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Prince Edward County Decade in Review – 2019

As we welcome a new decade in 2020, Countylive.ca celebrates its 10th anniversary taking a look at highlights of the past 10 years.

2019

The Campbell clan, supporters and friends at the presentation of $16,000 raised by the community for Hospice and the Hospital Foundation. – Sharon Harrison photo

The community hugged one of its own and sent four generations of the Mark Campbell family to a private box for a Toronto Maple Leafs game in January, following his diagnosis of stage four lung cancer. The Go Fund Me campaign spiralled into sizable donations for the County’s hospital, and for Hospice. Campbell passed in May 2019. Click here for story and photos

PECI Senior Boys Basketball team photo: (front row) Brodie Byford, Dylan Morrow, Jack MacCool, Devon Wilton, Alex Arsenault (back row) Rob Garden (coach), Logan Stark, Joe Burley, Ian Forsyth, Thomas Davies, Owen Wang, Ben Clarke, Justin Smith, Gabe Goad, Taylor Reddick (coach) (absent) Kaleb Stacey, Caleb Hugh (coach).

The PECI Senior Boys Basketball team made school history by winning the AAA COSSA Championship. The team defeated the #1 seeded St. Peter Saints 59 – 40 in the finals. They felt the thrill of victory at OFSAA, but also felt the hammer come down, winning one of three games.

Prince Edward District Women’s Institute members, federal, provincial and municipal dignitaries applaud donations totalling $16,500 to representatives of eight organizations. Posing with a likeness of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth are Mike DeCastris, of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron 851; Prince Edward County Fire Chief Scott Manlow, Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory’s John Hirsch; (at front with the Queen) Prince Edward County Libraries CEO Barbara Sweet, W.I. District President Evelyn Peck, PEC Museums Curator Jennifer Lyons, Lynda Sommers of the Quinte Educational Museum and Archives and Lynn Ward, of PEC 4-H. – Sue Capon photo

Ontario NDP Deputy Leader John Vanthof discusses the importance of internet access in rural areas with Mayor Steve Ferguson, and Chamber of Commerce president Sandy Latchford, and executive director Lesley Lavender. – Sue Capon photo

When the world wide web burst out in a big way in the mid-90s, it was to be the great equalizer. We’re still waiting.
Ontario NDP Deputy Leader John Vanthof held a round-table at the County’s Chamber of Commerce office in Picton to discuss the importance of a concrete plan to expand internet access to rural communities.

Picton’s library plans to move forward into its new chapter received the green light to allow the expansion project to get requests for tender. The ‘It’s Overdue, Time to Renew’ campaign to rebuild the library is ongoing to fund an expanded collection, meeting rooms, improved accessibility, family-friendly washrooms, quiet study space, storage space and dedicated space to use equipment for anything from 3D printing, to embroidery. A new balcony will bring a multi-purpose space for meetings, events and daily use. Click here to have a look at the plans for new space. 

Alternatives for Women board members (from left) Dee Hazell, Caroline Granger (chair), Emily Cowan and Rahno Boutilier (executive director) look over plans for renovation of the newly-acquired Bridge Street property to be named Vi’s Place. – Sharon Harrison photo

Prince Edward County’s Alternatives for Women marked International Women’s Day with an unveiling of plans, drawings and photographs for a new emergency shelter to be known as ‘Vi’s Place’. Attendees learned women in Prince Edward County are at greater risk of homelessness due to domestic violence.

The community celebrated the 30th anniversary of the HUB Family and Child Care Centre in Picton with family-friendly fun indoors, and outside. The HUB started its retrofit of child care spaces in the fall due to high enrolment in toddler and preschool age groups. Plans for an expansion are now under way to further meet the needs of children and their families. – Sue Capon photo. Click here for story and photos 

Nearly 200 students from Prince Edward Collegiate Institute chanted ‘Our education’ and responded with cheers to motorists honking in support at their walk-out held downtown Picton. The students joined an estimated 200,000 counterparts from some 700 schools across the province who, at 1:15 p.m. walked out to protest Premier Doug Ford’s changes to the education system. The changes include increased class sizes for intermediate and secondary grades, as well as mandatory e-learning and cuts to elective programs, teaching positions and OSAP funding. – Sue Capon photo

Council supported Mayor Steve Ferguson’s resolution to have the federal and provincial governments investigate flooding in 2017 and 2019, as well as the International Joint Commission Plan 2014.
The mayor said he is receiving daily calls from constituents. He noted a woman who was effectively trapped in her house, had to have the fire department called to extract her because at 80 years old she was not only surrounded by water, but was panicking. “Yesterday I learned about water snakes just floating up to people’s kitchen doors because the water’s so high.”
Water levels on Lake Ontario have now reached the record levels set in 2017. Roblin Lake in Ameliasburgh surpassed the one in 100 year water levels and several County boat launches were closed. – John Ferguson photo

Southern Prince Edward County showing the boundary of the South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.

Following the successful defence of the south shore of Prince Edward County from the impacts of industrial wind turbines, several organizations have been collaborating to secure and protect some of the last undeveloped natural areas along Lake Ontario’s northern shoreline. The South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI) group is launching another ambitious project to engage both the federal and provincial governments to protect the area as part of Canada’s commitment to meeting its United Nations target 1 goals. Members joined representatives from Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to unveil a plaque honouring the family and heritage value of the 76-acre Hudgins-Rose property and historic log house, that was purchased with the help of the Prince Edward Hastings Land Trust (HPELT), putting both into long term protection.

Local naturalists who last year praised MPP Todd Smith’s work to save endangered species by eliminating industrial wind turbines on the South Shore of Prince Edward County, this week protested his government’s proposed elimination and reduction of many environmental programs. The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, Quinte Field Naturalists and other concerned citizens rallied at Smith’s Prince Edward County constituency office – on United Nations International Day for Biological Diversity – to voice concern about endangered species protections, carbon emissions, wetlands protection, the 50 Million Tree program and flood programs by conservation authorities. – Sharon Harrison photo

More than 150 local residents marched in the streets to peacefully protest cuts in services proposed by Doug Ford’s provincial government. Organized by Prince Edward County resident Christine Renaud, the May Day March was intended to send a message that cuts to public services – including health care, library and education – are unwanted and unacceptable. Objections were also voiced on tax cuts to rich corporations. – Sharon Harrison photo

A government of Ontario investment will transform Prince Edward County’s 44-year-old H.J. McFarland Memorial Home into a modern 160-bed long-term care facility. MPP Todd Smith said the investment looks forward. “With an aging population with a median age seven years older than the provincial average, the need here is real. The County has been hoping for these beds since the Picton Manor closed in 2012 and, today, we have delivered.”

Rochelle Byrne, A Greener Future founder shows Lt.-Gov Elizabeth Dowdeswell, how sifting sand can reveal plastic pellets called ‘nurdles’. – Sharon Harrison photo

Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, joined the environmental group ‘A Greener Future’ and dedicated volunteers to help clean-up Wellington beach, and also to draw attention to garbage washing up on Lake Ontario shores. Click here for story and photos

Father’s Day was all about love for some 500 sons and daughters from Prince Edward County and beyond who filled the street in front of St. Gregory Catholic Church in Picton Sunday morning. But it was also about inclusion, equality and pride.
The harmonious demonstration in support of the LGBTQ2S+ community was sparked by circulation the week before on social media of the recent church bulletin reminding Catholics and all other Christians not to attend LGBTQ2 Pride Month events “as they promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to the Christian faith and morals…” The gathering wanted to let the church’s priest, Father Robert Chisholm, know that his message was unacceptable and they wanted to let the LGBTQ2 community know it is loved, and supported. – In October, the priest was put on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Kingston as it investigates “possible violations of appropriate conduct with minors”. – Sharon Harrison photo

The site of Picton’s first hospital, and later a much-loved nursing home, will soon be welcoming families back to Hill Street. The building has been demolished and a new development of family homes is expected to be on the market in 2020. Developer David Cleave is also behind housing projects at Pine Ridge, Curtis Street and a large development along Bridge Street from the harbour to Claramount area.

David Hatch, of the Prince Edward County Art Dealers Association, notes the placement of a new plaque for the group on the hospital’s donor wall. The association raised nearly $100,000 during an art auction for the Back the Build campaign this spring.

The PECMH Foundation unveiled 207 commemorations on its donor wall. “The enduring and tireless support of our donors for Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital is inspiring,” said Shannon Coull, executive director of the foundation. “Every year members of our donor family step forward with gifts that make it possible to replace critically needed medical equipment and helps get us closer to our dream of a new hospital for the County.”

Students from Grade 5 classes at PECI presented County Council with ideas to prepare for climate change and make the County a more livable place.
They visited Shire Hall during Local Government Week for a hands-on learning experience. In the morning, they heard from municipal staff and participated in a council-led activity and in the afternoon made presentations to the Committee of the Whole meeting. “We want to spark a conversation with young and old alike throughout the week and hear what’s important to them as Prince Edward County residents,” Mayor Steve Ferguson said.

Leading up to Thanksgiving weekend, students at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute were thankful for community support that helped them smash their fundraising goal to raise funds for cancer research. Applause rang out as poster cards held by students unfolded, showing $12,382.44 had been raised from a goal set at $10,000. Added to that was a touching donation topping the tally to $12,500. This year’s Terry Fox Run fundraiser was organized by teacher Rob Garden and the entrepreneurship class. – Sue Capon photo

The Sandbanks “dog” beach, and campers’ beach almost disappeared in 2017 flooding. – Sue Capon photo

Quinte area municipal politicians have not received the answers they were hoping for from the International Joint Commission (IJC) concerning regulating water levels on Lake Ontario – but there could be a spark of hope in plans moving forward.
The politicians created a joint statement Sept 24, calling on the IJC (body that controls the water flows) to revoke the Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River and reinstate Plan 1958.
They requested immediate action to reduce water levels and keep them down to fight “overwhelming damage to local infrastucture, public safety and health” along with “devasting impacts on tourism and economic development.”

The Ladies on the Rocks present $24,000 to Alternatives for Women representatives (centre) AFW chair Caroline Granger, executive director Leah Morgan, and counsellor Kelly Knott. – Sharon Harrison photo

A ‘Calendar Girls’ project by 21 tastefully nude Wellington on the Lake residents raised $24,000 for Alternatives for Women, specifically for their newly renovated home Vi’s Place.“We sold enough calendars to make a difference to women in need in Prince Edward County,” noted a very proud Christine Trulsen, a member and woman behind the initial idea.

Prince Edward Collegiate Institute secondary school teachers were back in classrooms following a one-day province-wide strike to pressure the provincial government in stalled contract talks. While both sides are criticizing the other, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) says it wants to protect the quality of education by opposing the government’s intentions to increase class sizes and have mandatory online learning, among other issues. “We’ve had people coming by with lots of support. We are just trying to maintain the quality of education that we’ve got now,” said a spokesperson on the line. “We’re just trying to hang onto it.” – Sue Capon photo

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