Friday, March 27, 2009

Haldimand "First Flood Fundraiser"

First Flood Fundraiser

Posted By KAREN BEST ,
Posted 15 hours ago

A night of great entertainment is a perfect way to begin fundraising for victims of the Feb. 13 flood.

On March 31, Rob Lamothe, Mike Bell and Dave Bell, Silence the Fury and Nate Waldes, all from Dunnville, will perform at the Casbah in Hamilton. They will be joined by Jacob Moon.

Dave Dunham Junior is promoting the show for Casbah owner Brodie Schwendiman who wants to give back to Dunnville in this time of need. A lot of Dunnville bands play in the club and a lot of Dunnville people are patrons of it, said Dunham.

He wanted as many people as possible to show up to raise as much money as possible.

The Casbah is located at 306 King Street West at the corner of Queen Street. The entrance to the upstairs club is off Queen.

Admission is $10 at the door and the show begins at 8 p. m.

For every dollar of show proceeds provided for flood relief, the Ontario government will provide $1.70 through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program.

On March 13, Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson declared a disaster zone in flooded areas from Cayuga's bridge to Port Maitland.

So far the next fundraiser is the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 142 dance featuring True Country on May 2.

Haldimand "Flood Committee Appointed"

Flood committee starts work next week

Nine volunteers bring wide variety of talent to relief efforts

Posted By KAREN BEST ,
Posted 15 hours ago

Haldimand County council unanimously agreed to a slate of volunteers who will guide disaster relief over the rest of the year.

"I'm just very pleased with the abilities of these people," said Coun. Lorne Boyko. "The cross section of the folks who have been appointed - that's a terrific talent pool."

In a special council meeting on March 23, council members discussed proposed membership of the county's disaster relief committee.

"There was unanimous support," reported Boyko. "The selection process went without a hitch. Everybody was on side. It was nice to see that refreshing spirit of cooperation."

Coun. Buck Sloat was glad to see relief efforts moved from the political to the community volunteer level.

A day after council's decision, municipal advisor Maureen Beatty of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs contacted Dunnville resident Kim Hessels. She told The Chronicle that the ministry has tentatively scheduled launching the committee on March 30.

At that meeting, the ministry will outline responsibilities which include fundraising, advertising for relief applications, reviewing requests and settling eligible claims for flood damage. A bank account will be opened for donations and tax receipts will be provided.

Along with Hessels, the other committee members from Dunnville are Bernie Corbett, Brett Kelly, Joanne Falletta and Ken Egger. They will work with Donna Pitcher of South Cayuga, Don Edwards of Caledonia, Victoria Young of Cayuga and Marie Maas of Fisherville.

The nine committee members will carry out relief efforts through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program.

Based on reports by ministry staff and an insurance adjuster, Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson declared on March 13 a provincial disaster in flooded zones from the Cayuga bridge to Port Maitland. Six days later ministry officials asked council members to appoint the committee as soon as possible so fundraising efforts can begin while the effects of flooding were fresh on people's minds.

"The whole program is only as successful as the fundraising campaign," ministry local government manager Roger Moyer told council.

For members of the committee, success is rooted in their intention to help. Some witnessed the fury of river flooding first hand.

On Feb. 13, Bernie Corbett was walking with a friend in the lower river marsh when the water swiftly rose.

"Where there was dry land I was walking in water up to my knees," he told The Chronicle a day after he notified of his appointment to the committee. "For all my years in Dunnville, I have never seen water come up so high."

He knew this resulted in considerable damage along the Grand River.

"If I can be of assistance in ensuring (flood victims) get help, I would be glad to do that," said Corbett.

He wondered if a monetary figure could be put on volunteer work and materials provided for repairing the home of Lynn and Blair White.

Based on information provided by Moyer, material donations will not be eligible for matching provincial funding.

Corbett, who is a retired Stelco employee, will bring three decades of municipal government experience to the committee. For six years, he was a Town of Dunnville employee. He spent time working as the deputy clerk-treasurer, welfare administrator and secretary of the committee of adjustment before working for six years as a regional social services field worker.
In 1983, Corbett was elected as ward councillor and served for three consecutive terms. After a term as mayor, he was elected as a regional councillor and then a ward councillor. In 2000, he stepped down from council to serve on the Haldimand Norfolk transition board which dismantled the former Haldimand Norfolk region to create two counties.

For more than five years, he was a member of the Haldimand County Hydro board including a term as chair.

While volunteering at the White home, Joanne Falletta, who is an Investors Group consultant, was asked by Dunnville Chamber of Commerce president Carolyn Chymko to consider sitting on the disaster committee.

Falletta agreed. It's all about helping the community and showing support, the chamber member told The Chronicle.

"I'm always happy to help. We'll see what can be done," she said.

Around supper time on Feb. 13, Falletta was returning from St. Catharines and managed to get through Broad Street near Brant Street as it was filling up with water. Emergency workers were getting ready to close the street, she recalled.

The day before council appointed her, she was at the White's home moving damaged items in preparation for the free large garbage pick up on March 28.

With lots of experience in assorted fundraising events, Falletta was eager to drive some of those for the relief effort.

She wanted to see the first fundraising event happen as soon as possible and will pursue opportunities over the next few weeks.

When a call went out for construction material donations and volunteer labour, Donna Pitcher bought insulation and showed up ready to work on March 14, a month after the water receded from the White's home.

"I was humbled by helping the Whites and by seeing how difficult it was for Lynn to handle all this help," said Pitcher who, like other members, is honoured to be on the relief committee.

A few days after that work bee, she dropped by to leave Lynn a stress relief kit.

When Pitcher heard about council's unanimous decision about committee members, she was choked up. "It proves the point that people can set aside their personal feelings and do the right thing," she said.

For her, volunteering on the committee was a simple matter of helping out neighbours. "I just think it's just the right thing to do. I hope we can accomplish our task in one year," she added.

Based on the preliminary estimate of $1.7 million in flood damages, the committee faces the unbelievable target of raising $600,000, she pointed out. The provincial government will match each dollar raised by at least $1.70.

She said the county's share of damage relief cannot be raised just by the local community but she was ready to put her shoulder against what looked like a daunting task.

"I will give everything I can," stated Pitcher. "When I get involved in something, I give it my all."

In 2004 and 2005, she was instrumental in launching a petition and building community support for retention of the municipality's Haldimand County Hydro company. Council dropped its effort to sell the utility in February 2005.

When she sits down with the other eight committee members, she will bring her communications skills and years of sales experience.

"I'm not afraid to ask for things. When it comes to other people who are in need, I shine," she told The Chronicle. "My responsibility is to make people understand the need is there. With this list of people (on the committee), this will run very smoothly."

Victoria Young saw river flats disappear under high water on Feb. 13 so she was not surprised to hear about the extent of damages to seasonal and permanent residences in Cayuga and Dunnville. "I called Buck (Sloat) after the flood to see what I could do," she said.

When the search began for disaster relief committee members, he called her and she agreed to serve. "It's the right thing do do," Young told The Chronicle adding that she is prepared to expend the time and effort required on committee work.

"For me, it was a opportunity to help rebuild what Mother Nature has taken away from us," she said.

A Cayuga Chamber of Commerce director, Young said this organization is looking at ways to help people whose cottages and trailers were damaged. Seasonal accommodations are not eligible for provincial financial assistance.

Sloat was also ready to get behind efforts to help the ineligible victims and mentioned that the chamber will host a benefit event for them.

In an effort to prevent damage to boaters this spring, he asked county staff to request the Grand River Conservation Authority to issue a warning about floating debris in the river.

Self-described as an issue spotter, Young will read the situation and niches selected by other committee members and then fill in where the need is. And she does not want to waste any time on getting started. "Every day is another day lost," she added.

After Coun. Don Ricker asked her about joining the committee, Kim Hessels did not expect to be selected. Hearing she was a member was a pleasant surprise.

"I think that something needs to be done for the people affected by the flood," she said. "This is just a great close knit community and I help where I can. I am honoured to be involved."
A mother of three children under 12 years of age, she will juggle her time to meet responsibilities with them and the committee. An active member of her church, Hessels will also draw on her community experience as president of the Dunnville Right to Life Association and earlier work with a homeless shelter in St. Catharines.

Along with her community experience, she will bring business skills grown in her family's company, Hessels Farm Supply Ltd. Hessels described herself as a grain merchandiser. "I'm used to working with people at a charitable and business level," she said.

After returning her call to Beatty of the municipal affairs ministry on March 25, Hessels committed to attend the committee's inaugural meeting on March 30. "What's most important is getting moving on it," she said of relief efforts.

Brett Kelly has worked for the Ontario government for years. He is currently employed in the health care and screening division of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Don Edwards has participated in volunteer efforts at the West Haldimand General Hospital and is a staff member at the local office of Haldimand Norfolk MP Diane Finley.

Article ID# 1497672

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Haldimand "Council Makes Big Bucks"

Well it's almost that time of the year again. We will find out soon how many Staff members of Haldimand County are in the $100,000.00 Club!

At the same time all salaries etc. will be posted for Mayor and Council members. As I haven't been going to council meetings I would think that because of the economy that Council while looking through the budget would cut their salaries. Or rather keep them the same as last year.

Council used to vote on their raises, but that was changed by Lorraine Bergstrand when she was Mayor. I believe it was in 2005 when each Council member started receiving a 2.5% raise each year. This is the same raise that was negotiated for "union workers".

Council can change this with a Vote.

Just a side note, members of Haldimand County Council also get to claim 1/3 of their salaries "Tax Free" for Income Tax purposes!

Haldimand is where the big bucks are
Posted By Monte Sonnenberg,
Simcoe ReformerPosted

Norfolk Mayor Dennis Travale says it doesn't bother him that his counterpart in Haldimand earns more than $10,000 a year in base salary. Travale was responding yesterday to the latest council remuneration report from Haldimand County. The report says Trainer collected a salary of $65,723 last year and $82,000 overall when benefits, mileage, professional development (conferences, seminars, etc.) and wireless communications are factored in.

The most recent numbers from Norfolk County date from 2007. That year, Travale collected $55,600 in salary and $3,500 in expenses for a grand total of $59,300. This despite Travale leading a municipality with 20,000 more people than Haldimand.

As well, Norfolk -- as the "consolidated service manager" for the two counties -- makes decisions regarding health and social services on behalf of both municipalities. "Does it bother me?" Travale said yesterday. "No.

The salary for mayor of Norfolk was set by the previous council. I accept that freely and gladly. Do I intend to bring it forward for review? No."

Aside from the salary differential, Trainer's total take was much higher than Travale's because she claims more in mileage and benefits. Trainer claimed $5,600 in mileage expenses last year and benefits in the amount of $8,050.

As mayor, Travale began to claim mileage once gasoline reached $1 a litre. Now that it has fallen below this, Travale will make claims for long trips. He will also expense shorter trips on a case-by-case basis. Travale and his family rely on the benefits package that accompanies his pension plan as a retired federal civil servant. The only benefits he collects as a county employee involves a mandatory $30,000 life insurance package in his name.

The mayors of Norfolk and Haldimand started out with the same salaries when the new counties came into being in 2001. However, while Lorraine Bergstrand of Dunnville was mayor, Haldimand council increased the mayor's salary by $10,000.

Haldimand council also increased councillors' salaries by $5,000 over the $25,000 base amount established at the outset.

Due to a meeting yesterday with provincial officials regarding flood disaster relief in Dunnville, Cayuga and elsewhere, Mayor Trainer was unavailable for comment.

Other members of Haldimand council and their remuneration in 2008 include: -

Ward One Coun. Leroy Bartlett of Selkirk. He collected $43,447 in 2008. Of this, $32,860 was salary. Bartlett claimed $1,384 in professional development expenses, $1,159 in mileage and $7,356 in benefits.-

Cayuga Coun. Buck Sloat. Sloat collected $47,700 last year, $34,842 of which was salary. Sloat collected $7,550 in benefits, $2,604 in mileage and $1,400 in professional development charges.

Caledonia Coun. Craig Grice. He collected $46,116 last year. Of this, $32,861 was salary while $3,177 was for professional development. Grice claimed $1,825 in wireless communication charges and $7,356 in benefits.

Hagersville Coun. Tony Dalimonte. Dalimonte collected $44,526 last year, $33,100 of which was salary. He collected benefits worth $5,900 and claimed professional development expenses in the amount of $3,200. Dalimonte also claimed $1,630 in mileage.

Dunnville Coun. Don Ricker. He collected $45,656 last year. Of this, $32,861 was wages. Ricker collected $7,356 in benefits last year and claimed $3,408 in mileage. Ricker also claimed $1,344 in professional development charges.

Dunnville Coun. Lorne Boyko. Boyko collected $46,775 last year, $32,861 of which was wages. Boyko also claimed $7,356 in benefits, $4,229 in mileage and $1,664 in professional development charges.

Wages and expenses for individual councillors on Norfolk council in 2007 ranged from $29,512 for Langton Coun. Roger Geysens to $25,020 for Port Dover Coun. John Wells and Simcoe Coun. Heidy Van Dyk.

Norfolk council's wages and expenses in 2007 totalled $272,700.

The corresponding amount in Haldimand last year was $346,000.

msonnenberg@bowesnet.comArticle ID# 1487505

Monday, March 16, 2009

Haldimand "Warning, Reading this may Cause fits of Dizziness and Nausea"

A friend of mine read an interesting article to me over the phone in regards to the deal that was struck between GM and the Autoworkers Union. You can decide for yourself after reading this if in fact this deal is good enough for our government to give them money! In my opinion it is not!

The article is written by Greg Weston, Opinion Columnist for the London Free Press;

Deal by GM, union fails to impress

Judging by all the breathless media coverage of the "historic" deal between General Motors and its Canadian union, one would think the autoworkers agreed to sacrifice their left lugnut for company and country.

Alas, objects in this mirror are much smaller than they appear.

The federal and Ontario governments have been demanding the unions take a tire-iron to their gold-plated employment contracts before GM gets a dime from taxpayers.

With upwards of $7 billion in government loans on the table, GM and its workers have oh-so- reluctantly agreed to a deal, which union president Ken Lewenza describes as "a major sacrifice by our members and retirees."

Here are some of those heart-wrenching sacrifices, with a warning that what follows may cause ordinary hard-working taxpayers to experience fits of dizziness and nausea.

* The deal freezes base wages until mid-2012.

In fact, it changes almost nothing -- last year, the union agreed to a pay freeze until mid-2011.

* Quarterly cost-of-living increases are suspended until 2012.

Those pay hikes had already been suspended until mid-2010, and with inflation near zero, the increases wouldn't have amounted to much anyway.

* Ditto for annual cost-of-living increases to pensions until 2012.

Increased pensions had already been nixed for a year, and with low or no inflation, GM pensioners will barely notice them missing for another three years.

It is worth noting that unionized GM employees do not contribute a dime to their pensions during their working lives.

We would also note that at a time when the car companies are asking for billions, the GM pension fund is short, um, billions.

* Spa time is reduced by 40 hours per year.

Before your head explodes, "spa" stands for "special paid absence," an extra week of paid time off that all GM unionized workers get in addition to their annual vacations.

A union exec explains spa weeks were originally negotiated in part to force GM to hire more workers to replace the ones on spa weeks.

This also helps to explain why the company is now broke.

* "An annual $1,700 special bonus payment is being diverted to help offset the cost of retiree health care benefits."

Translation: Unionized autoworkers are giving up their $1,700 Christmas bonuses so their retired brethren will each get an extra roughly $250 a year to cover new health premiums (see below).

The net benefit to GM -- and taxpayers -- is precisely zero.

* GM is cutting its contribution to a whole range of employee perks by a third.

Those include subsidized daycare and even legal services for union workers buying a house or getting divorced.

* Finally, unionized auto workers will have to pay a staggering $30 a month each for their health and other benefits; retirees $15.

Truth is, all those years of huddling around the flaming oil drums on the picket lines have left the auto workers with the sweetheart of all benefit packages covering health, dental, disability and even tuition.

Until now, the employee contribution to the premiums has been exactly zip.

Add it all up, and the "major sacrifices" being made by the autoworkers for billions of taxpayers' dollars are as follows:

Their pay and pensions stay the same. They lose a spa week, and give their Christmas bonus to the oldtimers. They have to pay a bit more for daycare and a divorce, and $30 a month for a benefits package to strike for.

Hold the hankies.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Haldimand "They Want to Help"

Great article by Karen Best!

They want to help

Posted 17 hours ago

The need is great and people in Dunnville are moving ahead to fill it because they want to help. After Grand River flood levels dropped, home and business owners surveyed damage and began to clean up efforts. In many cases, relatives, neighbours and friends were at their side.

Soon there was an up swelling of support from the Dunnville Chamber of Commerce, Coun. Lorne Boyko, real estate agents, service clubs, contractors and individuals.

Boyko, Dunnville chamber president Carolyn Chymko and Royal LePage Niagara realtors Mike Dilse, Allan Judson and Ken Robertson will volunteer at fundraisers.

On behalf of the realtors, Boyko mailed out Brick discount coupons to people living in flood zones. In the same package was a Laverty Home Furnishings coupon.

The realtors felt compelled to help and were glad to do so because they are part of the community.

"People are coming out of the woodwork," said Sandy Passmore of the chamber. "People are tired of waiting."

"The chamber definitely wants to help out our community," said Chymko.

So do many others. They want to help and they are and will even though Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson had not yet declared a disaster along the river from Cayuga to Port Maitland. Haldimand County council expected to hear from him by March 13.

After contacted by The Chronicle, flood assistance was discussed at a Dunnville Royal Canadian Legion Branch 142 meeting.

Members decided to host a May 2 benefit dance with entertainment provided by True Country. The legion will donate the hall and all event proceeds will go toward flood assistance, said legion president Lionel Ford. A few more ideas including raffles and draws are in the works.

"We're going to work on it. We jumped right in on that," he said.

Dunnville Optimist Club members will pitch in with personal and club donations, said club president Jim Smreker. After the Dunnville Lioness meeting on March 11, president Pat Merritt said, "We're on board," said president Pat Merritt. "We'll help anyway we can."

On March 12, Dunnville Rotary president Kim Tamburri raised flood assistance at a club meeting. She hoped that services clubs will work together on an event that can make a great impact.

Other examples of empathy and generosity surfaced.

Senior citizens living across from Lynn and Blair White took up a collection for them. They are among a larger group stepping forward to help the couple who have no insurance. Their Main Street home, which is in the flood zone and is not insurable, severely damaged by the flood.

Ron Speer and Amanda Lane paid for tipping fees for dumpsters donated free by Ed Passmore.

When flooding eased off last month, Jeff Carpenter went door to door in Cayuga and Dunnville to let people know he can renovate damaged homes. When he and his spouse Tammy Carpenter went to the White's door, Lynn was in tears dumping out her furniture.

So she and Jeff working with Ed Timmerman and Chymko decided to host this family and are in the process of making repairs happen.

"That's what people do - help your neighbour," said Tammy.

Jeff has enjoyed business success as has Tammy so both want to give back to the community. It's as simple as pulling together to help people get their lives back to normal, he added.
Industrial dehumidifiers have been running in the home since Feb. 16. When the wooden slats resting on a concrete pad are dry enough to prevent mould, a new sub-floor will be rebuilt.

Donating his time and labour for free, Jeff is seeking material and financial assistance. This week, Timmerman distributed letters in town to ask for essential materials. This includes insulation, drywall, wall receptacles, laminate flooring, drywall screws, tuck tape, sheet rock 90, vinyl flooring, vapour barrier and six gallons of paint of three different colours. Jeff can be reached at 905-961-9912.

Jeff also said St. Paul Anglican Church is also helping the White family. Wendy Legendre said that several members of Jubilee Faith Centre have volunteered their time to assist the Whites in getting their home back in good order.

A working bee is expected this weekend.

In the mean time, the chamber had arranged for temporary accommodations in a Lake Erie cottage. Due to work and transportation issues, the location was not suitable for the White family, said Passmore. The chamber then began to look for a trailer that can be parked on the White property.

Seeing made a difference for Ruth Swann and Donna Pitcher.

Swann and her spouse John Upshall arrived in Dunnville on Feb. 14, turned on the heat in their Lake Erie cottage and came back to town to survey flood activity. On Sunday, she left a message offering a donation of a month's accommodations at a few local real estate offices.

After hearing the Whites could not use a cottage, Swann said the offer stood for anyone else who needed it.

On Feb. 13, Donna and Ted Pitcher spent the day in Cayuga and Dunnville.

"This was a disaster. I saw it happen," she said. "I can't imagine being in the position of leaving my house with just my clothes on my back and then coming back to see my personal items destroyed."

"The only thing we can do as a community is to help out," Donna added.

Willing to volunteer and experienced in fundraising, she wanted to become a member of the disaster relief assistance committee if a provincial disaster is declared in the county.

"Fundraising activities, whether or not the county is eligible for a disaster declaration, can be underway now," said Roger Moyer.

"If and when the minister declares a disaster, those funds will be eligible to be matched up to a 2 to 1 ratio," added the manager of local government in the ministry's London office.

If an announcement is not made by March 13, Boyko encouraged all groups and individuals who want to hold fundraising events to go ahead.

To ensure raised money will qualify for twice as much in provincial funds, he asked groups to open separate flood relief bank accounts and record amounts collected. Council has already made arrangements to hold a special council meeting if a designation is granted.

Article ID# 1476258

Haldimand "Province Declares Disaster"

Provincial disaster declaration opens gates to financial relief

People in flooded Dunnville and Cayuga areas can still apply

Posted 1 hour ago

A Dunnville councillor and the Dunnville Chamber of Commerce president were thrilled to learn late Friday afternoon that financial assistance was on the way for flood victims.

After 3 p.m. on March 13, Coun. Lorne Boyko, who initiated the search for provincial funding, received an email stating that Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Jim Watson declared a disaster in the flooded areas of Dunnville and Cayuga.

"Great news!" Boyko said when interviewed by The Chronicle.

"Now the real work will begin and that's the raising of funds by the community," he noted. "But I know the community is up to it."

Chamber president Carolyn Chymko, like Boyko, was sure the province would help and was thrilled to learn she was right.

"I just received a $100 cheque and now it's worth $300," she said.

The same welcome multiplication will be applied to a $10,000 donation from Bruce Power president Duncan Hawthorne. Mayor Marie Trainer received confirmation of the donation on Friday.

After a disaster designation is made, the province, through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program, will provide two dollars for every one dollar raised by residents. The fund will be built up to 90 per cent of loss values to avoid a surplus. Based on early estimates from 60 home and business owners, damages added up to $1.7 million.

People who live in the recognized disaster areas and have not yet applied for assistance can still do so. To obtain further information call the county administration office at 905-318-5932.

As soon as possible, Mayor Marie Trainer will call a special meeting so disaster relief committee members can be selected from a list of willing residents. Once struck, the committee will follow provincial guidelines, review and appraise applications, oversee fundraising and distribute funds.
Flood damage occurred a month ago. On Feb. 13, three ice jams backed up Grand River water over its banks starting in Cayuga. The other jams were between Cayuga and Dunnville and between the Dunnville dam and Port Maitland.

Water rose by six feet in Dunnville but flowed away when the Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker Griffon opened up a waterway to Lake Erie.

While Lynn and Blair White seem to be the poster family for the flood, many people were suffering quietly as they deal with their own damaged properties, said Boyko.

He credited Chymko for spearheading efforts to help the Whites who live in the flood plain and do not qualify for house insurance.

The chamber president, other chamber members and volunteers and several residents teamed up to remove damaged drywall and floors. Jeff Carpenter and Ed Timmerman put out a letter asking for donations of construction materials. Many were received over two days and repairs are expected to begin soon in the home of the Whites.

Article ID# 1478004

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Haldimand "Bruce Power Update"

From Bruce Power;

You're invited to our Community Information Sessions for the Nanticoke Nuclear Power Plant Project Environmental Assessment

For more information please contact Peter Brown at Golder Associates 1-800-414-8314 or

We were pleased to meet so many of you at our Community Information Sessions held last December and January. A summary of these sessions is available at and at the municipal libraries in Haldimand-Norfolk.

We are making progress on our environmental assessment studies and want to share the results with you.

Please drop in to one of our upcoming Community Information Sessions to get an update and let us know what you think.

Monday to Thursday from 3 to 8 p.m.: A light lunch will be served from 5 to 7 p.m.

March 30, Dunnville, Dunnville Optimist Hall, CORNER OF MAIN ST. & CEDAR ST., DUNNVILLE, ON

March 31, Cayuga, Cayuga Kinsmen Community Centre, 15 THORBURN STREET,CAYUGA, ON

April 1 Port Dover, Port Dover Lions Community Centre, 801 ST. GEORGE STREET, PORT DOVER, ON

April 2 Jarvis, Jarvis Community Centre, 18 JAMES STREET, JARVIS, ON

Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: A light lunch will be served from 12 to 2 p.m. April 4 Simcoe, Simcoe Recreation Centre 182 SOUTH DRIVE, SIMCOE, ON

For more information please contact Peter Brown at Golder Associates1-800-414-8314 or

Monday to Thursday from 3 to 8 p.m.:

A light lunch will be served from 5 to 7 p.m.

A light lunch will be served from 12 to 2 p.m.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Haldimand "Solar-Flexus Ltd talks about Energy Conservation"

The following is a letter to the Editor written by Bill Stewart of Haldimand County and some information on how you can contact him.

Bill’s letter was never printed in the paper and he had hoped that this information would get out to people in Haldimand. So I contacted Bill for more information on his company and the Energy Savings Program. I also did a bit of research myself and what a great program! If you are looking into renovations to make you’re home more efficient this is it!

Thanks Bill for the information and I will post your letter to the editor.

The following is some information on The Ontario Home Energy Savings Program.

The Government of Ontario will pay half of your pre-retrofit audit, up to $150.

After your first audit, you have 18 months to complete some or all of the improvements suggested by your energy advisor to qualify for government rebates.

After your post-retrofit audit, the Governments of Ontario and Canada will each rebate up to $5,000 for your energy efficient upgrades. The more energy-saving upgrades you make, the more money you’ll get back, up to a total of $10,000.

More info at this site:

Thanks Bill for this information; It details the Audit process, and takes you through the steps to get started in the Green Energy Initiative that Canada and most of the Provinces have initiated. The Federal Government site for downloading energy rebate forms, and applications for those rebates, is at:

Bills states; It all makes for a win-win situation for those who can see the future path of energy conservation and the savings on energy expenditures for what is basically, FREE energy. I am really proud of the product and the quality of the individual components that make up a Solar Hot Water Heater unit. The fact that its an extremely low-maintenance system designed for a 25 year life cycle, and that it would probably exceed that expected life cycle by 15 to 20 years because of the quality of it's components.

I can be contacted by the following methods.

Mail: Solar-Flexus ltd.,
1475 Lakeshore Road, Selkirk,
Ontario N0A 1P0
By phone: (905) 778-2267
By email:

I am still working on a website for the business and that may be addressed in the near future. Thanks again, Donna, Bill Stewart for: SOLAR-FLEXUS

I write this letter in response to the article by Bill Jackson on Nuclear Power generation in the January 28, 2009 "This Week"... I attended the Nuclear Power Symposium (open house) at the Jarvis Community Centre, back in November of '08, to gather facts and raise some questions regarding the Nuclear Plant process... I wasn't surprised when, over the course of the presentations, and the question period that followed, the senses of the attendees went from uncommitted, to decidedly Anti-Nuclear... It was pointed out that a million gallons of Diesel fuel are burned in the mining, transportation, and processing of just "one" pound of high-grade Uranium nuclear fuel (the Nuclear Industry "Lip-speak" for "we have created 100 thousand pounds of carbon dioxide to get this one pound of environmentally GREEN fuel.)"Estimated direct and indirect emissions for the Bruce New Nuclear Power Plant Project in Kincardine (approximately 4,000 MW) were less than 0.015% of Ontario's overall emissions."... A bold faced lie excerpted from the"Nanticoke Nuclear Power Plant Environmental Assessment" document (document id #2761) from the Bruce Power website (

The infrastructure needed to build the Nuke Plant would be 10-20 years in construction... The figure of 4 billion dollars, that is being thrown around so cavalierly by the Nuke Industry for the construction of the plant, would only pay for the footings in the overall costs carried over the life of the construction cycle... The real cost would be in the upper 80 billion-dollar mark, and, provide the most expensive electrical energy in the world.

Yes, the Ontario Government would subsidize the costs of the electricity,but, out of the tax-base of Ontarians who will pay for the expensive wages, and monitoring, and fuel mining/production, and storage (on site) of the spent radioactive fuel, and a large, very large, spin media to make even more Nuke Plants seem so "Environmentally Clean"...Yes, I am aware that the other presenters at the symposium offered"Alternative" Electrical Production methodologies, and that many of the alternative methods were very expensive per Kilowatt to produce, but not one was as expensive as the Nuclear industry's "Lobby" would have us believe.

Wind energy presenters made a valid presentation; as well the Solar Industry(of which my business is a part of) made a very plausible presentation. Even the Agricultural Industry had made a great presentation on "Biomass"inclusion to the coal-fired Electrical Generation Process.

The point is, that we need "truth" to come out in the process of selecting choices for electrical generation in Ontario, not "spin" from the Nuclear Lobby...We need to look at the green alternatives in energy and water"Conservation" as well...

What about a Solar Water Heater, that could save 1.5 Kilowatts of energy per hour, during daylight, per household in Ontario?

In July 2008, the state of Hawaii made it "mandatory" for all new construction of houses to have a Solar Water Heater installed... British Columbia started "SolarBC" in the same month to encourage the use of Solar Water Heaters to conserve energy...

Ontario gives a $500 rebate on the costs of purchasing and installing a Solar Water Heater (only about $3000) and the Federal Government gives another $500 rebate with the string attached that you must have an"Energy Audit" of your premises to point out other energy savings and losses...

Very few in the Haldimand area have taken advantage of these incentives, which to me, borders on APATHY regarding knowledge of energy budgeting per household... Green energy choices ARE available, for the homeowner, as cheaper, free, and environmentally cleaner sources of energy,and not the expensively soaring costs of traditional energy sources.

"William J. Stewart,
C/O of Solar-Flexus, Selkirk,
Ontario N0A 1P0
Tel.: (905) 776-2267

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Haldimand "Kudo's to Dr. Madill, Shame on You Council"

Kudo's To Dr. Madill! Council "Shame on You!"

Well Council has change their stand on this issue! I don't even know what to say, so for the time being I am just going to post Karen's story!

Council rejects funding for Dunnville health care centre

Posted 1 day ago

Once again, Doug Madill stood before Haldimand County council asking for municipal investment in the primary healthcare centre in Dunnville. He was turned down.

With five council members in attendance at the March 2 committee meeting, only Mayor Marie Trainer and Coun. Lorne Boyko supported his request for $450,000. Voting no were councillors Don Ricker, Craig Grice and Buck Sloat.

Later county clerk Janis Lankester said the motion was a reconsideration of a 2006 council decision and the funding request was defeated.

"I can't believe we're the only county in all of Ontario that doesn't support health care," Madill told The Chronicle. "We are being penalized for being first."

A 2003 consultant report recommended the county invest $500,000 in health care centres in Dunnville, Caledonia and Hagersville to attract new doctors.

Two years later Dunnville was ready, plans were drawn for a $3.5 million centre and the Dunnville Hospital and Healthcare Foundation pledged $750,000 toward the project.

The foundation continues to fundraise but donations are expected to fall off due to the economy. This means it could take six years, twice as long as first predicted, to pay for construction. So far $1.4 million has been collected.

In 2005, Madill made his first request for a $500,000 county grant. It was approved with conditions in 2006 through a motion from Sloat. In the meantime, he Haldimand War Memorial Hospital financed construction of the primary healthcare centre which it owns.

Although set out in the 2006 council motion, three annual instalments for a total of $450,000 were put on hold while legal issues including leases and other agreements with the hospital were sorted out. An agreement with the Ontario ministry of health was only reached last year.

At the March 2 meeting, Madill, who is the DHHF treasurer, asked for a lump sum payment of $450,000. He pointed out that three of five doctors working in the centre are new recruits proving it attracts doctors to an under serviced area.

"Fifty years ago our hospital was one of the main economic backbones of our community," said Madill. "Today our expanded healthcare campus is the economic backbone of our community."

During discussions, Madill pointed out that. Norfolk County invests $62,000 a year in the Norfolk General Hospital.

"We don't support other businesses," Ricker.

"Health care is not a business," replied Madill.

Corporate services general manager Karen General said Madill was aware that the county needed all agreements entered into with the hospital including staff sharing and phone systems. All the county received was the lease, she added.

The county's lawyer had not confirmed that the centre was operating at arm's length from the hospital, she noted.

Boyko then suggested council reaffirm the 2006 funding approval and spilt the amount over two years. In response, General said the request was equal to one per cent of the county's tax levy.

She also pointed out that the 2006 motion did not in specify that the funding was a grant.

Boyko's frustration was evident after these comments. He said staff ask the same questions over and over again in open and closed sessions and the county's solicitor has tabled the same position over and over again.

And Caledonia and Hagersville were not being ignored because a committee was struck in 2006 to look at doctor recruitment for those two towns but has yet to file a report with council. He suggested using surpluses or other funding sources to fund a key facility proven to attract doctors to an under serviced area.

Do the same for Caledonia and Hagersville when they come forward, said Boyko who questioned why no money was set aside in a reserve for the clinic.

A lot has happened in the last three years with native issues bringing the county to its knees and a global recession, pointed out Sloat. "This is no longer achievable by this community," he added.

Later Boyko said staff did not want to put money aside for the healthcare centre, something he described as critical. In small town Ontario, the county cannot afford to refuse funding for doctor recruitment, he added.

Article ID# 1465185

Friday, March 6, 2009

Haldimand "John Tory Defeated"

John Tory to quit today: Sources

Niagara's Hudak a possible successor

March 06, 2009
Daniel Nolan
Rob Ferguson and Robert Benzie

LINDSAY - John Tory will announce today that he is stepping down as Progressive Conservative leader, the Star has learned, his political career brought to a screeching halt as he lost a hard-fought by-election to the Liberals in cottage country.

Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Conservative Toby Barrett is already talking up a replacement for Tory as party leader. Barrett says Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak will likely run to succeed Tory in an upcoming leadership convention. It is possible Tory could hold on as leader in the wake of his loss, but Barrett finds that "highly unlikely" and he expects Tory's resignation, possibly as early as today."I would expect that we're into another Progressive Conservative leadership race and Tim's a good (candidate)," Barrett said last night from his Port Dover home, where he was watching the byelection results on the evening news."He's very competent and I know him very well. We've got a good one in Tim Hudak."

Tory, who had candidly admitted during the campaign that he would be in "a very difficult circumstance" unless he won, surrendered the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock riding that has been solidly Conservative since the mid-1990s to local school trustee and musician Rick Johnson."Obviously, I am very disappointed," Tory, gracious in defeat, told hushed supporters in his concession speech above a Greek restaurant shortly before 11 p.m."But the voters can never be wrong in what they decide and I respect their decision."

A highly placed Conservative source confirmed Tory would reveal his plans to step aside at a Queen's Park news conference this afternoon, setting a leadership race in motion."For now, I will only say that I gave this campaign my very best," Tory told the crowd of several dozen before being whisked out of the room without taking reporters' questions.

Party insiders have signalled for weeks that their patience was wearing thin given that it's been 17 months since Tory lost his previous seat in the Ontario Legislature, leaving the party in limbo as the economy has worsened under Liberal control.

Tory could not overcome local grumbling that he was a "parachute" candidate from Toronto among the farmers and other residents in the sprawling rural and cottage country riding which the party believed was a safe seat."

They knew from the first moment that I was not from here," Tory said, noting that he felt "treated fairly" by the voters.Tory spent an exhaustive 15-month search for a new seat after he failed to win one in the 2007 general election in a contest against Liberal Education Minister Kathlene Wynne.

MPP Laurie Scott stepped down at the start of this year and cleared the way for Tory to run in her riding of Haliburton-Kawarth Lakes-Brock.Speaking outside his campaign office in downtown Lindsay before the polls closed, Tory acknowledged the past 15 months haven't been easy."It's been a challenging period of time for me personally, and it's been challenging politically," said Tory who took the party's top job in 2004.

The former Rogers executive easily won the riding of Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey in a 2005 byelection, but chose to run against Wynne in a Toronto riding two years later .

Barrett, who had been door knocking for Tory, said he had an inkling things were not going his leader's way when people began expressing resentment that Tory was from Toronto and was not a local person like Scott."The resentment I heard was about Toronto," Barrett said. "It was all about Laurie Scott and John Tory and the fact Laurie stepped aside for him.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Haldimand "Haldimand County Councillors Unable to Make Snap Decisions"

I have written many blogs about Haldimand County Council members and on the most part have kept my "personal" feelings aside. Although I have accused council members of the opposite, I feel the need to get a little "personal" on my post today!

Before I start to get "personal" I took some excerpts from the local papers that got me fired up;

"Later in the day (Boyko) he floated the idea of waiving fees on approved community flood relief fundraisers in county facilities and Councillor "Buck Sloat" was quick to show his "disapproval". "Other groups have been turned down for fundraisers including one for a family that was burned out of its home Sloat said" Boyko argued that the present situation is different. During the flooding more than "200" people evacuated their homes" (Quote from the Regional Newspaper)

"Caledonia Councillor Craig Grice argued that there are other "man made" disasters going on elsewhere and the county is not giving out free space for community fundraisers" (Quote from the Regional Newspaper)

"When Boyko proposed waiving tipping fees at the Tome Howe landfill site for flood victims, Sloat and Ricker accused him (Boyko) of "Grandstanding". (Quote from the Regional Newspaper)

"Sloat wasn’t suggesting that council shouldn't help, but said that it wasn’t the time to "spring" motions on council. He thought that Boyko should have consulted with the proper "staff" members first" (Quote from the Regional Newspaper)

"Boyko’s sudden requests made it hard for council to make "snap" decisions, Grice added. When it comes to dumping, it would be hard to say what is flood damage and what isn’t in some cases, he reasoned" (Quote from the Regional Newspaper)

"Boyko made a motion to waive rental fees on all county facilities for fundraising events. This is a small token of what we could do he added. Councillor Buck Sloat pointed out that similar requests for families burned out of their homes were denied" (Quote from the Dunnville Chronicle)

While acknowledging the disaster down river, Councillor Craig Grice said no relief was provided to people impacted by the disaster of occupied land in Caledonia" (Quote from the Dunnville Chronicle)

"Boyko proposed waiving tipping fees at the county landfill for flood victims who have furniture to dispose of. Prodding his colleagues, he said. We are asking the Province to recognize something we are not recognizing ourselves. This is "Grandstanding" replied Councillor Buck Sloat, who said it was unfair to "spring" a motion like this on staff and council members" (Quote from the Dunnville Chronicle)

"Based on Monday’s council discussions, Chymko said (Chamber of Commerce President, Dunnville) we can’t count on the majority of council to jump in and help our community. That’s lower than below low. At least Boyko stepped forward. The rest should be ashamed when the whole community needs their support" (Quote from the Dunnville Chronicle)

I usually don’t write about an issue unless I witnessed it first hand, but in this case it looks like both local papers are stating the same facts from the meeting on Monday.

Mayor Trainer in an interview at the beginning of the New Year stated that council is working better as a team than in the past. If this is "Team Work" they are truly out of touch!

My opinion at the time was that they are putting on a front, probably taking out their personal feelings behind closed doors. As they are in year three of their terms they are in campaign mode.
Isn’t it funny though they probably don’t even realize the damage they have done to their reputations. This is what happens when you "Grandstand"!

Well this meeting has proven to me and I hope many out there that this council is not functioning in the best interest of Haldimand County residents!

Is a Council Meeting not the place to debate issues? It seems that they have lost the ability to do even that!

Is Council not able to even make a "simple" decision on it’s own without a "Staff Report?’

How the hell did they even get elected? Didn’t they tell us that they were able to make the hard decisions on our behalf? Well proof is in the pudding, they can’t, we have just witnessed that!

Councillor Sloat and Ricker have both shown their true colours for all to see. They obviously do not have any "passion" for their positions as an elected official, if they did they would not have accused Councillor Boyko of "Grandstanding". Shame on both of them!

Shame on Councillor Grice for the comment that he made as well. He obviously has no "trust" in the residents of Dunnville. How petty that he is worried that some of the garbage may not be flood garbage! He also stated that residents in Caledonia have not received any help, well he has forgotten! The county has given funds to residents and businesses in Caledonia.

Thank God that not "one" Council Member will be "allowed" to sit on the committee if the Province gives the go ahead. But I do have to point out that Council will be the ones to "appoint" the residents to this committee, I wonder how they are going to handle this difficult task! I can tell you one thing for sure, I would like to sit on that committee but that won’t happen as their "personal" feelings seem to always get in the way of making certain decisions.

I am convinced that some on council have just sealed their fate for 2010! And they deserve what they get!

I wonder what the Province thinks of our "Elected Officials"?

Kudo's to Councillor Lorne Boyko!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Haldimand "Do you Feel Secure?"

The announcement yesterday from US Steel was a surprise for many out there. But for some like a very close friend of ours that has worked at Stelco for 33 years knew that something was in the wind. It all started back in the fall when his department closed down. He had been an overhead crane operator for years and when his department closed down he went to stores. After a very short time in stores he went to the coke ovens and knew that his days were numbered. Luckily for our friend he has enough time in at Stelco to retire. Now this is not exactly what they had planned, but it is better financially for him to retire then to collect EI.

Stelco was bought out by an American company back a year or so ago. This purchase by US Steel stopped the closure of Stelco at that time. From an article that I will post below, there seems to have been some kind of legislation or rules as to a foreign company buying out a Canadian company. This information is confidential but it makes you wonder what the hell is really going on.

With the economic times of today no one seems to feel secure in their jobs, and when news like this hits the press it scares people even more. What happens when people are afraid of losing their jobs? They stop spending money. What makes the economy healthy? People spending their money.

The Federal and Provincial governments both have a stimulus package coming out that is going to drive us into huge deficits. When this money starts flowing is it going to help?

Canada's banks are now rated number one in the world. We are being told that the recession started outside of Canada and has pulled us in. I understand that part but what I don't understand is how the governments are dealing with the problem. The larger companies that are asking for financial support on the most part are not Canadian owned companies. They are foreign companies with Canadian connections. So did the government not see this one coming? When the larger companies shut down or downsize there is a domino effect that hits the "Canadian" Manufacturing companies.

I am not an economist nor an expert on business finances, but what I am pretty sure of is that when people stop spending money the economy feels the crunch. So my suggestion is that all money from upper levels of government should go to only two things; Infrastructure, and money in our pockets! No money to big companies! Money to big companies is not going to make you and I go out and buy a home or a car or any big ticket item. Will these companies that the government helps send the savings down to the consumer? In my opinion, No!

One idea that I had was for those out there that have spent years investing in RRSP's be given the option of cashing in $25,000.00 without penalty and without having to pay the taxes! Think of what that would do for the economy. How many people do you know would take advantage of that stimulus? I know I would.

In Haldimand-Norfolk, it's hoped pain is temporary
March 04, 2009
Lisa Grace Marr
The Hamilton Spectator

Andrew Schneider, owner of the iconic Erie Beach Hotel in Port Dover, is crossing his fingers hoping that when U.S. Steel says temporary layoffs, it means it.

"What does temporary mean? Two weeks? Two months or years? It's (a lot) of families and good jobs, the kind with benefits and all the things you need to support a family these days."
Schneider, past president of the Port Dover Board of Trade, was just digesting the news of layoffs of 1,500 jobs at U.S. Steel's Hamilton and Lake Erie operations announced late yesterday.

The move will affect 786 jobs in a rural, sparsely populated region with few employers the size of U.S. Steel. "It's a big hit right now."

U.S. Steel is listed as the biggest private sector employer on Haldimand County's website.
Haldimand-Norfolk MP Diane Finley, who is also minister of human resources and skills development, said she was "very disappointed" to hear of the layoffs.

Finley said Service Canada officials have already met with U.S. Steel to discuss what programs and benefits are possible for affected workers.

"Where there are mass layoffs, (Service Canada) always offers to go in and tell them what are the options, especially in light of some of the new options," she said.

Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer said she was shocked to learn of the layoffs yesterday afternoon when a U.S. Steel executive informed her of the move.

"He sounded very positive and said things will get back to normal once the economy and the European market bounce back," she said.

U.S. Steel has said it intends to temporarily close down its Lake Erie plant but keep its coke ovens running.

Norfolk County Mayor Dennis Travale said the news would be terrible for the area, because of its wide-ranging impact.

Travale said he, Finley and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett were to give a talk at the Simcoe Chamber of Commerce on Friday on the state of the economy.

"I was going to try and be upbeat. I guess I'll have to rewrite my speech," Travale said.

Trainer said the layoffs will be particularly difficult to bear in Caledonia, which is experiencing a lag in development owing to uncertainty brought on by native land claims and protests. "It will have a real trickle-down effect for county businesses, everything from mom and pop to large grocery stores."

Robert Cook, president of the Jarvis Board of Trade and owner of a garden store on Highway 6, said the former Stelco "has always been a good member of the community."

"If it's temporary and it puts the company into a better position, that's fine.

"If they need time to take a breather (from the economy), we would hope that helps with long-term stability."

Stelco Shutdown
Local - Stelco shut down, production to U.S.
Stelco shut down, production to U.S.
John Rennison

U.S, Steel announced Tuesday that it is shutting down operations in Hamilton and Lake Erie and transferring production south of the border.

John RennisonU.S, Steel announced Tuesday that it is shutting down operations in Hamilton and Lake Erie and transferring production south of the border.

United States Steel Corp., headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., is an integrated steel producer with major production operations in the U.S., Canada and central Europe and an annual raw steelmaking capability of 31.7 million net tons. The company manufactures a wide range of steel sheet and tubular products for the automotive, appliance, container, industrial machinery, construction and oil and gas industries.

Lake Erie Works Employs: 1,100
Location: Nanticoke, north shore of Lake Erie
Founded: 1980
Operations: Integrated mill produces high-quality hot rolled sheet steel and slabs.

Hamilton Works
Employs: 1,700
Location: Burlington Street, Hamilton
Founded: The Steel Company of Canada is formed in 1910 by the amalgamation of five companies. It officially becomes Stelco in 1980. The company goes into bankruptcy protection in 2004 and emerges in 2006. It was bought by U.S. Steel in 2007.
Operations: Primary iron and steelmaking, plus finishing operations, including two pickle lines, a tandem cold mill, three coating lines, cold sheet finishing, a billet mill and a bar mill.
1,500 lose jobs in U.S. Steel cost cutting

Another 700 were already laid off
March 04, 2009 Naomi Powell
The Hamilton Spectator(Mar 4, 2009)

U.S. Steel is shutting down all operations at the former Stelco, putting 1,500 employees in Hamilton and Nanticoke out of work indefinitely.

In a city that has always looked to steel as its backbone, it is the most devastating indicator yet of a deepening economic crisis that has already battered Hamilton's struggling manufacturing sector.

The latest cuts come on top of 684 layoffs that have already been delivered at U.S. Steel Canada, bringing the total number of job losses to 2,190. No salaried staff were affected.

"This is going to devastate Hamilton," said Rolf Gerstenberger, president of the United Steelworkers union in Hamilton. "You lay off hundreds of thousands of steelworkers in Hamilton and North America and this crisis will just get worse."

Hamilton Steel and Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke will be mothballed over the next few weeks as U.S. Steel concentrates production at plants in Alabama, Pittsburgh and Indiana. Only the coke ovens at Lake Erie Works will continue to run.

The Canadian plants -- bought by U.S. Steel for $1.9 billion less than 16 months ago -- will not resume production until market conditions improve.

In Ottawa, officials are "watching the situation closely" to ensure it complies with the Investment Canada Act, said Pema Lhalungpa, an aide to Industry Minister Tony Clement. To get approval from Ottawa, a foreign company looking to buy a Canadian company must agree to "undertakings," which specify the net benefit the firm will provide to Canada in employment, investment or other contributions.

"Should an undertaking be compromised, we look at all options available to the government under the act," Lhalungpa said. She added that confidentiality rules prevent her from discussing U.S. Steel.

In Hamilton, Gerstenberger said he was angered that U.S. Steel had taken such a damaging step so soon after buying the former Stelco.

"Not that long ago, they were telling me how lucky we were to have U.S. Steel buy us," he said.

"Now a year and four months later we're shut down completely. We were the last Canadian steel company and now all the decisions are being made outside the country as far as what's good for Hamilton and what's good for Canada."

The steel industry is battling the worst downturn in demand in decades. Orders have dried up from manufacturers of cars, appliances and machinery, and steel prices have collapsed, prompting steelmakers to slash production and staff.

U.S. Steel has already shut down operations at its steelmaking and mining operations in Texas, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. U.S. Steel spokesperson Chuck Rice said there was "no way of knowing" when the steel market might pick up.

"I don't think there's anything parallel to this economic environment," he said last night. "Our primary customers in the auto industry and the appliance industry, well you can see what struggles they're having."

He said the move would not lead to a permanent shutdown of the older, less efficient Hamilton Steel operation.

"It's an integral part of the operation," he said. The shutdowns are expected to take a heavy toll on Hamilton's economy, hitting companies far beyond the plant gates, including local firms that transport steel and perform maintenance on machinery.

"For the local people this will be quite a blow," said Bill Ferguson, leader of the United Steelworkers union in Lake Erie. "This plant, Lake Erie, has never shut down in its history."

Workers and community leaders were stunned by the news yesterday, which include 786 layoffs at Lake Erie Works and 720 further cuts at Hamilton Steel.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he got a call from a U.S. Steel Canada representative yesterday afternoon to warn him about the impending job losses.

"I was stunned," he said, noting he has family who works at the company, a connection he suspects many Hamiltonians also have. "It's hitting pretty close to home."

Eisenberger said he's urging the federal government to deal with its employment insurance issues quickly. He added that the temporary shut down "screams out" for the need for immediate infrastructure spending to help the troubled economy.

"The good news is this is not a shutdown, this is an idling," he said. "This is not the end of the steel industry in Hamilton."

New Democrat Paul Miller (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek) worked for 32 years at Stelco before entering politics.

"Stelco provided jobs that helped families pay off their mortgages and put their kids through school," he said. "I shudder at the economic toll this will take."

Premier Dalton McGuinty declined to comment. Ontario is in dire economic shape, due largely to the unravelling of the manufacturing sector that has seen steel, auto and other industries demolished. The province is due to post a record breaking deficit in the range of $18 billion later this month.

"This is terrible news for Hamilton and the Nanticoke community," said Ontario Economic Development Minister Michael Bryant. "It is our hope that they will be back up ... and we want to explore every opportunity to see how we can make a contribution to get there."
ArcelorMittal Dofasco has yet to lay off any permanent employees, though it has cut the equivalent of 500 full-time workers through reductions in overtime and contract workers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Haldimand "What is Disaster Relief Assistance?"

Much needs to be done in order to get disaster relief assistance from the government. A declaration by our council needs to be done within 14 days after the disaster. Once that is completed the government will decide if we are eligible for any funds. The funds are as follows, $2.00 from the Province for every $1.00 raised by the community.

A committee has to be formed of residents that are not effected by the flood and no members of council are allowed on this committee. These are just a few things that need to be done.

The following is a news article about Lorne Boyko, and is followed by some excerpts from the Disaster Relief Assistance Program.

If I hear of any fundraisers that are going on in the community, I will post it on my blog.

Haldimand County : County In Need of Disaster Relief
Posted by Adam Liefl

After recent flooding by the Grand River caused more than $1.6 million in damage, Haldimand County is searching for relief. Councillor Lorne Boyko conducted a survey over the last week that qualifies the county for help under the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program. Haldimand will consider the option for some areas of Dunnville and Cayuga today.

Purpose of the Program

The Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) is intended to alleviate the
hardship suffered by private homeowners, farmers, small business enterprises and non-profit
organizations, whose essential property has been damaged in a sudden and unexpected
natural disaster, such as a severe windstorm, tornado, flood, forest fire or ice storm.

ODRAP provides funds to those who have sustained heavy losses for essential items such
as shelter and the "necessities of life." ODRAP does not provide full cost recovery
for all damages resulting from a disaster: it helps eligible recipients restore
essential furnishings and property only to pre-disaster condition.

ODRAP provides assistance when damages are so extensive that they exceed the financial
resources of the affected individuals, the municipality and community at large. This
program does not cover damages to privately-owned, non-essential property, nor to
essential property where private insurance is normally available.

In the event of a natural disaster, individuals are expected to bear the initial responsibility
for their losses. If the losses are so extensive that individuals cannot cope on their own,
the municipality and the community at large are expected to provide support.

Private Insurance
Individuals have a responsibility to take reasonable precautions to ensure their own
safety and protection, including their property. ODRAP is not an alternative or
a substitute for adequate private insurance coverage and sound risk
management. Damage claims should be directed first to insurance companies to
determine coverage of individual policies.

How ODRAP Works

Disaster Declaration

The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is authorized to declare a "disaster area"
for the purposes of the ODRAP program. The municipal council asking for assistance
under the ODRAP program must adopt a resolution outlining the following:

1. the municipality’s request for a disaster area declaration;
2. whether all or a specified portion of the municipality is to be declared a disaster area.

The request for a disaster area declaration must be submitted to the Minister of
Municipal Affairs and Housing within 14 working days of the date of the disaster.

The council resolution should clearly define/identify the area which may be declared
as the disaster area. Municipal boundaries may not coincide with areas damaged by the
disaster. In this regard, municipalities should try to define all areas damaged by the
disaster to ensure fair treatment to all affected residents. It is important to note that only
damages within the declared disaster area are eligible for ODRAP funding.

Sample Resolution

Whereas the municipality of (name) recently experienced a (describe type of disaster
event) on (date), the council of the municipality of (name) hereby requests the
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to declare the (specific area/municipality) a
"disaster area" for the purposes of the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program
and further, should the Minister declare a disaster, Council will immediately,
under the authority of ODRAP, appoint members to a disaster relief committee to
administer ODRAP, as required.

Supporting information should accompany the resolution including:
• the number of private properties, farms, small businesses and non-profit
organizations that have incurred damages as a result of the disaster;
• the number of residents, small businesses or farms affected;
• the extent and the preliminary cost estimates of damages suffered;
• newspaper clippings, photographs and other documentary evidence where available;
• other information council feels is pertinent (e.g. Conservation Authority reports, etc.).

Defining the Disaster

The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has the authority to declare a disaster
area for the purpose of this program. In determining whether a disaster has occurred,
the minister considers both the cause of the damages and the extent of the damages
relative to the financial resources of the affected area. The municipality will be notified
as to whether or not a disaster declaration has been made.

Should the minister declare a disaster area, the municipal council must appoint a disaster
relief committee (DRC) as soon as possible. If more than one municipality is affected by a
disaster, a joint committee can be formed with representatives appointed from each of
the affected municipalities. (Refer to the Guidelines for Disaster Relief Committees.)

Role of the Province

ODRAP is administered through the Municipal Services Offices and coordinated through
the Municipal Support Services Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
listed on page 11.

The local Municipal Services Offices advise municipalities in setting up disaster
relief committees and help the committees establish operating procedures. Ministry
representatives will attend the inaugural meeting of the disaster relief committee and
provide appropriate help. Staff of the Municipal Services Offices also help municipalities
determine if public infrastructure damages are eligible for compensation.

Provincial Financial Assistance - Private Costs

A disaster relief committee must be established as quickly as possible for each disaster
area declared by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The purpose of the
committee is twofold: to raise funds for the benefit of disaster victims, and to settle the
eligible claims of these victims as efficiently as possible.

The province will contribute up to $2 for every local dollar raised, to an amount necessary to settle all the eligible claims, up to 90 per cent of all eligible costs. Thus, no surplus funds are

The following is a list of costs not covered by ODRAP:
The following is a list of costs covered by ODRAP:

Eligible Losses and Costs

• restoration, repairs, or replacement to pre-disaster condition of a principal,
year-round residence, farm buildings and principal business enterprise
• essential furnishing of a private residence including refrigerator, freezer,
furnace, stove, clothes washer and dryer
• tools or other items essential to the claimant’s livelihood, including farm
machinery and equipment
• for farms, replacement cost only of orchard trees
• for business enterprises, replacement of inventory at cost
• livestock fencing
• restoration, repair, or replacement to pre-disaster condition of churches,
cemeteries, private schools, private clubs and other associations
• emergency expenses (e.g. evacuation costs, food and shelter, essential
• perishable food
• heat and light supplies (e.g. fuel for light and heat, heaters)

Ineligible Losses and Costs
• losses covered by insurance
• insurance deductible
• secondary residences e.g. cottages
• non-essential furniture (e.g. stereos, recreation room furniture)
• landscaping, fencing, driveways and retaining walls
• recreational vehicles (e.g. boats, snowmobiles)
• antiques and collections
• loss of revenue or wages
• losses recoverable at law

The Disaster Relief Committee

Setting up the Committee

As soon as possible after a disaster area has been declared by the minister, council
appoints a disaster relief committee by resolution. Where a disaster affects more than
one municipality, all councils should participate in the appointment of representatives
to a common disaster relief committee.

The disaster relief committee and its sub-committees act as an autonomous body
operating within provincial guidelines to raise funds and settle claims. The committee
ensures that all claims are dealt with fairly and equitably. The scope and nature of
damages will help determine how many committee members are required.
The disaster relief committee’s work could usually take anywhere from six months to
about one year to complete.

Council appoints the committee members from among its citizens, preferably from an unaffected area if possible, and should choose persons with varying backgrounds as it is desirable to obtain a variety of expertise for the committee.

The committee members may not be members of council and should have no potential
conflict of interest in the collection or distribution of funds
. If two or more
municipalities are involved, equitable representation on the committee is encouraged. In
unincorporated areas, the committee should be appointed by the group which made
the request for disaster area declaration (e.g. local service board).

Disaster Relief Committee Responsibilities
1. To appoint from among its members a chairperson and, if sub-committees
are established, the appropriate number of vice-chairpersons.
2. To appoint a treasurer, who should not be a member of the committee and,
if necessary, to appoint a secretary. The treasurer could be a municipal staff
person or a paid contract position.
3. To set up a disaster relief fund and bank account.
4. To register the fund as a charity with Revenue Canada.
5. To solicit donations to the fund and to organize fund-raising activities.
6. To establish guidelines and procedures for the receipt, appraisal, review and
settlement of claims for losses and damages.
7. To advertise the existence of the fund, the availability of assistance, and the terms
on which assistance will be provided.
8. To hire professional adjuster(s) for claims greater than $500 and appraise damages
for claims less than $500.
9. To distribute claim forms.
10. To approve payments in a consistent manner based on reports from the adjuster
in accordance with the program guidelines and the committee’s procedures.
11. To make payments to claimants.
12. To hire auditors to review the activities of the fund and prepare an audit report.
13. To submit an audited report to the local Municipal Services Office for review and
payment of the provincial contribution.

For more information regarding this publication, please call your nearest
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing office:

Central Municipal Services Office - Toronto
777 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toronto ON M5G 2E5
(416) 585-6226 Toll Free : 1-800-668-0230
FAX: (416) 585-6882