February 22, 2018

Mayor issues wastewater warning

Mayor Al Alls is predicting dire consequences if the Erin community fails to deal with the need for sewage treatment.
In an open letter to residents, he said inaction would bring “unfathomable” risks.
“One of the most important moments in the history of our Town is currently before us,” he said. “This council agreed to accept the challenge despite the hardships that came with it, to ensure a bright future for Erin.”
He wrote an open letter in January on the same theme, but his current comments come after much criticism of proposals in the Wastewater Environmental Assessment at a recent public meeting.
“Erin is a great place to live – however presently, only for a select few,” he said. “Those residents who built our town have been forced to move Guelph, Georgetown or Orangeville when they age because of a lack of Senior’s facilities.
“The children and grandchildren of those residents are also forced to leave our borders due to a lack of affordable housing options. To create a prosperous and wholesome community that works for all ages, we need to address this deficiency.”
He said sewers are needed to stop “massive” pollution of the environment by septic systems, to allow for a greater variety of residential development, to enable business growth (which would offset residential taxes) and to ensure that schools do not close due to lack of enrolment.
He said developers will pay half the cost of the $118 million system, and tens of millions of dollars will be needed from senior governments to make the project possible.
“The costs may be high, but the cost of doing nothing is greater,” he said.
The full text of the mayor’s message can be read in the Opinion section at erinadvocate.com.

LOOKING BACK – Hillsburgh soldier wounded

From the Advocate – 100 years ago (1918)
Hillsburg soldier wounded
In the list of wounded in Wednesday’s papers we note the name of W. Hornett, No. 451015, of Hillsburg. In other war news, the Advocate reports that 15 British vessels were recently sunk by German U-Boats. The following is a list of articles, packed and sent to Red Cross Supplies, Toronto, from the Erin Ladies’ Patriotic Association during the past week: 14 trench caps $7.00, 7 trench shirts $17.50, 22 handkerchiefs $2.20, 2 and a half doz. comfort bags $7.50, 35 pairs socks $52.50, 17 pyjama suits $27.00, 22 wash cloths $2.20. Total $115.90.
From the Advocate – 35 years ago (1983)
11-year-old saves sister
Lisa Bint, 7, of Mill Street in Hillsburgh is a very lucky girl to have a cool-headed brother named Leigh. Lisa decided to go skating on Sunday on the creek behind the Medical Centre in Hillsburgh, and fell through the ice. Luckily, her brother Leigh, 11, and his friend Ryan Kent, 7, also of Hillsburgh were playing nearby and pulled the shivering child to safety before the cold could take its toll. Sunday was cold, but not cold enough to produce the ice necessary to skate. Before venturing out onto ponds or rivers, make sure it’s safe.
Water rates to rise in village
Erin Village council has announced that there will be an increase averaging five per cent on local water bills. Users who are metered will now be charged 33 cents per 100 gallons for the first 6,000 gallons. For those not metered the minimum payment will be $5.25 per month. For those with taps only, the cost will go to $4.50, with a 10 per cent discount for paying on time
From the Advocate – 25 years ago (1993)
Erin may get larger calling area
The isolation that many Erin-Hillsburgh Bell Telephone subscribers have felt for years may end this fall. Bell has a proposal to allow local subscribers to call as far as Burlington, Bowmanville and Bradford without long distance charges. That means Brampton, Milton, Acton, Georgetown and Caledon East would be local calls. Guelph and Orangeville, however, would remain long-distance calls. The proposed monthly cost of basic telephone service for a Hillsburgh area home would go up from $6.40 to $21.95. Jack Dyce, President of the Shamrock Seniors Club, plans to start a petition to have Orangeville included.
Nodwell a Lieut.-Colonel
A column called “Recycling the Advocate” looked back at the Advocate issue of February 18, 1943. Capt. R.J. Nodwell, son of Mr. and Mrs. R.D. Nodwell of Hillsburgh, had been promoted to the rank of Lieut.Colonel, commanding the 27th Canadian Field Ambulance. Nodwell enlisted at the outbreak of the war, served overseas for some time and returned to Canada the previous summer. The Advocate joined with R.J.’s many friends in extending congratulations on his promotion.
From the Advocate – 20 years ago (1998)
Doctorate at 22
Brenda Allen, formerly of Ballinafad, who graduated from Erin District High School in 1989 at the ripe old age of 13, is now “Dr. Allen”. Brenda has been attending Oxford University and recently completed her D.Phil. thesis in numerical analysis and computer modeling. She also joined the Oxford cycling club and became the women’s time trial champion, winning gold at all four distances – 10, 25, 50 and 100 miles. This achievement, plus several gold and silver performances in other student events, earned her a “Half-blue” award, never before awarded to a woman cyclist at the university. Shortly before her 22nd birthday, just after passing her final exams, she started working for the British government in the Ministry of Defence.

Community improvement toolbox promoted

The Town of Erin should load up its Community Improvement Plan (CIP) with as many tools as possible, even if they are not to be used right away.
That was the advice of consultant Nancy Reid of the firm Stantec, at a community consultation workshop at Centre 2000 on Feb. 13.
“Build a toolbox you can implement over a 10-year period,” she said. “You can change the focus every year.”
The “tools” are primarily programs to channel public money to private firms through loans or grants, for physical projects that benefit the broader community.
The funding is intended to supplement private investment in the projects. Businesses will apply for assistance, which may be approved if they meet the town’s current criteria.
Possible programs include improvements to business fa├žades, signage, landscaping, accessibility and energy efficiency.
They could include creation of new housing units, heritage conservation projects, building expansions or conversions, remediation of former industrial land, deferral of tax increases on improved property, improved parking, development of local attractions in areas such as the arts, local food or the equine sector, or making key areas more walkable.
“The CIP should help revitalize the town and stimulate investment,” Reid told town council recently.
She also recommends that the whole town be included. Even if downtown retail stores, for example, were to be the recipients of the initial effort, she said the town should keep the option of targeting industrial or agricultural areas in the future.
Input at the recent workshop will be reflected in the draft plan, to be ready in March. There will be a public meeting before council votes on its adoption.
CIP funding allocated by the Town of Erin ($20,000 in 2018) is expected to be supplemented by Wellington County’s Invest Well Community Improvement Plan.
The Economic Development Department says it will “allow the County to provide tax assistance, grants or loans to assist in the rehabilitation of lands and buildings.”
The amount of county funding has not been set, but it will be targeted based on the Economic Development Strategy, Business Retention and Expansion findings, the Taste Real program and the Investment Attraction Strategy.
Countywide priorities may include support for downtowns, affordable/high density housing, diversification of economic activity and employment land development.

February 15, 2018

Daring daylight holdup

From the Advocate – 35 years ago (1983)
Daring daylight holdup
Two young men escaped carrying $4,000 in cash from the Toronto-Dominion Bank in Erin, after a daring daylight holdup on Feb. 10. Guelph OPP said the men entered the bank about 2 p.m. and approached a teller with a note saying they were armed, and “this is a robbery”. No weapons were seen. Officers from Guelph, Snelgrove, Mount Forest, Shelburne, Orangeville and Halton set up roadblocks, and an OPP helicopter joined the search, but no arrests were made.
From the Advocate – 25 years ago (1993)
No more police villages
Hillsburgh’s status as a police village will soon vanish – along with all the other police villages in Ontario. Police villages were established to allow small settlements with more than 150 residents to provide urban services, such as water or street lighting, and to collect a special tax to support the services.
Erin Township Council voted its support for a recommendation from the Wellington County planning department to dissolve all six police villages in the county, saying they had outlived their usefulness.
Community hall opened
Erin’s new community hall at the arena was officially opened on Sunday afternoon, with a large crowd of well wishers on hand to view the facility, and enjoy three hours of free skating. The following dignitaries participated in the ribbon cutting: Carolann Osborne, Frank Gray, Ivan Gray, Jim Shuttleworth, Ted Arnott, Duncan Armstrong, Robert Wilson, Terry Mundell, John Pritoula, Reay Sutherland, Paul Phillips, Doug Follett, Floyd Longbottom and Deborah Sutherland.
Pavement appeal
Residents of Erin Township’s Sideroad 5 have asked the municipality to pave a section of the road, saying “cavernous potholes” are wearing out vehicles and dust is affecting plants and animals. They submitted a 19-name petition requesting that the pavement be extended from the Eighth Line to the Ninth Line. Road superintendent Tony Wagenaar will report a traffic count to council before they consider a change to their five-year roads forecast.
From the Advocate – 20 years ago (1998)
Young girls in high-speed chase
Two young girls from a youth treatment centre in East Wellington got themselves into water hotter than they bargained for last week after locking up a case worker in a kitchen pantry, stealing a van and leading police on a high-speed chase on the 401.
Guelph OPP said an 11-year-old and a 14-year-old at the centre near Hillsburgh stole money and took off in the centre’s van with the 11-year-old at the wheel. They made it to Cobourg, where police spotted them.
There was a brief chase with speeds up to 140 km per hour before they were stopped. The 14-year-old was charged with possession of stolen property and breach of probation. The 11-year-old is too young to be charged, and was returned to the youth centre.
Caledon quarry plan raises fears
A 150-foot deep quarry proposed by James Dick Aggregates for the Caledon side of Winston Churchill Blvd. (at Olde Baseline Road) promises big problems for Erin, according to Penny Richardson, President of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens.
“That gigantic sucking sound we’ll all be hearing is going to be our well water filling up the hole they’ll leave behind,” she said. “Erin residents are about 100 feet away from where they’ll be blasting away at the countryside for the next 45 years.”

Businesses get innovation grants

Two Erin businesses are among 24 in southern Ontario to receive seed funding last year to expand their operations, access new markets, attract investment and create jobs in the region.
Heartwood Farm and Cidery in Ospringe and Fanjoy Restaurant in Hillsburgh each received $30,000 grants, in the third round of funding from the Bioenterprise Corporation and its partner, Innovation Guelph.  Erin pet food company Bold Canine received a first-round grant in 2016.
Recipients use the money, along with their matching funds, for branding and marketing; prototyping and product piloting; business-to-business (B2B) sales, business development, process optimization, and to help advance market opportunities. 
“Seed funding and mentorship can play a crucial role in assisting early-stage businesses,” said Dave Smardon, Bioenterprise Corporation President and CEO.
Bioenterprise is a national, non-profit agency designed to boost the agricultural technology sector. The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) has provided Bioenterprise with up to $4.84 million for the program.
Funding is delivered through Innovation Guelph’s Fuel Injection program, assisting start-ups and promoting the growth of small and medium-sized businesses. Support services including mentoring/coaching, market and competitive analysis, financial and marketing strategy, investment preparation, and introductions to strategic partners.
At a recent Innovation Showcase, Bioenterprise and Innovation Guelph announced that the 32 recipient companies from the first round of seed funding have raised more than $21 million in follow-up private investment, generated more than $6 million in revenues, created more than 45 jobs, and launched more than 50 products, processes, and technologies.
The funding program supports innovative southern Ontario businesses in the agriculture and agri-food, sustainable and environmental technology, advanced manufacturing and social innovation sectors.
Brent Klassen and Val Steinmann started making hard cider at Heartwood Farm last year, selling three varieties at farmers’ markets and at their retail farm store, just north of Ospringe on Second Line.
It’s a business model promoted by Wellington County’s Economic Development Department through the Taste Real program, encouraging organic farmers and other businesses to welcome day-tripping city dwellers.
Chef Pam Fanjoy (a 2015 Chopped Canada winner) is also tapping into the trend, using seasonal local ingredients for “farm-to-table” cuisine. The Fanjoy restaurant and bar (formerly Friendly Chef Adventures), just across from the Hillsburgh Community Centre, offers special activities such as PD day camps for kids, and cooking classes for kids and adults.
Her experience as a social worker has led to a Mindfullness Eating course as a support group for women, and in January and February, a common table Community Luncheon, Tuesdays, noon to 2 p.m. She also offers a catering service and operates a retail kitchen store, with fully prepared meals to take home.
“The partnership between Bioenterprise and Innovation Guelph has been successful in assisting innovative businesses with early-stage support to help them grow,” said Anne Toner Fung, Innovation Guelph’s Executive Director. 
“We believe it is to everyone’s benefit when innovative Canadian businesses are able to grow and create quality jobs,” said Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.