:00 am - 12:30 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex
Join local swimmers and a large contingent of volunteers as they come together for a morning of competition, friendship and fun at the annual swim meet. Spectators welcome.

Sunday Afternoon Big Band
Sunday, March 20
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex
Contact Kim Bradley at 905.420.4660 ext. 2078
Featuring George lake Big Band for the listening and dancing pleasure of local adults 55+. Light refreshments will be served. $6 per person.

Easter Parade
Saturday, March 26
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
East on Annland St. to Krosno Blvd. and along Krosno Blvd. to Bayly St.
The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 606 & the Ladies Auxiliary proudly present the Annual Easter Parade. Put on your best Easter bonnet, decorate your bike, wagon or doll carriage to win great prizes.

11th Annual Sustainable Pickering Day
Saturday, April 2, 2016
9:30 am - 6:00 pm
Pickering Town Centre
The City, in partnership with the Pickering Town Centre, will host this annual event. The theme is local food, gardening and the natural environment. The event will be educational as well as interactive, with an indoor farmers' market, gardening demonstrations, and many fun free family activities. Visitors are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the food bank.

Visit the City of Pickering's website at www.pickering.ca for a complete listing of events. Click on the ‘Living’ drop down menu and then on ‘Events Calendar’.

David Pickles
Regional Councillor - Ward 3
905.420.4605 | 1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739
dpickles@pickering.ca

Brock Road in Pickering to close north of Rossland Road Feb. 20 and Feb. 21
February 18, 2016
(durhamregion.com)

WHITBY -- Brock Road, just north of Rossland Road in Pickering, will be closed for two days for construction.

The Region of Durham's works department is reminding residents this section of the road will be closed From Feb. 20 at 5 a.m. until Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. for the installation of storm sewers and electrical duct banks.  Unfavourable weather conditions may influence the work schedule.

This closure is a part of the Brock Road/Rossland Road reconstruction, which is ongoing until late 2017.  For more information, search for the project on www.durham.ca/cdeap.

Drivers are asked to exercise caution for the safety of pedestrians and construction workers.

UPDATE: David Potts' wife delivers emotional impact statement in Robert Lutczyk sentencing hearing
Crown asks for 10 years in prison; defence lawyer argues for eight
Jeff Mitchell
February 5, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Lutczyk
Former Oshawa politician Robert Lutczyk
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland file photo
OSHAWA -- Robert Lutczyk, the former Oshawa councillor, is facing kidnapping and weapons charges.

OSHAWA -- Former Oshawa city councillor Robert Lutczyk stood in front of a crowded courtroom Thursday afternoon and apologized to the family of David Potts, the former colleague he kidnapped at gunpoint more than three years ago.

A subdued Mr. Lutczyk -- his demeanor much changed from the aggressive and combative face he's put forth during his years-long journey through the justice system -- expressed deep remorse for the bizarre series of events in 2012 that saw Mr. Potts abducted from his home at gunpoint.

“I never had any intention of hurting David,” Mr. Lutczyk said.  “I wish it had never happened, but it did.  I accept that it happened and I accept responsibility for it.”

Mr. Lutczyk has pleaded guilty to charges including kidnapping with a firearm and weapons offences relating to the incident in October of 2012.  Thursday, prosecutor Ngai On Young called for a 10-year sentence.

Mr. Lutczyk said he was “greatly moved” by a victim impact statement read into the record by Mr. Potts's wife, Maureen Potts.  During the lengthy and eloquent submission, Mrs.  Potts described the horror and dread that gripped her and her children after Mr. Potts, the city solicitor, was abducted in his driveway after returning from a late city council meeting.  Click here to view the complete victim impact statement.

“I've never been so desperate and lost,” she said, holding back tears.  “I contemplated the possibility I wouldn't see David again.”

Mr. Lutczyk confined and taunted Mr. Potts, subjecting the whole family to an “outrageous nightmare,” Mrs.  Potts said.

“Mr. Lutczyk's unimaginable cruelty found its mark that night,” she said.  “In Mr. Lutczyk's own words, this was about exacting revenge.” Court has heard that by October of 2012 Mr. Lutczyk had hit rock bottom.  He was jobless, his marriage crumbling, and he was deep in debt.  He'd lost his city council seat in a prior election but even before that had seen the entirety of his council salary seized in court-ordered garnishments to pay off creditors.

He blamed Mr. Potts for his woes, Mr. Young said.

“You get the sense that Mr. Lutczyk blamed Mr. Potts for everything that went wrong in his life,” Mr. Young said.

The prosecutor recommended a global 10-year prison term but even if that's accepted by Superior Court Justice Alex Sosna, Mr. Lutczyk's time behind bars is likely to be much shorter than that.

He's served more than three years of pre-trial custody, for which he would generally be allowed enhanced credit on a 1.5 to 1 basis.  But Mr. Young said the Crown agrees Mr. Lutczyk ought to be granted even more credit for his dead time at the Central East Corrections Centre in Lindsay.

Mr. Young cited two factors: Mr. Lutczyk's extended incarceration in segregation -- essentially solitary confinement -- and an incident in which he was tossed naked into a segregation cell and left that way overnight.

“The overall reason is the hardship and difficulties he endured when he was in pre-trial custody,” Mr. Young said.

Defence lawyer Chris Murphy called for a total sentence of eight years, leaving Mr. Lutczyk less than two years to serve.  The events of 2012 were an aberration for Mr. Lutczyk, who was battling overwhelming stress and what psychiatrists have since diagnosed as an adjustment disorder, he said.

“You've got a law-abiding, functioning person who does something that doesn't make sense,” Mr. Murphy said.  &

Justice Sosna will pronounce sentence Feb. 26.

Mr. Lutczyk abducted Mr. Potts outside his home in Courtice at gunpoint and drove him to an industrial area in Whitby, where he'd rented space in a garage.  A quick-thinking Mr. Potts convinced Mr. Lutczyk to take him to a local coffee shop for food; Durham police closed in and Mr. Lutczyk raced back to his compound.  He leapt from the vehicle and used Mr. Potts as a shield while police trained their guns on them.

Mr. Potts managed to break free.  Mr. Lutczyk retreated inside the garage where he remained holed up, surrounded by dozens of police officers, for the next 27 hours.  He's been in custody since his surrender.

Mr. Potts has yet to speak publicly about his ordeal -- he declined to comment again Thursday -- but his wife's victim impact statement shed much light on the way the event affected the family.  She said she continues to be concerned about Mr. Lutczyk, even if he is bound for prison in the immediate future.

“Who might be next on his list?” she mused.  “I constantly worry Mr. Lutczyk will continue to exact revenge when he's released from prison.” Mr. Lutczyk took pains to express his remorse.

“I don't ever want you to think, Maureen, that this would happen again, that I stew in hatred, because I don't,” he said.

Mr. Lutczyk, his back bent and his ankles bound in shackles, turned to face Mr. and Mrs.  Potts, who sat just feet away.

“I'm sorry for it all,” he said.

Mentally ill in Durham remain in criminal justice system longer
Experts speak out against stereotype of blaming mental health as easy way out
Moya Dillon
February 4, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Services
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
WHITBY -- Dr. Karen DeFreitas, clinical director, spoke during a Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences event to bring greater awareness and understanding of forensic mental health and to reduce stigma.  This event was put on for those in the health, justice and social services sector as well as the general public.  Ocotber 15, 2015

DURHAM -- The path through the criminal justice system can be long for those who are declared not criminally responsible for their actions.

During a symposium designed to raise awareness of the forensic mental health system, Dr. Karen DeFreitas, medical director of the forensic program at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, outlined the process as it unfolds for someone suffering from mental illness who is charged with a crime.

“People who have committed some act and been charged for that, but who don't understand the court system well enough to navigate it, they would come to the hospital and we would attempt to treat them until they are fit to stand trial,” she explained, noting the process is different for those who are deemed Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) for their actions.

“If you're charged with an offence and you committed that offence but because of an illness that person didn't understand what they were doing or that what they were doing was wrong, they would be sent to our facility for treatment.”

Ms. DeFreitas said members of the public may have a very different perception of the forensic system than the reality, noting she is often shocked at the comments posted on media stories regarding those who have been deemed NCR.

“It's quite shocking what your fellow human beings will say,” she said, noting there is a stark contrast between the forensic system and the traditional criminal justice system.

“NCR verdicts are very rare; they only account for about one in 1,000 cases in Ontario.  On top of that the time in the forensic system versus time in the correctional system is often much longer, usually two to three years in our system compared to days, weeks or even time served in the correctional system.”

Once in the forensic system it is a long road to rehabilitation, with an individual's fate decided by the Ontario Review Board (ORB), which operates independently of the criminal system and is given great deference.  Any appeal of an ORB decision goes straight to the Court of Appeal.

“It's not quite like a court because a court is adversarial.  The ORB is meant to be more collaborative and it can be more inquisitorial,” Ms. DeFreitas said of the six-person board, which includes two lawyers, one psychiatrist, either another psychiatrist or a psychologist, and one public member.  Ms. DeFreitas is an ORB member.

“We can ask questions and ask for evidence just like a court, but the board also has a bit more flexibility to ask for what it needs to make a decision,” she said, noting while the board makes decisions based on an individual's well-being, its number one mandate is to prevent potential harm to the public.

“It's not fair if someone is mentally ill and really doesn't understand what they've done,” she explained.  “You can't punish someone if they don't know what they're doing.”

Whitby lawyer Anthony Balka has extensive experience with the forensic system.  Currently all of his clients have diagnosed psychiatric disorders, and his entire caseload involves representing clients before the ORB.

“People often say to me, 'how can you stand representing these people, aren't you worried people are faking it?' So I tell them to go home, look in the mirror, and pretend for five minutes that they have a psychiatric disorder,” he said.

“Now imagine doing that for 30 days on a ward surrounded by people who are very good at what they do and whose job it is to find out what's going on in your head.  Not to mention all the other patients who truly do have a disorder.  It's not an easy way out by any stretch, it can be a long, long road.  It can take years and years to get out from under an NCR.  I have many clients who want out of the system and wish they had never gone the NCR route but just served their time in the criminal system.”

However, Mr. Balka also noted that the forensic system “works very well” for some clients, with the outcome largely dependent on an individual's perspective and attitude.

Ms. DeFreitas also defended the system, noting media is quick to point fingers when a forensic patient goes on unauthorized leave from a hospital, referred to by staff as “eloping,” which is usually accompanied by public warnings and a police search.

“These patients are not escaping.  The term escape implies broken windows and stuff like that,” Ms. DeFreitas explained.  “Often we let them out on a pass and they don't come back, which garners a lot of attention in the media, but in reality elopements are very low.”

At Ontario Shores there were 51 unauthorized leaves of absence by patients from 2014 to 2015, the majority of which occurred in the civil program rather than the forensic program.  Ms. DeFreitas said a total of 0.4 per cent of all inpatient days at the hospital were spent on unauthorized leave.

While she recognizes that the phenomenon is unfortunate, she also points out that patients are given passes for a reason.

“If we were to set the bar so high that no one eloped, first of all we couldn't do that, secondly it would solve the elopement problem but it doesn't solve the issue of reintegration,” she said.

“If we never let people out they would just sit in the ward and that would really hamper their progress, not to mention the hospital would fill and there would be no room for new people coming in.  On one hand we don't want anyone to elope, but on the other hand people need to understand we can't be perfect, we have a mandate to reintegrate.”

She also points to statistics that show the successes of the program, mainly a 10 per cent reoffender rate compared to 40 per cent in the correctional system, and an even higher 70 per cent for individuals with mental illnesses who go through the correctional system.

“The ORB works hard to minimize the risk to the public and at present it does that very well,” Mr. Balka said.

“The problem is the public wants perfection from the ORB, and perfection is not to be had.  We are dealing with human beings here.”

Pickering is worming its way into the GTA scene
The new bridge allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross 15 lanes of Highway 401 between the Pickering Town Centre mall and the Go Train station.
Shawn Micallef, Living Columnist
January 30, 2016
(thestar.com)
The Worm
The Worm, Pickering's new bridge, connects the Town Centre mall to the GO station and parking garage on the other side of Hwy.  401.

Some people call it the worm.  It's the new landmark on Hwy.  401, a strange undulating form that appeared across the road a few years ago.

The worm is no everyday roadside attraction, though.  It's the new bridge that allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross 15 lanes of the 401 between the Pickering Town Centre mall on the north side and the GO Train station to the south, complete with a massive GO parking garage.

The garage is a kind of monument to the consequences of bad urban planning, when cities were briefly designed exclusively for the car.  Pickering sprawls, making reliable public transit difficult to reach all of it, but too many cars have made driving unattractive.

The worm and parking garage is a portal between the two worlds, connecting a car-dependent one to a transit-oriented one.  The garage isn't particularly pretty but it's a Band-Aid repairing our past mistakes.

However, the bridge is set for more than just moving GO commuters.  Unlike many cities and towns in the GTA, Pickering doesn't have a historic downtown of its own (the one it did have became part of Ajax), but since it was developed in the 1970s, the area around the mall has become its de facto city centre, with a city hall and central library across the street to the east and dense townhomes and apartment buildings nearby.

Right now, the north side of the bridge ends at a new Durham College building and a parking lot leading to an entrance to the Hudson's Bay store.  It doesn't feel particularly downtownish, but the City of Pickering undertook a major downtown intensification study in 2011 that outlines great plans to turn land on both sides of the highway into a regional cluster.

Currently, about 5,000 people live and 5,000 work in downtown Pickering, but the plan anticipates 8,000 more of each moving here in the coming decades.

At 250 meters long, the bridge isn't completely finished, as the aluminum mesh that gives it its distinct shape still doesn't cover the entire structure.

“It's just a bridge,” some might say, but landmarks have power: nobody drives through Pickering without noticing Pickering anymore.  Even the mayor, Dave Ryan, is proud of the bridge, going so far to say so on Twitter.

The bridge has moments of quiet when you can have it all to yourself, but when a GO train arrives from Toronto, especially in the afternoon rush, the bridge becomes filled with noisy commuters.  It sounds like downtown.

It's during the quiet that the full length of the bridge can be appreciated.  It's meditative when alone up there, the slightly muffled 401 traffic speeding by below, a perfect viewing platform for one North America's mightiest highways.

Being there reminded me of the 1988 novel Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker, where the entire story is one man's lunch time trip up an escalator in an office building.  A most everyday, boring kind of thing, but Baker uses that brief time to go deep into the thoughts of the young man riding the escalator.

There's time to think when crossing the worm, time to look out at the 401 with its endless stream of cars, each heading to some private world, each with a network of friends and family.  The magnitude of this region's population can be understood here.

To the south, there's also an atomic view over industrial warehouses to the reactor domes of the Pickering Nuclear Generating station.  This end of the bridge will become residential buildings, according to the intensification plan, making the parking garage less of a monolith on the landscape.  Too bad it couldn't have been buried under the new housing.

Pickering and its worm are typically Canadian.  All our towns are invented: some long ago, many more quite recently.  In Pickering, the worm will lead the way.

Pickering residents vote in Maurice Brenner as Ward 1 City councillor
Returning councillor wants to help most vulnerable in the city
Kristen Calis
January 25, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Maurice Brenner
Pickering Byelection
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
PICKERING -- Maurice Brenner won the Ward 1 City of Pickering byelection Monday night, defeating 11 other candidates January 25, 2016.

PICKERING -- Maurice Brenner beat out 11 other candidates in the Ward 1 byelection Monday night to return to council for the first time in a decade.

“The tears were flowing,” Coun. Brenner said of his reaction to the news.

When Jennifer O'Connell, the previous Ward 1 Regional councillor, was elected as Pickering-Uxbridge MP in October, her seat was declared vacant.

Pickering councillors chose to appoint Kevin Ashe, the Ward 1 City councillor at the time, to fill the Ward 1 Regional role, and called a byelection for the local position.

Twelve candidates submitted their names for the race.

Coun. Brenner was elected as Ward 1 City councillor in 1985 and again in 1988, and then represented Ward 1 residents at the regional level until losing his seat to Bonnie Littley in 2006.

Mayor Dave Ryan, who congratulated the returning councillor when he arrived at City Hall, said he wasn't overly surprised by the news, as Coun. Brenner has a strong name recognition in the ward having represented it for a number of years.

“We've got a new council and I think we have a different way of doing business than we used to,” said the mayor.  “It's a very positive outlook.  I'm hopeful that he's going to contribute to that.”

Coun. Brenner said he feels humble.  “To get that opportunity again is something that a lot of people don't have, the ability to go back...in time, to set the clock back to have another chance,” he said.

Coun. Brenner thanked residents in Ward 1 for choosing him.

“I can assure you and I can assure them that I'll be accessible, accountable and transparent in each and everything that I do on their behalf,” he said.  

He said his reason for running was to embrace Pickering in a positive way, and he looks forward to working with Mayor Ryan and the other members of council.

“We may not always agree but we're going to agree to disagree, and one thing I'm confident: whatever I do and whatever each member of council (does) together, it's believing that each person is doing it for what they believe is the wellbeing of those that they (represent) and I respect that,” he said.

Knocking on doors, Coun. Brenner mostly heard from seniors who are worried about their financial wellbeing, and from residents with speeding concerns.

“My No. 1 priority to start...is to look for options to help our most vulnerable in the city of Pickering,” he said.

Unofficial results

Tate Besso - 47
Deborah Bissett - 191
Maurice Brenner - 712
Nancy Granados - 68
Lisa McFarland - 316
Anthony Jordan Navarro - 11
Anita Otto - 60
Lisa Robinson - 662
Peter Rodrigues - 275
Alma Sandoval - 27
Gary Hugh Strange - 462
Chris van der Vliet - 472

Abuse of process motion dismissed, sign bylaw charges against former Pickering councillor Peter Rodrigues go to trial
Jeff Mitchell
January 12, 2016
(durhamregion.com)
Peter Rodrigues Van
Councillor Peter Rodrigues
Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland
A justice of the peace is to rule next month on former Pickering politician Peter Rodrigues's claim that bylaw charges ilaid against him, in regards to his campaign van, prior to the 2014 municipal election were political sabotage.  Photo originally taken September 8, 2014

DURHAM -- A justice of the peace has dismissed Peter Rodrigues's claim that he's the victim of abuse of process, meaning the former Pickering councillor's trial on allegations of contravening the City's sign bylaw will continue.

JP Gerald Ryan dismissed a Charter challenge filed on Mr. Rodrigues's behalf Tuesday, Jan. 12.  No reasons for the judgement have yet been released; Mr. Rodrigues's lawyer, Carol Shirtliff-Hinds, had called for the charges to be withdrawn on the basis that Mr. Rodrigues had been singled out by political opponents.

The charges arise from Mr. Rodrigues's alleged insistence on parking his brightly-wrapped van outside city hall in Pickering in the months leading up to the municipal election of 2014.  Tuesday he pleaded not guilty to more than dozen charges under the City's sign bylaw.

The van, with a yellow wrap featuring Mr. Rodrigues's name, picture and an image of City Hall, was deemed not to be an election sign, but does fit the definition of a sign, City clerk Debbie Shields testified Tuesday.  The use of the vehicle became an issue when the former councillor began to park it outside the municipal offices and rebuffed requests that he instead use his designated space in an underground parking lot, Ms. Shields said.

Complaints about the van began in the latter months of 2013 and intensified in 2014, after the campaign for the municipal election officially began, the clerk testified.

“At the beginning of September (of 2013) I began to get questions as to why the councillor's van was on the street,” Ms. Shields said.

Mr. Rodrigues was asked to stop parking the van outside city hall and warned he might be charged, but he largely ignored those entreaties, she said.

Mr. Rodrigues deliberately parked the van on streets around the municipal office, taking care to move it regularly to avoid a ticket for parking in excess of three hours in one spot, court heard.

“He continued to park on the street,” Ms. Shields said.  “It was concerning to me because it was an unfair advantage over other candidates.”

After issuing repeated warnings, Ms. Shields turned the matter over to the bylaw enforcement department, court heard.  Mr. Rodrigues was slapped with 16 charges in September 2014, weeks before the election.

In the motion calling for dismissal of the charges, Ms. Shirtliff-Hinds alleged the complaints came from Mr. Rodrigues's political opponent, David Pickles, who went on to win the election.  Tuesday Ms. Shields acknowledged Mr. Pickles was “one of” those raising concerns about the van.  Complainants also included other candidates, and even residents of a condo building across the street from city hall, she said.

Mr. Rodrigues was charged after repeatedly ignoring requests to stop breaking the sign bylaw, the clerk said.

“We were hoping we would gain compliance,” Ms. Shields said.  “We don't go out and just lay a charge, we give them quite a few opportunities to comply.

“When we can do nothing else but charge, then we charge,” she said.  

“I am pleased that the ridiculous and false allegations against city staff and myself were dismissed.  Mr. Rodrigues has tied up significant staff time and thousands of taxpayers dollars by taking the city to court on these allegations.  I will not comment on his trial on the bylaw charges against him as these are still before the courts.”  - David Pickles

Ontario to squeeze more life out of Pickering nuclear station
January 11, 2016
(citynews.ca)
Pickering Nuclear
The Pickering Nuclear Plant.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Steve White.

Ontario's Liberal government wants to squeeze four more years of life out of the Pickering nuclear station.

It will start a $12.8 billion refurbishment of the Darlington power station this fall.

Nuclear reactors at both stations owned by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) were originally scheduled to be decommissioned in 2020.

But cabinet decided to keep Pickering running until 2024 while the four nuclear reactors at the Darlington station are rebuilt to extend their lives by about 30 years.

OPG says the Darlington rebuild will generate $14.9 billion in economic benefits to Ontario and generate 11,800 jobs at peak of construction.

Bruce Power assumed all risks of cost overruns for its nuclear refurbishment, which will start in 2020, four years later than originally planned.

Ontario's Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats are worried taxpayers will be on the hook for huge cost overruns with the Darlington rebuild, noting nuclear projects never come in on budget.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says she wants to keep generating between about half of Ontario's electricity from nuclear power.

Ontario companies in the CANDU reactor supply chain.

Pickering lands, near onetime site of possible airport, up for sale as byelection nears
Liberal government has finally put a "for sale" sign up on large swath of Pickering land, just in time for Durham byelection.
Robert Benzie Queen's Park Bureau Chief
January 07, 2016
(thestar.com)
Brad Duguid
Richard Brennan / Toronto Star file photo
Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid said more than 1,000 acres are being sold with the proceeds going toward building new infrastructure.

Premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government has put up a “for sale” sign on a large swath of Pickering land - just in time for a Durham byelection next month.

With voters in nearby Whitby-Oshawa expected to go to the polls Feb. 11 to elect a successor to former Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott, the Liberals on Thursday announced the Seaton lands are finally on the market.

That's the area along Highway 407 adjacent to a massive federal-owned tract set aside generations ago to build an airport in Pickering.

The Ontario government expropriated the Seaton lands in the 1970s to build a new town to serve the airport that never materialized.

With Ottawa unlikely to proceed with a Pickering airport, Queen's Park has long been working with the local council and developers to build a new “sustainable community” for 70,000 people,

Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid said more than 1,000 acres are being sold, with the proceeds going toward building new infrastructure.

“By selling this provincial asset, our government is helping build Ontario up, emphasizing sustainable communities and supporting families across the GTA and beyond,” Duguid said in a statement.

There will be about 800 acres of “employment lands” and 269 acres of “residential and mixed use lands” sold for many millions of dollars, which the government believes will support 35,000 jobs.

The public sale, which is being conducted on the open market, will be handled by CBRE Ltd.  and should be completed by the end of the year or early in 2017.

Infrastructure Ontario, a government agency, prepared the property for marketing.

“The sale of the Seaton lands marks another milestone towards making the vision of Seaton a reality,” Bert Clark, Infrastructure Ontario president and CEO, said in a statement.

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan, whose city of 94,000 people has been working on developing Seaton for years, hailed the announcement as a “major step in allowing the private sector to get started on the creation of 35,000 well-paying new jobs.”

Ryan noted the city already “boasts one of the strongest clusters” of energy, environmental, and engineering companies in the province and the new development should “attract even more of these progressive and innovative companies to our city.”

While the project has been a big regional issue for some time, it does not fall within the riding of Whitby-Oshawa, which the Liberals hope to pick up after Wynne calls the byelection, likely next Wednesday.

The Seaton lands are in neighbouring Ajax-Pickering, held by Liberal MPP Joe Dickson, so it remains to be seen whether the new suburban development will be a hot topic with voters.

“It's an issue that's been discussed at Durham regional council,” said Durham councillor Lorne Coe, the Progressive Conservative candidate in Whitby-Oshawa.

His main opponent in a riding that has been Tory for more than 20 years is fellow regional councillor Elizabeth Roy, who is carrying the Liberal banner.

Niki Lundquist, a lawyer with Unifor, Canada's largest private-sector union, is the NDP candidate.

With files from Rob Ferguson

Proclamation Black History Month
February 2016
Black History Month 2016
 
City of Pickering
News Release - 35,000 New Jobs to Seaton
January 7, 2016

For Immediate Release

Pickering Ready to Welcome 35,000 New Jobs to Seaton

Pickering, ON, January 7, 2016 - Today, the Province of Ontario announced its immediate plans to sell all of its employment and residential lands in the Seaton area.   The City of Pickering looks forward to working with the eventual purchaser(s) to achieve the 35,000 new jobs target as prescribed in the Central Pickering Development Plan.

The Province of Ontario formalized the Central Pickering Development Plan on May 3, 2006.   Since then, the City of Pickering has been working closely with the Province and the Region of Durham to ensure that Seaton becomes a sustainable, urban community with a strong focus on economic development, livability, and the protection of the natural heritage system.

Seaton is planned to accommodate 70,000 new residents and 35,000 new jobs.   To ensure the community attracts high-quality employment opportunities, the City of Pickering has commissioned a comprehensive sector analysis study which will identify specific sectors of the economy that would be attracted to the 800 acres of employment lands in Seaton.

The sector analysis will be completed and released this spring.   Interested purchasers are encouraged to meet with the City to discuss the sector analysis findings, and develop ways of working together to attract business and jobs to the Seaton lands.

Seaton is located adjacent to both Toronto and Markham.   The Seaton employment lands run parallel to Highway 407, and are situated directly south of the Pickering Airport lands - making them highly accessible and extremely desirable for industries and businesses looking to expand their footprint in the Greater Toronto Area.

“The City of Pickering is open for business; and on behalf of Council, we thank the Province of Ontario for taking this major step in allowing the private sector to get started on the creation of 35,000 well-paying, new jobs in Seaton,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.   “Pickering boasts one of the strongest clusters of EN3 (Energy, Environmental, Engineering) companies in Ontario, and I would be thrilled if Seaton helps attract even more of these progressive and innovative companies to our city.”

-30-

As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet.  An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here.  Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.

Media Contact:

Mark Guinto

Coordinator, Public Affairs | Office of the Mayor

905.420.4660 ext.  2013 | 1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739

mguinto@pickering.ca

News Release
Ontario Moving Forward with Sale of Seaton Lands
Proceeds will Fund Priority Infrastructure Projects Across the Province
January 7, 2016
(news.ontario.ca)

Ontario is moving forward with its plan to build key infrastructure across the province by proceeding with the sale of the Seaton Lands.

The Seaton Lands, which have been provincially owned since the 1970s, are being sold on the open market to support a new urban development in the City of Pickering.  Upon completion, Seaton will be a mixed use, sustainable community, which will be home to 70,000 people and support 35,000 jobs.

The provincial sale includes approximately 800 acres of employment lands and 269 acres of residential and mixed use lands.  The lands will be marketed as of January 7 to prospective purchasers.

The government is committed to dedicating the net proceeds generated from the sale to the Trillium Trust, which helps fund transit, transportation and other key infrastructure projects across the province.  This is part of the government's plan to support asset optimization targets of $5.7 billion to build new transit and other priority infrastructure across the province.

Making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up.  The four-part plan also includes investing in people's talents and skills, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • The sale of the lands will be done on the open market through a public sale, which is being led by the Broker of Record, CBRE Limited, as part of a fair, open and transparent procurement process.
  • Ontario is investing more than $134 billion over 10 years in priorities such as roads, bridges and public transit, making 110,000 jobs possible every year across the province.
  • Between April and September, Ontario announced support for more than 200 infrastructure projects that will keep people and goods moving, strengthen the economy, connect communities and improve quality of life.

Additional Resources

Quotes

“The sale of the Seaton lands is an excellent example of our government making smart use of underdeveloped resources to create jobs and catalyze economic growth across the province.  By selling this provincial asset, our government is helping build Ontario up, emphasizing sustainable communities and supporting families across the GTA and beyond.”
Brad Duguid
Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure

“This is a significant milestone for residents of Pickering and the Durham region, who will see the creation of good paying jobs and new infrastructure because of the sale of the Seaton lands.  I am pleased that our government is working to grow this vibrant community, and that the residents of Pickering will benefit from the new urban development for years to come.”
Joe Dickson
MPP, Ajax-Pickering

“Infrastructure Ontario is pleased to have led the process of preparing the Seaton Lands to be marketed.  The sale of the Seaton Lands marks another milestone towards making the vision of Seaton a reality.”
Bert Clark
Infrastructure Ontario President and CEO

Residents can vote in advance in Ward 1 byelection on Jan. 8 and 9
December 23, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Ward 1 residents can vote in advance polls on Jan. 8 and Jan 9 for the Ward 1 byelection.

The byelection was called after former Ward 1 Regional councillor Jennifer O'Connell was elected Pickering-Uxbridge MP in the federal election in October.  Council appointed Ward 1 City Councillor Kevin Ashe to the vacant Regional seat, leaving the local seat empty.

Polls will be open for Ward 1 eligible voters at Pickering City Hall, One The Esplanade, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8 and on Saturday, Jan. 9 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There will also be a special voting location from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Jan. 8 at Abbeylawn Manor Retirement Home at 534 Road Ave., Pickering, for residents only.

More locations will be open on the day of the byelection, Monday, Jan. 25.

For more information on the byelection, visit /www.pickering.ca/en/cityhall/2016-Ward1-By-election.asp.

Pickering Tree Lighting
December 4, 2015
Photo 1
 
Photo 2
 
Photo 3
 
Claremont Community Centre could change to Dr. Nelson F. Tomlinson Centre
December 3, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Ward 3 City Councillor Rick Johnson wants to change the name of the Claremont Community Centre to the Dr.  Nelson F.  Tomlinson Centre.

He gave notice of motion at the latest council meeting and it will be discussed by council at a later date.

Dr. Tomlinson was an active citizen and doctor who contributed greatly to the Claremont and surrounding communities.

According to the motion, Dr. Tomlinson taught at the Claremont Continuation School from 1911 for seven years before attending the University of Toronto medical school.

During the First World War he was sent to work at a tuberculosis sanatorium in Gravenhurst, but in 1919 returned to Claremont and opened his practice hen a doctor was desperately needed.

Early on, Dr. Tomlinson would travel miles by foot, snowshoe, horse and buggy and, later, in a Model T Ford, to visit patients in north Pickering.  He practised medicine for 56 years until age 90.  Dr. Tomlinson held the position of medical officer of health from 1935 to 1955.

He held high positions in many local organizations, including: the Claremont United Church; the library board; the Masonic Lodge; the Claremont Business Men's Association; and the parks and school boards.

He pushed to have the vacated Claremont Presbyterian Church turned into a community centre, which resulted in many years of community groups enjoying the hall until the Claremont Community Centre was built.

Residents can submit comments on the name change by sending an e-mail to dshields@pickering.ca or calling 905-683-2760 ext.  2019 no later than Dec. 31.

Highway 407 East opening delayed but tolls will be waived initially
The 407 extension into Durham Region won't open until spring
but the government is promising to postpone the tolls.
Tess Kalinowski
December 3, 2015
(thestar.com)
407 Extention
Marcus Oleniuk / Toronto Star file photo
Work that remains on the construction of Highway 407 East inludes “top coat asphalt and permanent pavement markings in some sections.”

Durham Region commuters will get to drive the first stretch of Highway 407 East for free once the highway opens.  The catch is they will have to wait longer to use the new $1.2 billion route.

The toll road, being built with a provincial public-private partnership through Infrastructure Ontario, was to open on Dec. 18.  But it isn't finished, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said Thursday.

He cited early design work “that perhaps wasn't done at the speed or the pace that would have been ideal” as one cause of delay.

“Work that remains includes top coat asphalt and permanent pavement markings in some sections, the final stages of bridge construction at some locations and final safety reviews,” he wrote in a letter to Durham Region chair Roger Anderson and mayors of the affected municipalities.

That can't be done in the winter, so the highway, which runs from east of Brock Rd. in Pickering to Harmony Rd. in Oshawa, will open in the spring, said Del Duca.

The highway that is being built by 407 East Development Group remains on budget, he stressed.

“We will not pay a cent to the consortium for the completion of the highway until it's opened to the travelling public,” said Del Duca, adding that the company will suffer a financial penalty for the delay.

He repeated the government's earlier commitment that the tolls on the new stretch of the 407 will be lower than the existing 407 ETR rates.  Any increases will be tied to the rate of inflation.

Preliminary work on the 407 extension, from Harmony Rd. to Highway 35/115 in Clarington, is already underway and tracking for completion in 2020.

Both phases of the 407 East include links to Highway 401.

For the first few months it will be free to “help commuters to become accustomed to the new roads,” said Del Duca.

Durham chair Roger Anderson could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Pickering to illuminate Esplanade Park on Dec. 4 with annual tree lighting, fireworks
December 1, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering will become lit up with a dazzling fireworks display and tree lighting on Friday when it hosts the annual event at Esplanade Park.

The tree lighting and fireworks event brings out thousands of families and friends from the Pickering community and beyond to enjoy the holiday lights and entertainment.  It will include free rides, games, crafts and lots of entertainment for all ages, and live performances by Anna, Elsa and Kristoff, Puss n' Boots, as well as the Pickering Community Concert Band.  Food trucks will line Esplanade North for dinner or a snack.  Live reindeer and a special visit from the North Pole will be a delight for children.  Fireworks will light up the sky to complete the night.  Food donations will be accepted for St.  Paul's on-the-Hill Community Food Bank.

The fun will take place on Dec. 4 at Esplanade Park, One The Esplanade, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Developer Jerry Coughlan makes $1-million donation to Ajax, Pickering hospital
Businessman makes surprise announcement at Mayor's Gala
Keith Gilligan
November 26, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Jerry Coughlan Donation
Jerry Coughlan donation
Submitted photo
DURHAM -- Developer and golf course owner Jerry Coughlan, third from left, surprised the audience at the Mayor's Gala when he announced he was donating $1 million to the Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital.  With him, from left, were Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan, Rouge Valley Foundation chairwoman Judith Barker and Foundation board member Nancy Maxwell.  November 21, 2015

DURHAM -- It was an announcement that caught everybody by surprise, even the recipients.

Jerry Coughlan, the founder of Coughlan Homes now operating as J.F.C.  Developments Ltd., announced on Saturday he was donating $1 million to the Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital.  Mr. Coughlan made the announcement during the Mayor's Gala at the Pickering Recreation Complex on Nov. 21.

“It was something planned for later in the year, but my accountant said why not do it tonight.  Everything turned out well,” he said.  “I earned all the money in Ajax and Pickering and I'm just putting something back, I guess.”

Chad Hanna, the president of the Rouge Valley Foundation, said Mr. Coughlan “has always been a supporter of the hospital.”

In a statement, Judith Barker, chairwoman of the foundation's board of directors, said, “We were of course very excited at this wonderful announcement and proud to receive such generous support.  Mr. Coughlan is a true community builder and through such a gift he will put a spotlight on the importance of supporting and helping to advance local health care, in a way that benefits everyone.”

Mr. Coughlan said, “I was sick last year and Ajax (hospital) took care of me.

The foundation has ideas on how to spend the money, Mr. Hanna noted.

“It's really up to Jerry and we haven't had that discussion yet.  Any donor who does that sort of gift will get good advice.  We'll give him a shopping list and he'll decide,” he said.

When asked if he was surprised with the announcement, Mr. Hanna said, “Yeah, I think we were surprised.  Pleasantly surprised.”

The gala raised enough money to buy five Panda Baby Warmers, which are used to keep newborns warm.

“It was a great evening.”

He said with success of the baby warmers and Mr. Coughlan's announcement, “if there was a dry eye in the house, I didn't see it.”

“It's a great story.  At the hospital, doctors and nurses were walking around Monday with big smiles,” Mr. Hanna said.

Pickering Islamic Centre condemns Paris attacks
Mosque spokesman says women, children in state of fear
Kristen Calis
November 24, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The Pickering Islamic Centre is expressing its deep shock at the terrorist attacks that killed 129 people in Paris on Nov. 13.

“We categorically condemn these horrific attacks and all acts of violent extremism and terrorism wherever and whenever they occur,” the Islamic Centre said in a statement.  “There is no justification of any kind for such criminal acts.”

The release said the Islamic Centre's thoughts and prayers are with the people of France, and the families of those killed and injured, as well as the first responders and security officials working to track down those responsible.

“Muslims have been in a state of mourning,” said outreach director Javed Akbar.

In a phone interview, Mr. Akbar called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a “despicable outfit” that has caused enormous grief and heartbreak to the Muslim community and wants nothing but to create “dispute and discord.”

“That's what their plan is, that's what their plot is,” he said.  “As a society to move forward, we have to stay centred.”

He noted ISIS has killed many Muslims, not only in the attacks in Paris that killed 129 people, but also in the one in Beirut, Lebanon on Nov. 12, in which 43 people were killed.

In September, 2014, a glass door was shot out at the Pickering Islamic Centre while people were worshipping there.  Less than a week later, vandals sprayed anti-Islamic graffiti in Pickering.  Although acts of hatred against Muslims haven't occurred in Pickering following the Paris attacks, Mr. Akbar said the community is well aware of those that have, such as the Muslim woman attacked in Toronto and the fire set at a mosque in Peterborough the night after the Paris attacks.

“The families are in a state of fear, particularly women and children,” said Mr. Akbar.  “We have people coming in here of all ages.”

He noted the majority of the people in Pickering and Ajax are peaceful.

“We get along with people very well,” Mr. Akbar said.

He feels the United States should take a stronger stance against ISIS, but agrees with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plans to have more Canadians on the ground to help train local soldiers to fight the terrorist group.

Byelection for Pickering Ward 1 City Council seat set for Jan. 25
November 18, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

“Councillor Pickles noted at the city council meeting that it looks like we have some good candidates, 3 have spoken with me so far about running: Gary Strange a local resident and businessman former president of Board of Trade and also has been involved in city committees and events.  Lisa Robinson local resident and business woman.  Tate Besso local resident, in the financial business and served on our heritage pickering committee.  I expect there will be other candidates.”

PICKERING -- Council has called a byelection for Jan. 25 to fill the Ward 1 City Council position.

Nominations open on Wednesday, Nov. 18 and close on Dec. 11.  Dates and locations of advanced polls are yet to be determined.

Former councillor Jennifer O'Connell was elected as Pickering-Uxbridge MP in the October federal election and left the seat vacant.

“I'm aware of a number of potential candidates,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.  “I'm very impressed with the field.  There's a wealth of experience and there's no question of the dedication to this community.”

The only councillor to vote against holding the byelection was Ward 3 City Councillor Rick Johnson.  He felt an appointment would save taxpayer dollars and he expects voter turnout to be low.

Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles said he knows of at least three people running so far.

“I expect based on the people I've heard from, we're going to have some very fine candidates,” he said.

DRIVEN
Support for women experiencing abuse & all forms of gender-based violence
November 18, 2015
DRIVEN
I recently had chat with Emma and wanted to make this information available to residents including possible volunteers and donors. 
Santa Claus parade, holiday fun coming to Pickering
November 14, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The countdown is on for Santa Claus coming to town.

The Kinsmen and Kinette Club of Pickering will host Pickering's Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, Nov. 28 starting at 10 a.m. This year's theme, Christmas past, Christmas future, will bring marching bands, carolers and floats to the streets of Pickering.

It will begin at Vaughan Willard Public School, 1911 Dixie Rd. N., and proceed east on Glenanna Road to the Pickering Town Centre at 355 Kingston Rd.

Durham Regional Police will collect food and toys for families in need, and Canada Post will collect letters for Santa.

Visit www.pickering.ca/greatevents for more information.

Also that day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the 42nd annual Deck Your Halls Bazaar and Craft Show takes place at Dunbarton-Fairport United Church, 1066 Dunbarton Rd. It will feature crafts, many different varieties of soup and chili, a bake table and a sewing table.  Admission is free.

Visit www.dunbartonfairport.on.ca for more information.

Remembrance Day Services
November 11, 2015
Councillors Pickles Ashe and Cumming placing wreath
Laying wreaths at Remembrance Day service at Pickering City Hall today with Regional Councillor Kevin Ashe and City Councillor Ian Cumming 

In Memory of James Pickles
In Memory of Councillor Pickles grandfather, James Pickles 
Remembrance Day Services
November 8, 2015
Councillors Pickles and Ashe placing wreath
Laying wreaths at Remembrance Day service at Pickering City Hall today with Regional Councillor Kevin Ashe 

Remembrance Day Service Claremont
Remembrance Day service at the Royal Canadian Legion in Claremont 
Durham looking for students for summer jobs
Applications open on Dec. 1, jobs start in May
November 6, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- The Region of Durham is recruiting students for summer jobs.

Starting Dec. 1, students can apply for positions in all departments.  Applications will be accepted until the end of March.  Employment is from May to August.

Students must be at least 18 or turning 18 in 2016, enrolled in full-time studies at a college or university and returning to full-time studies in the fall, and possess a full Class G driver's licence and a clean driving history to be considered for a position that requires driving.

The Region tries to match students to their position of interest, but students could be placed in another position, based on experience, qualifications, field of study, along with skills and abilities listed in their resumes.

Students can apply online after Dec. 1 at www.durham.ca, and select careers and summer student opportunities.

Pickering to celebrate Remembrance Day on Nov. 8 and Nov. 11
November 3, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Poppy
Poppy box
The Royal Canadian Legion is about to start its annual poppy campaign to show respect for the men and women who have dedicated their lives to war and military operations and to raise funds for veterans and community organizations.  Each year, millions of Canadians wear the symbol on their lapels, and the campaign officially kicks off the last Friday of October.

PICKERING -- Canada's veterans will be honoured in Pickering on two separate dates next week.

Remembrance Day services will be held on Sunday, Nov. 8 and Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 10:45 a.m. at the Pickering City Hall Cenotaph, in the courtyard.

Pickering's Poppy Campaign kicked off on Oct. 30 with the official flag raising at City Hall.  The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 606, Bay Ridges, presented the flag and pinned each dignitary with a poppy just prior to raising the flag.  The flag will be on display until Nov. 12.  Poppies will be available at all City facilities and throughout stores in Pickering.

For more information about Remembrance Day, call the Royal Canadian Legion at 905-839-2990.

Pickering to decide Monday how to fill vacant Ward 1 council seat
Ward 1 City Councillor Kevin Ashe interested in Regional Council role
Kristen Calis
October 28, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Jennifer O'Connell
Jennifer O'Connell
Torstar News Services image
Pickering Uxbridge MP Jennifer O'Connell.  October 2015

PICKERING -- Councillors will decide the next steps to fill the vacant Ward 1 regional councillor's seat at a special meeting Monday.

Former Ward 1 Regional Councillor Jennifer O'Connell was elected on Oct. 19 as the Liberal MP for Pickering-Uxbridge.  She handed in her letter of resignation and spoke before council at the regular council meeting on Oct. 26.  Her seat was then declared vacant.

“It's been a lot of really good memories so it's kind of a closing of one chapter and an opening of the next,” she said in her emotional delegation before council.

Ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean, Ward 2 City Councillor Ian Cumming and Ward 1 City Councillor Kevin Ashe congratulated the outgoing councillor on her new federal post, and on a job well done in Pickering.

“There's no doubt in my mind in Ottawa you'll be doing the same for your community that you've been doing in the past 10 years for your community and more,” said Coun. McLean.

Former Ward 3 Regional councillor Peter Rodrigues spoke before council on the matter of the vacant seat.

“The Municipal Elections Act does allow for appointment, but in this case there is no good justification to appoint, therefore a byelection would be democratic and fair,” he said.

He said if council were to appoint someone, he himself should be the choice.  He noted he had four years of recent Regional council experience, and compared himself to Coun. Ashe, since there is some talk that the councillor could be appointed to the Regional post.

Mr. Rodrigues noted he had more than 4,000 votes in the previous election he lost in, which was more votes than Coun. Ashe had for the City seat he won, with 3.5 per cent more people voting in Ward 1 than in Ward 3.

Mr. Rodrigues noted if Coun. Ashe is appointed, it would leave another vacancy, which would in turn need to be filled, thereby necessitating a byelection.

“Simply put, if I were appointed, then there would be no need for any byelection,” he said, adding this would save Pickering and residents time and money.

Coun. Ashe said in an interview Mr. Rodrigues's points were nonsensical, and noted Mr. Rodrigues was comparing the two-person election race Mr. Rodrigues was in to the four-person race Coun. Ashe was in.

“It seemed a tad self-serving in terms of his argument,” he said.

Coun. Ashe feels his long experience on council, his relationships with councillors across the Region, as well as his ability to work with Mayor Dave Ryan and the two other Pickering councillors at the Region would make him suitable for the appointment.

“I think if my colleagues deem me worthy to represent Ward 1 at the Region, I'd be willing to accept that designation with honour,” he said.

He noted when former councillor Mark Holland was elected as MP for Ajax-Pickering in 2004, current Coun. McLean, a local councillor at the time, was appointed to the Region.  When Coun. Ashe's father, George Ashe, was mayor of Pickering in 1977, and was elected as an MPP, appointments were made as well.

But first-timers would like to take a shot at the job, too.

Lisa Robinson, who ran against Coun. Ashe in the last election, said she feels a byelection is absolutely necessary.

“It's supposed to be democracy,” she said.  “It's supposed to be what the people decide.”

Ms. Robinson, who says she really cares for the people of the community, is heavily involved already as a member of the board of directors for the Rotary Club of Pickering and as a member of a local school community council.  She said she'd absolutely love to run if there were a byelection.

A recent memo to council said if a byelection is called on Monday, the bylaw to enact the byelection can be approved at the Nov. 16 council meeting.  If that's the case, nominations would be accepted starting Nov. 18 and nomination day would be on Dec. 11.  A byelection would then take place on Jan. 25.

It will all be up to Pickering council at City Hall on Monday at 7 p.m.

The Terry Fox Run
(SNAP)

For 29 years, runners have united to raise money and awareness in honour of a man who inspired, not only a country, but people across the world to fight.  This year, more than 140 people gathered at the Pickering Recreation Complex, and continued the fight.  With smiles beaming, participants walked, jogged, wheeled and biked, helping raise more than $18,000 and support cancer research for the Terry Fox Foundation.  Terry ran 5,373 km for 143 days before ending his run in Thunder Bay.

Terry Fox Run
 
Tea Time for Queen Elizabeth ll
(SNAP)

On Wednesday, September 9th at exactly 5:30pm, Buckingham Palace has calculated that Queen Elizabeth II's reign surpassed that of Canada's other great Mother of Confederation, Queen Victoria.  In celebration of Queen Elizabeth II serving for the longest period as Monarch in our modern history, the City of Pickering hosted a special tea to pay tribute to the Queen.  Joined by Mayor Dave Ryan, Deb Stratas (Monarchist League), Citizen Judge Marian Sami, and members of the Pickering Legion, a wonderful celebration took place in City Hall to the delight of the many guests who came to honour the Queen.

Tea Time for Queen Elizabeth II
 
Living Healthier at Home
Integrated Health Service Plan 2016/19
(Local Health Integration Network)
October 26, 2015

View the Living Healthier at Home Integrated Service Plan presentation to Council.

Community Safety and Policing in Durham Region
2017-2019 Business Plan
October 14, 2015

View the Durham Regional Police Services Board Presentation.

Regional Airport Hub?
October 14, 2015
(Novae res urbis)

Toronto Pearson and other airports in southern Ontario represent one of the most significant planning challenges for the future of the region.  With Pearson projected to reach capacity within the next 20 years, other airports will need to play a greater role in accommodating demand. Coordination and strong ground transportation connectivity will be key to such a network's success.

Read more ...

Airport Advisor in Place
October 14, 2015
(Novae res urbis)

The federal government is moving ahead with plans for the future of its lands in Pickering - earmarked for a potential airport-with the help of an independent advisor.  Stakeholder consultations are anticipated over most of 2016.

Read more ...

Tour of Councillor Pickles' Office
October 3, 2015
Visiting the Office
Councillor Pickles provides a tour of his office to these two youngsters as well as their parents during the Open Doors program at City Hall 
Updated Map for Oakk Ridges Moraine Plan Designations
September 21, 2015
Oak Ridges Moraine Map
Click Image above to view full size map 
Notice of Motion
Hamlet of Claremont Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan Hamlet Designations
September 21, 2015
Notice of Motion
Click Image above to view entire Motion with map 
Terry Fox Run 2015
September 20, 2015
Terry Fox Run
Click to see PDF 
Road closures in Pickering on the menu for food truck event
August 4, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Pickering residents can expect some road and sidewalk closures this weekend to accommodate the Pickering Food Truck Festival.

The event will be held at Esplanade Park on Saturday, Aug. 8 and Sunday, Aug. 9., and the City of Pickering will be enacting temporary road and sidewalk closures on The Esplanade North and The Esplanade South.

Esplanade South, from Valley Farm Road to the Pickering Civic Complex parking lot's outbound entrance (only the west section of the Pickering parking lot will be available) will be closed from Friday, Aug. 7 at 7 a.m. to Monday, Aug. 10 at 7 a.m. Esplanade North, from Valley Farm to the municipal underground parking lot entrance, will also be closed at the same time.

The southern sidewalk on Esplanade North and both sidewalks on Esplanade South will not be accessible between Valley Farm Road and Glenanna Road during the event.  The northern sidewalk on Esplanade North will remain open.

Get ready for Durham Festival, Aug. 13 to 16
BluesBERRY Festival, Blackstock Fair, Brits on the Lake on the August A and E calendar
August 1, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Hamlet
Driftwood Theatre 'Hamlet'
Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland
OSHAWA -- The Driftwood Theatre Group performed 'Hamlet' at Parkwood Estates on July 11.  The Aug. 13 performance at Millennium Square in Pickering kicks off that city's Durham Festival celebrations.  You can also catch the play on Aug. 11 in Whitby, Aug. 12 in Clarington and on Aug. 15 and 16 in Scugog.  July 11, 2015

On stage

August

Driftwood Theatre Group.  presents a new, contemporary adaptation of 'Hamlet' for this year's Bard's Bus Tour.  Aug. 11, Celebration Square, Whitby; Aug. 12, Roswell Park, Clarington; Aug. 13, Millennium Square, Pickering; Aug. 15, 16, Scugog Shores Historical Museum, Port Perry.  Pay-what-you-can admission (suggested $20/person).  Seating is first-come, first-served in the pay-what-you-can section of the lawn.  Reserve seats in advance for the best seats in the reserved seating section.  Upgrade to a chair and/or blanket.  In the event of a move to the indoor backup location, receive advance notice directly to your e-mail.  www.driftwoodtheatre.com, jsnepsts@driftwoodtheatre.com.

Aug. 3 to 8

The Old Flame Brewing Company.  135 Perry St., Port Perry, hosts performances of Romeo and Juliet at 8:30 p.m..  Tickets are available at the brewery or call 905-289-BREW (2739).  oldflamebrewingco.ca.

Aug. 10 to 16

The Beech Street Theatre Company and Clarington Museums.  present Serum for Murder -- Dr.  Jekyll's Revenge on the verandah of the Bowmanville Museum, 37 Silver St.  Tickets can be purchased at The Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre (62 Temperance St., Bowmanville.), by visiting www.beechstreettheatre.com or at www.starticketing.com.  905-623-2734, www.ClaringtonMuseums.com.

Aug. 21 to Sept. 26

Herongate Barn Theatre.  2885 Altona Rd., Pickering, presents A Bench In The Sun.  www.herongate.com, 905-472-3085, 1-866-902-9884.

Performances

August, September

Foster Fridays at the Foster Memorial.  9449 Durham Rd. 1, north of the town of Uxbridge.  Concerts every Friday at 7:30 p.m.; admission is a donation at the door.  Aug. 7 Tarmara Williamson (vocals), Aug. 14 Chris Saunders, Aug. 21 Tommy Pullin (guitar/vocals), Aug. 28 Shimoda Family Ensemble (instrumental), Sept. 4 Jan Butler (instrumental), Sept. 11 Andrew Heathcote.  www.fostermemorial.com.

Aug. 4

Culture in the Square.  at 7 p.m. at Celebration Square, 405 Dundas St.  W.  (adjacent to the main branch of the Whitby Public Library).  A free performance by Aces of Harmony (barbershop group).  905-430-4310, whitby.ca/events.

Aug. 15

Music By The Bay Live.  presents Doyle Bramhall II at 8 p.m. at the St.  Francis Centre, 78 Church St.  S., Ajax.  www.musicbythebaylive.com, musicbythebaylive@rogers.com.

Aug. 25

Culture in the Square.  at 7 p.m. at Celebration Square, 405 Dundas St.  W.  (adjacent to the main branch of the Whitby Public Library).  A free performance by Bruce Gorrie and Friends (jazz).  905-430-4310, whitby.ca/events.

Special Events

Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27

Culture Night In Oshawa -- Culture2 (Culture Squared).  Thursdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Civic Square (Oshawa City Hall), 50 Centre St.  S.  A free, family-friendly celebration of art, music, dance, drama and more.  Artists, musicians, performers and cultural organizations can share their art, talent or services.  No fees/ registration.  A modest sound system and stage are provided for an open mic session.  A first-come, first-served opportunity to sign up and have 10 minutes to perform.  Music, dance or other types of demonstrations are welcome.  culturecounts@oshawa.ca.

Aug. 7

RMG Fridays.  at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 77 Queen St., Oshawa, from 7 to 10 p.m. Summer Sounds is this month's theme.  Celebrate the exhibition Puppet Act: Manipulating the Voice.  The evening features music from Goodnight Sunrise and locals Ivory Park.  Father and son duo Matt and Joe are in Gallery A.  And learn more about the Durham Festival.  Free, cash bar, all ages welcome.  communications@rmg.on.ca.

Aug. 8, 9

Pickering Food Truck Festival.  from noon to 9 p.m. at Esplanade Park, One The Esplanade, Pickering.  The event features more than 24 food trucks, a beverage garden, live musical performances, a vendors' village, daily eating challenges and a children's midway area.  A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the SickKids Foundation.  416-871-4217, info@torontofoodtruckfestival.com (Ben).

Brits on the Lake Car Show.  from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Port Perry.  An All-British Motoring Revival featuring the Wing Commander's Rally on Saturday and the Classic Motor Show on Sunday.  www.britsonthelake.com.

Aug. 9

Sixth Annual Oshawa Gospel Fest.  from 4 to 7 p.m. in Memorial Park, 110 Simcoe St.  S., Oshawa.  Presented by The Church of God Sabbath-Keeping, there will be a free community barbecue during the concert.

Pioneer Day.  from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Scugog Shores Museum, 16210 Island Rd., Port Perry.  A trip back to the 19th century, walk through the Museum Village, meet the blacksmith and the woodwright, try out the printing press and write on a school slate.  Heritage demonstrations, exhibits, children's games, crafts and more.

Aug. 13

Blackrose Durham Entertainment.  presents the Shay and Gray Fundraiser at 8 p.m. at the Regent Theatre.  50 King St.  E., Oshawa.  The Elton Rohn Band is performing to help raise funds for twins Shay and Gray, who were born six weeks premature and whose organs were not fully developed.  905-721-3399, ext.  2, tickets.regenttheatre.ca .

Pickering Museum Village.  2365 Concession 6, Greenwood, presents Kids in the Village, Candle Making at 10 a.m. Try your hand at candlemaking using wax or crayons.  The cost is $8 per child and general admission fees apply for adults; free for season pass holders.  www.pickering.ca/museum, museum@pickering.ca, 905-683-8401.

Aug. 13 to 16

Durham Festival.  the region's first, features events from Pickering to Clarington.  durhamfestival.ca.

Aug. 15

BluesBERRY Festival.  from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Downtown Bowmanville.  Enjoy a blueberry pancake breakfast, pies, tarts and other treats.  Also live blues bands, artisan and craft booths.  For the kids, there are jumping castles, a rock-climbing wall and a visit from Clarington Fire Services.  Free admission.  bowmanville.com.

Aug. 20

Station Gallery.  1450 Henry St., Whitby, presents its Wave: Summer Music Series on the patio at 7 p.m. Gib and Tam entertain.  The $10 ticket cost includes gourmet appetizers.  905-668-4185, www.whitbystationgallery.com.

Aug. 28, 29

Blackstock Fair.  marking 150 years and held at the Blackstock Recreation Complex, 3340 Church St., Blackstock, Scugog Township.  www.blackstockfair.ca.

Sept. 3

Pickering Museum Village.  2365 Concession 6, Greenwood, presents Kids in the Village, Olde Tyme Photo Album at 10 a.m. Children can bring in photos and alter them so that they appear much older than they are and edit pre-existing photos to create an old photo album of themselves.  The cost is $8 per child and general admission fees apply for adults; free for season pass holders.  www.pickering.ca/museum, museum@pickering.ca, 905-683-8401.

At the Galleries and Museums

To Aug. 6

The Kent Farndale Gallery.  in the Scugog Memorial Public Library at 231 Water St., Port Perry, presents 'Portals' by artist/poet Annabelle Jane Murray.  HOURS: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

To Aug. 15

The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington.  143 Simpson Ave., Bowmanville, presents Crossing Borders.  Hours: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday noon to 4 p.m., Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. during exhibitions.  905-623-5831.  www.vac.ca.

To Aug. 22

Robert McLaughlin Gallery.  72 Queen St., Oshawa, presents Spirit of Sport, historical photographs from the Thomas Bouckley Collection to celebrate Oshawa hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games boxing and weightlifting competitions.  The exhibition showcases the history of athletics in Oshawa, Hours: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. 905-576-3000, www.rmg.on.ca.

To Aug. 29

The Scugog Council for the Arts Gallery.  181 Perry St., Port Perry, presents Leif Peterson.  Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. 905-982-2121, www.scugogarts.ca.

Aug. 30 to Oct. 4

The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington.  143 Simpson Ave., Bowmanville, presents Clarington Taken.  Opening reception Aug. 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. 905-623-5831.  www.vac.ca.

To Sept. 1

Robert McLaughlin Gallery.  72 Queen St., Oshawa, presents Puppet Act, Manipulating the Voice, Catherine Heard, Spring Hurlbut, Suzy Lake, Diana Lopez Soto, Tim Whiten, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun.  905-576-3000, www.rmg.on.ca.

To Sept. 13

Robert McLaughlin Gallery.  72 Queen St., Oshawa, presents David Rokeby, Very Nervous System.  905-576-3000, www.rmg.on.ca.

Robert McLaughlin Gallery.  72 Queen St., Oshawa, presents Boxing, The Sweet Science.  905-576-3000, www.rmg.on.ca.

Station Gallery.  1450 Henry St., Whitby, presents Leszek Wyczolkowski: Beyond Geometry.  Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. 905-668-4185, www.whitbystationgallery.com.

Station Gallery.  1450 Henry St., Whitby, presents The Toronto 20 at 50.  905-668-4185, www.whitbystationgallery.com.

Station Gallery.  1450 Henry St., Whitby, presents Community Exhibition 2015.  905-668-4185, www.whitbystationgallery.com.

To Sept. 27

Robert McLaughlin Gallery.  72 Queen St., Oshawa, presents A Visionary Journey, Works from the Collection of Terri Lipman.  905-576-3000, www.rmg.on.ca.

To December

Clarington Museums and Archives (Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre).  62 Temperance St., Bowmanville, presents Clarington Remembers: Stories from WWI and WWII.  Marking the start of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, the museum tells the stories of Clarington people who served in the wars and those who were left at home.  Learn about local heroes, see the Wartime Kitchen to learn about rations and victory gardens, view artifacts from Camp 30, where German prisoners were held during the war and more.  Admission is free.  Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 905-623-2734, www.claringtonmuseums.com.

Screenings

August, September

Cinechats Film Series.  Films from around the world, every Thursday night year-round at 6:30 p.m. in Room C-113 of the Gordon Willey Building, Durham College/UOIT Campus, 2000 Simcoe St.  N., Oshawa.  Admission $3 at door.  For ages 18 and over only.  905-576-0359.

Aug. 6

The Regent Theatre.  50 King St.  E., Oshawa, presents a Classic Movie Night -- A Streetcar Named Desire at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5, cash only at the door, no advance sales.  905-721-3399, regenttheatre.ca.

Movie Night in the Park.  at 8 p.m. in Port Perry's Palmer Park.  A free screening of E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial (Rated PG).  No movie if the weather is bad (rain date Aug. 13).  afracalanza@scugog.ca, 905-985-7346, ext 132.

Whitby Public Library.  Brooklin Branch, 8 Vipond Rd., Whitby, presents a Summer Silver Screen movie, Maya the Bee (Rated G) at 10:30 a.m. Registration is not required.  Ensure your child is old enough to sit through the entire movie.

Aug. 11

Newcastle Branch.  of the Clarington Public Library, 150 King Ave.  E., presents a Family Showtimes screening of Toy Story (Rated G) at 6 p.m. on the big screen.  Drop in; no registration required.

Aug. 14

Movies in the Park.  at 9 p.m. at the Ajax Community Centre, 75 Centennial Rd., Ajax.  The movie is projected on a giant inflatable movie screen.  Free admission.

Aug. 18

Whitby Public Library.  Central Branch, 405 Dundas St.  W., Whitby, presents a free movie at 10:30 a.m. for kids 3 to 5 years.  A screening of Franklin and Friends Deep Sea Voyage.  No registration required.

Aug. 21

Oshawa Public Libraries.  Legends Centre Branch, 1661 Harmony Rd. N., Oshawa, presents a screening of The Longest Ride (Rated PG) at 6 p.m. Registration required; call 905-579-6111.

Aug. 27

Movie Night in the Park.  at 8 p.m. in Port Perry's Palmer Park.  A free screening of Big Hero 6 (Rated PG).  No movie if the weather is bad (rain date Aug. 30).  afracalanza@scugog.ca, 905-985-7346, ext 132.

Aug. 31

Oshawa Public Libraries.  McLaughlin Branch, 65 Bagot St., Oshawa,, presents a screening of Mad Max: Fury Road (Rated 14A) at 10 a.m. Drop-in program; no registration required.

Federal funding helps Pickering youth find jobs, aids Petticoat Creek expansion
July 31, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- The federal government is putting forward funds to help young people find work, and to improve local conservation efforts.

First, it's helping young Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area obtain the information, skills and work experience needed to get jobs.

Pickering-Scarborough East MP Corneliu Chisu helped make the announcement on July 29 that through the government's Youth Employment Strategy, four organizations will deliver projects to help a total of 112 young people in Scarborough, Pickering, Toronto and Durham Region, with an investment of more than $1.2 million.  These projects will help youth and recent post-secondary graduates transition into the job market, return to school or advance their careers.

Mr. Chisu also announced the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority will receive funding through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.  The government has approved up to $96,250 for a total project cost of up to $192,000 for the expansion of the Petticoat Creek Conservation Area aquatic facility.

UPDATED: Gary Polonsky named independent advisor for Pickering airport lands
Former Durham College president, founding president of UOIT, says he'll listen, remain objective
July 31, 2015
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
Gary Polonsky
Gary Polonsky advisor on federal airport lands
Ron Pietroniro/ Metroland
PICKERING -- Former Durham College and UOIT president Gary Polonsky talked to Pickering-Scarborough East MP Corneliu Chisu at the Pickering Community Centre.  Mr, Polonsky has been named as an independent advisor to the federal government.  Mr. Polonsky will meet with interest groups and report to the government on potential economic development opportunities around a future airport in Pickering.  July 31, 2015

PICKERING -- The independent advisor who will meet with stakeholders on the possibility of an airport in Pickering is well known in the community and vows to consider all voices.  

“I think it's my job to listen.  That's what I've been commanded to do, and I will,” said Gary Polonsky, former president of Durham College and founding president of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.  

Pickering-Scarborough East MP Corneliu Chisu announced Friday, July 31 at the West Shore Community Centre that Mr. Polonsky has been named the independent advisor who will meet with local interests on the potential economic development opportunities around a future airport.

“Any decisions on the future of the Pickering lands will have major implications for the people of the Greater Toronto Area and in fact the entire country,” said Mr. Chisu.  “That's why it's so important that we get the consultation process right.  An independent advisor will ensure that stakeholder views are heard as we move forward with the Pickering lands.”

The federal government expropriated the Pickering lands in 1972 for an airport, but nothing has been set in stone.  In 2013, the government announced it would set aside a portion of the lands for a potential future airport and transfer nearly 5,000 acres to Parks Canada for the creation of Rouge National Urban Park.  Earlier in July, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the transfer of another 5,200 acres to the park.

Transport Canada still retains around 9,600 acres in the southeast sector of the lands for economic development, including a potential future airport.   Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt recently met with community members and mayors, and announced an advisor would be retained by the end of July to consult with targeted stakeholders on the potential future development of the lands.   “Dr.  Gary Polonsky is very qualified to do this job,” Mr. Chisu said.   Mr. Polonsky retired in 2006 as both the president of Durham College and the founding president of UOIT, after more than 40 years in education.  He was also president of two businesses and serves as board chairman for several organizations.   He will provide a final detailed report summarizing what was heard and offering views on how to move forward with economic development within 12 months.  

He vows to remain objective in the process, and said he intends to meet with as many people as possible on the matter.  

“We are going to actively invite everybody to meet with us,” he said.  

Transport Canada is also undertaking an assessment of the future aviation needs in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to identify any shortfalls in the system of airports.  There is no definite date on the completion of this study, and Mary Delaney, the chairwoman of Land over Landings Inc., a group dedicated to the preservation of the north Pickering lands for agricultural purposes, is somewhat concerned that this will not be prepared by the time Mr. Polonsky submits his final report.  

However, she said she's satisfied that he will receive interim reports and updates.  Land Over Landings believes any study on aeronautic needs will demonstrate there is no business case for an airport in north Pickering.  

“That said, the important thing is that somebody has been appointed,” said Ms. Delaney.  “I like the sound of him, I like the word 'listening.' I like his background.”

Mr. Polonsky noted in his address on Friday “We all know it's better to eat fresh, it's better to eat local,” and is prepared to hear all suggestions for the land.  

The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade federal lands economic development task force was recently formed with an intention to work with the advisor.  

“We are prepared to represent the voice of business and assist in developing an effective plan for an airport in north Pickering,” said Denise Jones, Board of Trade president.

Public Notice
Staged Road Closures & Lane Restrictions
Brock Road & Rossland Road July 2015

The Regional Municipality of Durham has awarded the contract for the reconstruction of Brock Road (Regional Road 1), from south of Rossland Road to the Canadian Pacific Railway underpass, and Rossland Road from Bunting Court to Clearside Court, in the City of Pickering.  Work will start June 29 and is expected to be complete by December 2017.

For additional details, refer to the Public Notice.

Public Notice
Road Reconstruction & Storm Water Management Pond
Brock Road & Rossland Road July 2015

The Regional Municipality of Durham has awarded the contract for the reconstruction of Brock Road (Regional Road 1), from south of Rossland Road to the Canadian Pacific Railway underpass, and Rossland Road from Bunting Court to Clearside Court in the City of Pickering.  Work will include full road reconstruction; intersection improvements; watermain; sanitary sewer and storm sewer work; a new multi-use bike path and construction of a storm water management pond.

For additional details, refer to the Public Notice.

Public Notice
Road Construction - Kingston Road July 2015

The Regional Municipality of Durham, Works Department will be reconstructing Kingston Road (Durham Highway 2), from 315 meters west of Liverpool Road (Regional Road 29) to 600 meters east of Liverpool Road (Regional Road 29), in the City of Pickering.

For additional details, refer to the Public Notice.

Pickering boy, 11 burned by toxic wild parsnip
How to spot, avoid and deal with burning sap of wild parsnip
Jennifer O'Meara
July 23, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Wild Parsnip
Wild parsnip
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
OSHAWA -- Wild parsnip is rampant in Durham Region this summer.  The sap from the noxious plant and sunlight cause a chemical reaction that burns the skin.  July 22, 2015
Megan Quinn
Wild parsnip: What it is and how to deal with it.
OSHAWA -- Be aware when taking a walk or going through fields, wild parsnip has invaded Durham Region.  This invasive species of plant can cause burns and irritation to your skin.  Invasive plant expert Megan Quinn walked us through what the plant is and the best methods to get rid of it.  July 23, 2015.  Videographer/Editor: Kyle MacDonald.

DURHAM -- Jacob Salter, 11, fell off his bike while riding along a trail at Greenwood Conservation Area.  He came home with a small scratch behind his knee.  A few days later the back of his leg, from thigh to shin, was covered in large red blisters -- likely caused by touching wild parsnip, a pretty looking wild flower with a yellow bloom and noxious sap that can burn and blister the skin.  

“(He) usually stays on the trails.  He said he fell off the bike at one point and fell into the bush,” said Kelli Beck, Jacob's mother.  

Ms. Beck took her son to the doctor, who prescribed a topical cream to treat the rash.  The blisters have gone but there are still scars on the boy's leg where the sores once were.  

All told, the Pickering boy was lucky.  When wild parsnip sap gets on the skin, it makes it hypersensitive to the sun.  It can burn, scar and even blind people.  

Wild parsnip seems to be growing rampant through Durham Region, although experts say it's hard to say whether there's been a sharp increase in the numbers of the invasive plant this year over the last few years.  Megan Quinn, an expert with the Invading Species Awareness Program working with the Central Lake Conservation Authority, suggests people stay on marked trails, wear pants and closed-toe shoes and keep their dogs on the leash to avoid coming into contact with the noxious plant.  

Local experts aren't sure why there seems to be so much of it around this summer, but it could be a good growing season with heavy rain combined with lot of construction activity, which helps spread the seeds.  

“We're really promoting the clean equipment protocol,” said Ms. Quinn.  “It's mainly for construction companies and industry, to make sure they are cleaning their equipment before they go from site to site.”

The NO. 1 thing CLOCA, and other local conservation authorities, want people to do is to report infestations of wild parsnip and other invasive species so that they can be mapped.  

Wild parsnip is not native to Canada, but originates from Europe and Asia.  The root is edible and it's suspected that European settlers brought the plant to Canada as a food source.  

Blu Waters is a traditional First Nations knowledge keeper.  She leads nature walks and teaches about traditional plants and foraging as a way to help clients on a fixed or low income find wild food.  She said in a homestead kitchen garden, settlers would likely have kept the top of the wild parsnip plant short, which keeps the edible root growing and reduces the exposure to the noxious sap.  The root would then be pulled up, peeled and steamed or boiled before being served.  Ms. Waters describes the taste as similar to a grocery-store parsnip but tangier.  It's a dense, starchy root.  

Even with her expertise in wild plants, Ms. Waters hasn't handled wild parsnip in more than a year and she suggests others stay away from the plant.  

“It's not worth getting the rash,” said Ms. Waters.  

She teaches people to use wild carrot, or Queen Anne's lace, instead.  Ms. Waters said foraging for wild food should always be done with someone who has experience.  Queen Anne's lace has a red dot in the centre of the flower -- which is the only thing that distinguishes it from poisonous hemlock.  

“For every plant you see that is identifiable and edible, there is an identical plant that is toxic,” said Ms. Waters.  

Wild parsnip is often confused with similar-looking giant hogweed, cow parsnip, Queen Anne's lace and angelica.  Wild parsnip is the only one with a yellow flower, however cow parsnip is equally noxious when it comes into contact with the skin and giant hogweed is considerably worse.  

“Giant hogweed sap is even more potent,” said Ken Towle, terrestrial ecologist from the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority.  

The GRCA is noticing a spread of giant hogweed, which has large, white umbrella-shaped flowers, a bristly stem with purple blotches and leaves with spiked edges.  Mr. Towle is asking people to report the plant if they see it.  

“Giant hogweed can grow just about anywhere.  We're finding it mostly along the edges of streams,” said Mr. Towle, who added he thinks the seeds are spreading downstream during spring flooding.  

Visit www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca for more information on wild parsnip, giant hogweed or other invasive plants.  To report a noxious plant infestation, visit www.eddmaps.org/ontario/ or call the hot line at 1-800-563-7711.

How to identify wild parsnip

Wild Parsnip Images

Wild parsnip images in this illustration were taken near Hwy.  407 construction in Whitby, ON.   Photo illustration Joanne Burghardt.


HOW TO TREAT IT

Cover up: Immediately get your skin out of the sun and cover it to avoid exposure to ultraviolet light.  Sunlight causes a chemical reaction in wild parsnip sap that burns the skin.  Some people are more sensitive to this chemical reaction than others.  Almost everyone will get blisters from sap of a broken leaf or stem.  Some people will get the burn from trace amounts of sap on the flowers of unbroken wild parsnip plant.

Wash ASAP: You need to get that sap off your skin as soon as possible to minimize the damage.  Wash the area with cool water and grease-fighting dish soap to remove sap.  Once you're absolutely sure the sap is no longer on your skin, get your clothes in the wash too, just to be safe.  

Chill out: You might not feel anything instantly, but later your skin might start to burn like you've touched something hot.  There will be redness the first day and blisters can come up the next day.  Use cool compresses on the skin that got burned and take Tylenol for pain.  Don't pop the blisters as this can lead to infection.  Try to dry the blisters out by washing frequently with gentle soap and cool water.  If all goes well the blisters will start to shrink after a few days and you will be left with brown spots, which can last years.

Call the medic: You'll have to gauge the severity of the rash and the degree of pain you're in, to decide if you need medical attention.  Also watch for signs of infection, increased redness and burning pain.  Consider drawing on your skin around the red area to see if the irritation is spreading or shrinking.  After four days the rash should be improving; if it's not you may need to see a health-care provider.  

Bypass the emergency department and head to your family doctor's office, a walk-in clinic or community health centre.  Doctors and nurse practitioners may recommend an antiseptic, topical antibiotic or oral antibiotic depending on how long the infection lasts.

-- Source: Michelle Acorn, nurse practitioner at Lakeridge Health.

HOW TO GET RID OF IT

Again cover up: We're talking waterproof gardening gloves, long-sleeved shirt, pants and boots as the absolute minimum.  If you're dealing with a larger wild parsnip plant, consider getting waterproof coveralls because the sap might get through cotton clothing.  If you've got goggles and a face mask, get them on.  Have cool water and dish soap handy, just in case you need to get the sap off your skin quickly.

Don't mow but dig: If you notice wild parsnip on your property in May or early June, before the plants have seeded, you can mow it down and then dig up the roots.  At this point in the summer, if you mow it you're just spreading the seeds around your property.  Tie a plastic bag around the top of the plant to keep the seeds from spreading as you work.  Then get a sharp shovel out and get down to the tuber root, which can be 6 to 12 inches long.

Bake it don't burn it: Put the plant in a plastic bag or garbage bag and tie it closed.  Leave the bag in the sun for a week to bake the plant in the heat and kill off any seeds.  

At that point you can carefully put that bag into another garbage bag and put it at the curb for waste pickup.  Staff from Durham Waste Management advise that wild parsnip should be double-bagged in black plastic bags.  They do not want it added to green bin compost or leaf and yard waste collection.  

You shouldn't burn wild parsnip in a brush fire.  The evidence isn't clear on whether the sap in the smoke can affect your lungs.

Wash well: Without taking the gardening gloves off, wash your hands with dish soap.  Strip off your clothes and get them in the washing machine.  

Too much? If you find a large patch of wild parsnip on your land, getting rid of it yourself might be too risky.  Consider hiring professionals to remove the plants for you.  Or cordon the area off, warn your family to keep away from it, and leave the plants until next year when it can be dealt with in the spring before it grows tall and seeds.

-- Source Central Lake Conservation Authority, Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority and Toronto Conservation Authority

5 poisonous plants of Southern Ontario you should avoid
Rebecca Canty
July 21, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Poison Ivy
Poison ivy
Metro Creative Connection
Knowledge is the best defence against poisonous plants that are found across Southern Ontario.

As temperatures climb this summer, traffic on the hiking trails will only increase.

But a hike could bring on illness, or a hospital stay if you get your hands, or other body parts, on any of the poisonous plants that grow across Southern Ontario.

Some of them may look harmless, and sometimes even beautiful, but contact with these plants can cause symptoms ranging from itching, irritating, and sometimes painful rashes to extremely dangerous if ingested.

There are several species of poisonous plants in Ontario.  Here are some of the most common ones you need to know before you head out:

1. Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy
Shutterstock

Description: The saying “leaves of three, let it be” warns you to keep away from this dreaded plant.  Leaves are glossy green, alternate and consist of three leaflets with the middle leaflet having a much longer stalk.  The edges of the leaves may be smooth or toothed.

Where: Along the forest edge, in meadows, forest openings and trails.

Adverse effects: Poison ivy is a very common trigger of allergic contact dermatitis or inflammation of the skin.  It contains the potent antigen urushiol, which will cause a reaction in 60 to 80 percent of the people who are exposed to it.  Oil resin from the plant may be carried on any object it comes in contact with - clothing, shoes or pet fur - and then transferred to the skin.

2. Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed
Shutterstock

Description: This invasive plant can reach heights of 4 to 5 metres and has a reddish-purple stem measuring from 5 to 10 centimetres in diameter.  It flowers from June to September and has a cluster of flowers measuring up to 1.1 metres across.  Each cluster will have 30-20 flowers.

Where: Giant hogweed can be found along roadsides, trails and stream banks.

Adverse effects: If you come in contact with this plant, you may experience severe burns to your skin.  The sap found in giant hogweed contains furocoumarins that cause serious skin inflammation activated by exposure to the sun.

3.  Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip
Shutterstock

Description: Wild parsnip grows from 50 to 150 centimetres high, has compound leaves that are arranged alternately on the stem and leaves that are mitten-shaped.  Yellow flowers form a flat-topped umbrella-like cluster and are seen from late May to early fall.  The wild parsnip has a distinctive parsnip odour.

Where: Generally found along the edges of plantations, roadsides, meadows and in old pastures.

Adverse effects: Similar to the giant hogweed, wild parsnip contains furocoumarins that when absorbed by the skin, and stimulated by ultraviolet light, the furocoumarins begin destroying cells and skin tissue, which appears as redness and blistering of the skin.

4. Pokeweed

Pokeweek
Shutterstock

Description: Pokeweed has a red trunk-like stem, which becomes hollow as the plant matures.  Egg-shaped leaves are large (25 centimetres long), dark green, alternate and attached to the stem by a red stalk.  Flowers appear green to white and the fruit is green, turning a deep purple to black as it matures.

Where: Meadows, edges of woods and waste areas in the Southwestern Ontario.

Adverse effects: Pokeweed is poisonous to humans and animals.  Symptoms of pokeweed poisoning include sweating, blurred vision, abdominal pains, weakness, vomiting and unconsciousness.

5. Spotted Water Hemlock

Spotted Water Hemlock
Shutterstock

Description: The water hemlock grows up to 2.2 metres tall, with small, white flowers shaped like an inverted umbrella that bloom from July to August.  This plant has alternate, coarsely-toothed leaves and a stout, green stem spotted with purple that seeps a yellow oily liquid when cut.

Where: Marshes, swamps, stream banks, ditches, moist thickets and meadows throughout Ontario

Adverse effects: The plant contains cicutoxin, a toxic alcohol that attacks the central nervous system.  Symptoms of poisoning appear quickly and include extreme salivation, violent convulsions, intense abdominal pain and delirium.  Coma and respiratory failure can develop from 30 minutes to eight hours afterwards.

This summer, take preventative measures and learn how to identify, avoid and treat reactions from poisonous plants to protect your health in the outdoors.

If you require assistance identifying a plant, you can take a photo and submit it along with its location to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs' (OMAFRA) online weed identification service at www.weedinfo.ca

If you believe you or a child has touched or consumed a poisonous plant, you should call the Ontario Poison Centre immediately at 1-800-268-9017 for assistance.

Durham Festival brings cycling, theatre, dance, food and music to Ajax and Pickering
Events come in all shapes and sizes in the west
Mike Ruta
Jul 26, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Driftwood Theatre
Driftwood Theatre
Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland
OSHAWA -- The Driftwood Theatre Group performed 'Hamlet' at Parkwood Estates on July 11 as part of its Bard's Bus Tour series.  The play is presented at Millennium Square in Pickering on August 13 as part of the Durham Festival.  July 11, 2015

DURHAM -- There's lots to see and do in west Durham for the Aug. 13 to 16 Durham Festival and Ajax has the honour of kicking off the party with Elevation2015.  And like the Durham Festival itself, it's ground-breaking.

“From the research we've done, there's never been a conference before dedicated to road cycling,” says Nadia Sukovski, senior economic development officer with the Town of Ajax.  “It's the first of its kind.”

Ajax Mayor Steve Parish is a huge cycling enthusiast and she notes that the town was one of the first bicycle-friendly designated communities in Ontario.  So it seems a natural to hold the event in the Town by the Lake.  But the idea came from a Markham resident who loves cycling in Durham, event organizer David Sersta.

“We're expecting a huge number of cyclists,” says Sukovski, adding organizers are thinking 800 will be coming to Ajax.

Elevation2015 is at the Ajax Convention Centre, 550 Beck Cres., and it's a full day on Aug. 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The events guests include Steve Bauer, who won the first Olympic medal in road cycling for Canada in 1984 in Los Angeles, and former Olympic cyclist and coach Tanya Dubincoff.

“We're hoping they're going to create a great draw to Ajax,” says Sukovski.

The conference includes storytelling from experts, a look at some of the latest in cycling design and engineering and interactive exhibits.

The day doesn't end at 5 p.m. as from then to 7 p.m. there's a gala reception with musical performers Mark Masari and The Bicycle Opera.

Pickering's Durham Festival events begin on Aug. 13 with a performance of Hamlet by Driftwood Theatre Group at 7 p.m. in Millennium Square.  Before the play, there's a #myshakespeare workshop, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Pickering Council Chambers.  It's part workshop, part performance and suitable for teens and adults.  Registration is pay-what-you-can ($20 suggested) and includes general admission to the performance of Hamlet.

Performance in Pickering also features music and dance from Friday through Sunday in Alex Robertson Park: dance workshops from 6 to 6:45 p.m., a live band from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and Dusk Dances performances starting at 7:30 p.m.

As well, Pickering's Nautical Village is hosting an Apple Festival all weekend and on Aug. 16 artists are showing work in Millennium Square from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

And Pickering Museum Village is getting in on the fun at Alex Robertson Park with heritage children's games and crafts on Aug. 14 from noon to 3 p.m. and a massive game of Capture the Flag on Aug. 15 from noon to 6 p.m.

Back in Ajax, Sukovski says Taste Ajax is an event that's changed in its short history.  Once a part of Celebrate Ajax, it's now a partnership between the Town and the Ajax Rotary Club with food from local restaurants, gourmet food trucks, craft beer, an artisans' market and live entertainment.  The event is Aug. 15 from noon to 8 p.m. in Rotary Park, 177 Lake Driveway W.

Go to durhamfestival.ca to learn more about these and other Durham Festival events.

Nine of 13 Durham beaches open for swimming
July 24, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Beaches
Beaches
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
Is your beach safe for swimming?

DURHAM -- Humid conditions are expected to return to the area this weekend as Durham officials release the latest beach status reports.  Nine of Durham's 13 public beaches are open for swimming.  The latest update was released by Durham officials covering the week of July 24-31.

This week, four beaches have been posted as unsafe for swimming due to elevated bacteria levels this week after testing by Durham Region's health department.

Beaches found to be safe are:

Bowmanville West Clarington

Frenchman's Bay East Pickering

Frenchman's Bay West Pickering

Lakeview Beach East Oshawa

Lakeview Beach West Oshawa

Whitby Beach

Beaverton Beach North Brock

Beaverton Beach South Brock

Newcastle Beach Central

Unsafe beaches are:

Bowmanville Beach East

Kinsmen Beach, Scugog

Pickering Beach, Ajax

Thorah Centennial Beach, Brock

NOTE: Testing isn't being conducted at Elgin Pond in Uxbridge until road construction in the area is completed.

The health department notes people shouldn't go swimming for at least 48 hours after a heavy rainfall as bacteria levels can increase because of run-off.

Where there is no posting, the Durham Region health department says it is not recommended to swim if you can't see your feet when standing in waist deep water and/or it has rained two days prior to swimming.  These can be indicators of high levels of bacteria in the water which may pose a risk to your health.

Durham Region council composition now under scrutiny
Group will recommend whether number of regional politicians should be changed
Kristen Calis
July 24, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Roger Anderson
Roger Anderson
Durham regional Chairman Candidate Roger Anderson
DURHAM -- While many residents of Durham Region might not give too much thought to the 28 politicians who meet at regional headquarters to figure out how property tax dollars are spent, there's a group of people rolling up their sleeves to wade into the issue of how many politicians are sitting at the table and whether all Durham residents are equally represented.

The issue of whether regional council should be re-jigged, and how -- including whether mayors belong at meetings determining regional policies and tax spending -- has fallen to a special committee, which includes Durham Regional Chairman Roger Anderson, and one Regional councillor from each municipality.  Representatives from local chambers of commerce, boards of trade and post-secondary institutions are also weighing in.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology president and vice-chancellor Tim McTiernan is chairman of the committee, and local businesswoman and past president of the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade Joan Wideman is vice-chairwoman.

The composition of council has changed twice in the past.  In 1974, there were 30 members plus the chairman, which was changed to 32 members plus the chairman in 1989.  Currently, there are 28 members plus the chairman, which has been in place since the 1997 election.

However, the size and distribution of Durham's population has changed dramatically in the past 20 years, and in May, council agreed a committee should be struck to decide whether changes are needed.

The committee met for the first time on July 17 and discussed how and when the meetings will take place.  The committee will make final recommendations to Regional council by no later than March 2016, with an interim report scheduled for November 2015.

Transparency, the group says, will be paramount.

“We have to be as inclusive as we can,” said Pickering Councillor Bill McLean.

He put forward a motion and the committee agreed that the ability for the public to speak at meetings should be simple, and a majority vote will allow people wishing to speak at a meeting to do so.

Meetings will be posted on the regular regional meeting schedule, as well as on local community pages in the newspaper and on municipal websites.

The committee could recommend changes to whether Regional councillors should be directly elected, and the optimum size of council.

The report notes geography, number of households, number of electors and current population could be major factors in deciding how council should be composed, but a few committee members noted other issues, such as student population, population forecasts, the local tax base and income, are also important to consider.

The next meeting will take place on Friday, Aug. 28.

Springfest Thank You
July 2015
Thank You
Click to see PDF 
News Release
Minister Raitt engages Durham, York and Toronto area community,
business, municipal leaders on next steps for the Pickering Lands
July 13, 2015 - Whitby, Ontario - Transport Canada
(Transport Canada)

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today met with with community groups, regional and municipal leaders, and business stakeholders to discuss the government's next steps in the management of the Pickering Lands.

In 2013, the government announced a balanced approach for the development of the federally owned Pickering Lands, which involved setting aside a portion of land for a potential future airport and transferring nearly 5,000 acres to Parks Canada for the creation of Rouge National Urban Park.

Since then, the transfer to Parks Canada was completed in April 2015, and on July 11, 2015, Prime Minister Harper announced the transfer of an additional 5,200 acres of the Pickering Lands for the expansion of Rouge National Urban Park, increasing the boundaries of Canada's first national urban park by over 36 per cent.

Transport Canada is retaining approximately 9,600 acres in the southeast sector of the Pickering Lands for economic development, including a potential future airport.

Minister Raitt also announced today her intention to name in the coming months an independent advisor who will meet with local interests on the potential economic development opportunities around a future airport, as well as the upcoming publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I, of regulations for airport zoning and site designation to reflect the reduced Pickering Lands footprint due to the transfer of land into Rouge National Urban Park.

Transport Canada is committed to an open and transparent process concerning the future development of the Pickering Lands site.  No decisions have been made on the development or timing of a potential future airport.

Quick Facts

  • The Pickering Lands are located 56 kilometres northeast of downtown Toronto and encompass lands in Pickering, Markham and Uxbridge.
  • Transport Canada is responsible for the day-to-day management and long-term planning for the federally owned Pickering Lands.
  • The Government of Canada has made a significant financial commitment for the establishment of Rouge National Urban Park in providing $143.7 million of funding over 10 years and $7.6 million per year thereafter for its continuing protection and operation.

Quote

“It has long been the government's commitment that any decisions on these lands will be informed by the interests and the needs of regional stakeholders.  Today, I was pleased to hear the views of our key stakeholders on the progress we have made and to explore what role local interests could play in the future.”
The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport

Associated Links

For latest information, please visit the Pickering Lands webpage at:
www.tc.gc.ca/eng/ontario/pickering-menu-1362.htm

For more information on the Rouge National Urban Park: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/rouge

Contacts

Zach Segal
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
613-991-0700

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca.

Use at Pickering's Greenwood library branch at all-time low
Staff, councillors, encourage use to keep doors open
Kristen Calis
July 13, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Greenwood Branch
Greenwood Library
Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland
PICKERING -- The Greenwood Library has seen a decline in usage over the past year.  The Pickering Public Library intends to look into whether it's feasible to keep it open.  Christine Chidley frequents the library and hopes it remains open.  July 7, 2015

PICKERING -- Staff, councillors and avid readers are asking more people to use the Greenwood library branch, because if they don't, the doors could close.

The issue was brought up at a recent library board meeting, simply to let the community know the situation.

“It's an awareness, at this point, and that's really all it is,” said Kathy Williams, the Pickering Public Library's director of public services.

The rural branch in north Pickering operates out of an old school house, next to Valley View Public School.  It has been threatened with closure in the past due to declining usage, as well as unwieldy capital costs.

Circulation, which represents physical items checked out at each branch but not online items such as e-books and magazines, dropped 33 per cent between 2013 and 2014, said Ms. Williams.  This actual number is lower than the 49 per cent that was originally told to the community, but is still a cause for concern.

In a 2009 facilities report, the board noted there was “no future” for rural branches and has monitored the Whitevale, Claremont and Greenwood locations for declining circulation and high capital costs since.  Whitevale has since closed.

A 2010 policy statement says a reduction of 20 per cent in circulation or walk-in traffic compared with use in the preceding two years will trigger a review on possible closure.

Ms. Williams said in the first part of 2015, circulation numbers went down more than 10 per cent.

Walk-in numbers have dropped too.  In 2013, there were 4,014 walk-ins at Greenwood, compared to 2,828 in 2014 and 1,404 from January to June 2015.

Whether a review will take place will be up to the library board, and probably wouldn't take place for another six months to a year, if numbers don't change.  The community will be made aware if that review is to take place.

“There wouldn't be any surprises,” Ms. Williams said.

She said usage numbers have to increase in order to keep the library's doors open.

“If you love your library, please use it,” she said.

Work to the building will cost $516,000 over the next 20 years, including window replacements and other structural work the old building will require.

“But the main thing is the circulation,” said Ms. Williams.  “Is there use? Is there demand? Is it worth it to put in the work?”

Greenwood resident Joan Moritsugu has been using the library since 1992, along with her husband and later, their son.  She has seen the library on the brink of closure several times since 1996.

“I go at least once a week,” she said.

She uses the computers to order books and magazines that she'd like to read, which are then shipped up to the branch, or she picks them up from the central location.

She feels the library is an integral part of the community.

“On the way there and on the way back, you run into neighbours, the dogs socialize,” she said.  “It's not just a library.”

She said the odd hours may have something to do with the lack of use.  The library is only open on Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Wednesdays from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

But she noted the library hours were decreased in the past in order to cut costs to keep the doors open.

She understands there are budget constraints, but she pointed out Greenwood residents pay high taxes and don't get the same services as residents in the south do, such as transit and municipal water.

“As a taxpayer I feel that even if we are a smaller audience we still have a right to that service,” she said.

Nearby Mount Zion resident Christeen Chidley Wilson had similar thoughts on this issue.

“We live on a farm that has been in the Wilson family since the 1850s -- think of the taxes paid -- and we do not enjoy City water, street lights, sidewalks, paved roads or snow clearance,” she said at the meeting.  “We do deserve at least library service for taxes paid.”

The former teacher prefers to attend her local branch over the central branch, a 35-minute drive away.  She had several suggestions for staff to consider, in order to increase circulation again.

She suggests the 'Library Open' sign be put outside during all operating hours; she says usually, the sign is not visible from Westney Road or out at all.

She added more families are going to be moving into the area, and they'll need a library.

“Most of the Greenwood library catchment area is outside the Greenbelt and we can expect an increased residential population,” she said.

She also suggested posting services and hours at community mailboxes, and using an electronic tracking device to more accurately monitor the number of walk-ins at the library.

Ms. Williams said staff has already been made aware of a number of the suggestions, including putting the open sign closer to the road.

Whitevale resident and former Pickering councillor Peter Rodrigues doesn't want to see another closure.

“There is a duty to provide this service equally and conveniently to everyone in the community,” he said.  “Sure there are benefits in having a central library, but not everyone lives near the central library, especially, now that the Whitevale Library was closed the year before last year.  Of course, if library services were more decentralized to Greenwood, then it would draw more neighbourhood residents.”

Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles said he supports keeping the library open, and feels sometimes people like the idea of using the library but they don't get out and use it, and will often go to the main branch.

“I think what we really need to do is get the usage up and keep it up if we want to keep the library open,” he said.

HOW THIS IMPACTS YOU

  • Circulation at the Greenwood library branch has decreased by 33 per cent from 2013 to 2014 and another 10 per cent from January to June 2015
  • Library policy states reviews on possible closures will take place when usage is down 20 per cent over two years
  • Staff is expected monitor the usage for the remainder of the year before deciding if a review is necessary.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper doubles government's contribution to Rouge National Urban Park
The additional makes it one of the largest urban parks in North America
Ian McMillan
July 12, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Rouge National Urban Park announcement
Benjamin Priebe / Metroland
PICKERING -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a few minutes to help out Pickering's Earth Rangers before going inside the Pickering Recreation Complex where he announced the government has doubled its contribution to the Rouge National Urban Park by adding an additional 21 square kilometres of new lands, enlarging it by more than 36 per cent.  At 7,956 hectares (79.5 km square) it is now one of the largest parks in North America.

PICKERING -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper surrounded himself with Pickering Earth Rangers Saturday as he announced his government would double its contribution to the Rouge National Urban Park.

The announcement was made at the Pickering Recreation Complex in front of a packed room full of dignitaries, councillors, MPs and local residents.  The additional 21 square kilometres of new lands will feature a mix of natural, cultural and agricultural lands and increase the gounds by more than 36 per cent making it one of the largest urban parks in North America, spanning 79.5 square kilometres once fully established.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said 43 years ago much of the land that now makes up the Rouge National Urban Park was expropriated by the Pierre Trudeau government for an airport.  That not only hurt farmers, but curtailed economic development in the area.

He said his government vowed to return the lands to the people and families who called the region home.

“Our government has now given back to the community more than half of the land the Trudeau government expropriated 40 years ago,” he said.

Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Ajax-Pickering MP, applauded the Prime Minister.  He said the expropriated lands have sat there unused for an airport that was never built.

“That was a breach of faith and trust for the taxpayers, for property owners, with communities,” he said.

The new lands, which include forests, meadows, streams, creeks, important archaeological sites and large tracts of farmland, are located in the City of Pickering and the Township of Uxbridge.  They will be under the protection of Parks Canada and preserved for the enjoyment of Canadian families and international visitors.

The Prime Minister addressed criticisms that the park would not receive adequate environmental protection.

“That is simply not true.  The new Rouge National Urban Park will have the highest level of environmental protection.  It will also allow the farmers who have been responsible stewards #to continue to work this land as is only fair,” he said.

He said the park will be afforded the strongest protections of any urban park in the world, with its very own legislation - the historic Rouge National Urban Park Act - providing multi-million dollar investments to conserve and restore it, and ensure year-round enforcement.

Pauline Browes, director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and Chair of the Friends of the Rouge National Park, and a former MP for Scarborough-Centre who tabled the original legislation to protect the Rouge Valley was at the announcement.

She said Sir John A.  MacDonald established the first National Park in Canada and now Stephen Harper has established the first urban national park in this country.

“This is a great day for our communities,” she said.

But it's been a long time coming.  Ms. Browes said for more than 30 years hundreds of active, community members have been working to see this day happen.

“We have all been diligent, we've been vigilant and we've been persistent in pursuing the protection and the preservation of this exceptional, cultural and agricultural expanse of land,” she said.

The Prime Minister said there is still a remaining parcel of land north of Hwy.  407 in Pickering.  He said Transport Minister Lisa Raitt will continue to consult with all stakeholders to identify the best use for this land.

“Our government intends to use those lands to create jobs and growth and long-term property for Durham Region,” he said.  “But let there be no doubt, our government will only support projects on these lands, including an airport, if they are backed by a sound business plan and if they are in the best interests of this community.”

5000 Acres Added to Rouge National Urban Park in Pickering
July 11, 2015

Councillor Pickles speaks to Prime Minister Harper about today's announcement of the addition of 5000 acres to the Rouge National Urban Park in Pickering.  Good news!

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Grants for Roads in Pickering
July 11, 2015

Chatting this morning with Canada's Finance Minister Joe Oliver about grants for roads and our new operations centre in Pickering.

David Pickles with Finance Minister Joe Oliver
 
Construction at Rossland and Brock roads begins in Pickering
Pickering News Advertiser
July 8, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Construction work around the intersection of Brock and Rossland roads in Pickering will require lane restrictions and road closures for more than a year.

Work began the week of June 29, and will continue until December 2017, advises the Region of Durham.

Work will be completed in stages.  The first stage will close Rossland from Southcott Road to Bunting Court for around one month from July 13 until mid-August, as well as cause lane restrictions on Brock.  The second stage will close Rossland from Southcott to Brock, from mid-August to July 2016.  Unfavourable weather conditions may influence the work schedule.

Work includes full road reconstruction, intersection improvements, watermain and sewer work, a new multi-use bike path, and the construction of a stormwater management pond.

Drivers are asked to exercise caution for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and construction workers.

Visit www.durham.ca/cdeap for more information.

Refreshing change at Pickering council table
June 24, 2015
(durhamregion.con)

2014 grade: A-

2015 grade: A

At least some people in Durham Region are getting complete report cards -- including relevant comments -- as June winds to a close.

Metroland Media Group's Durham Region Division annual report card grading municipal politicians and school board trustees is included in today's newspaper.

Our municipal and education reporters, the men and women who regularly cover council, committee and school board meetings, have spent a great deal of time observing the people who represent you in your community, speaking with and interviewing them, seeing how they do their jobs or interact with constituents, how productive and committed they are to their duties, and how careful they are in spending on policy initiatives and personal expenses.

Overall, municipalities in Durham Region are serving their constituents well, are doing a generally competent job of minding the public purse (some better than others), and ensuring that the amenities of modern living -- good roads, social services, emergency services, etc.  -- are adequately managed and funded.

As with all things, however, there is always room for improvement; it is here we most strongly encourage individual members of our councils and school boards to always strive to serve more effectively, spend public dollars more prudently, and engage taxpayers at every opportunity.

Almost every municipal government in Durham, along with the public and Catholic school boards, have a refreshing mixture of solid veterans and talented newcomers serving their constituents.  Good things can happen when deep knowledge and fresh perspectives collide.

These report cards provide some insight into how your local councillors and trustees are doing early in this four-year term.  As taxpayers, we all have stake in ensuring that the trend continues.  If you oppose a policy, or a proposal, or simply have a question, call your ward or regional councillor, or your school board trustee as the circumstances dictate.  Such actions also serve as a means of oversight and engagement.  These also affect how your representatives do their jobs, especially if they know constituents are not only paying attention, but taking action and holding them to account.

Good governance is being provided, for the most part, across Durham.

In Pickering, Mayor Dave Ryan leads the way as a strong supporter for his community.  This new council term has seen a refreshing change: council members are getting along much better than in the previous four years.  As a result, the important job councillors have of efficiently and effectively dealing with city matters big and small is not being sidelined by squabbles and animosity between personalities, the hallmark of the last term.  It bodes well for the rest of the term.

City of Pickering municipal report card 2015
An annual evaluation by the Metroland Media Group's Durham Region Division of how local politicians are serving taxpayers
June 24, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

In our yearly review of our local politicians, the Pickering News Advertiser offers its opinion on council's performance.

Attendance represents May 31, 2014 to June 1, 2015.

DAVE RYAN

Mayor

This year's grade: A

Last year's grade: A

Attendance: Council 9/9, Committee 13/14, Regional council 13/13, committee 10/11

Expenses: $13,397

Regional expenses: $1,469.20

Mayor Dave Ryan runs council chambers fairly and orderly, and speaks up on important issues.  He is conducting a council that appears to get along better than the previous one, with less tedious debate over petty issues and the voting appears to be less predictable.  He will let both councillors and residents know when they are acting out of line.  The mayor continues to push for more economic prosperity in Pickering, and maintains a strong stance in support of the proposed casino in Pickering.  As co-chairman of the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance along with Toronto Mayor John Tory, he is able to make connections with important figures throughout the GTA and keep a close eye on the business world.  He makes time to attend numerous events throughout the city and maintains an active social media presence, including Facebook.  He is generally quiet at regional council, but speaks when it's necessary.

KEVIN ASHE

Ward 1 City Councillor

This year's grade: B+

Last year's grade: A-

Attendance: Council 8/9, Committee 12/14

Expenses: $12,286

Ward 1 City Councillor Kevin Ashe is interested in issues in his constituency as well as the community as a whole, and prefers real solutions rather than Band-Aids to fix problems.  For example, when he supported a resolution to officially oppose Canada Post's decision to halt home delivery service, he acknowledged it's a bigger issue and there needs to be more discussion about efficiencies to help solve the problem.  He doesn't speak as much as most of his council colleagues, but when he does, it's thoughtful, and he asks questions to members of the public.  During budget discussions, he commented that with a City surplus running between $1.9 million to $2.25 million, residents were overtaxed in 2014.  His expenses are the highest on council, aside from the mayor, so we'd like to see him curb his spending habits, for that his grade drops slightly.

IAN CUMMING

Ward 2 City Councillor

This year's grade: C+

Last year's grade: N/A

Attendance: Council 6/6, Committee 8/8

Expenses: (December only) - $104

The newcomer Councillor Ian Cumming has taken over a position on council long filled by the councillor he defeated in the 2014 municipal election.  He's learning the ropes but is already vocal at meetings.  He's articulate and brings good business sense to the council table.  He's asked staff to look into the operation of unofficial churches in Pickering, concerned they may be costing the City in unpaid taxes.  He's shared concerns about motorcycles being driven on the ice in Frenchman's Bay and has asked staff to look into considering updating the parking bylaws, for example.  We are confident if Coun. Cumming continues on this path, his grade will improve next year.

RICK JOHNSON

Ward 3 City Councillor

This year's grade: B

Last year's grade: N/A

Attendance: Council 6/6 Committee 8/8

Expenses: (December only) - $179

Councillor Rick Johnson has made a return to politics after one term off, and not much has changed.  It's obvious he loves the job and he continues to support local residents.  He vocalizes his concerns with issues in the north, including those for local farmers, and their limitations due to provincial land use plans.  He was vocal during budget discussions.  He said concerns from residents in the south are not always being addressed in the budget as much as they should be and feels there should be better communication with people living in the north.  He's mentioned a couple of times the importance of upgrading what he calls “archaic” lighting systems in the city, and speaks of the need for lighting efficiencies.  Although it is an area in which the City is improving upon, we would like to see Coun. Johnson continue to push for more improvements in this area.

BILL MCLEAN

Ward 2 Regional Councillor

This year's grade: A-

Last year's grade: A-

Attendance: Council 9/9, Committee, 13/14 Regional council 11/13, committee 9/11

Expenses: $13,397

Regional expenses: $5,714.33

Councillor Bill McLean continues to represent the people in his ward at the council table.  He stays in the loop with the issues relating to local residents, and he raises concerns from residents often.  For example, he's spoken up on the possibility of getting bike lines in the south Pickering area, adding them being there may encourage people to ride their bikes when possible.  He's been keeping an eye on the ideas for the development of south Pickering and has been vocal about his concerns for traffic in the area as it becomes urbanized.  He wants to see certain areas of Pickering become more pedestrian friendly, with condos, shops and restaurants, and we'd like to see him fight for that.  He supported turning the Whitevale Library into an arts and cultural centre, but had the good business sense to ask staff about any potential costs that could creep up due to the age of the building, fearing it could end up costing the taxpayers, before voting on the issue.  He speaks when necessary at regional council.

JENNIFER O'CONNELL

Ward 1 Regional Councillor

This year's grade: A-

Last year's grade: A-

Attendance: Council 9/9, Committee, 11/14 Regional council 12/13, committee 9/11

Expenses: $4,488

Regional expenses: $372.81

Councillor Jennifer O'Connell continues to be an enthusiastic councillor with innovative ideas.  She responds to concerns of the public.  For example, she attempted to put money into the budget for winter maintenance on the Waterfront Trail when residents were having difficulty with the ice.  She was also concerned when council chose to move executive committee meetings to 2 p.m. once a month on a Monday, rather than the old time of 7 p.m. She felt residents would have less of an opportunity to speak on the issues that matter to them with the afternoon time slot.  She won the federal Liberal nomination for the new Pickering-Uxbridge riding, proving she's becoming more polished as a politician each year.  We believe she will keep on top of her council duties as the campaign draws nearer, and will be watching to make sure she does.  She's just as vocal at the Region as she is at council.

DAVID PICKLES

Ward 3 Regional Councillor

This year's grade: A-

Last year's grade: A-

Attendance: Council 9/9, Committee 14/14, Regional Council 8/8, Committee 5/7

Expenses: $8,470

Regional expenses: $0

Councillor David Pickles finally took the plunge and left his long-time post as a City councillor, stepping up his game to become a Regional councillor.  He continues to ask thoughtful questions and raises the concerns of residents from his ward at meetings, such as the provincial government looking into demolishing historic buildings for Seaton.  He was supportive of the transitioning of the Whitevale Library into an arts and cultural centre.  He spoke up many times during budget discussions, asking a lot of questions about roads, bridges and maintenance and repairs to them.  When the interim hospital CEO spoke before the executive committee, he had a lot of questions for her, and was clear when he said what services should be in place as the Seaton neighbourhood grows.  He's rather quiet at regional council but he's just learning his way and we feel he'll speak up more as he learns the ropes.

Cameras to roll in Pickering
TriBro Studios to set up location as part of Durham Live
Kristen Calis
June 23, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Durham Live
Durham Live Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland PICKERING -- Peter Apostolopoulos, president of TriBro Studios, described the exterior of the plans for the new state-of-the-art movie studio that will be built at the Durham Live entertainment complex.  The movie studio will be one of Canada's largest movie studios.  The announcement was made Monday morning at City hall.  June 22 2015

PICKERING -- It looks like the words 'lights, camera, action' will soon be familiar in Pickering once a new film studio sets up shop in the city.

At Pickering City Hall Monday morning, TriBro Studios, Durham Live and Pickering Developments announced plans for one of Canada's biggest studios to set up shop in Pickering as part of Durham Live, a massive entertainment complex planned for Pickering that's expected to include a hotel, restaurants, a water park, designer shops, a film studio and a casino.  Whether plans for a casino can go ahead will be up to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

“We envision TriBro Studios, and by extension Durham Live, as a growth engine and anchor for the region's creative, multimedia and filmmaking community,” said Peter Apostolopoulos, president of TriBro Studios.  “Our office and production space will form the epicenter for major film and television productions, drawing new, dynamic jobs to Durham Live.”

Mayor Dave Ryan was pleased to see Durham Live becoming a reality.

“We think it's very positive,” he said.  “It's essentially the first phase of the overall development and the one that's closest to fruition.”

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Coteau said the investment is a vote of confidence in Ontario and means good jobs and economic growth for the local community.

“For me, this is incredible news for not only Durham Region, but for Ontario as a whole,” he said.

He said Ontario is among the powerhouses of the film and television sector.

“We compete now with New York,” he said.  “We compete with Los Angeles.”

He called Durham “no stranger to film production” and noted films such as Billy Madison, X-Men and Life of Pi were filmed in Durham.

Mr. Coteau and Mayor Ryan both spoke in interviews about the tax credits that are available for local film production.

“There are tax credits available for film production and we're just inside the boundary for those credits to give you the maximum tax credit,” said Mayor Ryan.  “So this is an ideal location outside of Toronto.”

Mayor Ryan explained Pickering is well positioned in terms of Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) costs as well.

“If you go any farther east you start to pay premiums under the ACTRA contracts,” he said.  “So this is the ideal location in the GTA for a facility such as this.”

Mayor Ryan was pleased that two ministers attended the announcement, which he feels speaks very well to the confidence that the Province has in terms of development in Durham Region and Pickering, but especially in Durham Live in particular.

“It has obviously caught their attention, if not their imaginations,” he said.

TriBros also announced plans to put an end to gender inequality in North American film and television production by launching an incentive program to encourage the hiring of women in leading creative positions.  Mr. Apostolopoulos announced TriBro will cut studio fees in half for any female-helmed productions at its existing studio in Toronto, and at its future studio in Pickering.

He noted only seven per cent of the largest 250 feature films of 2014 were directed by women.

Pickering-Scarborough East and Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, Tracy MacCharles, said despite women making up more than half of the population, inequality still exists, and this program will encourage female directors and showrunners.

“I think this is just incredible leadership,” said Ms. MacCharles.

Happy Father's Day June 21st
Happy Canada Day July 1st
June 2015
Fathers Day Canada Day
 
Senior of the Year
June 14, 2015
Senior Image 1
 
Senior Image 2
 
Kids Safety Village of Durham Region: Cheque Presentation
May 19, 2015
Kids Safety Village of Durham Region Cheque Presentation
 
Happy Mother's Day May 10th
Happy Victoria Day May 18th
May 2015
Mothers Day Victoria Day
 
Pickering Museum Village Very Important Volunteer
April 29, 2015

Councillor Pickles, along with fellow Councillors Bill McLean & Ian Cumming, and Mayor David Ryan, attended the Pickering Museum Village Very Important Volunteer Evening where volunteers are recognized for their dedicated contributions at the Pickering Museum Village.

PMV VIV Evening
Paul Savel, Mrs. Edward Applethwaite (aka Catherine Hodge) & Councillor Pickles 
Public invited to open house on future of Pickering nuclear plant
April 21, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
Toronto Star photo
The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station

PICKERING -- Ontario Power Generation is asking the public what it thinks the Pickering nuclear site should be used for both during and after it is decommissioned.

OPG is planning for the end of commercial operations at the Pickering nuclear station around 2020, including determining future potential uses of the site.  It has launched a study on repurposing the Pickering plant and surrounding area and is holding a display and open house this Thursday, April 23.

The study is intended to help identify a broad range of potential uses of the site during and after station decommissioning activities.

OPG is seeking input and perspectives of industry, government and infrastructure planning specialists, community leaders, employees and the local community.

There will be a display on the issue at the Pickering Recreation Complex, 1867 Valley Farm Rd., on April 23, from noon to 4 p.m. The community open house will also take place at the rec complex on April 23 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Visit www.opg.com for more information or to learn how to submit ideas.

GO transit improvements coming to Durham
Province to spend billions improving GO train service
April 20, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
GO Transit
GO Transit
Ron Pietroniro/ Durham Region Media Group File Photo
PICKERING -- GO Transit users get set to board a westbound train at the Pickering GO Station.  Northumberland commuters would like to see the service expand into the county.  Aug. 28, 2013.

DURHAM -- There will be more trains running in Durham Region as part of the provincial government's announcement to ramp up public transit in and around the GTA.

Improvements along the Lakeshore East line include two-way, all-day 15-minute GO train service or better on weekdays, evenings and weekends between Oshawa and Union Station, an all-stop service from Oshawa to Union Station, as well as express, non-stop service from Pickering to Union Station in the peak period for trips starting in Oshawa.

The Province announced the improvements in Barrie on Friday, April 17.  Other improvements include expanding service between Barrie and Toronto to more than 200 trips a week, up from the current 70 trips, and electrifying the service on all GO lines.

Dubbed Moving Ontario Forward, the infrastructure plan carries a price tag of $31.5 billion.

Right now, the Lakeshore East line has 568 weekly trips, but over the next five years, that number will grow to more than 620.

Metrolinx, which oversees GO Transit, also has plans to extend GO train service to Bowmanville.  Part of that plan includes a new GO station in Oshawa.

Pickering Nuclear Repurposing Project
April 13, 2015
Repurposing Pickering Ad
Click to see PDF 
Pickering Town Hall Meeting
2015 Coordinated Review of Provincial Plans
April 13, 2015

I had raised a concern with staff that the Province was not including a public consultation meeting in Pickering on the Coordinated Review of the Green Belt Plans.  I suggested the city host a meeting in Pickering for residents.

This April 13 meeting is being advertised on the city website and in the Pickering News Advertiser.  This posting is to advise you of the meeting should residents wish to attend.  A memo is included with further information.

Please note this city hosted meeting does not replace the province's meeting being planned in Ajax so you may also wish to consider attending that meeting.

Spark Centre in Oshawa
April 07, 2015
Spark Centre
I recently visited the Spark Centre in Oshawa with Amanda Reynolds and Dennis Croft.  They are non-profit and help local entrepreneurs in the technology, innovation or invention sector by offering free services to help them start, grow and succeed.  Visit www.sparkcentre.org for more info.  Photo with representative of one of the start up companies. - with Amanda Reynolds.  
Pickering pet owners reminded to stoop and scoop
April 6, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- After receiving a high number of complaints, Pickering Animal Services is reminding residents to be responsible pet owners and pick up after their pets.

The problem has become evident as the snow continues to melt, revealing dog poop that has accumulated throughout the winter months.

“Owners who fail to pick up after their pet can face fines up to $5,000 under the City's responsible pet ownership bylaw,” said Lindsey Narraway, supervisor of animal services.  “The fine shouldn't be the only deterrent for Pickering pet owners; this is our community, and we need to work together to ensure it remains a clean and vibrant space.”

Signs reminding owners of their obligations have been recently posted around target areas including Glengrove Road, Woodview Avenue, Westcreek Public School, and all hiking and park areas located within the City.

Contact the Customer Care Centre at 905-683-7575 or e-mail customercare@pickering.ca to report a complaint.  Where possible, people are asked to note the pet owner's address to ensure staff can investigate appropriately.

Visit pickering.ca/animals for more information on responsible pet ownership.

Pilot program for teens with autism launching in Pickering
Free program to offer space, activities, for teens at the library
April 5, 2015
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
Footprints 4 Autism
FOOTPRINTS 4 Autism
Submitted Photo
DURHAM -- Ellah JasTrzebski attends the FOOTPRINTS 4 Autism program.  The organization is soon launching a pilot program for teens and young adults between 14 and 21.  FOOTPRINTS currently has four vacancies in Pickering during its weekend respite programs for children under 14.  April 1, 2015.

PICKERING -- Thanks to a charitable respite program, teenagers diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder will have a new place to hang out once a week.

“The whole thing is fostering inclusion, friendship, acceptance,” said FOOTPRINTS 4 Autism operations manager Julie Cashin-Oster.

The charity's Together We 'Hang' program will provide a social outlet for youth aged 14 to 21 diagnosed with an ASD.  Running out of the Pickering Public Library's main branch, it will start on Wednesday, April 15 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and will run every Wednesday through the summer until Sept. 16.

A parent/guardian information and registration session will be held at the library on April 8 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

“One of the main things with autism is the social piece,” said Ms. Cashin-Oster, who has a teenage son with an ASD.

The term ASD refers to a group of complex developmental brain disorders that affect the way the brain works.  Individuals who are on the autism spectrum experience difficulty in the areas of social interaction, language and development and strong interests and repetitive behaviour.

“Youth on the autism spectrum are often a forgotten group when it comes to social, recreational programs,” said Ms. Cashin-Oster.

FOOTPRINTS 4 Autism has been operating weekly respite programs for parents of children on the autism spectrum up to their 14th birthday since 2004.

“After a child ages out we are asked by the parents what's next.  This is a natural step for us to take,” says Corrine Brook-Allred, steering committee chairwoman.

Ms. Cashin-Oster says FOOTPRINTS has identified the need for a program for teenagers within the Durham community and is doing its best to fill it.

“The teen years are tough enough without having the challenge of autism.  By engaging youth -- both on the spectrum and not, we will have an after school social group fostering not only inclusion and acceptance -- but friendship,” she said.

The program will be supervised by a qualified staff member and trained youth volunteers, and participants will have input into the programming.

“There are some wonderful programs but we just wanted to try something that was a little more relaxed and kind of a drop-in,” said Ms. Cashin-Oster.

While it is a drop-in program, it's recommended to pre-register since there are only 12 spots available.

“It's somewhere safe where parents can bring their children,” said Ms. Cashin-Oster.

The program is being put on with the support of the Durham Community Foundation and the Pickering Public Library.

The library is located at One The Esplanade, Pickering.

For more information or to register visit www.footprints4autism.org or e-mail pickering@footprints4autism.org or call 905-420-0388 ext. 3.

Durham chairman Roger Anderson talks Pickering airport, fire amalgamation
Chairman addresses Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade for first time since being elected to position
April 4, 2015
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
Roger Anderson
Roger Anderson
Durham regional Chairman Candidate Roger Anderson

PICKERING -- Roger Anderson was quick to thank the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade for officially supporting his position for an airport in Pickering.

“This is very important,” he said.  “This is the difference between job growth and things staying where they are.”

He recently spoke as the first-ever elected Durham Regional chairman to the Board of Trade at the Lake House in Pickering.

He said job growth in Durham won't happen without the extension of Hwy.  407, if the Province of Ontario doesn't market the Seaton lands, and if an airport doesn't go through.

I can give ministers heck all the time but the premier's the big boss.  Durham Regional Chairman Roger Anderson

“You've got to give them a reason to want to expand,” he said of businesses being interested in coming to the area.

He feels strongly about the Province re-developing the lands for employment near Hwy.  407.

“Seaton is the future of Pickering,” he said.

He spoke of a recent meeting he took part in along with GTA mayors and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“We got a list of all of the things we want to do together,” he said.

He said he's not sure if all of the requests from various municipalities will go though “but at least she's opened the door.”

He said after the meeting he felt positive about transit options for the east end of the GTA.

“I can give ministers heck all the time but the premier's the big boss,” he said.

Mr. Anderson spoke of his interest in restructuring Regional council.  He said while population will be a factor in determining the number of councillors “it's not the be all and end all.

“It's something we've got to start dealing with this year,” he said.

He spoke about the possibility of amalgamating fire services across Durham.

“What's wrong with studying it?” he said.

There was recently a lengthy debate during Regional budget discussions when spending $75,000 to study the possibility of amalgamating the fire services was postponed until local councils decide whether they are even interested in seeing a study.

He spoke about the provincial review of the Growth Plan, Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Mr. Anderson said the Province is holding a public meeting to gather input at the Ajax Community Centre on April 20.  The public review period lasts until June 3 and he encouraged the Board of Trade to review the plans and send in comments to the Province.

“It's going to change the face of the GTA for a long time,” he said.

The Region has consulted the community on the Greenbelt Plan, which covers 80 per cent of Durham.  The recommendations for improvements to the Greenbelt plan are posted on the Region's website, www.durham.ca.

Councillor Pickles has joined the cast of Game of Thrones?
March 27, 2015
Hospital Gala
Brenda and Dave join the cast of Games of Thrones?  No, but we were pleased to attend the Fire and Ice Rouge Gala for the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation.  Funds raised went to the purchase of two mini C-arm portable X-ray machines.
Farm share growing in popularity in Pickering
March 26, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

Community-supported agriculture is a win-win for Pickering residents and Durham farmers.

Imagine arriving home from work to find a basket of fresh produce on your porch.  Its origin wouldn't be a mystery if you were involved in CSA, or farm share, as it is often called.  In the program, local residents before the growing season pay for a share of a local farm's produce.  The consumer chooses to receive food weekly or bi-weekly and it is delivered to their home.  Among the options, buyers can either order a half or a full share and some farms also offer meat and egg shares.

Everybody is a winner in farm share: the consumer receives fresh, locally-grown food without having to drive to the grocery store.  And while a household is enjoying it at meal or snack times, they know they are supporting a farmer not in the U.S.  or Central America, but very close to home.  Farmers can directly connect to their customers and knowing in advance how many farm share patrons they have helps them plan ahead.

Durham Sustain Ability (DSA) hosted a CSA event at Ray's Cafe in Pickering recently.  And while DSA hosts EnviroChats all year long, volunteer Bob Hester said this CSA event drew the largest crowd the group has ever seen at an Envirochat.

Community-supported agriculture, in a way, takes us back to our roots, pardon the pun.  It's easy to forget that 200 or 300 years ago, when most Canadians lived in rural areas, people generally stayed close to home for their entire lives.  Almost everything they needed was grown or made at home.  They had a real connection to and knowledge of the food that ended up on their table.  Now that the vast majority of Canadians live in urban areas, we've lost that connection to the land.

In CSA, the consumer reduces his or her carbon footprint as they don't go out to get the food and it doesn't travel hundreds or more kilometres on a truck to get here.

As well, those involved in CSA are more in tune to the growing season.  Fruits and vegetables are only available at certain times.  That's why those strawberries you bought at the market last week looked so bad: they took so long to get here after being picked that they've gone bad, or are just about to.  In CSA, you get the food when it's grown and picked.  As a special bonus, if there's more of a certain crop than was expected, the customer gets more in their basket.

Visit websites of the farms that took part in the Pickering DSA program: www.zephyrorganics.com, www.forsythefamilyfarms.com, www.willowtreefarm.ca, www.csafarmdurhamkawartha.com.

Pickering residents to see tax hike of 3.79 per cent
Council unanimously passes budget, includes one per cent levy for roads
Kristen Calis
March 26, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Dave Ryan
Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan
Handout photo

PICKERING -- Pickering council unanimously passed a budget that will mean a tax increase of 3.79 per cent.

The increase is the equivalent of an extra $51.30 on a home valued at $376,100.  Pickering makes up 28 per cent of the tax bill, while the Region of Durham's portion is 55 per cent and the school board makes up 17 per cent.

On the City's portion of the tax bill, the increase is 1.65 per cent, the lowest it's been in the past 10 years.

“Staff brought us a very tight budget overall,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.

He said the recommendation for an additional one per cent levy to help repair roads and bridges “is just prudent planning.”

The budget included $50 million in current expenses of salaries and wages, overtime and employer contributions, and $22 million in gross capital expenses.

Big capital items include a new aerial ladder fire truck costing $1.1 million, and $1 million for the removal and replacement of trees damaged by 2013 ice storm.

Ward 1 Regional Councillor Jennifer O'Connell attempted to have $60,000 added to the budget for winter maintenance of the Waterfront Trail, but it was lost in a close vote.

The City is planning on a golf simulator capital project in the amount of $67,500.  However, it will be subject to an additional expenditure approval by council before the project proceeds and if it isn't approved by council by the end of 2015, it will be cancelled.

The budget includes a capital forecast from 2016 to 2019, the total of which is $97.1 million.  Of that, $37.3 million will be funded from debt and internal loans.

Pickering resident David Steele, who attended budget discussions, said he wants to see a “10-year capital and operating budget with a full disclosure on one page of all reserve funds and a separate one on debt and years it will take to pay the debt off.”

He said until the City completes an assessment inventory of all equipment and components in all buildings and infrastructure, then produces a 10-year operating and capital budget, it's playing a catch-up game in which the taxpayers “are kept in the dark with no long-term planning or vision for the City of Pickering.”

The budget uses $5.3 million of internal and external debt to finance various projects.  The staff report says this is relatively low compared to previous years.

Mr. Steele says the City needs a strategy that provides a plan to reduce dependency on debt and bring in a balanced budget.

“High debt levels, whether in the public or private sector, have historically placed a drag on growth and raised the risk of financial crises that spark deep economic recessions,” he said.

Visit www.pickering.ca/en/cityhall/budgetfeedback.asp to view the budget.

Petapalooza to raise money for Pickering animal shelter
March 25, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering wants a permanent animal shelter in Pickering and is hosting an event to help it reach its goal.

Pickering Animal Services is looking for exhibitors to participate in its fourth Petapolooza, a trade show of industry professionals, rescue groups and other services available to Pickering pet enthusiasts in celebration of Responsible Pet Ownership Month.

The event will take place on Saturday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the upper level of the leash-free area at Grand Valley Park, located on the Third Concession, west of Valley Farm Road in Pickering.

Exhibitors will have the opportunity to connect with an enthusiastic audience and promote their product, service and/or organization.

All funds raised from the event will go towards the development of a permanent animal shelter in Pickering.

Those interested in becoming an exhibitor should submit an application by April 30.  Visit pickering.ca/petapolooza to view the available exhibitor packages and more details on how to get involved.

Sustainable Pickering Day happening this weekend
March 25, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Sustainable Pickering Day is taking place for the 10th year this Saturday.

The annual event on March 28 will give visitors an opportunity to purchase and learn about locally grown and made products; discover ways to contribute to a healthy environment; and receive one-on-one advice from City of Pickering tree and gardening experts.

Along with shopping the indoor farmers market, watching the gardening demonstrations, and enjoying the free children's activities, visitors can sign up for Pickering's Celebrating Sustainable Neighbourhoods program for a chance to win up to $10,000 to enhance a community space.

The event will take place at the Pickering Town Centre in Centre Court, 1355 Kingston Rd., from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

New this year, the University of Toronto Scarborough will bring its Eastern GTA Eco Summit to the Central Library's auditorium on the second floor at One The Esplanade.

Event-goers can learn about community gardening, urban tree canopy, and climate change.  Workshop sessions take place for one hour each at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Register for free at ecosummit2015.eventbrite.ca.

Historic Pickering farmhouse once saved from wrecking ball may face it again
Whitevale residents object to proposed demolitions for Seaton area
Kristen Calis
March 7, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Percy House
Scott Finlayson
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
PICKERING -- Scott Finlayson, president of the Whitevale and District Residents Association, wants to save a handful of historic homes in the area that the provincial government is considering demolishing to make way for the Seaton development.  February 27, 2015.

DURHAM -- Despite receiving a heritage designation in the spring, an historic farmhouse in Pickering could face demolition at the hands of the provincial government after all.

The City designated the Walter Percy House under the Ontario Heritage Act in April, and at the time, the Province indicated it had no objections with the designation.

However, the City has learned that Infrastructure Ontario, the arm of the Ontario government that manages the provincial lands in north Pickering, has hired a consultant to conduct an environmental assessment for the demolition of 15 homes to make way for the development of the Seaton neighbourhood.  The Walter Percy House is one of the 15.

Although the Ontario Heritage Act allows municipalities to designate properties, the Province has authority on its own lands.

“Hopefully they'll take into account that we've placed a designation on that property,” says Ward 3 Regional Councillor David Pickles.

The Province has owned a large chunk of land in north Pickering since the early 1970s.  After toying with various uses, in 2006 the Province settled on Seaton, a neighbourhood that is expected to attract up to 70,000 people to the once rural area.

While the small hamlet of Whitevale is protected, the buffer zone around it has gotten smaller.

Coun. Pickles noted these buffers could include public spaces, such as schools and parks.

The Whitevale and District Residents' Association is trying to maintain the history in and around the area.

The hamlet was founded in 1820 when it was called Majorville.  Scott Finlayson, the association's president, fears its 200th anniversary will be marked by wrecking balls nearby.

“That's how you're going to celebrate heritage, eh?” he says.

Ajax-Pickering MPP Joe Dickson has spoken to some of the concerned residents.  He says the EA will help determine whether any of the properties are salvageable.  Whether he personally would like to see the structures saved will be based on the findings.

“I pretty much want to wait and see about the EA,” he says.  “As soon as it's completed then you can take an objective look.”

He says the provincial government and the members of provincial parliament value heritage buildings.

“That's why we have our own distinct ministry position for this,” he says.

Mr. Finlayson explained the Percy home is a rare example of the Ontario Cottage Style architecture due to its unusual stonework.  The stone farmhouse was built between 1875 and 1885 in the Gothic revival style, and currently sits vacant on Sideline 16, southeast of the hamlet of Brougham.

Other homes that could face demolition include three within the Whitevale Heritage Conservation District boundaries and four designated heritage lots in the Seaton plan.

“We really have to shame the government into action here,” Mr. Finlayson says.

Another, the Nathaniel Hastings House, was originally built in 1840 and is deemed a heritage lot in the Seaton Neighbourhood Plan.  Mr. Finlayson explained it has a traditional stone construction with atypical brick headings, which were likely hauled by horse from Toronto Brickworks.

“This is probably one of my favourite ones,” says Mr. Finlayson.

The Province owns more than 70 homes on the land, many of which are still being rented.  However, once renters leave, the homes tend to sit vacant and fall into disrepair, says Mr. Finlayson.  In fact, most of 15 on the list are vacant and susceptible to damage by the elements such as cold and water, and animals.  Both the Nathaniel Hastings House and the Walter Percy House are examples.

The City is currently evaluating the heritage value of 10 of the 15 properties on the list.

A staff report indicates four properties will have full heritage assessments completed as they are identified as being heritage lots in the Seaton neighbourhood plans.  Full assessments will be done on any of the six found to be significant after a preliminary evaluation.

Coun. Pickles says a tenant or even a viable business moving into the buildings if any are spared would help keep them in good shape.

“The worst thing is to have a building sitting vacant,” he says.

In this case, the heritage dedication for the Walter Percy House would be useful in keeping the building's original features.

Coun. Pickles says old buildings have been moved to Pickering Museum Village in the past, but sometimes it's ideal to keep the old homes where they are, in order to keep them in context.

Mr. Finlayson says there are many examples of old architecture in urban communities and museums.  He suggests selling the homes with a lot severance for a nominal cost to interested home owners willing to keep them at their current locations.

“Someone would probably restore it to its former glory,” he says.

He points to Markham, which has established heritage blocks within existing development.  Homes were moved to lots, restored and lived in by families.

“We have asked the City of Pickering to work with us as we explore various options and anxiously await their assessment reports to determine which and how many homes can realistically be saved and maintained in our heritage community,” says Mr. Finlayson.

Bianca Lankheit, a communications advisor with Infrastructure Ontario, says the EA is currently underway and no final decisions have been made.  She adds consultation with key stakeholders will be part of the process, and once it's concluded, a notice of completion will be posted for public review and comment.

“If submissions are received during the public posting period, the minister of the environment and climate change has to take those submissions into consideration and make the final decision as to whether the proposed undertaking may proceed or not,” she said.

Construction on Kingston Road in Pickering includes bus-only lanes
March 7, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Durham Region Transit
Durham Region Transit
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
OSHAWA -- Passengers got on and off a Durham Region Transit bus.

PICKERING -- Construction work on Kingston Road in Pickering is expected to be ongoing until the end of October.

The work will take place on Kingston Road, from 315 metres west of Liverpool Road to 600 metres east of Liverpool Road, and is expected to cause lane restrictions.

The work includes storm sewer replacement, local watermain replacement, road widening, sidewalk reconstruction, traffic signal replacements, and the implementation of bus-only lanes and bicycle lanes.

Unfavourable weather conditions may influence the work schedule.  Drivers are asked to exercise caution for pedestrian safety and for the safety of the construction workers.

For more information on this Region of Durham project, visit www.durhambrt.ca .

Staying connected: New Durham technology portal paves way to international investors
Region of Durham and the Spark People team up to create online tool
Leeanna McLean
March 6, 2015
(durhamregion.com)
Kasia Chojecki
Kasia Chojecki
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
WHITBY -- Kasia Chojecki, manager of strategic initiative with the Region of Durham's planning and economic development department, in collaboration with Spark Centre, has launched the Durham Innovation and Technology Portal.  This integrated online resource is designed to promote Durham Region's digital technology sector, with a focus on attracting international investors.  February 5, 2015.

International investors now have the opportunity to browse hundreds of Durham companies at the click of a button.

The Region of Durham's planning and economic development department, in collaboration with Spark Centre, has launched the Durham Innovation and Technology Portal.  Introduced in late December 2014, the idea was to build a tool to present the various growing sectors in Durham Region.

Upon entering the portal, users are greeted with various industries including: digital media, agritech, health, advanced manufacturing, clean technology, information technology and incubation.  One can browse through information on different creative artists, game designers, web developers and health-care initiatives.  Potential international investors can read about Durham Region's Centre for Food and can explore Search Engine People, recognized as one of the 100 fastest-growing companies.  The portal provides up-to-date information about the latest investment opportunities from local companies seeking partnerships, investors or venture capital funding, strengths in post-secondary training, research and development, available incentives, local support networks and more.

“We thought creating a portal of this kind would be a good way to showcase the talent in Durham outside.  Digital is very different, you don't need to be in a certain location to do business, you can do it anywhere in the world,” says Kasia Chojecki, manager, strategic initiative department of economic development and tourism.

“Especially in this sector, it is important to collaborate and if you're in the digital sector, you don't want to read a brochure that is handed to you in hard copy.  You want to be reading information in a format that you are accustomed to.”

The project was made possible by a joint-funding initiative from the Region and Invest Canada-Community Initiatives, which provides financial support to communities for their foreign direct investment programs and resources.  The Region and Spark Centre received $15,000 from ICCI and Ms. Chojecki says they came under budget.  The portal will also be used as part of the Region's overall foreign investment attraction plan, which aims to respond to potential foreign and domestic investors and generate new leads.

The companies featured currently on the portal are businesses the Region and Spark Centre have worked with previously.  However, as new and emerging companies become recognized, they will have the opportunity to showcase their work on the site.

“By featuring companies, it will also entice people to come out of the woodwork and look to be featured,” says Ms. Chojecki.

In October, students from Durham College and a video production company based out of China joined through the portal to work on an animated feature.  Ms. Chojecki says this is only the beginning of more successful partnerships to come in the future.  “If they start working with Durham College and producing those, they may decide to be here and have a studio, even a small-scale one.  That's how we are trying to push forward,” says Ms. Chojecki.

After conducting a sector analysis, the Region and Spark Centre found it was important to have a wide language selection in order to connect with foreign markets.  The technology portal lets users select from more than 80 languages.

“In the last five to 10 years, a website has become really the new calling card.  It's your business card, your marketing brochure, your TV ad, it has replaced all of those things.  The very first thing anyone does to learn about something is to go online and look for it,” says Dennis Croft, president and CEO of Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre.  “The tech sector has become a very common integrated industry now in every province and in every country of the world.  To ignore it and not value the importance of this industry would be a real danger to the community.”

Mr. Croft says Spark Centre's goal would be to take over the long-term management of the site, which would include increasing the amount of content on the portal as it relates to various companies, recruiting, success stories, local news around technology and innovation, and information about Durham's increasing talent pool.

As the portal becomes better known, the Region and Spark Centre will start to compare different partnerships, discuss referrals and track web analytics to measure the portal's success.

“We have a long-term mission that we are trying to accomplish and that is to really increase the awareness of the importance of this industry.  This gives us a real aggregation point that more and more people will easily access,” says Mr. Croft.  “I'm tremendously excited that we have this.”

Durham budget approved with one per cent tax increase
Most debate centred on spending $75,000 on fire amalgamation study
Keith Gilligan
March 5, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- With a gross budget of about $1.3 billion, most of the debate on Durham Region's 2015 budget centred on spending $75,000 to study amalgamating fire services.

Regional council on Wednesday, March 4, approved the budget, which includes a one per cent property tax increase.  That works out to a $24 increase on a home assessed at $351,000.

Oshawa Councillor Bob Chapman, the finance and administration committee chairman, said, “As chairman, I hope the majority of council, if not all, agree this is a good budget.  I think this is an affordable budget.  It moves us forward.  It keeps us with a Triple A rating, which is important.”

Almost all of the debate centred on spending $75,000 to look at amalgamating fire services across Durham.

During the fall municipal election campaign, a plank in Regional Chairman Roger Anderson's platform was examining the amalgamation of fire services and moving it to the Regional level.

Mr. Anderson said including the $75,000 in the budget “is giving staff the right to do some internal investigations.”

Once that's done, it would come back to Regional council for approval, he noted.

“No one can make a decision on fire unless you know the ramifications,” Mr. Anderson added.

Oshawa Councillor Nancy Diamond said, “It's not big money, but there are major implications.”

Ajax Mayor Steve Parish wanted the budget changed so that before the fire amalgamation study could begin, the local municipalities would be allowed to comment.

“Let's see if the local municipalities want to do it,” he said.  “Anyone out there who thinks amalgamation will save costs, forget it.”

He said going to the municipalities first would show if there was support for a region-wide fire service.

“If there's not the political will, then you're throwing $75,000 of taxpayers' money out the window.”

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan didn't support the change, saying, “I find it somewhat ironic that those who fought for an elected chairman now try to frustrate his first initiative.

“If the result of the study is any decline in fire service in Pickering or it costs one penny more for fire service, we will vote against it,” Mayor Ryan added.

Finance commissioner Jim Clapp said, “What we're trying to do it bring all the dollars together, operating and capital and the tax implications to the local municipalities.  You'll have the information and can decide if you want to go down that road or not.”

Mr. Anderson said staff would do an internal investigation and then report back to councillors.

“Then you can decide if you want to do it.  It's exactly the same process we used with transit.”

He said the process would allow the Region to do its due diligence and then report to council.

“If a local municipality doesn't want to participate, when Jim Clapp calls, don't answer,” he said.

Pickering Councillor Jennifer O'Connell said, “What's the point of spending $75,000 if there's no political will? The process is really the issue.  Every municipality deserves the right to say yes or no.”

Oshawa Councillor John Aker cautioned that local municipalities should be “careful” about giving up a service.

“We have to be careful with how much we surrender.  The Province may look at us and say we don't need those eight local municipalities,” Coun. Aker said.

Durham Region budget
PLANNING PRIORITIES
February 25, 2015
By Leah Wong
(novae res urbis)

Through its finance and administration committee Durham Region is working on finetuning its 2015 operating and capital budgets.

Last week planning and economic development committee approved a 2.2 per cent, or $116,000, increase over the 2014 planning division budget of $5.2 million.  Wednesday it is presented to the finance and administration committee.

The most significant pressures in the division's 2015 budget are a $72,000 increase for salaries and benefits and a $73,000 increase in professional services for transportation studies.  These and other opening pressures are being offset by decreases in general operating expenses and professional services required for plan implementation.  The division is also expecting a net increase in revenue.

Planning and economic development committee also approved a 1.98 per cent increase in the economic development and tourism division budget.  This represents a $61,000 increase over the $3.1-million budget approved in 2014.

Included in the budget is funding for a new administrative position and to advertise and promote the inaugural Durham Festival.   Other budget increases relate to an increase in professional, technical and consulting services for the creation of the 2015-2020 Economic Development Strategy and for analysis on the advanced manufacturing health sciences and energy sectors.

Through his budget report planning and economic development commissioner Alexander Georgieff outlined the divisions' priorities for the upcoming year.

Planning priorities are split into three categories: policy formulation and administration, plans approval and review, and planning advisory and information services.   Policy formulation includes advancing development of the Seaton community and leading implementation of the three-year Cycling Communication Plan.  Plans approval includes administering the region's responsibilities for area municipal official plans, reviews and conformity exercises.  Planning advisory includes supporting the region's climate change roundtable and responding to provincial planning initiatives such as the Greenbelt Act and Places to Grow reviews.

The economic development and tourism division is focused on economic attraction and business retention and expansion across a range of sectors.  This includes supporting business start-up and development services, collaborating with the local post-secondary institutions, continuing to implement the Durham Agricultural Strategy and implementing the culinary agro-tourism strategy.  Durham's economic development focus is on attracting new sectors to the region and continuing to support the agricultural industry.

York reassessing plan to repay debt, delays infrastructure projects
Feb. 17, 2015
By: Noor Javed
(thestar.com)

York Region is starting to feel the burden of carrying the highest per-capita debt load in the GTA, and is pulling back on infrastructure projects to rein in borrowing costs.

York's debt has climbed to $2.54 billion and is expected to peak at $3.7 billion by 2020.

For years, the region's debt-repayment plan has been dependent on development charges from current and future construction of homes in booming cities such as Markham, Vaughan and Richmond Hill.  (Levies collected help cover the cost of money borrowed to build infrastructure such as water and sewage pipes.)

But the plan isn't working quite as expected.

Despite fast-tracking projects and a relatively strong housing market, development charges aren't keeping up with debt repayment.

Almost 85 per cent of York's debt is based on what it hopes to recover from development fees.

“We assumed higher growth in the early years, followed by slower growth in the later years,” said Edward Hankins, director of the Treasury Office for York.

“But because of the economic recession, some of that growth has not occurred as quickly as we thought.”

Officials admit the development charge collection plan is volatile and largely dependent on how the economy fares.

Heavy reliance on such fees could leave York taxpayers facing two unfavourable options down the road to cover debt: higher taxes, or more sprawl to keep the development fees coming in.

According to a 2013 report, development levies collected over the past decade amounted to an average of $173 million a year.  In 2014, the region reset the rates and collected $250 million, Hankins said.

The region is anticipating $330 million annually in 2015 and 2016 - even though such numbers have never been met.

But Hankins is optimistic.

“York is going to grow.  It's one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada.  It's just a question of how quickly it will grow,” he said.

Yet there have already been consequences to the region's aggressive build plan and high debt, according to the 2015 proposed budget document, which is up for discussion this month.

S&P recently downgraded the region's credit rating from AAA to AA+, over concerns the region was spending too much and taking on too much debt.  To slow down spending, York Region Council decided to delay certain projects, including the Upper York water reclamation centre and water and sewage projects in Vaughan.

The projects could be restarted if growth proves to be faster than expected, or development charge funds improve.

So, the region's new focus is building up its reserve funds, Hankins said.

The $1.7 billion currently held in reserves, second in the region only to Toronto's, is being spent faster than the revenues coming in.  By 2017, the depletion trend is expected to reverse, said Hankins.

Critics warn that York's strategy will put it in much the same straits Peel Region now faces.

“Mississauga was able to collect development fees and use them to subsidize tax freezes,” said Sony Rai, a member of the environmental group Sustainable Vaughan.  “Fast-forward 30 years and now Peel Region's infrastructure replacement and repair bill is causing tax increases.”

Paul Bottomley, York Region's manager for growth management, believes the growth anticipated in the region by 2031 will surpass what is needed to pay off the debt.

According to a land assessment report from 2009, the region anticipates some 1.5 million people will move in over the next two decades.  It also expects to add 229,300 housing units over that period, almost 40 per cent of those single-family homes - the most lucrative type when it comes to development fees.

A single or semi-detached home brings in $37,720 in development charges.  A condo of less than 700 square feet brings in almost $15,865.

But some environmentalists worry that York's debt repayment policy is not sustainable and is a model destined to fuel sprawl.

“They are so far exposed in terms of debt and paying for that with development charges ...  and the only way they can see forward is to keep doing more of it,” said Tim Gray, executive director with the advocacy group Environmental Defence.

He believes that as the region builds out, there will eventually be pressure on the protected Greenbelt lands, where new development is forbidden.

Gray believes that with the provincial Greenbelt review taking place this year, the region could contemplate actively moving toward a high-density model, instead of “simply digging itself deeper into the hole.”

“They need to figure out how we can modify development charges so that revenue can be obtained from denser development.  And if you aren't building new infrastructure that extends far into the countryside, then your costs are lower.  So you can transition to a new funding model,” he said.

“But in the short term, and with so much debt on them, it's a hard sell.”

Debt over GTA
Residents invited to have say in Pickering budget
February 20, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering is inviting residents to learn more about the annual budget process, and provide input to help build the 2015 budget.

The ‘Budgeting Your City’ campaign encourages residents to go online to gain a better understanding of the budget building blocks, and submit their feedback in preparation for the draft 2015 budget.

“This is a great campaign that will provide residents with a better understanding of where their tax dollars go,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.  “Hopefully, they will appreciate that taxes aren't a penalty -- they are an investment in the community that we all live in.”

Residents can register as a delegation for the March 5 executive (budget) committee meeting, or simply attend to observe the budget process unfold.

The ‘Budgeting Your City’ feedback form is available online at pickering.ca/budget and hard copies will be made available upon request.  For more information about the budget process, contact corporate Services by sending an e-mail to corpserv@pickering.ca or calling 905-420-4614.

Pickering recognized for acting on climate change
February 19, 2015
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering has completed the final step in a climate protection program, making it one of just 24 municipalities to have reached the milestone.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Local Governments for Sustainability have recognized the City for achieving Milestone 5, the last step of the Partners for Climate Protection program.

The program is a network of 270 Canadian municipal governments that have committed to reducing greenhouse gases and acting on climate change.  It is based on a five-milestone framework that includes setting an emissions reduction target and developing and implementing a local action plan.

Visit pickering.ca/sustainability to learn more about Pickering's involvement in the program.

Pickering approves casino proposal at Bayly and Church streets
Mayor states opposition to stand-alone casino
January 23, 2015
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
Durham Live Church Street
Durham Live Church Street
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
PICKERING -- The City of Pickering has received a rezoning application for a significant new development proposal on the land located on the northwest corner of Church Street and Bayly Street.  Referred to as Durham Live, the proposal is to rezone the subject lands to permit a broad range of attractions, such as a casino, hotel, convention centre, performing arts centre, outdoor amphitheatre and waterpark.  February 26, 2014.

DURHAM -- Pickering is another step closer to having a casino in the city.

At the Jan. 19 council meeting, councillors voted 6-1 to give final approval to a zoning bylaw allowing Pickering Developments to proceed with its vision for Durham Live, a 220-acre, mega-entertainment tourist destination, which most notably could include a casino.

The vote reflects support by Pickering residents when 60 per cent of voters said yes to a casino and the Durham Live Project in a referendum held in the 2014 municipal election.

“We are delighted with the results from council,” said Steve Apostolopoulos, president of Pickering Developments.  “The City has a mandate from the residents of Pickering and we anticipate that this vote may create some impetus for the provincial OLG modernization program.”

The complex, set for Bayly and Church streets, is planned to feature a resort casino, hotel, indoor water park, an outdoor amphitheatre, state-of-the-art cinemas, world-class restaurants, nature trails, bike paths and a large array of other commercial uses.

Ward 1 Regional Councillor Jennifer O'Connell was the only member of council to oppose the bylaw.  First, she was concerned that a medical office was listed as a permitted principal use, which was the only use that was not tourist-related.  She was concerned if a casino specifically didn't go through, the area could become much like any other strip mall in Durham.  She put forward an amendment to have it put into secondary uses, however it was lost.

Ward 3 City Councillor Rick Johnson said a medical office was a great idea, as they are in demand.

Tom Melymuk, director of city development, said a medical office was included in the original application.

“We gave back to council what we believe council was asking us to do,” he said.

Coun. O'Connell was also concerned that the language in the bylaw wasn't strong enough in reflecting the residents' wishes that the casino be only part of a larger entertainment complex, not a stand-alone casino.

“There's no actual teeth that says construction has to start with both or one or the other,” she said.

Mr. Melymuk said he felt confident the bylaw couldn't be misconstrued.

“I am satisfied at this point that the bylaw language is sufficient for not having someone work around and interpret it as a stand-alone casino,” he said.

Mayor Dave Ryan said he's very comfortable with the report.

“I will not support and would not support a stand-alone casino,” he said.

The next development phase will entail confirming design aspects of the project, identifying and solidifying development user partners and waiting for the Province to make a choice on the casino location.

“We look forward to working closely with both the City, Region and Province as we move forward,” said Mr. Apostolopoulos.

Pickering passes zoning bylaw paving way for casino
Land could become home to an "integrated major tourist destination," which could include a casino.
January 22, 2015
Jacques Gallant
(thestar.com)
Casino Chips
ROBERT F.  BUKATY / ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO
Pickering is one tiny step closer to getting a casino, after city council passed a zoning bylaw on Monday allowing for an “integrated major tourist destination.”

Pickering is one tiny step closer to getting a casino, after city council passed a zoning bylaw on Monday allowing for an “integrated major tourist destination” at Church and Bayly Sts.

The motion passed 6-1, said Tom Melymuk, director of city development.  He said public notification will take place in the next few days, and interested parties will have 20 days to decide if they want to appeal council's decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

“The details are now in the bylaw, in terms of what is permitted, the definitions, the way the different uses need to interact for this tourist destination,” he told the Star this week.

Pickering Developments Inc.  was looking to rezone three parcels of land at Church and Bayly Sts.  for a $1.6-billion project named Durham Live that would include, but not be limited to, a casino.  Pickering City Council's planning and development committee voted 4-3 last September to endorse the developer's rezoning application after a debate that spanned two meetings.  Debate over the casino dominated the meetings.

The new zoning category of “major tourist destination” covers a wide variety of uses, including a hotel, a water park and a casino.

“The Durham Live folks will make the determination ultimately whether they will proceed or not; the zoning doesn't ensure development,” said Melymuk.

“The landowner determines whether they will develop or not.  Our expectations are, in this case, that the Durham Live group wants to establish a major tourist destination with a casino.  That's what they applied for.”

The provincial government's decision to establish four “gaming zones” in Ontario has led to lively debates across the GTA, with many municipalities, including Toronto, rejecting the idea of hosting a casino.  Pickering is one of the few that has expressed interest.

With files from Durhamregion.com

Pickering library stays relevant in changing world
Library users check out more than 1.2 million items in 2014
January 22, 2015
Kristen Calis
(durhamregion.com)
iPad and iPhone program
Pickering Library iPad and iPhone program
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
PICKERING -- Pickering Library's Doug Mirams spoke with Rajie and Sam Dasgupta at an Apple iPad and iPhone program at the library.  Services provided by the library are constantly evolving but the library but continues to stay with the mandate to continue a culture of learning.  This class is for beginners to the Apple iOS operating system.  January 19, 2015

DURHAM -- When Heather Cameron, a self-professed avid reader, set sail on a five-month cruise around the world last January, she took her library with her.

The 65-year-old technologically savvy Ajax resident relied on her tablet and a WiFi connection (wherever she could find it) to tap into a variety of services available through Durham's public libraries.

“I used it for downloading historical books, travel guides, music, I watched the news, all kinds of things -- but I did it through the library,” said Ms. Cameron, who's the proud owner of several library cards, including one from Ajax, Pickering, Whitby, Oshawa and Thunder Bay, as well as Aberdeen, Scotland, and Sydney, Australia.

She reads for about two hours each day and often has several different books on the go, picking them up at the library in person or online, usually at her two favourite sites -- Pickering and Whitby.

“I love historical romance, science fiction, and a good mystery but libraries are so much more than just books these days,” she said, adding she uses them as a credible research tool to look up practical skills like how to garden or fix the plumbing in her house.

Sometimes, she'll choose a few children's movies from the DVD selection to watch with her eight-year-old neighbour or spend some time chatting with staff about their favourite titles.  Her 92-year-old father, who's blind, also regularly borrows audiobooks from the library.

“I have to make a list before I go now of the things I want to get when I go to the library,” Ms. Cameron said with a laugh.

The Pickering Public Library continues to provide fiction and non-fiction print works, but also provides a variety of services to the community in order to stay relevant amidst changing times.

CEO Cathy Grant feels the original mandate of libraries, to facilitate lifelong learning, is still the same.

“It's because learning has changed so quickly.  I don't think it's ever happened so quickly in the history of human development,” she said.  “If we stuck with our original way, it wouldn't be of value to the community because that's now how they're learning.”

The library, which has one main branch and three smaller ones, also features DVDs and many other online resources including journal databases, e-books and courses that offer certificates when complete.  The library even has a 3-D printer and a drone.  It recently launched The Commons, which will bring in experts to discuss certain topics important to the community.  The library offers a number of programs for early learners, and people of all ages.  A recent event invited people to bring in an iPad or iPhone to learn all of its capabilities.

“Studies are showing that more and more people are relying on mobile devices not only to communicate but to get more information,” said Ms. Grant.

Library members checked out 1,270,000 items in 2014; of those, almost 180,000 were e-books.

Specifically, 727,000 were checked out of the central branch; 345,000 at Petticoat Creek; 11,400 at Claremont; and 7,000 at Greenwood.

After being on a continuous downward trend, the Whitevale branch shut down in early 2013.  Ms. Grant said Greenwood's numbers continue to decrease too.

“It's going to be an issue in the future for the board to look at,” she said.

Last year, Pickering council directed $4.7 million toward the library's operating budget and $785,000 went to the capital budget, which included a new roof at Petticoat.

“There are always budget constraints and there certainly have been for the last couple of years but (council does) see the value of the library as a significant community asset and have supported our library very well compared to other libraries in the province,” said Ms. Grant.

The Pickering library recently conducted an economic impact study and found for every $1 invested in the library, Pickering residents received $5.85 in value.

“So the return on investments is 485 per cent,” said Ms. Grant.

The study also found the value of a library membership is $730 per year.

Ms. Grant said in terms of circulation, the Pickering library is fourth in the province.  For programs, it is No.  2 and in terms of technology use, it's first.

In the past, most library users seemed to be of the middle-class variety, but Ms. Grant said it's now people of all walks of life.

“I've been working in libraries for 28 years and I have never seen libraries used as much as they are now,” she said.

HOW THIS IMPACTS YOU

  • An economic impact study by the Pickering Public Library found the value of a library membership is $730 per year
  • In 2014, Pickering council directed $4.7 million toward the library's operating budget and $785,000 to the capital budget
Jobs, taxes on the radar as new Durham Region council gets down to work
New team of regional politicians and Durham's first elected chairman sworn to office
Keith Gilligan
December 7, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Durham Region council swearing in
Durham Region council swearing in
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
WHITBY -- Members of regional council were sworn in during the inaugural meeting of Durham Region council after the October election.  December 3, 2014.

DURHAM -- The love-in is over and now the work begins for Durham Regional council.

Roger Anderson was sworn in as Regional chairman on Wednesday, Dec. 3, along with the 28 Regional councillors.

Mr. Anderson is the first elected chairman for Durham Region, as the top job had been filled for 40 years by an appointment by councillors at the inaugural meeting.  Mr. Anderson has been the Regional chairman since 1997.

“I think this will be a good council, a progressive council that gets results.  We have a clear mandate to move it forward,” Mr. Anderson said in his inaugural address.  “I'll truly appreciate working with all of you over the next four years.”

Having an elected chairman is “new for all of us.  It will create a new dynamic.  I won't be bringing pet projects and pushing them on council,” he added.

After being sworn in, Mr. Anderson sat down in his seat and wiggled, saying it “feels the same.”

Being the first elected Regional chairman is “a privilege to serve the citizens of Durham Region.  It's a tremendous responsibility and I take it seriously,” he noted.

He said returning councillors bring “continuity and experience,” while new members bring enthusiasm and new ideas.

He thanked all councillors who either didn't run again or lost in the election.  “Each of them deserve our appreciation for what they did.”

Council will be a team, he added.

“We'll debate issues respectfully.  Some time you may have to compromise.  We'll make decisions, stand behind them and move forward.”

Key issues Mr. Anderson ran on include advocating for a Pickering airport, extending Hwy.  407 east to Hwy.  35/115, council composition and studying the amalgamation of fire departments across Durham.

Studying the composition of council, both the size and how each municipality is represented, should be done early in the term so it will be ready for the 2018 municipal election, he noted.

“My No. 1 concern is jobs, no ifs, ands or buts.  Taxes are No. 2,” Mr. Anderson said, adding all candidates heard the same message while campaigning.  “That is my focus and I hope it is your focus.”

The Seaton development in north Pickering is “an unprecedented opportunity to create jobs,” he added.

As for a Pickering airport, when Pearson International reaches capacity in the 2020s, Pickering “should be ready to absorb the commercial and corporate” air traffic, he said.

Transit and transportation were other issues candidates heard at the door, Mr. Anderson said.

“You heard about speeding, but also about moving in and out of Durham Region,” he added.

On transit, he said, “Our residents need to easily reach their destination.”

The development approval process needs to be streamlined, he said.

“It's time to make things happen, not slow things down,” he said.

“We have to find ways to make things happen rather than look at obstacles.”

COUNCILLORS APPOINTED TO REGIONAL COMMITTEES

Planning and economic development committee

Chairwoman Gerri Lynn O'Connor (Uxbridge)

John Aker (Oshawa)

John Henry (Oshawa)

Don Mitchell (Whitby)

Steve Parish (Ajax)

Tom Rowett (Scugog)

Dave Ryan (Pickering)

Works

Chairman Nester Pidwerbecki (Oshawa)

Jack Ballinger (Uxbridge)

John Grant (Brock)

Colleen Jordan (Ajax)

Bill McLean (Pickering)

John Neal (Oshawa)

Willie Woo (Clarington)

Finance and Administration

Chairman Bob Chapman (Oshawa)

Shaun Collier (Ajax)

Nancy Diamond (Oshawa)

Bobbie Drew (Scugog)

Adrian Foster (Clarington)

Jennifer O'Connell (Pickering)

Elizabeth Roy (Whitby)

Health and Social Services

Chairman Lorne Coe (Whitby)

Dan Carter (Oshawa)

Joe Drumm (Whitby)

Amy England (Oshawa)

Joe Neal (Clarington)

David Pickles (Pickering)

Ted Smith (Brock)

Durham Regional Police Services Board

Roger Anderson

Bobbie Drew

Bill McLean

PRAISE FOR FAIRVIEW LODGE STAFF

Roger Anderson used part of his inaugural address to praise the staff at Fairview Lodge for efforts in getting all 192 residents out of the facility when a fire struck on Oct. 27.

The Dec. 3 inaugural meeting was the first such session since the blaze destroyed a wing of the Whitby lodge.

Fairview staff did a “remarkable job, an absolutely remarkable job,” Mr. Anderson said.

He also read a letter the Region received on Tuesday, Dec. 2.  The writer offered “sincere thanks” for the efforts.  “The safe evacuation is a testament to the efficiency and dedication of the staff.”

The letter was written by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mr. Anderson presented the letter to Laura MacDermaid, the director of long-term care and services for seniors.  He asked her to have the letter framed and hung at the new Fairview Lodge, which is set to open early next year.

David Pickles being sworn in as Regional Councillor
December 3, 2014
Councillor Pickles
David Pickles being sworn in as Regional Councillor 
Pickering needs job growth, expanded tax base: mayor
Councillors sworn in, share goals at inaugural meeting
Kristen Calis
December 2, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Dave Ryan Wins
Dave Ryan wins
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING -- Mayor Dave Ryan shared a laugh with a well wisher during his victory party at the Waterfront Bistro.  He won re-election with 68 per cent of the vote.  He's been mayor of Pickering since 2003.  October 27, 2014.

PICKERING -- The issues Mayor Dave Ryan heard while on the election campaign trail are the ones he plans to focus on in the coming term.

The Dec. 1 inaugural meeting at Pickering City Hall was both celebratory and procedural, as council members were sworn into office and addressed the areas they would like to focus on over the next four years.

Mayor Ryan, in his fourth straight term in the role, said he heard while door-knocking in the municipal election that people feel there is a need for more jobs for residents and expanding the City's tax base to curb property tax increases.

“While we've experienced a great deal of success over the past 11 years, I look forward to devoting more time, energy and resources to these two key areas,” he said.  

He has spoken with CAO Tony Prevedel to enhance economic development options in the upcoming budget.

“For example Seaton has a target of 30,000 new jobs to Pickering.  We have to do the work to (make that) a reality,” he said.

Mayor Ryan said the City plans to work with the Province, the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance and other stakeholders to ensure most of the jobs are high-skilled and well-paying.

The vision of the downtown has been approved and is being implemented, and the mayor said by 2030 the City centre will have 10,000 jobs, a combination of retail, office and professional services.  He said the City will also experience residential growth: 60,000 new residents to Seaton and 20,000 to the civic centre.

For this reason, he believes the City should consider realigning, and a new ward structure should be in place for 2022.

“There needs to be an equitable distribution of residents so each member of council can effectively and fairly do their job,” he said.

For Pickering to become “one of Ontario's elite cities” Mayor Ryan said that won't happen without a united vision and he has spoken to the councillors about this.

“I am encouraged that each of them has committed to working as a more unified and cohesive team and in turn I have made the same commitment,” he said.

Ward 3 City Councillor Rick Johnson, who has returned to council after being defeated in the 2010 municipal election, said he also wants to focus on bringing jobs to central Pickering, and taking care of seniors.

“We have to continue to work together in this term of office,” he said.

The only new face on council, Ward 2 City Councillor Ian Cumming, who defeated Doug Dickerson in the municipal election, said the members he has spoken to have seemed warm and he thinks “the spirit going forward is a good one.”

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan wants cohesive council
Mayor wins fourth-straight term, councillors Peter Rodrigues and Doug Dickerson are out
Kristen Calis
October 28, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Mayor Ryan
Dave Ryan wins
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING -- Mayor Dave Ryan shared a laugh with a well wisher during his victory party at the Waterfront Bistro.  He won re-election with 68 per cent of the vote.  He's been mayor of Pickering since 2003.  October 27, 2014.

PICKERING -- Dave Ryan is once again mayor of Pickering, and hopes for a united council in order to move forward on some important issues.

Mayor Ryan won by a larger margin than in 2010, with 64 per cent of eligible voters choosing him, compared to 51 per cent in the previous election.  This is despite what he calls “one of the nastiest campaigns we've seen in this municipality.”

But he felt the large number of votes in his favour indicated that Pickering residents want to see a united council.  In the previous term, he'd often find himself the deciding factor on three-to-three votes.

“I'm looking forward to a very productive term,” he says.  “There's no question the City has an awful lot of opportunity if we can be courageous and cohesive enough to step up.  And I look forward to taking it on.”

He feels it's fair for council to debate important items that need improvement, but members need to focus on the issues rather than creating them to make headlines or to self-promote.

“We have to work cohesively as a strong team that promotes the City,” he says.

The council will look a little different in this upcoming term.  Ward 1 Regional Councillor Jennifer O'Connell and Ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean remain.  David Pickles has moved from Ward 3 City councillor to Ward 3 Regional councillor, replacing outgoing councillor Peter Rodrigues.  In Coun. Pickles' former seat will be Rick Johnson, a former councillor who lost his regional seat in 2010.

Ian Cumming will replace outgoing longtime Ward 2 City Councillor Doug Dickerson.

Mayor Ryan said he wasn't too surprised by the results, but he'd like to acknowledge the efforts of everyone on council last term.

And he spoke with council members, some of whom he says agreed it's time to move forward.

“The first priority has to be jobs,” he says.  “We need to expand our economic base here in the city, our industry and community base, support our existing residents but also the next residents coming in.”

He says politicians do not create jobs, but they create an atmosphere that can attract businesses and jobs to the city, something that's necessary as Pickering will grow in the coming years.

He also wants to see an improved transportation system between Durham Region and particularly the City of Toronto, which he is hopeful can be achieved with the election of Toronto mayor-elect John Tory, someone he has a good working relationship with.

“I'm very pleased John Tory is going to be the new mayor there,” he said.

He found that over the last couple of terms, Toronto became more of a stand-alone city state.  In the future, he hopes Mayor Tory will help create a more cohesive GTA.

Mayor Ryan hopes to see a new hospital campus in Pickering and is excited to see Pickering's downtown to move forward.

“We're starting to build a social infrastructure that's important to creating a city centre,” he says.

Diwali celebration
Councillor Pickles was pleased to join in the Diwali celebration
October 18, 2014
Diwali Celebration 1
 
Diwali Celebration 2
Councillor Pickles was pleased join in the Diwali celebration 
A nice problem in Pickering: how to spend $300,000
Further enhancement of Frenchman's Bay area the way to go
October 2, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

Pickering should spend the unused money from the Pickering harbour project to highlight the harbour's past and for future projects in the area.

Pickering councillors and residents recently heard good news, namely that the Frenchman's Bay harbour entrance project will likely be completed on time and come in roughly $300,000 under budget.

A $9-million undertaking, the cost split between Pickering, the Province and the federal government, it will see new concrete walkways, two new breakwaters and a wider, safer harbour entrance for boaters.

As we have noted, that the Toronto Region Conservation Authority is using massive white pine timbers originally employed to build the harbour's breakwaters is an excellent touch, a wonderful merging of past and present.  The wood will be used in the post-and-rope railing along the pathway on the east spit.

Now the question has come to Pickering council -- what to do with the leftover cash?

There is talk of creating a replica lighthouse at the foot of Liverpool Road and of using the money to offset some of the costs of projects in the Frenchman's Bay master plan.

We favour the latter but not the former.  While a lighthouse would further pay tribute to the harbour's past, we think it's a bit grandiose and not the best use for the money.  Instead, as we have suggested, the City and TRCA should erect a historical marker of some kind, even a large gazebo, ideally using some of the white pine.  It would tell visitors of the harbour's former life as a busy industrial port.  Historical photos could be used.

It could also highlight the Pickering of today, perhaps in some innovative, interactive way.  Imagine someone docking in Frenchman's Bay for the first time and what they want to know and do.  What is there to see and where is it? Where can I get lunch or dinner? Those are questions they will have.

The harbour reconstruction and other planned projects in the area are important for Pickering's future, further enhancing this dynamic area.  A better harbour entrance will attract more boaters from Toronto and other areas.  Regardless of why they come, we want them to like what they see, tell their friends about it and come back.

Pickering has only one harbour and the area should be people friendly and educational given its past.

Pickering Developments president says Durham Live could cut taxes
Steve Apostolopoulos wants to move company headquarters to project site
Jillian Follert
September 26, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- On Sept. 15 Pickering council endorsed an application to re-zone three pieces of land in the Bayly and Church Streets area.

Pickering Developments is planning to build a tourist development called Durham Live on the site.

The proposal has sparked intense discussion in recent months -- especially because a casino is one of about 40 uses that will be permitted under the new “major tourist destination” zoning.

There has been no shortage of commentary from politicians, experts and dozens of residents who came out to speak their mind over the course of several meetings -- including a packed Sept. 2 committee meeting that had to be cut off when it hit the City's 1 a.m. curfew.  Pickering Developments president Steve Apostolopoulos recently added his voice to the mix in an exclusive interview with the Pickering News Advertiser.

  • On the fact that debate about Durham Live has largely focused on the casino issue:

    “It takes the excitement out of what we're proposing to do there ... it's an entertainment district tourist destination.  Obviously people are interested in the casino and that is a huge economic boon for the community.  We know it's not just about a casino.  We're trying to create an environment that is going to be definitely something that people want to take their kids to.”

  • On the feedback he's been getting from Pickering residents:

    “When we invest in an area we like to go around to the local bars and local shops and local restaurants and really get a feel for where we're going to invest, or potentially invest.  And we saw that there's a positive feel for it.  People in the community ...  have seen what's happened in Ajax.  They've seen what good comes out of what they've been doing out in Ajax.  Our development will be much more appealing to the vast majority of residents.  While one person may not like the casino, someone else may like the water park or vice versa.  That's why we've picked those uses, to not just cater to one demographic.  We're trying to cater to the whole region really.”

  • On how the Durham Live project would be different from Ajax Downs:

    “It's just basically a casino and a field.  That is something we don't want.  We want to create something that's going to be for families and for different wide demographics.  We have a real opportunity to create something now that people will love to go to, and I'll love to go to, taking my own kids there.”

  • On his background and his family business:

    “I wish it was just one guy here running the show, but it's not.  It's a family business.  It's me, my two brothers, father and a large team that we have.  We are in many different businesses.  Our business background spans predominately real estate.  Then we have, over the years, kind of spread our tentacles out ...  we own a sports and entertainment business -- a team and some venues and things like that -- we are in the hospitality business now, we are also in the media business, and we are in private equity and investments.  Although I'd love to say I did all the work myself, I didn't.”

  • On how that background makes him a good fit for this project:

    “We've done similar developments, not tourism related.  Our main business was always re-developing ...  For instance, we would buy an old run-down business park, let's say.  And then we would start bringing businesses to that area.  We would redevelop the blighted buildings in the area and then we would fill them up with tenants and help the different communities grow.  Sort of like what we're doing right now in Detroit.  We bought an older building, it wasn't very active and we've brought up the leasing activity in the building, from I believe it was about 20 per cent, now we're almost 50 per cent.”

  • On how the Pickering project could cut property taxes:

    “Through our studies we realized that this development, at full build-out, would generate approximately 30 to 40 per cent of the current tax revenue that is collected in the City of Pickering.  Just by this development alone we would equate for about 30 per cent of the current tax base.  Something of this size would definitely help keep taxes low.  I'm not a politician, but I would say potentially even lower taxes.  With an influx of that extra revenue coming in it would be a tremendous help to keep taxes low.”

  • On the fact that's he's eager to get started:

    “There was some talk in council that this project would be a 10- or 15-year project.  We anticipate, as soon as the process is through, we'd like to break ground right away.  I know that our office has committed to moving our headquarters to Pickering, to the site.  We would be the first tenants in the office tower.”
Pickering councillor back to court in November on sign charges
City says clerk has authority to add 'addendum' to election sign procedures
Jillian Follert
September 25, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- A Pickering councillor charged with 16 counts of violating the City's sign bylaw made his first court appearance this week.

Ward 3 Regional Councillor Peter Rodrigues was in a Whitby courtroom on Sept. 23, where a judge said he would be given two months to go over the City of Pickering's evidence against him and retain a lawyer.

He is due back in court on Nov. 25.

In the meantime, Coun. Rodrigues says he will continue to drive his vehicle, which has sparked major controversy in Pickering over the past few weeks.

“If I haven't committed an offence, there is no need to stop,” he said outside the courtroom, adding that he is “not admitting guilt” with respect to any of the charges against him.

“It will be up to (the City) to make a case against me.  There is no case.”

The debate centres on Coun. Rodrigues' bright yellow van, which is wrapped with a large photo of him as well as his councillor website information.

City officials have determined that the vehicle is not an illegal election sign -- it doesn't include words such as “vote” or “elect” -- but City Clerk Debbie Shields has asked him to “cease” using it for campaign purposes.

“He has this big yellow van with his picture and the fact that he is a regional councillor,” she says.  “Now he's taking it out and parking it on the street while campaigning.  That's an unfair advantage over every other candidate, because they can't promote themselves in that way.”

Coun. Rodrigues has said he won't comply with the clerk's request, because it's not backed by formal City policy.

“There is nothing in any City rules that says I can't drive a vehicle with my picture on it, or with my name on it.  They are making things up as they go along,” he said.

The City has now stepped up its game, slapping Coun. Rodrigues with 16 charges under Pickering's sign bylaw.

The charges don't relate to election signs -- just signs in general.

The charges fall under two sections of the bylaw.

The first prohibits any sign from being erected on public property without City approval, while the second section prohibits anyone from erecting any sign with “promotional or advertising content” on a vehicle or trailer that is “parked or located for the primary purpose of sign display.”

City solicitor Paul Bigioni wouldn't discuss the specific evidence in the case against Coun. Rodrigues, but noted that a “pattern of behaviour over time” is how the City determines a parked vehicle is being used for promotional purposes.

“When a furniture van with a company name whizzes past our office on the way to make a delivery, that is not a concern.  If that same van with a logo is parked every day for several hours at the curb here, obviously for promotional purposes, then the sign bylaw is engaged,” he explained.  “You have to take the general provisions of the sign bylaw and apply them to the specific facts.”

Also stirring controversy is that fact that the City clerk recently issued an “addendum” to the election sign procedures provided to candidates.

The original wording did not make any reference to signage on vehicles -- it simply defined election signs as those that promote the election of a candidate and said examples could include T-shirts, buttons and pens.

The wording has since been changed to include the phrase “including on a vehicle” and features a new line that reads “vehicles with election signage affixed to them cannot be parked on City streets, at City facilities and cannot be used for campaign purposes.”

Mr. Bigioni said candidates have been “pushing the limits” of the City's sign restrictions and the clerk has the authority to make procedures at any point in the campaign.

“Under the (Municipal Elections) Act the clerk is empowered to establish procedures for conduct of an election,” he said.  “In the course of discharging that responsibility she has determined that this was necessary.”

The election sign section of the City's bylaw does not make specific reference to vehicles.

It isn't clear what kind of penalty Coun. Rodrigues might face if found guilty.

The maximum fine under the Provincial Offences Act is $5,000 per conviction -- however Mr. Bigioni said that type of punishment would be “virtually impossible” for a first offence.

Mirabel airport demolition to go ahead
Montreal airport authority is going ahead with plans to demolish Mirabel's passenger terminal, which has had no passenger flights since 2004.
Julien Arsenault
September 17.2014
(thestar.com)
Mirabel
Mirabel airport's deserted passenger terminal is pictured Wednesday, September 17, 2014 in Mirabel, Que..  Despite efforts to save Mirabel airport, the Montreal airport authority is going ahead with plans to demolish the facility, which has had no passenger flights since 2004.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL-Despite efforts to save Mirabel airport's passenger terminal, the Montreal airport authority is going ahead with plans to demolish the facility, which has had no passenger flights since 2004.

On Tuesday, James Cherry, president and CEO of Aeroports de Montreal, announced that a demolition company has been chosen to tear down the structure after a call for tenders was launched last May.

Cherry did not disclose the name of the firm but the announcement effectively shuts the door on a proposal to turn the terminal into a convention centre.

He also stressed that aircraft will continue to make use of Mirabel's facilities.

“The airport's vocation is continuing,” Cherry pointed out to reporters.  “There's still two runways there, they're still going to operate, there's still cargo that's taking off every day, there's airplanes being built there, engines being tested there.”

“Were talking about one building on the site that used to house passenger activities that we haven't used - it's been empty for 10 years.”

Mirabel Mayor Jean Bouchard had asked that the demolition be delayed by three months but he admitted Tuesday that the Montreal-Mirabel Corporation, a non-profit group set up to save the airport, had not collected the $30 million that was needed.

The Mirabel mayor and former Quebec premier Bernard Landry are members of the corporation.

Bouchard also criticized Denis Lebel, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Quebec's lieutenant, accusing him of refusing to disclose Ottawa's position on the airport's future.

Mirabel, which often has been described as a white elephant, is owned by the federal government, but is leased to Aeroports de Montreal.

One proposal would have been to have the airport play host to an international aeronautics show, similar to the one held annually in Europe.

Mirabel was billed as the airport of the future when it first opened in 1975.  Officials predicted at the time that 60 million passengers would pass through its gates annually by 2010, but yearly passenger traffic never surpassed three million.

New infrastructures, which were to include a high-speed rail link and a highway linking Montreal directly to the airport, were never completed.

The federal government expropriated more than 324 square kilometres of prime farmland, but only used 16 square kilometres for the airport.  A total of 10,000 people were also forced from their homes.

Aircraft manufacturing giant Bombardier still has a huge plant and a testing centre near the sprawling airport complex, 40 kilometres north of Montreal.

Mirabel Airport to be Demolished
September 17, 2014

“I have not checked yet but I bet someone noted that the Montreal airport authority decision to demolish the Mirabel airport passenger terminal built in 1975 but closed in 2004. When opened it was predicted to serve 60 million passengers annually but never surpassed 3 million!” - David Pickles

Pickering municipal election FAQs
Fast facts for voters
September 19, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
  • Who can vote?
    To vote in the Oct. 27 municipal election you must be 18 and live in Pickering or be an owner or tenant in the city, or the spouse of an owner or tenant.  You must also be a Canadian citizen.

  • How do I check to see if my name is on the voters' list?
    As of Sept. 2 the City of Pickering has the voters' list available for public inspection at Pickering City Hall and the four branches of the Pickering Public Library.

  • What if my name isn't on the list?
    If your name is missing from the list or appears incorrectly, you need to file an application for revision between Sept. 2 and Oct. 27.  You can fill out an application at Pickering City Hall weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. You can also file an application on voting day at your polling station.

  • What kind of ID do I need to take to the polling station?
    When you show up to cast a ballot you will be required to show one piece of identification that includes your name and qualifying address.  There is a long list of acceptable ID.  Examples include an Ontario driver's licence or health card, a cancelled personal cheque, a mortgage statement, lease or rental agreement, a property tax assessment or a statement of Canada Pension Plan benefits.  The other option is to complete a “declaration of identity” that affirms your identity and your right to vote at that location.

  • Where can I vote in advance?
    The City of Pickering is offering advance voting at City Hall on four dates -- Oct. 15, 16 and 17 from 3 to 8 p.m. and Oct. 18 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The City also offers special advance voting locations at several retirement homes.

  • What referendum questions will appear on the ballot?
    Pickering residents will find two referendum questions on their 2014 ballot.  The first will read “Are you in favour of a gaming facility (casino) in the City of Pickering as part of a Hotel, Convention Centre, Entertainment Complex in a non-residential area?”

    The second question will read “”Are you in favour of the Council of the City of Pickering passing a resolution requesting that the Council of the Region of Durham take the necessary steps to reduce the size of Regional Council by distributing the seats based on the population of each municipality?“
Pickering council approves Durham Live re-zoning: What happens next?
Implementing zoning bylaw not expected until December at the earliest
Jillian Follert
September 17, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Dayna Gilbert and Katarzyna Sliwa
Durham Live Development
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
PICKERING -- Dayna Gilbert, urban planner, and Katarzyna Sliwa, both representing Durham Live, spoke at Pickering Council.  The city's planning and development committee is considering a new staff report that recommends endorsing a re-zoning application for the proposed Durham Live development, which could include a casino.  September 2, 2014

PICKERING -- Pickering council has given the green light for the Durham Live proposal to move forward.

On Sept. 15 council voted 4-3 to endorse an application to re-zone three pieces of land in the Bayly and Church Streets area, to build a huge tourist destination.

“We are very pleased that council has put their support behind Durham Live,” said Steve Apostolopoulos, president of Pickering Developments.  “We can now move to the next stages of the planning process for this exciting tourist destination.  This project has tremendous potential for the City of Pickering and the Durham Region.”

So, what happens next?

Catherine Rose, the City's chief planner, says this is the beginning of what will be a long process.

“People don't realize how much work there is in the background,” she says, noting it's not unusual for major development projects to take five years to get off the ground.

The next step is for City staff to complete an “implementing zoning bylaw” and take it back to council for approval.

The earliest that will happen is Dec. 15, when the new council meets after the municipal election.

“This is a very unique and complex zoning bylaw, it's not cookie cutter,” Ms. Rose said.

The implementing zoning bylaw will include recommendations on things such as density, height, scale and timelines for the development.

If council approves that bylaw, the next step is for the applicant to start working on the necessary environmental reports and development agreements to move the project forward.

From there Pickering Developments can go to council and ask to have holding provisions lifted, which paves the way for site plan approval and building permits.

The lands will be zoned under a new category called “major tourist destination,” which will allow for about 40 uses including hotels, offices, a water park, film studio -- and most controversially -- a casino.

Debate about the merits of a casino in Pickering has been the main focus since the first meeting on the Durham Live proposal back in April.

Concerned residents on both sides of the issue packed council chambers for back-to-back committee meetings Sept. 2 and 8 -- the first of which ran until 1 a.m. and finally had to be cut off when council reached its curfew.

A handful of speakers made an eleventh-hour effort to change council's position at the Sept. 15 meeting, including Sue Quackenbush, who urged council to use “common sense” and do more due diligence before deciding.

“When something is established, settled and working, it makes no sense to mess with it,” she said.  “What is the rush to make this really important decision now?”

Chief Kelly LaRocca of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation was disappointed after the vote, saying the Durham Live development stands to hurt Great Blue Heron Casino.

“You can't create more gaming customers, this is just going to shift and move them and rob some facilities to feed others,” she said.

A City report says the application represents good planning and that Durham Live could provide “significant positive financial and economic benefits to the City in terms of jobs, tax assessment and other potential revenues to the City.”

An economic impact assessment submitted by the developer estimates the project could create 7,500 to 12,000 direct jobs and generate annual municipal taxes of about $50 million.

The Sept. 15 meeting was Pickering's council's last scheduled meeting before the Oct. 27 municipal election.

Pickering councillor Peter Rodrigues's van continues to drive controversy
City clerk tells councillor to 'cease' using vehicle for campaign purposes
Jillian Follert
September 13, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- A Pickering councillor seeking re-election says he won't stop driving a van with his photo and website address on it -- even though the City clerk has told him it shouldn't be used for campaign purposes.

The City recently confirmed the bright yellow van belonging to Ward 3 Regional Councillor Peter Rodrigues is not an illegal election sign as some critics have suggested.

But the vehicle is still causing controversy -- City Clerk Debbie Shields has asked Coun. Rodrigues to “cease using the wrapped vehicle for election campaign purposes” such as door-knocking.

“I regard such use as an unfair advantage over other candidates,” Ms. Shields says.  “Prior to the election campaign, the councillor used his wrapped vehicle in the course of his normal activities as a councillor.”

The Municipal Elections Act doesn't address graphics on vehicles or the use of wrapped vehicles for election purposes -- neither do any City bylaws or policies.

However, the Act does task municipal clerks with ensuring elections are fair and orderly.

Ms. Shields says that is why she asked Coun. Rodrigues to stop using the van to campaign.

There is no mechanism for this kind of request from a clerk to be enforced.

“It is up to each and every candidate to respect the directions provided by the City clerk,” Ms. Shields said.

Coun. Rodrigues said he does not agree with the clerk's judgement and called the situation “stupid, confusing and pointless.

“Rules are rules, and no rules are no rules,” he said.  “There is no specific rule on this.  The clerk is making her own rules ...  it's all subject to personal opinions.”

Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles is looking to oust Coun. Rodrigues from his seat in the Oct. 27 election and has been a vocal critic of his opponent's campaign tactics.

“Most resources can't be used for council purposes and campaign purposes, it has to be used for one or another, not both,” Coun. Pickles said.  “Just because procedures and policies don't have a lot of teeth doesn't mean it's OK.”

Coun. Rodrigues says he doesn't plan to stop driving the van when he goes door-knocking or does other campaign activities.

He characterized Coun. Pickles as a “complainer” and said debate about his vehicle is distracting from more important issues, such as property tax increases.

“As far as I'm concerned, I'm in the right.  I disagree with (the clerk's) judgement,” he said.

Both councillors say the next council should look at putting rules on the books, so there is more clarity on the issue.

Coun. Pickles and Coun. Rodrigues are the only candidates vying for the Ward 3 Regional Councillor seat.

Forty-one people on municipal election ballot in Pickering
Voters will have plenty to choose from
September 12, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The dance cards are now set in Pickering for the Oct. 27 municipal election.

Three candidates are vying for the mayor's seat (candidates are listed alphabetically) -- Edoh Apaloo, Maurice Brenner and Dave Ryan.

Running for the Ward 1 Regional council position are Jennifer O'Connell, Myrna Picotte, Enrico Pistritto, Shawn Sandrasagara and Nick Tsetsakos.

Keith Falconer and Bill McLean are challenging for the Ward 2 Regional council seat.

The Ward 3 Regional council race will see David Pickles and Peter Rodrigues facing off.

For the Ward 1 City councillor position, there are four candidates -- Kevin Ashe, Deborah Bissett, Lisa Robinson and Peter Tijiri.

Ian Cumming, Doug Dickerson, Cody Morrison and Koober Nuckchedee are running for the Ward 2 City council seat.

Shaheen Butt, Ken Nash, Rick Johnson and Nick Nikopoulos are in the race for the Ward 3 City councillor post.

Corey Besso, Chris Braney, Paul Crawford and Michelle Francis-Cleary are running for one of two Durham District School Board trustee positions.

Jim McCafferty and Joe Przybylo are vying for a Durham Catholic District School Board trustee seat.

For the first time, the position of Durham Regional chairman will be selected by voters and those seeking the position are Roger Anderson, Arthur Augustine, Michael Deegan, Paul Neal, Lynn Porteous and Barbara Pulst.

Roger Brideau, Chanel Tarala-Chahine and Olga Lambert are seeking the trustee position with the Conseil scolare de district catholique Centre-Sud (French Catholic school board), while Sylvie A.  Landry and Claude K.  Mbuyi are running for the trustee position with the Conseil scolaire Viamonde (French public school board).

Pickering councillor Peter Rodrigues's van is not an election sign: City
Councillor also facing scrutiny for holding campaign kick-off at City facility
Jillian Follert
September 10, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Does a vehicle count as an election sign?

That was the question debated at Pickering City Hall this week, after residents complained that a van driven by Ward 3 Regional Councillor Peter Rodrigues may be breaking election campaign rules.

In a letter to the City clerk, concerned residents take issue with the councillor's bright yellow van, which has his photo and councillor website information splashed across the side.

Also taking issue with the van is Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles, who is running against Coun. Rodrigues in the Oct. 27 municipal election.

“I'm trying to play according to the rules.  If the other person isn't playing by the rules and has a competitive advantage over me, it's not fair,” said Coun. Pickles.

The City of Pickering's sign bylaw states that election signs cannot go up until 25 days before the election, which this year is Oct. 3.

But, City Solicitor Paul Bigioni said in this case, the van is above board.

“A vehicle could be an election sign, it all depends what is said on the wrap or graphic image,” he said.  “In the situation at hand, we have decided it is not an election sign.  There is nothing about 'election' or 're-election' written there.”

Coun. Rodrigues is frustrated by the allegation, calling it “baseless and groundless.”

He took aim at Coun. Pickles, saying his opponent is raising “petty” issues to garner publicity.

“The thing people in Pickering care about is property taxes, they don't care about the vehicle,” he said.  “(Coun. Pickles) is trying to change the channel from what he's been doing on council.  He's just worried about his consistent views to raise property taxes.”

The Municipal Elections Act does not regulate election signs -- that falls to local municipalities.

Pickering's bylaw defines an election sign as a sign “promoting” a candidate in an election campaign.

The rules don't apply to wall signs associated with a candidate's campaign headquarters, but the definition does apply to “election pens, buttons, hats, T-shirts, etc.”

There is no specific mention of vehicles in the bylaw.

It's not the first time the issue has caused confusion in Durham.

In 2010 concerns were raised in Oshawa when council candidate Shane Kelly -- who is also running this year -- drove a car with a window graphic reading “Shane Kelly for Oshawa city council.” The word “elect” was covered by masking tape.

Mr. Kelly had sought a legal opinion before putting the graphic on his car and was told it didn't breach the bylaw, as long as the word “elect” was covered.

However, Oshawa City staff said at the time that signs on vehicles must follow the same rules as more conventional signs.

Several other candidates are currently driving vehicles adorned with their names or photos, including Oshawa Mayor John Henry and Oshawa Regional councillors Tito-Dante Marimpietri and Amy England.

Coun. Rodrigues is also facing scrutiny for choosing to host his recent campaign kick-off event on City property, at the Pickering Recreation Complex.

However, he stressed that he “paid out of pocket” to rent space at the facility.

City Clerk Debbie Shields says there is no bylaw that speaks to the use of City facilities for campaigns, but Pickering does have a “clerk's procedure” that prohibits candidates from using a municipal facility for any election-related purpose.

“The Clerk can create procedures for things that are not included or need further clarification within the Municipal Act but, unfortunately the Province gives us no powers to actually enforce those procedures,” Ms. Shields said in an e-mail.

She said this clerk's procedure was created to level the playing field.

“As a (election campaign) contribution may take the form of money, goods or services the City took the position of not allowing candidates to use facilities at all,” she added.

Coun. Rodrigues said the fact that he paid to use the space means he didn't take advantage of his political position, calling the concerns “much ado about nothing.”

Pickering casino project takes a step forward
Council to vote on Durham Live re-zoning Sept. 15
Jillian Follert
September 10, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Dayna Gilbert and Katarzyna Sliwa
Durham Live Development
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
PICKERING -- Dayna Gilbert, urban planner, and Katarzyna Sliwa, both representing Durham Live, spoke at Pickering Council.  The city's planning and development committee is considering a new staff report that recommends endorsing a re-zoning application for the proposed Durham Live development, which could include a casino.  September 2, 2014

PICKERING -- Plans for a massive tourist destination in Pickering took a step forward Monday night.

After an exhausting debate that spanned two meetings, council's planning and development committee voted 4-3 on Sept. 8 to endorse a re-zoning application from Pickering Developments Inc.

“I think we made the right decision,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.  “We had a positive staff report that says this is a project that will be beneficial for the City of Pickering.”

The developer is looking to re-zone three pieces of land near Bayly and Church streets to pave the way for a $1.6-billion project dubbed Durham Live.

Since there is no zoning category that allows for all the proposed uses, the plan is to create a site-specific category called “major tourist destination.”

If approved, the new category would include a list of about 40 permitted uses including hotels, offices, a water park, film studio and -- most controversially -- a casino.

Despite the developer's insistence that a casino is only part of the proposal, debate about a gaming facility has dominated the Durham Live discussion.

More than 100 people came out to the Sept. 2 planning and development committee meeting for a marathon discussion that was finally forced to wrap up at 1 a.m. when council hit its curfew.

“It was ridiculous,” said resident Bev Coats, who attended both meetings, and was shocked at how long they dragged on.  “(The councillors) are pretty much holding you hostage while they say all the things they want to say.”

Resident Kasim Seif said he had to work at 7 a.m. the morning after the Sept. 2 meeting, but stayed until 1 a.m. in hopes that a decision would be made.

“To go home after all that time without even a vote ...  it's very frustrating,” he said.

Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles accused the three regional councillors of trying to “run out the clock” to delay a decision.

“It appeared that (the regional councillors) were trying to drive this $1.5-billion investment and the potential 15,000 jobs and yearly $50-million revenue out of Pickering,” he said.

Regional Councillor Peter Rodrigues, who chaired the meeting both nights, said letting people talk is part of the democratic process.

“People are trying to express themselves ...  it's not grandstanding.  People should have the opportunity to say what they want, that's the democratic process.”

Mayor Ryan didn't see it that way.

He said it was “blatant” that questions from council to the delegations “became more of a cross examination to allow a councillor to put forward their argument, as opposed to seeking clarification.”# The mayor said the seven registered delegations on the list for the Sept. 2 meeting should have take 70 minutes -- about 10 minutes each -- as opposed to more than three hours.

City Hall was crowded once again when the debate resumed on Sept. 8.

Several residents spoke up for and against the project.

Barbara Pulst asked for more studies, noting there is no information on the impact the Durham Live development would have on police services and social services.

She also expressed concern that council and committee will be voting on the re-zoning application before voters have their say with an Oct. 27 ballot question on a casino.

“This referendum and our vote as citizens and residents of Pickering means nothing,” she noted.

Resident Susan Elbertsen told committee she has lived in Pickering since 1977 and has seen change -- but not enough.

“I would like to see a little more progress in the city of Pickering,” she said, noting that her son recently left the province to find work, and saying the Durham Live development could create much-needed local jobs.

Politicians also had plenty to say.

Regional Councillor Bill McLean questioned why the debate was being “run through” at the last council meeting of the term.

“Why not put this forward until after election?” he asked.

Tom Melymuk, Pickering's director of city development, said staff has an “obligation” to bring planning applications forward when they are ready.

Regional Councillor Jennifer O'Connell called for studies on how a casino might impact rates of crime and homelessness.

She takes issue with a section of the City report that says the “social impacts of a gaming facility are the responsibility of the provincial government.”# “It's not only a provincial issue because we are going to have to live with it and deal with it every day,” she said.  “Housing is just one example of where it's not a provincial responsibility, it's a municipal responsibility ...  and we have no data on that.”

Dayna Gilbert, an urban planner speaking on behalf of the developer, repeatedly reminded council members that they were debating a planning application, not the merits of a casino.

“Nothing tonight makes an ultimate decision on a casino, it's just one permitted use,” she said, adding that Durham Live would go ahead with or without a gaming facility -- just at a different size and density.

Ms. Gilbert said the time to discuss detailed uses would be later in the process, when a site plan comes forward, along with more documentation and studies.

The City report says the application represents good planning and that Durham Live could provide “significant positive financial and economic benefits to the City in terms of jobs, tax assessment and other potential revenues to the City.”

An economic impact assessment submitted by the developer estimates the project could create 7,500 to 12,000 direct jobs and generate annual municipal taxes of about $50 million.

Council will vote on the Durham Live issue on Sept. 15, its last scheduled meeting of this term.

Baskin Robbins' Fundraiser for Sick Kids Hospital
September 6, 2014

Coucillor Pickles, along with MPP Tracy MacCharles,
help kick off Baskin Robbins' Fundraiser for Sick Kids Hospital.

BR Fundraiser 1
 
BR Fundraiser 2
 
BR Fundraiser 3
 
Massive Pickering tourism site should move ahead: report
Durham Live project on Bayly Street could include casino
Jillian Follert
September 3, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- A new City report recommends moving forward with plans for a massive tourist destination in Pickering.

The item was slated for discussion at Pickering council's planning and development committee meeting on Sept. 2.

City development staff recommends that a re-zoning application from Durham Live be endorsed, saying the proposal falls in line with Provincial policy, supports tourism and economic development in Pickering and “represents good planning.”

The City has received an application from Pickering Developments Inc.  to re-zone three pieces of land near Bayly and Church streets for a large tourism development.

Preliminary plans for the $1.6-billion Durham Live development include a long list of possible amenities -- from upscale hotels and a water park, to a film studio and casino.

The plan is for the development to take shape over a 15- to 20-year timeframe.

“The subject property is appropriately located and of sufficient size to facilitate the development of a major tourist destination that would be of significant benefit to the City and the Region,” the report notes.  “Moreover, the proposed development readily allows for a broad and unique range of employment uses that could not easily (if at all) be located elsewhere in the City.”

City staff is recommending that an “implementing zoning bylaw” be forwarded to council for consideration.

That would include implementing a “Major Tourist Destination” land use zone on the phase 1 portion of the site.

The report also recommends that council direct City staff to bring forward a report on the phase 2 lands at a later date.

Pickering firefighter wins silver in grueling Firefit competition
Muriel Omnes heading to national championships in September
Jillian Follert
September 3, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Firefighter Muriel Omnes
Firefighter wins silver
Photo by Peter Redman
PICKERING -- Firefighter Muriel Omnes recently won a silver medal at the eastern Ontario regional finals of the Scott FireFit championships, a national competition based on firefighting tasks commonly performed in emergency operations.  She has been a firefighter for three years and currently works out of Pickering Fire Station #2 on Kingston Road.  September 1, 2014.

PICKERING -- As a female firefighter, Muriel Omnes is all too aware of the perception that women aren't up to some of the tough physical challenges associated with the job.

All the more reason to feel triumphant when she recently brought home a silver medal from the Eastern Ontario regional finals of the Scott FireFit Championships.

“This lets me prove to myself and to others that women can do these tasks, that we are very capable,” she says, noting the demanding course is set up the same way for male and female competitors.

The competition is based on firefighting tasks commonly performed in emergency situations.

This is the first year Pickering Fire Services has participated.  Ms. Omnes and fellow firefighters Jordan Manganaro, Mike Doherty and Darius Kharazmi competed as a team and individually at the Aug. 23 event in Ottawa.

Ms. Omnes, 34, scored a silver medal by finishing the individual FireFit Race with a time of two minutes and 58 seconds, beating more than a dozen other women.

“I've always liked to challenge myself physically,” she says.  “You want to know that if you're given a task, that you're able to do it under stress.  Being able to do this makes me feel prepared for my job.”

The grueling five-stage course is completed while wearing full fire gear.

It includes carrying 42 pounds of fire hose up six flights of stairs, pulling a hoseline 75 feet and hitting a target with a stream of water and dragging a 165-pound mannequin backwards a distance of 100 feet.

Ms. Omnes prepared for the competition with strength training and by simulating some of the events.

“I would drag a dummy around or pull a weighted sled,” she says, noting Toronto Fire Services helped by offering up use of its tower.

Now she and her teammates are gearing up to compete at the Firefit Canadian National Championships on Sept. 13 and 14 in Longueuil, Quebec.

Ms. Omnes has been with Pickering Fire Services for three years, says she loves the job.

“I really like the idea of helping people and I enjoy the physical element of it,” she says.  “I also love being a jack-of-all-trades.  Firefighting is only one slice of it.  We go to medical calls, we do work in the community...it's an amazing job.”

Ontario threatens to scuttle Rouge National Urban Park over environmental concerns
The provincial government is threatening to scuttle the Rouge National Urban Park over concerns that Ottawa is not doing enough to protect the sensitive land.
Robert Benzie Queen's Park Bureau Chief
September 3, 2014
(thestar.com)
Liz Brouwer paddling down the Rouge River
Liz Brouwer, an educator with the Wildlands League, paddles a canoe down the Rouge River, which passes below Hwy.  401.  Conservationists have long expressed unease over whether the wildlife, watershed and forests in Rouge National Urban Park would be protected under federal jurisdiction and now the Star has learned that the province is threatening to scrap its scheduled land transfer over concerns Ottawa won't do enough to protect the park.

The Ontario government is threatening to scuttle the Rouge National Urban Park over concerns that Ottawa is not doing enough to protect the sensitive land, the Star has learned.

In a potentially devastating blow to the creation of a preserve 16 times the size of New York City's Central Park, Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid said federal legislation on the initiative is so environmentally inadequate that Ontario is reconsidering its transfer of land.

Duguid fired off a letter Tuesday to federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq outlining the objections of Premier Kathleen Wynne's government to the plan.

“The legislation as it stands is silent on the memorandum of agreement requirement to meet or exceed provincial standards for ecological integrity,” he said of Bill C-40, the Rouge Urban Park Act, which was tabled in June.

“I have heard from many stakeholders in Ontario including Friends of the Rouge Watershed, Environmental Defence and Ontario Nature regarding both Bill C-40 and the draft park management plan that the federal government has released for public consultation,” the minister wrote.

“After considering this issue carefully, I have decided that I am unable to recommend to Cabinet that it should release, extinguish or transfer any of its interests in the Rouge Park lands unless Bill C-40 is amended,” continued Duguid.

“In short, if these amendments are not made, I cannot support recommending steps to enable the contribution of 5,400 acres for the simple reason that I feel this land will be better protected if it remains with the province of Ontario.”

Last June, Aglukkaq stressed her “legislation provides the highest level of protection in the history of the Greater Toronto Area.”

Duguid's salvo comes as a series of public meetings are set to begin Tuesday at the Markham Museum followed by sessions at Scarborough's Royal Canadian Legion Branch 258 on Sept. 10, the Pickering Recreation Complex on Sept. 16, and the Art Gallery of Ontario on Sept. 18.

In the 2012 budget, Ottawa earmarked $143.7 million over 10 years - and $7.6 million annually on operating and infrastructure costs after that - for Canada's first national urban park, an oasis for 1,700 species of plants, birds, fish, mammals, insects and amphibians.

However, the project has been beset by politicking, intergovernmental wrangling and complications over the ownership of the vast swath of land.

The existing Rouge Park is 40 square kilometres in Toronto and Markham, but with the creation of a national park it would be expanded to 58 square kilometres.

Queen's Park controls about two-thirds of the land in what would be Rouge National Urban Park, including a huge chunk owned by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority that cannot be sold without provincial approval.

The federal government owns the remaining third of the land, with Toronto and Markham having small parcels.

Ottawa boasts it would be 13 times the size of Vancouver's Stanley Park, 16 times bigger than Central Park, and 33 times larger than Hyde Park in London.

However, in his missive to Aglukkaq, Duguid emphasized that he is merely doing what “stakeholders in Ontario, including Friends of the Rouge Watershed, Environmental Defence and Ontario Nature” want.

“Those amendments to Bill C-40 should explicitly state that Ontario's existing provincial policies and plans that enhance ecological integrity of the proposed Rouge National Urban Park will be met or exceeded,” the minister wrote.

“The amendments should also include a commitment that the federal government will conform to provincial policies such as the Greenbelt Plan .  .  .  the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, and the Big Move,” he said.

“This is a position that I have arrived at after discussions with stakeholders, local citizen groups, and staff.  They agree that these amendments are very important to ensure that the ecological integrity of the Rouge National Urban Park will continue so that future generations will be able to enjoy this unique and beautiful park.

Indeed, conservationists have long expressed unease over whether the wildlife, watershed, and forests would be protected under federal jurisdiction.

Supporting the Terry Fox Run
August 29, 2014

Councillor Pickles at the Pickering Terry Fox Run Kick Off with Michael Leclair.  Please help support this great fundraiser.  I will be contributing to Michael's fundraising group and will post the link to Michael's group and encourage you to support Terry's efforts.  Thanks.

To Donate to the Terry Fox Run Michael Leclair"s Pickering group, go to their support page.

Terry Fox Run
 
Happy 25th Anniversary
August 12, 2014
David and Brenda on their wedding day
Today is Brenda's and my the 25th Wedding Anniversary, the day I became the luckiest man on the planet and married the love of my life Brenda.  We have had a great 25 years together, with many more to come!  We chose Pickering in which to buy a home and start a family.  A decision that we both agree was a great one, the Pickering community is a great home.  Our two lovely daughters, Amanda and Alison, make us proud every day.  A special thanks to Brenda for being incredibly supportive and understanding to me in my role in serving the residents of Pickering as their Councillor Ward 3 on Council for 16 years.  Enjoy the photo of our wedding day and note neither Brenda nor have changes a bit!
Ward 3 Council Report Card
Report Card
 
25th Anniversary of the Devi Mandir in Pickering
August 2014

Councillor Pickles was pleased to attend the 25th Anniversary of the Devi Mandir in Pickering along with Shawn Binda and the Devi Mandir Exectutive, Premier Kathleen Wynne, Mayor Dave Ryan and Deputy Mayor Doug Dickerson, MPPs Tracy MacCharles and Joe Dickson.  Councillor Pickles congratulated his friends and neighbours at the Devi Mandir on their contribution to the Pickering and Durham community.

Devi Mandir Photo 1
 
Devi Mandir Photo 2
 
Devi Mandir Photo 3
 
Devi Mandir Photo 4
 
First mayor of Pickering George Ashe dies
Enjoyed a long career in public service
Keith Gilligan
August 5, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
George Ashe
George Ashe
Submitted photo
PICKERING -- George Ashe, a long-time Pickering politician and the Town's first mayor, died on August 3 after a lenghty illness.  He was 81.  August 3, 2014.

PICKERING -- George Ashe, the first mayor of the Town of Pickering, has died.

Mr. Ashe, 81, died Sunday, Aug. 3 at the Village of Taunton Mills in Whitby after a lengthy struggle with Parkinson's disease.

Kevin Ashe remembers his father as “a get-things-done kind of guy.”

It was Mr. Ashe's public service that rubbed off on Kevin, he said, noting he remembers his father being elected an MPP in 1977 and politics has been “in the blood since then.”

Kevin Ashe is the Ward 1 City Councillor in Pickering, and prior to that was a long-time trustee on the Durham Catholic District School Board.

“As a family, we've all been very involved in the community.  Dad was involved in politics before we moved to Durham,” Kevin Ashe said.

George Ashe became involved in public service in Nepean, serving as an alderman.

When the family moved to Pickering, Mr. Ashe continued his public service, when he was elected deputy reeve of Pickering Township in 1969 and then elected the first mayor of the Town of Pickering in 1973.

George Ashe served as mayor until 1977, when he was elected MPP for Durham West riding.  He was appointed to cabinet as the minister of revenue in 1981 by then-premier Bill Davis.

A subsequent cabinet posting in the Davis government saw Mr. Ashe become minister of government services.  When Frank Miller replaced Mr. Davis, who retired, as premier, Mr. Ashe served as minister of energy and then chairman of the management board.

After leaving the legislature, Mr. Ashe concluded his public service as a Catholic school trustee in Clarington.

“He was a hard worker, but a quiet guy.  He didn't seek the spotlight,” Kevin Ashe said.  “He did his work.  His work ethic reflected the ministries he headed.”

Those ministries weren't the type that got headlines, but were important to the government, he noted.

Kevin Ashe also remembers his father as “a great dad.  There were four kids and we were blessed with loving parents.”

His mother Margaret, also known as Margo, died in January.

“They really provided for us at home.  Mom was part of Dad's political life.  She was the best politician at home anyway,” he said.

All flags at City of Pickering facilities will be flown at half-mast to recognize George Ashe's contribution to the community.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of George Ashe,” Mayor Dave Ryan said in a statement.  “While history books will recognize him as Pickering's very first mayor, we will remember him as both a dear friend and proud community leader.”

Mr. Ashe is survived by children Steven of Pickering, Cheryl (Erwin) of Uxbridge, Kevin (Karen) of Pickering, and Brian (Susan) of Michigan, grandchildren Andrea (Kevin), Matthew (Krista), and Eric (Tara) Hinzel, Tori and Tyler Ashe and their mother Katie.  He was great-grandfather, or Grumpy, of Anika.  He also is survived by his sister Dianne Hurtubise and his brother Garry Ashe, both of Ottawa.

Visitation will be held at McEachnie Funeral Home, 28 Old Kingston Rd., Ajax, on Thursday, Aug. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Funeral mass will be held at Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, 796 Eyer Dr., Pickering on Friday, Aug. 8, at 11 a.m. Reception to follow.  Cremation to follow with private interment to take place in Ottawa at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Parkinson's SuperWalk would be appreciated by the family.

Altona Road (Regional Road 27)
City of Pickering
Road Rehabilitation
Public Notice
July 15, 2014

The Regional Municipality of Durham will be proceeding with road rehabilitation on Altona Road (Regional Road 27) from 310 meters north of Strouds Lane to 20 meters south of Finch Avenue in the City of Pickering.  Work will consist of culvert replacements, roadside ditching, and pavement removal, placement of roadbase granular material and hot-mix asphalt.

CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE

The Region's Contractor, Miller Paving Limited, will start work the week of July 21 and is expected to complete the work by the end of August.  Please note that unfavourable weather conditions may influence the work schedule.

LANE RESTRICTIONS

Daily lane restrictions are required for the duration of the project in order to complete the work in a safe and efficient manner.  Drivers are asked to exercise additional caution for their safety and the safety of the construction workers.

The Region realizes that the work may be disruptive and will make every effort to complete the work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact one of the following staff members from the Regional Municipality of Durham, Works Department:

Rick Corcoran
Project Inspector
905-261-7681
Richard.corcoran@durham.ca
Ralph Wilson
Project Supervisor
289-928-2642
Ralph.wilson@durham.ca
Exterior of Pickering pedestrian bridge 90 per cent complete
Additional elevators slated to open next spring
Jillian Follert
July 13, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Bridge 90% complete
Exterior of Pickering pedestrian bridge 90 per cent complete

PICKERING -- It will be next year before Pickering's pedestrian bridge is 100 per cent complete, but Metrolinx officials say problems with the tricky exterior cladding are now under control.

Several months ago, workers ran into challenges installing the metallic mesh that wraps the outside of the bridge.

It's the fist time the material has been used on a transit project and contractors struggled with the fact that it stretches and shrinks, comparing it to a Slinky toy.

Metrolinx spokesperson Vanessa Thomas says the cladding is now 90 per cent complete and will be finished in late 2014.

Despite work continuing on the outside, the bridge has been open since February 2012.

“This is a fully functioning bridge,” she says.  “This cladding is to make it even more aesthetically beautiful.”

Work on the exterior will resume after the August Civic holiday, when crews will install cladding where the bridge meets the staircases -- sections that require more attention because of the angles.

Work is also still being done on additional elevators.

Elevators at both ends of the bridge are up and running, but elevators that connect the bridge to the GO train platform got held up by an elevator workers' strike last winter.

Work began in March and the additional elevators are expected to be complete next spring.

People with accessibility issues currently have to take one elevator up to the tunnel, go across and take a second elevator down, walk to the GO Transit building, take a third elevator down to the tunnel under the track, then take a fourth elevator up to the train platform.

“We can get to the train right now, but it's not easy,” says local resident Larry Hives, whose wife has a disability.  “We have to go up and down elevators several times, it's not convenient.”

Mr. Hives says it's concerning that elements of the project are still not finished more than two years after the bridge opened.

The $22-million pedestrian bridge was created to move pedestrians and cyclists between the Pickering GO station on one side of Hwy.  401 to the Pickering Town Centre and downtown area on the other side.

Metrolinx is also in the process of building a new bridge to connect the recently opened south parking structure with the south terminus of the pedestrian bridge.

It is expected to open in the next few weeks.

Telemedicine Clinic Walk-In Now Open
July 7, 2014
Walk-in Ad
 
Pothole Blitz and Spring Clean-up
July 7, 2014
Pothole Blitz
 
Time for casino deal between Ajax, Pickering
July 3, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

Pickering and Ajax both want the money hosting a casino brings, but the best solution is for the casino to remain in Ajax next to Picov Downs and for the two municipalities to cut a deal.

A provincial re-jigging of how casinos operate in Ontario means there will be just one casino in the Ajax, Pickering and Whitby zone.

Ajax has a casino and wants to keep it and the millions in revenue it provides the municipality each year.

Pickering has wavered on the issue but now has before it a massive development proposal that includes a casino.

In recent months we've seen a lot of trashing of the Pickering proposal from the Ajax side.  Mayor Steve Parish has accused his counterpart, Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan, of working behind the scenes to secure a casino.  Two months ago, the question at Pickering council was, did Ajax make a casino revenue offer to Pickering? Earlier this month, Ajax council's community affairs and planning committee agreed with a staff report (big surprise) that zoning approval for the Pickering proposal is premature.

We maintain that Ajax should do its utmost not to risk losing the Slots at Ajax Downs.  And that means playing let's make a deal with Pickering to ensure the casino remains in Ajax and Pickering abandons any notion of having one.  When a possible casino in Whitby entered the picture, Ajax offered Whitby 15 per cent of its slots revenue to declare itself an unwilling host for one.  It's a reasonable amount to offer Pickering.

Some would argue that the Pickering casino proposal is unrealistic and there are reasons to agree with this position.

And it's unlikely that the highly successful Slots at Ajax Downs operation would be shut down.

As well, with horse racing part of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming modernization strategy, it's a natural to leave the casino in Ajax where it is.  After the outcry over the end of the government's Slots-at-Racetracks Program, the Ontario government did a lot of back-tracking to show its support for the Ontario horse-racing industry.  The OLG website states it “has added a requirement for horse racing expertise in its upcoming Requests for Proposals for gaming site operators throughout Ontario.”

The writing would seem to be on the wall.

But you can't beat a sure bet and Ajax cutting a deal with Pickering, with the latter getting a slice of the revenue pie, sounds fair to us.

Pickering French school celebrates first year
Ecole Ronald-Marion welcomes students from kindergarten to Grade 12
July 3, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- After several years of waiting by the Durham Francophone community, a French school has been celebrated in Pickering.

Having officially opened in September 2013, the Counseil scolaire Viamonde held the ribbon-cutting for Ecole Ronald-Marion in Pickering in June.

The school bears the name of the former chairman of the Counseil scolaire Viamonde, Ronald Marion, who held the position for 15 years.  Current chairwoman Micheline Wylde praised his involvement in education.

“The outstanding contribution of Mr. Marion throughout the years has enabled the French language to spread in the education system and beyond,” she said.

The former chairman, now a judge, joined parents, students and community members for the official ribbon-cutting.

“It makes me proud that generations of students in Pickering and the neighbouring areas will benefit from a school close to home that provides a secular high quality education in French,” said Justice Marion.

The 78,000-square-foot school, located on Brock Road near Dellbrook Avenue, currently has 278 students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

Pickering council 2014 report card
July 2, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

Dave Ryan
Mayor
This year's grade: A
Last year's grade: A
Attendance: Council 11/11, committee 18/18, Regional council 12/13, committees 20-31
Expenses: $14,686
Regional Expenses: $1,286.41

Mayor Dave Ryan faced a challenging year as council became more divided in the run-up to a fall election.

He shows diplomacy when chairing meetings and often brokers compromise between bickering councillors.

Mayor Ryan continues to be a cheerleader for Pickering, especially on economic development.

He is passionate about bringing Seaton to fruition as well as an ambitious plan to transform Pickering's downtown.

The mayor works hard to be available to residents through virtual town hall meetings and this year started a series of coffee chats at local cafes.

He is generally quiet at regional council, but speaks up when issues relate to Pickering.

 

Kevin Ashe
City Councillor Ward 1
This year's grade: A-
Last year's grade: A-
Attendance: Council 11/11, committee 18/18
Expenses: $13,377

Councillor Kevin Ashe is a cordial presence on council, debating respectfully and asking thoughtful questions.

He takes a keen interest in how issues impact residents in Ward 1 and is knowledgeable when it comes to his constituency, although he doesn't speak up as much as his council colleagues.

He makes good use of social media to keep the public updated and gauge feedback on hot topics, such as a proposed casino.  Councillor Ashe is accessible to residents and this year worked with police to host a seniors' seminar on the danger of scams.

His civility and willingness to break with council's 4-3 voting pattern are helpful.

 

Doug Dickerson
City Councillor Ward 2
This year's grade: D-
Last year's grade: D
Attendance: Council 11/11, committee 18/18
Expenses: $11,223

It can't be said that Councillor Doug Dickerson isn't knowledgeable on the issues or committed to helping residents.

However, his increasingly combative and unpleasant conduct at the council table outweigh those positive attributes.

Whether it's rolling his eyes, interrupting other councillors, name calling or calling a female councillor “young lady,” this councillor's behaviour is a distraction that worsens the divide on council.

Councillor Dickerson also pleaded guilty to contravening the Municipal Elections Act by filing an inaccurate financial statement.  His court case left the City on the hook for nearly $300,000 in legal fees and expenses.

For these reasons his grade drops this year.

 

David Pickles
City Councillor Ward 3
This year's grade: A-
Last year's grade: A-
Attendance: Council 11/11, committee 17/18
Expenses: $10,809

Councillor David Pickles is an expert on his ward and quick to respond to concerns from residents.

He is knowledgeable on the issues and comes to meetings prepared with good questions and helpful motions.

This year he fought for rural residents, asking the City to look into paving more rural roads and investigate a new outdoor rink for Claremont.  He provided helpful input during the budget and worked hard during the ice storm to keep residents informed.

Even though he typically votes alongside Councillors Dickerson and Ashe, he breaks with the pattern if it benefits the city and generally tries to sidestep the drama on council.

 

Jennifer O'Connell
Regional Councillor Ward 1
This year's grade: A-
Last year's grade: B+
Attendance: Council 11/11, committee 16/18, Regional council 12/13, committees 27/37
Expenses: $13,067
Regional Expenses: $3,161

Councillor Jennifer O'Connell is an enthusiastic advocate with innovative ideas, such as asking the City to investigate buying a vacant school for community use.

This year she asked tough questions about City debt and demanded transparency on nuclear issues, as OPG applied to operate its Pickering facility beyond its lifespan.

Councillor O'Connell can be argumentative and landed in hot water by using “fraud” in reference to Councillor Doug Dickerson -- but took the high road and publicly clarified her comments.

She is often the target of derisive words but is clearly working to rise above the drama.  For that her grade goes up.

At the Region she dives into debate and asks good questions.

 

Bill McLean
Regional Councillor Ward 2
This year's grade: A-
Last year's grade: A-
Attendance: Council 10/11, committee 16/18, Regional council 13/13, committees 27/34
Expenses: $8,133
Regional Expenses: $3,093.79

Councillor Bill McLean is a good representative for his residents and an active participant at council meetings.

This year he advocated for improved transparency by pushing for council expenses to be posted online, and raised the need for better structure for medical marijuana producer applications.

Councillor McLean is sometimes guilty of aggravating the council divide, as was the case when he pushed to have Councillor Doug Dickerson removed from the Veridian board.

However, he is generally respectful and keeps comments on the council floor direct and to the point.

He doesn't say much at the Region, but is knowledgeable on the issues there.

 

Peter Rodrigues
Regional Councillor Ward 3
This year's grade: C-
Last year's grade: C
Attendance: Council 11/11, committee 18/18, Regional council 13/13, committees 29/30
Expenses: $4,096
Regional Expenses: $498.11

As this rookie councillor wraps up his first term, he still has work to do.

Councillor Peter Rodrigues has good intentions and is passionate about representing Ward 3, especially the rural communities.

He continues to fight for heritage preservation and advocated for Whitevale residents on the controversial bridge replacement issue.

His grade drops this year because he continues to disrespect people's time by grandstanding and speaking off topic at meetings, even when he is clearly asked to stop.

He is often argumentative on the council floor and sometimes shows a lack of understanding when it comes to procedure.

He doesn't contribute much at the Region.

City of Pickering municipal report cards 2014
An annual evaluation by the Metroland Durham Region Media Group of how local politicians are serving taxpayers
July 2, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

2013 grade: A

2014 grade: A-

Pickering continues to be well-served by its municipal government as the News Advertiser grades local council and the men and women who represent taxpayers.

Mayor Dave Ryan brings a low-key style of leadership to council and is the city's biggest booster.  His focus on seeing the massive Seaton development continues, and he maintains an ambitious agenda for transformative downtown development.  His diplomatic skills have been called upon more frequently this year to address occasional unruliness during council debates, which has been important to ensure business still gets done.  He deserves credit for efforts at engaging taxpayers -- he has held virtual town hall meetings and initiated a series of chats at local cafes -- to keep them informed.  He keeps a relatively low profile at Regional meetings unless the debate impacts Pickering.  His steady approach earns him his second consecutive A grade this year, the same as in 2013.

Ward 1 City Councillor Kevin Ashe is a consummate professional in his conduct.  He is respectful, considerate and knowledgeable and contributes on issues that matter to him and his constituents.  He has used social media effectively to inform residents -- such as with Pickering's huge casino proposal -- and must be recognized for his efforts on seniors' issues.  Most importantly, however, is his willingness to vote an issue on its merits and not as a block.  He also retains his A- grade this year, the same as in 2013.

In Ward 2, City Councillor Doug Dickerson's deep knowledge and experience would be a credit to council if it wasn't for his appalling behaviour at public meetings.  He's disrespectful to colleagues and frequently combative, which distracts from council business.  He also cost Pickering taxpayers $300,000 in legal fees and expenses for contravening the Municipal Elections Act for filing an inaccurate financial statement in relation to the last election.  For all of this, his marks drops to a D-, down from a disappointing D in 2013.

Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles knows his ward back to front and it shows.  He is responsive to constituent needs, prepares for meetings and debates and crafts thoughtful motions.  He champions rural issues and did an excellent job informing residents during the ice storm last winter.  He has fully earned his A- mark, the same as last year.

Ward 1 Regional Councillor Jennifer O'Connell continues to grow as a councillor.  She's smart and creative, isn't afraid to mix it up in debates, and has carved a spot for herself as an equal among older, more experienced council members.  At Regional meetings, she asks informed questions and will debate her points with precision.  She's a strong advocate for residents and her mark goes up slightly this year, to an A- from a B+ in 2013.

Ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean is also a consistent contributor and active participant in debates.  He deserves credit for his push towards transparency as it relates to council expenses, and took the lead on the issue of medical marijuana producer applications, calling for more structure.  He's somewhat quiet around the Regional table during debates, but is knowledgeable and is a well-respected representative of his constituents.

Peter Rodrigues, the Regional councillor in Ward 3, is a strong advocate on rural issues, especially heritage preservation.  He fought valiantly for Whitevale residents over the recent bridge controversy and always means well, but sometimes speaks out of turn or wanders off topic, which reduces the quality of debate and decision-making.  He should tone down the self-serving speeches, respect others' needs and time limits, and focus on the work.  With some growth yet to occur as a councillor, his mark drops slightly this year, to a C- from a C.

Letter from Durham Philharmonic Choir
July 1, 2014

Councillor Dave Pickles
City of Pickering
One The Esplanade
Pickering, Ontario
L1V 6K7

Dear Councillor Pickles:

On behalf of the PineRidge Arts Council I wish to thank you and the City of Pickering for your kind 25th Anniversary congratulatory remarks made to me and the PRAC team at the May 24, 2014 Artfest on the Esplanade.

The PineRidge Arts Council has enjoyed a strong and pleasant relationship with you and the City of Pickering for many years and are thrilled that you share our dream of building a Performing and Visual Arts Centre in Pickering.  We are proud to belong to a community that holds the arts in such high regard and makes them an important and integral part of our lives.

Sincerely,
Catherine Schnippering, President
PineRidge Arts Council
905-509-3855
schnipp@interlog.com www.pineridgearts.org

Canada Day: Party in Pickering
June 26, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

Pickering is set for a party on July 1 when residents celebrate red, white and the maple leaf.

Canada marks its 147th birthday and there is much for us to collectively celebrate.  We are among the most wealthy and progressive nations on earth.  We welcome people from around the globe and invite them to join us in celebrating our diversity, our unique success as a multicultural nation, and as an important tile in our cultural mosaic.

We are an embracing, tolerant nation with a healthy, living democracy.  We support personal liberty and freedom: free markets, free speech and “free” health care.  We answer the call to assist allies and the oppressed on the other side of the world; our young men and women serving in our armed forces consistently do so with honour and dignity.

Our education system is among the best in the world and prepares young minds for the rigours and challenges of adulthood, graduating knowledgeable, curious and ambitious students in a range of academic and professional disciplines.

We offer a hand up to a neighbour when it's needed, dig deep to fund meaningful charitable causes, provide an important and sustainable financial safety net for our seniors, and do a pretty good job of making the rest of the world laugh.

We are a young nation among nations, one much smaller than many of our G7 counterparts, but we engage confidently and knowledgeably on the world stage.

Here at home, we live in a community that is, for the most part, well run and flourishing.  We have made comfortable lives for ourselves, we take full advantage of and enjoy the benefits of citizenship.

We are patriots, but don't go much for chest-beating, and we are uncomfortable with the notion of exceptionalism.

We are Canadian.  We are the red and white.  We are the maple leaf.

Pickering residents can share in all of the events that mark our special day on Tuesday.  So raise a cheer and make some noise.

The fun takes place at Kinsmen Park from noon to 11 p.m. There will be free family activities and entertainment, with the Main Stage performances starting at 7 p.m. Three-time Juno nominee Mia Martina is headlining.  And to top off the evening, the night skies will be full of colour with a big pyromusical fireworks display.

See you out there, eh? Happy Canada Day.

Veridian announces excellent financial performance and highlights major accomplishments in 2013 at annual shareholders' meeting
News Release
June 24, 2014

Ajax, ON - During its annual shareholders' meeting held today in Ajax, Veridian Corporation Chair Doug Dickerson together with company President and CEO Michael Angemeer provided shareholders with an update on Veridian's business operations and announced that the utility achieved consolidated net earnings of $11.9 million in 2013.

“We are extremely pleased with the company's financial performance over the past year,” said Dickerson.  “Strong growth in shareholders' equity, while maintaining robust interest and dividend payments and reasonable customer rates, has been the long term trend at Veridian.  Additionally, the company's reliability indices are competitive when compared to other electric utilities in Ontario, and an annual improvement measured against historical results remain a key business goal.”

Highlights from Veridian's 2013 financial results include:

  • A total of $8.2 million in interest and dividend payments to shareholders.
  • Electricity distribution revenues, excluding smart meter activities, have increased $3.8 million to $49.0 million from 2009.
  • Shareholder equity has increased $12.6 million since 2011, or by six per cent, which is double the growth rate from 2009 to 2011.
  • The Board of Directors has approved a dividend policy for the years 2012 to 2016 with base dividends of $4.7 million each year, subject to certain provisions.

Read the complete news release attached.

For more information, contact:

Chris Mace
Sales & PR Representative - Corporate Communications
Veridian Connections Inc.
905-427-9870, extension 2218

Follow us on Twitter: @VeridianTweets

Veridian Corporation shareholders approve changes that will streamline corporate governance
News Release
June 23, 2014

Ajax, ON - Proposed changes to Veridian Corporation's Shareholders' Agreement have been given the green light by a majority of its municipal shareholders.  The changes will accommodate a 25 per cent reduction in the number of corporate directors serving on the boards of the company and its subsidiary, Veridian Connections Inc. Veridian Corporation is jointly owned by the City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Municipality of Clarington and the City of Belleville.

“I'm very pleased that the required majority of our municipal shareholders have approved changes to the Corporation's Shareholders' Agreement,” says Board Chair and City of Pickering Deputy Mayor Doug Dickerson.  “The changes will enable the Corporation to streamline its governance structure and achieve annual cost savings of more than $100,000.”

According to Veridian President and CEO, Michael Angemeer, the company will continue to enjoy strong and effective leadership, despite a reduction from 20 to 15 directors.  “The company's current board has done an excellent job at establishing comprehensive governance processes and practices,” he says.  “These practices will continue to guide the smaller boards in the years ahead.”

As Chair of the Veridian board's Governance Committee, Pickering Councillor David Pickles was instrumental in leading the company's review of its Shareholders' Agreement and governance structure.  “I'm very pleased with the support we've received for these changes,” he says.  “I'm also confident that the structure of the new boards is adequate to provide the required mix of director talent, knowledge and expertise, while at the same time offering suitable representation for all four municipal shareholders.”

The approved changes to Veridian Corporation's Shareholders' Agreement will take effect January 1st, 2015.

Veridian Corporation, the seventh largest municipal electricity company in Ontario, owns and operates two subsidiary companies that distribute electricity and provide energy services to more than 117,000 customers located in nine municipalities in east central Ontario.  Together, our employees focus on providing reliable, efficient, sustainable energy solutions and services, and equally share the job of making employee and public health and safety our number one priority.  We are an important fixture in the communities that we serve.  In addition to providing reasonable electricity rates, we promote economic growth, community building and sustainable living.  Veridian Corporation is committed to providing value and healthy financial returns to our shareholders - the City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Municipality of Clarington and the City of Belleville.  For more information, visit www.veridiancorporation.ca.

- 30 -

For more information, contact:

Chris Mace
Sales & PR Representative - Corporate Communications
Veridian Connections Inc.
905-427-9870, extension 2218

Follow us on Twitter: @VeridianTweets

Service Announcement
Notice of Temporary Closure
Duffins Creek Trail
JUNE 23, 2014

The Duffins Creek Trail (from Valley Farm Road to Beverley Morgan Park) will be closed temporarily to permit the reconstruction of the trail, and associated environmental restoration work being completed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

The gravel parking area on Valley Farm Road will also be closed as it is required as a staging area for the proposed works.

Purpose:  To permit the reconstruction of the trail and site restoration work

Duration:  June 30, 2014 to August 29, 2014

MAP

For additional information please contact:
Arnold Mostert
Senior Coordinator, Landscape & Parks Development
Engineering & Public Works Department
Tel 905.420.4660 ext 2143
TTY 905.420.1739
amostert@pickering.ca
Service Disruption Line: 1.866.278.9993

Grand Opening In2Sports
June 21, 2014
Grand Opening Photo 1
 
Grand Opening Photo 2
 
Search Engine People
1305 Pickering Parkway, Pickering, On
Jeff Quipp, CEO
June 20, 2014

Search Engine People (SEP) is one of Canada's foremost Digital Marketing agencies, and more recently, has evolved to become a developer of technologies designed to make results from digital marketing efforts more consistent and predictable.  

Founded by Jeff Quipp in 2001, SEP continues to be recognized year over year as one of the 100 fastest growing companies in Canada.  They were selected by the Branham Group as one of the Top 25 Canadian IT Up and Comers and were the first business in Canada to become a Google AdWords Certified Company.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada selected SEP to develop and teach the IAB Intensive Pay-Per-Click Course and the IAB Intensive Search Engine Optimization Course.  The SEP Blog is an Official Google News Site.

SEP has been featured in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Profit Magazine, Marketing Magazine, Search Engine Standard and many others!

Originally operating out of the Town of Ajax, SEP moved their offices to Pickering taking two floors at 1305 Pickering Parkway, where they were able to accommodate their expansion needs.   This initially brought 85 employees, many of whom are highly recognized industry experts.   SEP continues to expand their employee base which greatly contributes to the vibrancy of our City Centre business community.  

As an employer, SEP offers a unique work environment that supports creativity and innovation.   With clients worldwide, SEP has become one of Pickering's leading corporate ambassadors.

Councillor Pickles and Jeff Quipp CEO of Search Engine People
Councillor Pickles with Jeff Quipp, CEO, Search Engine People 
The Cupcake Place
1450 Kingston Road, Pickering, On
Nerissa Cariño, Owner
June 20, 2014
Councillor Pickles and Nerissa Cariño, owner The Cupcake Place
Councillor Pickles with Nerissa Cariño, owner of The Cupcake Place 
Durham Live Tourist Destination Rendering
View from Southeast
June 20, 2014
Rendering Drawing
VIEW FROM SOUTHEAST (RENDERING FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES)
Click for larger view 
Pickering Aboriginal Celebration Day
June 14, 2014
Councillor Pickles and Mayor Ryan at Pickering Aboriginal Celebration Day
Councillor Pickles and Mayor Ryan at Pickering Aboriginal Day 
Jennifer Wakefield
Key to the City
June 14, 2014
Jennifer Wakefield
 
Veridian donation to help fund new engines for PARA's search and rescue boat
Monday June 9, 2014
By: Chris Mace
(Veridian)

PICKERING, ON, June 7, 2014 /CNW/ - A generous donation from Veridian Connections (Veridian) is helping fund the replacement of two, 20 - year - old engines on the Pickering Auxiliary Rescue Association's (PARA) rescue cutter.  Veridian Board Chair and City of Pickering Deputy Mayor Doug Dickerson along with company President and CEO Michael Angemeer presented PARA with a cheque at a special ceremony held today at Frenchman's Bay Yacht Club in Pickering.

“The rescue vessel has provided a vital search and rescue service to boaters and water enthusiasts along the shores of Lake Ontario for 20 years,” ex plains PARA's Board Chair and appointed director Jim Dike.  “Replacing the vessel's engines will cost approximately $125,000, and Veridian's donation to our fundraising campaign will go a long way in making this happen.”

“Veridian takes the safety of its em ployees and the customers it serves very seriously every day of the year,” said Dickerson.  “The company is pleased to support PARA's fundraising efforts to replace two worn engines and keep their vital link to water safety operational.  Boaters will have pe ace of mind knowing that if they are in distress on the water, a properly equipped boat and crew are in close proximity to perform a rescue.”

About Pickering Auxiliary Rescue Association
With 47 years of operation, Pickering Auxiliary Rescue Association (P ARA) is one of the original founders of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.  PARA is a volunteer organization that has approximately 50 members who are constantly being trained in search and rescue on the water.  In existence, PARA has responded to more than 200 calls where life has been in danger.

About Veridian Connections
Veridian Connections Inc.  safely and reliably delivers electricity to more than 117,000 customers in the Cities of Pickering and Belleville, the Towns of Ajax and Gravenhurst , the Municipality of Port Hope, and the communities of Uxbridge, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Orono, Port Perry, Beaverton, Sunderland and Cannington.  Veridian Connections Inc.  is a wholly owned subsidiary of Veridian Corporation.  The City of Pickering, the To wn of Ajax, the Municipality of Clarington and the City of Belleville jointly own Veridian Corporation.

Pickering Wildflower Planting
June 7, 2014
Group shot
 
Toddler shot
Pickering Wildflower Planting Event 
Tamil Cultural and Academic Society of Durham
“An Evening in Venice” Gala
June 6, 2014
Tamil Gala 1
 
Tamil Gala 2
 
Tamil Gala 3
 
Tamil Gala 4
 
Tamil Gala 5
 
Tamil Gala 6
 
South Pickering Senior's Club
Letter of Thanks May 31, 2014
SPSC thank you letter
 
South Pickering Senior's Club 40th Anniversary Celebration
May 25th, 2014
SPSC 40th Anniversary Celebration
David and Brenda Pickles were pleased to support and attend the South Pickering Seniors on their 40th Anniversary celebrations.  It was a wonderful afternoon.  Congratulations to South Pickering Seniors and all the volunteers and sponsors that made the event happen!
Class EA for Regional Services for the Central Pickering Development Plan
May 22, 2014
Document page 1
 
Document page 2
 
Click either image above to see full size PDF.

Mother's Day
May 11, 2014
Happy Mother's Day
 
National Day of Honour
May 9, 2014
National Day of Honour
 
May 5, 2014
Councillor Pickles with The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
 
May 5, 2014
Pickles & Trudeau
 
Pickering Canadian Caribbean Cultural Association Event
May 4, 2014
Tea in Whitevale
Susan Mautrine, Dipika Shorma and Councillor Pickles at the Pickering Canadian Caribbean Cultural Association event.  Great to see everyone on a fine day!
Teas 'n Treasures Cafe in Whitevale
May 2, 2014
Tea in Whitevale
I was pleased to attend the opening of Teas 'n Treasures Cafe in Whitevale.  On the east side of the Whitevale Road bridge.  Great treats!
News Release
New Sustainable Community Moves Forward in Durham
Province Supporting Jobs and Livable Communities
April 29, 2014 1:30 p.m.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Ontario has approved the creation of Seaton, a new livable and sustainable community that will provide homes for up to 70,000 people and include plans for employment lands that will create tens of thousands of jobs in the area.  

The City of Pickering, where the Seaton lands are located, can now finalize residential subdivision plans and issue building permits to developers so that construction of dense and walkable residential neighbourhoods can begin.  

Working together, the Ontario government, the City of Pickering, the Region of Durham and Seaton land-owners will ensure that the new community, strategically located on the 407 corridor, will have exceptional protection of ecologically sensitive lands and promote walking and cycling.  The planned employment lands are ideally situated to accommodate new business development and employment opportunities through easy access to the 407.

Smart and strategic land use planning is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow.  The comprehensive economic plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • When fully developed, Seaton will be nearly the size of Peterborough and will support up to 35,000 jobs.
  • More than half of Seaton's 3,000 hectares of land area are designated as part of the natural heritage system of trails and woodlands.
  • Six residential neighbourhoods will be separated by greenspace, protecting the natural heritage system of the area.

Quotes

Bill Mauro “Seaton will be a sustainable community where people can live, work and shop.  Seaton can be a model for how we want to live in the future.  This is a responsible way to grow our communities, while protecting important agricultural and environmental features.”

Bill Mauro
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Joe Dickson “Ajax and Pickering are communities of growth, and the Seaton development will transform North Pickering into a mixed use, sustainable community, which will be a workplace for 35,000 and home to upwards of 70,000 people.”

Joe Dickson
MPP for Ajax-Pickering
Tracy MacCharles “This is good news for the future of the Pickering area.  The continued preservation of our green spaces and the natural heritage of the area will provide recreation opportunities for generations to come.”

Tracy MacCharles
MPP for Pickering-Scarborough East

Media Contacts

Mike Maka
Minister's Office
416-585-6842

May Nazar
Communications
416-585-7066

Pickering Animal Services Introduces 'Responsible Pet Ownership Month'
Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
April 28, 2014

Pickering, ON, April 28, 2014 - In partnership with the Association of Animal Shelter Administrators of Ontario, Pickering Animal Services has declared the month of May, 'Responsible Pet Ownership Month.'  Municipalities across Ontario are participating in this provincewide campaign that aims to raise awareness about the need for pet owners to exercise their responsibility by following local by-laws, keeping pets on a leash, picking up dog waste, licensing pets annually, and staying up-to-date on vaccinations.

Pickering Animal Services provides programs and services year round that support the tenets of responsible pet ownership such as: returning lost pets to their owners, adoption services, and controlling overpopulation.  “Although responsible pet ownership is something that we strive for all of the time, declaring an entire month for this cause allows us to work with local business partners to get this important message out to residents,” said Lindsey Narraway, Supervisor, Animal Services.

In support of this initiative, Pickering Animal Services will partner with local businesses to host a variety of events and promotions throughout the month to engage residents.  Additionally, Animal Services is launching a photo contest in which photographers of all ages will be invited to submit pet portraits from in and around the Pickering community for a chance to win great prizes.  For more information on the contest and the events and promotions listed below, visit pickering.ca/rpo or contact Lindsey Narraway at 905.427.0093, or lnarraway@pickering.ca.

  • Receive a free personalized pet tag with the purchase of a leash or collar from Pet Valu at 705 Kingston Road.
  • Rosebank Animal Hospital, and Forestbrook Pet Hospital are offering reduced rates for spaying and neutering services all month long; and Whites Road Veterinary Hospital is offering a complimentary microchip to all pets that undergo sterilization surgery in May.
  • Rabies and Microchip Clinic
    Date: Saturday May 3rd, 12 pm - 4 pm
    Location: PJ's Pets in the Pickering Town Centre, 1355 Kingston Road.
    Details: In partnership with PJ's Pets and Durham Region Health Department, Pickering Animal Services is offering microchip and Rabies vaccination services for $20 each. Cash only. Pets must arrive in a carrier or on a leash.
  • Pet Adoption and Licensing Day
    Date: Sunday May 4th, 10 am - 4 pm
    Location: Pickering Recreation Complex, 1867 Valley Farm Road
    Details: Animals available for adoption will be present at this event for residents and potential pet owners to meet.
  • Responsibilities of Being a Horse Owner Seminar - Registration Required
    Date: Saturday May 10th, 1pm - 4 pm
    Location: Silvercreek Riding Stables, 2300 Rosebank Road North
    Details: Register online at pickering.ca/rpo by May 9th.

-30-

As the gateway city to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet.  Pickering is an affluent community that is steeped in history, natural beauty and small town charm with all the amenities and services that a big city has to offer.  The City of Pickering is considered a municipal leader in fiscal management, service delivery, sustainability and the environment; and offers a wealth of sports, leisure and recreation opportunities to its residents.  Pickering has been recognized by Profit magazine as one of the ten best cities in Canada for growth companies and received the 2008 FCM-CH2M Hill Sustainable Community Planning Award.

Media Contact:
Name: Ashton Ross
Title" Communications Assistant
Email address: aross@pickering.ca
Phone number: 905.420.4660 ext. 2128
TTY: 905.420.1739

Spring Yard Waste Program
Spring is here - Yard Waste Program is in full effect!
Ice Storm Cleanup Update
April 28, 2014

Spring is upon us, and the Regions of Durham's Leaf and Yard Waste Program is now underway.  Collection limitations have been lifted to help residents with cleanup efforts following December's ice storm

As the melted show exposes more ...

Continue to read the flyer

Pickering to investigate cost of paving rural roads
Unpaved roads cost four times more to maintain
Jillian Follert
April 25, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Councillor Pickles at Westney and Concession 8
Unpaved roads
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
PICKERING -- Councillor Davids Pickles, at Westney Road and Concession 8, is concerned about this stretch of unpaved road. April 23, 2014

PICKERING -- A Pickering councillor says paving rural roads could pave the way to cost savings.  

Pickering council has approved a motion from Councillor David Pickles that directs City staff to work on a detailed plan for paving 103 kilometres of “loose surface” rural roads located north of Taunton Road.  

Coun. Pickles noted it costs the City about five times more to maintain unpaved roads.  

Pickering's 2012 annual performance measures show a cost of $2,958 per kilometre to maintain hard surface roads versus $13,983 per kilometre for loose surface.  

“I and many of the residents are concerned with the number and condition of unpaved roads in north Pickering,” he said.  “Safety and use by emergency vehicles also becomes a concern.  Staff do their best to maintain this loose service roads but the weather, rain, freeze and thaw damages the road and makes maintenance difficult and expensive.”

The councillor said examples of well-travelled unpaved roads in Pickering include Concession 8 west of Lakeridge Road, Concession 7 west of Brock Road and Westney Road north of 8th concession.  

Richard Holborn, the City's director of engineering and public works, said it takes work to keep unpaved roads in good shape.  

The process includes regularly dispatching graders to smooth out the surface, topping up gravel as needed and spraying liquid dust suppressant every summer.  

However, he said there are also upsides to leaving them unpaved.  

“They maintain Pickering's rural character,” Mr. Holborn noted.  

He said loose surface roads also cost less when it comes to winter control -- unlike paved roads that require pricey salt, unpaved roads can be treated with less expensive sand.  

Council directed City staff to report back by January 2015 with a plan that includes cost estimates for hard surfacing roads north of Taunton Road over the next five years, as well as projected annual road maintenance cost savings.   Council also asked staff to investigate whether provincial and federal funding programs are available to help cover the cost.

COUNCIL APPROVES ROAD RESURFACING PROJECT

On April 22 Pickering council approved $827,439 to resurface various roads and parking lots throughout the city.  

The work includes Bowler Drive, Glengrove Road, Liverpool Road, Pickering Parkway, Victoria Street and Wellington Street as well as the parking lots at Claremont Community Centre, Creekside Park and East Shore Community Centre.

The project will be funded from various sources including the City's federal gas tax reserve fund, property taxes and a provincial grant.

Ajax-Pickering businessman Ron Halliday dies
Ron Halliday involved in development, charitable activities
April 24, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- A long-time local businessman involved in the home building industry has died.

Ron Halliday died suddenly at the Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital on Wednesday, April 23.

For years, Mr. Halliday worked for Cougs Investment and Coughlan Homes.

Joe Dickson, MPP for Ajax-Pickering and for years a local and Regional Councillor in Ajax, said, “My wife Donna and I were good friends with Ron and his wife Carol.  The loss of Ron Halliday is a great loss for Ajax and Pickering.”

Mr. Halliday was “dedicated to many charities.  He focused on our Ajax-Pickering hospital,” Mr. Dickson noted.  “He did a great job on Sunny Days for Conservation and other environmental projects.”

As he was involved in developing, “Ron understood planning more than most people.  He helped develop, which turned out to be a beautiful facility, Deer Creek.  I'm sadden by Ron's loss,” Mr. Dickson added.

Mr. Dickson was an Ajax councillor in 1983 when he met Mr. Halliday and Jerry Coughlan, owner of Cougs Investment and Coughlan Homes, to discuss Deer Creek.

“I was advised of their desire to build a first-class development, virtually unseen in Ajax before, the golf courses and facilities with 58 holes.  It's the largest in this part of the GTA,” Mr. Dickson said.

“They honoured every commitment they made to the municipality.  It was an honour to know them,” he added.

Mr. Halliday is survived by his wife Carol, children Kathy, Robert and his wife Jane (their children Joseph and Jennifer), Dennis and his wife Lori, Sherry-Lee Lyons, Danette Lyons and Ashley Pearson.  He'll be missed by his grandchildren.

He's the brother of Wilfred, Wally and Joan.

The family will receive friends at the McEachnie Funeral Home, 28 Old Kingston Rd., Pickering Village, on Sunday, April 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m.

The funeral service will be held on Monday, April 28 at Bayfair Baptist Church, 817 Kingston Rd., Pickering, at 11 a.m. Interment at Pine Ridge Memorial Gardens.

Memorial donations to the Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital or the Abilities Centre would be appreciated by the family.  Online condolences may be placed at www.mceachniefuneral.ca.

Pickering goes high tech to combat illegal dumping
New signs have QR codes to make reporting easier
Jillian Follert
April 24, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Illegal Dumping Signage
Illegal dumping signage
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
PICKERING -- The Sustainable Pickering Advisory Committee unveiled new signs in Millenium Square designed to enhance park safety and cleanliness and reduce illegal dumping and littering activities within the community.  Checking out the signs are committee members, Mayor Dave Ryan, left, and Councillor Doug Dickerson, right, along with Brian Denney, CEO of the Toronto Region Conservation Authority.  April 22, 2014.

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering is taking a high-tech approach to tackling unsightly illegal dumping.

This week the Sustainable Pickering Advisory Committee unveiled new signs that feature QR codes, a type of barcode that can be scanned with a smartphone.

When a resident scans the code it takes them straight to the City's “Eyes on the Street” tool, which allows for easy online reporting.

The goal of the new signs is to warn would-be dumpers that areas are being monitored and to make it easy for residents to alert City staff to illegally dumped items.

“Illegal dumping is a huge issue in the city, it costs thousands of dollars every year,” says Michelle Pearce, the City's environmental awareness co-ordinator.

She says common illegally dumped items include construction materials, tree trimmings and garbage bags of household waste.

It happens all over Pickering, but is especially problematic in the north end of the city -- Concession 3 is one noteworthy spot.

“You can drive down there any given day and find a garbage bag or two,” Ms. Pearce notes.

Councillor David Pickles, vice-chairman of the Sustainable Pickering Advisory Committee, says there are various reasons residents dump illegally.

“Sometimes people don't know where waste transfer stations are located, or they're closed when they want to go.  Or, they just don't want to pay the fee,” he says.

The Eyes on the Street tool has already been successful in allowing residents to report graffiti and vandalism.

City staff said 90 of the new QR code signs will be installed over the coming months.

Pickering has also launched a new social media initiative that encourages people to take ownership of the city.

The “Heart your City” Facebook campaign encourages residents to take an online pledge vowing not to litter or illegally dump items, for a chance to win an iPad Air.

To take the pledge, search “City of Pickering” on Facebook.  For more information about illegal dumping and Eyes on the Street, go to www.pickering.ca.

Pickering's Draft Cultural Strategic Plan is now available online for public comment
April 23, 2014

City of Pickering Cultural Strategic Plan (draft) is now available online for public comment.

The City of Pickering is pleased to announce that the draft Cultural Strategic Plan is now available on City website, Cultural-PlanFeedback.  The Cultural Strategic Plan completes the important work of identifying Pickering's cultural resources, engaging and consulting the community and identifying key strategic directions; that will foster, cultivate and enhance the cultural life of Pickering

According to Marisa Carpino, Director, Culture & Recreation “Pickering's Cultural Strategic Plan was developed by a corporate team and serves to identify policies, programs, partnerships and investments that will advance culture, heritage and the arts in Pickering over the next 10 years.”

The hallmark of Pickering's Cultural Planning process has been community consultation.  Staff now welcome public comment on the draft Cultural Strategic Plan that is now available on the city's website.  Public comments can be provided online or by in writing by Monday, May 5, 2014.  Feedback will be reviewed before the Cultural Plan is finalized and presented to Pickering Council in the coming months.

Trade Secrets Re-opening
April 15, 2014
Trade Secrets Re-opening
Councillors Pickles and Dickerson celebrating the grand re-opening of Trade Secrets 
Whitchurch-Stouffville Council Endorsement of Pickering Council Resolution
Relating to the Pickering Airport Project
April 14, 2014
Acknowledgement letter
 
The Spinal Mechanics and Wellness Clinic Grand Opening
April 12, 2014
Spinal Mechanics and Wellness Clinic Grand Opening
 
Wingfest Pickering Recreation Centre
April 11, 2014
Wingfest Photo 1
 
Wingfest Photo 2
 
Wingfest Photo 3
 
Pickering Museum Village Volunteer Appreciation Night
April 10, 2014

Councillor Pickles attended the annual volunteer appreciation evening for the Pickering Museum Village.  The evening celebrates the efforts of the over 300 volunteers that provide their time and energies at the Pickering Museum Village.  In 2013 those volunteers contributed more than 26,000 hours which is equivalent to in-kind value of just over one half million dollars.

PMV VIV 2014
Councillor Pickles and Deputy Mayor Dickerson with Pickering Museum Village Volunteers Graham Lowman, Julie Oakes and Paul Savel
Speak up on Durham Live project om Pickering
Public meeting on Monday
April 3, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

Pickering residents must take advantage of an opportunity to provide the City with input on the proposed casino development.

Much would be required to make it happen and the impact on the city could be enormous, so whether you favour it or not, now is the time to speak up.

Pickering Developments Inc.  has filed an application with Pickering to rezone three parcels of land near Bayly and Church streets to create a huge tourist destination.  The highlights of the estimated $1.6 billion Durham Live project are a casino, convention centre, performing arts centre, restaurant plaza, hotels, water park, film studio and fitness centre.

Residents can have their say at a 7 p.m., April 7 meeting of council's planning and development committee.

And on April 22, council will vote on a bylaw to put a referendum question on the ballot, asking, “are you in favour of a gaming facility (casino) in the City of Pickering as part of a hotel, convention centre, entertainment complex in a non-residential area?”

There are a number of issues to consider.

First, and hence Pickering's proposed referendum question, Council has vacillated on having a casino in the city and your input may sway their decision one way or another.  As well, the land where the development would be built, at the northwest corner of Bayly and Church streets, is near Duffins Creek and environmentally sensitive wetlands.

And a new zoning designation would be required in order for Durham Live to be built as the land is currently zoned to allow manufacturing, storage and industrial uses.

When you add traffic and parking considerations, there is much to think about.

Of course residents must take into account the added tax dollars to the city and the spin-off benefits to Pickering businesses.

While no decision will be made at the April 7 meeting, it is very important in that this provides residents with a chance to give their council members input on the project.  And given its size and probable impact, this is a public meeting residents should attend.

City staff will likely come back to council with a report and recommendation in the summer.  But the time is now if your voice is to be heard.

Note that residents can also send written remarks to the City's development department.

Exercise your democratic rights and take advantage of the opportunity to tell the City what you think.

Durham starting Greenbelt review
April 2, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- Over the next month, Durham Region will be seeking public input about the Greenbelt Plan.

The plan is up for a mandatory 10-year review in 2015 and the Region wants to know what residents think.  The Region has retained the consulting firm of Urban Strategies Inc.  to conduct a series of open houses, along with an online survey, interviews with municipal politicians and staff, and focus groups organized around key issues.

Two dates have been set for public consultation sessions -- Monday, April 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Region of Durham headquarters, and Wednesday, April 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Pickering Recreation Complex.

Interested persons may also visit www.durham.ca/greenbeltreview and participate online via downloadable workbook or survey.  That deadline has been extended until April 22.

The Greenbelt Plan and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan were put in place by the Province in 2005 to preserve farmland in the Golden Horseshoe.  In Durham, this covers more than 80 per cent of the overall geographical area, and extends into each of the Region's eight municipalities.

The Region is also setting up the Greenbelt Review Working Group, with representatives from relevant agencies and other stakeholder organizations with an interest in the greenbelt, to help the consultant to understand the perspectives and interests of local stakeholder groups.  Membership in the group will include representatives from the eight area municipalities, the five conservation authorities in Durham, Regional citizen advisory committees, the agricultural and environmental sectors, and the development industry.

Durham's consultations will be used to develop a discussion paper that will be the foundation of the Region's submission to the Province.

Pickering residents can comment on casino development April 7
No decisions will be made at meeting, report expected this summer
April 2, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Pickering residents will have their first chance to learn more about a proposed casino development at a public meeting.

Council's planning and development committee will discuss the Durham Live proposal at its April 7 meeting, starting at 7 p.m.

Pickering Developments Inc.  recently filed an application with the City to re-zone three parcels of land near Bayly and Church streets, to create a massive tourist destination.

Steve Apostolopoulos, co-founder and managing partner of Pickering Developments Inc., has estimated the project cost at $1.6 billion.

“Pickering is a fast-growing, thriving community ...  that lacked a major entertainment or hospitality area,” he says, explaining why the site was chosen.

An illustration of the Durham Live project shows a casino, convention centre, performing arts centre, restaurant plaza, hotels, water park, film studio and fitness centre, among other features.

The land is currently zoned to allow manufacturing, storage and industrial uses.

Since there is no zoning category that allows for all the proposed uses, the intent is to create a site-specific zoning category called “major tourist destination.”

Some of the issues council and City staff will look at include the impact on nearby environmentally sensitive wetlands, how increased traffic volumes and street parking would be accommodated, whether noise will be an issue and appropriate building heights, pedestrian features and other design elements.

On April 22 council will also vote on a bylaw to place a referendum question on the ballot, which asks “are you in favour of a gaming facility (casino) in the City of Pickering as part of a hotel, convention centre, entertainment complex in a non-residential area?”

Members of the public can offer feedback at the upcoming meeting or send written comments to the City's development department.

No decisions on the Durham Live proposal will be made on April 7.

City staff is expected to come back to council with a report and recommendation in the summer.

Pickering voters could have a say on casino issue
One referendum question already approved
Jillian Follert
March 28, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
David Pickles
David Pickles
AJ Groen / Metroland
PICKERING -- David Pickles, city councilor

PICKERING -- Pickering residents could have a chance to comment on a potential casino when they vote in the October municipal election.

On April 22 council will vote on a bylaw to place a referendum question on the ballot, which asks “are you in favour of a gaming facility (casino) in the City of Pickering as part of a hotel, convention centre, entertainment complex in a non-residential area?”

The move comes on the heels of a re-zoning application from Pickering Developments Inc.  to create a tourist destination called “Durham Live” on three parcels of land located on the north side of Bayly Street, west of Church Street.

The proposal could potentially include a casino, five-star hotel, convention centre, performing arts centre, movie theatre, restaurant plaza, water park and boutique hotel.

A public meeting on the re-zoning application is planned for April 7.

“Most residents I spoke to about whether or not they support a casino say it depends where, they don't want one near a residential area,” said Councillor David Pickles.

“They also say it depends how much revenue Pickering would get ...  there are other factors.  Would it bring a hotel? Would it bring jobs?”

Councillor Kevin Ashe questioned the timing of the ballot question, noting council is expected to consider a report on the Durham Live application in June or July.

“Council has already made a determination about being a willing host ...  council will make a determination either yes or no about a planning process that may or may not have a casino,” he said.

Pickering council had initially planned to vote on a bylaw for the casino ballot question on March 24, with the original wording “are you in favour of a gaming facility (casino) in the City of Pickering?”

The wording was amended to specify a non-residential area and make mention of the hotel, convention centre and entertainment complex.

Councillor Jennifer O'Connell raised concerns about the wording change, saying it complicates the question.

“What's very uncomfortable to me is to say to the public, here's a shiny hotel, here's a water park, here's an arts centre.  All these things you want ...  we'll give it to you if you support a casino.”

As a result of the wording change, the bylaw vote and public meeting have been moved to April.

The Municipal Act says referendum results are binding, subject to a few exceptions, if at least 50 per cent of eligible voters weigh in on a question.

If council approves it, the casino question will be the second referendum question to appear on Pickering's Oct. 27 ballot.

On March 24 Pickering council passed a bylaw to put a question on the ballot relating to the size of regional council.

The deadline for council to approve ballot questions for the upcoming election is April 30.

CHAIRMAN WANTS CASINO CASH SHARED WITH REGION

Regional Chairman Roger Anderson thinks any potential casino in Pickering should share its revenues with the Region.

He made the comments during his annual address to Pickering council on March 24.

“Do I believe that the Region should be a partner? Yes,” the chairman said in response to questions from Councillor Kevin Ashe.

Mr. Anderson pointed out that regional roads would be used to access a casino and regional services such as police and EMS would be used to assist its patrons.

He said the type of partnership is “up for debate” and lamented the fact that the Town of Ajax does not share revenues from Ajax Downs with the Region.  

In Your Words & Expressions
March 26, 2014

As a prevoius two-term Chair of the Pickering Advisory Committee on Diversity, I was pleased to participate in the 2014 Diversity Forum to commemorate March 21st The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination hosted by Committee, Council representative Kevin Ashe and Mayor Dave Ryan.  The Forum recognized student contest winners in creative writing and visual arts “In Your Words & Expressions”.

Words and Expressions 1
 
Words and Expressions 2
 
Family behind Pickering tourism proposal no stranger to big deals
Ajax mayor says Pickering lacks business case to move casino
Jillian Follert and Keith Gilligan
March 6, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Ajax Mayor Steve Parish
Casino talk
Jason Liebregts / Metroland file photo
AJAX --Ajax Mayor Steve Parish says Pickering lacks business case to move casino.  File photo from March 27, 2013

PICKERING -- The developer behind a massive tourism proposal in Pickering is from a family known for headline-grabbing real estate deals.

Pickering Developments Inc.  is the applicant on a re-zoning application for Durham Live, a tourist destination proposed for the Bayly and Church streets area.

That name may not ring any bells, but the family behind the proposal also owns Triple Group of Properties, a Toronto firm with investments in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Florida and overseas.

The Apostolopoulos family -- Greek immigrant Andreas Apostolopoulos and his three sons Steve, Jim and Pete -- garnered international attention when Triple Group started buying up bargain properties in the Detroit area, including the 80,000-seat Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan, bought for the astonishing price of $583,000 in 2009.

Triple Group followed up with the Penobscot Building, Detroit's third-tallest office tower, purchased for $5 million in 2012, and Detroit's historic State Savings Bank, bought for about $700,000.

The Apostolopoulos family was recently ranked No.  56 in Canadian Business magazine's annual list of “Canada's Wealthiest People.” The rankings put the family's 2013 net worth at $1.3 billion, up 23 per cent over the previous year.

Steve Apostolopoulos, co-founder and managing partner of Pickering Developments Inc., says there is “no affiliation” between the two companies owned by his family.

He says it's still too early to talk in detail about the Durham Live proposal, but pegs the project cost at about $1.6 billion.

“Pickering is a fast-growing, thriving community ...  that lacked a major entertainment or hospitality area,” he says, explaining why the site was chosen.

Pickering Developments has applied to rezone three parcels of vacant land located on the north side of Bayly, west of Church.

The proposal could potentially include a casino, five-star hotel, convention centre, performing arts centre, outdoor amphitheatre, movie theatre, restaurant plaza, waterpark and boutique hotel.

The current zonings -- which allow storage and manufacturing uses -- don't permit some of the proposed tourism projects, such as a casino or hotel.

Since there is no zoning category that allows for all the proposed uses, the intent is to create a site-specific zoning category called “major tourist destination.”

A public information meeting is planned for April 7, and a City staff recommendation report will follow in June or July.

In the meantime, mention of a casino in Pickering has raised questions about the future of Ajax Downs.

The Province has lumped Pickering, Ajax and Whitby into one “gaming zone,” which means there can only be one casino in the area.

Asked if he's worried about the Pickering proposal, Ajax Mayor Steve Parish's response was, “Frankly, no.

“The Ajax site is one of the most successful in the province,” he said.  “When you go down the list and tick off the boxes, Ajax has it.  The Province has made it clear, to move it off site, there has to be a strong business case.  Pickering doesn't have one.”

The Town of Ajax received about $6.9 million in revenue from Ajax Downs in 2012.

Ajax offered Whitby 15 per cent of what the Town receives, but Whitby officials turned it down.  With that rejection, Ajax didn't approach Pickering.

Mayor Parish thinks the Pickering proposal is “one aspect” of the City trying to get some kind of revenue-sharing arrangement.

“There are going to be some people with red faces who didn't accept revenue sharing when it was offered,” he said.  “They looked a gift horse in the mouth.”

In December 2012, Pickering council voted 4-3 to declare the city a willing host for an OLG gaming facility.

Councillors Bill McLean and Jennifer O'Connell and Mayor Dave Ryan were opposed.

The move came after the OLG announced a modernization plan that included grouping GTA municipalities into gaming zones -- including one zone for Ajax, Pickering and Whitby.

In response to the changes, Whitby declared itself a willing host in September 2012 and started negotiations with Ajax to receive a share of the Ajax Downs revenue, in exchange for not pursuing a gaming facility of its own.

Whitby ultimately rejected an offer of an annual 15-per cent share, or about $1 million.

Pickering's move to become a willing host was an attempt to enter similar negotiations with Ajax.

While Pickering Mayor Ryan was among those who voted against being a willing host for a casino, Mayor Parish alleges Mayor Ryan is “working behind the scenes” to get one, adding “the politics on this is volatile.”

“The fact that an application has been brought forward is not something that we've done,” Mayor Ryan stressed.

He says the potential for 10,000 new jobs is what's driving his interest in the Durham Live proposal.

“The whole concept is to create an entertainment and tourism destination point in the eastern GTA, there isn't anything like that east of Niagara Falls,” he said.

When asked about the potential for conflict between Ajax and Pickering as a result of the new casino proposal, Mr. Apostolopoulos said decisions about casino locations aren't his to make.

“The Province and OLG have the ultimate say in where the casino will go,” he said, noting the Durham Live proposal isn't contingent on a casino, describing it as a “very small component” of the site.

Ajax should play let's make a deal with Pickering
March 6, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

Ajax would do well to once again play it safe and try to work out an arrangement with Pickering and Whitby to ensure the OLG Slots at Ajax Downs stays here, given that it provides millions in revenue per year to the Town.

There's a new player, or at least a new card in the deck, in the casino war that's been simmering for roughly a year and a half in west Durham.  Pickering recently received an application to build a massive tourism development, Durham Live, at Church and Bayly streets.  And while the developer himself, Steve Apostolopoulos, co-founder and managing partner of Pickering Developments Inc., says it's early to talk about the proposal in detail, it does include a casino.

As you will recall, OLG, as part of its plan to modernization gaming, is setting up private, not government-run, casinos throughout Ontario, including one in a zone which covers Ajax, Pickering and Whitby.  Only one of those communities can have a casino and, if it were to be in Pickering or Whitby, the Ajax slots facility would close.

As we argued in September 2012, Ajax would be wise to play it safe and make some kind of arrangement with Pickering to ensure a casino is not included in the development.

In the past, when confronted with Whitby possibly seeking a casino, Ajax offered that municipality 15 per cent of its slots revenue to declare itself an unwilling host for one.  Whitby passed on the offer and it was never extended to Pickering.

We agreed with Mayor Steve Parish and council when they made the offer to Whitby and believe they should make a similar one to Pickering, contingent on it telling the Province it doesn't want a casino and saying `no' to a casino in the Durham Live development.

At the time, Mayor Parish said, “When I compare the risk of the loss of the whole facility and the jobs and the revenue and everything that that entails, and making an educated, secure arrangement, I think the latter is the better.”

It was the wise move then and it still is.  Ajax simply cannot take the risk that it could lose the slots facility, which since 2006 has garnered the Town roughly $41 million.

Mayor Parish claims Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan is “working behind the scenes” to get a casino, adding “the politics on this is volatile.”

Given the money up for grabs, that's a fair bet.

And given how much the slots revenue has meant to Ajax, and more importantly its taxpayers, Ajax needs to be proactive and do whatever it takes to ensure the slots operation remains here.  If that means offering some of the revenue it receives from the slots operation to Pickering and even Whitby, so be it.  There's lots to go around.

Pickering should press for Ajax slots revenue
Casino proposal puts City in better position to bargain
March 6, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

With a proposal for a casino in hand, Pickering should use this bargaining chip to work out a deal with Ajax to obtain a percentage of the revenue Ajax receives from the OLG Slots at Ajax Downs.

It would be a smart move for the City on behalf of its taxpayers, even if it meant saying no to a casino here.

Pickering recently received an application to build a massive tourism development, Durham Live, at Church and Bayly streets.  And while the developer himself, Steve Apostolopoulos, co-founder and managing partner of Pickering Developments Inc., says it's early to talk about the proposal in detail, it does include a casino.

As you will recall, OLG, as part of its plan to modernization gaming, is setting up private, not government-run, casinos throughout Ontario, including one in a zone which covers Ajax, Pickering and Whitby.  Only one of those communities can have a casino and, if it were to be in Pickering or Whitby, the Ajax slots facility would close.

Now, given that the Ajax facility is built and very successful, the odds are when the Province makes its decision the status quo is going to prevail.  It's not a sure thing, but pretty darn close to one.

In that context, Pickering should give every appearance that it wants the casino, enabling it to more successfully press for a percentage of Ajax's slots revenue.  If Ajax agreed, in return Pickering would tell the Province it doesn't want a casino, eliminating that component from the Durham Live development.

Ajax once offered Whitby 15 per cent of its revenue, which is roughly $6.9 million per year, if it declared itself an unwilling host.  Whitby turned it down and the offer was never extended to Pickering.

But with a casino proposal on the table, Pickering is in a much better position to press for a share of the Ajax slots money.

And it would be foolish not to do so, given that this could mean money every year for Pickering and of course its ratepayers.  This money could go toward capital projects, reducing the amount of money the City needs to borrow.

Given that Pickering is at least lukewarm on a casino anyway, it could have its cake and eat it too: don't host a casino but receive revenue from one in a neighbouring community.  Pretty sweet.

Ajax Mayor Steve Parish believes Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan is “working behind the scenes” to get a casino.

Let him think it.  It only puts Pickering in a stronger position when it approaches Ajax for revenue.

Acknowledgement of Correspondence to the Prime Minister's Office
Relating to the Pickering Airport Project
February 27, 2014
Acknowledgement letter
 
Pickering mulls over casino proposal
February 27, 2014
(citynews.ca)
Developer wants to build casino
A developer wants to build a casino and entertainment complex on vacant land in Pickering, seen on Feb. 27, 2014.  CITYNEWS

A developer has bought land in Pickering where it hopes to build a casino, after similar proposals in Toronto, Markham and Vaughan failed.

Dubbed Durham Live, the complex would include three hotels, a convention centre, a performing arts centre, an amphitheatre, three office towers, a waterpark - and a casino.

The project would span 55 hectares near Bayly and Church streets.  Another 35 would remain as green space.

“I think Pickering's day in the sunshine has arrived,” said Deputy Mayor Doug Dickerson.

“The great thing about this project is that it's not contingent on a casino.  This project is viable enough to stand its own without a casino.”

Whether or not a casino goes in is up to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., but if approved it would scuttle one at nearby Ajax Downs because the two are in the same district.

“Pickering has indicated their desire to proceed and OLG will be there to provide direction and give support where necessary,” said Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

Pickering residents can have their say at a public meeting in early April.  A city staff report will follow in June or July.

Durham Regional council cost $1.5 million last year
Costs include salaries, mileage, conferences
February 27, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Durham Region HQ
Durham Regional Headquarters
Walter Passarella / Metroland Regional Municipality of Durham June 19,2007

DURHAM -- Regional councillors cost Durham taxpayers about $1.5 million in 2013.

A recent report highlights what Durham's 28 regional council members earned in salary last year, as well as their expenses for conferences and conventions, mileage and money paid for sitting on boards and committees.

Council members each earned a salary of $51,329 in 2013, with the exception of Councillors Lorne Coe, Don Mitchell, Gerri Lynn O'Connor and Nester Pidwerbecki, who took home $57,308 to account for their roles as standing committee chairs.

Regional councillors also earn a salary from their local municipality.

Other costs for members of council included mileage and costs to attend conferences and conventions.

Councillors have a term limit of $10,000 for conferences.

Regional Chairman Roger Anderson was paid a salary of $193,895 in 2013, plus $6,435 in mileage and $41,117 to cover expenses for conferences and meetings.  His grand total comes in at $241,448.

An additional $19,183 was spent for Mr. Anderson and councillors Terry Clayton and Mary Novak to participate in a business mission to China.

Support Pickering's call for smaller regional council
Feburary 27, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

After almost 20 years, it's high time for a further reduction of regional council, one that will also create a body more representative of Durham's municipalities.

Pickering voters can have their say on the matter.  Pickering council Monday night approved a question to be put on the municipal election ballot in October.  It will ask Pickering residents if they support their local council asking for a smaller regional council.  At the same time, the re-jigging would see seats distributed based on each municipality's population.

Asking is the key word here as the decision lies at the regional level, not with Pickering council.  That and the fact that regional councillors in January voted 15 to 9 against a question on the ballot had Councillor Doug Dickerson questioning if it was worth the effort.

“The sad fact is that it probably won't have any effect at the Region,” he said.

Possibly, but we support Councillor Jennifer O'Connell's position, namely that it's important to push the issue.  As she noted, growth coming to Pickering means the city will have a larger population than Oshawa in future years.  However without a council shake-up, the city but will still be represented by four councillors at the Region, compared with eight in Oshawa.

“This is about sending a message to the Region,” she said.  “The current system is broken and unfair.”

And the Region would be foolish not to pay attention to that message, especially if it is supportive by a large majority of Pickering residents.  It's also encouraging that regional council is obviously split on the issue.

As we have noted, council's size is out of step with reality.  When it was created 40 years ago, the concern that the rural, less populated municipalities would be at a disadvantage given there is far more people in the south was a big one.  Thus the north was given two regional councillors each.  They now represent just over 50,000 people.  Again, Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock should have just one regional member and Oshawa should lose at least two or three.  Pickering should keep its four.

And in the process, council's size could easily be reduced by four members.

This would make the system fairer and regional council a bit less costly to taxpayers.

A previous report at regional council noted Durham council's 28 members represent around 608,000 people.  In Peel Region, 24 councillors represent almost 1.3 million and York Region, with a population of just over one million people, has 20 councillors.

Durham Regional council can and should clearly be smaller and more representative.  Furthermore, there should be a mechanism in place to regularly review the size and make-up of council.

Say it with a tick of your ballot this fall.

Ajax, Scarborough hospitals may approve merger next week
Silence from province over funding an ongoing concern
Mike Adler
(durhamregion.com)
Rouge Valley Health Services
Rouge Valley Health Services

February 26, 2014

Directors of The Scarborough Hospital and Rouge Valley Health System appear ready to formally approve the merger of their hospitals at meetings next week.

But as the boards vote, it may not be clear whether the provincial government, which ultimately controls their future, is willing yet to even look at possible replacements for the hospital campuses both organizations say are obsolete and at capacity.

Ordered by their regional health authority to look into a possible merger last March, CEOs and other officials from the hospitals have tried hard to sell the message that combining TSH and RVHS will win them more patients, investments and top-quality staff.

“We will be a powerhouse in terms of health care in this province,” Rouge Valley's CEO told his staff at a meeting this month, adding a merged hospital will be Ontario's seventh-largest, with the largest surgical and emergency programs.

“This will be a very significant, very powerful organization.”

But silence from Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews, who hasn't responded since the hospitals jointly made their pitch a month ago for grants to study renewal or expansion of their facilities in Scarborough and West Durham, may be a sticking point.

The hospitals have warned it will take $1.5 billion over 20 years just to maintain and modernize their campuses - not much less, they say, than the price to build new facilities in Scarborough altogether and expand the RVHS site in Ajax so that it can handle Durham Region's coming growth.

Many benefits of a merger will be lost, they add, if the new hospital is forced to keep old facilities that don't meet contemporary standards, as this “would severely constrain the merged organization's ability to improve quality of care, (or to) realize further operating efficiencies and improve performance.”

Furthermore, any savings realized over the first three years after the merger, $7.6-9.6 million, will be dwarfed than one-time costs estimated at $29.5 million.  Incurring these costs, Ganderton told his staff on Feb. 13, would also negatively affect future funding for the merged hospital.

He called three requests - that the province would cover one-time expenses, grant flexibility in the funding formula for extraordinary costs, and send a clear signal “that they will fund detailed capital planning” - the three “key enablers” of a merger.

On Tuesday, Ganderton, who is staying on as CEO only until a merger can become reality, had to concede he had received no word from the province on any of the three.

But he refused to speculate on whether this could affect the decision of his board on Monday, March 3 at RVHS Centenary, or for that matter, a vote by the TSH board Tuesday, March 4, at the hospital's Birchmount campus.

“I don't know what I'm going to know on Monday,” Ganderton said.

“We've been very consistent in saying planning grants are very important.”

The province, through its Central East Local Health Integration Network, has however covered costs up to $3.8 million for the hospitals' merger study and for due diligence reviews, done by independent advisors working for each hospital, which the two boards reviewed at closed-door meetings in February.

For procedural reasons, the hospitals have already submitted notice to the LHIN of their intent to merge, and their boards both approved a merger in principle last November.

If the votes next week favour the merger, members of each hospital corporation will also have to approve it at meetings in March - Rouge Valley's is on the 17th and some 6,000 individuals are eligible to vote - before their request is brought to the LHIN's board on March 26.

Matthews would then have 30 days to consider the request, and if she approves it nothing, not even an election in which the Liberals lose, could pull the merged hospital apart, except another process taking years and costing millions.  “We do not see that as even a remote likelihood,” said Ganderton

If everything according to plan, he told his staff, the new hospital could be formed on May 1, though its first name will be a temporary one, allowing a formal branding process afterwards.

“We are going to be using the thrilling name of The Scarborough and West Durham Health System,” Ganderton said at the Feb. 13 meeting to laughter.  “We couldn't get any more politically correct than that.”

Ganderton added he doesn't think people will see major changes in hospital programs, except for such “back office” functions as administration, information technology to food services, during the first fiscal year.

The hospitals have said no campus or emergency room will close as a result of a merger, and on Tuesday Ganderton maintained suggestions in their submission for capital planning grants “are purely illustrative and should not be read as any future direction,”

Residents can hear more about the merger and possibly ask hospital officials a question during telephone “town halls” on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7:55 p.m. and Wednesday, March 5 at 7:05 p.m. To get a call allowing them to participate, people must first register through the hospital's shared website, www.leadingforpatients.ca.

Ontario offers $190 million for ice storm aid
GTA municipalities are getting as much as $190 million from the minority Liberal government to cover repair and cleanup costs for a Christmas ice storm that felled trees and power lines
Rob Ferguson
February 26, 2014
(thestar.com)
Ice Storm
Toronto had requested $106 million to fix problems from December's ice storm.
Vince Talotta / Toronto Star file photo

Ontario municipalities will get about $190 million from the minority Liberal government to cover repair and cleanup costs for a Christmas ice storm that felled trees and power lines, leaving 800,000 without electricity.

GTA mayors alone had asked for a total of $250 million, with Toronto requesting $106 million along with $65 million to fix problems from flash flooding in a July rainstorm.

Municipal Affairs Minister Linda Jeffrey said Wednesday the $60 million gap between the $250 million sought and the $190 million offered stems from “preliminary” estimates as cities and towns tried to pinpoint costs created by up to 30 mm of ice on hydro wires and trees.

“I think that most municipalities will be pleased with this response,” she told reporters at Queen's Park, ruling out flood money for Toronto from the ice storm fund.

“We've had the last few weeks with our teams going out and working with municipal staff to really hone down that number,” she added.  “This number I think, will get them more than they actually asked for.”

So far, 32 municipalities in the GTA and southern, western and eastern Ontario have passed council resolutions requesting provincial assistance.

With many still clearing debris and assessing damage in parks, for example, Jeffrey said she could not provide an exact amount of disaster relief or a breakdown by municipality.  “It's still too early.”

However, she replied “yes” when asked if the payouts could go over $190 million for eligible expenses, such as setting up warming centres, covering police overtime, and clearing up and disposing of debris.

Ontario has requested reimbursement from the federal government - with a letter sent Wednesday to Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Steven Blaney - for some of the costs, Jeffrey said.

The one-time funding is good but the province clearly needs a better disaster response program, said Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton), who proposed a select committee in the legislature to examine problems in dealing with the December storm, such as the loose distribution of gift cards to replace spoiled groceries.

“Funding is one issue.  Getting it right in the long term is another,” MacLeod added.

New Democrat environment critic Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth) said Toronto is being “shortchanged” in the government's $190 million announcement.

He also called for a better disaster response program after the ice storm, where older and overgrown trees proved trouble for hydro lines.

“The provincial government has been negligent in preparing for extreme weather . . . how to we prepare so we don't have to go through this in the future?”

Falling trees and limbs heavy with ice not only took down power lines, some landed on houses and cars causing further damage and prompting $200 million in private insurance claims.

The disaster relief assistance comes with the province girding for a possible spring election if an upcoming budget from Premier Kathleen Wynne - who made many public appearances on blacked out streets and at warming shelters during the December storm - does not win support from opposition parties.

Mayors were briefed on the funding and the rationale behind it before Jeffrey's announcement.

Toronto city manager Joe Pennachetti said the city's costs were originally estimated at $106 million, but after refining the numbers, the city's formal request was for help with $86.5 million of cleanup expenses.

The province has agreed to fund that amount, without asking Toronto property taxpayers to pay a share, Pennachetti said.

While there was no help announced towards $65 million of July flood costs, the city will keep talking to the province on that issue, Pennachetti said.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said he was pleased that the province has come through, and there will be no hit to the Toronto property taxpayer.

Kelly said the province will look to recoup some of the costs from the federal government but isn't looking to the city to pitch in with cash.

“I think it's fair to say that virtually all of Toronto's storm clear-up costs should be eligible, will be eligible, for coverage,” Kelly said.  “I'm delighted to say thank you to the minister, to the premier, to the government.”

“This is not just good news, this is great news,” the deputy mayor added.  “I think this reflects the nature of the relationship between this city and the province which is one of partnership.”

Casino, waterpark, hotels proposed for Pickering
`Durham Live' development would require re-zoning, public meeting in April
Jillian Follert
February 26, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Durham Live Development
Durham Live Development PICKERING -- The City of Pickering has received a rezoning application for a significant new development proposal on the land located on the northwest corner of Church Street and Bayly Street. Referred to as Durham Live, the proposal is to rezone the subject lands to permit a broad range of attractions, such as a casino, hotel, convention centre, performing arts centre, outdoor amphitheatre and waterpark.  February 26, 2014.

PICKERING -- Pickering could soon be home to a massive new tourist development that includes a casino, hotel, waterpark, performing arts centre and outdoor amphitheatre.

Earlier this month the City of Pickering received an application to rezone three parcels of land located on the north side of Bayly Street, west of Church Street.

A memo to council says the applicant, Pickering Developments, is looking to rezone the vacant lands to accommodate a tourist destination dubbed `Durham Live'.

The proposal could potentially include a casino, five-star hotel, convention centre, performing arts centre, outdoor amphitheatre, movie theatre, restaurant plaza, waterpark, boutique hotel, botanical gardens, fitness centre, spa, community recreation centre and commercial offices.

“It will be one of the must go and see destinations in Ontario for young and old alike,” reads a planning rationale report for the project.  The current zonings on the property allow storage and manufacturing uses, and don't permit some of the proposed tourism projects, such as a casino or hotel.   Since there is no zoning category that allows for all the proposed uses, the aim is to create a site-specific zoning category called `Major Tourist Destination'.

“This is a very exciting proposal, it bodes well for the city that this sort of investment is looking to locate here,” said Councillor David Pickles.  “We could be looking at hundreds of millions in investment, tens of thousands in tax dollars...and thousands of jobs.  This could end up being the major entertainment centre for Durham.”

The lands total about 90 hectares.  City staff said the applicant is proposing to develop 55 hectares and leave the remaining 35 hectares as “natural heritage systems.”

Thomas Melymuk, Pickering's director of city development, said in an e-mail signs will be posted on the property once the application has been circulated to abutting agencies and land owners.

He said a public information meeting is tentatively planned for April 7, and a City staff recommendation report will follow in June or July.

“This is just the beginning of the process,” said Councillor Kevin Ashe.

He said there are many questions to be answered, including how the proposed development might impact traffic and nearby wetlands, and whether Pickering can support more restaurants and retail.

“There are impressive job opportunities and impressive tourism opportunities,” Coun. Ashe noted.

Celebrating Black History Month
(historical facts from www.gov.on.ca)
Black History Month
Celebrating Black History Month

Fact Sheet AFRICAN CANADIANS - Historical facts and significant dates
1603 The first known black man to arrive in Canada was Mathieu DaCosta.  He acted as a translator between the Micmac and the French with Champlain.  Clearly, DaCosta had been in Canada some time previous to Champlain's voyage of discovery, since Micmac is not European nor an African language.
1628 The first known slave, Olivier LeJeune, is recorded.  As a child of 6, he had been captured in Africa and was later given the surname of one of his owners - a priest.
1775 The British forces during the American Revolution are led by Lord Dunsmore.  In an effort to weaken the “rebel” side, Dunsmore invites all rebel-owned African male slaves to join the British side.
1779 With the hopes of winning the American Revolution, the British under Sir Henry Clinton invite all black men, women and children to join the British side and were promised their freedom for doing so.  Ten per cent of the Loyalists coming into the Maritimes are black.
1793 The Upper Canada Abolition Act, supported by Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe, freed any slave who came into the (now) province of Ontario, and stipulated that any child born of a slave mother should be free at the age of 25.
1800 to
1865
Approximately 20,000 blacks found their way into Canada via the Underground Railroad.   Harriet Tubman, one of the most famous “conductors” on the Underground Railroad, spirited several hundred fugitive slaves into Canada, despite a $40,000 reward for her capture, dead or alive.
1812 The Cochrane Proclamation invites refugees of the War of 1812 to become British citizens through residence in British territory, including Canada.  The settlement of Oro is established by the government for black veterans of the War of 1812.  A Coloured Corps is formed after petitioning by black veteran Richard Pierpoint.
1833 The British Imperial Act abolishes slavery in the British Empire (which included Canada) effective August 1, 1834.
1850 The second Fugitive Slave Act is passed in the United States, placing all people of African descent at risk.  The “Underground Railroad” steps up its operations - freeing enslaved blacks by transporting them into Canada.  The Common Schools Act is passed in Ontario, permitting the development of segregated schools.  The last segregated school in Ontario closed in the 1950s.
1853 Mary Ann Shadd left teaching in the U.S.  to join with Isaac Ward and her brother Isaac in publishing and editing the Provincial Freeman, one of the two black newspapers published in Ontario from 1853-1857.  Mary Ann Shadd is acknowledged as the first black newspaperwoman and the first woman publisher of a newspaper in Canada.
1857 William Hall of Nova Scotia became the first Canadian Sailor and the first person of African descent to receive the Victoria Cross for bravery and distinguished service.
1861 Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott became Canada's first doctor of African descent.
1885 Delos Roget Davis of Amherstburg, Ontario became one of Ontario's first black lawyers.  He was appointed King's Council in 1910.
1894 William Peyton Hubbard became the first black council member elected to Toronto City Council, and was re-elected council member for 13 successive elections.  He served on the Board of Control, and as acting Mayor on a number of occasions
1905 The beginning of the “Black Trek,” the migration of dissatisfied African-Americans from Oklahoma to the Canadian prairies.  That year, a group led by W.E.B.  DuBois and Monroe Trotter met secretly in Niagara, Ontario, to organize resistance to U.S.  racism.
1914 During the First World War, black Canadians joined combat units, despite opposition, and in 1916, a segregated unit, the Nova Scotia Number 2 Construction Battalion, was formed.
1939 In the Second World War, authorities again try to keep blacks out of the armed forces, but blacks insist on serving their country.  Eventually, they join all services.
1948 Ruth Bailey and Gwennyth Barton became the first blacks to graduate from a Canadian School of Nursing.
1950's New laws make it illegal to refuse to let people work, to receive service in stores or restaurants or to move into a home because of race.
1951 The Reverend Addie Aylestock became the first black woman to be ordained a minister in Canada.  The following year, Wilson Brooks, an RCAF Veteran, became Toronto's first black public school teacher, and in 1959, Stanley Grizzle was the first black person to run for a seat in the Ontario Legislature.  In 1963, Leonard Braithwaite, elected to the Ontario legislature, was the first black to serve in a provincial legislature in Canada.
1962 Daniel G.  Hill, an American-born black activist and writer who moved to Canada in 1950, was made the first director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the first government agency in Canada set up to protect citizens from discrimination.  Hill later became chair of the Commission.
1968 Canada saw the election of its first black Member of Parliament - The Honourable Lincoln Alexander, of Hamilton.  In 1979, he became Canada's first black cabinet minister, as Minister of Labour in the federal government.  In 1985, he became Ontario's first black Lieutenant Governor, and the first black to be appointed to a vice-regal position in Canada.
1969 The first Black History Week was celebrated.  Maurice Alexander Charles became the first black provincial judge of Ontario.
1978 The Ontario Black History Society is founded by Dr. Daniel Hill, Wilson Brooks and Lorraine Hubbard.  The Society is dedicated to the acknowledgement and preservation of the contributions to Canada's development by Canadian blacks.
1991 Julius Alexander Isaac, a native of Grenada, was named Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada.  He becomes the first black Chief Justice in Canada and the first to serve on the Federal Court.
1993 Jean Augustine was sworn in as Canada's first black female Member of Parliament.
Pitch could bring cricket stadium to Pickering
Toronto entrepreneur eyes land near Brock Road and 407
Jillian Follert
February 20, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Roy Singh
Roy Singh
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
PICKERING -- Roy Singh, a Toronto entrepreneur, is proposing to build a 35,000-capacity cricket stadium in north Pickering on land on Brock Road just north of Hwy. 7.  February 13, 2014.

PICKERING -- A Toronto entrepreneur wants to bring world-class cricket to Canada and says Pickering is the place to host it.

Roy Singh is proposing to build a cricket stadium at the northeast corner of Brock Road and Hwy.  407 in north Pickering, close to the proposed airport site.

He is in talks with City of Pickering development staff to narrow down parcels of land for purchase or lease.

City staff wouldn't clarify which lands are being considered or who owns them.

When contacted for information, Fiaz Jadoon, an economic development co-ordinator with the City, confirmed in an e-mail that “City of Pickering staff are investigating and researching various options for Mr. Singh's proposal,” however he said “we do not have any further information.”

Mr. Singh is the CEO and founder of the Canadian Premier League T20, an in-the-works professional cricket league that aims to mix Canadian athletes with international players.

He has lobbied several GTA municipalities in an attempt to secure space to build a venue for his league, with no luck.

At one point there was even a request to turn the Rogers Centre field into a cricket pitch for several weeks a year.

Mr. Singh, who is also the CEO of CINRO, a Toronto-based gold exploration company, says Pickering is “on the ball” and now appears to be his best bet.

“We want this to be the hub for cricket in Canada,” he says of the proposed stadium.

The proposal is for a 35,000-seat dome stadium that would be used for a CPL T20 cricket tournament over seven or eight weeks every August and September.

The tournament would be timed to coincide with other large GTA events such as the Canadian National Exhibition.  The rest of the year, the venue would be available for other events.

“Ontario is such a multicultural province, there is definitely a market for this,” Mr. Singh says, noting a feasibility study is underway.

He says Twenty 20 or “T20” cricket is a “much more exciting and sexy” version of the game, clocking in at about two-and-a-half hours per game, making it more fan-friendly.

Traditional cricket matches can go on for an entire day, or even several days.

Mr. Singh says the CPL T20 will be modeled after the Indian Premier League, and believes it could generate $500 million to $1 billion over the next decade.

Durham starting Greenbelt review
Consultations will run through March
January 19, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- Over the next month, Durham Region will be seeking input about the Greenbelt Plan.

The plan is up for a mandatory 10-year review in 2015 and the Region wants to know what residents think.  The Region has retained the consulting firm of Urban Strategies Inc.  to conduct a series of open houses, along with an online survey, interviews with municipal politicians and staff, and focus groups organized around key issues.

The consultations are expected to wrap up by the end of March.  Dates and locations for public meetings are yet to be determined.

The Greenbelt Plan and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan were put in place by the Province in 2005 to preserve farmland in the Golden Horseshoe.  In Durham, it covers more than 80 per cent of the overall geographical area, and extends into each of the Region's eight municipalities.

The Region is also setting up the Greenbelt Review Working Group, with representatives from relevant agencies and other stakeholder organizations with an interest in the Greenbelt, to help the consultant to understand the perspectives and interests of local stakeholder groups.  Membership in the group will include representatives from the eight area municipalities, the five conservation authorities in Durham, Regional citizen advisory committees, the agricultural and environmental sectors, and the development industry.

Durham's consultations will be used to develop a discussion paper that will be the foundation of the Region's submission to the Province.

For more information, visit www.durham.ca/greenbeltreview.

Pickering residents voice concerns about tax hike
Council will vote on 2014 budget Feb. 24
Jillian Follert
February 16, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Efforts to get more Pickering taxpayers involved in the budget process got off to a slow start Thursday morning, with just a handful of residents turning out for the City's big budget meeting.

Pickering council's executive committee spent Feb. 13 hammering out the 2014 budget, eventually approving a property tax increase of 3.75 per cent.

Council still needs to pass the budget at its Feb. 24 meeting.

Resident Andy McKinnon voiced concerns about the public engagement process, saying a 9 a.m. weekday meeting isn't the best way to get feedback from taxpayers.

“I'd like you to really try to engage the community, not just say you're trying to engage the community,” he said, noting that the budget documents were released Feb. 7, which gave the public little time to digest 400-plus pages of dense financial information.

“You guys work on this for months, and we at best get seven days.”

This year Pickering launched its new “Budgeting Your City” campaign aimed at getting more public feedback on the budget.

It includes a section on the City's website with clearly spelled out budget information, as well as online forms to submit feedback.

Other residents at the Feb. 13 meeting raised concerns about the proposed 3.75-per cent tax increase, which translates to an extra $47.40 per year for the average home valued at $358,400.

“I'm here to speak on behalf of the not-so-average people,” said David Sim, who worries he may not be able to afford his house if Pickering's increases continue at this pace.  “I want you to understand the impact of your decisions on people like me.”

He said his property taxes have risen faster than his salary and urged council members to be “more prudent” with spending.

Also concerned was Peter Fenske, a local senior who says his pension payments only go up by 0.9 per cent a year.

“I can't afford that kind of increase,” he said.  “We voted you people in to set an example, we put you here as leaders.  As far as I'm concerned we should all cut back.”

Mayor Dave Ryan said even if there were no service increases and no new buildings, taxes would still go up due to the “economic reality” of inflation.

“I believe that we have a well-run municipality,” he said.  “At the same time, we recognize that there has to be a balance and it's a difficult balance to maintain.  We don't take this responsibility lightly.”

The biggest project on tap for 2014 is a new operations centre on Clements Road.  It will replace the existing centre on Tillings Road, which was built in 1975 and is being squeezed by space limitations and encroaching residential development.

With a price tag of $27 million, the new operations centre is the largest project the City has ever undertaken.

Several sources of funding will cover the cost, including $11 million in debt to be paid back over 20 years.

Councillors questioned whether it was an option to delay building the operations centre.

City staff said putting it off for a year would tack an extra $1.3 million on the price tag, due to higher interest rates and construction costs.

Other noteworthy projects included in this year's budget are a $7.1-million indoor soccer dome and $1.3 million in improvements at Beverley Morgan Park.

Pickering's debt currently sits at $21.7 million.  It costs $4.8 million a year to service the principal and interest.

“We're well within our borrowing guidelines, we're actually well below the guidelines set by the Province,” said City CAO Tony Prevedel.

The Province limits the amount of debt a municipality can issue to 25 per cent of its revenues.  Pickering council has adopted a cap of 15 per cent of total tax revenue.

Members of the public can also speak on the budget at the Feb. 24 council meeting.

Visit www.pickering.ca/budget for more information.

Pickering councillor concerned by airport wording in federal budget
Document suggests airport consultation will focus on business community
Jillian Follert
February 13, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- This week's federal budget includes only a small reference to the Pickering airport issue -- but a local councillor says the wording speaks volumes.

The document notes more than 600 public submissions have been received and says the government plans to hold a series of stakeholder roundtables in the coming months “to ensure development benefits local businesses.”

Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles says that suggests only business stakeholders will be included.

“That's a good step, but it doesn't seem to include the broad consultation we're looking for,” he said.  “They shouldn't just be talking to people who support an airport about the benefits of an airport, they should be talking to everyone.”

Last June Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that the government will earmark about 8,700 acres of federally owned land in north Pickering for an airport, while 5,000 acres will be set aside for the creation of the Rouge National Urban Park.

Another 4,900 acres will be used for “regional economic development.”

On Jan. 27 Pickering council unanimously supported a motion from Coun. Pickles that calls for an “open and transparent” process around the proposed airport.

Coun. Pickles said its unlikely the feds had a chance to review the motion from Pickering before the federal budget came down, and is hopeful that the consultation process will be broadened.

Letter of Thanks to Pickering Council
From Land Over Landings
Febrary 10, 2014

February 10, 2014

Dear Mayor Ryan and Members of Council,

On behalf of Land Over Landings, I want to thank you for your unanimous support of Councillor Pickles' motion on Monday, January 27, 2013, concerning the Federal Lands.

While it's a given that our group strongly believes there to be no case for a Pickering airport, we are unanimous in our appreciation of your support for a motion demanding an open, transparent, and cooperative process from Transport Canada and assurances of continued protection of the Provincial Greenbelt, the Oak Ridges Moraine, and the Federal Green Space Preserve on the Lands.

We were gratified by the comments of all Councillors, and were pleased and reassured that the majority spoke strongly in opposition to the proposed Pickering airport.

We trust that this motion will encourage a discussion in other municipalities and at other levels of government.  We also hope for a speedy and positive response from Transport Canada, including detailed information that will allow the Province, the Region, the City of Pickering, and citizens to make informed decisions on the future of the Lands.  Only then can everyone work with the Government of Canada towards the best solution to this 42-year-old issue.  The solution must never destroy our Region's most precious asset - our irreplaceable and vital farmland.  It must capitalize on it, use it to its full potential, in a way that will benefit the greatest number, not just now but for generations to come.

Sincerely,
Mary Delaney Chair, Land Over Landings

Pickering proposes 3.75-per cent tax hike
Politicians begin hammering out budget Feb. 13
Jillian Follert
February 10, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- It's budget time in Pickering.

Council's executive committee will dig into the draft 2014 budget at an all-day meeting on Thursday, Feb. 13.

This year's proposed tax increase is 3.75 per cent, which works out to $47.40 more per year for the average home valued at $358,000.

“We're maintaining the level of service and adding quite a few capital projects that we feel many residents will benefit from,” says Stan Karwowski, the City's division head of finance and treasurer.

The biggest project on tap for 2014 is a new operations centre on Clements Road.  It will replace the existing centre on Tillings Road, which was built in 1975 and is being squeezed by space limitations and encroaching residential development.

With a price tag of $27 million, Mr. Karwowski says it's the largest project the City has ever undertaken.

Several sources of funding are being proposed to cover the cost, including $11 million in debt to be paid back over 20 years.

Other noteworthy projects included in this year's budget are a $7.1 million indoor soccer dome being built in partnership with the Pickering Soccer Club, $1.3 million in improvements at Beverley Morgan Park and $242,000 in additional funding for emergency management in light of the recent ice storm.

This year Pickering launched its first “Budgeting Your City” campaign, aimed at getting residents more involved in the budget process.

The initiative includes a section on the City's website with easy to understand budget information, as well as online forms to submit feedback and register as a delegation for the Feb. 13 budget meeting.

“People look at City Hall as this big machine, we want people to understand what we're doing and feel like they're part of it,” says Mark Guinto, the City's public affairs coordinator.

He says response to the new campaign has been generally positive, with about 300 hits on the web page and three residents signing up as delegations so far.

“It's a gradual process, not everyone is going to jump on board right away,” Mr. Guinto notes.

Visit www.pickering.ca/budget for more information.

Merging of Ajax, Scarborough hospitals proceeding
Organizations file notification to merge
January 31, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- The merger of the Rouge Valley Health System and The Scarborough Hospital is proceeding.

The two hospital systems have filed a formal notification of intent to merge, with the Central East Local Health Integration Network.

Filing the notification is the next step in the process of merging the two organizations.

“The proposed merger presents a significant opportunity to provide our west Durham and Scarborough communities with greater access to services and improved quality.  We believe that it also provides us with the ability to attract more physicians and to make better use of limited health care dollars,” said Joan Wideman, chairwoman of the board of directors for Rouge Valley.

The two hospitals are looking at merging some front-line services, administration and leadership and governance.

Rouge Valley provides hospital care for Ajax, Pickering and Whitby.

In early January, the two organizations formed a joint transition committee that will continuing examining the proposed merger.  After 60 to 90 days, the two organizations will reconvene to make a final decision on merging.

Notification will be submitted for consideration to the Central East LHIN, which initially directed the two hospital systems to examine a merger.

The final decision on a merger will be made by the minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Bring on Pickering airport, but keep residents in loop
January 30, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

We have consistently supported an airport in north Pickering, but the size and impact of such a project on the community requires that the federal government reveals its plans in detail.

Pickering councillors on Monday night unanimously called for “an open and transparent process.”

A number of residents, many from the Land Over Landings group opposed to an airport in Pickering, spoke against an airport here, citing the valuable farmland, the lack of a business case and the absence of need for the facility.

There's no doubt that an airport would be a huge economic benefit to Pickering and Durham Region, creating countless jobs and spin-off jobs and fostering economic growth, and for that reason we have no hesitations in supporting its creation.

Before a plane even takes off from Pickering, building the airport will mean hundreds if not thousands of jobs over a decade or so.

Once it's up and running, it will employ thousands or more people directly and many more indirectly.  According to torontopearson.com.  Toronto's Pearson International Airport directly generates more than 40,000 jobs and indirectly more than 185,000 jobs.

Now, of course the Pickering airport isn't envisioned as another Pearson; it will be smaller.  But like Pearson it will be a job creator.

And it's not just an airport.  Land will be set aside for “appropriate” economic development, and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty noted last year that aeronautics facilities would be key candidates.

Most notably, the airport would attract business, including hotels and restaurants, that again would create employment here.  And with thousands of new people coming to Pickering's Seaton in the coming years, those jobs, jobs close to home, would be ideal.  Those businesses will of course pay property taxes to the City of Pickering.

Mr. Flaherty at that spring press conference last year announced that more than 25 per cent of the property would be added to the Rouge Park.  Another 5,000 acres will be reserved for the aforementioned economic development.  However as we said around four months ago, one thing was overlooked in last year's announcement about the lands: this is indeed some of the best farmland in Canada and a chunk, even a small chunk of it should be preserved as such.  It would be a perfect place for local farmers to work with students at Durham College's Centre for Food.

We welcome an airport, but maintain Pickering residents deserve an open process that doesn't leave them asking a lot of questions, as they have been doing for 40-plus years.

Airport work should be `open, transparent', Pickering says
Let us be part of the process, Pickering tells Ottawa
Keith Gilligan
January 28, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Gord McGregor
PICKERING -- Gord McGregor, an executive member of Land Over Landings, was among a group attending the council meeting at Pickering ciy hall.  There was a motion on the floor form Councillor David Pickles that called on the federal government to be more transparent about the airport process.  January 27, 2014.

PICKERING -- The federal government needs to open up about plans for a possible airport in Pickering, the City says.

On Monday, Pickering councillors were unanimous in calling for “an open and transparent process” surrounding the planning for the airport.

Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles presented the motion, saying, “It's about giving a voice to the people to participate in the process.”

The motion was spurred, in part, by the announcement last June by Jim Flaherty, the federal finance minister, that the government would designate about 8,700 acres for an airport, while 5,000 acres would be set aside for the creation of the Rouge National Urban Park.  Another 4,900 acres will be used for job development.

Coun. Pickles noted there was “not a lot of detail” provided at the June announcement, nor at open houses held afterward.

“There was very little, if any, information being provided.  People are frustrated,” he said.  “The principle of the motion is to give a voice to all those here tonight.”

He's been on council for 16 years and “I still haven't seen a public, transparent business case.”

About 100 people turned out for the council meeting, including Mary Delaney, chairwoman of the anti-airport group Land Over Landings.

“We're really hoping to get the attention of Transport Canada.  We want to show them there's a huge groundswell against an airport and support for the protection of the lands,” she said prior to the meeting.

The group is hoping Transport Canada “needs to work with all the stakeholders and not work quietly behind closed doors,” she added.

David Masters of Land Over Landings noted, “There is no business case for an airport and there won't be one for a long time.”

A needs assessment study was started in 2007, but the findings haven't been released, he added.# “One would have thought the study would be done, but there's no study,” Mr. Masters said.

“Many people think a Pickering airport would be an economic boon for Pickering.  I would argue that,” Mr. Masters said.  “We need a clear, independent transparent study.”

During the meeting, Ms. Delaney said, “We're not against airports, but we are against airports that aren't needed.”

The land where the airport is proposed is Class 1 soil, which is the highest rating.

Regional Chairman Roger Anderson recently said agriculture is the foundation of Durham and is still the No.  1 employer in Durham, she noted.

“We should do everything in our power to protect this non-renewable resource,” Ms. Delaney stated.

She noted Pearson International Airport is operating at just over half of its capacity, while the Hamilton international airport is only operating at three per cent of its capacity.

“An unneeded airport won't help our area, but harm it,” she said.

She referred to a “ghost airport” in Spain that was built for $1.4 billion, but has sat empty since the economic meltdown.

“Is that what we want here?” she asked.

When he made his June announcement, Mr. Flaherty “ruled out agriculture, so we know what he wants isn't in our best interest.  Farmland isn't just empty land waiting to be developed.  It feeds us,” Ms. Delaney said.

The area has the potential to be developed into an agricultural hub, providing sustainable jobs, Ms. Delaney noted.

“We must protect farmland as if our lives depend on it, which they do,” she said.  “Ottawa's plans are shortsighted, wasteful and unneeded.”

Ward 1 City Councillor Kevin Ashe asked if Ms. Delaney had spoken with Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau about “the error of his father's ways.”

Ward 2 City Councillor Doug Dickerson noted when he was on council in 1978, “the points we're asking for are the same thing we were asking for 36 years ago.”

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson and would operate a Pickering airport, “I suspect has a business case.  They've had it for a number of years.  I suspect it doesn't say what they want,” Coun. Dickerson said.

Ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean said the airport issue has been “going on since 1972 and Pickering residents haven't had the best dialogue” with the federal government.

City hall rally held to protest Pickering Lands airport
Erin Criger
January 28, 2014
(citynews.ca)
Pickering Lands protest sign
A sign at Pickering Lands protests the planned airport on June 11, 2013.  CITYNEWS.

Dozens of concerned residents rallied at Pickering's city hall on Monday night to protest an airport planned for the Pickering Lands.

Protesters want more details from Ottawa.

“We want some meat now, we want something we can study,” Pat Valentine, who opposes the airport, told CityNews.

“We want something we can pick apart and argue against.  At the moment, there's nothing.”

When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced last June that the federal government would build on the federally-owned land that encompasses Pickering, Markham and Uxbridge, members of Land Over Landings vowed to continue their 40-year fight against the project.

The group argues the land - 7,440 hectares of Class-1 agricultural land located 56 kilometres northeast of Toronto - is valuable farmland.

“We can't manufacture Class-1 land,” Valentine said.

“Once it's gone, it's gone.”

The renewed talk of a Pickering airport has heated up since nearby Buttonville Airport in Markham is to close within the next two years.  A federal survey suggests the GTA will need another airport in about 13 years.

Pickering airport rally planned for tonight, Monday, Jan. 27
Land Over Landings, councillors call for more transparency from federal government
Jillian Follert
January 27, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Mary Delaney
Mary Delaney
Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland
PICKERING -- Mary Delaney, Land Over Landings chairwoman.  January 20, 2014

PICKERING -- Opponents of a Pickering airport are demanding transparency from the federal government.  

Land Over Landings is planning a rally for Jan. 27 at Pickering City Hall to coincide with that evening's council meeting.

Councillor David Pickles plans to move a lengthy motion that calls on the federal government to establish a more “open and transparent” process around the planned airport and the federally owned lands in Pickering.

“Whether people support an airport or not, these are all lands we own through the federal government,” said Coun. Pickles, noting he has been “consistently” opposed to an airport in Pickering.

“We need a business case, an environmental assessment and an open and transparent process for the residents to have their say.”

Land Over Landings chairwoman Mary Delaney says the rally is a chance to keep the issue at the forefront.

“We want to send a strong and clear message to the federal government that we have not gone to sleep on this issue, we are fighting it with everything we've got,” she said.

The motion asks the feds to provide a summary of comments received through public feedback following the June 11 airport announcement, and prepare a business case for the federal lands and airport.

It also requests Transport Canada re-establish a Pickering advisory committee to act as a liaison between the federal government, City and community on issues related to an airport, and that a federal Environmental Assessment be required for the construction of an airport.

Land Over Landings plans to support the motion if an amendment is made to include the importance of agriculture.

Ms. Delaney said opposition to a Pickering airport is “growing and spreading,” and stressed it is not a done deal, despite what Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced back in June.

“We are still very active on this campaign ...  it is no more a done deal in 2014 than it was a done deal in 1972,” she said, referencing the more than 40-year fight to prevent an airport and protect agricultural lands.

Asked whether details of the public comments will be released, Transport Canada spokeswoman Karine Martel responded with an e-mail statement.

“Departmental officials are currently reviewing comments that were received as part of the Pickering Lands engagement process,” she wrote.  “These comments will be taken into consideration as further plans and actions are undertaken for the responsible use and management of the Pickering Lands.”

In response to questions about a business case and environmental assessment, Ms. Martel referred the News Advertiser to a government website, saying any updates will be available there.

The rally starts at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the parking lot on Esplanade Road South.  For more information, contact Land Over Landings at 905-649-2433.

It's Never OK forum on Violence Against Women
January 26, 2014
NeverOK
I was pleased to attend with Keith Falconer the It's Never OK forum on Violence Against Women sponsored by the Canadian Afgan Council.  Great speakers on a important matter. 
Revised Motion by Councillor David Pickles for consideration by Council on January 27th

January 27, 2014

Notice of Motion

Moved by Councillor David Pickles

Seconded by Councillor Doug Dickerson

WHEREAS Pickering Council has passed previous motions regarding the federal lands including Resolution 212/98.

WHEREAS the federal lands consists of approximately 18,600 acres in total, with the majority in the City of Pickering.

WHEREAS the June 11, 2013 announcement by the Federal Government identified, that it will designate approximately 8,700 acres for an airport and transfer approximately 5,000 acres to Parks Canada for the creation of the Rouge National Urban Park.

WHEREAS there are 4,900 acres of “remaining lands” (i.e. the lands that are not included in the new airport site, and not part of the transfer to the Rouge).  The announcement in June, 2013 referenced that these lands could be used for “job- creating development”.  The majority of these remaining lands are designated by the Province of Ontario as Greenbelt and/or Oak Ridges Moraine, border the Rouge Park, and are largely comprised of prime agricultural lands.

WHEREAS the Federal Government has identified that new Airport Zoning Regulations (AZRs) will need to be established to reflect this new, smaller airport site and land transfer to the park (AZRs are currently in place based on the entire federal ownership being considered an “airport site”).

WHEREAS after the June 11, 2013 announcement, Transport Canada held two public engagement opportunities.  People were invited to provide comments through the Transport Canada website.  Transport Canada has not yet provided to the City of Pickering or residents a summary of the comments or responses to the open houses.

WHEREAS Pickering Council supports an open and transparent process with an opportunity to analyze and share relevant information as well as appropriate opportunities for public review and input to decision making.

WHEREAS in the early 2000s, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) established a Pickering Advisory Committee to provide advice on the completion of a draft plan and to obtain input on the Airport Zoning Regulations ( AZRs) that were being established at that time.  The GTAA Committee had representatives from the affected local and regional municipalities (elected officials and staff) as well as representatives from the surrounding affected communities.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Federal Government establish an open and transparent process with opportunities to share, analyze and comment on relevant documents and decision-making on the use of the federal lands including the announced airport in the City of Pickering.

THAT the Federal Government provide a summary of the comments and responses received through the open houses that followed the June 11, 2013 announcement.

THAT on lands falling outside the announced airport site, the Federal Government respect the Federal Green Space Lands Master Plan, and the provincial Greenbelt Plan and Oak Ridges Moraine policies.

THAT the Federal Government clarify whether the entire airport site is needed for airport purposes, or whether other uses might also be introduced and if so what they would be.

THAT the Federal Government prepare/update and make public for review and comment, a business case for use of the federal lands, including the announcement of an airport.

THAT the Federal Government require a comprehensive Federal Environmental Assessment, with appropriate opportunities for review and input by the City of Pickering and the public, for the announced airport.  That the Federal Government is to reimburse the City for reasonable expenses to participate in the Environmental Assessment Process.

THAT that the Federal Government continue to involve the City of Pickering on the AZR process.

THAT Transport Canada re-establish a Pickering Advisory Committee to act as a liaison between the Federal Government, the City of Pickering and the community on matters pertaining to the federal lands and announced airport.  The Committee members to include Federal Government representatives, City of Pickering staff representatives, the Mayor or designate, a Ward 3 Councillor, 3 community representatives as selected, following a public invitation.

THAT this motion be copied to the following people:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
The Honourable Glen R. Murray, MPP (Toronto Centre), Minister of Transportation
The Honourable Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
The Honourable Chris Alexander, MP, Ajax-Pickering
Corneliu Chisu, MP, Pickering-Scarborough East
Joe Dickson, MPP, Ajax-Pickering
The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, MPP, Pickering-Scarborough East
Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and CEO, Region of Durham
Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Town of Markham
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor, Town of Uxbridge
Mayor Steve Parish, Town of Ajax

Pickering airport rally planned for Monday, Jan. 27
Land Over Landings, councillors call for more transparency from federal government
By Jillian Follert
January 22, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
People or Planes?
Pickering Airport
Rick Madonik / TorStar
PICKERING -- A woman from Land over Landings wore one of the old protest buttons from the original organization which protested the Pickering airport.  The group was not allowed near the official announcement site where the federal government announced it's still committed to the Pickering airport.  The group was kept behind a small barrier.  June 11, 2013.

PICKERING -- Opponents of a Pickering airport are demanding transparency from the federal government.

Land Over Landings is planning a rally for Jan. 27 at Pickering City Hall to coincide with that evening's council meeting.

Councillor David Pickles plans to move a lengthy motion that calls on the federal government to establish a more “open and transparent” process around the planned airport and the federally owned lands in Pickering.

“Whether people support an airport or not, these are all lands we own through the federal government,” said Coun. Pickles, noting he has been “consistently” opposed to an airport in Pickering.

“We need a business case, an environmental assessment and an open and transparent process for the residents to have their say.”

Land Over Landings chairwoman Mary Delaney says the rally is a chance to keep the issue at the forefront.

“We want to send a strong and clear message to the federal government that we have not gone to sleep on this issue, we are fighting it with everything we've got,” she said.

The motion asks the feds to provide a summary of comments received through public feedback following the June 11 airport announcement, and prepare a business case for the federal lands and airport.

It also requests Transport Canada re-establish a Pickering advisory committee to act as a liaison between the federal government, City and community on issues related to an airport, and that a federal Environmental Assessment be required for the construction of an airport.

Land Over Landings plans to support the motion if an amendment is made to include the importance of agriculture.

Ms. Delaney said opposition to a Pickering airport is “growing and spreading,” and stressed it is not a done deal, despite what Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced back in June.

“We are still very active on this campaign ...  it is no more a done deal in 2014 than it was a done deal in 1972,” she said, referencing the more than 40-year fight to prevent an airport and protect agricultural lands.

Asked whether details of the public comments will be released, Transport Canada spokeswoman Karine Martel responded with an e-mail statement.

“Departmental officials are currently reviewing comments that were received as part of the Pickering Lands engagement process,” she wrote.  “These comments will be taken into consideration as further plans and actions are undertaken for the responsible use and management of the Pickering Lands.”

In response to questions about a business case and environmental assessment, Ms. Martel referred the News Advertiser to a government website, saying any updates will be available there.

The rally starts at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the parking lot on Esplanade Road South.  For more information, contact Land Over Landings at 905-649-2433.

Whitevale residents raise concerns following early bridge closure
Bridge connects east and west sides of village
By Jillian Follert
January 21, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Whitevale Bridge Closed
Whitevale bridge
Submitted photo
PICKERING -- On January 16 ,the City of Pickering announced the Whitevale Bridge would be closed to vehicle traffic five months ahead of schedule, due to safety concerns.  Some residents of the village have raised concerns abbot the detour routes and impact to local businesses.  January 20, 2014.

PICKERING -- Residents of Whitevale are looking for better detour routes and support for local businesses in the wake of a City decision to close the village bridge ahead of schedule.

The City of Pickering announced Jan. 16 that the Whitevale bridge would be closed to vehicular traffic five months ahead of planned construction, due to safety concerns.

Recent “extreme weather” has caused an abutment to shift outward.

The bridge is the main connection between the east and west sides of the village.

While residents don't dispute the decision, they are asking for better accommodation from the City.

“We need to work with the City on a better plan,” says Lloyd Thomas, president of the Whitevale and District Residents' Association.

For example, he says the current detour plan ignores shorter alternatives such as the North Road or Sideline 26.

“It is hoped that we can work with the City to devise a logical, well-signed, much shorter detour plan,” Mr. Thomas noted.

Business owners in the village have also raised concerns.

“This closure ... will be extremely detrimental to the fledgling businesses at the old mill,” says Nicole Brewster, who owns a quilt store right beside the bridge.

“It has been made worse by the incomprehensible detour plan, inadequate detour signage and the lack of `businesses still open' signs.”

Darrell Selsky, Pickering's manager of capital projects and infrastructure, said the City wants to mitigate impact on residents, noting staff worked to put detour routes and signage in place quickly and address mail issues.

One immediate concern was how 23 households on the west side of the bridge would get their mail.

Ms. Selsky said City staff met with Canada Post last week and arranged for temporary mailboxes to be put on the west side of the bridge by the community centre.

The mailboxes will be set up in about a week.

The replacement of the bridge is included as a capital project in Pickering's 2014 budget, with construction slated to begin in July and wrap up by the end of 2014.

Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles said he's pushed for years for the replacement of the bridge to be done as soon as possible because of its condition and has feared a premature closure.

“I'm very frustrated that we are where we are at this point because I've pushed for this to be moved up,” he said.

During 2012 budget discussions, residents spoke against $2.4 million that was earmarked to replace the bridge, saying it was a big expense for fewer than 100 families.

-- With files from Kristen Calis

Tutti Frutti Opening
January 18, 2014
Tutti Frutti Opening
Councillor Pickles is pleased to join in the opening of the new Tutti Frutti frozen yogart at Pickering Town Centre January 18, 2014 
Tutti Frutti Opening
Photo Credit: Corporal Raymond Wang 
Safety concerns close Pickering's Whitevale bridge
City has traffic management plan and detour routes
By Kristen Calis
January 17, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Due to safety concerns, the Whitevale bridge has closed five months ahead of schedule.

City of Pickering manager of capital projects and infrastructure Darrell Selsky said Thursday that the bridge has been closed to vehicles due to a crack in the abutment that resulted from bad weather.

Although engineering consultants recommended the bridge, which connects the west and east sides of Whitevale, be closed to vehicles, they said it's safe for pedestrians to use.

The replacement of the Whitevale bridge is a budgeted capital project, and the City planned to close it in June in order to facilitate construction.

I'm very frustrated that we are where we are at this point because I've pushed for this to be moved up.  Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles

Mr. Selsky said staff is working on a traffic management plan and has set up detour routes.

“It's a fairly big undertaking,” he said, adding staff is working to have all detour signs up as soon as possible.

The detour that residents on the west side of the bridge will have to take to get their mail is a huge concern, said Mr. Selsky.  But the City will meet with Canada Post on Friday to have temporary postal boxes installed on the west side.

Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles said in an interview he's pushed for years for the replacement of the bridge to be done as soon as possible because of its condition and future safety and has feared a premature closure.

“I'm very frustrated that we are where we are at this point because I've pushed for this to be moved up,” he said.

During 2012 budget discussions, residents spoke against $2.4 million that was earmarked to replace the bridge, saying it was a big expense for less than 100 families, among other reasons.

Ward 3 Regional Councillor Peter Rodrigues attempted to delete the item from the budget, but his motion was defeated by council.

“It is frustrating that residents will now be without use of the bridge immediately and we hope that we can advance the replacement of the bridge,” said Coun. Pickles.

Mr. Selsky said the project will begin in July and should be complete by the end of 2014.  The City will consult the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and other stakeholders about possibly starting the project earlier, but he said a number of issues could hinder that happening.  For example, migratory bird regulations don't allow for the cutting down of trees from April to August, and trees must be cut down to accommodate construction.

Motion by Councillor David Pickles for consideration by Council on January 27th

January 27, 2014

Notice of Motion

Moved by Councillor David Pickles

Seconded by Councillor Doug Dickerson

WHEREAS Pickering Council has passed previous motions regarding the federal lands including Resolution 212/98.

WHEREAS the federal lands consists of approximately 18,600 acres in total, with the majority in the City of Pickering.

WHEREAS the June 11, 2013 announcement by the Federal Government identified, that it will designate approximately 8,700 acres for an airport and transfer approximately 5,000 acres to Parks Canada for the creation of the Rouge National Urban Park.

WHEREAS there are 4,900 acres of “remaining lands” (i.e.  the lands that are not included in the new airport site, and not part of the transfer to the Rouge).  The announcement in June, 2013 referenced that these lands could be used for “job-creating development”.   Some of these remaining lands are designated by the Province of Ontario as Greenbelt and/or Oak Ridges Moraine.

WHEREAS the Federal Government has identified that new Airport Zoning Regulations (AZRs) will need to be established to reflect this new, smaller airport site and land transfer to the park (AZRs are currently in place based on the entire federal ownership being considered an “airport site”).

WHEREAS after the June 11, 2013 announcement, Transport Canada held two public engagement opportunities.  People were invited to provide comments through the Transport Canada website.  Transport Canada has not yet provided to the City of Pickering or residents a summary of the comments or responses to the open houses.

WHEREAS Pickering Council supports an open and transparent process with an opportunity to analyze and share relevant information as well as appropriate opportunities for public review and input to decision making.

WHEREAS in the early 2000s, the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTAA) established a Pickering Advisory Committee to provide advice on the completion of a draft plan and to obtain input on the Airport Zoning Regulations ( AZRs) that were being established at that time.  The GTAA Committee had representatives from the affected local and regional municipalities (elected officials and staff) as well as representatives from the surrounding affected communities.  

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Federal Government establish an open and transparent process with opportunities to share, analyze and comment on relevant documents and decision-making on the use of the federal lands including the announced airport in the City of Pickering.

THAT the Federal Government provide a summary of the comments and responses received through the open houses that followed the June 11, 2013 announcement.

THAT the Federal Government provide clarity to the City of Pickering on:

  • what is meant by 'job-creating developments' and where they might be located
  • whether the City of Pickering and/or others will be consulted to provide input into future decisions on these “job-creating developments” and other matters
  • whether the Federal Government have regard for the Federal Greenspace Preserve Plan, the provincial Greenbelt Plan and Oak Ridges Moraine policies
  • whether the entire airport site is needed for airport purposes, or whether other uses might also be introduced and if so what they would be

THAT the Federal Government prepare/update and make public for review and comment, a business case for use of the federal lands, including the announcement of an airport.

THAT the Federal Government require a Federal Environmental Assessment, with appropriate opportunities for review and input by the City of Pickering and the public, for the construction of an airport.  That the Federal Government is to reimburse the City for reasonable expenses to participate in the Environmental Assessment Process.

THAT that the Federal Government continue to involve the City of Pickering on the AZR process.

THAT Transport Canada re-establish a Pickering Advisory Committee to act as a liaison between the Federal Government, the City of Pickering and the community on matters pertaining to the federal lands and announced airport.  The Committee members to include Federal Government representatives, City of Pickering staff representatives, the Mayor or designate, a Ward 3 Councillor, 3 community representatives as selected, following a public invitation.  

THAT this motion be copied to the following people:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
The Honourable Glen R.  Murray, MPP (Toronto Centre), Minister of Transportation
The Honourable Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
The Honourable Chris Alexander, MP, Ajax-Pickering
Corneliu Chisu, MP, Pickering-Scarborough East
Joe Dickson, MPP, Ajax-Pickering
The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, MPP, Pickering-Scarborough East
Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and CEO, Region of Durham
Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Town of Markham
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor, Town of Uxbridge
Mayor Steve Parish, Town of Ajax

Letter to Residents
Re: Whitevale Bridge Closure
January 16, 2014

A letter was hand delivered to residents of Whitevale on January 16th detailing the closure of the Whitevale bridge.

The letter may be viewed by clicking here.

News Release
For Immediate Release
Pickering Closes Whitevale Bridge Over Safety Concerns
January 16, 2014

Pickering, ON, January 16, 2014 - Effective immediately, the City of Pickering has closed the Whitevale Bridge to vehicular traffic due to safety concerns.

The replacement of the Whitevale Bridge is a budgeted capital project with a planned closure date in June to facilitate construction.  However, the most recent safety inspection revealed that an abutment has shifted outward, due to the recently experienced extreme weather.

The City's engineering consultants believe that the bridge's structural integrity is compromised and they have recommended that the bridge be closed to vehicles, but can remain open and accessible to pedestrian traffic until the replacement project commences.  The City will consult with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and other stakeholders about possibly starting the project earlier than scheduled.

City staff will be implementing a traffic management plan and detour routes to help facilitate vehicular movement around the closed bridge.  Staff is in consultation with Canada Post to install temporary postal boxes for the convenience of residents/businesses located west of the bridge.

The City of Pickering will be employing several methods to notify Whitevale residents of the bridge closure and detour routes including door-to-door notification.  Additional signage will be installed to enhance visual notification in and around the hamlet.

Although earlier than anticipated closure of the Whitevale Bridge will cause an inconvenience to the area, the City's primary and overriding concern remains residents' safety.  Council and staff will work diligently to ensure that the bridge closure and replacement project will result in a positive outcome for the community.

-30-

As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet and has been recognized by Profit magazine as one of the ten best cities in Canada for growth companies.  Pickering's downtown has been named an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub by the Province of Ontario, and is personified by a $23-million landmark pedestrian bridge that connects directly to the GO train station.  The City of Pickering is considered a municipal leader in fiscal management, service delivery, sustainability and the environment.  With its direct access to major highways; educated and skilled labour force; prime employment lands; a world class EN3 (energy, environmental, & engineering) sector; state-of-the-art infrastructure; and supportive municipal government; Pickering offers unrivalled competitive advantages for business.  Visit pickering.ca/mediacentre for more news.

Media Contact:

Mark Guinto
Coordinator, Public Affairs | Office of the Mayor
905.420.4660 ext. 2013 | 1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739
mguinto@pickering.ca

Service Announcement
Notice of Whitevale Bridge Closure
January 16, 2014

Due to structural deficiency concerns, the Whitevale Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic due to safety concerns.

The bridge will remain open and accessible to pedestrian traffic only, until the replacement project commences.

Purpose: Safety inspections revealed an abutment has shifted outward due to the recently experienced extreme weather.
Duration: January 16, 2014 to December 31, 2014

Note:  Emergency vehicles will not have access.

Whitevale Closure Map
Click to enlarge

For additional information please contact:

Richard Holborn, P. Eng.
Director, Engineering & Public Works
Engineering & Public Works Department
T. 905.420.4660 ext. 2049
TTY. 905.420.1739
rholborn@pickering.ca
      Darrell Selsky
Manager, Capital Projects & Infrastructure
Engineering & Public Works Department
T. 905.420.4660 ext 2149
TTY. 905.420.1739
dselsky@pickering.ca

Service Disruption Line: 1.866.278.9993

Pickering wants your feedback on its budget
Budgeting Your City campaign invites residents to get involved in how their tax dollars are spent
January 15, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering is encouraging local residents to get involved in the upcoming 2014 budget process.

The new Budgeting Your City campaign invites the public to visit www.pickering.ca/budget to learn more about how the budget works and submit feedback.

“It is important that residents become familiarized with the municipal budget so they can better understand where their tax dollars go,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.  “I encourage everyone to learn more about the budget process, be heard on this matter and work collaboratively with the City.”

Residents can also register to speak as a delegation at the Feb. 13 budget meeting.

For more information, call 905-420-4626 or e-mail corpserv@pickering.ca.

Nominate someone for a Pickering Civic Award
Deadline is Feb. 6
January 15, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Nominations are now being accepted for the City of Pickering's Civic Awards.

The awards recognize local individuals, businesses and organizations that have given back to the community.

Recipients are nominated by community members and selected by a committee of council.

The categories include: the special citation award, bravery/heroism award, lifetime achievement award, individual volunteer award, service group award, community group award, amateur sports award, youth volunteer award, youth leadership award, sustainability award, arts award, cultural diversity award, heritage award, urban design award, economic development award, local business award, environment award and access award for disability issues.

The deadline for nominations is Feb. 6 at 4 p.m.

Nomination forms and full category descriptions are available at the Pickering Civic Complex, Pickering library branches, Pickering Recreation Complex and online at www.pickering.ca/greatevents.

For more information call 905-683-7575 or e-mail customercare@pickering.ca.

Pickering asks Province for 'disaster area' designation
Ice storm cleanup expected to total $2.3 million
By Jillian Follert
January 14, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Crew cleaning up trees
Disaster area
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland
PICKERING -- A crew from Cressman Tree Maintenance and Landscape Ltd.  cleaned up damaged trees on Woodruff Crescent.  Pickering council has voted to request the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to declare Pickering a disaster area so the City is eligible to apply for provincial aid to help with the ice storm cleanup.  January 14, 2014.

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering is asking to be designated a “disaster area,” in an effort to access funding for ongoing ice storm cleanup.

At a special meeting on Jan. 13, Pickering council voted unanimously to request the minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to declare the city a disaster area, so it can qualify for aid from the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program.

“Pickering was hit very hard, this is going to be very costly,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.

City staff said the total ice storm cost is estimated at $2.3 million.

That breaks down to about $100,000 managing immediate needs the week after the storm, including overtime pay, warming centres and communications.

Another $360,000 is currently being spent on short-term cleanup, including hiring contractors and equipment rental.

The remaining $1.8 million will be spent in the coming months on stump removal, tree replacement and long-term cleanup.

Mayor Ryan said the City “isn't prepared to discuss” the impact this could have on the 2014 budget, until it is known how much aid will be available.

The disaster relief program helps municipalities, private homeowners, farmers, small business and non-profit organizations replace essential items after a natural disaster.

To qualify, the damage must be in a designated disaster area.

As of Monday morning, the ministry had received requests from six municipalities to be declared disaster areas -- Brampton, Caledon, Mississauga, North Perth, Peel and York.

Ministry spokesman Richard Stromberg said that number is expected to increase, as several councils had the item on their agendas this week.

He said it's too soon to estimate how much money might be available to qualifying municipalities, noting there is no set budget for the disaster relief program.

Mr. Stromberg also couldn't say how long it will take for the Province to make disaster zone declarations.

“It will depend how quickly (municipalities) can get together the documentation,” he said.

To qualify for aid, municipalities must provide detailed documentation of the damage in their community as well as cost estimates.

“As part of the application there is significant criteria to be met, but we feel this is an opportunity that should not be lost,” noted Pickering CAO Tony Prevedel.

He said City staff worked through the weekend gathering information, as requests for a disaster area declaration must be submitted to the ministry within 14 working days of the disaster.

Mayor Ryan plans to attend a Jan. 17 meeting of GTA mayors, to map out a co-ordinated effort for securing funds from the Province.

A Message from - Doug Dickerson
January 2014
(The Pickering Retail Pages)

HAPPY NEW YEAR - WE SURVIVED THE CHRISTMAS of '13 THAT ALMOST WASN'T

Looking to begin the new year on a positive note, let me wish each and exery ready of Retail Pages all the best in 2014 - may it prove to be just as compassionate, full of excitement and filled with new opportunites as 2013 was, maybe even a little more so.

Beginning the new year, Council will be having some lengthy discussions during ... Read More

News Release
For Immediate Release
'Budgeting Your City'
January 13, 2014

Pickering, ON, January 13, 2014 - As part of its commitment to open and transparent municipal government, the City is inviting residents to learn more about the annual Budget process, and provide their input to help build the 2014 draft Budget.

As one of the City's corporate priorities, community engagement continues to be top of mind when planning for, managing, and budgeting the facilities, services, events and programs that touch the everyday lives of Pickering residents.

As such, the City, through its `Budgeting Your City' campaign, is encouraging residents to visit pickering.ca/budget to gain a better understanding of the Budget building blocks, and submit their feedback in preparation for the draft 2014 Budget.

“It is important that residents become familiarized with the municipal Budget so they can better understand where their tax dollars go,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.   “I encourage everyone to learn more about the Budget process, be heard on this matter, and work collaboratively with the City.”

As well as submitting their feedback online, residents are also encouraged to register as a delegation for the February 13th Budget meeting where the Mayor and Members of Council will discuss the draft Budget items.

The `Budgeting Your City' feedback form is available online at pickering.ca/budget and hardcopies will be made available upon request.  For more information about the Budget process, please contact Corporate Services at 905.420.4626 or corpserv@pickering.ca.

-30-

As the gateway city to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet.   Pickering is an affluent community that is steeped in history, natural beauty and small town charm with all the amenities and services that a big city has to offer.   The City of Pickering is considered a municipal leader in fiscal management, service delivery, sustainability and the environment; and offers a wealth of sports, leisure and recreation opportunities to its residents.   Pickering has been recognized by Profit magazine as one of the ten best cities in Canada for growth companies and received the 2008 FCM-CH2M Hill Sustainable Community Planning Award.

Media Contact:

Shauna Muir
(Acting) Coordinator, Sustainability
905.420.4660 ext. 2170 | 1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739
smuir@pickering.ca

Provincial NR, Durham's PSA
January 7, 2014

Following the ice storm, the Province, along with private sector donors have generously contributed grocery store cards to help people who lost food and are unable to replace it without financial assistance.  The initiative cannot provide grocery store cards to everyone who lost power, and is reserved for those facing the most need.

Applications for Provincial Food Gift Cards will be accepted by the Region of Durham by phone, starting on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 9 a.m.  Eligible residents should call 1-888-721-0622 to apply.

Visit Durham Region's Site for complete details.

Pickering ice storm cleanup could take months
Contractors hired for January at a cost of $40,000 per week
By Jillian Follert
January 7, 2014
(durhamregion.com)
Ice Covered Branches
Pickering ice storm cleanup could take months
Metroland File Photo
More than two weeks after the ice storm, Pickering is still in cleanup mode -- and City staff says it could be months before the job is done.

PICKERING -- More than two weeks after the ice storm, Pickering is still in cleanup mode -- and City staff says it could be months before the job is done.

Richard Holborn, the City's director of engineering and public works, described the damage to trees as “devastating.”

He said City staff worked with contracted maintenance services to do a week-long blitz from Dec. 22 to 27, removing damaged trees from the roads and cutting the branches into bundles.

Since then, cleanup has been on hold due to frozen equipment and the need to direct resources to snow clearing.

“It's going to take weeks to months to get it all done, there is a significant amount of tree damage on street trees,” Mr. Holborn said, noting that doesn't take into account damage to trees in parks or open spaces.

Contractors have been hired for January to cut down broken branches and chip branches that are piled up on boulevards.

The cost for those services is about $40,000 a week.  The City doesn't have a total cost for storm cleanup, because damage is still being uncovered.

The hope is that damaged trees will be replaced sometime in 2014, but it will depend on how much money is available.

Even if new trees are planted, Mr. Holborn said some areas of the city won't look like they once did.

“It's quite devastating when you look at streets that had mature canopies and now will have small trees put in.  It's not going to have the same community look that it did.”

On a more positive note, Pickering politicians are praising emergency responders and hydro workers for their hard work in the aftermath of the storm, as well as residents for their patience and compassion.

“I personally heard from and visited with many people that were going through hardship and was heartened to hear of the many neighbours and residents that pitched in to make each other more comfortable, even if it was for just a hot coffee or an invitation into their own homes,” said Ward 3 Councillor David Pickles.  “As a community, people really pulled together.”

Liberals promise cash cards for residents outside Toronto who lost power
TORONTO - The Canadian Press
January 06 2014
(theglobeandmail.com)

Another $450,000 worth of grocery store cash cards will be made available starting Tuesday in communities outside Toronto that lost power during December's ice storm.

Premier Kathleen Wynne faced severe criticism after big crowds and a lack of information hampered the distribution of $842,600 worth of cash cards in Toronto last week.

The opposition parties complain Wynne and the Liberals were more interested in photo-ops in Toronto than in helping people in other communities who also lost electricity.

The cash cards are intended to replace food that spoiled when power went out after the pre-Christmas storm, and are supposed to go only to those who can't afford to replace their losses.

Some municipalities will use a new call-in system to distribute the cash cards, but others will use the in-person pickups that caused long lineups in Toronto last week.

They will be distributed in nine other regions starting Tuesday, including Hamilton and Wellington, the regions of Halton, Peel, Waterloo and York as well as Dufferin county.

The cash cards will be given out in Northumberland county starting Wednesday and in Durham region starting Thursday.

Provincial officials are asking people to contact their local municipalities for details on when and how the cash cards will be distributed.

“Municipalities determined how best to distribute the grocery cards,” said Zita Astravas, Wynne's press secretary.

The government and corporate sponsors teamed up to offer $50 cards to individuals and $100 to families impacted by the power outages, but the distribution was crowded, chaotic and confusing, making it near impossible for many seniors and people with mobility problems to get money they were entitled to receive.

Meanwhile, the Opposition accused Wynne of playing “postal code politics” by personally delivering food baskets to some Toronto residents and getting the cash card program up and running only in the city.

“The political way that this has been handled by Premier Wynne and her cabinet has prevented people from equal access to a program that she initiated, one that we don't know the true costs of, and one that hasn't been delivered on a needs-assessment basis,” said Progressive Conservative critic Lisa MacLeod.  “She abused taxpayers' dollars and she abused corporate generosity all in the name of a quick photo-op.”

The New Democrats said Wynne had “bungled” the cash card program.

“Thousands of people outside Toronto were similarly affected by power outages and are wondering if or when they will receive assistance, and if they'll be stuck in line for days just like Torontonians,” said New Democrat Cheri DiNovo.

Pickering election year underway
Dave Ryan first to run for mayor in 2014
By Kristen Calis
January 2, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- By 10 a.m. on the first day Pickering City Hall opened for business in 2014, three candidates had already joined the municipal election race.

The election will take place on Oct. 27 and nominations must be made with the City clerk by Sept. 12 at 2 p.m.

The three who signed up bright and early on Jan. 2 will not run against one another.

Having held the position since 2003, Mayor Dave Ryan was the first to put his name in, and is running for re-election.  Mayor Ryan was Ward 1 City councillor from 1994 to 2003, until taking the top spot at the council table.  “There are still things that I want to accomplish in the city,” said the mayor.

These include the creation of more jobs, which he says continues to be his No. 1 priority, especially now that Seaton is coming down the pipe and the Province has committed to creating 30,000 jobs in the community.

“It's going to take a lot of work to make that happen,” he said.

His other focuses include transit, building a better working relationship with GO Transit and health care.  This includes working to ensure the merger between Rouge Valley Health System and Scarborough Hospital is done effectively, and working to get a hospital built in Pickering.

Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles was next, except this time, the councillor, who was first elected in 1997, is running for the Ward 3 Regional councillor position in Pickering.  The spot is currently held by Councillor Peter Rodrigues.

“I'm no stranger to regional issues,” said Coun. Pickles.

He said he's dealt with a number of regional issues in his 16 years as a city councillor, such as transit, traffic and garbage pickup.

“I think that the mayor could use that additional experience to help Pickering's profile and effectiveness at the Region,” said Coun. Pickles.

Current Pickering Trustee Chris Braney signed up for re-election for his seat at the Durham District School Board.  The current vice-chairman of the board, who's been a Durham trustee since 2006, is passionate about public education and wants to keep it strong.

“I just like the fact that when I go home at the end of the day, I feel I have made a difference with the kids in the school system,” he said.

While he's pleased Pickering students continue to improve in academic results, he plans to work on ways to improve them even more if he's re-elected.

The City of Pickering updates its candidate information daily at pickering.ca.

Municipal election nominations now open in Pickering
Local residents go to the polls Oct. 27
By Jillian Follert
January 1, 2014
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- Amid the clatter of noise makers and Auld Lang Syne ringing in the new year, many people may not be thinking about local politics or that 2014 is an election year.

However, when municipal offices reopen after the New Year's celebrations, there will already be political-hopefuls ready to file their nomination papers for the Monday, Oct. 27 municipal election.

Here at Metroland Durham Region Media Group we're launching a 10-month dialogue with readers and candidates about what Durham Region needs from its leaders.

Coverage will include everything residents need to make an informed decision -- candidate profiles, features, election events, debates and the issues that arise on the campaign trail.

The public will have new opportunities to be heard through social media and a video series of round-table discussions with citizens from all walks of life.

It's going to be a busy year.

For the first time in 2014, electors can vote for the Regional Chair -- which means this year residents can run for the position.

Since Durham was founded in 1974, the head of Regional council has been selected by Regional councillors at the first meeting after the election.  An October 2010 referendum on the issue showed 79.7 per cent of those who cast a ballot were in favour of directly electing the top seat in Durham -- however, voter turnout wasn't high enough to make the results binding.  However the majority of regional council members, and municipal councils supported the change.

Current chairman Roger Anderson has held the position since 1997.

Those who want a chance to lead the Regional Council can file nomination papers in-person with the Regional Clerk, 605 Rossland Rd. E. in Whitby.  For information on where and how to file a nomination, visit the region's website at www.durham.ca or contact Regional Clerk Deb Bowen at clerks@durham.ca or 905-668-7711, ext.  2100.

In Pickering, nominations opened Jan. 2 for the Oct. 27 municipal election.  It may be months away from voting day, but City Clerk Debbie Shields says it's not unusual for people to file nomination papers at the first opportunity.

“We usually get one or two on the first day,” she says.

There are seven Pickering city council seats up for grabs -- the mayor, three regional councillors and three city councillors.

Pickering also has four school board trustee seats, one each for the English public and Catholic boards and the French public and Catholic boards.

Nomination papers for city council and the English school board trustees can be filed in the Clerk's department at Pickering City Hall, located at One The Esplanade.

Those who want to throw their hat in the ring for regional chairman must file at Regional Headquarters in Whitby, while candidates for the French school boards positions file at Oshawa City Hall.

The fee is $200 to file as a candidate for mayor and $100 for the councillor and school trustee seats.

The deadline for nominations is Sept. 12 at 2 p.m.

Ms. Shields says the names of candidates will be posted on the City's website as soon as they are registered.

Voter turnout in Pickering was 32 per cent for the 2010 municipal election -- 20,560 voters cast a ballot out of 63,938 who were eligible.

So far, there are 64,626 eligible voters on the list for 2014, although that number could change by the time it's finalized in September.

Any changes, deletions or additions to the voters list can be made starting Sept. 2 and right up until polls close at 8 p.m. on Oct. 27.

Voting locations and advance poll information will be finalized this winter.

Compensation possible for ice storm victims in Durham
MPP Joe Dickson getting calls from constituents seeking help
December 31, 2013
(durhamregion.com)

DURHAM -- The Region is working with the provincial government to provide compensation for some residents who lost food due to power outages caused by the ice storm.

Sherri Munns, director of communications for Durham, said in an e-mail, “Durham is interested in participating in programs that will assist our residents in need and is awaiting further responses to our inquiries from the Province.”

Ajax-Pickering MPP Joe Dickson has been hearing from constituents about receiving compensation.

“We've had a number of calls,” Mr. Dickson said, estimating about 25 people have called his constituency office.

He added he's waiting to hear from Durham Region about the possibility of providing compensation.

The Province announced on Monday it would provide gift cards for up to $100 for families and $50 for individuals that could be used at grocery stores.  The program is only for Toronto, but a provincial press release noted, “The initiative will be expanded to other affected municipalities as needs are identified.”

In Toronto, the initiative is being handled through Ontario Works offices.

One of the issues in Durham is Ontario Works offices are spread out in the region, Mr. Dickson noted.

“Our staff is working today.  We're recording every call and taking contact information,” Mr. Dickson said.  “As soon as we hear something, tonight or tomorrow, we'll call residents back.”

Ajax, Pickering working on storm cleanup
Durham relaxing rules on amount of garbage that can be left at curb
By Keith Gilligan
December 30, 2013
(durhamregion.com)
Trees Down
Trees Down
Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland
AJAX -- A large tree was covering the sidewalk at the corner of Falby Court and Harwood Avenue Monday morning, as a result of Saturday night's ice storm.  December 23, 2013

DURHAM -- Now comes the cleanup.

And, there's plenty to clean up following the ice storm.  In addition to countless tree branches that snapped off, there's food spoiled when the power was knocked out along with the general damage caused by the storm.

Christie McLardie, the manager of communications for Ajax, said the Town is putting a plan together and will roll it out during the week of Jan. 6.

The plan will include when and where to place tree limbs, Ms. McLardie said.

“The Town acknowledges residents need assistance,” she added.

A report will be going to council in January outlining how the lost trees will be replaced.

“There will be a budget impact,” she said, but she doesn't know figures until the report is prepared.  “The Town acknowledges residents need assistance and support.”

Shauna Muir, co-ordinator of communications for Pickering, noted City crews are “out in full force” cleaning up damage.

It's being done on a priority basis, cleaning “downed branches and other debris,” she added.

If a tree on private property fell onto the City's property, City staff will take care of the removal.

“Leave it at the curb and we'll be along with our chipper,” Ms. Muir said.

People can call the City's customer care centre to report tree damage that needs to be cleaned up.  The centre can be reached at 905-683-7575 or at customercare@pickering.ca .

A tree that's fallen on private property is the responsibility of the land owner.

As for the impact the storm will have on the City's budget, Ms. Muir said that information won't be available until mid-January as staff are concentrating on the cleanup.

Durham Region is also responding to the cleanup by relaxing the four-bag garbage limit until Jan. 4 in communities where it collects trash.  Except for Whitby and Oshawa, Durham picks up garbage, green bins and blue boxes in all communities.  In Whitby and Oshawa, the Region collects blue boxes, while the local municipalities are responsible for garbage and green bin collection.

Until Jan. 4, the Region is offering free disposal of large branches and brush at the Oshawa and Brock waste management facilities.  The Oshawa facility is at 1640 Ritson Rd. N., while the Brock site is on Sideroad 17.  The free disposal is for residents only.  Businesses and non-residents will be charged the regular disposal fees.

There's no limit on the amount of green bin waste that can be set out.  Anyone with large amounts of spoiled food due to a power outage can place the items at the curb for composting.  If there isn't enough room in the green bin, place the extra unpackaged food in a paper bag or rigid container, clearly labelling it as food waste.

Many take-out containers can be recycled in the blue bin.  To see what can and can't be recycled, visit www.durham.ca/knowbeforeyouthrow.

Statement from City of Pickering Councillor David Pickles on Ice Storm
December 30, 2013

It appears Veridian has successfully restored power to all of its customers in the communities that were affected by last weekend's severe ice storm.   There are still a few one-offs that have damage and will need repairs completed before Veridian can restore power to them.

At the height of the outage approximately 60,000 of Veridian's 116,000 customers were without power.   Of those, 28,000 were in the City of Pickering.   Most had power back after the first day.   Some less populated streets and individuals customers, mostly in the rural area with more substantive tree damage to lines, were restored as recently as yesterday.  

This storm was extraordinary in the amount damage it caused in the GTA; Pickering and Ajax were particularly hit hard.   The power outage was mainly caused by the enormous number of ice covered trees interfering with or breaking power lines.   Like many of you, fallen trees blocked my street Saturday morning, with more coming down Sunday morning.  

City of Pickering Information:

  • City crews are out there dealing with and assessing the high priority areas.   We are also in the process of getting in additional contractors to help with tree and branch removal, naturally dealing with the hazardous areas first
  • Staff are also developing a clean-up plan for issues that have not been deemed hazardous, and crews will be sent in a coordinated fashion
  • Residents are asked to bundle broken tree branches and place on their boulevard.  City staff will pick them up in due course
  • information at: http://www.veridian.on.ca/
  • Please contact our Customer Care Centre at 905.683.7575 for urgent matters related to storm clean up and winter control.  Anything that is not of a pressing nature can be called in, but also emailed to customercare@pickering.ca.  These will also be dealt with on a priority basis.
  • Subscribe to the City of Pickering's News & Announcements
  • Download our City App to keep you up to date on service disruptions, news, events, and public meetings.

Facebook   Twitter  

Veridian

Insurance

  • Please contact your insurance provider for any matters related to property damage as a result of the ice storm.

Trees on Private Property

  • Please refer to the Region of Durham's website for special yard waste collection: http://bit.ly/1e96y4N.  Additionally, City crews will dispose of any fallen trees/branches that come from the homeowner's property.  Trees/branches left for disposal must be cut, stacked and packaged to the best of the homeowner's ability in order to be accommodated by the City's wood chipper.  Residents can leave the packaged wood on the City boulevard or the homeowner's lawn for pickup, and are reminded to keep it clear from sidewalks, ditches, and roads.

Waste

  • Please visit the Region of Durham's website for further ice storm related updates, including special waste collection services: http://bit.ly/1e96y4N.

Spoiled Food/Food Gift Card Program

  • Efforts are also being made to help people replace food they may have lost as a result of the storm.  The City of Pickering is currently looking in to how the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program can be applied to Pickering residents and will provide updates as they become available.  Please stay posted for further information and visit the Province of Ontario website for details on the program: http://bit.ly/1eTcsfg.
  • Currently, the Durham Social Services Department is working with the Provincial Ministry of Community Social Services to determine the number of residents who would be in financial need of the Food Gift Card Program in Durham Region.  It was intended to start in Toronto and be rolled out to other municipalities as needed.  Pickering City staff, along with neighbouring municipalities continue to work on this and will issue an update when it becomes available

School Boards

  • the school boards have advised that they are assessing damage to their properties, and will be working on clean up before school resumes next week.  This has been confirmed with the separate school board.  We are just waiting for final confirmation from the Durham School Board.

I sincerely thank the many first responders, particularly the Pickering Fire Department, EMS, City of Pickering staff, Veridian staff, and the electrical utilities from other municipalities that assisted us.   The City of Pickering opened a warming centre at the Recreation Centre and City crews responded quickly to clear trees from streets.  Veridian declared an emergency and had crews working 16 hour shifts to remove trees from power lines, repair lines and restore power.  

Having personally taken many calls (and emails and Facebook postings when I had power) from concerned residents without power and visiting many residents without power, I would like to note that although many people were frustrated and anxious to have their power restored, the vast majority of people were very understanding of the immensity of the damage from the storm and the incredible amount or work that needed to be done.   Residents share my appreciation of City and Veridian staff and their efforts to get power back up.  

As Ward 3 Councillor and a member of the Board of Directors of Veridian, I worked closely and regularly with senior Veridian staff, participated in operational meetings in the “war room” at the Veridian offices, with Mayor Ryan and Board Chair and Deputy Mayor Doug Dickerson and visited affected neighbourhoods and residents to assess damage and responses throughout the power outage.   As a result I want to express my personal thanks to Veridian President and CEO Michael Angemeer and his entire team, and I would especially like to give a shout out to Mike Weatherbee, Chris O,Connor, Mark Tunney, and all the staff at the customer call centre, that tirelessly responded to my calls, messages and meetings on behalf of residents.   As an example of their commitment, on Christmas Day, Michael Angemeer met with me at my home and visited affected streets with me on Christmas evening.   Late on Christmas evening I stopped to chat with a Veridian employee who was working on a transformer on McBrady Crescent by himself while his partner left with the truck to get replacement parts.   On Greenwood Road and Westney Road I met up with tree clearing crews from areas such as Gravenhurst and Muskoka who came to assist us.   And there are many more examples of the tremendous effort of both Veridian and City staff.

I also wish to acknowledge that that I personally heard from and visited with many people that were going through hardship and was heartened to hear of the many neighbours and residents that pitched in to make each other more comfortable, even if it was for just a hot coffee or an invitation into their own homes.   As a community, people really pulled together.

Veridian`s service crews and outage hotline will continue to be available until all affected customers have their electricity restored.

While there is still much clean-up work to do to clear trees and finish up electrical work.   We are now discussing, ways to improve infrastructure to avoid future damage, improve preparation, response and communication with customers.   I will certainly be participating in a full assessment and looking a possible preparedness and response improvements.

As a final preliminary observation, I would note that many people benefited from assessing information posted on the City website and social media sites (including from Mayor Ryan), Veridian and my FaceBook and Tweeter feeds.  

I encourage you to connect with me on my social media sites:

Twitter   Facebook   Blog

News Release
Ontario Helps People Replace Food Lost During Ice Storm
December 30, 2013

As Ontarians continue to recover from the ice storm, the government is supporting community efforts to help people in need who have experienced hardship with the loss of perishable food due to prolonged power outages.

Yesterday, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that the Ontario government matched ...

To read the remainder of the news release, visit Ontario's Newsroom Site.

Pickering calls for Senior of the Year nominees
Nominations due by Feb. 7
December 30, 2013
(durhamregion.com)

PICKERING -- The City of Pickering wants to hear about amazing seniors in the community.

Each year, municipalities across Ontario are invited by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration to nominate one deserving senior for the Senior of the Year Award.

To be eligible an individual must be over 65 years and have enriched the social, cultural or civic life of the community.

The Senior of the Year will be invited to a recognition ceremony in June 2014 as part of the City's Seniors' Month celebration.

One page nomination letters can be mailed or dropped off by Feb. 7 to Sharon Milton, One The Esplanade, Pickering, ON, L1V 6K7.

For more information call 905-420-4660, ext. 3601.

Veridian restores power to majority of customers in Durham and Northumberland
December 29, 2013
(durhamregion.com)
Trees Down
Trees Down
Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland
AJAX -- A large tree was down at the corner of Falby Court and Harwood Avenue Monday morning, as a result of Saturday night's ice storm.  December 23, 2013

DURHAM -- A week after an ice storm ravaged the GTA, Veridian reports that power has been successfully restored to the majority of its customers.

About 100 customers remain without electricity due to equipment damage on their property.

“I would like to sincerely thank our customers in the communities of Ajax, Clarington, Pickering and Port Hope for their continued patience and understanding as our crews continue to restore power as quickly but as safely as possible,” said Veridian president and CEO Michael Angemeer.  “It has been a difficult and trying time for everyone affected by what has been one of the most extreme weather events we've seen in a very long time.  It's been truly remarkable to see the hard work and determination of everyone involved to get the communities back to their normal state.”

The utility reports that the ice storm, which caused trees to takeout overhead wires, left approximately 60,000 Veridian customers without power.  Mr. Angemeer vowed workers would continue on until every customer had their power restored.

Anyone with equipment damage on their property, including service masts and meter bases, must contact a licensed electrician to do the work before Veridian can reconnect the power.  Call the Electrical Safety Authority at 1-877-372-7233 for information on licensed contractors.

All fallen wires should be considered live and dangerous.  Customers are urged to report the locations of fallen wires to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.

Veridian restores power for most residents in Durham
December 28, 2013
(durhamregion.com)
Hyrdo Crews
Hydro crews
Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland
OSHAWA -- Crews worked to restore power at the corner of Athol Road East and LaSalle Avenue Monday morning, after many were left without power as a result of Saturday night's ice storm.  December 23, 2013

DURHAM -- Veridian is reporting that the power is back on for most customers in Durham, save for an area of north Pickering.

The power has been restored in Ajax, Clarington and Port Hope except for individual customers who need tree trimming on private property to allow for the work.

As of Friday evening, about 200 customers in Pickering remained without service, mainly in north Pickering where repairs were made difficult by heavy tree coverage.

Residents or businesses that are without power should call 1-866-579-6819 to report their status.

NEWS RELEASE
Veridian updates its community power outage status report
December 28, 2013
7:30 PM

Ajax, ON - Veridian has successfully restored power to the majority of its customers in the communities that were affected by last weekend's severe ice storm.  There are, however, approximately 100 customers that are still without electricity service due to equipment damage on their premises.  Veridian's service crews and outage hotline will continue to be available until all affected customers have their electricity restored.

“I would like to sincerely thank our customers in the communities of Ajax, Clarington, Pickering and Port Hope for their continued patience and understanding as our crews continue to restore power as quickly but as safely as possible,” says Veridian President and CEO Michael Angemeer.  “It has been a difficult and trying time for everyone affected by what has been one of the most extreme weather events we've seen in a very long time.  It's been truly remarkable to see the hard work and determination of everyone involved to get the communities back to their normal state.”

It has been a week since freezing rain and ice downed trees and branches on overhead wires, leaving approximately 60,000 Veridian customers without power.  Immediately following the storm, Veridian deployed all available crews to the affected areas, working around the clock and through the holidays with support from Lakeland Power, Orillia Power, Oshawa PUC Networks Inc., Parry Sound Power, Peterborough Utilities, Whitby Hydro, tree trimming operators and contractors.

Angemeer also thanked Veridian staff and others for their commitment and dedication to the company's restoration efforts, most of whom forfeited planned vacations and worked 16 hour days all week to contribute to the restoration work.  “I applaud everyone - from emergency response crews working long hours and in difficult conditions, to operators and call centre staff answering hundreds of phone calls and emails.  But the work isn't quite done, we still have some customers without power and we're not stopping until every single home has their power restored.”

Board Chair Doug Dickerson took the opportunity to recognize municipal partners and businesses that went above and beyond the call of duty during the storm.  “A huge thank you to the mayors, councillors and support staff for supporting Veridian's customer communications, providing warming centres to those who needed relief, and assisting with the removal of hazardous trees and branches.  And for the businesses who provided crews with materials, lodging and meals - I personally thank you.  The goodwill by so many has not gone unnoticed, and has played a major role in keeping our restoration efforts moving along.”

While Veridian continues to be committed to restoring power to all affected customers as quickly as possible, equipment damage affecting individual customers may result in prolonged power outages.  In some cases, repairs to customer owned meter bases and service masts (see picture below) must be completed before Veridian is able to restore service to individual customers.  The repair or replacement of such equipment must be carried out by a licensed electrical contractor retained by the customer.  Approved contractors can be found at http://applications.dmtispatial.com/esa/ or by calling ESA at 1-877-372-7233.

Veridian is warming customers that they could experience short terms outages as restoration efforts continue, and warmer temperatures may result in chunks or sheets of ice falling from trees and coming into contact with Veridian's distribution system.

Customers are reminded to exercise extreme caution around damaged poles and downed wires.  All fallen wires should be considered live and dangerous.  Customers are urged to report the locations of fallen wires to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.

Veridian Connections Inc.  safely and reliably delivers electricity to more than 116,000 customers in the Cities of Pickering and Belleville, the Towns of Ajax, Port Hope and Gravenhurst, and the communities of Uxbridge, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Orono, Port Perry, Beaverton, Sunderland and Cannington.  Veridian Connections Inc.  is a wholly owned subsidiary of Veridian Corporation.  The City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Municipality of Clarington and the City of Belleville jointly own Veridian Corporation.

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Follow us on Twitter: @VeridianTweets

NEWS RELEASE
Veridian updates its community power outage status report
December 28, 2013
1:00 PM

Ajax, ON - Veridian continues to make significant progress in its efforts to restore service to customers impacted by last weekend's ice storm.  The utility has been successful in restoring power to the majority of its customers in Ajax, Clarington, Port Hope and most notably north Pickering, where power restoration has been the most difficult due to heavy tree coverage.

While the vast majority of customers affected by the storm have had their service restored, Veridian continues to maintain its line and tree trimming resource levels of the past few days.  Today's restoration efforts remain focused on north Pickering, and customers who must undertake repair or tree trimming work on privately owned equipment.

Following is an outage status report for each of the communities in which Veridian is aware of customers that continue to be without service:

Ajax, Clarington and Port Hope: All affected customers have had power restored, with the exception of individual customers who must undertake repair or tree trimming work on privately owned equipment.

Pickering - Approximately 150 customers remain without service.  The known affected streets are summarized below.  Streets that were listed in Veridian's outage status report of 8 p.m.  yesterday and that have since been restored are included in this summary with a `RESTORED' notation.

Balsam Foreststream S/L 16 - RESTORED
Benton Cres - RESTORED Golf Club Rd S/L 24 s/of Hwy 7
Bookshire Sq - RESTORED Markham Pickering Townline S/L 26 s/of Conc 7 - RESTORED
Conc 4 w/of Brock Paddock Road - RESTORED Sandtrap
Conc 5 e/of Westney - RESTORED Pine Heights Trail Whitevale Rd w/of Altona - RESTORED
Conc 7 e/of Salem - RESTORED S/L 12 - RESTORED  
Conc 8 e/ Brock - RESTORED S/L 14  

Residents or businesses that are without power and are not included in the areas summarized above should call 1-866-579-6819 to report their status.

While Veridian continues to be committed to restoring power to all affected customers as quickly as possible, equipment damage affecting individual customers may result in prolonged power outages.

In some cases, repairs to customer owned meter bases and service masts (see picture below) must be completed before Veridian is able to restore service to individual customers.  The repair or replacement of such equipment must be carried out by a licensed electrical contractor retained by the customer.  Approved contractors can be found at http://applications.dmtispatial.com/esa/ or by calling ESA at 1-877-372-7233.

Customers are reminded to exercise extreme caution around damaged poles and downed wires.  All fallen wires should be considered live and dangerous.  Customers are urged to report the locations of fallen wires to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.

Veridian Connections Inc. safely and reliably delivers electricity to more than 116,000 customers in the Cities of Pickering and Belleville, the Towns of Ajax, Port Hope and Gravenhurst, and the communities of Uxbridge, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Orono, Port Perry, Beaverton, Sunderland and Cannington.  Veridian Connections Inc.  is a wholly owned subsidiary of Veridian Corporation.  The City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Municipality of Clarington and the City of Belleville jointly own Veridian Corporation.

Follow us on Twitter: @VeridianTweets

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News Release
Veridian updates its community power outage status report
December 25, 2013
3:00 PM

Ajax, ON - Veridian continues to have approximately 2,500 customers without service due to the severe ice storm of last week.  The company has 26 line and tree trimming crews working in all communities impacted by the storm.

The largest group of crews has been deployed in Ajax due to the relatively large numbers of customers affected in that community.  Veridian has received assistance from Peterborough Utilities and outside contractors, and will soon be receiving additional support from Lakeland Power and Whitby Hydro, to support its ongoing restoration efforts in the remaining affected areas.

Following is a list of streets, roads and locations that are known to have no electricity service.  Residents who reside outside of the above identified areas should call 1-866-579-6819 to report that they are without power.

Port Hope - While service has been restored to a majority of the municipality, outages continue in isolated pockets that include Scriven Blvd., Bruton St., Hope St. and Beamish St.  Restoration efforts resumed this morning and will continue throughout the day.

Orono - About 45 customers in Orono are still without power.  The affected streets include Church St., Station St., Bowen St. and Rowe St.  The cause of the problem has been identified and repair work will commence this afternoon.

Ajax - Restoration efforts continue in Ajax, where approximately 1,100 customers are without power on or near: Admiral, Adonschool, Albery, Archer, Baker, Bryant, Bunting, Burcher, Carwin, Cowling, Dryer, Elm, Emperor, Fielding, Forest, George, Glynn, Harland, Heron, Hiley, Illingworth, Kent, Kings, Lewin, Marwin, Parry, Riverside, Roosevelt, Strathy, Tulloch, Windsor Woodhouse and York.

Pickering - Restoration efforts continue in Pickering, where approximately 700 customers remain without power on or near: Abingdon, Antonio, Balaton, Beaton Way, Breda, Chapleau, Clearside, Cliffview, Conc 3 w/of Brock, Conc 4 w/of Altona, Conc 4 w/of Brock, Conc 5 e/of Westney, Conc 7 e/of Salem, Conc 8 e/of Brock, Cortez, Cowan, Douglas, Duberry, Essa, Eyer, Foreststream, Garvolin, Glenanna, Glendale, Glynn, Golf Club Rd, Gossamer, Krosno, Liverpool s/of Bayly, Lublin, Maple Gate, Marinet.  Markham Pickering Townline n/of Hwy 7, Marksbury, McBrady, Meadowlane, Mink, Modlin, Moretta, Paddock Road, Park, Pine Heights Trail, Pine Glen, Plummer, Rouge Hill, Rougemount, S/L 22 n/of Hwy 7, S/L 23, S/L 24 n/of Con 4, S/L 26 s/of Conc 5, S/L 34 s/of Hwy 7, Salk, Sandy Beach s/of Bayly, Sanok, Shay, Sprucehill, Tatra, Timmins, Vicki, Vistula, West Shore and Whitevale Rd w/of Altona.

While Veridian continues to be committed to restoring power to all affected customers as quickly as possible, equipment damage affecting individual customers may result in prolonged power outages.

In some cases, repairs to customer owned meter bases and service masts must be completed before Veridian is able to restore service to individual customers.  The repair or replacement of such equipment must be carried out by a licensed electrical contractor retained by the customer.  Approved contractors can be found at http://applications.dmtispatial.com/esa/ or by calling ESA at 1.877.372.7233.

Customers are reminded to exercise extreme caution around damaged poles and downed wires.  All fallen wires should be considered live and dangerous.  Customers are urged to report the locations of fallen wires to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.

Follow us on Twitter @VeridianConnections

News Release
Veridian updates its community power outage status report
December 25, 2013
10:30 AM

Ajax, ON - Veridian crews worked through the night to restore service to customers still without power caused by the severe ice storm of last weekend.  Approximately 1,500 customers had their service restored between the hours of midnight and 9 a.m.  It is estimated that just over 2,500 customers still remain without power this morning.

The overnight restoration efforts returned service to about 1,000 customers in south Ajax and another 500 customers in parts of north and south Pickering.  All available line and tree trimming crews are deployed today.

Following is a list of the more significant known power outages as of 10:30 a.m. today:

Port Hope - While service has been restored to a majority of the municipality, outages continue in isolated pockets that include Scriven Blvd., Bruton St., Hope St. and Beamish St.  Restoration efforts resumed this morning and will continue throughout the day.

Orono - About 45 customers in Orono are still without power.  The affected streets include Church St., Station St., Bowen St. and Rowe St.  The cause of the problem has been identified and repair work will commence this afternoon.

Ajax - Approximately 1,100 customers remain without power and in the following general areas:

  1. South of Highway 401, north of Lake Driveway, west of Pickering Beach Rd./Salem Rd., and east of Harwood Ave.
  2. South of Highway 2, north of Highway 401, west of Harwood Ave. and east of Westney Rd.
  3. Riverside St. south of Rossland Rd.

Restoration efforts continue today.

Pickering - Outages continue in the following areas:

South Pickering - Approximately 700 customers in the following areas continue to be without service:

  1. Scattered areas south of Highway 2, north of Lake Ontario, west of Westshore Blvd. and east of Whites Rd.
  2. Scattered areas in the Bay Ridges neighbourhood, primarily in the centre core and areas north of Annland St. and south of Radom St.

Restoration efforts continue today.

North Pickering - Approximately 200 customers in the following areas continue to be without service.

  1. Along 9th Concession, west of Lakeridge Rd. and east of Brock Rd.
  2. Along 8th Concession, west of Brock Rd. and east of Sideline 22
  3. Along 7th Concession, west of Salem Rd. and east of Sideline 12
  4. All of Greenwood Road

Restoration efforts continue today.

Miscellaneous - Smaller scale outages have been identified throughout the community in the following areas:

  1. Sections of the Major Oaks subdivision, including Duberry Dr.
  2. Sections of the area immediately south and east of the intersection of Taunton Rd. and Brock Rd.
  3. Spruce Hill Rd. and Jacqueline Ave.

Residents who reside outside of the above identified areas should call 1-866-579-6819 to report that they are without power.

While Veridian continues to be committed to restoring power to all affected customers as quickly as possible, equipment damage affecting individual customers may result in prolonged power outages.

In some cases, repairs to customer owned meter bases and service masts must be completed before Veridian is able to restore service to individual customers.  The repair or replacement of such equipment must be carried out by a licensed electrical contractor retained by the customer.  Approved contractors can be found at http://applications.dmtispatial.com/esa/ or by calling ESA at 1.877.372.7233.

Customers are reminded to exercise extreme caution around damaged poles and downed wires.  All fallen wires should be considered live and dangerous.  Customers are urged to report the locations of fallen wires to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.

Follow us on Twitter: @VeridianTweets

News Release
Veridian updates its community power outage status report
December 24, 2013
10:00 AM

Ajax, ON - Veridian crews worked through the night to restore service to customers without electricity due to the severe ice storm of last weekend.  Approximately 6,000 customers had their service restored between the hours of midnight and 6:30 a.m.  It is estimated that just over 7,000 customers remain without power this morning.

The overnight power restoration efforts returned service to about 2,000 customers in north Pickering, and another 4,000 customers in south-central and south-east Pickering.

Veridian has sought assistance from other Ontario electricity distributors to support its ongoing restoration efforts in the remaining affected areas.  Approximately 24 line and tree trimming crews will be deployed today.

Following is a list of the more significant known power outages as of 10 a.m. today:

Port Hope - More than 500 customers remain without power.  Work is underway and service should be restored to most affected customers today.

Orono - About 45 customers in Orono are currently without power.  The cause of the problem is a damaged pole that has been identified.  Repair work may be completed as early as today.

Ajax - Outages are concentrated in an area roughly bounded by Highway #2 to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, Westney Road to the west and Lakeridge Rd.  to the east.  The area is supplied by six supply feeders, three of which are not in service.  Approximately 4,400 customers are affected.  This heavily treed area will be a focus of restoration efforts today.  However, it is projected that some customers may be without power into Christmas Day.

Pickering - Outages continue in the following areas:

  • South-west Pickering - Approximately 1,000 customers in the area west of Dixie Road and south of Highway #2 continue to be without service.  Service crews will be working in this area today.
  • North Pickering - Approximately 500 customers continue to be without service.  These include customers on the 9th Concession east of Brock Rd., on the 8th Concession west of Brock Road, and in the communities of Greenwood and Green River.  Service crews will be working in these areas today.
  • Miscellaneous - Smaller scale outages have been reported near the intersections of Brock Road/Major Oaks Road and Brock Road/Kingston Road.

Residents who reside outside of the above geographic zones should call 1-866-579-6819 to report that they are without power.

Customers are reminded to exercise extreme caution around damaged poles and downed wires.  All fallen wires should be considered live and dangerous.  Customers are urged to report the locations of fallen wires to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.

Follow us on Twitter: @VeridianTweets

News Release
Veridian updates its community power outage status report
December 23, 2013
11:00 PM

Ajax, ON - Within the past hour, Veridian crews have successfully restored power to approximately 7,800 customers impacted by the weekend ice storm.  It is estimated that about 13,000 customers now remain without power.

The most recent power restorations include 500 customers in the Town of Port Hope, 6,800 customers in the City of Pickering and 500 customers in Ajax.  All occurred at approximately 10 p.m.

Veridian line and tree trimming crews will continue their work through the night to clear and repair overhead lines impacted by ice laden trees.

Following is a list of the more significant known power outages as of 10:30 p.m. today:

Port Hope - An estimated 500 customers remain without power.  Service will not be restored until tomorrow at the earliest.

Orono - About 45 customers in Orono are currently without power.  The cause of the problem is a damaged pole that has been identified.  Service will not be restored until tomorrow at the earliest.

Ajax - Outages are concentrated in an area bounded by Highway #2 to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, Westney Road to the west and Lakeridge Rd.  to the east.  The area is supplied by six supply feeders, three of which have now been restored.  The remaining three feeders serve approximately 4,400 customers.  While some of these customers will likely see service restored tomorrow, most may be without power into Christmas Day.

Pickering - Outages continue in the following areas:

  • South-west Pickering - Approximately 1,000 customers in the area west of Dixie Road and south of Highway #2 continue to be without service.  Service will not be restored until tomorrow at the earliest.
  • South-east Pickering - Approximately 1,000 customers, primarily businesses, are without power in the area bounded by Highway #401 to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, Brock Road to the west and Church Street to the east.  Service crews have patrolled lines to assess damage.  The commencement of repair work is tentatively scheduled for tomorrow.
  • North Pickering - Approximately 2,500 customers in the communities of Claremont, Brougham, Green River, Greenwood and surrounding areas north of the third Concession are without service.  Service crews continue to work in this area, and many customers may have service restored overnight and into tomorrow.
  • Bay Ridges/Frenchman's Bay - Approximately 2,000 customers are without power in an area bounded by Sandy Beach Rd.  to the east, Frenchman's Bay to the west, and Bayly Street to the north.  Overhead lines in this area have been patrolled to identify areas in need of attention.  Work on identified problem areas will likely commence tomorrow.
  • Miscellaneous - Smaller scale outages have been reported near the intersections of Brock Road/Major Oaks Road and Brock Road/Kingston Road.

Residents who reside outside of the above geographic zones should call 1-866-579-6819 to report that they are without power.

Please be advised that Veridian's Twitter account (@VeridianTweets) and media communications will resume tomorrow morning.

Customers are reminded to exercise extreme caution around damaged poles and downed wires.  All fallen wires should be considered live and dangerous.  Customers are urged to report the locations of fallen wires to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.

NEWS RELEASE
Veridian updates its community power outage status report
December 23, 2013
2:00 PM

Ajax, ON - Since its last power outage status report of 12 noon, Veridian has secured the services of an additional six tree trimming crews who are currently on route from the Bracebridge area.  They will augment existing crews currently working to clear and repair overhead lines damaged by ice laden trees.  By later this afternoon, Veridian will have 17 lines crews and 10 tree trimming crews at work in areas affected by the ice storm of the past weekend.  

Following is a community power outage status report as of 2 p.m. today:

Port Hope - More than 500 customers continue to be without service due to the loss of a supply feeder to a local transformer station.  Work is underway to clear the line and restore service.  It is projected that this will be completed by mid-afternoon today.

Bowmanville - All supply feeders have been restored, including supply to the Lakeridge Health hospital.  There may still be some localized outages.  Veridian customers in Bowmanville who are still without power should call 1-866-579-6819 to report the outage.

Newcastle - All of Veridian's 2,500 customers in Newcastle continue to be without service.  Veridian service crews are currently patrolling lines to identify sections in need of repair.  Crews previously working in Bowmanville have been re-deployed to Newcastle and will be augmented with three tree trimming crews that are en route from Bracebridge.

Orono - About 45 customers in Orono are currently without power.  The cause of the problem has been identified.  Crews will be dispatched to undertake repairs later today.

Ajax - Outages are concentrated in an area bounded by Highway #2 to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, Westney Road to the west and Lakeridge Rd.  to the east.  The area is supplied by six supply feeders, two of which have been restored.  The remaining four serve approximately 6,400 customers.  Two line crews and two tree clearing crews are at work to restore these feeders on a priority basis.  These resources will be augmented later today with two line crews that are en route from Bracebridge.

The first priority is a feeder serving a customer with critical health care needs.  This priority feeder serves customers located between Pickering Beach and Shoal Point Roads, south of Bayly Street.

Ajax residents who reside outside of the above geographic zone should call 1-866-579-6819 to report that they are without power.

Pickering - Known outages in Pickering are in the following areas:

  • West Pickering - Approximately 6,000 customers in the area west of Dixie Road and between Highway #2 to Lake Ontario continue to be without service.  The area is supplied by a Hydro One supply feeder from Scarborough.  Veridian has patrolled its lines to ensure that they are clear and ready for service once Hydro One's supply is restored.  Hydro One crews are working on the repair of a severed conductor on the Scarborough section of the supply feeder.  Completion of the repair work is imminent.
  • South-east Pickering - Approximately 1,000 customers, primarily businesses, are without power in the area bounded by Highway #401 to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, Brock Road to the west and Church Street to the east.  Service crews are patrolling lines and assessing damage.  An estimated restoration time is not available at this time.
  • North Pickering - Approximately 2,500 customers in the communities of Claremont, Brougham, Green River, Greenwood and surrounding areas north of the third Concession are without service.  Additional service crews will be deployed to these areas later today, including one tree trimming crew that is en route from Bracebridge.  Estimated restoration times are not available at this time.
  • Bay Ridges/Frenchman's Bay - Approximately 2,000 customers are without power in an area bounded by Sandy Beach Rd.  to the east, Frenchman's Bay to the west, and Bayly Street to the north.  Overhead lines in this area are currently being patrolled to identify areas in need of attention.
  • Central Pickering - An identified problem has disrupted power to about 1,800 customers located north of Glenanna Road, between Dixie and Liverpool Roads.  Lines crews will be dispatched to carry out repair work later today.
  • Miscellaneous - Smaller scale outages have been reported near the intersections of Brock Road/Major Oaks Road and Brock Road/Kingston Road.  Lines crews are investigating.

Customers are reminded to exercise extreme caution around damaged poles and downed wires.  All fallen wires should be considered live and dangerous.  Customers are urged to report the locations of fallen wires to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.

Follow us on Twitter: @VeridianTweets

Veridian Connections Inc.  safely and reliably delivers electricity to more than 116,000 customers in the Cities of Pickering and Belleville, the Towns of Ajax, Port Hope and Gravenhurst, and the communities of Uxbridge, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Orono, Port Perry, Beaverton, Sunderland and Cannington.  Veridian Connections Inc.  is a wholly owned subsidiary of Veridian Corporation.  The City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Municipality of Clarington and the City of Belleville jointly own Veridian Corporation.

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For more information, contact:

Chris Mace
Sales & PR Representative - Corporate Communications
Veridian Connections Inc.
905-427-9870, extension 2218

News Release
Ice Storm Update
December 23, 2013
1:00 PM

Pickering, ON, December 23, 2013 - Veridian is working to restore power to up to 9000 customers in the City of Pickering, following a severe ice storm over the weekend.

The City of Pickering has been cautioning residents since late this morning to prepare for up to 24 hours without power.  The Pickering Recreation Complex and Arena, located at 1867 Valley Farm Road, has been designated as a 24 hour warming centre for residents.  Additionally, the Recreation Complex is operating regular programs and services during normal business hours.  All other City facilities will remain closed until power is restored.  The Red Cross has registered 45 people at the Recreation Complex so far, and residents are asked to bring food, water, blankets, and any other items they may need during their stay as resources are limited.  If residents are bringing their pets, they are advised to bring their own animal crates for housing.  Staff are currently working with Claremont residents to open the Claremont Community Centre as a warming centre for north Pickering.

Veridian is working diligently to restore power to all homes and businesses affected, and City crews are out working to clear the streets and sidewalks.  Residents are reminded to clear and salt any sidewalks bordering their properties.

The west area of Pickering, with approximately 6,000 customers affected, was hit the hardest due to fallen trees disrupting two major power feeds from Toronto.  Hydro One has deployed all available staff to work on restoration efforts and will continue to work with Veridian to update the City.  Other areas experiencing outages include south east Pickering, Bayridges, Major Oaks Drive area, Duffin Heights, and Village East.  Approximately 700 customers in the Claremont and Greenwood area are without power.  Veridian continues to work on the most critical areas and infrastructure such as hospitals, nursing homes, water pumping stations and the Pickering Recreation Complex and Arena.

The City is urging residents to take extra care when on the roads, and to treat traffic lights as a four way stop if the signals are down.  Fallen wires can be reported to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.

“We want to remind residents to use flashlights instead of candles where possible,” said John Hagg, Deputy Fire Chief.  “Never bring a propane or charcoal barbecue indoors to cook, and only run portable generators outdoors.  Please ensure you stay clear of downed wires, even if they appear to be dead, treat all wires as live and dangerous.”

“The community continues to rally together to lend a hand to those in need,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.  “This is a particularly difficult time leading into the holidays, and I recognize the tremendous efforts put forth by staff to get our City up and moving again.  My thoughts are with those affected and I appreciate your patience under these circumstances.”

As well as the Pickering Recreation Complex, the Pickering Town Centre and the Pickering Central Library are also open and fully operating.

Please check pickering.ca or facebook.com/cityofpickering and twitter.com/cityofpickering for regular updates on the power outage.

Please report any hazardous conditions to the Customer Care at 905.683.7575, and report any non-hazardous conditions to customercare@pickering.ca and they will be dealt with in a priority sequence.  Please use 911 services for emergencies only.  

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As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet and has been recognized by Profit magazine as one of the ten best cities in Canada for growth companies.   Pickering's downtown has been named an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub by the Province of Ontario, and is personified by a $23-million landmark pedestrian bridge that connects directly to the GO train station.   The City of Pickering is considered a municipal leader in fiscal management, service delivery, sustainability and the environment.  With its direct access to major highways; educated and skilled labour force; prime employment lands; a world class EN3 (energy, environmental, & engineering) sector; state-of-the-art infrastructure; and supportive municipal government; Pickering offers unrivalled competitive advantages for business.   Visit pickering.ca/mediacentre for more news.

Media Contact:
Shauna Muir
Coordinator, Communications

905.420.4660 ext. 2134 | 1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739
smuir@pickering.ca