Friday, March 11, 2011

"Hello Haldimand"

My last blog posting was on June 6, 2010. I have just recently signed up with the Dunnville Chronicle and have been encouraged to blog away! Imagine that!

When I started with the Chronicle in early 2009 I decided that I would not blog as I thought that it would not be wise to be writing political news and blogging about politics at the same time, well things have changed.

I have so much to blog about I don't know where to start..............

So my thoughts are to start with what happened to me during the final leg of the 2010 Municipal Elections and why I have decided that I will probably not run again.....

More to come...................

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Haldimand "Sweet Dividend"

Haldimand Hydro dividend

By Jim Knisley

Jun 02, 2010

Albert Marshall, chair of Haldimand Hydro, presented Mayor Marie Trainer with a $691,445 dividend cheque on Monday.

The dividend is up 21 per cent from $515,808 paid last year.

Haldimand Hydro is wholly owned by Haldimand County. In the last 10 years it has paid more than $3 million in dividends to the county.

Haldimand Hydro undertook its largest-ever capital works program in 2009. The utility invested more than $7 million in a variety of projects. These included $2.8 million for the smart meter project, and the conversion to 27,500 volts of line sections on Central Lane,

Dunnville as well as lines near Moulton Sherbrook Townline Road. New line was also constructed along the lakeshore and a new line from the Jarvis transformer station to Hagersville was completed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Haldimand "A Rumour is a Rumour"

I read with interest an article in the Sachem this week in regards to the ground-breaking ceremony and the fundraising efforts for the new Dunnville Arena.

As reported in the paper, Councillor Boyko stated that Provincial and Federal officials can’t seem to get it together for a date for the ground-breaking ceremony and this in part has started the “rumour mill”. Apparently one of the rumours is that the arena is not going to be built! And the rumours are “undercutting” the fund raising efforts!

Another issue that arose in the article was that if the fundraisers do not meet their goal that this could hurt “future” cost sharing projects! ???

So let’s talk about “Fundraising” in general. I certainly know how challenging this can be. In today’s economy “all” charities are feeling the crunch! In Dunnville alone we have many charities that need our help… name just a few…….The Salvation Army (food bank in particular), the hospital, the 150th committee, Mudcat festivities and the list goes on…..Are rumours “undercutting” the efforts of the new arena fundraiser?

I don’t think so…..a rumour is just that a rumour……

To add to the above, I have been actively campaigning in Dunnville for Ward 6 Councillor and I can tell you without a doubt this is the first I have heard of this “rumour” that the fundraising committee is having problems and the arena may not be built! Everything that we have read in the papers to this date have been positive!

Whenever there is a cost sharing venture between the county and residents, there are never any “guarantees”, period…..and never has been! To make a statement that if the funds are not achieved that this could jeopardize future ventures is absurd to say the least!

The committee raising funds for the new arena (over a million dollars) has a big job ahead of them. To raise this kind of money from a small communtiy is a huge feat! I have heard of no time frames from the county. As with any fundraisers, you plug on until you meet your goal! When I look at raising over a million dollars, I look at what local companies will donate and how much they will give? Then you look at the remainder that will be raised, by say golf tournaments, 50/50 ticket sales, dances etc…and of the course the smaller donations from residents ranging from $5.00 to $25.00 dollars.

Now let’s get to the “rumour mill”! This is not the first or last rumour that will go around in the community! So let's' ask why? Could it be a lack of "“communication”?

Have there been regular meetings from both the committee and the county to let the community know what is going on? Like I have said in the past, in Haldimand County we have a problem with “communications”. We have “weekly papers” and if you miss reading one weeks paper, you can miss it all! If you want to know what the county is doing it is up to you to seek out the information by going to a council meeting or checking out the website.

I have a simple solution to the above problems!

“Town Hall Meetings”!

It is time to stop “blaming” the residents!

Vote for Donna Pitcher, Ward 6 Councillor! Together we can open up the lines of communication!

“Your Voice will be Heard”

Groundbreakings cancellations have been starting rumours

By Jim Knisley

Jun 02, 2010

Councillor Lorne Boyko hopes that representatives of provincial and federal governments will soon be ready for their photo op.

Boyko told council that three dates for an official sod-turning for the new arena have been set and cancelled because a representative was unable to attend.

"Because of the grant money the province and the federal government have to be there for the photo op," he said.

This wouldn't be a big deal, but the cancellations have fired up the rumour machine. This includes rumors that the project may not go forward.

The rumors are groundless. "Both projects (the Cayuga and Dunnville arenas) are going ahead," he said.

Mayor Marie Trainer added her voice and said the arenas will be built.

Chief Administrative Officer Don Boyle said the unfounded rumors are causing real damage.

"This has been hindering fundraising efforts," he said.

The groups trying to raise money for Dunnville's new arena and community hall took on a major challenge. The rumors are undercutting their efforts.

This could also be a problem down the road. If the fundraising efforts for the arena come up short and the county has to cover the shortfall, county council may be hesitant or unwilling to sign on to future cost-shared projects.

As to a second ice pad in Dunnville, the new arena is being built so that a second pad can be added when needed.

Councillor Craig Grice said unfounded, ill-informed rumors aren't just a Dunnville problem.

He said in Caledonia there are all kinds of rumors about DCE.

"I've been hearing for years about traps in DCE. I've walked DCE, there is nothing there," he said.

Currently, there are efforts underway to cleanup DCE and unfounded ill-informed rumors may impede that.

In both Dunnville and Caledonia rumors can really hurt, he said.

The best way to deal with rumors is to contact people who know what is going on. "Contact the right people if you want the right information," he said.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Haldimand "Food Drive Items Needed"

After reading the story below, I decided that there is something that we can all do to help out the Salvation Army and that is to help replenish their food bank. We can't stop people from dumping the garbage (I have seen this myself) but we can help in easing the financial burden by donating goods for the food bank.

Along with asking my family, friends and neighbours for donations, I would like to extend the invitation to you! I am more than willing to pick up anytime, it would be my pleasure!

Please call me at 905-701-1627.

Salvation Army Needs Help, Not Garbage
Updated 1 day ago

While grappling with recent funding cuts and empty shelves at the Food Bank, the Salvation Army has one more problem to deal with: dumping.

Reporting to work after the long weekend Tuesday morning, volunteers and staff of the Salvation Army were greeted with massive piles of garbage blocking the building's entrance.

While staff say they appreciate donations which support their Thrift Store, the additional task of removing broken and unwanted items costs the Salvation Army thousands of dollars a month in disposal fees.

"There was so much sheer volume, we couldn't even get in the door," said Lynda Bain Tuesday morning. "Our volunteers had to move it." The bulk of the items are broken or need some type of repair, and she surmised that they are being dropped off after yard sales, which are prevalent this time of year.

"We have this problem every year at this time," noted Bain, "and then people rummage through it, which makes it even worse."

The considerable dumping fees take away from the Food Bank's operating costs, which at this time of year is in desperate need of replenishing. Items most in demand include staples such as pasta, rice, tomato sauce, canned meats such as tuna, soup and canned fruit, said Bain.

At Dunnville's Mudcat Festival Kickoff on June 5, featuring the Movie under the Stars, Classic Car Show by the Dunnville Cruisers and Commemorative Mural unveiling in the downtown core, donations of non-perishable food will be collected for the Food Bank.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Haldimand "Haldimand County Council supports Natural Gas Plant in Nanticoke"

The mayors of Mississauga, Oakville and Haldimand County have joined forces to lobby the Liberal government to support a plan to build a natural gas power plant in rural Haldimand instead of a controversial scheme to establish one in Oakville.

Haldimand council supports a plan by Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) to build a plant beside the Nanticoke Generating Station, which is slated to close in 2014, causing jobs and tax revenue losses.

Oakville and Mississauga, and many residents, are opposed to a plan by TransCanada Pipelines to build a $1.2 billion natural gas-fired generating plant near the Ford plant, which is within a three-kilometre radius of 11,000 homes and 16 schools.

Mayors Hazel McCallion, Rob Burton and Marie Trainer have signed two letters to Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Brad Duguid appealing for him to back the CPV plan for a 1,200-megawatt gas plant.

They believe it supports the minister's goal of maintaining the reliability of Ontario's energy supply when coal-fired plants are phased out.

They argue the plan by TransCanada Pipelines to establish a 940-megawatt plant in Oakville "steps from schools, home and parks ... makes no sense."

TransCanada was selected by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) last September after OPA asked for proposals for the southwest Greater Toronto Area.

"Our residents and our technical experts have made it clear that constructing and operating an electric generating plant in Oakville or Mississauga is inappropriate," the mayors add. "We encourage and would fully support your government in directing the Ontario Power Authority to negotiate a contract with Competitive Power Venture."

The idea of having the gas plant established in Haldimand instead of Oakville is not new. Trainer spoke at a Mississauga rally before 1,000 people last year, telling the crowd her municipality would welcome the plant in Nanticoke to offset the loss of 600 jobs and $3 million in taxes.

The CPV proposal would employ 35, but the Mississaugas of the New Credit -- which endorsed the scheme in March -- say it will create 600 local construction jobs over a three-year period.

Duguid's spokesperson Amy Tang said the minister welcomed views from "our municipal partners" and said the ministry continued to be in a "listening mode." She was doubtful, however, the appeal will have any impact.

"The process was long and the decision has been made, pretty much," Tang said.

Trainer earlier this month hosted McCallion and took her on a tour of the CPV's proposed site for its gas plant and the hydro line corridor. Trainer also met May 14 with the clean air subcommittee of Miranet, Mississauga's city-wide ratepayers group, and took them on a tour.

"We've already said we'd take it here," said Trainer. "Everything is there. It's just amazing they wouldn't take advantage of this."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Haldimand "Community Support Services Responds to Haldimand County Flip Flop Decision"

Service centres weigh in

By Cheryl Beemer, Sandy Clark, Paul Dishke, Julie Fleet, Kim Fleming, Don Henning, Nancy Legere, Bil Lofthouse and Larry Williamson, The board of directors, CSCHN

May 19, 2010

On behalf of the thousands of clients we serve annually and the hard-working and dedicated staff of the not-for-profit Community Support Centre of Haldimand-Norfolk, (CSCHN) we wanted to say shame on Haldimand County Council- and especially Mayor Marie Trainer and Councillor Buck Sloat- for their recent flip-flop on emergency funding to our agency and the Salvation Army.

Passing a 5-2 motion in favour of funding one week- in the presence of representatives from our two agencies and with assurances that all questions had been answered to ensure an informed decision- and one week later playing what appears to be election-year politics at the expense of our clients- is unconscionable. Not only did these elected officials pull the rug out from under our agencies with ridiculous excuses that had already been addressed, they did so when no one from our two agencies was present to respond to these concerns.

The impact of this decision is that our Centre will have to reduce already-skeletal staffing and service by the fall, and possibly close by the end of the year.

Our two small, not-for-profit agencies- which receive virtually no ongoing government funding- provide residents and families of our County with essential and emergency services to help support them through difficult and unusually stressful times. Our community has had more than its fair share of hard times in the past four years, and Council has completely washed its hands when it comes to recognizing that exceptional increase in need, choosing to do nothing about it and preferring instead to blame the province for not doing enough.

We beg to differ: the province has already shown that it has limited time for Haldimand County. It is absolutely Council’s responsibility to take the time to understand and respond to the changing needs of its residents, including going beyond simply funding ‘mandated human services’ (through the Haldimand-Norfolk Health and Social Services Department).

Since 2006, the CSCHN has seen a 200% increase in the need for essential services (e.g. food, housing, clothing), job search assistance and counselling. We have worked with many of our on-site agency collaborators (including the Caledonia & District Food Bank, Community Addiction and Mental Health Services, Haldimand-Norfolk R.E.A.C.H., Haldimand & Norfolk Women’s Services, Helping Hands for Haldimand, the Dunnville Salvation Army and others) to meet those exceptional needs.

As well during that time, we have received some one-time support from the provincial government (specifically related to the land claim dispute). In the past four years, Haldimand has benefitted from millions of dollars of additional provincial funding to support our region. However, the County, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen to invest all of that additional money directly into infrastructure, not people.

In early February, the CSCHN’s volunteer board of directors approached Haldimand County with a request for $50,000 in emergency funding and the desire to work with the County to more effectively lobby the provincial and federal governments to increase funding for local health, social and community services such as ours. We suggested that the Salvation Army- located at the other end of the County and providing a comparable service to ours- be considered in this exceptional request.

During the course of two months, our staff provided Council with a detailed budget of how the monies requested would be spent, pages of rationale regarding the community need and answered dozens of questions related to the legitimacy of our request, the fairness of providing funding to one agency over another, how we do business, our ability to ensure these monies would actually go towards helping our fellow neighbours and more. In the end, it appears politics won out instead of policy.

Mayor Trainer and Councillor Sloat—who had originally voted in favour of the funding—chose to play fast and loose with the fortunes of our clients, implying that since the CSCHN couldn’t guarantee that all of the $50,000 would benefit only Haldimand County residents (by our own admission, approximately 2% of our 22,000 annual client visits come from communities neighbouring Haldimand) they couldn’t support the request.

Councillor Don Ricker added insult to injury, questioning the integrity of our two organizations by saying we “could use the money as we wish.” We would be interested to hear what Councillor Ricker thinks we’re going to use the money for, if not for our clients.

Those of us who believe that this is a caring community—and want to ensure this continues to be the case—might want to keep this in mind at election time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Haldimand "Who is on the List?"

These are the current registered candidates seeking your support for Haldimand County Council.

The county website is updated everyday around 4:00pm. There is a link in my side bar that will take you directly to this page.

Registered Candidates

The following candidates have been listed in alphabetical order, by last name.
Please note: This webpage will be updated each business day at 4:00 p.m.

Municipal Council
[One (01) individual is to be elected to fill the office of Mayor.]


Ryan J. Geddes

Ken Hewitt
8 Blackburn Crt. Caledonia, ON N3W 2N9

Buck Sloat
508 Lakeshore Road, Selkirk, ON, N0A 1P0

[One (01) Councillor will be elected to represent each of the following Wards.]

Ward 1

Leroy Bartlett
652 Concession 2, RR#2 Nanticoke, N0A 1L0

Stewart Patterson
2019 Main St. S., Jarvis, ON, N0A 1J0
(519) 587-4319

Ward 2

Neale Armstrong
4 Erie St, Fisherville, N0A 1G0

Rick Beale
33 Ottawa St. S., Cayuga, ON

Ray C Hunsinger
366 Lakeshore Rd, Selkirk, ON, N0A 1P0

Ward 3

Rob Duncan

Craig Grice
158 Braemar Ave, Caledonia, N3W 2M6

Ward 4

Tony Dalimonte
166 King St. East, PO Box 1137, Hagersville, N0A 1H0

Ward 5

Don Ricker
525 Diltz Road, Dunnville, ON, N1A 2W2
905-774-4661 (Bus) 905-774-8563 (home)

Ward 6

Donna Pitcher
2509 Lakeshore Rd., Dunnville, ON N1A 2W8