Uxbridge resident asks township to declare climate emergency
by Roger Varley
In a lengthened deputation before council on Monday, resident June Davies urged members of council to declare a climate emergency in Uxbridge.
Davies offered councillors a 60-page report, replete with charts, tables and graphs on the dangers of climate change and steps that can be taken here in the township to mitigate them.
The council agenda included correspondence from the southwestern Ontario municipality of Amherstburg which announced that that town’s council had passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency. Mayor Dave Barton said Davies’ request for a similar declaration by Uxbridge will be “discussed.”
“We have to make sure we have a clear direction,” he said.
Council also received correspondence from Adrian Giacca, a young Uxbridge man now living in Revelstoke, B.C., who wrote to offer to work with Uxbridge in establishing “tiny home” communities. Chief Administrative Officer Ingrid Svelnis prefaced the discussion by noting Uxbridge zoning bylaws do not allow tiny houses. She said the bylaws allow a minimum of 1,184 square feet for houses.
Barton offered that “it’s not a big house problem, it’s an affordable housing problem.”
He said Uxbridge is concentrating on encouraging “granny flats” and second units in homes.
Councillor Gary Ruona, who is championing Giacca’s offer, said Giacca will be in town later this month and asked members of council to meet with him while he’s here. Giacca will also be appearing on 105.5 HitsFM radio while he is here.
Also at Monday’s council meeting, a report by councillors Todd Snooks, Pam Beach and Gary Ruona on speed limits and traffic calming measures was tabled yet again for further study.
The report suggests lowering speed limits on all urban streets and bringing in traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, speed cushions and roundabouts. The councillors said their study followed numerous complaints from residents about speed levels on residential streets, (both within Uxbridge and in the hamlets of Uxbridge), speed levels and accidents on concession roads and pedestrian and cycling safety.
In another report, submitted by Uxbridge Historical Centre manager/curator Pat Neal, council heard that the Uxbridge Historical Centre received a grant of close to $40,000 in May to make the centre more accessible with the paving of pathways and adding several accessible parking spaces on the grounds.
Also, the Uxbridge-Scott Historical Society was awarded a $64,000 Trillium grant to help improve parking and provide a bus loop, add lighting to the site and install cameras, new wiring and new heat detectors.
Brock St. closing for three months in new year
by Roger Varley
Deputy Mayor Willie Popp announced at council Monday night that a portion of Brock Street West will be closed to through traffic for three months.
The closure, from Bascom Street to Toronto Street, will extend from Jan. 6 to the end of March to facilitate the construction of the Brock Street culvert. During that time, work crews will be excavating, installing shoring and putting the pre-cast culvert sections into place. The street will, however, be open to pedestrians. There will be no construction work between Dec, 20 and Jan. 6.
Popp said the towering drilling machine that has been used to install concrete pile walls along the culvert route will be leaving sometime this week. He urged residents to continue shopping downtown during the construction.
Township chooses new CAO
The Township of Uxbridge is pleased to announce that Kristi Honey will become the new CAO of the Township of Uxbridge effective Dec. 17, 2019.
According to a statement from the Township offices on Thursday, Nov. 28, Honey replaces Ingrid Svelnis, who has been the CAO since 2008, and who has worked at the Township in various capacities since 1985.
Honey, a resident of an adjacent municipality, is very familiar with the Township of Uxbridge and has participated in Uxbridge’s social, cultural, and recreational activities for over 30 years. She brings strong academic and senior-executive level experience to the role of CAO through her previous role as Chief Information Security Officer with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Director, Financial Information Management Services at the Region of Durham.
“It is a pleasure and honour to join a leading municipality to which my family and I feel very connected”, says Honey. “I look forward to serving the Township of Uxbridge as their new CAO, and the great things we will continue to accomplish together.”
A CAO hiring committee has been working since the spring to find the right replacement. With the help of an executive search firm, the Township received over 50 strong applicants for the position. A search committee, which included Mayor Barton and Councillors Garrod and Popp, shortlisted candidates. Their ultimate recommendation to hire Honey was unanimously adopted by Council.
“Our search committee has worked over many months,” said Barton. “We had a great pool of potential successors to choose from but I know our decision to choose Kristi Honey was the right one. She brings the right leadership credentials and both entrepreneurial and public sector experience. Importantly for us, she also brings an understanding of the many unique cultural and social aspects of the Township of Uxbridge. She demonstrated to us that she wants to be a part of guiding the Township of Uxbridge to a vibrant future without compromising the wonderful aspects of our community that make us unique. We know we have a new CAO who will work passionately for the betterment of our community. I and the rest of Council very much look forward to working with Kristi in her new role.”
Castool celebrates $3.5-million expansion
by Roger Varley
Representatives from three levels of government were on hand Tuesday to mark a $3.5-million expansion of Castool Tooling Systems’ plant in the industrial park just west of town.
Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O’Connell said the “significant” expansion of the plant is an important day for the community. Linda Lyons brought greetings from MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy, and Uxbridge was represented by Mayor Dave Barton and councillors Pam Beach, Bruce Garrod and Willie Popp. Barton noted that the economic impact of Castool on Uxbridge is important.
Brian Robbins, a senior officer with Exco Technologies, Castool’s parent company, said Castool is a Canadian success story which shows Canadians can compete on the world stage.
This is the third time Castool has expanded its plant since coming to Uxbridge in 2006, with the plant now covering 90,000 square feet. Employing 140 workers, Castool now has world-wide sales of $50 million a year. General manager Paul Robbins said the company hopes to reach $100 million in sales in the next few years.
Exco Technologies had its origins in the basement of Robbins’ parents home in the 1940s. Paul Robbins started Castool in Markham in 1984 with 11 employees. When the company moved to Uxbridge in 2006, it had 50 employees. Robbins said he lived in Uxbridge while the company was south of Highway 7 and, because Castool was running out of material handling space, he decided it would be easier to move the plant to Uxbridge. In order to persuade his employees it would be a good move, he treated them all to a picnic at the industrial site where the plant now sits. Robbins said only one of his employees balked at the move. The expansion does not, however, mean the company is hiring new workers.
Cosmos columnist long listed for top prize for Canadian non-fiction
Ted Barris, author, journalist and writer of The Barris Beat, which appears weekly in the Uxbridge Cosmos, has been placed on the long list of authors up for the RBC Taylor Prize.
Barris’ book Rush to Danger: Medics in the Line of Fire, which was only recently released, starts with his own father’s experience as a front-line medic in WWII, and explores the stoic perseverance and service of the men and women, from the US Civil War through to Iraq, to those wearing a Red Cross on their helmets or their sleeves, to those who don’t flee to safety but choose to rush to assist.
The RBC Taylor Prize pursuit of excellence in the ﬁeld of literary non-ﬁction. The Prize will be awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception. The Prize consists of $25,000 for the winner and $2,000 for each of the runners up.
Winners will be announced at a gala in Toronto in March, 2020.
The Uxbridge BIA is up to ‘snow good – and wants everyone to join in
The holiday shopping season has officially begun and the Uxbridge Business Improvement Area (BIA) wants to encourage Uxbridge residents to shop locally this year.
“We’re bringing back a favourite contest and giving everyone a chance to win simply by shopping local,” says BIA business facilitator Amy Stevenson. “This year shoppers could win $2,000 or $1,000 “Ux Bucks” that can be used at a favourite local business in 2020!”
Starting next Monday, December 2, for every $25 (pre-tax) spent at a participating BIA business, shoppers will receive a contest ballot. Once the ballots are filled out, they can be taken to an official ballot drop off location, where they’ll be entered into a draw. A full list of drop off locations will soon be available on uxbridgebia.com and on the BIA Facebook and Instagram pages. Completed ballots must be entered by close of business on Sunday, December 22.
On Christmas Eve, one winner will be drawn for the $2,000 prize, with another draw to come on New Year’s Eve for $1,000.
The holiday season is an excellent time to experience how easy it is to shop and stay local. It’s possible to find just about anything for gift-giving in Uxbridge.
“Local businesses are the heartbeat of our community, the pillars of our local economy and they embody the spirit of our little slice of the world,” exclaims Christina Curry, Uxbridge BIA board chair and owner of Keith’s Flowers and Gifts. Curry cited a recent study conducted via Ambia.net found that $100 spent locally at local independent retailers generated $45 of secondary investment in the community.
“My challenge to our community; keep it local, let your feet hit the streets, support one another and get to know your local merchants. We’re a fun bunch living our dreams!” laughs Curry.
Full “Ux Bucks’ contest details are available at uxbridgebia.com
Christmas in a basket – because Uxbridge Cares
by Lisha Van Nieuwenhove
In December 2017, the Cosmos featured a story on two women who had started “Uxbridge Cares.” At its inception, Uxbridge Cares was born out of Michelle Lee and Miranda Malisani (former owner of the Brock St. W. shop Eat It Forward) wanting to get good food to school children who were otherwise lacking. Since then, Uxbridge Cares has moved from filling five baskets with nourishing food to wanting to fill twice as many baskets with items for families in crises situations at holiday time.
“There is more need here in Uxbridge than people perceive,” says Lee. “There are a lot of people who are who are just making ends meet. One setback can set things right off. Uxbridge Cares is looking at families who are in the midst of a mess and trying to make sense of it all. We’d like to step in and say “We see you, we want to help.” Especially during the holidays – we know we can make it easier for them.”
Uxbridge Cares works closely with the administration and teachers at the three public schools – Quaker Village P.S., Joseph Gould P.S. and Uxbridge P.S. – to identify families that need help. Ten families are on the list to date. Each family will have a basket “assigned” to them, and there will be a list of needed items that are specific to what that particular family requires.
“We really want to give each family things that it needs, like gas cards, personal care items, that sort of thing. Instead of food, we’d really love to have gift cards so that issues like allergies or dietary restrictions can be handled privately and with dignity,” explains Lee. “Practical, thoughtful help is what these families are needing right now.”
Drop off locations are still being arranged, but four will ready to receive help starting next Monday, Dec. 2: Urban Pantry, the Coldwell Banker office on Brock St. W., H. BEE Architecture, and Uxbridge Family Dentistry. Each location will have a checklist of necessary items; these lists can also be found on Uxbridge Cares’ Facebook and Instagram accounts, and at thecosmos.ca
“It’s ok to say if you need help,” says Lee. “As a community it’s what we should be doing anyways.”
North Pole getting letters that may go unanswered
by Lisha Van Nieuwenhove
Canada Post is having no trouble getting letters to Santa Claus, but the national mail carrier is having trouble delivering letters from him.
Executives at the North Pole recently reached out to representatives from the Uxbridge main post office and informed them that they are receiving letters for Santa Claus that do not have return addresses on them.
“Canada Post is happy to deliver the letters to Santa,” said one representative, “but he can’t write back to children who haven’t put their return address on the either the envelope or the letter.”
Every year, all across the country, Canada Post delivers letters to Santa at his home at the North Pole, at no charge.
To write to Santa, simply address to:
And be sure to include your return address on either the envelope or your letter – or both!
‘Tis the season for annual Toy Drive
The snow has arrived, and with it, the annual community Christmas Toy Drive. The Township is allowing the old fire hall on Bascomb St. to be used as the sortation and distribution centre, and as in the past, the Toy Drive will support many local user groups, including local churches, the schools, the Salvation Army and the local food hamper committee, to name a few.
Visit the Toy Drive website to either request a donation or make a donation. The website is www.uxbridgetoydrive.com
There is always a need for donations for teenagers and infants. A full wish list has been posted on the Toy Drive website. Cash and gift cards are also welcome, as they can help fill any voids the Toy Drive may have.
Organizers would like to have all donations in by Dec. 22, in order to allow time for sorting and distribution in time for Christmas.
Drop points for the Toy Drive are BodyFit, Canadian Tire Uxbridge, McDonald’s, Zehrs and Bruins home games.