Belleville businesses to be consulted on vacancy rebate

Belleville city hall April 10, 2017 (File photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

Belleville Councillors are expected to ask staff to reach out to city property owners, over a plan to remove or scale back the vacancy rebate program Tuesday.

The program was implemented in the late 1990s and gives owners an option to apply for a rebate on taxes paid on properties that were empty for more than 90 straight days of the year.

After being mandated by the province for many years, municipalities are now being given the flexibility to adjust the plan to specific community needs, but must consult the business community first.

Staff say eliminating the rebate would hopefully help to fill some vacancies and ease the tax burden, as those rebates are shouldered by taxpayers.

Further to a letter being sent out from the city, the Downtown Business Improvement Area will be reaching out for feedback and a public meeting will be held in June.

Council meets tomorrow(Tuesday) afternoon at 4 o’clock at city hall.

Bike lane projects in front of Belleville Council

Belleville Councillors could give the go-ahead to the next two bike lane projects in the city when it meets Tuesday.

Councillors will see a report for bike lanes on Adam Street and College Street East in the industrial park, as well as on Bridge Street East, between Church Street and Haig Road.

One of the issues with putting in bike lanes in those areas, is that bylaws will also have to be passed to ban on-street parking, which could be an inconvenience for some residents and businesses.

In total, the city has earmarked a total of $250,000 for cycling infrastructure projects in 2017.

Belleville council to consider parking review committee

Belleville City Council will consider establishing a downtown parking review committee when it meets on Tuesday.

If approved the committee would include four councillors, two members at large and a representative from the Belleville Downtown Improvement Area.

The committee will be responsible for discussing short, medium and long-term needs for parking in the downtown core, as well as coming up with strategies to address those needs and presenting them to council.

A firm schedule for the committee to meet hasn’t been released, as meetings will be held at the call of the chair.

Campbellford High School wins two gold awards at Musicfest

More praise is being heaped on the music program at Campbellford District High School after a pair of gold awards at the Musicfest Canada Nationals in Niagara Falls.

Both the 24-student senior jazz ensemble and the 25-student junior jazz ensemble earned the awards and a trio of students also received individual accolades.

Individual honour awards were given to Olivia Rapos for her vocal work, Patrick Muldoon for his keyboard skills and Rahul Patel for his saxophone expertise.

Musicfest Canada is the largest student music festival in the world and involved almost 10,000 at the nationals event alone.

That group was invited after nearly 400,000 students across the country competed for spots at various regional festivals.

Most boat launches closed in Prince Edward County

With levels in the Bay of Quinte still rising, the water is close to lapping over onto properties in Rossmore in Prince Edward County.

Boaters in Prince Edward County who are hoping to hit the water this weekend should take note of which boat launches are open and closed.

A number of launches are affected due to high water levels, which have led to damage to launch ramps and docks, and repairs can’t be made until those water levels subside.

As of Friday morning, the Wellington Marina Boat Launch on Belleville Street and the Picton Marina Boat Launch on Bridge Street are both open, as is the Glendon Green Launch off County Road 18, but all others are closed.

The full open/closed launch is below:

Wellington Beach Boat Launch – Beach Street – CLOSED

· Wellington Marina Boat Lunch – Belleville Street – OPEN

· Picton Marina Boat Launch – Bridge Street – OPEN

· Mabel Kleinsteuber Boat Launch – County Rd 12 – CLOSED

· Consecon Boat Launch – Novotny Court – CLOSED

· Northport Launch – Boat Centennial Park, County Rd 15 – CLOSED

· Prinyer’s Cove Boat Launch – County Rd 7 – CLOSED

· Weller’s Bay Boat Launch – Edward Drive – CLOSED

· Rossmore Launch – Ridley Street – RESTRICTED ACCESS TO DOCK

· Glendon Green Launch – Off County Rd 18 – OPEN

13 year-old facing multiple assault charges


A fight in Ameliasburgh Ward has led to charges against a 13 year-old boy.

Prince Edward OPP were called to a home on Old Orchard Road around 6:20 p.m. and charged the boy with one count each of assault and assault causing bodily harm and three counts each of assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

Details of the incident weren’t released, neither was the youngster’s name, as it’s protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

He was held for a show-cause hearing in Belleville this afternoon.

St. Catharines man dies in water near Big Island

(Photo courtesy OPP Marine Unit)

A post-mortem has been scheduled for today in Kingston, after a 68 year-old man was pulled from the water in Prince Edward County yesterday afternoon.

Prince Edward County OPP, Firefighters and Hastings-Quinte EMS responded to the Baycrest Marina in Sophiasburgh Ward late yesterday afternoon, after reports of a body in the water near Big Island.

There’s been no word on why the victim was in the water in the first place, but he has been identified as 68 year-old Lorne Bruce MacKinnon of St. Catharines.

PRESS RELEASE: Expect Higher Lake Ontario Outflows

A map of the three water level and flow control structures in the St. Lawrence River. (Photo: International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board)

EXPECT HIGHER LAKE ONTARIO OUTFLOWS

May 18, 2017

This week the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board assessed current and expected conditions to determine the best outflow release strategy which would continue to address high water level and associated impacts throughout the system.  The water level of Lake Ontario is the highest it has been since reliable records began in 1918, breaking the previous record set in June 1952.  Lake Ontario is still above the upper regulatory threshold level for this time of year, which allows the Board to continue to maximize the outflows from Lake Ontario to provide all possible relief to riparians living along the shorelines of the entire Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River system, balancing water levels upstream and downstream to minimize flood and erosion impacts to the extent possible.  The Ottawa River flow has been declining rapidly since reaching its record-breaking peak on 8 May.  With less flow from the Ottawa River entering  Lake St. Louis (near Montreal), higher Lake Ontario outflows in the St. Lawrence River may maintain the high level in Lake St. Louis, which is above its flood level.

Further increases to outflows should be possible in the coming days and weeks. As outflows rise, navigation conditions worsen in the St. Lawrence River from the Thousand Islands to Massena, NY /Cornwall, ON.  The Board has notified the St. Lawrence Seaway that these exceptional conditions will likely impact shipping.  The Seaway is examining various strategies to ensure the safety of ships transiting this section of the St. Lawrence River.
Following one of the wettest months of April on record, the first week of May 2017 was the wettest recorded since 1900 in terms of total inflows to Lake Ontario from Lake Erie and from widespread, heavy rainfall on the lake and across the Ontario drainage basin.  If the drier conditions of the past week continue, outflow is expected to surpass inflow, at which time Lake Ontario’s water level will peak and begin to gradually decline. However, owing to the huge surface area and large volume of water on Lake Ontario, it will take several weeks to significantly reduce levels, and longer to return to more average water level conditions.  The Board advises continued caution and preparedness for sustained high water levels in the weeks to come.

On 17 May 2017, Lake Ontario was 75.86 m (248.9 ft), 84 cm (33.1 inches) above its long-term average level for this time of year. The level at Lake St. Lawrence was about 2 cm (0.8 inches) below average, while the level at Lake St. Louis is about 22.51 m (73.8 ft), 97 cm (38.2 inches) above average. At Montreal Harbour, the level is 141 cm (55.5 inches) above average.

The Board continues to monitor the system and will confer again on 22 May 2017. Outflow changes, photos, and graphs are posted to the Board’s Facebook page, and more detailed information is available on its website.

Three from Marmora charged with trafficking crystal meth

Three people in their 20s have been arrested after a drug bust in Marmora.

Members of the OPP’s Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau and Emergency Response Team raided a home on Deloro Road early this morning, seizing crystal meth and hydromorphone, along with other drug-related property.

25 year-old Jeffery Philippe, 27 year-old Christine Whiteman and 29 year-old Lisa Whiteman, all of Marmora, are facing charges of trafficking methamphetamine and possession of hydromorphone.

Philippe and Lisa Whiteman are also charged with breaching probation.

The two Whitemans were released on promises to appear in court on June 15th, while Philippe was held for a Thursday bail hearing.

Flooding closes boat launches in Brighton

(Photo: Quinte News / File)

The town of Brighton has been forced to close a pair of boat launches due to flooding.

The launch ramps at the Bay Street Marina and at the end of Ontario Street will be closed until water levels drop enough to make conditions safe again.

Meanwhile, municipal officials say despite lake levels rising again over the past 24 hours, sand bag barriers that were put in place have been holding up and no further flooding occurred.

About 30 firefighters from across Northumberland County and other volunteers have helped to protect about 25 homes from flooding and eight municipal pumps have been supplied to maintain water levels.

Sand bag materials are still available in various areas including Gosport, the west lakeshore, Shoal Point, Ontario Street and Sharp Road.

You can contact the Brighton Fire Department to have your property assessed, or if you’d like to volunteer as monitoring and flood protection efforts continue.

Impaired driving, street racing and other charges laid in PEC

(Quinte News file photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber)

A man from North Marysburgh is facing a number of charges, after OPP say he sped away from them, during an attempted traffic stop last night.

Officers saw a pick-up truck speed through the intersection of Main Street and Bridge Street, just before 11:30 p.m. and ended up chasing the driver to County Road 6 in Sophiasburgh.

The driver tried to get away from police after stopping, but was quickly arrested and officers found he had been drinking as well.

52 year-old Jackie Vaughan has been charged with impaired driving, having open liquor in the car, flight from police and street racing.

His truck was seized for a week, his license has been suspended for nine days and he was released with a June 7th court date in Picton.

Trent-Severn Waterway won’t open this weekend

High water levels caused by extreme amounts of rain are delaying the start of the navigation season on some major waterways.

The conditions have made it too dangerous to open the Trent-Severn Waterway and the Rideau Canal, which were supposed to open on Friday and boaters won’t be able to get onto those systems until at least May 26, 2017.

Parks Canada officials say the closure is being made to protect boaters from dangerous waters and to avoid any further shoreline erosion and property damage to residences and businesses along the waterway.

Parks Canada will be making adjustments to water flows to make sure things are back to normal as soon as possible and say that all lock stations will be open for land-based visitors along the TSW’s various canals.