2018 Year in Review – July

January 7, 2019   ·   0 Comments

July 5

• “These are early days,” cautioned Ontario’s new minister of tourism, culture and sport, Sylvia Jones. The Dufferin-Caledon MPP, who won her riding for the fourth consecutive time in the recent provincial election, now finds herself a cabinet minister. She is one of 21 ministers in Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet; an honour and a sign of appreciation from the premier for being an active, engaged member of the opposition for more than 10 years.

As for her plans as a minister, Jones asked for a little time.

“As you can imagine, it’s very early days. I’m into my second day of briefings and meetings and meeting the ministerial staff and I’ve been very impressed with their knowledge and desire, frankly, to make sure that the service we’re providing here makes Ontario a stronger and better place to be.”

The call to cabinet might have been unexpected but appreciated all the same.

“I’m always pleasantly surprised. You work first and foremost to represent the views of your constituents and my riding and by doing that I think I showed Premier Ford that I was willing to work and be part of his team and I’m just thrilled to be chosen to serve.

• More than 150 residents descended upon Island Lake Conservation Area on June 30 to support the third-annual Sikh Community Day Event in Orangeville.

Presented by the Orangeville Sikh Society, the event featured speeches from various local Sikh business owners and organizations, each informing those in attendance about the uniqueness of the Sikh religion.

Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world. It believes in there being one creator, an “infinite force all around us that is the source of everything” according to one local speaker. The event has been organized by Narinder Singh for each of its three years in town and he spoke to the Citizen over the weekend to discuss why this event is so important for the community.

“Our intention, through offering Sikh Community Day Event, is to educate all of our friends in the community about Sikhism. Sikh Community Day Event strives to bring together the Dufferin County and surrounding areas’ community together to celebrate our culture, religion and ethnic backgrounds” Mr. Singh said. “Only when we come together to understand each other is when unity breeds.”

He added, “Our first event was a learning exercise, but last year we saw a little more people come out and this year is a huge success. I am very happy with how the day went.”

• Several dignitaries were on hand June 22 as Humber College and the Town of Orangeville officially announced a six-year extension of their partnership at the Alder Recreation Centre. 

As a part of the new agreement, first outlined last January by campus director Joe Andrews, Humber College will provide the Town with $150,000 to expand operations at the Alder complex. That money will be used to construct a new health and lifestyle centre that will increase activities for both Humber students and community residents.

Humber College currently offers six programs at its Orangeville campus, specializing in design foundation, early childhood education, police foundations and social service worker modules. Since 2007, the school has seen more than 1,150 students graduate from its programs, with 52 percent achieving honours.

This new agreement with the Town will see the institution remain in Orangeville until at least the summer of 2024.

July 12

• After 12 years and three consecutive terms on Orangeville Council, Sylvia Bradley announced in early July that she “doesn’t have the fight” for a fourth run for public office.

The news came as something of a shock to some members of the community who felt Ms. Bradley was gearing up for a mayoral run this time around. While she admits the thought had crossed her mind, Sylvia told the Citizen on Tuesday the past four years had weighed heavily on her, with the current toxic atmosphere at Town Hall playing a big part in her decision to walk away. 

• The Orangeville-Brampton Railway is back on track – both literally and figuratively – since the railway acquired a new operator for the 55 km line that runs from Orangeville to Mississauga.

The Trillium Railway Co. Ltd. has begun operation on the line.

The line, the southern portion of CP Rail’s once-busy Toronto-Owen Sound service, has been owned by the Orangeville Railway Development Corporation since 2000. The ORDC does not operate trains.

Trillium Railway took over after deciding it was a good fit for the Welland-based company that also operates a short line rail system in the Niagara Region that provides freight service from St. Catharines to Port Colborne.

• The recent arrival of 22 new, modern bed frames and mattresses had Headwaters Health Care Centre staff feeling like it was Christmas in July. The new equipment is part of the hospital’s 10-year bed replacement plan.

Thanks to generous community donations, Headwaters patients will benefit from these new beds, which offer a supportive and therapeutic surface to optimize healing. The mattresses are designed to reduce the incidence of pressure injuries, which are recognized internationally as an ongoing issue for patients confined to their bed. 

July 19

• Planned renovation of Orangeville’s council chambers will go ahead this fall, even though the project has come in almost $140,000 over budget. 

Council signed off on the upgrades in a 4-3 vote on Monday (July 16) in a move aimed at modernizing the aging space in Town Hall. This will mark the first major renovation of the chambers in more than 25 years.

The project was initially approved during budget deliberations last November, with Council setting aside $180,000 to complete the work. That money, the Town’s Director of Parks and Recreation Ray Osmond estimated, would be enough to completely overhaul the room, replacing the two support beams that sit in the middle of the space, investing in new desks for Council and staff and completely replacing the room’s audio system. All told, Council was now looking at a $316,980 expense, which includes a 10 percent contingency, to complete the job.

• Hot on the heels of Orangeville Council’s decision to discourage the use of plastic straws, a local activist group is hoping to take things one step further by prohibiting area businesses from distributing plastic bags.

Nancy Urekar has been a member of Climate Change Action Dufferin-Caledon (CCADC) since its inception in 2016. The group, she says, exists so as to accept responsibility for living conditions of future generations and to take action to mitigate climate change. No small feat, but one she and a collection of like-minded local residents intend to tackle with grit and fervor. 

The group’s mission brought them to Orangeville Council on Monday night (July 16). There, Ms. Urekar and fellow CCADC member Tom Purdue implored the community’s elected representatives to take a stand for the environment.

After some discussion amongst council, it was decided the issue would be passed along to the Orangeville Sustainability Action Team (OSAT) for further consideration. 

July 26

• One of Orangeville’s worst-kept secrets is finally out in the open, with  Mayor Jeremy Williams having filed his papers seeking re-election in October’s municipal election.

Coming to the end of his inaugural four-year term in the town’s big seat, Mayor Williams noted it was “an easy decision” to put his name forth for consideration. In 2014, he defeated incumbent Rob Adams following a bitter campaign. With two competitors this time around – local realtor Sandy Brown and behavioural therapist Darrin Davidson – it’s shaping up to be an interesting couple of months before the Oct. 22 vote. 

• Darrin Davidson wants to make a difference in Orangeville.

The local behavioural therapist confirmed this week that he had succeeded in overturning a ruling that he could not run in October’s municipal election. As such, he now plans to submit his paperwork ahead of tomorrow’s 2 p.m. deadline to make Orangeville’s mayoral contest a three-horse race.

A big personality with some big ideas, Mr. Davidson is hoping his third run for political office is a successful one. He ran for a position on council in both 2010 and 2014, missing out on a seat on both occasions. Having taken the past four years to dust himself down, Darrin says it’s the encouragement he’s received from local residents that has made him step up and attempt another run for municipal office. Now, he just hopes the rest of the community buys in.

• is coming to Caledon.

Amazon announced Wednesday plans for a new fulfillment centre in the Town of Caledon. The 1-million square-foot facility will create more than 800 full-time jobs with comprehensive benefits and join Amazon’s network of existing Ontario sites in Brampton, Mississauga, Milton and a recently announced facility in Ottawa. This will be Amazon’s sixth fulfillment centre in Ontario, where it currently employs more than 2,000 full-time associates, and the ninth facility in Canada.

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