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2021 Year in Review 2/2

Attention Readers!

For our first two editions of the Orangeville Citi­zen in 2022, we're taking readers through all the highs and lows of 2021 for our annual Year in Review.

The first half of our 2021 Year in Review, which highlighted significant stories from Jan. 7 to June 24, was published last week in the Jan. 6 edition of the newspaper. This week we're publishing the second half of the 2021 Year in Review, from July 1 to Dec. 23.

Now, without any further ado, here's a look at the year that was!

July 1

In light of the unsettling reports of the mass unmarked graves, Mayor Sandy Brown put forward a notice of motion to light up the Town Hall orange instead of red and white from June 30 to July 2, which saw unanimous support during Council's Mon­day night meeting.

Alder Recreation Centre's façade will also be turned orange.

These measures could include community service, paying for the damage caused, issu­ing a public apology, or whatever the courts deem to be fair. In the event that the pro­gram isn't completed, the youth will then be charged criminally.

The Dufferin OPP treated this incident of mischief as a hate crime.

July 8

Under an orange lit Town Hall sat the Eagleheart Singers and Drummers, who sang traditional songs of the Mushkegowuk (James Bay Cree) people to a small crowd, which was uploaded to the Town's YouTube page for Canada Day.

July 15

In addition to the inside changes, the out­side signage for the Mill Street Mall is going to be switched over, rebranding it as the “Old Mill Hub”, with a grand opening set for September 1.

Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown noted the need for more walk-in clinics locally, as he said he's had several resi­dents reach out to him about losing their fam­ily doctor recently.

The terms of reference for the committee was amended to allow eight citizen repre­sentatives instead of six, which include: Anthony Carnovale, Christopher Sheehan, James Jackson, Louis Sapi, Margo Young, Michael Demczur, Nolan Bentley and Ter­rance Carter. From Council, Mayor Sandy Brown, Coun. Joe Andrews and Coun. Deb­bie Sherwood, are also part of the committee.

Grey County began offering weekend bus runs on the Hwy. 10 route, which goes between Dundalk, Shelburne and Oran­geville, this past weekend (July 10). The expansion to include weekend bus ser­vice is part of a pilot project launched by the Town of Shelburne and will run until December. The pilot project is funded through a realigning of $25,000 included in the 2021 budget for two bus shelters.

July 22

More than one in six community mem­bers living on Saugeen First Nation (SFN) have been infected with COVID-19 (123 of approximately 680) forcing the community into lockdown for more than a month and a half.

In an effort to support SFN, Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle (DCCRC) board chair, Debora Sipkema organized a donation drive that ran from July 5-16, collecting items that SFN was requesting, such as cleaning supplies, medicine, masks, non-perishable food, baby wipes, gift cards and diapers.

While the donation drive started off small, with a simple call to the community, Sip­kema told the Citizen she's amazed with the response. Through donations collected by various organizations, churches, businesses, and individuals, nearly $16,000 in cash as well as gift cards were brought to SFN last Friday (July 16), in addition to a full busload of supplies.

The province's police watchdog, which investigates incidents involving police where a serious injury or death has oc­curred, launched an investigation after a 54-year-old man holding family members hostage, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Dufferin OPP officers were investigat­ed for criminal negligence causing death. The issue was to whether there was lack of care in the how police conducted the operation that caused or contributed to the man's death.

Director of the SIU, Joseph Martino said in his view there was not.

Martino in the SIU report said there is nothing in the evidence to suggest offi­cers performed in anyway other than in concern for the safety and lives of those inside the house. He noted how officers, over the course of ten hours, wisely set up a perimeter outside the home to ensure others in the vicinity were not placed in danger.

July 29

In partnership with Theatre Orangeville, Celebrate Your Awesome (CYA) recently filmed a one-of-a-kind video for its virtual event, featuring all of the drag queens and musical acts that attendees of the group's in-person celebrations had come to enjoy in 2018 and 2019. The film is set for release on August 7 at 7 p.m.

The protest was led by federal Green Party candidate for Dufferin–Caledon Jenni Le Forestier, who was instrumental in bring­ing about the federal environmental assess­ment that's currently ongoing for the 413, as well as Laura Campbell, who's the provincial Green Party Candidate for the local riding.

In all, about 30 people showed up to the Orangeville protest to voice their opposition to Highway 413 (GTA West Corridor), shar­ing concerns about the route paving over farmland, forests, wetlands and a portion of the Greenbelt.

The bill, which was enacted by the prov­ince, limits compensation increases for public sector workers to one per cent per year, which is less than one third of the current rate of inflation. Bill 124 also bars healthcare workers from negotiating for much needed mental health supports, fol­lowing a hectic 16 months of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are nearly 70,000 hospital workers across Ontario currently negotiating a new provincial contract.

August 5

The Legendary Sikh Riders, which is a motorcycle group based out of B.C., have been on a cross-Canada ride, starting in Victoria, B.C. and ending in Newfoundland, since mid-July to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation Canada.

The July 30 event in Mono managed to raise $5,100 for the Ontario Chapter of the foundation and that money will directly sup­port granting the wishes of children who are terminally ill across the province.

To address the immediate needs of the hospital, paramedics were brought in to help with patients in the Emergency Room (ER) and the COVID-19 Assessment Centre was closed to redeploy staff to other areas of the hospital. RPNs, ward clerks, registration staff, and screener/runner staff were also redeployed.

Randy Narine, who operates Choices Youth Shelter in Orangeville and is a volun­teer firefighter for the Shelburne Fire Depart­ment, received the COVID-19 Local Commu­nity Hero Award from Dufferin–Caledon MP Kyle Seeback.

A large part of why he received the award is for the programs he runs for at-risk or less fortunate youth and a program he started during the pandemic, which was self-funded, that provides financial assistance to families impacted by job losses due to COVID-19.

August 12

Officials from the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government announced the start of construction for a broadband expansion, in East Garafraxa on Aug. 6.

The expansion project comes after both the federal and provincial government com­mitted more the $470,000 to fund broadband projects, led by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT), in the communi­ties of Garafraxa Woods as well as Marsville, Orton, Prices Corner and Craigsholme.

August 19

Choices Youth Shelter chair Randy Narine has been working on a solution for men over the past two years, and last Mon­day (August 9) the organization was able to officially open the doors of Orangeville's first ever men's shelter, housing up to six men at a time.

Council unanimously ap­proved plans for the building during their meeting last Monday (August 9), which is being built on 60-62 Broadway (corner of Broadway and Wellington), and will feature 58 two-bedroom residential units as well as close to 600 sq. metres of retail space.

Wagner was up against another unde­feated opponent – Jeffrey Torres – who hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and entered the ring with a 7-0 record. He entered the ring as a welterweight, weighing in at 147 lbs, for his first out of country fight.

August 26

The local group, made up of a number of Dufferin and Caledon based organizations, announced the launch of the anti-stigma cam­paign called “People who use drugs are real people: Stop the blame. Stop the shame. Stop the stigma”, on Aug. 19.

The campaign focuses on the drug-related stigma that individuals who use drugs may experience as well as educates the community on the impact of drug use stereotypes.

Staff and board members of Choices Youth Shelter alongside local politicians, and emer­gency service workers gathered outside of the local youth shelter, located at 59 Town­line, last Friday (Aug. 20) to mark the monu­mental day.

The mural project takes Grand Valley's slogan, “Nature's Playground” and brings it to life, with silhouettes of locally found ani­mals, such as a buck, owl, heron, and geese,

The third doses of the COVID-19 vac­cines was made available at the local health unit as of Monday (Aug. 23), and will be provided to those in eligible pop­ulations, including transplant recipients, patients with hematological cancers, recipients of an anti-CD20 agent, and res­idents living in high risk congregate set­tings.

Two complaints spurred the investi­gation, one regarding Mayor Brown's posts on social media and the other regarding a letter announcing his resignation from the Town's police services board.

September 2

Students will return-to-school as of Sept. 7, and the UGDSB has released a guide as of Aug. 20 for families as they enter the 2021/22 school year.

A total of 1,500 people came through the event each day, helping to raise $5,000 for Tuff Therapeutic Riding Foundation in Mono, which provides therapeutic riding lessons to at-risk youth. Dufferin Search and Rescue from Headwaters also raised $2,200.

Hanson appeared in Orangeville court virtually on Monday (Aug. 30), where Justice Giselle Miller confirmed the venue location. A date for the trial has not yet been determined, but is expected to take place this fall.

The Governor General signed off on her senate appointment in late July, a few days after Sorenson received a phone call from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying it was his privilege to ask her to sit on the Canadian Senate to represent Alberta, where she cur­rently lives.

Sept. 9

Bravery Park, which had its official grand opening ceremony last Friday (Sept. 3), was inspired by the life and service of Cpl. Mat­thew McCully, who served as a member of Canada's elite Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team, responsible for training the Afghan National forces.

Cpl. McCully stepped on an improvised explosive device, while conducting a joint Afghan-Canadian foot patrol west of Kanda­har, on May 25, 2007. He passed away not only trying to protect his country, but train­ing Afghan soldiers to protect their own.

Following the death of Cpl. McCully, his mother, Valerie McGrady and sister, Shan­non McGrady, used their grief as fuel for a vision of creating a space to honour Cana­dian soldiers – Bravery Park.

Artists came out to speak about their work in the Elspeth Art Gallery and there was a free balloon room for kids to enjoy.

The Old Mill Hub, which has been nomi­nated for Orangeville's 2021 Arts and Culture Award, looks much different now following the rebrand. There's now black signage in front of it to boost visibility outside and hall­ways filled with art inside, bringing art fans and shoppers alike into the building.

Following deliberations, Council decided to appoint a replacement as opposed to calling a by-election, noting there will be a Municipal Election in roughly one year.

Council voted unanimously to appoint Deputy Mayor Creelman as Mayor for the remainder of the current term and appointed Councillor Fred Nix to the Deputy Mayor's seat.

The province announced last Wednesday (Sept. 1) that as of Sept. 22 Ontarians will need to show proof of full vaccination (two doses plus 14 days), and photo identification to access a number of non-essential busi­nesses and restaurants.

Premier Doug Ford, who previously said the vaccine passport would create a “split society”, said at the conference on Sept. 1 that the certificate is necessary to avoid further lockdowns and the spread of the COVID-19 virus, as the province continues to face the delta variant and a fourth wave.

Sept. 16

Hanson appeared in Orangeville court via Zoom briefly on Monday (Sept. 13), where a date for the start of her trial was expected to be determined. While the trial was expected to take place in Kitchener this fall, Justice Giselle Miller informed the court there were no longer dates available.

Dufferin County Council, during their meet­ing last Thursday (Sept. 9) voted in favour of implementing a vaccination policy, which will go into effect on Nov. 1.

The first event back was held last Wednes­day (Sept. 8) and had around 100 partici­pants, showing off their classic cars.

Sept. 23

Seeback won with 46.1 per cent of the vote (30,430), while Liberal candidate Lisa Post saw 32.5 per cent (21,464), followed by NDP candidate Samantha Sanchez with 10.1 per cent (6,668), and Anthony Zambito at 6.8 per cent (4,469).

When looking at the overall result, Trudeau is projected to maintain a minority govern­ment with 158 seats, while the Conservatives hold 119, Bloc Quebecois holds 32, NDP hold 25 and Greens hold two, according to prelim­inary results.

A total of 170 seats are needed to form a majority government.

Sept. 30

During Orangeville Council's Monday (Sept. 27) meeting, a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy was approved 6-1, which will force members of Council, boards, and committees to disclose their vaccination sta­tus by Oct. 15.

Board and committee members who do not receive the vaccine by Nov. 30 will be removed for non-compliance.

The food bank relocated to a new building on 3 Commerce Road last July and officially opened their kitchen last week, which is now being operated by B Social under a yearlong pilot project.

Over 40 vehicles participated and event organizer, Patti Thomas, who's the mother of this year's local Autism Speaks ambassador Emma Thomas, said she was thrilled with the turnout.

Oct. 7

A candlelight vigil walk was held last Thursday (Sept. 30) going from the entrance of the Alder Recreation Centre to the Medi­cine Wheel Garden, where a smudging cer­emony took place and Elder Karen Vanden­berg shared a traditional prayer regarding the Seven Grandfather Teachings.

A little over 30 people gathered at the Duf­ferin County Courthouse before marching to Town Hall for the 2nd Annual MMIWG Walk in Orangeville.

Following lengthy discussions and debate amongst councillors at their regular Council meeting on Sept. 27, the decision to approve funding was deferred to a Public Meeting held on Oct. 4. At that time Choices Youth Shelter, who's been operating a men's shelter in Oran­geville since late August, presented their busi­ness plan.

Prior to and following the presentation, councillors said that the issue of men's home­lessness should be covered by the County of Dufferin, not the municipality. Mayor Brown's motion with respect to the emergency funding was amended to reflect this and passed unanimously, with the key change being that the funding would come from Dufferin County instead of Orangeville.

Oct. 14

The shelter officially opened its doors on Aug. 9 through Choices Youth Shelter (59 Townline), thanks to a private donation of $20,000 to get it up and running.

However, Choices was unsuccessful in obtaining additional funding to keep it afloat, after requesting a little over $165,000 in emergency funds from the Town to get them through the winter.

The Town said the funding should come from the County of Dufferin.

Oct. 21

Hanson's new lawyer, Hal Mattson, made a brief appearance in court on Oct. 13 on Hanson's behalf. During the appearance, Mattson said they are planning to enter a guilty plea.

A date to hear Hanson's plea and the agreed statement of facts has been sched­uled for Nov. 23.

During their meeting on Oct. 14, Warden Darren White brought forward concerns with the drafted policy council directed staff to proceed with following a special meeting on Oct. 7.

Individuals who do not comply with the vaccination policy will be subject to disci­plinary action up to and including termina­tion in accordance with applicable legisla­tion, collective agreements, and Town of Orangeville policies, the Town shared in a press release.

The local hospital issued a press release on Tuesday (Oct. 20) informing the public of their plans to implement the vaccina­tion policy for visitors later this fall join­ing other hospitals in the Central Region.

Oct. 28

Randy Narine, chair of Choices, notes that there's several different funding models for the service they're trying to provide, all of which comes from the federal or provin­cial government and is then administered through the County of Dufferin.

He says in discussions with County staff, who oversee homelessness and housing ser­vices, there's a strong will to see a homeless shelter for men reopen in Orangeville, serving all of Dufferin.

In a press release, the province said over the next six months they plan to lift “all remaining public health and workplace safety measure” including the requirement for proof of vaccination and wearing face coverings indoors.

Nov. 4

Orangeville District Secondary School (ODSS) Grade 12 students, Trinity Allen and Victoria Swanson developed the library through the Believe Leadership Club, which is an after-school program, that is aimed at utilizing students' passions to make a posi­tive change in the world.

Nov. 11

Blair Thomson of Believe In, a design company, has an ongoing relationship with Canada Post for stamp design, and was commissioned to come up with some concepts for the centennial stamp, as were other graphic designers, and his came out on top.

Nov. 18

Nov. 25

Hanson appeared in Orangeville court virtually on Tuesday (Nov. 23), alongside her lawyer, Hal Mattson to enter her plea.

Hanson was charged in relation to her son's death after her vehicle was pulled into the Grand River on the early morning hours of Feb. 21, 2018, during a period of heavy flooding which saw river water rise up onto the road. Both Hanson and Kaden escaped the vehicle, but Kaden was pulled out of his mother's arms. His body was later recovered in Belwood Lake on April 21, two months to the day of the incident.

Choices Youth Shelter operated a shelter for homeless men from August to mid-October of this year in Orangeville, but had to close down due to a lack of funding.

Since its opening, which was made possible through a one-time anonymous donation, Choices chair Randy Narine has been working to secure long-term funding to get the men's shelter back up and running, and says he has verbally secured funding through Dufferin County.

Now, an appropriate location must be purchased or leased, which has been challenging with Orangeville's hot real estate market.

The Orangeville Christmas Market saw 5,000 people through the door to shop around the 100 vendors located inside, and the 48 vendors located outside, selling a variety of products, with everything from flower arrangements and knitting to baked goods.

Dec. 2

On Friday (Nov. 26) the local hospital released an updated notice on their website noting their system had been subjected to “unauthorized access” resulting in a number of spam emails.

The net tax levy currently sits at 0.83 per cent, which represents a $310,000 shortfall, made up through the close to one per cent property tax increase being proposed. The 0.83 per cent figure is much less than the orig­inally anticipated 2.9 per cent increase.

Back in July of this year, when Council originally voted 7-0 to replace the leisure and lap pool's vinyl liners with stainless steel, the project's estimated cost was $4.33 million largely due to rising costs of steel.

Now the project's price tag has risen to roughly $6.1 million, since structural defects have been uncovered as the pool replace­ment construction was being carried out.

The local charitable organization announced on Nov. 26 that their invest funds had exceeded $1.25 million, mean­ing up to $30,000 will be available for local charities in 2022 and rising to approxi­mately $50,000 a year beginning in 2023.

Dec. 9

The École Polytechnique, also known as the Montreal Massacres, took place on Dec. 6, 1989 when lone gunman, Marc Lepine, separated the men from the women students inside the engineering school before opening fire; killing 14 women and injuring others.

A press conference was held for the announcement of the chargers on Tuesday (Dec. 7) behind the local courthouse, where speeches were shared by dignitaries and a representative of Plug'n Drive, which installed the 24 chargers locally.

Janis Peel organized an outdoor Christmas urn/container sale through the month of November, in support of the G. Magnotta Foundation, which runs a research lab for Lyme disease at Guelph University, in memory of Gabe Magnotta who passed away from the disease in 2009.

While Peel initially hoped to raise $5,000 for the foundation, she was astounded by the level of support she saw from the community, more than tripling her original goal, with $16,195 raised.

 Dec. 16

The property, located at 236 First Street, was purchased by Services and Housing in the Province (SHIP) in mid-March of this year and it was operated until November as transitional housing to address homelessness.

Now the property is being converted by SHIP into permanent affordable supportive housing, with studio and two-bedroom apartments to accommodate individuals and families with low to moderate incomes, which is meant to address a shortage in Orangeville.

Mills was elected to the position, which he will hold for the 2022 term, during a county council meeting last Thursday (Dec. 9). He is taking over the role from Melanchthon Mayor Darren White, who chose not the seek re-election after holding the position for three years.

In a press release last Friday (Dec. 10), the government said they would be delaying the lifting of proof of vaccination requirement beyond Jan. 17. As well, effective Jan. 4, Ontario will be requiring the use of their enhanced vaccine certif­icate with QR Code and the Verify Ontario app in settings where proof of vaccination is required.

Dec. 23

Using money fundraised by the 39 branches of the Soup Sisters across Canada, soup has been mass produced in a factory setting, before being frozen and shipped off to the many women's shelters Soup Sis­ters was supporting prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as Family Transition Place (FTP).

The group hopes to resume their in-person events in 2022, when it is safe to do so.

Scrafield's recently published book, titled “Katie and Her Dinosaur”, takes read­ers through the scientific journey of a girl named Katie, who, with the help of a tal­ented scientist, clones a prehistoric dino­saur.

The notice was announced by WDG Public Health last Thursday (Dec. 16) and went into effect as of Monday (Dec. 20).



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