Application window open for Belleville community gardens

Due to overwhelming demand since its pilot launch in 2012, Belleville’s Community Garden Program is expanding.

The program is growing to include a total of 80 plots, in three locations across the city, including Ponton Park, the West HIll and Bayview Heights.

Belleville’s Green Program Coordinator Becky MacWhirter tells Quinte News, she’s not surprised by the program’s popularity.

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MacWhirter adds that applications are being accepted until March 24th and the successful gardeners will be chosen by a lottery draw.

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There are a few simple rules to follow for successful applicants, including not growing illegal, or overly tall plants.

The city provides the plots, but gardeners have to bring their own seeds and equipment, although MacWhirter says many gardeners are more than happy to share.

Applications can be picked up at City Hall, the Belleville Public Library, Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre and the Public Works Yard on Wallbridge Crescent.

You can also click here visit the community garden program web page and get any other information you might need.

Quinte Conservation extends water safety statement

North Beach, Prince Edward County, February 20/2017.(Photo/Quintenews)

Forecast rain through the weekend has led Quinte Conservation to extend its water safety statement.

The statement warns about changing ice conditions and slippery stream banks, which can make local waterways extremely unsafe this time of year.

The increased rain could also lead to some localized or nuisance flooding and homeowners near the water should keep that in mind and be prepared.

The environmental agency says the water safety statement is in effect at least until February 28th.

OPP are also warning about unsafe ice and say with the way temperatures have been in recent weeks, no ice in the area should be considered safe.

Digital signs used to remind drivers about PEC speed limit changes

An example of a speed sign set up in front of the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre to track traffic speed on Cannifton Road. (Photo: Tim Durkin/Quinte News)

In an effort to remind drivers about changing speed limits throughout Prince Edward County, OPP have picked up some new speed display signs, which will be moved around the area.

The portable signs are usually placed at either end of a hamlet, where speeds tend to drop from the usual 80 km/h and display the speed of approaching vehicles as a reminder for drivers to slow down.

OPP say the signs can also collect data through an internal computer, which is used to identify problem areas and lead to any needed permanent speed limit changes.

According to an OPP media release, residents in the hamlets have responded positively to the new signs and are even inviting officers to park cruisers in their driveways, as an easier way to catch people speeding.

B-Sens ink deal with Ticketmaster, prices not far off


If you’ve got plans to buy Belleville Senators tickets, you’ll be doing it through Ticketmaster.

The American Hockey League franchise announced today it has partnered with Ticketmaster to be its exclusive ticketing partner.

B-Sens COO Rob Mullowney says the service will handle AHL tickets, as well as those for other events being held at the newly-renovated Yardmen Arena.

In a media release today the team also says the deal is a significant step toward finalizing season ticket pricing and that those prices, as well as costs for single game seats, will be coming out in the weeks ahead.

Quinte West company now shipping cross-border

A Quinte West based shipping company officially has worldwide reach, after being cleared to start working across the US border.

Athena Freight Services, which was formed by ex-military members Crystal MacKinnon and Tammy Dixon in 2016, has partnered with an area customs broker to ensure seamless movement of goods across the border.

The company says it’s good news for local manufacturers who want to ship their goods directly to the states, quickly and affordably.

The owners of the company say they’re pleased to be able to expand the company in Quinte West and given their background, will be supporting Wounded Warriors Canada through some upcoming initiatives as well.

Heritage Belleville open house downtown Friday


History buffs may want to stop by Dinkel’s Restaurant tomorrow night, as Heritage Belleville celebrates Ontario Heritage Week, with its annual open house.

The event begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and a presentation at 6:15 p.m., sharing the journey of architectural restoration in Belleville and honouring people who have revitalized key buildings in the city.

Special guests include realtor Jamie Troke, who will speak about the major renovation project at 258 Front Street, as well as others.

Everyone is welcome to the free event and light refreshments will be served as well.

February 23rd temperature record broken


Mother nature has shattered the daily high temperature record for yesterday(Thursday).

The previous high temperature for a February 23rd was 11.6 degrees, set back in 1984.

But yesterday, as recorded at CFB Trenton, the mercury climbed to 15.2 degrees celsius.

The average high for the date is just above freezing at 0.4 degrees.

Belleville Walmart now selling wine and beer

Sixty-seven grocery stores across the province, including one in Belleville are now selling beer and wine.

Belleville’s Walmart on Millennium Parkway started selling the alcoholic products today.

There are a number of restrictions placed on the sales, including hours of availability, alcohol volumes and more, but all-in-all, the provincial government says the move makes life easier for consumers.

You can click here to get the full list of grocery stores selling beer and wine, as well as some of those regulations.

Brighton Briefs: Four hour marathon on Alice Street

Budget almost done

Brighton Council will be taking at least one more look at the 2017 budget before approving it.

That decision was made Tuesday night after a presentation and public input session on the spending plan, which includes a blended tax rate of 1.99%, or about $60 a year on the average home.

Mayor Mark Walas tells Quinte News a date for that meeting hasn’t been set, but there are a few things still to be discussed.

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Total expenditures for 2017 come in at just over $16.9 million, with public works spending accounting for about $5.8 million of that.

Some of those other items include extensions of the Butler Creek Trail and the completion of the EA on the water pollution control plan.

Walas added that, despite a few wrinkles to still iron out, he’s pleased with the way staff stayed within council’s budgetary constraints.

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In her report to council, Director of Finance Linda Widdifield noted that the town won’t have to borrow for any of its major road projects, but did take out some cash for ongoing renovations to the municipal office.

Council divided over CAO’s mistake

Brighton’s CAO is admitting a rather expensive mistake and apologizing for it, but some councillors aren’t buying it.

The dispute is over an already completed $47,700 contract to Behan Construction of Brighton, to provide water service to a new home on Georgina Street.

CAO Bill Watson approved the contract feeling it had to be done to meet provincial guidelines, because the home is built in a serviced area.

The problem is, Watson only has signing authority for projects up to $25,000.

He noted some confusion from his previous job with the Town of Cobourg, where his purchasing allowance gave him authority for $50,000.

Councillor Steven Baker, among others, accused Watson and some other councillors of collusion, but a municipal lawyer says nothing illegal happened, because there was no personal gain for Watson.

The lawyer says the contract is binding and must be paid and any repercussions would have to be dealt with internally.

Council has asked staff to bring back a further report on the full costs of the project, as well as a report on reviewing the town’s purchasing bylaw, by the end of April.

More on this Wednesday.

Cars impeding snow clearing to be towed to arena

The municipality of Brighton is making a change to its procedures around towing cars that impede snow clearing.

Currently, cars that are towed because they’re parked on the street when plows go by, are taken to an impound lot.

That means citizens have to pay both a tow truck fee, as well as an impound fee, which is costly and inconvenient.

Council has decided to have cars towed to the King Edward Park Arena lot, instead of the impound, saving drivers some money and limiting the inconvenience.

CAO Bill Watson says it’s providing a better service to residents and making life easier.

Drinking water 100% compliant

Brighton’s drinking water system is completely safe and meets all provincial government guidelines.

The 2017 compliance report shows no issues with water quality or systems that need to be dealt with.

CAO Bill Watson says there are some tweaks that have to be made as far as reporting, but the system is very close to being self-sufficient.

In his report to council, Watson says they will be doing some internal review and training to ensure that processes and procedures remain both fully compliant and financially efficient, moving forward.

Behan bags another road contract

Brighton’s Behan Construction has been awarded another road reconstruction project, to the tune of about $540,000.

The Orchard Crescent reconstruction includes a full excavation, sewer and watermain work, along with new curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

Behan’s bid was the lowest of five and will save the town about $30,000, which will be put back into the public works capital budget.

Councillor Steven Baker noted Behan seems to have the lowest bid on most tenders it submits.

CAO Bill Watson told council it’s because the company is local and bids low because they like doing work in their own town.

 

BGH preparing for month-long MRI shutdown

Belleville General MRI Technologist Lisa Potter is pictured with the MRI machine at BGH. (Photo: Submitted / Cathy Sharland for QHC)

It’s a minor inconvenience that will make a major difference in hospital operations moving forward.

That’s the word from Quinte Health Care staff as Belleville General Hospital prepares to deal with a period of MRI downtime next month.

Spokesperson Catharine Walker tells Quinte News, the MRI machine has reached the end of its lifespan.

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MRI services will be unavailable between March 10th and April 22nd.

Walker says during that period, they’re asking doctors to assign other types of imaging procedures, but other arrangements have been made with hospitals in Peterborough, Cobourg and Kingston to provide urgent MRI care when needed.

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Walker added that the upgrades to the machine will also make procedures faster, safer and more comfortable for patients and says the repairs couldn’t have been possible without the support of all of the local hospital foundations.

More flare training for 424 Squadron

A Hercules aircraft flies over CFB Trenton on September 15, 2016. (Photo: David Foot / Quinte News)

It’s another night of flair training from members of 424 Squadron, near Bon Echo Park tonight.

A CC-130H Hercules will be launching yellow-white flares into the air, from around 6,000 feet, over Grimsthorpe Lake, just west of the park tonight and tomorrow night.

CFB Trenton personnel say the training exercise will start around 6:30 p.m. and finish at midnight both nights.

Members of the public shouldn’t notice much of a disturbance, except maybe seeing a flash, or two, in the sky.

The Brighton Range, on Lake Ontario south of Brighton and west of Prince Edward County, may also be in use during those exercises.

Belleville Police search for robbery suspect

Belleville Police are looking for suspects after an attempted robbery in the west end of the city early yesterday morning.

Investigators say the victim was driving eastbound on Bridge Street West, when a red car started flashing its high beams behind him.

The victim pulled over and says a passenger got out of the red car, walked up to his window, flashed a knife and demanded he get out of the vehicle.

The victim drove away, while the suspect got back in the red car, which left the scene westbound on Bridge Street West.

Nobody was injured, nothing was stolen and a police canvas of the area turned up nothing.

The suspect is described as a black man, of average build and height, with very short hair.

The victim told police the man was wearing a red bandana over his face and the suspect vehicle was a small red car, similar to a Honda Civic.

Anyone with information on the incident can contact Belleville Police at 613-966-0882, or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.