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Township passes 2014 budget PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Owen   
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:52

Residential taxpayers in Cramahe Township will pay about as much this year as they did a year ago.  Township Council passed its 2014 budget at its April 15 meeting after discussing final details.

 

Depending on how you look at it, the 0.148% rate hike will cost the average taxpayer $2.53 or $14.72 this year. Figures released to council by Treasurer Mora Chatterson used the average residential home value of $230,000 as the guide for her calculations. The numbers did not take into account the fact that home values have gone up slightly this year. The value of the average home used for calculations last year was $228,500.

 

Using the numbers released by the treasurer, the total tax bill in Cramahe will decrease by $14.46 for the average householder to $3263.80. But that figure could be misleading. If the actual average property  values are used in the calculations and increased values taken into account, the total tax bill, including Northumberland County and Public Education levies, the tax bill represents an actual increase of $21.28 over last year. The Cramahe portion is $1,716.59.

 

The township is budgeting to spend $8,409,629 this year. Of that, $27.7% is on transportation services, 25.7% on policing, and 14.7% on recreation and culture.

 

Road upgrades will use $700,000 this year. The township plans to improve Jones Rd. from County Rd. 25, south to Barlow Rd., Ontario Street from County Rd. 2 to Robertson, and Purdy Rd. from Elgin to Durham Street. Engineering studies will be done on the south section of Ontario Street and on Purdy Rd..

 

The budget did not pass without some concerns being expressed by Councillor Pat Westrope. Ms. Westrope has taken the requests of taxpayers to staff and felt her ideas have not been included in the 2014 budget. The budget is staff-directed in the councillor's opinion. She never felt that council had input.

 

The parishioners of Heritage United Church in Salem woulkd like to see a street light near the church. Residents would like to have benches in front of the Castleton Town Hall. Two years ago the township budgetted for the design of Victoria Square. The work has not been done and it's not in this year's budget. There has been no maintenance done in 16 years on downtown streetlights and the wrought iron of King Street needs repair. And what is happening where there were once trees on King Street in the downtown? A short stretch of sidewalk is needed in the Colton/Spencer Street area.

 

Sensing a need to resolve the concerns, Mayor Marc Coombs suggested that he and Councillor Westrope sit down with Works Director Dan O'Brien.. While not specifically mentioned in the budget, he felt that most, if not all of the councillor's concerns could be addressed.

 

He noted that he would like to see periodic input from council on budgetary matters next year if he is re-elected in October. He has experienced this in Northumberland County and it has been effective.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 01:10
 
Cenotaph committee provokes park plans PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Owen   
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:37

A committee headed by Cramahe Councillor Pat Westrope has been authorised to get renovations done on the W W I monument in Victoria Square in Colborne. The committee of 12 has been very enthusiastic and Westrope was at council seeking clarification of the group’s role in the future appearance of the historic park.

 

The cenotaph committee has met three times and is developing design ideas for the area around the base of the monument. They plan to replace the retaining wall which encircles the statue of a soldier. They have also considered a sidewalk, landscaping and benches. They have drawings and have had detailed discussions regarding the preservation and construction aspects of the job. In their third meeting they considered expanding their mandate and began discussions of completing work on the W W II monument which lies further north in the park.

 

Ms. Westrope is aware that council budgeted two years ago for a park plan, but nothing has been done. She wondered at Cramahe Council on April 15 if she should apply the brakes to the committee’s plans or give it free rein.

 

Mayor Marc Coombs thought expansion of their mandate was a good idea. The entire park needs a plan.

 

Councillor Clinton Breau wondered what needed to be planned, as much of the park is fixed. 

 

Councillor Ed VanEgmond has a brother who does landscape design. The brother felt the park, as it is laid out now, is a hodge-podge.

 

If there are to be benches and picnic tables, Ms. Westrope feels there should be an overall plan, and any landscaping should complement the gardens in front of the town hall across Toronto Rd..

 

There are also implications due to its historic significance and designation

 

After some discussion it was generally agreed that there should be a plan before substantial work is done. Council took Deputy Mayor Jim Williams' suggestion to consider using Township Planner Jennifer Sisson. She has landscape architecture qualifications and could be a resource, if the planning were to be done in-house. She has already been sitting in on cenotaph committee meetings as a resource.

 

Staff will consider the possibility of doing the design work internally within a reasonable time frame and report back to council.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:51
 
Library launches songwriting workshops PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Owen   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:03

The Cramahe Township Library is launching a new program this May - and it's only for teens.

 

With the help of Colborne Rotary, the library has hired musician/songwriter David Hayes to lead four, one-hour Saturday workshops where teens will learn to write, read and play music. Mr. Hayes has extensive experience teaching music to teens in Toronto, using innovative methods. He is also a member of the band Cedarrail.

 

On April 14, library CEO Mary Norton received a keyboard from Rotary. It, and instruments purchased from Pickers Paradise, will be used in the workshops, as well as any instruments brought by the teens.

 

The workshops are on May 10, 17, 24, and 31. Teens who wish to participate are asked to call the Colborne Branch of the library (905 355-3722) to register, or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  . 

 

libmusteenIt's one more library program which is garnering attention for Cramahe from outside the community. 

 

The program was featured in the April 2014 Newsletter for District 7070 of Rotary. On page five is an extensive outline of the many ways that Colborne Rotary helps kids in Cramahe. The songwriting workshops fit with the goals of club President Don Spencer in his year in office. Use of the Cramahe libraries has been growing, but teens make up only 2% of users. Organisers of the workshops hope this will bring them in the door to do something they enjoy.

 

At the presentation of the keyboard, Mr. Spencer praised fellow Rotarian Jim Williams for suggesting they work with the library. "It's a chance for young people to create music, and who knows, one of them may be the next best thing," enthused the club president.

 

Ms. Norton feels the program is a fantastic idea that will resonate in the community.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:34
 
Fire is out at MRF PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kate Campbell   
Sunday, 13 April 2014 22:38

Northumberland County Director of Communications Kate Campbell confirmed at 8:37 tonight that the fire has been extinguished in the Materials Recycling Facility north of Grafton. Her evening press release is below - 

 

Cobourg, ON – April 13, 2014 – Officials have confirmed that the fire at the County Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) has been successfully extinguished. Fire crews have been at the MRF since approximately 10:45 this morning.

 

Tim Blake, Northumberland County Mutual Aid Fire Coordinator, confirmed earlier today that the specific site of the fire was determined to be a loose pile of recyclable materials within the plant. The materials were found to be smoldering, generating significant smoke but minimal flames. The Fire Department and MRF staff will now conduct a review to identify potential causes. Foul play is not suspected.

 

County officials have been given the 'All Clear' to enter the building and initial review indicates minimal damage. As a result, there are no changes planned for waste and recycling collection schedules for residents.

 

County administration will meet with MRF staff tomorrow morning to address plans for any clean-up required, and for ensuring the MRF is fully operational by tomorrow afternoon. All Northumberland County fire departments that were either at the scene or on standby have been released back to their own standard duties.

 

The County commends the firefighters who responded to today's call for their professionalism and skill in acheiving such a positive outcome. Thanks are also extended to the broader inter-municipal fire community for coordinated collaboration in ensuring full coverage for the County during this time, as well as other emergency services and County staff who provided support.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 April 2014 22:46
 
Peggy asks PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Owen   
Sunday, 13 April 2014 22:18

Cramahe resident Peggy Klem has been attending recent meetings of Cramahe Council, and she always seems to come up with a cogent question.

 

Peggy listened to council discuss, then reject a full-time deputy fire chief, and express the need to give Chief BUilding Official Natalie Moroz-Cornell some help. Then she offered this suggestion - use summer and co-op students to handle backlogged paperwork. Using summer students would also save the township money as they can be partially funded by job grants. Co-ops are free.

 

One of Ms. Moroz-Cornell's concerns is the time taken by residents filling our burn permits. Another is a backlog of paperwork on accounts which should be closed.

 

 Councillor Pat Westrope wondered why the township has not picked up on this idea already. Trent Hills has five co-op students. When Deputy mayor Jim Williams raised teh obstacle of transportation from ENSS in Brighton, Ms. Westrope repsonded that it could be done.

 

Ms. Klem added that the township could use students who live in Cramahe, eliminating the need to get them home at the end of the day.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 April 2014 22:29
 
ENSS students Ready, Willing and Able PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Owen   
Sunday, 13 April 2014 21:13

April 9 was Ready, Willing and Able day at East Northumberland Secondary School in Brighton. A dozen students from each of Cobourg East and West, St. Mary's Catholic and Port Hope High School joined their counterparts from ENSS in a morning of friendly competition - the parasport way.

 

Students competed in wheelchair basketball, sledge hockey, blind running, wheelchair curling and blind goal ball.

 

ParaSport Games Chair Paul Macklin was at the morning event and encouraged the athletes as they tried out the games of the ParaOlympics. Organisers hoped that students would benefit from the goals of the day - to educate them about disabilities, to engage them in teaching about barriers parajennaand how they are overcome. "If you are blind, this is the way it would be," commented the Chair of the ParaSport Games in Northumberland County this May 30 to June 1.  He hopes the students will take the message about barriers home to their families and friends. "Even with barriers you haven't ceased to be people."

 

Mr. Macklin is pleased with the community support for the ParaSport Games. When the call went out for volunteers, they needed 400 days - they got 1,000.

 

The ParaSport Games are different every time they are run. Blind golf, amputee golf and hand cycling will be part of this year's competition. Hand cycling will take place in Colborne and Brighton.

 

Swimming no longer is part of the games, says Mr. Macklin, as it has become integrated.  

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 April 2014 21:20
 
Fire at Materials Recovery Facility PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kate Campbell   
Sunday, 13 April 2014 15:48

Cobourg, ON – Alnwick/Haldimand Fire and Rescue continues to make progress in extinguishing a fire at the County Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Grafton.

 

Tim Blake, Northumberland County Mutual Aid Fire Coordinator, has received confirmation from the Commander on scene that the site of the fire has been identified as a loose pile of recyclable materials within the plant. The facility was closed at the time the fire was reported—no injuries have been sustained.  

 

County officials are on-scene to provide facility details and support to fire crews as needed. Crews have been at the MRF since approximately 10:45 this morning, after being called to the site following reports of smoke coming from the building.

 

County mutual aid has been activated and fire services throughout the County are collaborating to ensure full coverage in all municipalities while firefighters attend to the situation at the MRF.

 

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 April 2014 15:52
 
Cenotaph committee gathering info PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Owen   
Sunday, 13 April 2014 00:43

The committee formed to repair the WW I cenotaph needs more information before it can begin work.

cenotaphThe original cenotaph has detiorated and it's time to overhaul the entire monument, from the base up. Taking the monument down to its base, the group has the opportunity to change the design of the 30-year-old support structure set in place by Jim Black. Once that has been established, estimates must be obtained for the work and for the cleaning of the soldier who stands atop the memorial.

Preliminary estimates suggest that the project is too big to rely on donations alone. The Colborne Legion has donated the maximum allowable $1,400 from its Poppy Fund, but there is talk that the job may run over $10,000. Excavation and cement alone will likely cost over $3,000.

There is grant money available from Veterans Affairs, but the project needs to be costed and the money must be matched to local contributions. It is hoped that the Cramahe Public Works Department will pitch in with some labour and equipment, and members of the committee have offered their help, free of charge. Those will be important contributions, as the grant rules allow 25% in kind donations.

 

The design being considered on April 10 will eliminate seating around the cenotaph, so the group is considering the purchase of matching benches which would face the cenotaph. They come in at about $1,600 each.

 

The 10 people at the committee meeting led by Pat Westrope looked briefly at the thought of updating the WW II  monument too. That matter was set aside when Legion President Patti May pointed out that they should cost the WW I monument first.

 

Eager to see some progress, the committee agreed that member Don Clark, with the assistance of John Rutherford, could begin pressure washing the monument before construction of the base begins. Work which is being paid for by the grant cannot begin until grant money has been approved. The last deadlines for application are July 2, 2014, and September 1, 2014.

 

With only $1,400 assured, and grant money subject to approval, the group will be soliciting donations from the public. They have drafted a letter which they will send out, mostly by email, asking for donations. Cheques can be sent to the Cramahe Township Office and clearly made out for the cenotaph restoration.

 

More information will be available at the Doors Open celebration held on June 7-8. The theme this year will be WW I, as we are commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the onset of the Great War.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 April 2014 01:36
 
Apple Blossom - yum yum! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Owen   
Saturday, 12 April 2014 22:04

It's a sure sign that the Apple Blossom Tyme Festival is drawing near. At its first April meeting the festival committee reviewed this year's list of vendors - and it's a tasty one.

 

The ever-popular beavertails, fish and chips, and freshly squeezed lemonade in four flavours will all tempt the palate this year. Also on the menu - bbq beef and pork, roasted corn, frozen yoghurt. Looking for something a little different? Try cabbage rolls, fried mushrooms or fried cheese. 

 

Years ago you could only get Pogos up north. They're here this year, along with fried chicken, hamburgers, smoothies and ice cream. And if you want to see the profits go to a service group, there's always peameal bacon, being sold once again by the Colborne Masons.

 

You're guranteed not to go home hungry from this year's Apple Blossom Tyme Festival on May 24-25 in Colborne.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 22:12
 
OPP costs less than billed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Owen   
Saturday, 12 April 2014 00:11

When the OPP budgetted for policing costs in Cramahe for 2013 the force requested $1,135,140.

 

The good news that we must have behaved better than expected. The actual cost for the year was $1,031,530, giving us a surplus of $103,610.

 

Half way through 2013 the OPP refunded $19,075, so $84,535 will be coming back to Cramahe. Whenever this happens the money is set aside in a police reserve for future use. The OPP Contract Reserve had $114,260 in it at the start of 2014. This year's contract increase is $110,718 over what was requested at budget time last year.

 
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