New scoreboard/press box in QW

Work has started on a new press box for the Duncan McDonald Gardens in Quinte West (Photo: Tim Durkin/ Quinte News)

Quinte West has signed off on the purchase of a new scoreboard and the creation of a new press box for the Duncan McDonald Community Gardens.

Tuesday night, council approved buying the score clock estimated to cost between $240,000-$250,000. Council will use up to $250,000 from the City’s working fund reserve to purchase the clock.  Combined the two projects are expected to cost around $500,000. The first $250,000 received in revenues from the agreement with Pepsi will be used to repay the working fund reserve.

The score clock project includes the replacement of the clock at the north end of the arena and refurbishing the second clock to ensure they are linked. The new four-sided scoreboard with high definition television screens will be capable of automatic playback for sports events such as hockey and figure skating.

John McDonald with the Trenton Golden Hawks, the rinks main tenant, says it is a big win, especially ahead of the Central Canadian Championships in May (Dudley Hewitt Cup).

John McDonald

There is no timeline for when it will be installed however the plan is to have it ready for when the Trenton Golden Hawks host the 2017 Dudley-Hewitt Cup set to run from May 2nd – 6th.

The Trenton Golden Hawks behind scaffolding which has been erected for the creation of a new press box at the Duncan McDonald Gardens in Trenton (Photo: Tim Durkin/ Quinte News)

 

Belleville trio charged in drug bust

Several people from Belleville have been charged with trafficking cocaine, including a man said to be associated with the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, after a drug raid in the city’s east end.

On Wednesday, members of the Belleville Police Service Intelligence and Street Crime Unit and the Provincial Biker Enforcement Unit assisted by the Belleville Police Emergence Response Team executed a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrant.

As a result of the search warrant, police seized cocaine, digital scales, cash, cell phones and ammunition.

Thirty-six-year-old Blair Crawford, 46-year-old Kevin Cox and 19-year-old Meaghan Cox were charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime.

According to police, Crawford is associated with the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club – an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.

Meaghan Cox was released on a Promise to Appear with a March 23 court date, Blair Crawford and Kevin Cox were held for a Show Cause Hearing scheduled for February 22.

‘Municipalities stronger together’

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff greets Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison at the New Year’s Levee while Susan Quaiff and Jane Harrison share a welcoming hug. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

The Quinte region will be stronger if municipalities work together says Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff.

Mayor Quaiff made the statement Wednesday morning in response to Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison’s suggestion that the Quinte Economic Development Commission should expand to include the County. Mayor Harrison told the QEDC board on Tuesday that the County should join because it is losing out on federal and provincial money by not belonging.

Currently Belleville, Quinte West and Brighton are the only members of the QEDC.

Mayor Quaiff pointed to the many discussions around the horseshoe over the past decade about QEDC because of its heavy involvement in industry.

Mayor Robert Quaiff 2

He added he prides himself in having a good relationship with Mayor Harrison, Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher, Hastings County Warden Rodney Cooney and former Warden Rick Phillips.

Mayor Robert Quaiff

Quaiff also agreed with Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher’s sentiments ‘there are no boundaries or borders.’

Our TMH kicking off membership drive

Sharon Urquhart and Mike Cowan of Our TMH announce a street dance to celebrate its 9,000 members while opening the door for more. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

Our TMH is looking to double its membership.

Tuesday night, Mike Cowan, chair of the local advocacy group addressed council requesting permission to increase its members from 9,000 by holding a membership drive in May.

Following the meeting, Cowan said they’ve come a long way over the past two years with the threat of the Trenton Memorial Hospital closure.

Mike Cowan

Fellow member Sharon Urquhart said there is a lot on the horizon with OurTMH working to get a dialysis unit at TMH, a health hub and doctor recruitment.

“With 20,000 members we will be able to do all of those things,” she said.

Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison said the group has council’s support.

Cowan and Urquhart also encouraged the community to get their dancing shoes on as they will be hosting a free street dance in partnership with the Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation on June 10.

Urquhart said it will be a licensed event with food, live music, entertainment and guest speakers. She added it is a family oriented celebration and children are welcome to attend.

It gets underway at City Hall in Trenton on June 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Quinte West asked to tap into broadband plan

Plans are underway to bring faster Internet service to every rural resident and business in Quinte West and Brighton.

Tuesday night, Dave Dingle, a member of the Canal-District Rural broadband advocacy group addressed Quinte West council on plans to apply for government funding to assist in installing fibre optic cable and increasing Internet connectivity. He made a similar presentation to Brighton council two weeks ago where the municipality showed its support in principal.

“We are intending to connect everyone with the same service, same price, same connection cost, no contract and 200 times faster,” explained Dingle.

If approved, he said it would take two to four years to have everyone hooked up and it will also go through the urban areas of Quinte West and Brighton.

Council however was hesitant to the idea.

Councillor Karen Sharpe asked if the community led group would have to compete with the already established Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) for government funds.

Dingle explained their big is an additional model to EORN’s.

“They select a telecommunication company to carry out the installations,” he offered. “Our opinion is the winner should be the community. “Small towns in Ontario and around the world have discovered it’s quite feasible to build a community-owned network.”

Councillor Allan DeWitt recognized the need for faster service but also pointed to there being ‘a lot of big players in the game.’

“I’m with Bell and have great Hi-Speed,” he said. “My neighbours around the the bend are on dial-up.”

Dingle said all the group was looking for council’s support in principal to go ahead with the application adding they are not proposing to compete or ‘go up against Bell.’

He added the group is willing to give the City a spot at the decision making table.

They hope to have their application ready by April and a business plan is in the works.

A staff report is due back on March 6 outlining the key principals needed to move forward.

Meanwhile, mayor Jim Harrison said they will be having an upcoming discussion with Parks Canada about fibre optics at a city hall meeting planned for March 22.

“we have asked that they put the necessary fibre optic in when they do the work on the Murray Canal Bridge,” mayor Harrison said.

He said the meeting will outline 2017-2018 projects including four big ones: the Trenton Dam and Lock, the Glenn Miller and Lock Dam 3, Frankford Dam and the Glenn Ross Swing Bridge.

The meeting runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Quinte West honours lifesavers

Rex Somerville recalls the evening members from St. John Ambulance saved his life during a Lifesaving Award presentation at Quinte West council on Tuesday February 21, 2017. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

Rex Somerville says he thanks God everyday for the lifesaving skills shown by members of St. John Ambulance and a ready available defibrillator.

After playing a ballgame at Prince Charles School in Belleville on September 13, 2016 and showing no signs of distress the 56-year-old Trenton man collapsed suddenly from cardiac arrest.

Gino Leone, Greg Rupnow and Scott Lafleur were recognized with lifesaving awards at Quinte West council Tuesday night for their quick actions in reviving Somerville through CPR and a defibrillator.

A teary-eyed Somerville said thankfully it took one shot from the defibrillator to get his heart going again before the paramedics arrived.

Rex Somerville 1

A humble Rupnow explained they had a lot of help in saving Somerville.

Greg Rupnow

At a Hastings County council meeting in October 2016, certificates were presented to Noel Barriage, Lillian Jolliffe-Czindl, Cherie Schiere, Scott Lafleur, Greg Rupnow and Gino Leone in recognition of their life-saving efforts.

Now Somerville and his wife are working to get as many defibrillators as possible across Quinte. Right now they are raising funds for Slow Pitch For Autism in Belleville. A cheque presentation is planned for April.

Driver charged in Hwy 62 crash

A 58-year-old city man has been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of a drug following a collision in Belleville on Sunday morning.

At 8 a.m. Central Hastings OPP were called to a two vehicle crash on Highway 62 at Maitland Drive.

An investigation revealed a vehicle travelling southbound on 62 rear-ended another southbound vehicle which had been slowing down for a red light at the intersection of Maitland Drive.

Stewart Carman has been charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle by drug.

Carman’s vehicle was towed and he was issued a 90 day automatic driver’s licence suspension. He was released from custody on a Promise to Appear with a court date of March 9, 2017.

Woman injured in Old Hwy 2 crash

A woman has been transported to Trenton Memorial Hospital with unknown injuries following a two vehicle crash in Quinte West Tuesday afternoon.

Around 2:20 p.m., emergency response crews were called to the scene of a two vehicle collision on Old Highway 2 between Quinte View Drive & Gingras Road.

Motorists be advised one westbound and eastbound lane of Old Highway 2 are closed.

There are no more details available at this time.

Body recovered after tragic snowmobiling incident

OPP have recovered the body of a 53-year-old man killed in a tragic snowmobiling incident on Pusey Lake in Highlands East over the weekend.

On Saturday night, Bancroft OPP were called to the lake after a snowmobile went through the ice.

An investigation determined that the operator and passenger entered the water on the snowmobile and only the female passenger was able to get out of the water to safety.

On Monday, OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit members recovered the body of Robert Bell from Mount Albert, Ontario.

He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The investigation is continuing.

Pedestrian hit by CP train in Belleville

Wallbridge-Loyalist Road in Belleville is closed after a CP train struck a pedestrian Saturday morning.

At 11:11 a.m. emergency response crews were called to the area of Old Highway 2 and Wallbridge Loyalist Road after a pedestrian was hit.

Belleville Police Staff Sargent Al Portt couldn’t provide any more details of the incident or the condition of the pedestrian.

Portt did confirm the road closures will be in place for the next two hours on Wallbridge-Loyalist at Loyalist College and Dundas Street West.

Motorists attempting to travel southbound or northbound in that area are encouraged to use Montrose Road.

Leo Finnegan honoured with road dedication

Quinte Healthcare CEO Mary Clare Egberts (L) and Leo Finnigan (R) cut the cake at a PEMHF celebration. (Photo: Quinte News)

A former mayor of Prince Edward County and champion for healthcare could have a road named after him.

On Thursday, the committee of the whole carried a motion that will see a new road named after Leo Finnegan.

The former Prince Edward Memorial Hospital Foundation board chair has been a strong advocate for a new hospital, so Mayor Robert Quaiff said it is fitting the road leading up to the new Age in Place Lands in Picton be named after Finnegan.

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If approved by council, Finnegan Road will connect to County Road 49 just south of the existing McFarland Home entrance providing access to the new Wellings of Picton site.

Finnegan served as mayor from 2003 to 2010.

Epstein tables idea for more affordable housing

Lenny Epstein speaks to affordable housing at the committee of the whole meeting on February 16, 2017. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

A Picton councillor is seeking changes to the County’s comprehensive zoning bylaw to allow for more affordable homes.

At Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting, Lenny Epstein put forth a motion that would see a reduction in the minimum dwelling size (floor area) from 75 square metres to the minimum allowable size as per the Ontario Building Code. A one bedroom home would be 400 to 500 square feet.

Epstein said he has heard from a lot of people that the current size is preventing them from building the home they want.

“The hope is to help us move forward with a corporate strategic plan to allow people to have a diversity of affordable housing options,” Epstein explained. “Food and housing adds up and the cost of building and maintaining larger homes is a barrier for people that don’t need that kind of floor space for their own needs. This will allow some flexibility.”

Councillor Bill Roberts applauded the motion.

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” he said pointing to other areas like Ottawa and Peterborough that have embraced the idea of smaller affordable homes. “It is trending and attractive to people looking for affordable innovative housing options.”

Speaking to the recent 2016 census data showing a 2.1% drop in the County’s population, Councillor Jamie Forrester said the census report shows more residents are leaving the County.

“More people are building and buying homes but not living here,” he said. “It’s a great idea for in-town and elderly people looking for a smaller home but we have to be very careful how we roll this out.”

He and Councillor Janice Maynard said they would like to see a stipulation that this can only be put into effect for people looking to reside in the home year round and not for any form of tourism.

Currently there is a housing study in the works and a Request for Proposal has gone out to create affordable homes at the former Wellington arena, and the Emmanuel Baptist Church group is working on a project for a complex for seniors.

The motion calls for a staff report outlining a public consultation process on revising the bylaw.