Candidates consider the new pot rules
Candidates running for the mayor’s spot in Quinte area municipalities are facing a big question if they win – how to deal with Ontario’s upcoming rules on the sale of marijuana.
The issue is the Ford government’s plan to hand marijuana sales to the private sector, leaving the storefront issue to the municipalities, with a one-time option to say YES or NO.
Quinte News asked the mayoral candidates if they would push for retail stores.
There are four candidates in the Belleville race.
Councillor Egerton Boyce says it’s an opportunity to grow the economy, and council will have an opportunity to listen to officials and police.
Mayor Taso Christopher indicated that much will depend on just what comes before city council from the province next April, “will it be free standing buildings or in pharmacies, for instance?” And he questions if the province will provide the internet data sales numbers to prospective cannabis entrepreneurs.
Candidate Jodie Jenkins says he’s leaning toward saying “Yes” to give council a say in where legal pot will be sold. Jenkins provided this statement:
“People are already selling pot behind every convenience store and high school in the area. So, a legal pot shop isn’t bringing anything new into the community. It’s already here. City Council has a say in zoning and land use. So, we have a say in where legal pot shops go. That’s an opportunity for public consultation, building consensus and shaping the community. Do we want pot shop(s) close to where people work? where people live? a certain distance from schools, daycares, playgrounds, etc. Saying YES gives council a say in where legal pot will be sold. Saying NO means illegal pot will continue to be sold wherever it is now. Selling illegal pot is likely to continue even with a legal pot store too, I imagine.
I lean towards saying YES, but I also realize that the new mayor and council will undertake a full conversation on the issue when they take office.”
Councillor Mitch Panciuk says the city’s role is to help with the planning side of making sure any such retail stores are properly zoned and in an area “we are in favour of”.
Panciuk says he will meet with some provincial officials at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario next week to ask more questions about the cannabis legislation.
Also, Quinte West mayoralty candidates Councillor Duncan Armstrong and Mayor Jim Harrison responded to the Quinte News question.
They both support the sale of marijuana in their community.
Armstrong and Harrison both told Quinte News they want more details about how it will be done safely.
$$$ help Food For Thought
A young member of Team Canada’s lawn bowling team has inspired others to donate to a “learning” program in Northumberland County schools.
RBC Dominion Securities in Cobourg and two of its investment advisors donated a total of $1,000 to Northumberland Food For Thought.
They said they were inspired by 17-year-old Bayle van Sein who used $150 she received from the Royal Bank of Canada to organize a fundraising barbeque for Food for Thought, raising a total of $650.
Northumberland Food For Thought is a non-profit partnership that co-ordinates student nutrition programs at 36 schools in the county.
Last year more than 6,000 students benefited from a breakfast, lunch or snack program. Along with the support of area businesses and residents, local student nutrition programs also receive financial support from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services through its lead local agency, the Peterborough Child and Family Centres.
Hearing goes ahead without doctor
The disciplinary hearing against a Belleville doctor began in Toronto Tuesday, but without the doctor in attendance.
Dr. Mile Savic of the Family Medical Centre on Sidney Street faces four disciplinary issues with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Spokesman for the College, Shae Greenfield, tells Quinte News the five-member committee began the hearing which is expected to continue through Wednesday.
The College says the doctor failed to “maintain a standard of practice of the profession,” engaged in an “act of omission” that would reasonably be regarded by members as “disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.”
Savic is also charged with “incompetence.”
A College document indicates in part: …the College intends to introduce as business records the medical and hospital charts related to the patient care that is the subject of the allegations.
It says: Dr. Savic has provided prescriptions to patients, whose identities have been disclosed under separate cover, in breach of an undertaking he signed with the College on November 22, 2010, that contained terms, conditions and limitations on his Certificate of Registration, including that he relinquish his prescribing privileges with respect to Narcotic Drugs, Narcotic Preparations, Controlled Drugs and Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances.
The document cites unprofessional conduct: (a) in ordering unnecessary diagnostic testing in the absence of clinical indication or justification, and in submitting claims to OHIP in respect of the referrals; (b) in ordering a diagnostic service to be performed in a facility in which he has a proprietary interest and failing to inform patients and/or the College of the details of the interest…
Greenfield says no date has been set for announcing the decision on this present hearing.
In 2015, the College disciplined Savic, finding he “failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession; he had a conflict of interest; and he has engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct.”
After that decision, Savic had to submit to an independent assessment, was not allowed to conduct stress tests, nor permit his patients to undergo the tests at a facility owned by him or his family.
He was ordered to keep a record of narcotics prescriptions, and to pay the College costs of $4,460.
Still looking for a tenant
Six years after Belleville’s new Via Rail Station opened, the old historic station remains closed, without a tenant.
The historic Belleville train station opened 162 years ago, in 1856.
For the past few years Via Rail has been “actively working” with potential tenants but there is no sign of anyone signing on the dotted line.
Last year, Councillor Mitch Panciuk put forward the idea of having the old station be a showplace for some material from Glanmore National Historic House.
He pointed out the historic train station in Kingston had been torn down, and didn’t want that to happen with Belleville’s station.
Via Rail Canada spokesperson Mylene Belanger tells Quinte News this week that “discussions were held with potential tenants”.
It seems they were not successful.
Belanger said “We are open to any suggestions that will use the station to the best interest of the community.”
She went on to say, “Our wish is that this important heritage station once again become a destination for all Belleville residents.”
Presqu’ile Point Lighthouse project continues
The group working to preserve the lighthouse at Presqu’ile Point is pushing ahead with its project despite the loss of money earlier this year.
The Presqu’ile Point Lighthouse Preservation Society says it lost $64,000.
A former board member Michael Nicholson faces theft and fraud charges.
Society president David Sharp tells Quinte News a major charity auction in June raised about $27,000. The municipality of Brighton has pledged $25,000.
Sharp says the process is underway to get a charitable tax status for the charity, which he hopes will happen this week.
He hopes the $316,000 project to upgrade the lighthouse at Presquile Park will wind up this year. The engineering work to ensure the stability of the building has been done. He says the Society is awaiting the go-ahead from Ontario Parks on the final work, the re-shingling of the building.
Sharp says the idea is to do some ground work in the area of the base of the lighthouse next year.
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Honouring Marmora area miners
Next week the Hastings County Historical Society is unveiling its seventh and final plaque for the summer.
This final bronze historical plaque celebrates Marmora as Ontario’s first Irontown, and the hard work of the many miners who worked throughout the mineral rich area of Hastings County.
Society President Richard Hughes says many of the miners came from England where they had worked underground.
Hughes tells Quinte News, “They headed into the bush of the county and dug into the rock without safety equipment.”
Hughes says the Society wants to inform the public about how the hamlets and villages of Hastings County came about.
Hughes says the public is invited to the unveiling which takes place in Marmora’s Memorial Park at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
No marijuana at social housing
Social housing buildings in Hastings-Quinte may soon have an updated smoke-free policy, including a new definition of “smoking.”
The term smoking in the previous policy referred only to tobacco products.
Director of Community and Human Resources Services Erin Rivers reported to the Hastings-Quinte committee Wednesday that changes were needed as rules regarding the use of cannabis in Ontario are changing.
Rivers says it is necessary to include tobacco, nicotine, marijuana or any similar product.
When questioned by committee members, Rivers said this includes “vaping,” and the rules apply up to nine metres from the buildings.
The issue now goes to Hastings County council for approval.
No commercial bids at Settlers Ridge
A move to allow a local developer to change commercial land to residential in a Belleville subdivision could eventually lead to changes in the city’s Official Plan.
Three years ago, the city had zoned an area in the Settlers Ridge subdivision as commercial in a bid to bring a store into the area.
A staff report to the city’s Planning Advisory Committee this week indicated the developer had been unable to sell it for commercial use and wanted to turn it into four residential lots.
Mayor Taso Christopher said it had been proposed as a pilot project and this was “premature.”
Director of Engineering Rod Bovay told the committee the “location was not the best.”
Bovay suggested that the next review of the Official Plan could deal with the issue of commercial access in residential developments.
Councillor Egerton Boyce said he would “want to see that policy go forward.”
Boyce also commented that he would like to see the policy “tell the developer where the commercial site would go” within the residential project.
The committee is recommending that city council approve the Settlers Ridge change.
Belleville doctor facing disciplinary charges
A Belleville doctor is facing a disciplinary hearing by the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Mile Savic of the Family Medical Centre on Sidney Street faces four disciplinary issues from the College.
The College charges Savic contravened “a term, condition or limitation on his certificate of registration.”
It says he failed to “maintain a standard of practice of the profession,” engaged in an “act of omission” that would reasonably be regarded by members “as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.”
Savic is also charged with “incompetence.”
The disciplinary hearing will be held August 14 to 17.
All hearings are held at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, 80 College Street, in Toronto.
Cap and trade cut hits energy upgrades
Officials are concerned the Ontario PC government’s decision to cancel the cap and trade program will cost the local social services programs close to $1 million.
A report to a meeting of the Hastings-Quinte Community and Human Services committee on Wednesday indicated the Social Housing Apartment Improvement Program was funded through cap and trade proceeds.
This year the department had applied for $736,000 for energy efficient upgrades, in four social housing buildings. This would have been used to improve insulation and lighting. Director Erin Rivers indicated it would have improved energy efficiency, reduced the county’s operating costs and “improved tenants’ quality of life.”
Committee member Belleville Councillor Egerton Boyce.
Boyce says the program improves energy efficiency and “saves money down the road.”
Committee Chair Belleville Councillor Garnet Thompson says a number of people are depending on the funding.
He says, “It’s going to affect long range financing of our projects. It’s almost like a downloading and we can’t afford any more downloads. We need to
maintain the funds that are coming from the provincial government to sustain the number of projects that we want, whether it’s a city project or a county project, it’s important that we try to maintain these dollars.”
Thompson tells Quinte News, later this fall, a letter will go to county council calling on the province to re-examine the project and possibly find different funding to allow it to continue.
He says the idea would be to have other municipalities write to the provincial government on the issue as well.
Program for francophone children
A special program for francophone children under the age of six years may soon be developed by the Hastings-Quinte Children’s Services department.
A report to the Community and Human Services Committee on Wednesday calls for an application for federal funding in the amount of $346,500.
It indicates that francophone children and their families “find it difficult to access services and programs needed to live French in Hastings County”.
Service providers are calling for easier access to specialized services such as assessments, resource supports, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and mental health supports.
The project would provide guidance on how to best access specialized francophone services both inside and outside the local community.
The request now goes to Hastings County council.
School board concerns on sex education
As many as 25 school boards, including one in this area, have contacted Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government with concerns about its plan to revert to the 1998 sex education curriculum.
The Rainbow District School Board, out of Sudbury in northern Ontario, is the first one to say it has no plans to teach what it calls “the outdated material” under the government’s plan and will stick with the new sex education material.
Closer to home, the board that represents Northumberland County, Kawartha Pine Ridge, has added its voice to the concerns.
Chairperson Diane Lloyd calls on the government to “allow the current curriculum to remain in place pending the outcome of consultations.”
Lloyd says ” Youth today need knowledge and skills to respond to the realities, benefits and pressures associated with our rapidly changing, technology driven world. Students need our support in managing the modern risks and challenges of cyber-bullying, sexting, the prevalence of online pornography and other similar issues.
All of these significant areas, as well as critical knowledge regarding the concept of consent and awareness of the names of body parts that safeguard children against sexual abuse by helping them to speak clearly to police, are not contemplated within the 1998 curriculum.
We do not believe that reverting back to that curriculum, for any period of time, is in the best interests of our students.”
Meanwhile, Director of Education for the Hastings Prince Edward School Board Mandy Savery-Whiteway says the board will determine next steps when it receives more information from the Ministry Education.
Savery-Whiteway’s statement in full:
Trustees and senior administration are closely monitoring the media reports about the possible changes to the curriculum. To date, the school board has not received any official information from the Minister of Education regarding any changes.
It is important to be able to share factual and accurate information with our families and communities. When we receive information from the Ministry of Education we will determine next steps and share appropriate communications.