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

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Haldimand "Arena Twin Pad Proposal"

Dunnville group proposes twin pad funding idea

By Dave Dunham (President) Margaret Rose (Treasure) Bob Allen (Member) (For Volunteers of Maple Creek Leisureplex 2000 Inc.)

May 11, 2010

In support of Haldimand County making provisions for adding a second pad to Dunnville’s new arena – consultant F. J. Galloway justified doing so in his Feasibility Study as written:

“Based on the data for this study, this strategy would likely result in a twin pad in Dunnville, for the following reasons:

• The Dunnville Arena has an evidently higher utilization level and will have higher population growth over future years;

• Dunnville is further away from other arena facilities, while Cayuga is centrally located and has relatively shorter drive times to either Caledonia or Dunnville;

• Dunnville has a closer proximity to other population sectors that could be interested in using the facility or create a larger market for special event activities beyond ice use

The main reasons for building the second pad now are all too obvious:

• Haldimand wishes to be fair and equitable to its residents.

• If Dunnville only needs one pad for 15,000 residents, then West Haldimand only needs 2 pads for 30,000. Otherwise, if the West needs 4 pads for 30,000, then Dunnville needs 2 pads for 15,000. It is that simple.

• Building a second pad now will cost $4 million as quoted by two arena contractors – instead of $8 million later.

• Building the second pad now means the walking track will not be needed and its $250,000 cost can be used to reduce the cost of the second pad from $4 to $3.75 million.

• Building a second pad later would disrupt site parking and decrease site safety for about one year of construction.

• Dunnville residents have signed over 2,000 petitions to have their twin pad built now, because they know they need it.

• Only allowing for one pad in Dunnville is currently hurting fundraising and affecting confidence in our County.

• Building a second pad later is not a good business choice based on Ontario’s trend to build twin pads and not single pads.

• County staff and volunteers would not have to go through the costly planning, fundraising and building processes all over again if the twin pad is built now.

• To avoid passing an $8 million expense to the next Council and our trusting taxpayers.

Pay It Forward Plan:

Based on our County making provisions to add a second pad, Galloway’s professional justification for a twin pad in Dunnville, and current Ontario arena trends favouring twin pads; Maple Creek volunteers are proposing a “Pay It Forward Plan.”

• We will borrow $3.75 -4 million from a local bank or trust company to pay for our second pad now. With either private investors or our County as our co-signers for the loan.

• We will fundraise for the second pad to cover interest, principle, and to reduce the amount owing on the second pad, so we can save taxpayers and future Council over $4 million.

• Then, our future Council can realize the savings by paying for the balance of the loan from the $4 million saved.

• The “Pay It Forward Plan” will create a win-win-win scenario for this Council, our future Council and Haldimand taxpayers.

Let’s help make Haldimand a fair and equitable place to live!

Dunnville Sachem, May 11, 2010

Haldimand "Halt the HST"

This certainly has my full support!

For Immediate Release:

May 14, 2010

Barrett backs MPP Macleod motion to halt HST in Ontario

Queens Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is hopeful a PC motion is successful in putting the brakes on the McGuinty HST tax hike before it’s too late.

Barrett voiced his support for the motion from Lisa MacLoed, MPP for Nepean-Carleton and Critic for Revenue and Government Accountability, at an anti-HST information session in Oakville last night.

“This motion is the latest in a long list of attempts we’ve made to ensure government listens to the people of this province and halts this hated tax on everything,” stated Barrett. “To date, over 100,000 Ontarians have signed petitions in the PC Campaign to stop the tax.”

The motion would halt HST legislation until such time the McGuinty Liberals get a mandate from voters. MacLeod’s motion, to be debated in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on May 19th, cites the Dalton McGuinty oath, “I will not raise taxes or implement any new taxes without the explicit consent of Ontario voters.” Since McGuinty has now admitted the HST “will be an increase in taxation,” MacLeod’s motion would delay the implementation of the HST until a date following the next provincial general election.

During the Oakville event, Barrett also discussed the suitability of the Nanticoke area as a host for electrical energy generation to substitute for a planned natural gas facility plant in Oakville.

- 30 –

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at
(519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629

Friday, May 14, 2010

Haldimand "Soccer Club takes County to Court"

Soccer club takes county to court
Wednesday May 12, 2010

While Dunnville soccer players prepare to fight for control of the ball on the fields, a bigger battle has been brewing on the sidelines.

What began as an ongoing debate between Haldimand County and members of the Dunnville Youth Soccer Club erupted into a lawsuit in recent months.

According to the County's Manager of Community Services, Hugh Hanly, "The Soccer Park Corporation took the County to court to determine whether the lease made in 1999 was still valid. The county terminated it in 2008. The judge found that the lease was not valid, and ruled in favour of the County, and directed that the County and the Club negotiate a new lease.

In the meantime, because there's no lease, Dunnville United Soccer Club is willing to take over."
Hanly said the Corporation is in the process of appealing that ruling, but youth soccer will continue as usual in Dunnville, with the Dunnville United Soccer League at the helm of programming, led by Dan Obsteter, President of the Dunnville United Men's League. This marks the first time since 1998 that the Dunnville Soccer Park Corporation hasn't organized programming.

"It's County property," said Hanly, "and just like when you use a ball park, we need an agreement. At the end of the day, we were successful in working with Dunnville United and we didn't want to get this lease thing mixed up in letting the kids play soccer. We're both working toward the same goal."

Hanly added that there are some individuals who "are both Dunnville United Youth Soccer and Dunnville Soccer Park Corporation executives, so it's convoluted trying to determine which side they are on. These guys have done a fantastic job of operating soccer and the County recognizes that," he said. "Not once did the County say, 'Give this to me so we can take over soccer.' If we had to, we would have for the kids, if nobody else had stepped up. We were prepared to get referees and coaches."

In e-mail correspondence dated April 14 of this year, Hanly wrote to Margaret Rose of the Soccer Park Corporation: "I have been advised by Councillor Boyko that your organization will not be running the soccer program in Dunnville this summer. I understand that soccer registration has already taken place and a number of users have registered. I respectfully request that you forward the registrations to Haldimand County, addressed to my attention immediately so that the County can ensure that soccer is Dunnville this year."

According to Marg and Sig Rose, long-time members of the Dunnville Youth Soccer Club, problems that led to the lawsuit go back as far as the early 1990s, when the Cayuga soccer park was developed, and Dunnville Youth Soccer, as a member of Haldimand Youth Soccer Club, assisted in funding the project.

The former Town of Haldimand also provided a grant of $50,000 to assist in facility start-up costs, said Sig Rose. He added that under the terms of the lease that was negotiated, the Cayuga branch of Haldimand Youth Soccer took full responsibility for the maintenance of the park. The Dunnville Soccer Park Corporation (DSPC) was established in 1998, with a goal of building a soccer complex, " because the only decent soccer field in Dunnville was being closed due to a drainage project," said Rose.

"The mayor of the former Town of Dunnville advised there was land available on Logan Road that was earmarked for recreational purposes. If we wanted to request town council to allow us to lease the property, we could develop it into a soccer park.

"Once that request was granted, DSPC, along with the Haldimand Youth Soccer Club, entered into a 40-year lease with the Town of Dunnville, with terms stating that DSPC would be responsible for all development aspects of the soccer park, and that the Town would, in turn, accept responsibility for grass maintenance and garbage collection. This lease was unlike the Cayuga soccer park lease in that the Cayuga soccer organization members wished to maintain the park themselves.

"In addition, the DSPC and town of Dunnville agreed that either party could exit the lease by giving 180 days notice. However, at the DSPC's insistence, a replacement clause was included, due to speculation at the time that the land may be needed for industrial development. We wanted to ensure that our investment of time, labour, and money was protected," said Rose. In the event the town needed the property for industry, they could cancel the lease within 180 days notice. But they would have to provide a similar, alternate facility elsewhere within the town.

"As a result of restructuring in 2000, the Town of Haldimand and the Town of Dunnville were amalgamated into the new County of Haldimand. In 2005, the Caledonia youth soccer group, which was also part of Haldimand Youth Soccer Club, began developing a soccer park on McClung Road, southeast of Caledonia, due to the fact that the County was using land that had a soccer field with lights and a partial fence on it, to build a new arena. To compensate for the loss of the soccer field, the County gave Caledonia soccer $150,000 to assist with construction of the soccer facility. In 2006, the Caledonia branch of Haldimand Youth Soccer entered into a lease agreement with the County in which Caledonia Soccer was responsible for all maintenance, including grass cutting."

Of the three towns, Rose said that Dunnville was the only soccer facility which negotiated to have the grass maintenance designated as a responsibility of the local municipal government, and further claimed that Dunnville was the only park not to receive any funding assistance from the former Town of Dunnville to construct the park.

"In 2007, the Dunnville youth soccer program split from the Haldimand Youth Soccer Club for many reasons," he said, "and became part of the Dunnville United Soccer Club. As a result, HYSC, through legal representation, requested a release from lease with the DSPC with respect to the Dunnville Soccer Park.

"To us, this seemed as easy as replacing HYSC with DUSC, or simply removing HYSC and leaving the agreement as being between DSPC and the County. The County did not agree and invoked the 180-day clause to terminate the lease. Then they offered a new lease, in which they were no longer responsible for grass cutting or garbage pickup, but offered a 65/35 split on grass cutting costs. If the County tting the grass, the DSPC would pay 65 per cent of the cost. If DSPC assumed the task of grass cutting, the County would subsidize by 35 per cent."

The DSPC and the County tried to negotiate a new lease for a couple of years with no compromise, stated Rose. "We finally went to the law firm of Cline, Bakcus in Simcoe to seek advice. Our position from the beginning was that if we build this park, the least the former Town of Dunnville (now the County) can do for us is cut the grass. Unlike Caledonia and Cayuga, we had no other financial assistance from the town or County in building the park. Moreover, the County has given both Caledonia and Cayuga $2,100 per year for the past few years to help with their grass cutting costs, even though both negotiated a lease agreement in which the soccer organizations accepted full responsibility for grass maintenance.

"In 2005, DSPC negotiated with the County to cost share on the construction of a field house, which finally was settled at 50/50, to a maximum of $100,000. The final cost of the building was $212,000. Caledonia recently negotiated a similar agreement. In Dunnville, we also constructed a pavilion, installed lights on one field, added drainage and built an additional five fields on adjacent, privately-owned property, all with no contribution from the County."

County staff were out cutting the grass last week, Hanly said, and have made arrangements to aerate and fertilize the soccer fields, as usual. If all goes as scheduled, the fields should be ready for play by the regular annual starting date of May 20 or so.

Article ID# 2574466

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Haldimand "Council Flip Flop"

Funds allocation defeated
Wednesday May 12, 2010

"Point of order!" said Councillor Craig Grice as Coun. Buck Sloat began to reiterate his and Coun. Don Ricker's point on the direct allocation of $100,000 to charity organizations in Haldimand County. Monday's council meeting began with the approval of minutes from last week's council in committee.

During the May 3 meeting, a recommendation was passed allowing the "funding allocation of $100,000" from the county's 2010 budget to be distributed evenly between the Community Support Centre of Haldimand-Norfolk in Caledonia and the Salvation Army in Dunnville.

However, as council proceeded to approve the minutes, Coun. Ricker had a suggestion.

"You almost wonder if there shouldn't be an amendment that there's no direction, no idea where this money is going to be spent, no confidence that this council is spending $100,000 and what portion of that is going to be spent in Haldimand County and which portion is going to be spent in Norfolk." says Coun. Ricker. "Both these organizations that are in this resolution serve both counties and at this point, they can use the money as they wish if they find the need is more of service in another area, they can do so and we can't stop them."

Coun. Ricker explains there are many organizations within the county that could also use the money as much as the next, and many of them have already enquired into whether or not they could be considered also. "We don't know if [the money] is going to get into the hands of the people that need it."

Coun. Sloat sees the reason in Coun. Ricker's request and explains perhaps the motion should also take into consideration how and where the taxpayer's dollars are being spent and says, "It should be clearly stated that this money be spent to better the lives of Haldimand County residents."

"I think it was made quite clear to the presenters, but [the motion] doesn't say it," says Mayor Marie Trainer referring to the representatives from the organizations who came to council in previous weeks to explain how and where they would use the money.

Coun. Leroy Bartlett is curious how council picks the winners and losers saying, "We've picked two winners, but there's probably a lot more organizations that are waiting in the wings that would like money also."

After all opinions were heard, council proceeded to amend the motion adding the phrase "on the condition that both agencies are required to spend the funds to the sole benefit of Haldimand County residents." The amended motion was put to a vote, after Trainer was left to second the motion, and was defeated.

"I find that greatly astounding," says Coun. Ricker who explains he finds it "interesting" that council would vote to spend the $100,000 but not designate it to directly benefit the residents of Haldimand County.

"This is out of our realm, this is not the procedure we should be following, this has not been done right from day one.

Some of the members have voted to move forward on this aren't concerned whether the money is spent in Norfolk or Haldimand County - $100,000 from Haldimand County taxpayers.

Amazing." The recommendation fails with a final vote of 4-3 and the original motion of May 3 council in committee remains carried. "I find that really incredible that the groups of the organizations are here to present their case, [council] had an opportunity to ask all kinds of questions, which we did and they were answered, and then this council does a turnabout from a 5-2 vote . . . Shame on us," says Coun. Lorne Boyko.

Article ID# 2574437

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Haldimand "Canada's Worst Driver coming to Dunnville"

Dunnville's worst driver

Residents of Dunnville should keep a closer eye and pay more attention to the road while driving this summer, as a motion was passed in council on Monday to allow an amendment to a current Dunnville bylaw to allow filming to begin of an automotive documentary television series called "Canada's Worst Driver."

Kyle Plas, planner, came to council asking for the amendment to the Town of Dunnville zoning bylaw to permit additional uses which are considered to be beyond the scope of what is currently allowed.

The filming will take place in and around the Dunnville Airport for roughly six weeks and will consist of the assembly of props and road courses needed to conduct the driving tests the show is known for in order to rehabilitate some of Canada's worst drivers. Plas, and his proposal, ensures that the filming will take place only during daytime hours with one driver on the course at a time, easing any concerns of excessive noise levels and all cars used would be like any other street legal car seen on the road.

"This is good for Haldimand County," says Councillor Buck Sloat. "This is good business, it brings a lot of attention to Haldimand County - as a matter of fact, I think my mother- in-law is going to be filmed on this one -it's just good for the county because it is very popular."

Coun. Don Ricker says, "I want to give kudos to the property owners for allowing this to and bringing this to the county." Coun. Ricker proceeds to read an email sent to him by a representative at Proper Television [a private Toronto-based business with about 50 employees who produces shows like Canada's Handyman along with Canada's Worst Driver] thanking Haldimand for allowing the filming of the show to go ahead. Coun. Ricker also extends his thanks from Dunnville CARES for properly explaining the process and keeping them in the process stating they have no objection to the filming.

Coun. Sloat says, "This is a very positive thing for the county." He explains the sense of pride the county could feel when seeing their town not only on television, but on a widely- recognized show.

The show is set to be filmed over a period of 16 days during the months of June and July. Before filming begins, there will be a small crew who will be assemble and disassembling the courses and production areas. The 75 member crew will also be staying in Haldimand County until filming is complete. The series will be aired on the Discovery Channel this fall.

Article ID# 2564081

Monday, April 26, 2010

Haldimand "Hydro Rates to increase for Haldimand County"

OEB announces 2010 electricity distribution rates for Haldimand County Hydro Inc.

TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - Today the Ontario Energy Board (the Board) announced electricity distribution rates for Haldimand County Hydro Inc. (Haldimand). The new rates are effective May 1, 2010.

The delivery line of electricity bills will increase by approximately 12.7% or $5.66 for Haldimand's residential customers using 800 kWh per month. The delivery line represents about one-third of the total bill.

Haldimand requested $12,823,644 to cover its costs for the 2010 rate year. Haldimand was able to settle some of the issues through the Board's alternate dispute resolution process. As a result of the settlement agreement and the Board's Decision Haldimand will recover a revenue requirement of $12,646,747.

The settlement agreement and the Board's Decision:

- Reduced Haldimand's proposed operating expenses by $375,004;

- Updated the cost of capital to incorporate the Board's recent cost of
capital parameters;

- Will return $225,476 to its ratepayers, over a period ending
April 30, 2011, to clear certain deferral and variance account

A table of the estimated bill impacts on residential consumers is available on our website at

For more information please refer to the 2010 Electricity Distribution Rates Backgrounder on our website site at

The Ontario Energy Board regulates the province's electricity and natural gas sectors in the public interest. It envisions a viable and efficient energy sector with informed consumers and works toward this vision through regulation that is effective, fair and transparent.

For more information on the Board, please visit our web site at or contact the Consumer Relations Centre at 416-314-2455 or toll-free at 1-877- 632-2727.

For further information: Media Inquiries: Vanda Wall, Ontario Energy Board, (416) 544-5171; Public Inquiries, (416) 314-2455 Or 1-877-632-2727

The link below takes you to the website of the Ontario Energy Board.

Haldimand "Vote for Donna Pitcher"

Running a campaign can be very, very interesting. I have been asked many questions in the last couple of months, and every couple of days I will talk about some of the questions that people have asked me, and what my answers were.

One question that has come up more than a few times is that I am running against an individual that has been on council for the last 25 years. Every election there have been contenders, and I have been asked if I feel intimidated at all with this.

Firstly I do not intimidate easily and secondly I am currently running alone in Ward 6!

If and when there is another "registered" candidate in Ward 6 I will stay on the path that I have started and will continue to concentrate on my own campaign.

I believe in respecting the wishes and beliefs of others and playing fair.

Haldimand "Vote for Donna Pitcher, Ward 6"

Well we are about six months away from election day here in Haldimand County. It may seem like a long time down the road but for anyone that is campaigning it is just around the corner.

Last week my sister and I did a photo shoot in Dunnville for my campaign material and I am hard at work with this part of my campaign. I have to tell you that this is the most difficult part. I am not that good at talking about myself, I would rather listen to others and talk about their issues and concerns.

Last week I was asked if I was elected to council would I vote to sell "Haldimand County Hydro". Well the immediate answer was "NO"! Things have not changed since 2005, it is still a "bad" business deal!

I will be having a "Meet and Greet" night soon and I hope to see you there. I am an avid believer of "town hall meetings" and if elected I will have at least three meetings a year.

More to come!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Haldimand "Are You On the Voters List"

Information for VOTERS

Who is eligible to vote in Haldimand County?

A person is entitled to be an elector in a municipal election if, on voting day, he or she

•is 18 years of age
•a Canadian citizen
•resides in Haldimand County or is the owner or tenant of land in Haldimand County, or the spouse of such owner or tenant
•not prohibited from voting under any law

New for 2010: As a result of the Good Government Act, before receiving a ballot, eligible voters must produce proof of identity and residence as part of their qualification to vote. Sufficient identification includes all of the following:

1. Name
2. Qualifying Address
3. Signature

An example of such ID would be a current driver’s licence or photo health card. If you do not have a piece of ID with all three components, it is possible that you may need two pieces of ID to cover all three requirements. For example a Voter Notification Card (issued by the municipality) AND a document with your signature.

Find out more about Identification that will be accepted

Who is not eligible to vote in Haldimand County?

•A person serving a sentence of imprisonment in a penal or correctional institution
•A corporation
•A person acting as an executor or trustee or in any other representative capacity, except as a voting proxy in accordance with Section 44 of the Municipal Elections Act
•A person convicted of a corrupt practice if voting day in the current election is less than five years after voting day in the election in respect of which he or she was convicted.

Am I on the Voters’ List?

Each municipality prepares a Voters’ List based on a Preliminary List of Electors provided to it by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). Municipalities utilize this list to print the Voters’ List by September 1st of the election year. In order to comply with legislation, MPAC’s Preliminary List of Electors must contain only qualified electors.

New in 2010: To meet new requirements, if MPAC does not have confirmation that local residents are Canadian citizens, those names will not be included on the preliminary list and subsequently, the Voters’ List. As a result, approximately 3300 electors have been removed from the primary voter list and will need to be updated!

In order to update their records, MPAC is sending out Municipal Enumeration Forms in the spring of 2010. If you receive this form, please complete it and return it to MPAC by June 1, 2010, ensuring that the “Canadian Citizen” category is filled out for each individual listed on the form.

Ensure you are on the voters list to decrease wait times at the poll!

How does an elector vote?

The 2010 Municipal Election Day is Monday, October 25, 2010. Eligible voters (as outlined above) can vote at their designated poll, when they provide valid identification. Locations will be posted as they become available

For electors who are not able to vote on election day, advance polls are to be held in October . Electors voting at an advanced poll can vote at any of the advanced locations. Dates and locations will be posted as they become available

There is also a provision whereby electors who are not able to vote, at either the advance poll or on Election Day, can appoint someone to vote by proxy in their place.

Proof of identity and residence will be required for all voters.

Haldimand "MPP Toby Barrett on the Green Energy Act"

For Immediate Release:

April 14, 2010

Unmuzzle community concerns on wind power: Barrett

HN MPP voices support to return Planning Act powers to municipalities

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Toby Barrett says it was a mistake to take away municipal oversight powers when it comes to green energy projects like wind farms.

To that end, Barrett is supporting colleague Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones and her private members bill to fix the Liberals’ controversial Green Energy Act.

“In one fell swoop, the Green Energy Act removed all rights from constituents and their locally-elected representatives for input on renewable energy projects,” Barrett said. “Ms. Jones’ bill would lift the muzzle and restore the democratic powers this heavy-handed government has seen fit to take away.”

Bill 29 represents the latest attempt by Opposition members to derail government attempts aimed at silencing municipal green energy concerns.

Barrett spoke in support of a motion last October from MPP Bill Murdoch calling on government for a moratorium and health study to determine the potential impacts of wind turbines on people's health – that motion was defeated by governing Liberals. In recent weeks Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott introduced a similar motion, while Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson has asked government at Queens Park to respect the wishes of over 50 Ontario communities requesting the Liberals put a moratorium on new wind developments.

“The Green Energy Act represents another attack on rural Ontario as we all know that it will rural areas – and not their own urban backyard – that government will be eyeing to locate these projects,” Barrett intoned. “Local communities should have an avenue to comment on projects that will impact them – that’s the bottom line.

“I am surprised this government would go to this extent to silence opposition and join my colleagues in fighting this municipal gag order!”

- 30 –

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at
(519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629

Haldimand "The Flood One Year Later"

I am trying to do a bit of catch up. This article was in the Chronicle at the end of February. Thanks Cathy for a great story.

The Flood --One Year Later

It was Friday the 13th, 2009 when the Grand River awakened from its winter hibernation and began to unleash an unprovoked assault upon its neighbours.
Melting snow and the accumulation of waters flowing into the 300-km length of the Grand suddenly, and without warning, spelled disaster for Cayuga and Dunnville.

A repeated cycle of ice jams and releases caused the crest of the water to rise and fall, spilling over the banks at various locations.

Very early in the morning, the water began its considerable, rapid ascent in Cayuga, and emergency personnel embarked upon what would become a very long, intensive rescue effort.

Later, a jam formed west of the Dunnville Golf and County Club and backyards along Main Street West came under attack, not only from the rising water, but also from huge sheets of ice that sheared trees and destroyed sheds, boats and docks along the way. As those sheets flowed over the Dunnville dam, they broke up, but a new danger was soon created as the massive chunks and swelling waters rounded the bend in the river above Port Maitland.

A massive jam formed there and water backed up into Dunnville, causing road closures and forcing Dunnville firefighters to wade through hip-high water, rescuing homeowners. Hydro and gas personnel also waded in with efforts to minimize damage to the potentially hazardous services as conduits became submerged.

By the time the river receded a day later, after the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Griffin hammered its way upriver through the churning ice, some residents and business owners had already thrown out destroyed furniture, appliances, clothing, and, in some cases, nearly everything they owned. As water flowed freely through Haldimand's streets -up to six feet in some places -many riverbank residents were forced to evacuate their homes, leaving all their waterlogged belongings behind.

On March 23, the County stepped in to form the Haldimand Disaster Relief Committee (HDRC), with former mayor Bernie Corbett appointed as Chair and members from across Haldimand County installed to help area flood victims.

A week later, subcommittees were set up and members sprang into action in two distinct groups. Don Edwards was named Vice- Chair of the Fundraising Committee, which included Donna Pitcher and Joanne Falletta; while Victoria Young was appointed Vice-Chair of the Claims Settlement Committee, made up of Marie Maas, Ken Egger, and Kim Hessels.

Brett Kelly was placed in charge of media relations, and an administrative committee was formed with Kent Murray acting as Program Manager, and Dian McIntee and Brenda McArthur appointed Recording Secretaries. Barb Quinn, as Treasurer, set up a bank account for the victims.

At the flood's inception, Corbett said he and a friend were walking in the lower Grand River where the water "was coming at a good pace, and it was above our knees within an hour. All the creeks were backing up and I was caught in it. Then I received a call from the Chamber (of Commerce) asking if I was interested in helping, so I put forward my name" to help.

The committee applied for nonprofit status, and an advertising campaign was enacted to inform the claimants assistance was on its way. Each affected homeowner was assigned a number and all claim correspondence sent anonymously to committee members, so no one knew who they were helping.

Meanwhile, the fundraising committee strived to collect donations from every possible avenue, and money began pouring in from churches, individuals, businesses, service clubs, fire departments, boards and bodies such as the Haldimand Federation of Agriculture, and numerous municipalities across Ontario.

Corbett commended the entire Committee for devising clever fundraising techniques in a tough economy.

"I was surrounded by a very competent, hardworking group of people who did a tremendous job of coming up with many ideas to bring the money in," he said, adding that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing staff commented that the 'Pass the Jar' and liquor bottle collections, in particular, were innovative ideas.

In addition to collecting Canadian Tire money and hosting a charity night at Turtle Jack's Restaurant in Burlington, the committee coordinated fundraisers in the community and volunteers organized golf tournaments, garage sales, bracelet sales, a Library bake sale, pizza deliveries, a benefit hockey game between the Dunnville Terriers and the Corvairs, and a High Water Walk, among others.

Contributions came from The Dunnville Rotary Club in the amount of $6,050, Bruce Power gave $10,000, the Police Services Board donated $1,000, Union Gas gave $5,000, Dunnville Firefighters raised $1,240, the Niagara District Trappers Council gave $900, and Friends of the Dunnville Public Library handed the HDRC a cheque for $570 toward the effort.

There were many others, and a donation of $7,500 from the Erie Mutual Insurance Company "just floored us and put us over the top," said Corbett, adding, "The Kozar family from Byng gave a personal donation of $5,000. They weren't interested in getting any publicity. They said they were glad to do it."

Although it often proved a difficult task meeting their targeted goal, Corbett said, "At the end, we were at the point where we had to turn back money, once we received the amount that we needed."

By Thanksgiving weekend, a total of $184,951.36 was handed over to claimants.

"The original claim was $200,000," said Corbett. "There was roughly $1.8 million in damage. We just turned the cheque over to the municipality, which was joined by the province on a two-to-one basis to help people get their lives back in order."
Certain claims, such as secondary buildings, cottages, and non-essential items, were not eligible for funding.

"It was just for people who had no coverage at all."

"Everything that was raised went directly towards the claimants," he emphasized. Aside from remuneration for mileage, committee members devoted countless hours at their own expense, while administrative costs were paid from Ministry and municipality coffers.

"The disaster area was extended because there was an area above the barge in Cayuga where damage was sustained and a request went out to encompass that area as well. Initially, that was a shock to us because we were finding it difficult at the time, but our fundraisers took it in stride and pressed on. Every time we met Don and his group, they came up with a lot of ideas."

Corbett feels "It was the fundraising group that formed the backbone" of the HDRC.
Edwards said the flood brought about "a great opportunity to work with a great group of people who helped the community we live in. Committee members just rolled up their sleeves," he said, and despite the fact that there were two distinct groups, "it didn't matter which side you were on; everybody helped out and was extremely supportive," whether waiting tables at Turtle Jack's or processing claims.

"We had a finite amount of time and Bernie brought all those people - most of them strangers -together. We had one target and everybody on the committee was committed to reaching that goal."

Donna Pitcher joined the HDRC after she donated building materials to flood victims, and single-handedly brought 7,000 empty bottles and beer cans to the liquor store to raise needed funds. Though her car "smelled like liquor for three and half months," she said she "loved her time on the committee," helping out the flood victims.

Former Dunnville councillor Brett Kelly said his role as Media Relations Liaison with the HDRC was rewarding and helped prepare him for his recent appointment as a Justice of the Peace in Niagara. "We were pleased because we saw our neighbours and friends pitch in to help their neighbours and friends," Kelly told the Chronicle in a recent interview.

In hindsight, Corbett said he hopes "We would take some preventative action to ensure the mouth of the river is open so we don't have a flood" in the future. "It's my belief that if the icebreaker had gone through, it would've helped somewhat, but there was water in the upper river as well. It was scary seeing the amount of water coming down."

A year after the harrowing experience, "We learned that you can assemble a group of people to react to a problem and Council was fast-acting to appoint a committee to get involved," Corbett said, adding, "We got the support of the community and other communities across Ontario to help.

We were fortunate that we were accepted for funding, where other municipalities were turned down. There were times when we thought we might not meet our goal, but our community came through and I certainly thank them for that. I'm very happy we had the opportunity to assist some people and form long-lasting relationships in the process. When you're successful, it's certainly a bonus."

Article ID# 2442484

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Haldimand "Open House for the new Dunnville Arena"


Dunnville Single Pad Arena, Walking Track & Ground Floor Community Centre Plans.

The Corporation of Haldimand County will be presenting the floor plans, building renderings and site plan for the new single pad arena, walking track and ground floor community centre in Dunnville. Construction is tentatively scheduled to commence in April of 2010 and will take approximately one year to complete.

All interested parties are invited to attend an Open House for this project to be held as follows:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dunnville Recreation Centre
210 Main Street East
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The Corporation of Haldimand County and Construction Team will be present to answer your questions. If you are unable to attend the Open House and would like further information, please contact the County Project Manager as follows:

Mr. Philip Mete, P.Eng.
Manager, Facilities & Parks Operations
Telephone: (905) 318-5367 x 501
Fax: (905) 765-5716

Friday, April 9, 2010

Haldimand "Haldimand County 100k Club"

Every Year Ontario Municipalities are legislated to make public any employee of a local Municipality that is paid $100,000.00 or more a year. This is the amount that is on the individuals T4 slip for tax purposes.

I have been waiting for the local newspapers to report these findings as I know that these numbers come out usually in mid March of each year. After reading nothing of this in the local newspapers I went to the Haldimand County website.

Here is the following information that I found from a staff report dated February 16, 2010, that was presented to Council on March 1,2010.

This report was received by Haldimand County Council on March 1, 2010 Recommendation #5, and passed by Resolution #57-10 on March 8, 2010.

Below is our Haldimand County "100k Club".

I put in brackets last years numbers for salary earned in 2008. These numbers are what these individuals earned in 2009. First figure is salary and the second figure below is their taxable benefits.

This is also from the staff report; Each person to whom Haldimand County provided a 2009 T4 slip is considered an employee. For employees paid $100,000 or more, exclusive of taxable benefits, a “Record of Employees’ 2009 Salaries and Benefits” report must be submitted to the funding ministry, in our case, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, not later than March 5, 2010.

$156,666.48 $6,892.20 ($149,765.34 $7,053.00)

$128,490.84 $761.37 ($129,245.47 $880.18)

$140,863.34 $808.97 ($134,780.24, $954.74)

$123,586.41 $743.78 ($120,588.68 $833.38)

$117,032.75 $701.89 ($111,357.17 $793.26)

$102,759.71 $618.25

$103,258.29 $624.54

$103,258.28 $624.54

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Haldimand "Dunnville are there any Unheard Voices Out there"?

Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions? Why should I vote? Will my vote really make a difference? Does my one vote really count?

Have you ever felt like an Unheard Voice?

Well I hope that in the upcoming months I can inspire you to go out and “Vote”, “Change the norm”, and “help you understand that your vote does count. Your voice will and can be heard!

I registered in early January as a candidate for Ward 6 (Dunnville) for the upcoming Municipal Elections that will be held this coming October. For some of you this may be a bit soon to be talking about an election that is months away, but for me it will probably takes months to get the word out on the street that I am running for Council.

I have heard so many people say, “When was that issue discussed”? “How come I never heard about that one”? “When was that open house”? “Why doesn't anyone hold "Town Hall" meetings anymore?

I personally feel that we have a communication problem here in Haldimand County and it is not of our own making.

Our newspapers are weekly, so if you miss reading one paper you can miss very vital information that could affect you and your taxes.

Many of us do not get cable so we cannot access Council Meetings.

Many of us are still on dial up internet (I AM!) and cannot access vital County information because the files are too big and we get timed out.

Most of us are too busy to attend a Council Meeting.

And the most important communication problem is that currently there are no “Town Hall” meetings in the Dunnville area, in fact there are currently no “Town Hall” meetings anywhere in Haldimand County.

Can you tell that I am a big fan of “Town Hall” meetings?

I seriously wonder how a member of council could know what people are concerned about if they do not give residents a regular time and place to have their voices heard. Of course there will be some that will say that it is up to “You” to keep up to date on local issues.

I believe that “Town Hall” meetings are vital and necessary for the community. What harm can a meet and greet coffee night every say three months do?

Your Vote does count! Your voice can be heard!

Please feel free to post any issues that are of a concern to you here.

If you wish to contact me you can call me at 905-701-1627 or email me at

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Haldimand "Pitcher First to File for Elections"

I want to thank Cathy Pelletier for a great article!

For the past ten months I have been writing for the Dunnville Chronicle covering Haldimand County Council meetings and local politics. It has been a great learning experience for me and I am very fortunate that Bob Liddycoat (past editor of the Dunnville Chronicle) had faith in me when he asked me to write for the paper. Thanks Bob!

On Monday January 18, 2010, I registered as a candidate for the upcoming Municipal Elections that will take place on October 25, 2010. I am running in Ward 6 (Dunnville).

Last Friday I met with Cathy from the Dunnville Chronicle and we chatted for about an hour, (of course I could have talked about politics for hours and hours) the following article was in today's paper.

Pitcher First to File for Elections
January 27, 2010

Donna Pitcher was the first to sign up to run in this year's municipal elections.

First to register in Haldimand County for November's municipal elections, Donna Pitcher said it's her love of Dunnville that compelled her to run as a councillor in Ward 6.

"I have always loved Dunnville," said the South Cayuga resident. "I loved my months of being on the Disaster Relief Committee and though we did the fundraising County-wide, we did the bulk of it right here in Dunnville. It just confirmed to me I should represent the people of Dunnville."

After donating building materials to flood victims last February, she decided to join Haldimand's Disaster Relief Committee, singlehandedly bringing 7,000 empty beer cans and bottles to the liquor store during a fundraising bottle drive.

"My car smelled like liquor for three and a half months," she chuckled.

The self-described "family-oriented" leader with a passion for politics has been frequently vocal about issues affecting Haldimand residents, particularly during her 2005 crusade to keep Hydro local.

"Haldimand County discussed selling our Hydro for six months and announced they were putting it up for sale," stated Pitcher. "I collected 3,267 signatures and spoke at Council. Together, we were successful in keeping a strong business in Haldimand where it belongs."

Born and raised in Hamilton, Pitcher co-founded the Hamilton Parks Foundation, a beautification program partnering schools, City Council and employees, and since moving to South Cayuga in 1999, has been president of the thriving Community Hall for six years.

"I think in order to go into this type of work, you have to have a certain amount of work experience, life experience, and people experience," as well as community involvement, she said.
"You can't promise to change things because in reality, you're only one vote. However, I promise I will stand up and be your voice. The first place anyone can make a difference is at the grassroots level."

A firm believer in fiscal responsibility to taxpayers, "I will never put myself above others" if elected, said Pitcher, adding she gained "so much experience" and a broader perspective while covering Council as a freelance writer for the Chronicle the past 10 months.

"When I was going to Council extensively on my own before that, it was different than reporting and interviewing, when you get to hear from the general public," she said.

Married to Ted for 35 years, she's the mother of Melanie and grandmother of two. An outside sales rep for 10 years, Pitcher worked with hydraulics and pneumatics in a job that taught her to routinely handle crisis situations.

"I built and designed power units. I'm the second woman to receive my Fluid Power certification."

More recently, she began her own business, called Pitcher's Cove Welding. "When I get frustrated, I love to bend steel." Donna's Critters, cowboy dinner bells and other steel crafts are the creative result.

When not bending steel or riding Haldimand's roads with Ted on their Harley, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.