Seeking better internet service
Hastings County Warden Rodney Cooney says improved internet service will be the main focus of Eastern Ontario municipalities at the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association conference beginning Monday.
Cooney, a member of the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus, says the broadband service is required for business, but also for emergency services.
Cooney says the Wardens Caucus will be meeting with provincial cabinet ministers on Tuesday regarding the situation and asking for financial support.
PC MPP criticizes long wait for Quinte area LTC beds
The Progressive Conservative critic on Seniors, Long Term Care and Accessibility says people in the Quinte area are waiting more than three years to get into a Long Term Care facility.
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker toured local facilities Wednesday with Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith.
Smith says two things need to be done to deal with the issue.
During a stop at Hastings Manor, Walker told Quinte News people are facing long waits for beds and he blames the present Liberal government.
Walker says the government must have known the population would require the service by now, but has not been planning for it.
He says there is a waiting list across Ontario for 26,000 beds and pointed out the Liberals had promised 30,000 new long term beds but have not delivered.
Local resident Cecile Flynn, who joined the MPPs at Hastings Manor, says her husband is now a “resident not a patient” at Belleville General Hospital, awaiting a long term care bed, because there is no bed available for him.
For the full interview with Cecile Flynn click here:
Focusing on improved internet access
The Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus has set two major priorities for 2018.
At its 2018 inaugural meeting, two priorities were established for the coming year, the first being the cellular and public safety broadband network.
The caucus decided to continue support for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network on its $299-million business case to the provincial and federal governments.
This would boost broadband service and increase pubic safety for residents and first responders during emergencies.
The caucus is also supporting implementation of the Eastern Ontario Economic Development Strategy, securing provincial dollars to address workforce deployment, technology, and transportation systems.
Warden of Leeds and Grenville Robin Jones was elected Chair and Renfrew County Warden Jennifer Murphy as Vice Chair.
Outgoing Chair is Mayor of Prince Edward County Robert Quaif.
Commenting on the 2018 priorities, Jones said, “For this critical election year, the EOWC has kept its focus simple and identified the two most important projects for Eastern Ontario. The rest of the year – and specifically the next few months – will be spent on advocating at the provincial and federal government levels for multi-stakeholder solutions to these proposals.”
Looking at the jobs side of marijuana
A number of companies are circling the Quinte area, looking for marijuana production sites.
From the Quinte Economic Development Commission point of view it’s a matter of processing jobs. and how it balances with the municipalities’ outlook.
Executive Director Chris King told the Commission meeting Tuesday a number of companies have been enquiring about buildings or vacant land available.
King says the marijuana processing job numbers look very good, either dozens or hundreds of workers.
Rob Clute of QuinteVation said QuinteVation is looking at production more than retail, and wants to work with the production sector on it.
Fighting for infrastructure $$$
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario continues its fight for increased government money for municipal infrastructure work.
Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher told the Quinte Economic Development Commission Tuesday that municipal infrastructure upgrades are behind $4.6 billion a year.
The idea is to have a hike to HST to give the municipalities the needed money.
Christopher, just returned from an AMO advisory meeting, says infrastructure work is very important to municipalities.
Downtown businesses warned of flooding
Belleville is warning some of its downtown businesses about potential flooding from the ice-covered Moira River.
The city has issued a warning to property owners along the Moira River of the potential for basement flooding.
They are encouraged to move items off the basement floors.
Quinte Conservation manager Terry Murphy says it’s just “a nuisance factor not a real flood situation.”
#1 TERRY ICE
He says there’s not really anything that can be done to deal with the ice.
The area concerned is on the west side of Front Street, south of the pedestrian bridge.
Murphy says similar conditions are in place in the Napanee and Tweed areas.
He says what is needed is “some slow warm weather” to get rid of the ice slowly.
Quinte Conservation continues to monitor the situation.
Quit smoking, win $$$
Lots of cash is aimed at getting Ontario and Quinte area young people to butt out.
This year more than $10,000 in cash prizes is available to be won by young adults across Ontario who join the six week contest to stop smoking.
The Hastings Prince Edward health unit health promoter David Patterson says it’s aimed at young people for a reason.
#1 QUIT SMOKE
There are four categories, including those who wish to just reduce smoking.
#2 QUIT SMOKE
Last year, more than 7,000 young adults across Ontario entered the “wouldurather…” contest.
The health unit quotes a local 2016 contest winner Teigan Sparks of Stirling:
“I tried in the past to quit smoking but it never seemed to work for me. Being involved in this contest motivated me to get started because I knew other people were doing the same thing. Once I was motivated to cut back on my smoking, at least when going out, I liked how I was feeling and decided to quit smoking entirely. Since then I’ve been smoke-free and I plan on staying that way.”
The health unit reports that research suggests that up to 20% of individuals who enter the contest will quit smoking, compared to the 5-7% success rate that can be expected when individuals try to quit on their own.
The “wouldurather…” contest is available to all young adults ages 18-29 who are residents of Ontario.
Registration is open at wouldurather.ca until January 28 at 11:59 p.m.
Quinte area job numbers growing
A labour report by CIBC Capital Markets paints an optimistic picture of the job market, and the Quinte Economic Development Commission agrees.
The report by CIBC says 420,000 jobs were added across Canada in 2017 and average wage earnings grew as well.
QEDC executive director Chris King says there’s a reflection of that in the Bay of Quinte area, with good full-time jobs being offered.
King says QEDC partners with Loyalist College to provide the free Elevate Plus training program to get workers on the job.
2 KING jobs
The CIBC report also indicates there were more high paying jobs created in 2017.
Elevate Plus Information Sessions (happening in January 2018)
Sears doors close on Sunday
Sears Canada store in Belleville is set to close its doors on Sunday.
The closure impacts 15 full-time and 45 part-time workers at the store in the Quinte Mall.
Another 600 full and part-time workers at the College Street East warehouse are also affected by the Sears company shutdown.
Late last year, the city of Belleville hosted a job fair especially for the employees right in the Sears warehouse.
A total of 59 employers were offering more than 900 jobs to the workers who were losing their positions.
Sears received court approval last October to liquidate its remaining stores.
Paramedic services testing technology
The Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services is taking part in a number of national research projects to enhance service in paramedic care.
The Emergency Services Committee, meeting in Bancroft Wednesday, heard a report on these projects.
Chief of Paramedic Services Doug Socha says the idea is to use technology in the face of extra cost pressure in the health care system.
Socha spoke to Quinte News following the meeting about the technical advances, including smart glasses for paramedics.
He says a community paramedic program to remote-monitor patients is another way.
Socha says paramedics can also send patient medical history electronically to the hospital, in another technology program..
Plowing snow within budget
Quinte West stayed well within its snowplowing budget for 2017.
Director of Public Works and Environmental Services Chris Angelo says there was a budget of $3 million for snow clearing for last year.
Angelo says the fund can be used in winters when the city goes over budget, therefore not having an impact on the taxpayers.
He says 2015 had a green Christmas and the city was able to put “quite a bit of money into the fund that year.”
Influenza showing up in Quinte area
The Quinte area flu season has been a mild one but cases are showing up in Long Term Care and Retirement homes.
Hastings Prince Edward Health Unit is tracking respiratory diseases in the homes and reports that a few cases are showing up.
Program manager for communicable diseases Bill Sherlock.
He says there is only very general advice for people wishing to avoid the influenza.
And Sherlock says, get the flu shot, available at pharmacies and from doctors.