Provincial funding will help Port Hope attract more tourism and investment

By Cecilia Nasmith

The provincial government has declared Ontario open for business, and Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini said Friday that this includes rural Ontario.

Piccini made an appearance at Port Hope's Capitol Theatre on behalf of Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman to announce a Rural Economic Development grant of $47,000 that will spur the development of a Port Hope tourism app that will enhance tourism and economic development.

The app will promote shops, restaurants, events and significant points of interest like the Capitol Theatre – and it will feature such amenities as a fish camera to stir interest in the great fishing available in the Ganaraska River.

“It will promote small businesses and help visitors navigate through this municipality, and attract them into our downtown – getting people into our community, getting businesses to invest and grow.”

Piccini gave a shout-out to the municipal partners in this effort. The app will be developed through the spring, and the municipality can plan a big launch of its own when it's completed.

Communities along Highway 401 struggle with attracting motorists off the road, he said. For years, people have believed the secret is good signage - but increasingly, people's plans are driven by their apps and app-based technology. The new Port Hope app plays into this trend.

Personally, Piccini said, he has never talked with someone who took the time to get off the road and explore Port Hope who did not make plans for a repeat trip.

Port Hope is one of 80 Ontario communities that will benefit from such a grant, designed to boost and diversify the local economy through such projects as marketing and downtown revitalization plans, and branding and promotional activities.

In his own riding, Piccini added, five communities in addition to Port Hope will benefit. He looks forward to similar announcements in each one, outlining anticipated benefits to business attraction and promotion, as well as arts and culture.

Fail to Remain Investigation in Quinte West

OPP has commenced an investigation into a Fail to Remain Collision at the intersection of Dundas Street West and Division Street in the City of Quinte West.

At approximately 5:36 P.M. two pedestrians were crossing Dundas Street West on foot when they were struck by a dark coloured full size pickup truck. The vehicle came to a stop and the lone driver exited the vehicle; the driver quickly returned to the vehicle and fled the scene.

The Quinte West OPP are requesting the assistance of the public in identifying the vehicle and driver responsible. A still image of the vehicle from the video that captured the event is being distributed to the public in an attempt to identify the vehicle and driver.

Northumberland County wants accessibility input

By Cecilia Nasmith

Northumberland County is inviting residents with a disability, support persons and individuals who have knowledge or experience of the barriers faced by those with disability to consider serving on the Northumberland Accessibility Advisory Committee.

These committee members provide vital advice, recommendations and support to county council and all county departments on ensuring accessible programs, services and facilities. Meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month (except July, August and December) from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and lunch is provided.

Anyone interested can learn more about the committee and review its terms of reference at

Applications will be accepted through 4 pm. Dec. 21, and those interested are asked to contact the Northumberland Accessibility Advisory Committee (attention: Kirsty Brown) by phone (904-372-3329 ext. 2327), fax (905-372-3046), e-mail ( or mail (c/o County of Northumberland, 555 Courthouse Rd., Cobourg, Ont. K9A 5J6).

Accommodations are available upon request to support individuals with disabilities throughout the process. If such a service is required, please e-mail in your request.

New Canadians Centre celebrates new Cobourg location and new possibilities

By Cecilia Nasmith

The new Cobourg office of the New Canadians Centre had its grand opening Wednesday at 600 William St. in a jubilant celebration attended by staffers, dignitaries and clients.

Tamara Hoogerdyk, director of front-line services for the Peterborough office, said that the Cobourg office gets about 100 new clients a year in various circumstances, from refugees to immigrants who have been in the community for years to international students who decide they want to make this area their home.

The New Canadians Centre began as a volunteer group, Hoogerdyk said, a sponsorship group working with Vietnamese refugees. It became a non-profit organization in 1985. When she joined 11 years ago, there was a staff of six. That has grown to 26.

The Cobourg office was established in consideration of the many clients their Peterborough office would see who had to travel from Northumberland. On Oct. 28, 2008, they opened an office upstairs at Horizons of Friendship in downtown Cobourg.

“They have been a great partner, and it was with some sadness we leave – but a lot of excitement,” she said.

The new location offers many benefits – on-site parking, a location along the town bus route, and a variety of services on the premises, such as Northumberland United Way and county departments that offer resources ranging from entrepreneurship counselling to the Food 4 All Warehouse. And it's all on a single floor, with no stairs to negotiate.

It's a promising location for their efforts to help new Canadians become full and equal members of Canadian society, “regardless of where they come from, their status, how long they have been in Canada – we welcome everybody,” Hoogerdyk declared.

Those present had the opportunity to hear from Eduvina Duquinal, who came to Cobourg from the Phillippines. It can be an isolating experience to settle in a new country where culture, customs and language are so different, she said.

“Visiting the New Canadians Centre opened doors for us. We were able to connect with other newcomers and participate in community events. This really helped us to build a sense of home.”

Warden Mark Lovshin said one reason to celebrate was the on-going partnership between the county and the New Canadians Centre, connecting newcomers with resources that include housing and medical services, language assessment and entrepreneurship advice.

“Northumberland County continues to focus on fostering economic opportunities and community integration for newcomers as part of our larger vision to be a strong and vibrant community,” Lovshin said.

“This is well aligned with the mandate of the New Canadians Centre. Through this new partnership, we hope to reach more people with programs and services that create opportunities for newcomers in our community.”

Northumberland County director of economic development, tourism and planning Dan Borowec said the county's partnership with the centre is very much in line with their vision – People, Partnerships, Possibilities.

Representing Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd, Jamie Simmons offered congratulations and some musings on how the community has changed since he moved to Cobourg 25 years ago.

“All good changes,” Simmons stated.

“I'm particularly proud of all the groups that have come to this community over the years for what I think is a very rich multicultural heritage we are building on all over Northumberland.”

Having been involved with the recent spate of sponsorships for Syrian refugees, he added, “I am very proud to be a Canadian. I am very proud to be a resident of Northumberland County and how we welcome those folks with all the services to become part of this community.”

Call goes out for Radical Transformation participants

By Cecilia Nasmith

The show that began in Cobourg at the Bodylogix gym is about to start a third season with roughly $250,000 US in prizes, and producer James Hergott is looking for participants.

The former Cobourg resident says anyone in North America can apply to be part of his Radical Body Transformation show, and 30 slots are available for anyone who wants to get into shape, add muscle, lose weight, be healthier – and has a good story to share.

Hergott has been in the film business since 2005, when his debut film All That I Need debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. In recent years, he has pursued his interest in Mixed Martial Arts and bodybuilding.

Along the way, Hergott has begun pursuing bodybuilding himself. He competes for the Canadian Physique Alliance, during the course of which he experienced a bust ulcer which required emergency surgery – it was just over a month later that he placed second at the Winston Invitational event.

Radical Body Transformation allows Hergott to meet people from all walks of life yearning to transform their bodies as part of their journey toward inner and outer growth and development. The documentary-style series has had various special guests, including the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The show premieres on NPC News (the largest amateur body-building platform) and distribution networks include Amazon Prime US and UK. Hergott said 28 episodes have been released so far.

For season three, as part of a new Amazon Prime deal, the prize money is being offered for first-, second- and third-placing contestants.

First prize goes to the contestant deemed by viewers' choice as the best transformation. This prize is $150,000 US plus an Expedia CruiseShipCentre all-inclusive cruise for two, as well as a professional photo shoot with celebrity portrait photographer Carmine Groe.

Second place will be awarded, similarly, to the viewers' second choice or best transformation. This prize is $50,000 US plus a Porsche Macan SUV, as well as a Carmine Groe photo shoot.

The third-place winner is the director's choice, based on the most dramatic transformation, and must be a different person from the first- and second-place winners. This prize is $25,000 US plus a Carmine Groe photo shoot.

Hergott announce his third-season coaches – Josh and Kyle of Colossus Fitness, who strive to inspire, motivate and educate the fitness community in better living and health practices.

“They have built up a huge following of almost 69,000 YouTube subscribers and 53,000 Instagram followers,” Hergott said.

“Combined, they have the well-rounded backgrounds necessary to help people achieve all kinds of goals.”

Hergott said an intro video of the new coaches and the show can be found at

And anyone interested in learning more about being a contestant can contact Hergott at

Help celebrate 95th anniversary Dec. 6

By Cecilia Nasmith

The Northumberland Hills Hospital Auxiliary invite you to help them celebrate their 95th anniversary Dec. 8 at the Petticoat Lane thrift shop.

Auxiliary director of communications and public relations Elizabeth Wardell said the actual anniversary was Nov. 21, and they celebrated with a gathering that included auxiliary presidents back through the mid-1970s.

Auxiliary members do amazing work in addition to fundraising for the hospital, taking on a variety of tasks in virtually every part of the facility. They will bring water and books to the patients, they will help you find where you are going, they will greet you at the door, they will wait on you at the hospital gift shop (which they have named the Little Treasure Shoppe) – they will turn up everywhere they can enhance the care given to members of the community.

But the fundraising is also something they take pride in. There are smaller fundraising programs, like the break-open Nevada tickets they sell and the monthly bazaar their crafters' group organizes. Sometimes they organize one kind of special event or another, and the Little Treasure Shoppe also passes along its proceeds to the hospital to fund the purchase of priority equipment.

But for many years now, their top fundraiser has been Petticoat Lane.

It has operated in a number of locations over the years, and its current home is on Monroe St. - immediately east of the Beer Store and across the street from the No Frills.

It's a retail location operated entirely by volunteers, from taking in donations of gently used clothing and household items to balancing the books. As a thrift store, its items rarely sell for more than a few dollars – yet it has raised more than $2-million for the hospital over the years.

The support of the community is definitely worth celebrating, Wardell said, citing the recent example of their autumn Bling & Bills event. In just three hours – even with everything at 50% off – it brought in $6,300.

“I volunteered to set up the day before and work that afternoon,” she recalled.

“All I can say is that it was overwhelming!”

Volunteers are planning a special celebration for all to enjoy Dec. 8, with congratulations from dignitaries and a 1 p.m. cake cutting.

And the store will be open for business as usual, Wardell added, so bring your Christmas-shopping list.

Cobourg council hears GRCA levy request

By Cecilia Nasmith

Council got a look at what the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority will require as its share of the agency's 2019 budget at Monday's special council meeting.
GRCA chief administrative officer Linda Laliberte introduced the subject with some background on how they perform their five core functions – watershed management and health monitoring (including flood forecasting and warning, plus source-water protection and monitoring), environmental advisory services (including municipal-planning review and input), watershed stewardship (including public education and tree-planting services), conservation-land management (for various conservation areas as well as the 11-acre Ganaraska Forest and the Ganaraska Forest Centre) and corporate services (largely finance and administration).

Half of these costs come from revenue they generate themselves. Municipal levies cover 43% and the 7% provincial contribution has not changed in about 20 years.

One thing that has changed in recent years is gradual changes to the levies – 2.5% for 2019.

They have also begun capital-asset planning, an exercise of basically setting aside reserves for the timely maintenance and replacement of an estimated 460-plus assets worth almost $11-million.

The $191,613 they estimated would be needed each year seemed onerous, so they created a plan to make do with l$150,088 annually. For the past three years, they have taken this out of their programming budget. As a shortfall resulted, it was decided to incorporate the capital-asset planning amount into their levy.

The GRCA provides services in all or part of seven municipalities, and the area they serve in Cobourg is their second-largest (behind the Municipality of Clarington).

Levies are calculated on a number of criteria, Laliberte said. In Cobourg's case, the request is a proposed levy of $215,794.58 $248,902.89.and a capital-asset levy of $33,108.31 for a total of

In some measure, the figures are preliminary. The 2019 budget Laliberte presented is their preliminary version. As for the town's approval of the levy, that will be a matter for their new council to tackle.

The new council who will serve the next term will be sworn in at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Victoria Hall Concert Hall, at which time co-ordinators' assignments will be announced.