Historical plaque to commemorate British orphans brought to Belleville

The public is invited to learn about an important chapter in Belleville’s history as the Hastings County Historical Society will be unveiling a historical plaque on Thursday.

The bronze plaque will commemorate the 10,000 orphaned, abandoned or impoverished British children brought to Belleville between 1875 to 1925 to be dispersed through the Marchmont Distribution Home.

There will be photos, artifacts and displays.

The event hosted in conjunction with the British Home Child Group International will take place at the Belleville Club at 2 p.m.

A reception to follow.

Youth-2-Youth Summit on Friday

Exciting youth opportunities in networking and leadership are just around the corner.

On Friday, there will be a Youth-2-Youth Summit at the Tyendinaga Recreation Hall for those aged 14 to 25.

This free, one day summit aims to connect youth in Hastings, Prince Edward and Lennox and Addington Counties as well as Belleville and Quinte West.

The keynote speaker, Ryan Porter will be providing a youth-focused presentation and workshop to start off the event.

Youths can earn a certificate that staff will sign at the summit that they can put directly on their resume.  Lunch and transportation will be provided. To register, visit  youth2youthsummit.ca

Guilty verdict appeal in sex assault case headed to Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of Canada. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

A Picton man found guilty and sentenced for sexual interference on a young person well under the age of 16, has had his Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed and is now appealing the verdict to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The 42-year-old man whose name was recently placed under a publication ban to protect the identity of the victim, was sentenced at the Quinte Consolidated Courthouse in April 2016 by Justice Wolf Tausendfreund.   The sentence included 20 months in jail and two years probation after being found guilty.  Charges of sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching were stayed.  The charges involved a young person well under the age of 16 and occurred three years prior.

His grounds for appeal were twofold: The judge allegedly misapplied burden of proof and he reportedly failed to consider innocent explanations for the complainant’s knowledge of a penis and sexual acts.

In May, Justices Eileen Gillese, Grant Huscroft and Gary Trotter heard the appeal in a Toronto courtroom.

On September 14, Justice Grant Huscroft ruled the appellant has shown no basis that would allow the court to interfere with Tausenfreund’s decision and dismissed the appeal.  E.E. Gillese J.A agreed with Huscroft’s decision however Justice Gary Trotter dissented stating the appeal should be allowed and a new trial ordered.

The crown in the appeal case Rachel Young, told Quinte News the man filed his Notice of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on September 20.

The Supreme Court of Canada confirmed they have received the notice of appeal however a hearing date hasn’t been set.

Fully engulfed house fire in Picton

Prince Edward County fire crews are on the scene of a fully engulfed house fire in Picton.

At 12:40 p.m. firefighters responded to 32 Talbot Street near the downtown core where the home is said to be filled with black smoke.

It hasn’t been confirmed whether or not occupants were home at the time of the blaze or the cause.

Motorists be advised Talbot Street between Argyle Crescent and Main Street is closed to traffic at this time.

Paths of Courage opens challenge course to the public to raise funds

Photographer Melissa Tran cheers with her teammates as she was lowered down after completing the rickety bridge challenge at Paths of Courage on Friday September 22, 2017. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

Cheers of encouragement filled a remote forest in Prince Edward County as courageous women crushed their fears and conquered goals.

On Friday, Paths of Courage Healing and Retreat Centre opened its challenge course to friends and family giving them an opportunity to take their inner strength to new heights.  The challenge course is rigged with climbing, balancing, traversing and diving obstacles meant to build courage and trust.  Through the Sexual Assault Centre for Quinte & District, Paths of Courage provides sexual assault survivors (both men and women) with safe opportunities to make the healing journey from the after-effects of sexual violence to self-awareness and wholeness.

Site Coordinator Nancie Brough said they are opening the challenge course to workplaces and groups to offer team building and fun while raising funds to increase programming.  “We want to funnel those dollars into our program because we only have funding for 12 weeks a year,” said Brough.  “Honestly we could be running 12 months a year.  We have a waiting list to 2019.  So we want to get people out here to see what we are doing and enjoy it.”

Brough said the programming they offer sexual assault survivors offers life changing results.

Nancie Brough

Melissa Tran makes her way across the rickety bridge as her team holds her rope. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

Program facilitator Andréa Henderson said for participants who have been through trauma especially during childhood, they often lose their sense of trust and playfulness and the challenge course helps regain those elements.

Andrea Henderson

Mental Health Advocate Cynthia Black who works with sexual assault survivors said she has referred women to the centre before so she was excited to get a first hand look.  She admitted she is a little unsure when it comes to heights but took on a tower climb and walked across the rickety bridge course while tethered to a harness.

Cynthia Black

For more on the Paths of Courage program visit https://www.pathsofcourage.com/

 

WPD says it’s working to ensure turtle protection

The wind proponent working to construct nine turbines in Prince Edward County is responding to some points made by Mayor Robert Quaiff Tuesday night.

As Quinte News reported earlier, the County voted to defer the amended Road Users Agreement with WPD White Pines due to incomplete information. The mayor stated there were still some unanswered questions about the project and whether WPD was complying with Renewable Energy Act.

In an email, WPD spokesman Kevin Surette wrote barring any unforeseen circumstances, the transmission lines will remain underground as originally planned.

He added the construction activities that the company is currently undergoing on the private properties are permitted by the REA. Surette says conditions within the REA allow construction and maintenance activities between May 1 and October 14 and impose requirements on WPD to ensure the protection of the Blanding’s Turtles that may be present in the work areas.

He concluded WPD is complying with those requirements.

Food Trucks event raises $20K for United Way

A mouthwatering event in Quinte West proved to be very successful for the Hastings and Prince Edward United Way.

On Saturday, the Food Trucks United Event brought in $20,000 for the 2017 campaign that is aiming to raise $1.97 million.

United Way Marketing and Digital Communications Manager Jodi Cooper says it was a fabulous event with 10 great food vendors including TDots NaanSense, Bytown Bayou, Big D’s Poutine Emporium, Mr. Churritos, Jerkebago, Burger Revolution, Nice Ice Baby, Born 2 Eat, and Spring Loaded. Jerkebago took home the voters’ choice award.

Jody Cooper

United Way supports over 100 programs through 40 agencies in the Quinte region.

Wind turbine project Road Users Agreement deferred

County resident and former Environmental Review Tribunal hearing appellant John Hirsch speaks to the committee of the whole on Tuesday September 19, 2017. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

The County has unanimously agreed to defer the amended Road Users Agreement with WPD White Pines due to incomplete information.

At a special committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, the horseshoe decided to defer the agreement after staff advised them there are still incomplete applications involving property agreements, road use and distribution line work under review.  The amended agreement is needed as the scope of the original project was downsized considerably from 29 to nine turbines and there are plans to have transmission lines run above ground as opposed to underneath.

Currently WPD has moved in construction equipment to some of its nine industrial turbine sites that sit on private property in South Marysburgh.  Staff informed the gallery that the company is currently operating on a previous RUA from last year that allows them to move equipment in.

Mayor Robert Quaiff said he thinks WPD should have contacted the municipality to illustrate ‘that they are good and don’t require an amendment.’ When pressed by Quinte News, Quaiff admitted the last letter penned by WPD threatening legal action if the County didn’t comply with the amended RUA wasn’t necessary.

Mayor Robert Quaiff

The committee also heard from Cheryl Anderson, of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists who stated she is concerned about road use involving changes to two intersections on Lighthall and Royal Roads as well as increased traffic on Bond Road Maypul Lane and Royal Road – known foraging areas of the endangered Blandings Turtle.

“As long as the turtles continue to come in the fall, construction should not be allowed,” said Anderson.  “This creates a dangerous nesting area for turtles.  They are endangered and it is our responsibility to protect them.”

 

 

 

 

Homeless shelter opening pushed back to 2018

The most current renderings of the proposed layout for the shelter to be located at 315 Church Street in Belleville. Drawings by Shoalts and Zaback Architects Ltd.

It could be next spring before a new shelter opens in Belleville.

Jodie Jenkins, chairperson of the board for the Grace Inn Homeless Shelter said architect drawings have been finalized however the potential opening date is being moved to 2018 as opposed to this fall.

The shelter expected to cost $500,000 and will have 15 beds for men and five for women.

Jenkins said the opening timeline is being pushed back as the group is in the process of applying for permits from the City of Belleville.  He added they are in the process of getting the record of site condition as well, since the city requires that before they can issue permits.

Jodie Jenkins

Seventy volunteers will be operating the shelter, which will have a budget of $135,000 a year.

County residents voice concerns on potential town hall sale

Rebecca Sweetman addresses the committee of the whole on the need for a Picton Farmer’s Market to be set up in the former Fire Hall portion of the Town Hall on Tuesday September 19, 2017. Also pictured Dodie Ellenbogen, National Farm Union representative. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

Despite public outcry, the County is moving towards having a historical building in Picton’s downtown core listed for potential sale through a request for proposal process.

At a special committee of the whole meeting Tuesday night, residents and interest groups packed Shire Hall to voice their concerns about the possibility of Picton’s Town Hall being sold to a private investor.  Twenty non-profit, education and community organizations utilized the upstairs of the 2 Ross Street location for meeting, creative and community space such as Food Not Bombs, that provides free community meals, the Bridge Club, Pipes and Drums classes, Karate, Ti Chi, and the creative collective.

“The town hall belongs to the people of the County,” said Christine Renaud spokeswoman for Food Not Bombs.

“It’s the glue that holds the community together,” stated Leslie Smail-Persaud.  She spoke to how the land was donated to the County in 1866 by Col. Walter Ross on the premise that it would be a Farmers’ Market.

It’s a project that Rebecca Sweetman has been trying to get off the ground for months as she feels the vacant lower level that was once the Fire Hall would serve as the ideal market.  She told the committee that if the idea was approved she has 70 potential vendors lined up adding this would honour Col. Ross’ wishes.

Many more concerns surrounded whether or not the community groups would survive if they were forced out.  Others spoke to how Greg Sorbara (owner of the Royal Hotel project) recently announced he would like to make a bid to purchase the building and keep the upstairs as a meeting hall.

This idea doesn’t sit well with County resident and agricultural worker Rosalind Adams who moved the audience to a standing ovation with her words on the need for an inclusive community.

“There is vast inequality in the County and the people who hold the balance of social and economic power do not value inclusivity,” Adams said.  “In fact it is a point of pride among them to value the opposite … the mode of development being pursued in the County in the name of prosperity is ‘Come here and spend as much money and make as much profit as you possibly can.’  But there is never any recognition given to the fact that only a tiny fraction of the population, the wealthy elite can actually do that.  If they are encouraged in this behaviour and allowed to carry on without any limits, as they are in the County, they end up with everything:  All the wealth, all the land, all the housing, all the ownership and control of all the assets of the community.  And the rest of us, the invisible, excluded majority, end up with nothing.”

Mayor Robert Quaiff admitted he knew there was the potential for this matter ‘to be hard on the community.’  He pointed to the many infrastructure woes the County is currently tackling.  He is not opposed to the building becoming a public/private partnership.

“We have offers out there from business people that may be interested in purchasing the building and letting the status quo remain in the upstairs,” Quaiff said in an interview.  “We are way too far in debt  in this municipality and we continue to keep borrowing. With a population of seniors at 63 per cent, it’s hard to keep justifying tax increases at significant proportions.  We need to remain cognizant that we have financial obligations to the entire municipality.”

Financial records for 2016 show Fire Hall expenses totaling $18,719 and the Town Hall at $51,960. With the annual revenue sitting at $6,223, the town hall is showing an operating deficit of $64,456, considerably higher than the 2015 operating loss of $37,943.

Picton councillor Lenny Epstein who has been working with the interest groups said he remains hopeful that there is still going to be a time period for the RPF that will give interest groups enough time to put forward a viable proposal.

“I would like to see more groups come into the conversation,” Epstein told Quinte News in an interview.  “I hope Mr. Sorbara will come to the table and then we will have him come along and see the cornerstone of the neighbourhood that he is trying to create.”

The matter still has to come back to council for final approval.

Celebrating 30 years of keeping kids warm

Adopt A Child – Keep Kids Warm celebrates 30 years of providing outdoor winter clothing to children on Sunday September 17, 2017. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

When retired Belleville police constable Wayne Baker started the Adopt-A-Child program 30 years ago he said he never thought it would last this long.

On Sunday, members from local police detachments, program volunteers and supporters gathered to ring in three decades of providing new snowsuits and winter boots to children of low income working families as well as those on social assistance in Belleville, Stirling-Rawdon, Centre Hastings, Deseronto and Prince Edward County.

Now under a new name – Keep Kids Warm, the program has grown tremendously from helping 117 children in 1987 to an estimated 1,300 this year.  Altogether the program has clothed over 12,000 kids.

“Before I started the program in 1987, I remember being out on patrol in the winter and being taken by the amount of kids poorly dressed,” Baker told the crowd. He said he was asked to be a part of a local Christmas toy drive and thought there must be something he could do to help put outdoor winter clothing under the tree too. He explained how he wrote the program for Adopt-A-Child and police stations, CKWS TV and 800 CJBQ all agreed to enter into a partnership.

Lance Jeffery, a former CJBQ broadcaster worked with Baker from the get go. He called it incredible how the program is still going 30 years later.

“I am so grateful that we were able to take care of those children in that first year and we are still providing support to children,” Jeffery said.

A heartwarming letter from a widow who turned to the program was read aloud.

“Almost 12 years ago I lost my husband. I found an amazing friend who took care of us and outfitted my daughter from head to toe. Not much. But when you’re going through a roller coaster ride, not having to purchase a snowsuit was a weight off of my shoulders. Now I am a volunteer with the program.”

Program Chair Belleville Police Detective Constable Ann Earl-Dempsey has been involved with the program for the last 23 years. She said it’s the look of happiness on the children’s faces when they receive their new snowsuits that keeps her coming back year after year.

She explained how the program has undergone many changes over the past 30 years.  Officers used to hand wrap the snowsuits and deliver them to recipient’s homes in the days leading up to Christmas.  They decided that children needed their snowsuits before the snow starts.  Registration was pushed back to September and now children receive their snowsuits and boots in early November.  The program name has also changed.  She said they are moving towards “Keep Kids Warm” as it better explains what the initiate aims to achieve.  A women’s knitting group in Stirling called the Knit Wits has also been donating homemade hats and mittens.  This year they donated 700 hats and mitts.

“I believe in the program and we need to give back,” she explained. “I can’t believe we have gotten this far … the only reason we made it here is because of the community and without them we wouldn’t be here. We owe everything to them.”

Registration for the program is open until September 29 at the Children’s Safety Village in Belleville located at 93 Dundas St, E. It is open to all families from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Prince Edward County residents can sign up at the ROC youth centre at 280 Main Street from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Madoc and Stirling residents can sign up at their respective police detachments.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Adopt-A-Child program can contact the Belleville Police at (613) 966-0882 ext: 4100 or Quinte Broadcasting at (613) 969-5555.

WPD plans to move ahead with construction activities soon

Industrial wind turbines. (Quinte News File Photo)

A wind proponent planning to construct nine turbines in Prince Edward County says residents can expect to see mobilization of equipment to the project site soon.

In an email to Quinte News, WPD spokesman Kevin Surette said “potential clearing activities and some internal access road construction (on private land) will begin over the next couple of weeks.” He did not provide an exact date.

There has been much divisiveness recently between the County and WPD as the municipality denied a Road Users Agreement with WPD White Pines stating the necessary entrance and building permits weren’t in place.  Our newsroom has reached out to the Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works Robert McAuley to confirm whether or not WPD has filed the necessary applications.  Surette is also looking into the application status after being pressed by Quinte News.

This comes as South Marysburgh Councillor Steve Ferguson is planning another Milford town hall meeting. Monday night.

Steve Ferguson

On Thursday, Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith questioned the project construction moving ahead.

During question period, MPP Smith said he wasn’t sure why the province would let the project move forward after downsizing the scope of the once 27 turbine contract.

Todd Smith

Minister of Economic Development Brad Duguid responded that the province has prioritized environmental protection as part of its renewable project consideration and amended the system significantly over the years to accommodate as much as possible.

He added the Conservatives will go to any length to discredit anything the Liberals have done to reform the province’s energy system and remove it from coal to cleaner sources of power.

Brad Duguid

 

The Milford town hall meeting runs from 7 p.m to 9 p.m.