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2017 Year in Review: June

June 1

• If the town's chief administrative officer has his way, Orangeville could soon be policed by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Having had months to analyze and break down the police costing proposals put forth by both the Orangeville Police Service (OPS) and the OPP,  Ed Brennan this week recommended Council side with the potential savings and enter into a long-term contract  with the OPP.

Such a move would close the book on a storied 153-year history of policing in the community but, while he admitted his verdict in no way reflected the quality of service currently provided by the OPS, Mr. Brennan suggested there should be no room for sentiment in the decision-making process.

He found the potential $4.3 million in annual savings the municipality could potentially realize from 2021 onwards was just too big a number to ignore.

• The Orangeville Fire Department is in need of a new home, says Fire Chief Ron Morden, who reminded Town Council anew on Monday that the municipal unit had outgrown its 46-year-old facility on Dawson Road.

In presenting his Fire Department Business Plan to councillors, Chief Morden highlighted a number of firefighter staffing and station needs he hopes to see the municipality tackle over the next few years. As well as potentially funding a brand new fire hall, Chief Morden asked that council once again consider adding to its full-time firefighting core in an attempt to bring the local department up to industry standards.

While the department currently has 12 full-time firefighters – split into two platoons of six – on duty from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, it relies on its 36 volunteer firefighters for emergencies between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The average response time to calls during the day is approximately 4.5 minutes, while evening response times stretch close to the 13-minute mark. Chief Morden asked that Council consider hiring eight new full-time firefighters to help bridge that gap.

• Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's announced plan to raise the province's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019 has led to the Dufferin Board of Trade (DBOT) speaking out on the subject.

Nick Lumia, DBOT's communications and research coordinator, says they are disappointed with the government's decision go ahead with these reforms without doing an economic impact analysis, something DBOT vocally called upon.

Ontario will be the second province to increase the minimum wage to $15, following Alberta. The increase will be phased in over the next 18 months, rising to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018, then to $15 an hour the following January. The current minimum wage is $11.40 an hour.

June 8

• One of the continent's fastest-growing frozen food manufacturers will soon call Orangeville home, with municipal staff last week confirming the Town had secured a deal with Florentina Foods Ltd.

The North York-based company, which specializes in processing frozen entrees and other food products for several large-scale retail and food service clients throughout North America, has purchased 4.076 acres of Town-owned land at the northwest corner of C Line and Centennial Road. It plans to build a 55,000 to 70,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility there and employ approximately 60 people.

Founded in 1997, Florentina Foods has established itself as one of the continental food industry's leading companies in the private label market place in recent years. Registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the company will construct the manufacturing facility in Orangeville to meet industry standards, enabling them to export products to diverse clientele worldwide.

• Dufferin-Caledon is not reaching its full potential, says Bob Gordanier, who was unveiled as the riding's Liberal candidate for next year's provincial election during a ceremony at Caledon Estates Banquet Hall Monday (June 5).

A man who possesses “great integrity and a passion for people,” according to Dufferin-Caledon Provincial Liberal Association President Joe McReynolds, Mr. Gordanier brings a rich history of leadership and community service with him to the role. He spent three years at Port Credit Police Department and a year with Peel Regional Police before serving the Brampton Fire Department for 32 years.

Mr. Gordanier is also a past president of the Beef Farmers of Ontario, a former executive member of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and has also served on the boards of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency, the Dufferin Cattleman's Association, Feeder Financing, the Agricultural Adaptation Council, and the Beef Cattle Research Committee.

While he cited the need for investment in local health care, transportation and infrastructure, education and agriculture, as well as recognizing the importance of supporting the senior community, the candidate said he will be listening to the public and pushing “the people's platform” throughout the majority of his campaign.

June 15

• The vote is officially in. The Orangeville Police Service is here to stay.

Following months of council deliberations, public input, financial reports and everything else in between, Orangeville Council by a 4-3 vote Monday evening decided not to accept an Ontario Provincial Police costing proposal in favour of maintaining its local community police force.

Mayor Jeremy Williams, Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock and Councillors Nick Garisto and Gail Campbell voted against the takeover, while Councillors Scott Wilson, Sylvia Bradley and Don Kidd supported it, because of the promised long-term savings for taxpayers.

It is an issue that has both divided a community and served to intensify already fractious relationships among Orangeville's elected officials, but at least for the time being, it is one that has been put to bed with Council offering a reassuring vote of confidence to Police Chief Wayne Kalinski and the rest of the Orangeville Police Service (OPS).

Speaking to the Citizen following the heavily anticipated vote, Chief Kalinski said he was thankful for all of those in the community who have so strongly supported the local police force in recent months, stating he was now looking forward to moving on and putting the past few months behind him.

“I am very happy with our staff and would like to go on record to thank all of the citizens for everything they've done in order to help us continue to provide their police service for their town. Also, I would like to commend Council for making the decision our citizens wanted,” Chief Kalinski said. “The people of Orangeville were very much behind us on this issue.”

• Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones criticized the Liberal government for its decision to up minimum wage, stating the 32 percent increase by 2019 was simply too large for the business sector to swallow over a relatively short 180month period.

“This is an arbitrary increase that costs government next to nothing and puts all of the burden on our job creators. That concerns me,” Ms. Jones told the Citizen. “It's incredibly hard not to be cynical at this point. A 32 percent increase over two years is a huge increase. Not to be flippant, but it mirrors the type of thing we're seeing on the hydro side… It will be a historic highest (increase) that anyone has ever tried to carry out in (an 18-month) time frame.”

Jones contends the announcement was nothing more than a ploy from the Liberals hoping to win back public support ahead of next year's provincial election.

• The Orangeville Police Service (OPS) paired up with several community partners to present a special public information session on opioid drug overdoses on Tuesday (June 13), with Scott Davis, the force's communications officer advising that the “epidemic” that has hit many urban centres across the continent has arrived in Orangeville.

Opioids are synthetic drugs that interact with receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain, often used and prescribed by doctors as pain relievers for numerous ailments. Alongside legalized prescription drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine, other drugs such as fentanyl and heroin also fall within the opioid spectrum.

While the local police force is leading the charge against this latest epidemic to hit the region, Cst. Davis fears its efforts will be fruitless unless more people in the community step up and realize this is a problem we are currently experiencing right here at home.

“People believe that Orangeville is immune from these type of things and that's a sad way to think about things in my opinion. Until more people, not only in our community but in other communities too, step up and live up to the reality of the situation we're facing, I don't think we're fully going to see a change – not until more people take this seriously and realize how big an issue this is.”

June 22

• An Orangeville District Secondary School student is recovering from multiple injuries after she was struck by a vehicle in the side parking lot of the school at about noon Tuesday (June 20).

• For the first time in its 17-year history, the Dr. David Scott Award has gone to a husband-and-wife team of Headwaters Health Care Centre doctors.

The award to Drs. Stephen and Stephanie Milone was made Tuesday at the hospital board's annual general meeting (AGM).

Dr. Stephen Milone works as an anesthetist, and Dr. Stephanie as an Emergency physician. Residents of East Garafraxa, both have been practicing medicine at Headwaters Health Care Centre for over a decade, and are active and highly visible members of the community.

• A group of 50 budding martial artists and instructors came together to throw some kicks for cash this month in an effort to raise funds for Dufferin Child and Family Services.

Kushindokai Karate and Fitness raked in $5,008.75 at its fourth annual Kick-a-Thon fundraiser, where members of the local dojo performed a total of 94,494 kicks over a two-hour period on June 10. Scotiabank added an extra $5,000 to the pool, allowing the school's owner and head instructor Sensei Michael Fisher to present a cheque for $10,008.75 to DCAFS Executive Director Jennifer Moore last Friday (June 16).

Launched in 2014, the event has raised in the region of $25,000 for local charities and non-profit organizations.

• The Orangeville Junior B Northmen have clinched the West Division title of the Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League and ended the regular season with a win over the Owen Sound North Stars on Monday (June 19) night.

With a four point lead over the second place Elora Mohawks going into Monday's game, the Northmen had already claimed the Division title, but the win put the cap on a successful season that saw the Orangeville team take an early lead and stay on top.

June 29

• In what has been described as a “100-year flood” by Orangeville's mayor, dozens of local residents have been left reeling after heavy rain on Thursday and Friday of last week left several areas under water.

While rain has not been in short supply in Dufferin County this spring and summer, a powerful thunderstorm ripping through the community last week served as a timely, yet costly reminder of the damage and destruction Mother Nature can cause.

In Orangeville, five streets were closed for long periods Friday as the municipality's drainage system struggled to keep up with the torrential rain. According to the Weather Network, Orangeville saw 128 millimetres of rain overnight.

• Almost 100-years of teaching experience will walk through the doors of St. Andrew Elementary School in Orangeville for the last time on Friday (June 30) as three longtime members of staff prepare to hang up their marker pens for good.

Principal Dan LaCute, and teachers Gail Ditchburn and Miriam VanLeeuwen are calling time on their careers at the end of the current school year after several decades of teaching for Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

• One local merchant is happy to see common sense prevail after Town Council dealt with a dispute between his store and the municipality's bylaw office.

Shayne MacDonald, owner of The Altered Native on Broadway, thought it would be a good idea to inject a little bit of life into the downtown core by placing a piano on the sidewalk in front of his store. While dozens of locals have jumped at the chance to showcase their skills in public over the past few weeks, the Town's bylaw enforcers were not impressed when they learned the piano was placed there without a permit.

Responding to a complaint by an anonymous member of the public, bylaw officer Carrie Cunningham wrote Mr. MacDonald notifying him that he faced a fine of up to $5,000 if he did not remove the piano by June 23.

At council on Monday night (June 26), Mayor Williams spoke of the positivity the piano brought to Broadway, stating it was a “truly wonderful thing”. Allison Scheel of the Orangeville Business Improvement Area

said she would like to see the piano remain in its current location – chained to an old water fountain outside The Altered Native – provided it is properly cared for. Eventually, Council voted in favour of the request.

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