‘‘Do what’s best – get the test!’ at new assessment centre
by Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
COVID-19 testing – coming soon to an assessment centre near you.
Next Tuesday, Aug. 4, the North Durham COVID Assessment Centre will open its doors at Prince Albert Hall in Port Perry. The centre is a joint project by the doctors of both Uxbridge and Port Perry.
Getting a COVID-19 swab is now recommended for everyone, and local doctors say they are looking forward to the opening of this centre, which will provide local testing, which may become even more necessary as flu season approaches.
Director of the clinic, Dr Merrilee Brown, wants the community to know that they are ready to get testing.
“We are here for the whole family, no long wait times, and it’s really a very simple process.”
Whether you are needing a swab to visit a relative in a retirement facility, are worried about symptoms, or just want to know if you’re in the clear, testing is open to everyone over the age of 12 months of age, without severe symptoms.
To get a COVID-19 test, visit covidswab.lh.ca and answer a few online screening questions. At the end of the screening survey, select the appropriate testing centre and receive a swab time. Then it’s just a trip to 19 Jeffrey St. in Port Perry for the test.
When you arrive at the testing centre, park in the designated spot, remain in your vehicle and call or text the posted number to announce arrival. Someone will come out to check your health card (through a closed car window to reduce any unnecessary contact), and then you will receive the nasopharyngeal swab.
The testing clinic will have doctors on-site, should there be a need for an in-person assessment, but for most, it will be as simple as poking your face out your car window for the swab.
The opening of the North Durham COVID Assessment Centre is being set up to in order to reserve emergency departments at both the Port Perry Hospital and the Uxbridge Cottage Hospital for real emergencies, as the testing centre gives those with respiratory symptoms a place to see a doctor and get a swab.
For complete details and information, visit covidswab.lh.ca
Brock sidewalks closed for a month
by Roger Varley
Construction crews have started tearing up Brock Street as part of the final push to install a new culvert under the thoroughfare.
Public Works Director Ben Kester said Tuesday the crews have broken out the concrete base of the road. Next, they will start digging down deep enough to begin installing the culvert sections. The towering drilling machine has been moved into the empty site on the south side of Brock and was scheduled to begin drilling sometime Wednesday.
Both the north and south sidewalks in that section of the street have been closed off to pedestrians, and a temporary walkway has been opened, running from Toronto Street North, through the construction area on the municipal parking lot and leading out to the east end of Lower Brock. Kester said the temporary walkway will be in use for at least a month, during which time “not much is happening” in that part of the construction area. Brock Street itself is scheduled to be re-opened at the end of September.
“They are on track to finish all the installations before winter and they’ll be back in the Spring for cleanup,” Kester said.
Uxbridge asked to turn off taps – again
The Regional Municipality of Durham announced Tuesday that it is asking residents in the Township of Uxbridge to practise additional water conservation efforts as the Works Department performs work on a water supply well from Wednesday, July 29, through to Sunday, August, 2. Residents should limit non-essential water use (which includes activities like cleaning driveways or decks, washing cars and lawn watering) during this time.
A statement from the region said that, once work is complete, residents may return to normal water conservation efforts.
“In an effort to conserve water, residents using our municipal water supply are reminded to practise odd-even lawn watering until September. Under the Regional Water System By-law 89-2003, odd-even lawn watering is mandatory during the summer months.”
Residents wanting more information can contact the Technical Support Division at 905-668-7711 (toll free 1-800-372-1102). For water conservation tips, visit durham.ca/WaterEfficiency
Local school trustee stepping down
by Roger Varley
Kathy LeFort, who has represented Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock as Durham Catholic District School Board trustee almost continuously for the last 32 years, has stepped down from her position.
LeFort, a Port Perry resident, said she is building a new home in Kawartha Lakes and must leave the board since she will no longer be a resident of Durham. She offered her resignation Monday in a meeting with the director of education.
Durham Catholic District School Board Trustee Kathy LeFort is stepping down. Photo from dcdsb.ca
LeFort was first elected trustee in 1988 and served in that position for all but 10 months, being appointed to the board once and either winning election or being acclaimed in all subsequent elections. In her final years with the board she served as vice-chair.
“It’s bittersweet,” she said of her leaving. “I’ve met wonderful people and learned so much.”
She said she will probably look for volunteering opportunities when she has moved.
Asked about her thoughts regarding the re-opening of schools, she said it’s something that is on her mind every day and every time she passes a school.
“I’m thinking ‘Are we ready yet?'” she said. “I don’t know, It’s a tough call.”
The board has 90 days in which to either hold an election to replace LeFort or appoint someone to fill the role.
Local churches faithfully reaching out to congregations during pandemic
by Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
In the wake of COVID-19, everyone has been forced to react and adapt to the new and changing world. Community organizations, business owners and schools alike all stepped up to alter the way they functioned so they could continue to serve their communities as well as they were able. Churches were forced to make some great changes, as congregating in person became impossible. But they all had faith that they’d make it through.
For many of Uxbridge’s churches, seniors make up the majority of the congregation, a demographic containing many who may have underlying health concerns which leave them more vulnerable to things like COVID-19. This age group is also known to be not overly familiar with new technologies, and often struggles while trying to adapting to modern gadgets. This technological adversity posed a challenge when churches began considering how to deliver their message via alternative methods.
Goodwood Baptist Church Pastor Kevin Oates says that, with the strength and teamwork of the congregations, his church found a way to continue its worship from a distance.
“Here at Goodwood Baptist Church, being a congregation that is elderly and many having compromising health issues, we stopped our public services and have not yet reopened. We have a YouTube station where we do a weekly a message that is posted each Sunday at 8 a.m., along with a scripture reading by one of our deacons. I also keep in touch with our congregates by phone and lately, we have been doing porch visits with many outside.”
Goodwood Baptist Church is not the only church to have resorted to a YouTube service. St. Andrew’s- Chalmers Presbyterian Church in Uxbridge has also taken to the web. And because some of its older members don’t have access to a computer, they also contactlessly deliver copies of the sermon to those in need each week.
As well as running virtual “coffee and conversation” sessions and an online vacation bible school, St. Andrew’s-Chalmers has also joined forces with Trinity United Church to hold an online anxiety study to further help community members during this stressful, and worrying time.
The Uxbridge Baptist Church has also developed alternate programming for its congregants. As well as holding live-streamed services, it also runs youth and young adult programs via Zoom, provides activities and devotional items for children, and it is also holding a popular online vacation bible school. On top of that, like many of the other churches, the Baptist Church is making drive-by visits to its congregates for special occasions like wedding showers, or just for a fun drive-by parade to spread some good cheer.
While there really is no replacement for the experience of in-person interactions, Lynita Webber, executive director of St Paul’s Presbyterian in Leaskdale, says their online services have been well received.
“The response has been positive: even though people deeply miss gathering in person for worship, they have been appreciative of our online content and are intentional about connecting with one another. In a recent survey, the congregation overwhelmingly indicated that maintaining an online presence is going to be important regardless of when we meet in person,” says Webber.
As for when local churches will throwing open their doors again, the consensus across town seems to be that, although re-opening is now government approved, it is best to wait until everyone is comfortable. The majority of churches have said they are sending out surveys to their congregants to judge when they would feel most comfortable meeting again in person.
For more information on individual places of worship, visit uxbridge.ca/en/living-here/places-of-worship.aspx and go to individual church websites from there.
A 200th Birthday
by Allan McGillivray, special to the Cosmos
Every second Sunday of June, a public meeting is held at the Uxbridge Quaker Meeting House. This year COVID-19 got in the way of what was to have been a very special annual meeting – a 200th birthday.
The Meeting House, the oldest building in Uxbridge Township, sits quietly in the shade of age-old trees on Conc. 6, west of Uxbridge, where it was built 200 years ago. Some members of the Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, many from the Catawissa area of Pennsylvania, began arriving in Uxbridge Township in 1804-5. In 1809, they built a log Meeting House or Church, and obtained land for a burial ground across the road.
In 1817, local sawmill owner Joseph Collins noted in his account book that he was cutting boards for the Meeting House. This new building replaced the log one in 1820. Today, one can still see the plane marks on the boards, made by the hands of the Uxbridge Quaker settlers 200 years ago.
Traditionally, Quakers didn’t have ministers, and the meetings were silent except for thoughts expressed by some members. However, in the 1890s, Alma Dale, daughter of Joseph and Mary Gould, led services. She even built the pulpit that is in the Meeting House.
Times change, and in 1925 the Meeting House closed, left to sit on Quaker Hill as a relic from the past. In 1940, the property was advertised for sale by the Pickering Meeting, which had charge of it. However, some folks opposed the sale, and it was stopped.
The next year, the first non-denominational annual meeting was held, and such meetings have continued to take place. A board was formed to look after the building’s maintenance, and many volunteers have given time to caring for this historic building. Wilda Clark was a leader in that area – she also opened the Meeting House for tours.
Like most old buildings, this one had no foundation, and in 1995, the sills and floor supports in contact with the ground were discovered in various stages of decay. The building was lifted, moved aside, and a concrete foundation with a crawl space was built. Thanks go to Ron and Russ Gould, descendants of local Uxbridge Quaker settlers, who headed up this work.
The Meeting House board deserves our thanks for looking after this Uxbridge heritage landmark, one of the oldest buildings in Durham region.
Rob Croxall, board chairman, says there may be a 200th birthday celebration in the fall, COVID-depending.
For more, visit uxbridgequakermeetinghouse.com
Changing Perspectives with Brian Evans
Who would have thought that things could change so abruptly for every human being on the earth! To say that this pandemic is unprecedented is somewhat of an understatement!
The media keep talking about the ‘new normal’ and we all wonder what that means…really. Will it be different for everyone? What about our investments and retirement plans? Will we need to adjust the variable estimates for return and inflation in our plan? Of course, as with any other time, there is no way for anyone…skilled and professional as they might be…to forecast or accurately project these things.
When the pandemic began, many economists suggested that it would be a ‘V’ shaped recession, and it certainly started out that way on the down side. However, the ‘V’ is not looking symmetrical from this side! They also said at the time that the downturn in the market was not due to fundamentals as company balance sheets were generally solid. The downside was caused mostly by fear! True as that was, with the length of time it is taking for the economy to be opened up, the fundamentals are definitely being affected.
The other variable, the effect of which is difficult to project, is consumer perspective. In a recent news cast it was reported that a survey was conducted of Canadians with some interesting, but not surprising, results. It was reported that 45 per cent of Canadians regret they did not save more. Having liquid savings for these unforeseen times and circumstances is certainly a smart move.
The survey also reported that 56 per cent of Canadians realize that they are spending too many dollars on things they do not really need! Will that change in perspective affect the daily lives of families in the months and years ahead? There would be some impact on the economy if retail sales are reduced because consumers…56 per cent of them…become more discretionary in their spending habits.
The survey also indicated that many of the respondents are currently holding on to cash due to uncertainty with jobs, government support and future needs. That is having a meaningful impact on today’s lower interest rates.
What does all this mean for us? Be assured that money managers have been factoring in these and many other considerations. They are actively analyzing opportunities available to them as they choose the most appropriate investments for the funds under their management. Although it is always a good idea to review your investment plan in relation to your anticipated future financial needs, there may be few reasons to make drastic changes to your strategy. Your advisor will be able to analyze and suggest any adjustments needed to continue your forward movement while at the same time helping to manage volatility. Call them if you have concerns.
As Canada’s economy begins to move forward, economists seem somewhat surprised at the growth and momentum building within markets and consumer confidence. Let’s keep that going by doing our part to control the spread of this pandemic. And let’s not be afraid of these changes to our perspectives on saving, spending and family life. These adjustments could very well build long term strength in our economy and your financial future!
From the MP’s desk – column by Jennifer O’Connell, MP
Coming through COVID
Over the past several months, your federal government has taken a number of extraordinary measures to support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of Canadians have been able to pay bills or buy groceries because of the help they received through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Businesses are safely reopening, with many of them utilizing the support available through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or through a loan from the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program.
Last week, our government announced a Safe Restart Agreement with the provinces and territories that will see $19 billion invested in protecting the health of Canadians, getting people safely back to work, and preparing for a potential second wave. Ontario will be receiving $7 billion under the agreement, which includes investments in priority areas, including:
• Increasing testing and contract tracing
• Securing personal protective equipment for front line healthcare workers and businesses
• Supporting the most vulnerable, including seniors in long-term care facilities and nursing homes
• Ensuring safe child care is available so parents can return to work
• Supporting people who do not have paid sick leave
• Helping municipalities deliver key services
Locally, the Regional Municipality of Durham is also receiving $19,589,047 from the Government of Canada under the Gas Tax Fund, with the Township of Uxbridge receiving $642,400.
Minister of Health Patty Hajdu also announced that the government will provide $4.28 billion to further expand testing and contact tracing capacity, and the associated data management and information sharing systems. Part of this funding will help ensure testing components such as swabs and point-of-care kits are available, and will help to ensure a Canada-wide capacity of conducting 200,000 tests per day.
Close to 9,000 Canadians have passed away from COVID-19. This staggering loss of life is having a profound impact on many Canadians and their loved ones. While things are not fully back to normal just yet, I’ve been proud to witness people in our community protecting each other by observing physical distancing rules and following our mandatory indoor masks guidelines. The steps you’ve taken have helped to flatten the curve, relieve pressure on our front line health care workers and kept you, your family and your neighbours safe. As we enjoy the rest of summer and head into the fall, it’s as crucial as ever to continue practicing these safety measures and prevent the spread of the virus.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions, concerns or need assistance in your dealings with federal departments. You can reach us by phone at 905-839-2878 or through email at jennifer.OConnell@parl.gc.ca
A note from Dave’s desk – column by Mayor Dave Barton
We have much to celebrate here in Uxbridge in the summer of 2020. As I write this, the Township has only one active case of COVID-19 – unfortunately, it is related a staff member from Reachview Village.
We have incredible business people who are reopening their businesses and calling back staff members. It is so nice to see our town continue to come back to life. From my office window I see hundreds of people walking, biking and using scooters and skateboards past my house.
I really want our community to maintain this momentum as we reopen, and we know that, by wearing masks, we stay healthy and protect our damaged economy from a second wave of this deadly virus. Please keep up the vigilance and good work – we are all in this together!
I’m getting more used to wearing my mask when I go out, and I hope you all forgive me if I don’t recognize you when I run into you at the grocery store!
Please also keep in mind that we have many residents who are stressed, scared, have lost jobs or companies and may not be acting like their best selves. I am sure that each and every one of us has had a moment or two during the past five months when we were not calm, loving, patient, or optimistic, and I am asking each and every one of us to try to be a little more understanding of those around you. We are still in this together and some might not be adjusting as fast as you are with the new normal.
Stage 3 in the Township means that our park amenities such as fitness equipment, park washrooms, water fountains, and playgrounds have reopened. We have kept the pool closed for now, and we will not be reopening our arena, the Music Hall, the senior’s centre, the Historical Centre or any community halls right away. We are developing a recovery plan to reopen more facilities and balance the costs of safely doing so with the staff and resources we have to use.
At Town Hall, we have begun to shift more of our attention back to our longer-term strategic objectives. Once the culvert is complete we have the opportunity to revitalize our downtown. We have an initiative launching soon that will enable us to examine the many facets of downtown revitalization and help us create a plan that will result in positive downtown changes over several years. We have also just launched a survey to help us collect information about walking, cycling or wheeling around the Township. This is part of our Active Transportation Plan.
We are also working hard to acquiring funding for a new aquatic centre and are actively working with various stakeholders on our new health care campus, which will include a new hospital, a long-term care facility and the medical office building already under construction at our current hospital site. These are all projects you will begin to hear more about in the weeks and months to come.
Stay healthy everyone, relax and enjoy your summer!
This is the Year of the Road Trip!
By Lisa John-Mackenzie, Tourism Development Coordinator, Township of Uxbridge
Is your vacation looking more like a staycation this year? You are not alone! The majority of us have cancelled any travel that was on the calendar for 2020 and any plans for this year are seemingly only a car ride away!
When it comes to returning to travel, results of a recent study about the impact of the pandemic1 found that when it comes to booking travel, 94 per cent of Ontarians will use caution and either “test the waters first” or “get back in carefully.” It is not surprising that with all we have experienced over the last few months, travel plans have been cancelled, and only 10 per cent of people have a trip booked. It is also not surprising that we are still keen to get out of the house, when it is safe to do so, and explore what is close to home.
According to market research experts at Abacus Data, “this is the year of the Road Trip.” Eighty-seven per cent of survey respondents expressed that they would be travelling by car this year, and 75 per cent said they would be taking day trips – this is up from 65 per cent in 2019. When asked about the type of activities they would be doing, respondents suggested something familiar, outdoors and with no crowds! Seventy-seven per cent want to stay close to home and 86 per cent say now is the time to stay safe!
If you are looking to plan a road trip that is close to home, many Uxbridge businesses are now open with full safety precautions in place. You can find local trip ideas at www.DiscoverUxbridge.ca, or if you are still most comfortable with a virtual road trip, Central Counties Tourism has many experiences you can explore from home at https://yorkdurhamheadwaters.ca/.
1 Abacus Data Online Survey, “How will the Pandemic Impact Travel in Ontario this Year?”, June 2020. https://centralcounties.ca/wp-content/uploads/Abacus-Data-RTO6_Presentation_June242020_FINAL.pdf, For more information about Abacus Data www.abacusdata.ca