David Pickles
Recent News

Claremont Geranium Application
March 19, 2018

“Further to my recent eNewsletter update on the Claremont Geranium application, and in response to some questions and even rumours from residents about the status of this application, Councillor Butt and I had suggested that Geranium consider holding an open house in Claremont.  The intend is to share information and answer question of residents in an informal setting.  This would be voluntary by Geranium and not part of the regulated process.  This is a common practice used in the city to inform and engage residents.  Councillors and City staff are likely to attend.  I have attached a letter from Geranium to the local community association noting their interest in pursuing such an open house.  I will provide an update on timing of an open house possibly later in the Spring.”

Taunton Road - Steeles Avenue Connection
March 19, 2018

“Ward 3 Councillors Pickles and Butt formally request that Toronto, York Region and Metrolinx fix the bottle next or the Steele's Road/Taunton Road connection.  This section needs to be a four lane road just like Taunton Road going east into Pickering and Durham which was completed many years ago.”

View the Notice of Motion for details.

Pickering wants Steeles Avenue improvements
Kristen Calis
March 13, 2018

PICKERING - Pickering council wants to see improvements to the Taunton Road and Steeles Avenue connection.

Taunton is a four-lane arterial road in Durham, east of the York-Durham Line.  In Toronto it becomes Steeles, a four-lane arterial road running west of the York-Durham Line to Beare Road, and narrows to two lanes west of Beare to Tapscott Road (east of Markham Road).

The Region of York has completed an environmental assessment (EA) to widen Steeles from Tapscott to Ninth Line from two to six lanes.  But an EA is yet to begin in order to resolve the issues on Steeles from Ninth Line and Beare, a distance of roughly 4.3 kilometres.

A motion, presented to and eventually passed by council on March 12, notes this bottleneck impacts traffic capacity and safety.

“It's going to become a greater problem as Seaton gets filled out and more people take this route,” said Ward 3 regional Coun. David Pickles, who introduced the motion.

“It's been getting to a crisis situation.”

Council is asking Toronto, York, and Metrolinx to make the EA to increase capacity and safety on Steeles between Beare and Ninth Line a priority in their capital planning programs.

“This motion asks for Toronto, York and Metrolinx in discussion with the Region of Durham to make this connection happen sooner as opposed to later,” said Pickles.

Ward 3 city Coun. Shaheen Butt brought the motion forward with Pickles.

“It is dangerous and I think it's about time that we get this moving,” he said.

Ward 1 regional Coun. Kevin Ashe agreed, but had a different idea.

“I think the answer here is to make this a provincial road, upload this to be a provincial responsibility,” he said.

Mayor Dave Ryan noted Pickering has long been asking for improvements to this stretch of road.  He and chief administrative officer Tony Prevedel have met with a number of ministers about the matter over the years.

“Every time we make a delegation, this is on our list,” he said.

55+ Aging Well
March 18, 2018
55+ Aging Well
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Helping people COPE with mental illness in North Durham
Community Care Durham recruiting volunteers for mental health support groups
Chris Hall
March 9, 2018

NORTH DURHAM - Community Care Durham is seeking new volunteers to help with its mental health programs in North Durham.

The COPE Mental Health Program in Scugog, Uxbridge and Brock is now recruiting volunteers to assist in facilitating a variety of support groups, such as those addressing depression, anxiety, coping and wellness, and social recreation.

Community Care Durham is searching for volunteers who have a passion for mental health, are good listeners and those who are compassionate, patient and outgoing who get along with others.  Volunteers facilitators will also be asked to help others with goal-setting, problem-solving and providing emotional support.

“These are not clinical groups, they're support groups,” stressed Kathleen Wells, a COPE program manager in North Durham.

COPE is a community mental health service offering support to adults aged 16 and older with emotional and/or mental health concerns.  With the support of volunteers, COPE clients are able to learn, develop, and maintain skills while improving ways to cope and manage.  

COPE accepts referrals from a wide variety of community sources and self-referrals are also welcome.  There is no fee for the services.

Community Care Durham offers more than 50 support groups across the region through its COPE program, with anxiety workshops being offered in nearly every municipality.

“People are becoming more educated (about anxiety) and they're starting to identify the feelings they're having,” said Wells.

In Scugog, COPE programs include a weekly anxiety and stress management support group, as well as a social recreation gathering.  A social recreation group is also offered in Uxbridge, as is a New Day Wellness Group for those 55 and older dealing with anxiety and stress and in need of socializing.

The North Durham support groups meet in churches across the three municipalities.  Most sessions last two hours.

Volunteers do not need a background in mental health, just an interest in helping people, noted Wells.

“The support groups are not problem solvers, but they're great in conjunction with other supports that people are getting,” she said.

An extensive mandatory 12-week training program in Mental Health Fundamentals and Group Facilitation is offered three times a year on Thursday evenings.  The classes are held in Whitby and run for three hours.  The next round of training will begin on April 6.

The focus of the training is to provide new volunteers with the skills and knowledge necessary to become facilitators.  A one-year commitment is required.

Each COPE session is overseen by two co-facilitators and there are no more than 12 people in each program.

“People can sit with someone in the same boat and exchange ideas and the facilitators are there to guide the conversation and provide information and make sure everyone gets a chance to speak,” said Wells.

Between eight and 10 new volunteer facilitators are needed for the North Durham COPE programs.  Both men and women are welcome to apply.

For more information about volunteering with COPE, please contact Wells (905-985-6216, kwells@communitycaredurham.on.ca) or Marcy Marchuk, Community Care Durham's volunteer co-ordinator (905-623-2261, extension 221, mmarchuk@communitycaredurham.on.ca).

To learn more about the COPE programs or complete a volunteer form, visit www.communitycaredurham.on.ca.

Upgrades to Pickering Museum Village about to take shape
2018 budget sets funds aside for refurbishment of conservation building, design of heritage community centre
Kristen Calis
February 28, 2018
Ellen Tayles-Armstrong
PICKERING - Pickering Museum Village conservator Ellen Tayles-Armstrong worked on conserving a Ford Model A 1928-31 seat on Feb. 26.  The vehicle built in Canada will be housed in the conservation building that will be undergoing renovations.  - Jason Liebregts / News Advertiser

PICKERING - A grant of $450,000 from the federal government will help conserve some large and important artifacts from Pickering's past, and make them more accessible to the public in the future.

The grant from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, announced on Feb. 20 at the Pickering Museum Village, will assist the City of Pickering's conservation building project.

“It's nice to have them contribute to that effort and that cost,” said Marisa Carpino, Pickering's director of the community services department.

The total construction project in the 2018 capital budget is $1.3 million dollars, with an additional $200,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment.

“We hope to have it completed by end of 2018,” said Carpino.

The building, a barn from the 1970s located at the museum village, is uninsulated and unheated with a concrete slab for flooring and minimal lighting.  The building has no water supply or septic system.

The museum attracts more than 12,000 people annually and educates visitors on the daily life of Pickering Township's early settlers in the 1800s.

“We've been planning for a number of improvements to accommodate residents, visitors and tourists and to protect the artifacts,” said Ward 3 regional Coun. David Pickles.

The reconstruction of the conservation building is intended to result in upgrades while retaining as much of the existing structure as possible.  The conservation building will become more suitable to store the museum's larger artifact collections, such as wagons and vehicles, and an old fire truck that's currently stored at another location, Pickering's operations centre.

“They're just scattered everywhere because we haven't had appropriately sized and suitable space,” said Carpino.

It will also provide a dedicated and fully equipped conservation lab for these artifacts.

The conservation building does currently house larger heritage vehicles and pieces of equipment, including steam-powered engines and other machinery.  While indoor storage protects these artifacts from direct exposure to the elements, they remain vulnerable to factors such as large fluctuations in temperature, humidity and pests.

City staff estimates 684 agricultural, industrial and transportation artifacts will be properly housed in the revamped building.

Highlights of the new building will also include: a dedicated lunch room, office, a large artifact conservation workspace and washrooms; permanent potable water and septic systems; and a new racking storage system.

“It's going to be designed in a way that can support solar panels in the future,” said Carpino.

The 2018 capital budget also includes $895,125 for the Phase 1 design a new Pickering Heritage Community Centre to replace the administration building at the museum.  Phase 1 construction is slated for 2019 at a cost of $4.7 million with contributions from development charges covering more than $1 million of the total project cost.

The new building will be 22,650 square feet and provide administrative, conservation and reception spaces for the museum, library archives space, moved from the central library branch, and community centre space.

“We want to make sure it's visible to the 407 because right now it's tucked away,” said Carpino.

The community centre will be a new space for those currently using the Greenwood Community Centre, which Carpino said has reached the end of its useful life.  Once the new space opens, staff will begin discussing repurposing the Greenwood facility.

“It's really a win-win for the community,” Carpino said.

This new space will include a number of features such as a guest welcome area, a collection storage area, a space for exhibit galleries, and an auditorium to host events for up to 350 people.  Currently museum productions are held off site in a building that seats no more than 250.

Pickering Parkway Terminal to
East Shore Community Centre
February 2018
PPT to East Shore Community Centre
Click image above for larger version PDF 
Durham Region Doubles
Racquetball Tournament
February 24 & 25, 2018

Come out to the Durham Racquetball tournament and learn more about the sport and consider becoming a player.

Durham Region Doubles
Click image above for larger version PDF 
Report keeps tabs on Pickering's progress in 52 areas
Pickering crime rates down: newest sustainability report
Kristen Calis
February 6, 2018
Pickering Market
The Pickering Measuring Sustainability Report revealed that 47 per cent of respondents in a community survey said they often or very often shop at a local farmers market, and 34 per cent said they sometimes do.  “We want to make sure we're teaching people about local food,” said Whitaker.  “This year we are expanding the farmers market.” - News Advertiser file photo

PICKERING - Residents are feeling safer and local crime rates are down, according to the latest report the city uses to create a more sustainable municipality.

Healthy society is one of the categories in the Measuring Sustainability Report, which addresses 52 indicators grouped into five categories, the others being healthy environment, healthy economy, responsible development and responsible consumption.

The newest report was recently released.

“We tried really hard to make sure we are measuring things that were directly related to Pickering,” said Pickering's sustainability co-ordinator, Chantal Whitaker.  

In 2010, the city produced the first report, and after staff engaged with stakeholders to determine important areas to focus on, the second was released in 2012, which included more indicators that the first.

“Having baseline measurements, and tracking this data, allows us to measure our growth, identify challenges and continue to drive progress in meeting our evolving sustainability objectives,” said Mayor Dave Ryan.

Examples of indicators measured include air quality, employment rate, affordable housing, crime and safety, volunteerism, childhood asthma and adult diabetes rates, and energy use.

“Establishing those priorities is really important,” said Whitaker.  “You need to measure how you're doing and how your partners are doing to know if you're on the right path for all the areas of interest.”

The report reflects efforts by residents, businesses and community groups to help further Pickering's journey to becoming a more sustainable city.

One of the indicators, crime rates, shows criminal code violations at 19 Division (Ajax-Pickering), dropped from 9,046 in 2008 down to 6,976 in 2010 and even more to 6,215 in 2015.

“Not only are our crime rates down in Pickering, but when we asked the community, how safe do you feel in Pickering, generally people feel safe,” said Whitaker.

In the area of healthy environment, she was pleased to see Pickering doing well when it comes to surface water quality.

The surface water quality index, which measures eight key pollutants, states Duffins Creek is at target, and Rouge River, Carruthers Creek and Petticoat Creek are good with minor action required.

There was a significant jump in 2017 in the number of trees planted, which went from 5,354 planted in 2016 to 16,243 in 2017.  Whitaker noted this is mostly due to a massive replacement of trees that were destroyed due to invasive species such as emerald ash borer.

She also said Pickering has done a lot of work improving its tree canopy in south Pickering, and has expanded north.

“There's a very high percentage of Seaton that is remaining natural,” she said, adding 50 per cent of land in the massive central Pickering development will remain natural.

Whitaker said the report also shows where improvements can be made.

Just 47 per cent of respondents in a community survey said they often or very often shop at a local farmers market, and 34 per cent said they sometimes do.

“We want to make sure we're teaching people about local food,” said Whitaker.  “This year we are expanding the farmers market.”

The report also includes ways to contribute, and is available to view at pickering.ca/msr, or for loan at the Pickering Public Library.

Retail Pages
February 2018

Hang in there everyone#a couple more months of winter to go! In this article I talk about keeping sidewalks and roads clear of snow and fixing potholes, a few of the downsides of winter.  I also encourage you to nominate someone in the community you think worthy of recognition in our Civic Awards.  Details below.

New Broadband Network

The City of Pickering has applied for Federal grant funding for its new broadband network.  The Pickering Ultra-High Speed Municipal Area Network will be a 48 kilometre fiber backbone network which will serve the core of Pickering and connect through Seaton to the communities of Whitevale, Greenwood, Brougham, and Claremont.  The network will be constructed by a private sector ISP partner.  It will have three new Points of Presence, and will provide existing and future (Seaton) municipal facilities with reasonably priced, high-speed internet access.  The network will be configured to permit other ISPs to co-locate based upon reasonable wholesale rates, and its location will enable future connection to neighbouring broadband networks such as those proposed for Uxbridge.  Construction of the network is subject to federal CTI (Connect To Innovate) grant funding availability and Council approval.  

At the same time, Pickering is amending its Official Plan to ensure that all new development is designed to provide infrastructure for internet connectivity to and throughout new buildings.  The new policies will require that conduit for fiber optic cable is included in all public right-of-way, so that more and more residents are connected to existing and future networks, and we can progress toward our objective of building a connected City.

Civic Awards

The City presents civic awards annually to members of the community who have made a significant contribution to the City.  Nominations for the 2017 Civic Awards will be accepted until Thursday, February 8th at 4:00 pm.  You, or any member of the public, can submit a nomination form online at pickering.ca, by mail, or drop off in person at our Customer Care Centre.  Nomination forms and information available in City facilities or online at pickering.ca/civicawards.

Important Winter Reminders

On-Street Parking: Parking is prohibited from December 1st to March 31st between 2 am and 5 am, and during any winter control operations (in accordance with Traffic & Parking By-law).  If vehicles are hindering the snow clearing operations, they will be ticketed ($38.00 fine) and/or towed (at the owner's expense).  Parked cars not only slow operations, but create a hazard for plow staff, and cause large amounts of snow to be left on the road after the car is dug out.

Sidewalks: Residents are responsible for removing ice and snow from sidewalks in front of, or adjacent to their property within 24 hours after a snowfall.  This helps ensure that everyone has a safe passage along our sidewalks.

Windrows: It is the resident's responsibility to clear the snow left by the plow at the end of the driveway (known as a windrow).  Residents should shovel this onto their boulevards and not onto the road.  Operators do their best to minimize windrows and we understand how frustrating this can be for our residents who have just cleared their driveway, but unfortunately it is unavoidable and we appreciate your understanding.

Bus Shelters and Super Mailboxes: Bus shelters are cleared by a contractor through Durham Region Transit.  Snow removal operations around super mailboxes is completed by Canada Post.


I was able to practice my technique in pothole filling with one of our hard working roads crews on Valley Farm Road recently.  With the swing in temperature - freeze and thaw - it's doing a lot of damage to our roads.  If you have a pothole in Pickering we have not got to yet send me an email at dpickles@pickering.ca with the location so we can get there.

Pickering 101

The City is committed to building a culture of community engagement, to provide residents with a greater sense of purpose, connectedness and responsibility.  The Pickering 101 program aims to educate residents on how their municipal government works and encourage participation in the planning and processes behind the facilities, services, events and programs that touch their everyday lives:

  • Increase residents' knowledge of City issues and how local government works.
  • Build informed citizens who may collaborate with City staff and meaningfully contribute to developing new, or reviewing and redesigning existing, City services and programs.
  • Build trust between Pickering residents and local government.

For more information on this unique program, or to register, visit pickering.ca/city-hall/Pickering 101.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Art Show
Friday, February 2nd to Wednesday, February 28th
Weekdays, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Civic Complex

St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Art Show Reception
Sunday, February 4th
11:00 am - 3:00 pm
City Hall - Council Chambers

Free Lunchtime Skate
Tuesdays in February
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Centre Arena

Executive Committee Meeting (Budget)
Thursday, February 15th
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
City Hall - Main Committee Room

WinterRouge 2018
Sunday, February 18th
11:00 am - 4:00 pm
1749 Meadowvale Road

Family Day Event
Monday, February 19th
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Pickering Recreation Complex

City of Pickering Council Meeting
Tuesday, February 26th
7:00 pm
City Hall - Council Chambers

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

Black History Month Launch 2018
January 29, 2018
Black History Month Launch 2018
Click image to view full size poster 
Claremont Legion Open House to Announce Wheelchair Accessibility Project Completed
January 19, 2018
click image above for larger PDF version 
Durham Regional Police Service
Community Safety Update Presentation
January 17, 2018
DRPS Presentation
Click Image above to view presentation 
Ajax, Pickering sites remain in running for Amazon HQ
Keith Gilligan
January 18, 2018

DURHAM - Two sites in Durham Region, in Ajax and Pickering, remain in the running to be the home for Amazon's second headquarters.

Amazon announced the 20 finalists for the headquarters, dubbed HQ2, whittling down more than 200 submissions.

One location is Toronto, but that includes the proposal by Toronto Global.

The Ajax and Pickering sites were part of the Toronto Global proposal.  The Ajax site is on Salem Road, north of Kingston Road, while the Pickering site is along Highway 407.

A statement from Toronto Global noted, “On behalf of all the mayors and chairs of the Toronto Region, and our partners in Waterloo Region and Guelph, we are thrilled that our bid to attract Amazon's HQ2 will be moving to the next stage in the selection process.  We were proud to submit our proposal alongside some of the most competitive and dynamic Canadian communities, who helped to highlight the great range of advantages we offer as a country.  We are even more honoured to be selected as the only Canadian location to move forward in this competition.”

Toronto is the only Canadian city named among the finalists.

Amazon said the second headquarters would cost $5 billion and create 50,000 high-paying jobs.

The 20 finalists are: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; Philadelphia; Toronto; Washington; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Newark, N.J.; Columbus, Ohio.  Also listed are Northern Virginia and Montgomery County in Maryland.

The company said it will announce the site later this year.

Toronto only Canadian city to make shortlist for Amazon's new headquarters HQ2
Amazon releases list of 20 cities that will move to the next phase of its selection process for its second headquarters
January 18, 2018
Toronto is on the short list for Amazon's new headquarters.  Bloomberg

Toronto is the only Canadian city on Amazon Inc.'s short list of 20 candidates for a second North American headquarters.

The e-commerce giant received 238 applications for the opportunity and says narrowing it down to 20 was very tough.

The other Canadian communities that applied but didn't make the short list include Hamilton, Ottawa-Gatineau, Sault Ste.  Marie, Simcoe County, Halifax, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Windsor.

Amazon says it plans to choose the location later this year after diving deeper into the proposals from its top cities.

The largest e-commerce company said it would work with each of the candidate locations to get more information and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership.

Amazon said in September it would build a $5 billion second headquarters in North America, kicking off a competition between cities and states to offer tax cuts and incentives that could bring 50,000 high-paying new jobs.

The list reveals little in terms of geographic preferences, with finalists on both coasts and the heartland.  Amazon found it difficult to engage with so many applicants and had to whittle the list to enter the next phase of evaluation.

“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough - all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” Holly Sullivan, of Amazon Public Policy, said in a statement.  “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

Whatever city gets chosen will be transformed by Amazon, which has already changed the character of its native Seattle, setting in motion a building boom and rising rents.  High paying tech jobs can permanently transform a region and raise the political prospects of the leader who helped seal the deal.

Amazon has said its preferences for the site include a metropolitan location with a population of more than 1 million, mass transit, proximity to an international flight hub and the potential to retain and attract technical talent.

Here's the list:
- Toronto, ON
- Atlanta, GA
- Austin, TX
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Columbus, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Denver, CO
- Indianapolis, IN
- Los Angeles, CA
- Miami, FL
- Montgomery County, MD
- Nashville, TN
- Newark, NJ
- New York City, NY
- Northern Virginia, VA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Raleigh, NC
- Washington D.C.

Pickering council passes plan that guides parks, rec for next 10 years
Racquetball club plans to increase membership to avoid court closure
Kristen Calis
January 17, 2018
Lin Ormerod
AJAX -- Lin Ormerod shared a laugh with her fellow players during a Pickleball game at the Pickering Village United Church.  The First Pickering Pickleball Club welcomes players of any skill level.  January 12, 2018 - Ron Pietroniro / Metroland

PICKERING - Racquetball members in Pickering have big plans to increase membership numbers in hopes to avoid a court closure, which is one of the recommendations of a new master plan for parks and recreation services.

Despite concerns raised by residents and some councillors, the Recreation and Parks Master Plan, a 10-year guide, and Skateboard Park Strategy, were passed in principle at the Jan. 15 council meeting.

Mayor Dave Ryan noted at the executive committee meeting on Jan. 8 each item will have to come before council individually before it can proceed.

“Those elements can be reviewed, refined and accommodations can be made,” he said.

At the Jan. 15 council meeting, he read from a staff memo that addressed concerns regarding the skateboard park, racquetball and pickleball.

The plan calls for the closure of at least one of the two racquetball courts, which is used by handball, racquetball and wallyball (essentially indoor volleyball) players.

“An aging population appreciates fall, winter and spring indoor activities in a secure, indoor environment,” longtime racquetball member John Philips told the executive committee.

His wife and handball player Susan Philips said Pickering has about 50 racquetball members, and at least 30 other people who are not members, but pay a court fee when they play.  The city's findings show membership has declined since 2014.

Racquetball members are creating a formal committee to garner new support for the sports, and have already organized its first racquetball tournament for February, sanctioned by Racquetball Ontario.

Ward 3 regional Coun. David Pickles said at the executive committee meeting he would like to see a two-year time frame to implement the members' plan to attract more members.

In the memo read by Mayor Ryan a week later at the council meeting, staff committed to making no decisions about the racquetball court before 2020.

“I'm disappointed again,” Susan Philips said after the meeting.  “I realize that a lot of the councillors were trying to help but I think when we're volunteering our time to make this happen, they could show good faith as well and take the recommendation out.  And if we don't do what we say we're going to do, then re-examine it later.”

Another area of concern was regarding a new skateboard park.  Consultants found there is a need for skateboarding opportunities in Pickering, and the current skate park at Diana Princess of Wales Park is outdated and needs to close.  The consultant's recommendation suggests eliminating the roundabout in front of the rec complex, and to integrate the skate park into the entryway design.

Scott Loyst is a local skateboarder who has been heavily involved in the entire process, and supported the recommendation.

He said skaters like the idea of the park being in a visible area for safety purposes, and said if the park is built properly, the activity is drowned out after 200 feet.

“They're not tattooed punks who just want to drink beer,” he told the executive committee.

Gerry Mey, a longtime rec complex user, had spoken against the skate park in front of the rec complex.

“It would stick out like a sore thumb,” said Mey, who is in his late 80s and frequents the rec complex with his wife.

He said the park being in front would prevent the ready access that he has become accustomed to.

Councillors did not support the recommendation either and from the memo Mayor Ryan read from, he noted the park will not be located in front of the rec complex, and new locations will be explored.

The area of pickleball was also addressed in the memo.

Richard Sogawa, of the 1st Pickering Pickleball Club, spoke to the executive committee about the need for more playing opportunities in the city for the growing sport.

The city does offer registered pickleball programs at three locations.  But Sogawa noted there are no permanent pickleball courts available full time, all year round, indoor for drop-in play.

He plays at Pickering Village United Church, which is in Ajax, and at the rec complex in the main gymnasium, where he comes early to tape the lines before play time begins.  After, he removes them.

“It's a good place to play.  We appreciate the opportunity to play there.  We could do better,” he said.

He said the rough textured walls can be hazardous.

The plan does call for delineating playing boundaries for pickleball on the gymnasium floor at the proposed Seniors' and Youth Community Centre, which will be located in the downtown core, and at a proposed multi-use facility in Seaton.

“Our appeal is to allow us the opportunity to use one indoor tennis court and be able to put permanent lines in place, but you can use taped lines to save costs,” Sogawa said, adding four pickleball courts can fit into one indoor tennis court.

The memo said staff will start up focus group sessions, which will include both pickleball and tennis players, and will come up with a plan no earlier than 2019.

The plan includes 77 recommendations and can be found at www.pickering.ca.

Pickering 101
January 2018
Pickering 101 Poster
Click image to view full size poster 
Pickering plans for broadband in future developments
January 10, 2018

PICKERING - The City of Pickering is planning to amend its official plan in order to ensure the infrastructure is in place to ensure broadband access in new developments.

An information report from city staff presented at a public meeting on Jan. 8 noted internet service is becoming essential for health care, education, employment, social and political inclusion and overall economic success.

Key changes to the city's official plan will include: requiring the inclusion of conduit for fibre optic cable, in all public rights-of-way, through new development, redevelopment, road construction and reconstruction; and ensuring that all new development or redevelopment is designed to provide the infrastructure for the delivery of, current or future, leading-edge information and communication technologies, to and throughout the buildings.

Development applicants will also be required to submit an implementation plan that will demonstrate how telecommunication technology will be designed and implemented.

The changes to the official plan will come before the planning and development committee at a future date for approval.

Ward 3 regional Coun. David Pickles noted the importance of ensuring that northern areas in Pickering receive access to high-speed internet as well.

Extreme cold could cause waste pickup delays in Durham
January 5, 2018

DURHAM - Waste collection times may be delayed due to the extreme cold weather and high volumes of seasonal waste, warns the Region of Durham.

If roadside waste has not been collected by 8 p.m. on collection day, it will be collected the following day, says the region's works department.

Residents are reminded for the safety of workers to ensure waste, blue boxes and green bins are placed in a visible and accessible area before 7 a.m. on their collection day.  They are asked not to place waste materials on top of snow banks, and to ensure they are not frozen to the ground.

Garbage and green bin collection for Whitby and Oshawa residents is the responsibility of the municipality, not the Region of Durham.  Residents can contact their local municipality regarding the collection of these items.

For more information, visit durham.ca/waste, email waste@durham.ca, call 1-800-667-5671 or download the Durham Region Waste App.

Region of Durham launches new mobile-friendly website
December 14, 2017
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

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.


“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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


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.


“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


  • 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.


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
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
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

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

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
July 12, 2017
New Route 603 Map
Click image to view full size PDF 
Retail Pages
July 2017


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

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

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
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

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

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
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
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.

Click image to view fullsize PDF 

Click image to view fullsize PDF 

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

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
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.


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.

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.

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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
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.


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

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.”


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


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.


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

Pickering bylaw to save low-income seniors, people with disabilities $200
Kristen Calis
April 12, 2017
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

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

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
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
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
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
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
March 21, 2017

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
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

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
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

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
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

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

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

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

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
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

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

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
 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
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.

- 30 -

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

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

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
Click on image above to read the full article 
Pickering 101 teaches residents how to understand local government
January 4, 2017

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.


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


Pickering library helps residents operate new technology devices
January 3, 2017

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.


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

Gary Polonsky's report on potential Pickering airport released
Kristen Calis
November 29, 2016
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
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
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.


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

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
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.


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

Report to Executive Committee
Northern Roads Hard Surface Strategy
October 11, 2016
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
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


  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
Click image to access full size PDF form 
Letter - Northern Road Hard Surface Strategy
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
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.


Media Contact:
Joanne Hanna
Executive Assistant, Mayor l Office of the Mayor
905.420.4660 ext. 2198

UPDATE: Pickering councillor Rick Johnson dies suddenly
Longtime resident served as councillor starting in 1988
September 28, 2016
Kristen Calis
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
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
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


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

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
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
Pickering Council Report Cards

Dave Ryan



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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
Retail Pages July
July 2016


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
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
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
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

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

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

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


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.  

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

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

Merger talks begin for Veridian, Whitby and Oshawa hydro utilities
Reka Szekely
April 29, 2016

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
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.

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:
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

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

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
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

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

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

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
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
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
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


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

Brock Road in Pickering to close north of Rossland Road Feb. 20 and Feb. 21
February 18, 2016

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”


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


News Release
Ontario Moving Forward with Sale of Seaton Lands
Proceeds will Fund Priority Infrastructure Projects Across the Province
January 7, 2016

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


“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

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