By Cecilia Nasmith
Alnwick-Haldimand remains Keep The County Clean champ
The results are in, and they were announced at Northumberland County Council's June meeting – it's the eighth year in a row that the Township of Alnwick-Haldimand has retained the title of Most Volunteers Per Capita in the 2018 Keep The County Clean challenge.
During the challenge (April 22 to 28), Alnwick-Haldimand saw 8.1% of its population participate in cleaning up road-side litter. Meanwhile, Hamilton Township has come out of it with new bragging rights, having unseated the Municipality of Port Hope with the Hardest Working Volunteers (who collected roughly 25 kg. of litter per volunteer).
Appropriate trophies were awarded at the meeting, according to a press release from the county.
The report from manager of environmental and technical services Adam McCue added that, county-wide, some 2,027 volunteers collected more than 15,670 kg. of garbage in the 2018 challenge.
“Based on typical weight, it is estimated that the equivalent of 3,124 garbage bags of litter were collected during this year's event,” he reported.
The week concluded with the free annual barbecue and open house held at the Material Recovery Facility in Grafton on April 28, which was attended by more than 800 people who had the opportunity to tour the plant, climb aboard some heavy equipment and vehicles, and enter a draw to win a composter.
McCue's report offered kudos to the runners-up.
The Town of Cobourg took second place in Highest Volunteer Participation, with 3.5% of its population, trailed by Cramahe Township with 3%.
Port Hope is still on the list of Hardest Working Volunteers – in third place, with 14.7 kg. collected per volunteer. The Municipality of Brighton came in second, at 16.6 kg.
The cost to the county for promoting the event and purchasing supplies for the celebration at the MRF came to about $7,500, McCue estimated - “significantly less than what it would cost to have county staff undertake all the roadside and public-space clean-ups conducted by the hundreds of volunteers.”
In the press release, Warden Mark Lovshin declared that these efforts had made a real difference to the county's roadsides and recreational areas.
“I want to congratulate the Township of Alnwick-Haldimand and Hamilton Township residents for their gold-standard efforts, and extend our sincere thanks to all of the volunteers who came out and did such a fantastic job this year. This was a wonderful demonstration of community spirit.”
Now in its 10th year, the press release said, the Mayors' Keep The County Clean Challenge has seen more than 20,290 volunteers participate over the decade.
County council receives housing and homelessness report
Having reached the half-way point in Northumberland County's 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan, council welcomed director of community and social services Lisa Horne at its May meeting for the 2017 Housing and Homelessness Annual Report.
A press release from the county stated that the report details progress made over the past year by the county and its community partners to strengthen the co-ordinated system of housing and homelessness supports for local residents.
Horne told council they continue to gain ground on realizing the plan's 27 objectives.
“While we continue to contend with challenges – including a low vacancy rate, rising house prices and a complex urban-rural environment – this report reflects that we are making important progress in improving our co-ordinatedresponse and targeting the tools we have to best assist those in need,” she said.
“We look forward to sustaining and growing this progress.”
The 10-year plan outlines a long-term community vision of ending chronic homelessness through a Housing First approach, which emphasizes preventive measures that stabilize people’s housing. The 2017 annual report summarizes the impact of programs in place and the community partnerships essential to fulfilling this strategic direction.
Some of the key deliverables for 2017 included:
· Groundbreaking and launch of construction on a 31-unit affordable housing build in Cobourg geared to seniors and people with disabilities.
· Delivery of $764,800 in repairs to social housing stock.
· Creation of a Housing Support Program providing monthly rent subsidies to low income households in private rental agreements.
· Launch of Renovate Northumberland, a home renovation program with Habitat for Humanity Northumberland supporting low to mid-income homeowners in making critical repairs that will enable them to stay in their homes.
· Expansion of the Shelter Benefit Program.
· Funding for a two-year HomeShare pilot program matching senior homeowner women with other women seeking affordable housing.
· Development of a By-Name List of people experiencing homelessness in Northumberland, facilitating effective decisions around how to best serve and refer individuals to housing resources. Following an extensive enumeration exercise in April, the report said, this list currently holds the names of 58 singles (adults and youth) and 19 families known to be experiencing homelessness in the county.
As well, the report mentions four homes under construction through Habitat For Humanity Northumberland.
In a foreword to the plan, County Warden Mark Lovshin reiterated council's commitment to its vision and objectives.
“We are proud of our community’s efforts to date, and the year ahead promises further progress,” Lovshin stated.
“A home for everyone is key, and Northumberland County and partner agencies will strive to achieve new milestones together in 2018 towards this end.”