Belleville Mayor gives update on AMO

Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher speaks to reporters about the conflict of interest decision, June 10, 2017 (Photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher updated local media on the city’s discussions at the AMO conference in Ottawa this week, which centred on infrastructure, active transportation and the process of how municipalities receive funding from the province.

One of the city’s delegations was with Minister of Transportation Stephen Del Duca, who gave them a bit of an update on plans to widen Highway 401 through the city.

Christopher says that idea has been gaining traction in recent years and is now moving forward, with an environmental assessment now underway.

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The city delegation also had positive discussions on active transportation.

Last year the city applied for just under $3 million worth of active transportation funding, but didn’t get any and this year Belleville is elegible for about $5 million of close to $7 million requested, since the province is already committing more money to those projects.

Councillor Edgerton Boyce was part of the delegation and says they may not get the full $5 million ask, but Transportation Minister Stephen Del Duca was extremely impressed with how prepared the city is, which could lead to a chunk of funding.

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Belleville’s delegation was also updated on plans to increase Via Rail service through the Quebec-to-Windsor corridor, which would naturally affect the city in a big way.

Councillor Egerton Boyce was part of the group who listened to a presentation from Via President Yves Desjardins-Siciliano and says the plan would mean easier access for people in Belleville, to other parts of the province, including events in Toronto.

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Via is looking for up to $6 billion from the federal government to make track and train upgrades and increase the number of trips across the province.

Meanwhile, there was also lots of discussion on the provincial funding process itself, with the mayor saying many municipalities are in favour of moving to a formula-based process, rather than the current application-based system.

Christopher says the change would make it easier for municipalities to plan ahead and would speed up the process, so municipalities don’t have to sit and wait for applications to be approved.

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Overall, Christopher says the city’s ideas and thoughts were well received and provincial ministers and staff seem to be impressed with the fact that Belleville is planning ahead and getting projects shovel-ready, before they ask for cash.

Taso reacts to Shorey appeal decision

Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher (File photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher, who also chairs the city’s police board, is reacting to news that a suspended Belleville Police officer will have to resign or be fired.

Constable Eric Shorey has been on paid suspension, while he appealed an OCPC decision on his misconduct conviction but the commission has rejected his appeal.

Christopher tells Quinte News, while any resident of the province has the democratic right to appeal, the process was lengthy and costly and some changes need to be made.

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Shorey has seven days to either resign, or be fired.

Alberta men charged after high-risk take down on 401

Two men from Alberta were arrested during an early morning high risk stop on the 401, near Kingston, on Sunday.

OPP officers were working on a tip from Toronto Police, that a suspect wanted in a domestic dispute there may be heading their way in a white Jeep Patriot.

Frontenac OPP officers spotted the Jeep on the eastbound lanes near Joyceville Road and a high risk take down was conducted just east of Gananoque a short time later.

The two men, aged 28 and 23 from Edmonton, are facing a number of weapons charges, as well as a charge of trafficking cocaine.

The investigation is ongoing and no names are being released to protect the domestic dispute victim.

Former employee voices concerns with BDIA operations

Belleville Downtown Improvement Area office. (Quinte News File Photo: David Foot.)

The Belleville Downtown Improvement Area’s former Office and Events Coordinator says there are a number of issues plaguing the organization, that must be fixed, if it wants to have any success in the future.

Debby Nolan worked with the BDIA as the Office and Events Coordinator and spoke to CJBQ’s Lorne Brooker Show this morning.

Nolan says during her tenure, which started in October of 2016, she felt at times like she was being bullied by the board.

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Nolan added that the way things were operating made it tough for her to do her job.

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The BDIA has seen a large number of senior staff turnover in recent years, without much said about why so many people were leaving their jobs, until now.

Former Executive Director Erica Holgate voiced her concern in a Thursday Facebook post, after not speaking about why she left the orginazation for a job in Kingston saying “the problem is that detrimental attitudes and people continue to be allowed to sweep things under the rug, and continue on like ‘staff are just leaving because this is a stepping stone’ is insulting.”

After the resignation of Executive Director Marilyn Lawrie earlier this week, the board has decided to hire Hazel Loyst as full-time offce manager, with the possibility of hiring part-time support staff.

 

Sea Doo driver charged with impaired

Two people made the right call by wearing life jackets while riding a Sea Doo recently, but the driver made the wrong one, by having a few drinks first.

The man and woman were riding the Sea Doo in Lake Ontario, near Bath last Saturday, when they hit a large wave and got thrown off into the water.

They weren’t able to start the vehicle, so the woman waited to be picked up by a nearby boater and was taken to shore, while the man swam back to the boat launch, where he was found by OPP Marine Officers and the Coast Guard.

An investigation found that the 33 year-old from Amherstview had been drinking and he was charged with impaired driving.

He has a court date in Napanee on August 29th.

Autopsy shows Belleville teen died of natural causes

(Photo: Facebook)

A Cuban death certificate says a Belleville teenager who died while on vacation there, passed away from natural causes, according to a Toronto Star report.

18 year-old Alex Sagriff was found dead in her hotel room in Varadero, Cuba on July 6th, while on vacation organized by private travel company S-Trip.

The Wednesday report in the Toronto Star cites the death certificate, which was submitted by S-Trip and says Sagriff died of heart-and-lung-related issues, including pulmonary edema, acute myocardial infarction and ischemic heart failure.

The report also says that, according to the certificate, no alcohol was found in Sagriff’s system.

Her family declined to comment to the paper on the Cuban autopsy’s findings.

Sagriff had recently graduated from St. Theresa Secondary School and had committed to attending Loyalist College this fall.

A GoFundMe page set up to help Sagriff’s family with funeral costs and other expenses raised more than $91,000.

Money remaining from that will be used for various community support initiatives, like bursaries or other services.

Local podiatrist makes donation to Gleaners Food Bank

A local podiatrist has celebrated a significant milestone by giving away some gifts of his own.

Martin Brain, the Quinte region's only podiatrist, marked 30 years in practice at his Dundas Street office in Belleville today, where he and his wife presented long-time patients with special commemorative gifts.

Along with those, Brain also made a $3,000 donation the Gleaners Food Bank to mark the occasion.

Plenty of SAR activity on the bay today

There’s no need to be alarmed about the heavy military presence around the Bay of Quinte Today.

Multiple calls to Quinte News noted the presence of search and rescue aircraft buzzing over the water with other personnel in boats on the bay as well.

8 Wing officials have confirmed that a CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron was out today, but crews were just going through some hoist training, which is a technique of removing people from the water into a hovering helicopter.

SAR-Techs have completed training for the day.

424 Squadron is constantly training in order to be ready should they be called upon.

Murder charge laid in connection with Tweed man’s death

OPP have laid a first degree murder charge, in connection to the death of a Tweed man on the weekend and have identified the victim.

Details of what happened haven’t been released, as the investigation is ongoing, but police say 53 year-old Dart MacPherson was found dead at home on Kinlin Road, around 7:45 last Saturday morning.

36 year-old Samuel Koch of Tweed was arrested and charged with first degree murder and has a court date in Belleville on September 7th.

The Central Hastings OPP Crime Unit and OPP’s Criminal Investigations Branch are looking into the incident, under the direction of Detective Inspector Jim Gorry.

Anyone who might have information on the case can call the nearest OPP detachment, or Crimestoppers.

Lockdown at Warkworth Institution as staff conduct search

(Photo: File Photo / Quinte News)

Inmates at Warkworth Institution have been under a lockdown most of the day.

The measure was put in place at the medium-security federal prison, at 10:10 a.m., so staff could conduct a routine search for contraband .

Assistant Warden Scott MacPherson says the search is necessary to protect the institution as a whole, as well as its staff and inmates and that normal operations will resume when the search is over.

MacPherson also says visits have been suspended until the search is completed.

Ramps closed at Highway 33 and 401 in Trenton

A crash involving two tractor trailers caused a closure of the on and off ramps of the westbound 401 at Trenton-Frankford Road, on August 14, 2017. (Photo: Submitted / Chris Hubbard)

UPDATE @ 3:05 P.M.: Both the on and off ramps at Highway 33 in Trenton are closed until further notice. The right lane and shoulder are also blocked.

 

The westbound 401 on/off ramp at Highway 33 in Trenton is blocked due to a collision.

Calls to Quinte News say two tractor trailers collided near the Trenton-Frankford Road exit and one of them is blocking the merge lane, of the on-ramp, at that exit.

Reports say both trailers are heavily damaged and will need to be towed away, but the tractors may be driveable.

We’re waiting for more information, but for now, avoid the westbound 401 at Trenton-Frankford Road if you can.

 

OPP recover items stolen from PEC cars, youth charged in connection

A young teenager has been charged with stealing from cars in Prince Edward County on Monday.

OPP started looking for a suspect after multiple unlocked cars were entered on Ferguson, West Mary, Chapel, Paul and Picton Main Streets.

Officers recovered a number of stolen items including cash, jewellery and other personal property.

The 14-year-old, whose name is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is charged with possession of property obtained by crime and will appear in court in October.

Police are reminding drivers to lock their cars at night and are asking anyone who might have had something stolen earlier this week to contact Constable Gabriel Proulx at the Prince Edward detachment.