Affordable housing a problem throughout the region
by Roger Varley
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger suggested at Monday’s council meeting that the former Epsom Public School could be converted to rental accommodation to help address the growing lack of such housing in the region. Mr. Ballinger’s suggestion came as council debated a regional response to the province’s Affordable and Seniors’ Housing Task Force report.
“The region has to take the lead and there has to be action, ” he said.
He said lands such as Epsom and other surplus municipal properties could be used to create affordable housing.
“There are some things we can do even in Uxbridge,” he said. “Let’s look at our own surplus lands.”
In its report, the region said demand for affordable rental housing in Durham is outpacing supply, noting there has been a decline in the construction of private rental housing since the 1980s. In fact, since 1997, only 1.7 per cent of housing completions have been rental properties. Rental vacancy rates in the region have been at two per cent since 2011.…continue reading…
by Roger Varley
Notes from the November 20 Council Meeting
Council supports increase in HST: Uxbridge council has joined a growing number of Ontario municipalities supporting a call for a one-per-cent increase in the provincial portion of the HST.
Council voted on Monday to support a recently passed resolution from the Region of Durham asking the province to approve the increase, with the estimated $2.5 billion in extra revenue being used to pay for “critical municipal services like roads, bridges, transit, clean water and other services.”…continue reading…
“13 Ways” Installment #4 – The pros, and myths, of shopping locally
by Roger Varley
This is the fourth “installment” in a series of columns and articles inspired by the book entitled “13 Ways To Kill Your Community.”
It’s a phrase everyone uses, but who actually heeds it, lives by it? Chapter Five of Doug Griffiths’ book “13 Ways to Kill Your Community” talks about shopping out of town instead of using local retailers or service suppliers, and this installment intends to take a look at how Uxbridge fares in the shop locally department.
In small communities such as Uxbridge, it isn’t reasonable to expect local businesses to meet all of the residents’ needs; therefore those needs have to be met by visiting out-of-town locales. Sometimes it is because the goods or services required are just not available in town or because there isn’t enough variety. However, in a survey conducted by the Cosmos late last year, 34 per cent of those responding said they only shop downtown occasionally – or never.
Many people in Goodwood, for example, prefer nipping down to Stouffville for their shopping, opting to put up with that town’s congested Main Street rather than drive an extra two kilometres to Uxbridge. In Zephyr, a lot of residents do their regular shopping in Newmarket. Even in the town of Uxbridge, many residents would rather drive to Port Perry to make their purchases.
There are a number of reasons for these choices. Better selection, lower prices, more choices, saving money and, in some cases, dissatisfaction with local businesses.…continue reading…
Farm to Train helps food bank but shelves still aren’t full
The second annual Farm to Train event recently served up a $10,000 cheque to Loaves and Fishes, the Uxbridge food bank.
All Aboard Uxbridge, comprised of Gloria Eng, Elaine Leigh and Councillor Pam Beach, organized the event, which was held on Saturday, September 30, aboard the York Durham Heritage Railway. The purpose of this unique culinary experience was to raise funds for the local food bank.
All Aboard Uxbridge, and the Farm to Train event, began as the vision of Councillor Beach as a way to highlight and utilize the culinary talents of local restaurateurs and locally sourced suppliers. In fact, 99 per cent of the final menu was farm fresh ingredients, sourced from the Uxbridge area.
Councillor Beach says she is passionate about supporting and recognizing local farms in the Uxbridge area, as well as educating people about the importance of utilizing local produce. Once she joined forces with Gloria Eng and Elaine Leigh and formed All Aboard Uxbridge, the three worked with Pam’s aspiration and determination to bring this vision to fruition (no pun intended). They collaborated closely with Denis Godbout, president of York Durham Heritage Railway, Niki Filntissis of Urban Pantry Restaurant, and Joanne Richter of The Second Wedge Brewing Company. This collaboration, complemented by musicians Sonia Sabir, accompanied by Chris Saunders, and ukulele duo Crow, rounded out the evening. Councillor Dave Barton organized the sound system.…continue reading…
Full Moon Celebration to raise funds for animal sanctuary
The Farmhouse Garden Animal Home is not something many people in the Uxbridge area are familiar with. Yet.
Mike Lanigan, the founder of the Farmhouse Garden, was an organic vegetable and beef farmer who, in the summer of 2016, made his life turn a corner. After spending a great deal of time with a recently born calf, he felt that having given so much love to this animal, he did not want to have to eventually send her to slaughter. Mike wondered if there could be another way to feed and care for the cows without the revenue from selling beef.
Edith Barabash, while working as an intern on the farm in 2014 and taking care of chickens and cows, decided to become a “passionate vegan” after considering the fate of the animals firsthand. She said in an interview with Ashley Capps for the online journal “Free From Harm,” “I didn’t stop working for Mike, though, because I felt there was still a lot for me to learn. And so began the first of our many, many conversations about animal rights. I couldn’t be more grateful for where those conversations have led us today.”…continue reading…