Students file lawsuit against colleges
This week a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the province’s 500,000 students, seeking tuition and fee refunds.
Loyalist College student Ashley Glinsky and Jasmine Spencer are the two Loyalist College students named in the lawsuit.
Glinsky says there are two options.
Glinsky says the action is not against the union since members are exercising their right to strike.
The students have hired a Toronto lawyer through Charney Law firm and are awaiting a response from the colleges.
Glinsky is the official plaintiff and student representative for the lawsuit at Loyalist – a liaison between the students, the group, and the team of lawyers.
Belleville council briefs
Hastings County took its 40-unit housing project to Belleville city council Tuesday night.
As Quinte News reported earlier this fall, the $6.4 million project will provide housing for those in need of assistance.
CAO Jim Pine said the province is providing $4.5 million with Hastings County picking up the rest.
Pine asked council to waive the building and development fees, for a total of $220,000, if the units are built in Belleville.
He said Quinte West would be asked to do the same if the project is built there.
Pine said a decision on location would be made after the request for proposals from developers have been received.
Councillor Garnet Thompson, Chair of Hastings-Quinte Community and Human Services pointed out 65% of those on social services are from Belleville.
His committee recently approved the project.
Council is not able to waive the fees, but agreed to pay the cost, if the units are located in the city.
New traffic signal
It will be easier to access the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre soon, since traffic lights will soon be installed at the south entrance.
Monday night, city council approved the $40,000 project.
Councillor Egerton Boyce commented on how dangerous the site is at night and he was “surprised a pedestrian crossing the street has not been hit by a car.”
When questioned by Councillor Paul Carr, staff indicated the signal on Cannifton Road would stay green until activated by a vehicle leaving the Sports Centre.
A design for signals at the north entrance will come forward in the 2018 budget.
Calling for flood insurance
Belleville is joining a campaign calling on the provincial government to create a provincial flood insurance program.
At city council Monday night, Councillor Jack Miller pointed to the low level of support Belleville received during a flood situation in Thurlow Ward a few years ago.
Miller said it was “virtually nothing”.
Council decided to support a call by the town of Lakeshore for the government to set such an insurance plan.
Working on the Official Plan update
Belleville city council has approved moving ahead on an update of its official plan.
Monday night, city council awarded the contract to Watson and Associates Economist Limited and Dillon Consulting for consulting services at a cost of $74,000 plus tax.
Director of Engineering Rod Bovay told council public information meetings will be held in the next few months.
Maintaining the Pollution Control Plant
Council gave pre-budget approval of $3.1 million for the operation and maintenance of the Belleville Pollution Control Plant and the Jane Forrester Park pre-treatment facility at the harbour.
This will cover the first year of services by the Ontario Clean Water Agency.
Hometown Hockey coming to Belleville
It’s now official, Rogers Hometown Hockey is coming to Belleville and the city is putting up some money to help it happen.
Rogers Hometown Hockey tour is an NHL season hockey festival visiting cities with live entertainment, NHL alumnae visits, and lots of community events.
In the festival there are fundraising opportunities for local hockey organizations, and community promotion through digital and social media through Rogers Sportsnet and Hometown Hockey outlets.
Belleville Chamber of Commerce CEO Jill Raycroft told council it will showcase Belleville nationally.
The showcase attracts crowds during a live pre-game and NHL game broadcast led by popular hosts Ron McLean and Tara Slone. It’s viewed by one million people and is expected to draw 10,000 people to the venue during the broadcast.
It’s predicted the events will bring in a gross economic impact to the area of $1 million.
Raycroft said no decision has yet been made but the venue could be the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre or Downtown Belleville, possibly making some use of the Belleville Armouries. The Chamber will organize the event on behalf of the city.
As many as 50 local residents will be hired to be ambassadors for the weekend. Booths will be available for local charities and agencies.
Five minor hockey organizations will represent the area as weekend all-stars.
City council approved $50,000 for the event to be held February 24 and 25.
This money will be used for things such as lighting, barricades, washrooms, security, backup power and emergency services.
Zeroing in on downtown parking
Belleville has set a process in place to take a serious long-range look at its parking issues in the downtown, including the possibility of a parking facility.
The downtown parking committee presented a list of nine long-term recommendations to city council on Tuesday night.
High on the list were: to review rates, and eliminating parking in the Riverside lot.
Councillor Jack Miller told Quinte News “there’s been a long discussion for a more pedestrian-friendly, more park-like atmosphere along the perimeter of the Moira River. In order to do that we have to reduce parking in the area. In order to do that we have to find it elsewhere.”
Miller says the options are “very limited and that makes a parking garage a real possibility.”
Also, Miller says the city is trying to attract residents downtown. In order to do that he says “we are going to have to provide overnight parking options. Right now, they are minimal. This all works toward a parking garage.”
Councillor Mitch Panciuk said there is very little money in the parking reserve. He says a parking garage should also involve the private sector and not be supported by taxpayers.
Council approved in principle the recommendations, and extended the mandate of the committee to the end of the council term in 2018.
One-day traffic blitz catches speeders
A one-day traffic enforcement blitz in the Quinte area showed that speeding is still a problem.
As part of the Quinte Region Traffic Coalition blitz, police laid 109 speeding charges to drivers, during the 24 hours.
Many drivers continue to make excuses for driving over the speed limit.
Quinte West OPP Detachment Commander Inspector Christina Reive says officers have heard many excuses, everything from “I left the stove on,” or “I was listening to a good song on the radio,” to “I was keeping up with the cars around me.”
In Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, the motor vehicle collision-related injury rate is significantly higher than the provincial average.
The Traffic Coalition partnership offers a few tips to help avoid speeding, such as – try not to over-schedule your day, plan for extra travel time, know your route and check on road and weather conditions ahead of time.
The Quinte Region Traffic Coalition is a partnership of Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Belleville Police Service, 21 Military Police Flight, CN Police Service, Tyendinaga Police Service, OPP SAVE Team, Napanee Highway Safety Division and the Bancroft, Central Hastings, Napanee, Prince Edward County, and Quinte West OPP Detachments.
The QRTC aims to reduce the number of incidents resulting in injuries and deaths on roads, trails, and waterways in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties.
New police station design almost ready
Preparations for Belleville’s new police station are moving ahead.
The new $20 million station will be built at the corner of College and Sidney streets.
The drawings for the station are 95% complete.
City property manager Joel Carr-Braint.
The station is being built within the original water service and Veridian Connections building.
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Carr-Braint says start time is spring, with completion in the summer of 2019. Meanwhile, work is underway at 31 Wallbridge Crescent to accommodate the city employees bumped from the College Street location .
Carr-Braint says, “By the end of the year, we hope to have some demolition going on at the site, at the future site at College and Sidney streets. It’s soft demolition, which means interior walls and inside workings, the shell stays the same.”
Earlier this fall, city council learned the bid by Shoalts and Zaback, for design of the Belleville police station had exceeded the $1 million price the firm had proposed to the city more than a year ago.
A report to council explained why expenditures jumped more than $280,000 above the single bid offered.
The company said that three factors resulted in the increase for the project.
They included a change in the scope of work, including furniture selection, interior design, and security system.
Local Remembrance Day services
REMEMBRANCE DAY – Saturday, November 11, 2017
Following is a list of ceremonies throughout the Quinte region. Most locations are holding receptions following the ceremony.
Belleville -11 a.m. at the cenotaph on Station Street. This ceremony will be broadcast on 800 CJBQ, beginning at 10:55 a.m.
Quinte West –
Ceremonies begin at 11 a.m.
Public is asked to be at the cenotaph by 10:45 a.m.
Prince Edward County –
Picton – 10 a.m. service at the United Church
11 a.m. ceremony at the cenotaph
Wellington – 10 a.m. a service at the church.
11 a.m. Remembrance Day service at the cenotaph.
The street will be closed and traffic detoured.
Consecon – 11 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion
Brighton – 11 a.m. ceremony at the cenotaph in Memorial Park
Tyendinaga Township – 10:30 a.m. outside the municipal office, 859 Melrose Road
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Tyendinaga Territory – 9 a.m. at Christ Church HM Chapel Royal of the Mohawks
Deseronto – 10:45 a.m.at the cenotaph on Main Street
Stirling-Rawdon – 9 a.m. at the Harold cenotaph
11 a.m. at the Stirling cenotaph
Centre Hastings – 10:30 a.m. at the Madoc cenotaph
10:30 a.m. at the Ivanhoe cenotaph
Marmora and Lake – 11 a.m. at the cenotaph in Marmora Park
Tweed – 11 a.m. at the cenotaph in Tweed Memorial Park
Campbellford– 11 a.m. at the cenotaph
Hastings – 10:30 a.m. at the cenotaph
Warkworth – 11 a.m. at the cenotaph at Memorial Hall
Taking time to remember
Remembrance Day is being marked in Belleville and across the Quinte area on Saturday.
Various branches of the Royal Canadian Legion, along with other organizations, will hold ceremonies at cenotaphs throughout the region, to pay honour to those who have died fighting in Canada’s military.
President of the Army Navy Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAF) unit in Belleville, Brian Woodley, says he hopes people are aware of the significance of the day.
Parade Marshal Larry Shoebridge, of the Hastings Prince Edward Regiment, urges people to “not forget”
For a list of the ceremony location CLICK HERE
Questioning ambulance response times
Rural areas of Hastings-Quinte are seeing longer ambulance response times and Centre-Hastings is leading the campaign for change.
Over the years, Mayor Tom Deline has often expressed concern about ambulance response times in his community.
At the Emergency Services Committee meeting Wednesday, Deline questioned when the ambulance response times would be reduced.
A report to the committee showed those times for Code 4 emergency calls at more than 13 minutes, compared to under five minutes in Bancroft.
Chief of Paramedic Service Doug Socha says urban and hospital areas see more calls.
Socha says planning is underway on the 2018 budget, and more ambulances could be considered.
Counting the homeless in Belleville
A program to count the homeless in Belleville is now underway and another program is in the works for next spring.
The province has a plan to end “chronic homelessness” by 2025, and one of the first steps is to actually count the number of people who are without a home.
Director of Hastings-Quinte Community and Human Services Erin Rivers told the committee Wednesday some tracking is done through the Red Cross overnight program but not enough.
The department, which has received $15,000 from the province for the program, plans to partner with Bridge Street United Church for the count in April.
Meanwhile Steve van de Hoef of Bridge Street United says the church is already involved with a federally funded count for another agency.
For the spring count, a registry week will be held in Quinte West, Madoc and Bancroft. Various local agencies will assist the department in registering the homeless people in these areas.
The provincial guidelines say the count should cover at least 30% of the population of the community and human services area.
The ministry indicates it will be held every two years “in order to compare trends and progress in the elimination of homelessness.”
Old buildings are coming down
Work continues on demolition of a number of older buildings in the city, as Belleville clears up some land it owns.
Property manager Joel Carr-Braint says the city is working to demolish a few older buildings, including the Ben Bleecker building at the former Quinte Exhibition and Raceway grounds in the west end.
City council hired Parkside Landscaping to demolish the old barns, sheds, and pavilions at a cost of $42,000, clearing 6.6 acres of land for the city.
Also, the Pointe Anne fire hall is on its way out.
Old deteriorating city-owned buildings on Atkins Road and Yeomans Street are also under the hammer.
Christmas Kettles campaign gets a ride
Salvation Army volunteers, with the Christmas Kettles, will get a free ride throughout Belleville thanks to a donation made Monday.
Veridian Connections presented the Salvation Army with transit passes for the volunteers to get around the city with their kettles, seeking donations from the public.
Veridian donated five one-month passes for December, and also 50 adult passes to be used at any time.
Kettle Campaign Volunteer Coordinator Debbie Scott says they are the agency’s clients as well as volunteers.
She says most of them don’t have their own transportation.
Scott says, last year Bill Horsburgh volunteered 146 hours at the Christmas Kettles, raising money for the Salvation Army work.
In a statement, Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher said, “We thank the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign for the support they provide our community. Today’s presentation exemplifies another great community partnership – this one engaging Veridian, City Transit and the Salvation Army. Partnerships such as these strengthen our city and we value these initiatives.”