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Hagersville Library + Active Living Centre fund-raising campaign heads into homestretch

After more than two years of public engagement and design consultation, the Hagersville Library + Active Living Centre (HL+ALC) project is just months away from breaking ground, and the local Fund-Raising Committee supporting the construction of the new centre is launching the final push to meet its $2 million fund-raising goal.

“We are excited to be this close to making the new facility a reality for residents and visitors to our town,” says Committee Chair Tony Dalimonte, the former ward Councillor who initiated discussions with County staff in 2019 to realize the vision of multi-functional library, recreation and community facility in Grant Kett Park. “We know it will take about 18 months to complete the build, but putting a shovel in the ground gets us one step closer.”

“Hagersville is the second-fastest-growing community in Haldimand and needed an accessible, integrated building like this for library services, recreation and community socialization,” says Mike Evers, the General Manager of Community & Development Services. “From the beginning, this project has been an amazing collaboration with community members and groups working with Haldimand County staff—and now the design team at CGS Architects Inc.—to create a made-in-Hagersville and Haldimand facility.”

In June 2023, Council approved an additional $4.6 million in County funding towards the construction of the HL+ALC. This was in response to community feedback which included increasing the size and functionality of programming areas and the rapidly-rising construction costs since the original project budget was developed prior to the pandemic.

To date, the Fund-Raising Committee has raised more than $1.5 million dollars towards the construction of the facility, mostly through major community and corporate donations.

“The Committee has set an ambitious goal of raising another $500,000 through the community, which will be used specifically for technology and other design and program delivery enhancements that will elevate the uses and functionality of the facility,” explains Dalimonte. “This will be Hagersville’s community hub—for all ages and abilities—and we hope everyone will want to be part of making this facility a success and contribute any way they can, including using it for their recreation, leisure, wellness, educational, family and other activities and get-togethers.”

“We know how generous our community is,” adds Fund-Raising Committee member Rob Phillips, “and how it supports its local groups and services. We’ve seen that most recently with the Catch the Ace lottery and the many other important community initiatives that are supported by local residents and businesses. This is a facility designed for our community, and we hope residents from Hagersville and our surrounding towns will become part of building and supporting it for decades to come.”

For more information about contributing to the Hagersville Library + Active Living Centre, contact Fund-Raising Committee Chair Tony Dalimonte at 905-768-1260.

Details about the latest design are also available to view on the project web page at https://www.haldimandcounty.ca/hagersvillealc/.

February and March Programs at Haldimand County Public Library

The Haldimand County Public Library has some exciting programs coming up for the community. For further information on library programming, please contact Katrina Krupicz, Community Outreach/Inreach Coordinator, Haldimand County Public Library at 905-318-5932 ext. 6552,  or by email at kkrupicz@haldimandcounty.on.ca.

March Break Children’s Programs Registration

Registration for all library branches’ 2024 March Break programming begins on Monday, February 12th . Register your children for special crafts, parties, Storytimes and more. Registration is available in-person only and is required for all activities. Program itineraries can be found at the library branch or on the library’s website.

Paws to Read

In partnership with Therapeutic Paws of Canada, the Library is offering an exciting literacy program designed to help children who would benefit from extra practice with their reading. Registered children come to the library each week at a pre-scheduled time and read to a certified team of dog and handler.

Children are encouraged to pick a book or books they enjoy or think the dog will enjoy and spend their 15-minute session reading to the specially-trained dog. Paws to Read dogs provide undivided attention to the children increasing a child’s confidence and boosting self-esteem in those who struggle to read aloud.

The program will be available at the Caledonia, Cayuga and Jarvis branches. Sessions run over four weeks and must be at the same time each week. Registration is required and space is limited. Interested participants can call the branch they wish to participate at or register in person. For more information, visit the library’s website.

Crafternoons 2024

Registration is now open at the Jarvis, Cayuga, Hagersville, Dunnville and Caledonia branches for Crafternoons – an adult-only crafting program during which participants are shown how to make a pre-selected craft. The program runs from 1-2 p.m. and all materials are provided unless stated otherwise. The cost to participate is $2. Registration is required and can be done at the library branches.

The February Crafternoon sessions will be making cuddly Valentine’s Day creatures. For more information, visit the Crafternoons page on the Library website.

February session dates:

  • Jarvis branch – Tues., Feb. 15
  • Caledonia branch – Tues., Feb. 20
  • Hagersville branch – Wed., Feb. 21
  • Dunnville branch – Thurs., Feb. 22
  • Cayuga – Fri., Feb. 23

March’s craft will be “Easter Bunny Mason Jars”. View the Library’s website for specific dates and times!

Library Author Visit – Dunnville Branch

On Friday, February 23rd,  local children’s author Trisha Keesmatt will be paying a visit to the Dunnville children’s Storytime group. Trisha will read from her new book The Hat Monster, and will chat with the children about the importance of being creative. Storytime will then continue with fun songs, activities and crafts.

Registration for Storytime is required.   To attend this special Storytime in Dunnville, please register at the Dunnville Branch; the cost for a single Storytime registration is $1.00  Copies of The Hat Monster will also be available for purchase: $15 softcover or $24 hardcover.

 Friends of the Caledonia Library

Looking to support your Caledonia Branch within a larger volunteer group?  Friends of the Library organize fundraising activities, such as book sales, to generate monies to support library programs and enhance library collections and advocate for their local branch through various venues.  To learn about how you can help and join our fledgling Caledonia group, drop by the Caledonia branch on Wednesday, February 28th at 6:30 pm for an information session. No commitment to the group is necessary and light refreshments will be provided.

Fraud Prevention Presentations

Join a representative of the Haldimand OPP at the Dunnville and Jarvis library branches to learn about the latest frauds and scams that are taking place in and around our community.
Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones and what to do if you suspect you may have fallen victim to a scammer.
Dunnville Branch (317 Chestnut S) – Monday  March 4th at 1:00 pm
Jarvis Branch (2 Monson Street) – Thursday April 4th at 1:00 pm

Registration is not mandatory but is recommended and can be done in person at the Dunnville and Jarvis Branches or by phone, 289-674-0400. Light refreshments will be provided.

Drop-In Service Canada Clinics

Beginning March 6th, a Service Canada representative will be at the Hagersville Branch on the first Wednesday of the month, from 10am to 3pm, to assist residents with various federal services, including applications for new or replacement social insurance numbers (SIN), setting up a My Service Canada account, applying for CPP and OAS benefits, Child and Family Benefits, and more.

At the clinics in March, April and May there will also be Canadian Revenue Agency representative to answer and support your tax questions.

No appointments are necessary.

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

In partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency, the Library is offering free income tax filing services by trained volunteers as part of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. This tax program will be offered by drop-off only, at the Caledonia, Jarvis, Cayuga, Hagersville, and Selkirk branches. The free tax clinics will run from March 1st to April 12th, 2024.

To be eligible for this free tax filing service, participants must be:

  • Single, with an annual income of $30,000 or less;
  • Married couple, with a combined annual income of $40,000 or less;
  • Single adult with dependents, with an annual income of $35,000 or less (plus an additional $2,500 per dependent);
  • Individual with less than $1,000 investment income.

Once participants drop off materials and complete the necessary forms, all materials will be delivered to a volunteer by library staff. Upon completion of the tax files, participants will be called back to the library to pick up their completed forms. If any questions should arise during the process, a volunteer will contact participants by phone.

Eclipse Information Sessions and Protective Eyewear Information Sessions

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and the earth. Total eclipses are extremely rare and on April 8, 2024, Haldimand County will be one of the best spots on the continent to view the next solar eclipse. The Haldimand County Public Library will be hosting TWO information sessions regarding this natural phenomenon.

On Thursday March 14th at 6:30 pm, join a representative from McMaster University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Caledonia Branch to explore eclipses and learn more about how to safely enjoy this spectacular event. This session is open to all members of the public, regardless of age. No registration is required.
A second information session will be held on Tuesday March 19th at 6:00pm at the Hagersville This information session will be hosted by amateur astronomer Ryan Snyder, who will explain how eclipses occur, fill you in on how to best view the April 8 event, and provide tips and tricks to photographing the eclipse. No registration is required. Everyone is welcome.

Solar Eclipse Protective Eyewear

Looking directly at a total solar eclipse is dangerous to your eyes.  Although painless and not immediately apparent, irreparable eye damage can occur when viewing an eclipse without protection.
To safely view the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, the Haldimand County Public Library, in partnership with Haldimand County and McMaster University, will be handing out FREE protective eye gear to members of the pubic starting Thursday, February 22nd.
To get your free pair of viewing glasses, visit your local library branch and ask at the service counter. These glasses will only be available while supplies last.

 

One Book, One Haldimand 2024 Selection:

Flee, Fly, Flown by Janet Hepburn

Join fellow Haldimand County readers by participating in this year’s One Book One Haldimand!

One Book One Haldimand is an annual, community-wide reading program which encourages individuals across Haldimand County to read a selected Canadian title and join the author and other community members for an evening of exciting discussion.

This year’s selection is Flee, Fly, Flown, written by local author Janet Hepburn,

“When Lillian and Audrey hatch a plot to escape from Tranquil Meadows Nursing Home, “borrow” a car, and spend their hastily planned vacation time driving to destinations west, they aren’t fully aware of the challenges they will face. All they know is that the warm days of August call to them, and the need to escape the daily routines and humiliations of nursing home life has become overwhelming.  Flushed with the success of their escape plan, they set out on their journey having forgotten that their memory problems might make driving and following directions difficult. Their trip is almost over before it begins, until they meet up with the unsuspecting Rayne, a young man also heading west in hope of reconciling with his family.  As Lillian and Audrey try to take back the control that time and dementia has taken from them, Rayne realizes the truth of their situation. But it’s too late – he has fallen under the spell of these two funny, brave women and is willing to be a part of their adventure, wherever it leads them.” – Book Cover

Copies of Flee, Fly, Flown are available at your local Haldimand County Library branch in print format, from the Library’s Libby digital service in e-book format, and from the Library’s CloudLibrary digital service in both e-book and digital audiobook format. Pop in or visit us online to borrow a copy or call 289-674-0400 to reserve one.

 

Service Disruption – New Elevator system to be installed at the Dunnville Library

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – Replacement of the current elevator system, originally installed in 1983, will commence this March at Haldimand County Public Library Dunnville Branch (317 Chestnut St.).  Replacement work is scheduled to begin Thursday, March 7 and will  continue to approximately April 30th, 2024.

The branch will remain open to the public throughout this process. No elevator service will be available for the duration of the project and there will also be no access to the Alder Street entrance and its stairwell to the second floor. Visitors will be able to enter and exit the building through the Chestnut Street doors or parking lot (rear) doors and use an alternate staircase to the second floor children’s department.  Staff will readily retrieve materials from the second floor for individuals who experience mobility limitations.  Alternatively, patrons may request curbside pickup services and can always remotely browse the library’s collection, place holds, and renew items through the library’s online catalogue. Library programs, including March Break Children’s activities, Babysitting Courses, and Book Clubs will proceed as scheduled in the Garfield Disher Room (main floor). Some noise and dust is expected throughout the project and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  Project-related noises may also impact telephone calls.

To find construction updates, access the library catalogue, or learn about library programs and events, please visit our website www.haldimandlibrary.ca or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Haldimand County Council approves 2024 Capital Budget

Haldimand County Council reviewed and approved the 2024 Tax-Supported Capital Budget and 10-year forecast on February 1, 2024. The Capital Budget outlines $48.8 million of infrastructure investments in 2024, with a total investment of $344.7 million over the next 10 years.

View an at-a-glance breakdown of Capital Budget 2024 highlights

The 2024 Capital Budget is heavily focused on enhancing municipal infrastructure with notable expenditures on roadway improvements, technology enhancements, upgrades to existing public amenities as well as the construction of a new multi-purpose community recreation facility (Hagersville Library + Active Living Centre).

2024 Capital Budget Highlights:

  • $18 million towards roadway and active transportation improvements like road reconstruction & resurfacing, gravel road conversions, bridge/culvert rehabilitations and other structure-related projects;
  • $15 million total towards the Hagersville Library & Active Living Centre (HL + ALC) project, the scope of which now includes construction of a full pavilion, new concession stand and outdoor washroom facilities in Grant Kett Park, adjacent to the HL + ALC site;
  • $1.8 million towards the purchase of one new fire pumper and a new tanker, plus $560,000 for two new ambulances;
  • $704,000 towards enhancing municipal arenas, including upgrades to refrigeration & ice maintenance equipment and replacing key building elements;
  • $900K towards tree conservation and re-forestation initiatives, such as the Downtown Street Tree Revitalization Program and general maintenance, removal, planting and care of urban trees;
  • $1.3 million for park and trail-related enhancements, including upgrades to ball park amenities and the development of a new on-road cycling lane on River Rd.;
  • $380K towards key technology upgrades (148K for website and communications-related enhancements and $235,000 on the rollout of critically important software solutions);
  • $250K towards the development of a Traffic Management Plan
  • $50,000 towards accessibility upgrades to municipal facilities.

Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Case noted that while the focus of the county’s annual capital investment continues to be ‘hard infrastructure’ like bridges, roads and facilities, there is a critical need for the organization to prioritize investing in technology.

“Expenditures with a concerted focus on updating technologies and software have been introduced into the 2024 budget and flagged as a corporate priority. As important as our bricks and mortar infrastructure is, it is equally imperative that we invest in the tools necessary to be future-focused, work efficiently, be competitive as an employer and ultimately provide residents with better access to municipal services, staff and data,” stated Case.

“Today, Council approved a budget that ensures we are investing strategically in the infrastructure needed to not only keep our communities safe and vibrant, but continue to deliver county services efficiently, to the standard of excellence our residents deserve,” stated Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley.

Similar to past years, the total capital levy, funded by property taxes, will increase from $21.8 million to $22.6 million in 2024 – an increase of $800,000, or approximately 1% of the overall 2023 municipal levy.

The total municipal levy for 2024 will be determined once the 2024 Tax-Supported Operating Budget is approved by Council.

The 2024 Tax-Supported Operating Budget will be presented to Council on Thursday, February 29, 2024 – 9:30 a.m. at the Haldimand County Administration Building.

More information on Haldimand County budgets can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/Financials/Budgets/.

Haldimand entrepreneurs awarded grants and mentorships to help spark new tourism ideas

Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism Division is pleased to announce that three Haldimand tourism businesses were awarded a seed grant and mentorship to help spark new tourism ideas in Haldimand County.

The county’s “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program is a partnership initiative between the Tourism Innovation Lab, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, Haldimand County Tourism, Libro Credit Union, and the Grand Erie Business Centre. The program’s goal is to find, foster, and support new tourism ideas, experiences, and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps or challenges, motivate travel and longer stays, and increase year-round visits in the region.

Eleven Haldimand applications were received, with the top five selected to present their new tourism ideas at a virtual pitch session held on December 12th. A panel of partner representatives and a tourism innovator from outside the region selected the three winning applicants.

Each winner will be awarded a $3,000 seed grant and 3-month mentorship to help them get started with their new tourism ideas.

The 2023 Haldimand County “Spark” Program 2.0 winners are:

  • Jessica Lymburner & Blain Albin, Caledonia Chamber of Commerce (Enhancing Waterfront Experiences in Caledonia)
  • Natalie Strouth & Jan Vilaca, Door 25 (Taste like a Local, Door 25 Road Trip Getaway)
  • Justin Awde, Awdshire Village Resort (Awdshire Village Resort)

Haldimand Economic Development & Tourism along with Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation will be actively reaching out to work with all eleven program applicants to assist each of them in developing their business concepts further and bringing their ideas to reality.

Quotes

“The ‘Spark’ Program reflects our commitment to nurturing innovation and fostering growth within our tourism sector. These innovative ideas showcase the creativity and potential that exist within Haldimand County, enriching visitor experiences and supporting our local economy.” – Lidy Romanuk, Manager of Haldimand County Economic Development and Tourism.

“We’re delighted to witness the innovative concepts brought forth by Haldimand’s entrepreneurs through the ‘Spark’ Program. These initiatives exemplify the spirit of creativity and collaboration, aligning with our mission to drive forward-thinking tourism experiences in the region.” – Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for the Tourism Innovation Lab.

“Supporting initiatives like those recognized by the ‘Spark’ Program is pivotal in showcasing the diverse and enticing offerings of Ontario’s Southwest. These projects underscore the region’s commitment to fostering unique, immersive visitor experiences that contribute to the vibrancy and allure of Haldimand County as a tourism destination.” – Joanne Wolnik, Executive Director for Ontario’s Southwest.

Flood Watch

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – The Long Point Region Conservation Authority has issued a Flood Watch message for all areas within its watershed.

A significant amount of precipitation has fallen in the Long Point Region watershed over the last 24 hours. The Long Point Region received between 25 and 30 mm of precipitation across the watershed. This precipitation combined with the melting snowpack are creating runoff, causing watercourses to exceed their banks creating localized flooding in floodplains, low-lying areas, and regions with poor drainage.

People are warned to stay away from ditches, water bodies, streams, rivers, and ponds as the combination of slippery banks and cold, fast-flowing water is dangerous. Landowners are also advised to make sure dams, culverts, and catch basins are free from debris and ice and functioning properly, if the work can be done safely.

Haldimand County Emergency Services will be actively monitoring conditions throughout the weekend. Residents should pay close attention to changing weather conditions and watch for updates flood messages. A flood guide for lakeshore property owners and other emergency preparedness resources can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/floods.

This message will be in effect until 12:00 pm Monday, January 29, 2024.

Haldimand’s winter ’24 Playbook the go-to guide to winter recreation, leisure and fun!

There is still lots of time to take advantage of all the cold-weather recreation and leisure Haldimand County has to offer, and the Playbook—available online and at the Haldimand County Administration Building, the Cayuga Heritage Centre and Libraries—is residents’ guide to getting engaged and getting active!

Public skating programs

Free public skating programs are offered at all four of the county’s arenas, including public and adult skates, pre-school skates, child’s hockey skates, shinny for all ages and open figure skates. No registration is required; check out the Playbook or the Recreation page for schedules and additional details.

Walking tracks

The County has indoor Walking Tracks in the Caledonia, Cayuga and Dunnville Arenas, open daily from 8:00 a.m. to Arena closing. Access is free and requires no pre-registration; call the Arena to confirm hours of operation.

Partnership programs – Sit to Be Fit, Minds in Motion

In collaboration with the Haldimand Abilities Centre, Haldimand County is pleased to once again offer the always-popular Seniors Sit to be Fit at the Caledonia Arena, while the new Minds in Motion program is being offered at the Cayuga Arena. Both programs are free; contact the Abilities Centre at 905-768-4488 for information or to register.

Museum and library programming

Haldimand Museums and Libraries also offer a variety of activities and programs for all ages, including exhibits, presentations, workshops and social opportunities. You can also go virtual with your Haldimand Museums experience! Visit the Museums’ online collection or exhibits, programs and curriculum. A schedule of Museum programs is available at link.haldimandcounty.ca; some programs require registration.

March Break

Families looking for March Break diversions have a variety of options to choose from including weekly recreation camps (registration opens February 1), museum workshops or ‘take-home’ kits and library activities. Pricing, locations and registration details are in the Playbook and online at link.haldimandcounty.ca.

Haldimand County also has beautiful outdoor spaces you can visit at your leisure: parks, pathways and trails. Please be aware these assets are not winter maintained and should be used at your own discretion.

Visit the Haldimand County Administration Building, your local Library or the Cayuga Heritage Centre to pick up a copy of the Playbook, or find it online.

Flood Warning

FLOOD WARNING

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – The Long Point Conservation Authority has issued a Flood Warning message.

An intense low-pressure system is forecast to cross over the lower Great Lakes Region between Friday and Saturday. As a result, Lake Erie will see sustained winds from the southwest ranging from 50 to 60 km/hr and gusts of 70 km/hr Saturday.

With the forecasted winds, flooding is expected to impact low lying areas along the Lake Erie shoreline and lower reaches of some tributaries. Wave uprush and increased shoreline erosion can be expected from this event.

Haldimand County residents and businesses within LPRCA’s watershed should be aware flooding will reach Lake Erie Flood Stage 2. The public is advised to familiarize themselves with the flood warning zone mapping on the Haldimand County website: Lake Erie Flood Zones in Haldimand County (arcgis.com)

The public is asked to stay away from the Lake Erie shoreline due to strong wave action and elevated water levels, and to follow the direction of local flood coordinators and emergency officials. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from these areas.

Haldimand County Emergency Services will be actively monitoring conditions throughout the weekend. Residents should pay close attention to changing weather conditions and watch for updates flood messages. A flood guide for lakeshore property owners and other emergency preparedness resources can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/floods.

This message will be in effect until 8:00 pm Sunday, January 14, 2024.

Flood Watch

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – The Grand River Conservation Authority has issued a Flood Watch message.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) storm surge model forecast for the eastern end of Lake Erie is indicating a rise in lake levels just above the threshold of Lake Erie Flood Zone 1. The passage of a strong low pressure system is expected to bring high winds to Lake Erie on Saturday.

The lower Great Lakes are expected to see sustained winds of 45 to 60 km/hr from the south and southwest with gusts up to 90 km/hr on Saturday. The peak elevation of the surge is forecast to occur Saturday evening but lake levels are expected to be high through most of the day.

The public is asked to stay away from the Lake Erie shoreline due to strong wave action and elevated water levels, and to follow the direction of local flood coordinators and emergency officials. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from these areas.

Haldimand County Emergency Services will be actively monitoring conditions throughout the weekend. Residents should pay close attention to changing weather conditions and watch for updates flood messages. A flood guide for lakeshore property owners and other emergency preparedness resources can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/floods.

This message will be in effect until 12:00 pm Sunday, January 14, 2024.

11th Annual Uniquely Haldimand Photo Contest Winners Announced

Haldimand County has announced its 2023 Uniquely Haldimand Photo Contest winners.

A panel of judges closely examined nearly 100 submissions and determined the following winners:

1st Place:
The Bridge by John Wallace
2nd Place:
There’s No Place Like Home by Lori Hobin
Photo of Caledonia Mill and BridgeLarge tree in front of a house
3rd Place:
Chasing Rainbows in the Country by Kim Spurr
Honourable Mention:
Fireworks over the Grand by Anand Kasote
Rainbow over a tree and fieldsFireworks over the Caledonia Bridge

In addition to contest prizes (gift cards for local businesses), winning photographs will be displayed at the Cayuga Library + Heritage Centre in January and may appear on future county publications.

More information on the Uniquely Haldimand Photo Contest and a gallery of past winners is available at HaldimandCounty.ca/photocontest.

Free English as a Second Language program expands to Hagersville library branch

Haldimand County Public Library has expanded their partnership with Mohawk College to offer the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program in Hagersville, in addition to the existing Caledonia program. LINC is a free, in-class program that will provide eligible adult newcomers with success-oriented language instruction.

The LINC program will take place at the Hagersville library branch (13 Alma Street North) on Wednesdays from 5 – 8 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., beginning Wednesday, January 24, 2024.

Participants will improve their speaking, reading, and writing skills in English while learning about Canadian culture and more. They will also have access to one-on-one education, employment, and wellness support.

Individuals who are interested in this program must be:

  • A permanent resident of Canada, a protected person (with a “Notice of Decision”), a Ukrainian temporary resident or their dependent;
  • 18 years of age or older;
  • Living in Ontario.

Classes are also continuing to run at the Caledonia library branch (100 Haddington Street) on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 – 9 p.m., beginning Tuesday, January 9, 2024.

To learn more about the Hagersville or Caledonia programs, eligibility criteria, or to register, contact Mohawk College at LearnEnglish@mohawkcollege.ca or visit mohawkcollege.ca/HaldimandLINC.