Cobourg embarks on Emerald Ash Borer control

By Cecilia Nasmith

The Town of Cobourg has announced its intention to begin removing and replacing infected as trees as part of its on-going Emerald Ash Borer Preparedness Plan.

The town's press release notes an increase in the number of infected ash trees throughout the town over the past year, due to the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle that feeds on the tree's inner bark and disrupts the flow of nutrients and water throughout the tree. There is no known method to eradicate this invasive species.

Town arborist Rory Quigley said they have identified public ash trees that they are actively monitoring for signs of infestation.

“We want to remove these dead or declining trees before they become more of a risk to the public,” Quigley said.

The Emerald Ash Borer originated in Asia and is believed to have spread beyond that continent through shipping packaging made of untreated wood. In southern Ontario, it has caused the decline and death of many ash trees, and its presence in Northumberland County was confirmed six years ago.

The town's plan calls for continued assessment and tracking of infected trees. Any home owners adjacent to town-owned ash trees that are found to be infected will be notified by letter and informed of scheduled removal and replacement dates. Trees that are removed will be replaced on a one-to-one basis after taking into consideration site conditions and species diversity for the neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, anyone who believes he or she may own an ash tree infected with the Emerald Ash Borer is asked to contact Quigley at or 905-372-8641 ext. 4370.

For more information about the town's Emerald Ash Borer Preparedness Plan, visit

NHH Foundation is really jumping in June

By Cecilia Nasmith

Just two months into its fiscal year, the Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation has already raised almost $700,000 toward the $2.3-million it has budgeted to raise for the hospital in 2018-2019.

The news came in a report submitted by foundation chair Tyler Hathway, which also gave some details about a very busy June – starting with the June 4 Northumberland's Biggest Coffee Morning. Though all the figures are not yet in, organizers expect this annual celebration to raise $25,000.

The June 27 Wine and Ale In the Park is officially sold out, with 290 guests expected.

The annual Father-Daughter Ball on June 22 is also sold out. It will be held at the Lions Centre in Cobourg, and the grand father-daughter arrivals can be seen starting at about 4 p.m.

And on June 19, the foundation has its annual general meeting at 7 p.m. at the hospital.

Looking ahead, their second annual Colour Run is scheduled for July 27, with participants choosing from one-, three- and five-km. routes. Last year's Colour Run attracted more than 200 participants and raised more than $5,000.

Cobourg asks for caution around stagnant pools at beach and waterfront

By Cecilia Nasmith

Along with the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, the Town of Cobourg is urging caution around the stagnant pools of water accumulating in and around the town's beach and waterfront.

The town's press release notes high water levels on Lake Ontario that result in excess water pooling on top of the sand at the beach. The health unit warns that Escherichia coli (E. coli) and other harmful bacteria can develop in stagnant water, and urges users of the beach not to sit or swim in these pools to avoid contracting illness.

Pet owners are also advised not to let their pets swim or drink from this water, as it can be dangerous to animals as well.

“We strongly advise people not to swim in the stagnant pools of water as they ae more susceptible to having high bacteria counts that can cause someone to become ill,” health unit environmental-health manager Bernie Mayer said in the news release.

“Parents in particular should keep children away from any stagnant water.”

The health unit's weekly beach-testing program begins this month, and will continue until the end of August. Unsafe beaches will be posted on-line when bacteria counts are above provincial standards – at which point there is a greater chance of people using the water to contract eye, ear, nose or throat infections, or possibly stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Citizens are asked to visit the heath unit's website ( to ensure the beach they are visiting is safe for swimming.

Mayer said the weekly beach-water test results ae updated on the website every Thursday afternoon, as well as on their Facebook and Twitter page – or people can speak to a public-health inspector by calling 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5006.

“This season, people can watch for new metal signs being placed at local beaches,” he said.

“Besides being more durable, these signs are also more visible for people to see whether a beach is safe for swimming.”

NHH budget is a surplus at year-end

By Cecilia Nasmith

Northumberland Hills Hospital had the rare red-letter day, when the fiscal year ended and the hospital was in the black.

Tom McLean reported the good news at the June meeting of the hospital board, saying the 2018-2019 year ended with a $733,000 surplus. As provincial law requires the hospital to balance its budget, that is good news – and an especially welcome change from most other years when an approaching year-end meant a mad last-minute scramble to achieve that balance.

“This means we can do something with the money, and one of the things we felt was responsible to do was to set aside $500,000 into a restricted account for the sole purpose of the CIS.”

This is the Clinical Information System the board has heard of the need for in previous meetings. It is an updated system that will align with a major regional health-records undertaking that will benefit local residents.

It's a major expense the hospital will face in any case, McLean pointed out. His motion to set aside $500,000 of the surplus into the restricted account for the CIS was passed.

NHH has a new normal

By Cecilia Nasmith

In a typical year at Northumberland Hills Hospital, president and chief executive officer Linda Davis said at this week's hospital board meeting, inpatient volumes begin to drop around April, May or June.

That is not the case this year, Davis said, and the possibility must be admitted that this could be the new norm.

As well, she continued, the number of ALC patients remains high. These Alternative Level of Care patients no longer have acute health concerns, but are not well enough to be discharged without certain community supports in place. Some can be discharged to long-term-care homes, but that number is limited both in terms of funding and available long-term-care beds.

Davis expressed hope for good news on this front at the end of the month, when Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini visits the hospital to make a funding announcement.

2019 NHH Health Professions Scholarship winners announced

By Cecilia Nasmith

NHH board chair Beth Selby is seen with this year's NHH Health Professions Scholarship winners, Catharine Mead (left) and Madison Holmes

Awarding the Health Professions Scholarship always casts a pleasant glow on June meetings of the Northumberland Hills Hospital board, and 2019 was no exception.

This year's recipients are Madison Holmes and Catharine Mead, with proud parents Andrew Mead and Robert and Shelley Holmes looking on as the award was made.

Board chair Beth Selby said this program was created in 2003 for West Northumberland students enrolling in post-secondary education designed to ready them for a career in the health-care field. In helping them achieve their goals, Selby said, NHH is hoping the students will consider one day returning to their home-town hospital to practice the skills they have acquired.

This year's recipients, she added, are “smart, hard-working and very focused on their goals – characteristics I think we all agree are worthy of special recognition.”

St. Mary Secondary School alumna Madison is completing her first year at Trent University, where she is working on a bachelor-of-science degree in nursing. Her goal is to become an emergency-department nurse and, eventually, a nurse-practitioner.

By the time of her high-school graduation last year, she had achieved Ontario Scholar status with a stellar academic record and many extra-curricular activities to her credit (including acting as coach and volunteer at Northumberland Gymnastics).

Letters in support of her application spoke of her work ethic, strength of character and leadership abilities.

Catharine, one of the youngest-ever recipients of the scholarship, is finishing Port Hope High School and heading for the University of Waterloo's honours kinesiology co-op program.

She graduated PHHS with the second-highest academic record at her school, winning the general proficiency award, the Port Hope citizenship award and the Kim Rudd Award. Catharine also had 700 community-service volunteer hours to her credit.

She was involved with the yearbook, played in the school orchestra (and on the girls' volleyball team), participated in student government and was a fixture on the Link crew that each year helps Grade 9 students adjust to high school.

In the community, Catharine studied ballet, participated in several choirs, and played in the Northumberland Players pit orchestra (as well as with the La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra).

“The values and commitment of these two excellent students are a tribute to the support they have received from their families, teachers and mentors,” Selby said.

Council supports Trenton Power Squadron initiative

By Cecilia Nasmith

Cobourg council voted this week to waive the $50 permit fee that would normally be charged for the RCAF Trenton Power Squadron to hold its Recreational Vehicle Courtesy Check July 13.

“We are a member of the Canadian Power/Sail Squadron, a national volunteer organization focuesd on promotion of safe boating in Canada through teaching safe boating courses and promoting boating safety,” said the letter from coordinator Phyllis Durnford.

The checks they will be offering will involve free non-punitive inspections for compliance with Transport Canada's minimum safety requirements by boat type and length, and they will be available for virtually any watercraft – from kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to sail and power boats up to 24 metres in length.

Other waterfront news was shared by Councillor Emily Chorley, including the hydro upgrades at Victoria Park being completed along with the dredging of the harbour. The sand collected will soon be spread out on the beach.

Councillors supported Day of Caring

By Cecilia Nasmith

Cobourg councillors reported on their participation in the June 7 annual United Way Day of Caring at this week's council meeting.

Mayor John Henderson was delighted that he finally got to do something he is good it – gardening. He helped with some flower beds, delighted he didn't have to help chief administrative officer Stephen Peacock put together a shed.

Councillor Adam Bureau worked with manager of planning services Rob Franklin and manager of engineering and capital projects Terry Hoekstra to put together a shed and picnic table at the Cobourg library.

“After the first five minutes, they agreed I should be the holder – not the actual builder, but the holder,” Bureau said.

Councillor Brian Darling probably had the best experience of them all, as he accompanied his wife to work on the rockery at St. Paul's United Church in Cold Springs.

“It really did bring back memories, because that's the church we were married 42 years ago,” Darling said.