Downtown culvert project delayed until August
by Roger Varley
Work on the Brock Street culvert replacement, which was projected to start this month, is unlikely to begin until some time in August.
At an information session at the township offices on Tuesday, Public Works director Ben Kester said tenders for the construction have been sent out to five pre-qualified contractors who specialize in major projects, with responses to the tender closing on July 9. On July 16, Kester will submit a report to council making recommendations on awarding the contract.
“Hopefully, we’ll start construction in August,” Kester said.
He said it has always been estimated that the $10-million project will take eight to nine months to complete, but noted that, with the late start date, it might take longer if work is suspended during January and February because of weather.
Minor preliminary work will continue next week with test pits being dug on Centennial Drive and in the municipal parking lot behind Coffee Time. Kester said the test pits will give the contractors an idea of what the ground is like.
The project will see the current deteriorating culvert replaced by a twin culvert system designed to handle excess flow in the event of a major storm.
When the construction starts in earnest, Kester said, the contractor will decide whether to start work at the north end or south end of the culvert. While lower Brock St. is closed, at least one sidewalk will remain open at all times. This will be facilitated by the use of a moveable steel pedestrian bridge. Kester also said that Brock St. and Centennial Dr. cannot be closed at the same time.
During the time Brock St. is closed, public services will continue. Kester said snow removal will not be a problem and the fire department does not have any issues with the construction. For garbage pickup in the area, store owners and residents will continue to put their garbage out as usual. However, it will be picked up by a contractor and taken to a collection point where it will in turn be collected by the waste management company.
Eighteen new parking spaces have been marked out in front of the old fire hall on Bascom St., and once the project begins the contractor will pave over the back lot of 12 Main St. N. to provide more parking spaces. As well, the parking spots on the extreme west side of the main municipal parking lot will remain open, but parking will be limited to three hours instead of the current 10 hours.
The parking spaces at the fire hall will not be permanent. Kester said that once the project is finished, “the fire hall will sell very quickly”.
Kester noted that “there’s still a lot of misinformation out there” about the project. He said one example of that was someone telling him they had heard the Coffee Time building will be torn down. The only buildings being demolished are 34 and 36 Brock Street, which sit atop the current culvert.
by Roger Varley
Notes from the June 18 Council Meeting
No pay raise for council: With a couple of minor exceptions, Uxbridge council voted Monday not to approve any pay raises for the next council.
The salaries for ward councillors and the regional councillor will remain unchanged at $28,499.40. The mayor will continue to receive compensation of $43,936.36.
However, council did agree to increasing the stipend paid to the chair of the finance committee. As it stands now, committee chairs receive additional $1,750 a year (except for the chair of planning and economic development, who receives an additional $2,500). For the next council, the chair of finance and emergency services will see that stipend increased to $2,500.
Treasurer Donna Condon recommended in her report that whoever is named deputy mayor should be awarded an extra $2,000 a year unless that person is the regional councillor, in which case there would be no extra pay. However, council agreed with Councillor Gordon Highet that the deputy mayor should not receive any additional recompense.
Mileage allowances paid to members of council will remain as they are: $385 a month for the mayor and $200 a month for the ward and regional councillors. Councillor Highet also balked at that, saying members of council shouldn’t be paid for driving to work.
Members of council see their salaries increased every year by the same cost-of-living increases awarded to non-unionized staff.
Traffic wish list: In a question and answer session with a couple of Durham Region representatives on the redevelopment of lower Brock Street, councillors came out with a wish list of possible traffic changes.
Mayor Molloy asked for an advance green light at Toronto and Brock Streets to allow east-bound traffic to turn north at the same time westbound traffic turns south. He noted that, due to the configuration of the intersection, if there are more than four eastbound cars stopped at the lights and the lead car wants to turn left, it blocks other cars from moving through.
Ramesh Jagannathan of the region’s rapid transit division said the region will be checking the timing of the lights next week to determine if they need adjusting. Councillor Pam Beach requested an advanced green at the intersection of Toronto Street South and Elgin Park Drive to allow southbound cars to make a left turn. She said it is often difficult to make a left turn, especially during the late afternoon rush hour.
Councillor Highet brought up the subject of truck traffic through the downtown, asking how it could be addressed. Jagannathan said he believes some truckers are not yet aware of the Regional Road 23/21 bypass and truckers behaviour has to be changed. Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger pointed out that there are fewer trucks coming through the downtown area than in the past, but suggested that the downtown should be made pedestrian friendly, not truck friendly. He suggested that this could be accomplished by adding bike lanes and making the road narrower.
Looking for affordable housing land: The Region of Durham is undertaking a review of all regional property to determine whether there are any surplus parcels that could be offered to developers for building affordable and seniors housing. In a letter to regional municipalities, the region is asking them to undertake a similar review to expand the inventory.
Chief Administrative Officer Ingrid Svelnis told council she will provide a report for the July 16 council meeting after she obtains more information from the region on what is wanted.
Fountains coming back?: Mayor Pat Molloy opined that he would like to see the fountains restored to Elgin Pond and the Electric Light Pond.
Molloy said the fountains were taken out a couple of years ago because of operating difficulties, although at the time the high price of hydro was quoted as a reason for removing them.
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger agreed with the mayor, saying the fountains would stop debris floating from the bottom of the pond when the weather warms in the summer.
Mayor Molloy asked staff to report on reinstalling the fountains.
Accessible washrooms reopen with fanfare
by Roger Varley
It’s not often one sees several members of council and senior township staff lined up waiting to enter a restroom. There would have been a member of Parliament, too, but Jennifer O’Connell couldn’t make it due to a lengthy House of Commons session the night before.
The occasion was the official opening Friday, complete with ribbon cutting, of the newly renovated washrooms in Elgin Park, designed to be more accessible to the public.
The washrooms, across the path from the picnic shelter, have been completely redesigned on the inside and the doors leading into the facility have been moved from the side walls to the front. Both washrooms feature lighting that goes on automatically when the doors are opened, although a glitch made the lights in the women’s washroom temporarily inoperable.
Outside the washrooms is a new drinking fountain that also allows for water bottles to be refilled, and features a dish with its own faucet for dogs to slake their thirst.
The renovations were made possible with a $31,000 grant from the federal accessibility fund.
Terry Baskin, a member of the township’s accessibility committee, said the washrooms have “a universal design, not an accessibility design. It makes it easier for everyone.”
“It’s nice to see the old building being brought up to standard,” he said.
Clerk Debbie Leroux said the washrooms will be open every day from May to October.
For those interested in minutia, the men’s washroom was the first to be inaugurated.
Roxy Kids are ceasing action
After 21 years of being at the helm of the Roxy Kids in Action, Cathy Christoff has decided it’s time to move on, and the childrens’ volunteer group is shutting down.
“This was a really tough decision, it took me two years,” explained Christoff. “I’m thinking of my family, and of my grandkids.”
She went on to explain that the Roxy Kids, a group of motivated youth from ages 8-16 from Uxbridge and surrounding areas, were much more than the events they put on. “Roxy Kids takes up about 20 hours a week of time,” said Christoff. “It’s all the coordination, matching people to Job Actions [the volunteer services the kids performed], all the behind-the-scenes stuff that takes time.”
In return for their volunteerism, Roxy Kids met every other Friday and received movie passes to the Roxy Theatre, along with posters and other “merch” when appropriate and deserved. Along with running their own events, like the annual Great Stuff Sale, the Roxy Kids also volunteered at community events like the Uxbridge Fair, Celebration of the Arts, and uxperience.
Christoff said that she did try to find someone to take over the group, but the amount of work involved was daunting, and “the families of Roxy Kids are busy families. But it’s important that they all get out and volunteer.”
Although the Roxy Kids are disbanding, Christoff says that several former ‘Kids have continued on with volunteering in their adult lives, and that it’s rewarding to see that kind of legacy.
The Roxy Kids in Action will have a final celebration on June 29 at the Uxbridge Bowling Alley. All past and present Roxy Kids are invited (see Letters to the Editor on page 4 for more information).
Party in the Park on Canada Day
Today (Thursday) marks the first day of summer, which means Canada Day is coming quickly. And as always, Uxbridge has big plans to celebrate this big day.
Festivities in Elgin Park begin at 6 p.m. with Uxbridge Town Crier Bill McKee starting things off. According to Elaine Leigh, a member of the township’s Canada Day planning committee, there will plenty of food vendors on site to provide munchies, including the Meat Merchant, Jeff’s Gourmet, Fantastic Funnelcakes, and the Uxbridge Lions Food Booth. The Uxbridge Swim Club will be selling ice cream, and the Girl Guides will have cotton candy, freezies and glo-sticks (not to eat!) available. For the adults, the Second Wedge Brewing Co. will have a beer garden set up.
To keep you amused before the fireworks begin at sundown, the main stage presents the second annual ‘Rock the ‘Bridge’ – six singers will get a chance to perform with a live band onstage, and one winner will be awarded $500 cash at the concert. Matt Gunn and Ben Hudson will also take to the stage. The Uxbridge duo Now & Then will be there to entertain the crowd, and Vocally Inspired Performers (VIP) will be giving a sneak preview to their upcoming production of Annie.
There will be horse and buggy rides through the park, Hands On Exotics will have some amazing animals to interact with and learn about, and Uxbridge’s own Superman will be performing his magic and antics onsite. Keith’s Flowers and Cindy Wood are sponsoring the York-Durham Heritage Railway’s Kids Train, so kids can ride this train for free. Face painting, some arts and crafts and other family fun entertainment will also be available.
As always, admission to the park is by donation, and volunteers will be present at all entrances to help visitors enjoy the evening. Parking is also available on site.
Coordinators are still looking for adult volunteers for the day – if you are able to help out, call Dave Barton at 416-819-4119
From the MP’s desk
column by Jennifer O’Connell, MP
Summer is approaching and I’m looking forward to spending more time in Uxbridge attending community events and celebrations with all of you.
It’s been quite a busy legislative session, with important pieces of legislation and motions being passed. As we head into the final stretch before the House of Commons rises for the summer, marathon voting sessions are in full swing in order to get important legislation passed.
We’ve passed Bill C-74, the Budget Implementation Act that’s fulfilling the commitments we made to Canadians. That includes an increased Canada Child Benefit, the new Canada Workers Benefit, and the EI Parental Leave Benefit that’s supporting families and women thrive in the workforce. We’re also working to pass our new National Security Framework, Bill C-59 and Bill C-69, which will dramatically increase environmental protections and provide a more predictable, fair regulatory process.
I was also proud to announce recently, with my colleague Erin O’Toole, that the House of Commons passed a unanimous consent motion to finally honour Lt. Col. Sam Sharpe, a local hero, in the House of Commons. A commemorative bust of Sharpe will be placed in Centre Block of Parliament, honouring his brave service and reminding Canadians of the traumatic impacts of PTSD. I was thrilled to attend and speak at the unveiling of the Lt. Col. Sharpe statue in Uxbridge, by our talented local artist, Wynn Walters.
Over the past days and weeks, I’ve heard from a number of residents in Uxbridge concerned about the trade tariffs, and the rhetoric levelled by President Trump targeting our steel and aluminum industries and our Prime Minister.
As Canadians, we are polite and reasonable. But make no mistake, we will not be pushed around.
Canada and the United States have the greatest economic and security partnership of any two countries in the world. People in Canada and the United States are better off when we work together.
These tariffs are unacceptable and insulting. With that said, our Government will always stand up for our workers, and we’ve announced retaliatory measures to this unfair attack on our industry.
Canada will impose tariffs against imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the US – we are imposing dollar for dollar tariffs for every dollar levied against Canadians by the US. These countermeasures will only apply to goods originating from the US and will take effect on July 1, and will remain in place until the US eliminates its trade-restrictive measures against Canada. We will stand for Canadian workers, and challenge these illegal and counterproductive measures under NAFTA and at the WTO.
As always, my community office located at Unit 4-1154 Kingston Road in Pickering, is available to assist you in your dealings with federal departments. Please don’t hesitate to visit, or call us at 905-839-2878 or at 1-855-275-2860.
Be a 19th century soldier
Do you have what it takes to be a 19th century soldier? The Uxbridge Historical Centre is hosting a week-long camp this August for youth 8 – 13 years of age who want to step back in time and experience what life was like for a soldier over 100 years ago.
Young “soldiers” will be fully immersed in the life of a soldier and taught the basics of 19th century military foot drill and the manual of arms. They will also be taught how to march and even to master the challenging wheel manoeuver. Muskets, swords, uniforms and other equipment will be on display for campers to see and touch, and there will also be a variety of games and crafts. The program will include a good deal of physical activity and parents are asked to bear this in mind when considering registration.
A five per cent discount applies when young soldiers register before May 31.
Camp dates are Monday, Aug. 20, to Friday, Aug. 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost will be $187/wk., and will take place at the Uxbridge Historical Centre, 7239 Concession 6, Uxbridge
For more information contact: Uxbridge Historical Centre,7239 Concession Rd. 6, Uxbridge. 905-852-5954
For more information contact the Historical Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-852-5854 to reserve your spot.
Take your antiques to the Museum clinic
Join acclaimed antiques appraiser and fine art advisor Janet Carlile at the Uxbridge Historical Centre for a fun and informative program discovering the history and value of your fine art object or antique. Best known for her multiple tours with the Canadian Antiques Roadshow, Carlile will share her knowledge and enthusiasm for European and Canadian fine art, furniture and decorative arts.
From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, participants are invited to bring up to three items, at a cost of $15 per item, for Carlile to evaluate and appraise. An afternoon session will be added as needed. Observers are invited to attend this interesting and educational program for a small fee of $8. Members of the USHS may attend as observers at no cost.
Register online at https://ca.apm.activecommunities.com/Townshipofuxbridge/
For more information about Janet Carlile visit: www.janetcarlile.ca
For more information contact the Historical Centre at email@example.com or 905-852-5854