Province invests big in county services

By Cecilia Nasmith

Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini dropped into the Northumberland County building Wednesday to announce that more than $5-million will be invested in services provided throughout Northumberland County.

This breaks down to $4,958,960 as a one-time investment to streamline and improve the efficiency of small and rural municipalities and $1,809,026 as part of the new Community Housing Renewal Strategy to increase access to safe, affordable housing.

In the case of the larger amount, Piccini said, support in finding ways to improve service delivery and efficiency is being extended to 405 small and rural Ontario municipalities.

Larger municipalities have the tax base and other resources to find efficiencies more easily than smaller municipalities, he said. This grant helps even the playing field.

It is also a discretionary grant to be spent according to the priorities identified within each municipality. This might mean anything from the development of shared-service agreements and IT solutions to capital investments.

The funding breaks down to $725,000 for the County of Northumberland, $617,084 for the Township of Hamilton, $576,742 for the Township of Alnwick-Haldimand, $564,114 for the Township of Cramahe, and $619,005 apiece for the Town of Cobourg and the municipalities of Port Hope, Brighton and Trent Hills.

This amounts to a big boost to municipalities that strive to deliver value to residents, Warden John Logel said, and reinforces the county's commitment to efficiency and continuous improvement.

Logel also liked the flexibility and discretionary element that he said will result in targeted enhancements that can deliver the greatest value to the taxpayer.

“The funding announcement today will create new opportunities for all of us to work together to create a strong and vibrant Northumberland.”

The housing grant also breaks down further - $32,100 for investment in affordable housing, $1,054,654 through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative, $697,000 under the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative and $24,672 from the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative.

“We know, in this community, we need affordable housing,” Piccini said.

“We need to increase the housing supply, and the county is an important partner in making housing affordable for the next generation, but also affordable for those who need it most.”

Even apart from funding, Piccini shared a list of ways the province's new Community Housing Renewal Strategy is improving the community-housing picture across the province.

  • It removes existing penalties for working more hours or attending school to encourage tenants to seek employment and educational opportunies.

  • It makes rent more predictable by simplifying rent calculations.

  • It helps would-be tenants on a waiting list prioritize their choices, with service managers given additional flexibility to make exceptions and allow for extenuating circumstances.

  • It protects tenants who receive child-support payments by ensuring these do not affect their rent.

  • It makes housing available for those most truly in need by requiring and asset test.

  • It makes housing safer by giving housing providers the means to turn away tenants who have been evicted for criminal activity.

Logel expressed confidence the new funding will sustain and grow community housing - “quality affordable housing that is the foundation of good health, prosperity and quality of life.

“Northumberland does continue to contend with the realities of a complex urbal/rural environment – rising housing prices and an extremely low vacancy rate,” Logel continued.

“This is why the county is focused on a variety of programs to address the needs across the housing continuum. The funding announcement today will reinforce these efforts to ensure Northumberland residents have access to safe, affordable housing.”

New Horizons funding offers even more support for seniors' programming

By Cecilia Nasmith

Add $25,000 worth of New Horizons for Seniors Program funding coming to Northumberland, with Wednesday's announcement by Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd of support for the new Gardening For Seniors programming at the Cobourg Public Library.

On behalf of the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors, Rudd also announced more than $90,000 in New Horizons funding last week for four seniors' projects in Brighton, Bewdley, Alderville and Cobourg.

The funding announced this week will assist with the purchase and construction of several pollinator and vegetable gardens in order to promote volunteerism among seniors and other members of the community, Rudd's press release said.

The Government of Canada makes the New Horizons program available for initiatives that help seniors remain active in their communities and foster engagement and inclusion as a means of sharing their knowledge and skills.

Cobourg continues the Hip tradition with Grace 2

By Cecilia Nasmith

Cobourg has long had an affinity for the Tragically Hip that pops up in three-year cycles.

It all began with the group's June 20, 2013, show at the Cobourg Community Centre. For the group's final concert on Aug. 20, 2016, the town brought out its big screen to Victoria Park for a telecast that could be enjoyed by all during the annual Northumberland Ribfest.

It continues Sept. 28, 2019, with another show at the Cobourg Community Centre, as the Town of Cobourg (in partnership with the Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation) welcome Grace 2.

True Hip fans themselves, Grace 2 is dedicated to recreating the sound and energy of a live Hip performance. Bass guitarist Paul Mooney shared his own feelings in a press release from the Town of Cobourg.

“As Canadians, we all share a connection with this iconic band and its charismatic front man, the late, great Gord Downie,” Mooney said.

“As a band, we set ourselves above the rest by staying true to the sound and feel of the Hip and presenting fans with a respectful dedication to this beloved band.”

The show starts at 8 p.m. And like the recent Blushing Brides concert that was a tribute to the Rolling Stones, this one features a free pre-party that starts at 5:30 p.m. in the CCC Grand Hall (where The Spirits front man Shaun Savoy will be performing live), until doors open at 7:30 p.m. Your host for this part of the event is the Sydney Fairman Group of Re/Max Lakeshore Realty.

As a tribute to the Hip's generous spirit, NHH staff will be selling raffle tickets during the pre-party, with proceeds supporting the NHH Foundation.

The Grace 2 show will be based on the final Tragically Hip concert during their Man Machine Poem Tour, a two-and-a-half hour performance that will include some of the greatest hits from their 13 studio albums, two live albums, one EP and 54 singles during the course of their impressive 33-year career.

With Downie's unforgettable voice and the band's influential lyrics, the music of the Hip has been the soundtrack for so many Canadians' summertime memories and an expression of the spirit of this country.

Councillor Adam Bureau, Co-ordinator of Arts, Culture and Tourism, was at the 2016 Ribfest evening where the landmark concert was telecase.

“A cultural icon and a talented poet and musician, Gord Downie left a notable hole in our musical heritage,” Bureau said in the press release.

“We were very fortunate to host the Tragically Hip at the Cobourg Community Centre a few years ago, and we are pleased to welcome tribute band Grace 2 to Cobourg.”

The main canteen and bar will be open prior to the show, offering a variety of pub-type food with specials for the evening, including hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings and popcorn.

Tickets for general-admission seating are now on sale at $25 plus HST and service fee through the Victoria Hall Concert Hall box office – available on-line or by calling 905-372-2210.

For more events presented by the Town of Cobourg, visit or

Cobourg announces road closures

By Cecilia Nasmith

The Town of Cobourg has announced multiple road closures that will begin at the end of this week.

The first closure has to do with the annual marina lift-in centering around the Cobourg Marina between 7 a.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Sunday, which involves a number of parking-lot closures as well.

Most of the disruption occurs from Friday at 7 a.m. to Saturday at 7 p.m. During this time, road closures include Division Street south of Charles, Third Street from the West Esplanade lot south, and Hibernia Street from Third Street south.

Parking lot closures during this period include the lots at Division Street South, Esplanade East and Esplanade West.

Then, on Sunday until 7 p.m., the Esplanade West lot will be closed.

For more information on these closures, contact the engineering department at 905-372-4555.

A much longer closure will begin the week of May 6, as through traffic is halted on Densmore Road due to construction – though the Public Works Division said that every effort will be made to provide residential vehicular access to local properties during construction and at the end of each working day.

Construction will take place between the east side of the Rosewood Estates property and the east side of the Parkview Hills Drive intersection. Work includes sanitary sewer, storm sewer, curbs and gutter, and a sidewalk on the south side. It is expected construction will conclude by this fall.

For more information about the road closure or the construction project, please contact project manager Kevin Robinson of Behan Construction Limited (905-372-9862 or or Cobourg manager of engineering and capital projects Terry Hoekstra (905-372-9971 or

Declarations make May a special month

By Cecilia Nasmith

Following the vote at this week's committee-of-the-whole council meeting, Cobourg has proclaimed May as Museum Month in the Town of Cobourg and May 19 to 25 as National Public Works Week in the Town of Cobourg.

Marie Dressler Foundation president and chair Rick Miller made the request for the first proclamation in a letter that pointed out that Museum Month has been celebrated annually since 2000 by Ontario's 700 museums, galleries and heritage sites. May 18, in fact, is recognized as International Museum Day.

Situated at the start of the summer tourism season, Miller added, Museum Month provides an excellent opportunity for promotion and awareness.

President Angela Storey of the Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Public Works Association made the latter request for the annual observance that since 1960 has celebrated the contributions of public-works professionals in Canada and the United States.

This year's theme is It Starts Here, recognizing the many facets of modern civilization that grow out of their contributions.

“Together, the more than 30,000 members of CPWA and APWA in North America design, build, operate and maintain the transportation, water supply, sewage and refuse-disposal systems, public buildings and other structures and facilities essential to our economy and way of life,” the letter said.

Councillor Brian Darling pointed out that this makes two simultaneous proclamations in the Town of Cobourg, and wondered if that is a problem. Legislative clerk Brent Larmer assured him that it is not.

Mayor John Henderson asked about a rodeo he had heard about to celebrate public works – that's spelled “road-e-o”, Darling said.

“On June 26, we are hosting a Roadeo, an annual competition of our public-works drivers,” director of public works Laurie Wills confirmed.

“They come together and go through creative exercises on courses to prove their abilities on and skills for driving.

“It's an event with Peterborough and Northumberland counties, a fun celebration of their driving abilities.”

It's an all-day event held at the public-works yard, Darling added, expressing the hope that councillors could attend some of the events.

Cobourg calls for committee members

By Cecilia Nasmith

With the office of Poet Laureate coinciding with terms of council, the Town of Cobourg has created an ad hoc committee to set terms of reference for finding the Poet Laureate for this term.

At this week's Cobourg council committee-of-the-whole meeting, a motion was passed to direct staff to advertise two citizen vacancies on the committee that will find the replacement for retiring laureate Ted Amsden, who has served the maximum of two council terms.

Council also directed staff to advertise for citizen vacancies on the Christmas Magic ad hoc committee that will be established. following council's motion to do so in January. The make-up of the committee will include two to six appointments chosen by council, with Councillor Adam Bureau chairing the body as council's Arts, Culture and Tourism Co-ordinator.

Meanwhile, council voted to dissolve the Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee due to the completion of the committee's mandate, with the delivery of its final report on the Downtown Cobourg Vitalization submitted at a February council meeting.

Cobourg provides $60,000 boost to Ed's House

By Cecilia Nasmith

(Front and centre) Northumberland Hospice Care Centre fundraising co-chair Patti Ley and Community Care Northumberland executive director Trish Baird were delighted to accept a $60,000 donation from the Town of Cobourg at this week's committee-of-the-whole council meeting, presented by (from left) Councillors Aaron Burchat and Emily Chorley, Deputy Mayor Suzanne Seguin, Mayor John Henderson and Councillors Nicole Beatty, Brian Darling and Adam Bureau.

(Front and centre) Northumberland Hospice Care Centre fundraising co-chair Patti Ley and Community Care Northumberland executive director Trish Baird were delighted to accept a $60,000 donation from the Town of Cobourg at this week's committee-of-the-whole council meeting, presented by (from left) Councillors Aaron Burchat and Emily Chorley, Deputy Mayor Suzanne Seguin, Mayor John Henderson and Councillors Nicole Beatty, Brian Darling and Adam Bureau.

With its groundbreaking scheduled this week, Northumberland Hospice Care Centre representatives made a stop at Cobourg council first to pick up the town's $60,000 donation.

Patti Ley (who co-chairs the fundraising committee with her husband Gord) and Community Care Northumberland executive director Trish Baird received the cheque with thanks.

Community Care has provided hospice and palliative-care services throughout the county for some years, and Baird is delighted that there will soon be a second residential hospice facility in Northumberland (in addition to The Bridge in Warkworth).

She recalled that it was barely two years ago that the Central East Local Health Integration Network approved the hospice beds and Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins came to Cobourg to make the official announcement,

It's been a whirlwind two years since, she said, with amazing shows of support from the community that included two million-dollar donations to complement the province's $1.2-million - $1-million from Brian and Kym Read and $1.5-million from Ed and Diane Lorenz (in whose honour the facility will be known as Ed's House).

Mayor John Henderson said the groundbreaking on Ontario Street north of Highway 401 will be a momentous occasion.
“On behalf of our council, we are delighted we can play a small part,” Henderson said.

Flood Warning - Rice Lake

KAWARTHA LAKES, OTONABEE RIVER, and RICE LAKE –   The Haliburton Lakes / Reservoir Lakes region include more than 4000 square kilometers of lakes, rivers, creeks and surrounding lands that lie north of the Kawartha Lakes.

This vast region is hydrologically connected to the Kawartha Lakes, which in turn are hydrologically connected to the Otonabee River and Rice Lake. That is, rain and snowmelt in the Haliburton Lakes / Reservoir Lakes region moves southward to affect water levels in the Kawartha Lakes, which affect flows along the Otonabee River and water levels of Rice Lake. Last night, the Burnt River, one of the major tributaries from the northern Haliburton Lakes / Reservoir Lakes to the Kawartha Lakes, peaked at an all-time record flow rate of 240 cubic meters per second (previous record was 204 cms set in 1991).

As a result of this record high inflow, combined with near record flows on the Gull River, Mississauga River, Eels Creek and other tributaries from the north, water levels on the Kawartha Lakes have risen and are expected to continue to rise over the next 5 days.

Outflows from the Kawartha Lakes through the Otonabee River will also increase over the next 5 days by an estimated 15 per cent. As Otonabee River flows increase, water levels of Rice Lake will likewise increase.

Therefore, the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority advises that residents and businesses located along the shores of the Kawartha Lakes, the Otonabee River and Rice Lake take appropriate precautions to protect themselves and their property because water levels have already risen to no less than full conditions, and will continue to rise throughout the next 5 days.

The Otonabee Region Conservation Authority will continue to monitor current conditions and issue updates as required. This FLOOD WARNING will be updated no later than 1:00 pm FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2019.