Caledonia Protest Update

On Thursday, October 22, 2020, following the granting of permanent injunctions to Foxgate Developments and Haldimand County to prohibit the continued occupation of the development site in Caledonia or on municipal property, a group of protestors began illegal and violent actions to block and vandalize municipal and Provincial property and roads.

While Haldimand County has consistently supported the need for senior levels of government to address outstanding indigenous land claims in our area, the actions of a few that flaunt our basic institutions and the rule of law must be condemned. No matter how important an issue may be, deliberately taking illegal actions that create chaos for others cannot be tolerated. The end does not justify the means in a civil society regardless of historic injustices.

Haldimand County is using all of its resources and influence with the Province, the Ontario Provincial Police and Six Nations to encourage and promote a peaceful restoration of the blocked roads and end to the illegal occupation of lands. We do not believe that the actions taken yesterday reflect the values of the wider Six Nations community, nor have the support of its leaders and we are hopeful that the community will similarly condemn the use of illegal tactics and take action to help resolve the matter quickly and peacefully.

Residents who are impacted by these actions are asked to remain calm and have patience as we work toward a resolution of this very fluid situation. The County is taking steps to ensure that fire and paramedic services remain available to respond quickly to any calls for service and that, as much as possible, adequate traffic management initiatives are in place and all services continue to be provided. Residents are encourage to visit www.haldimandcounty.ca for information on road closures and service changes that may occur as a result of the current situation.

Mayor Ken Hewitt said “we recognize how difficult and unfair it is to our community to regularly be dramatically impacted as pawns in a dispute in which we are not a party. The current road blockades and damage to them need to be resolved immediately and anyone who believes in a just and fair society where laws have meaning should be advocating to the Province to take appropriate steps in this regard.”

Haldimand County Adopts New, Modernized Forest Conservation By-Law

On Tuesday, October 13, Haldimand County Council formally adopted a new Forest Conservation By-Law (No. 2204/20) to replace regional forest conservation by-laws that have been in effect since prior to 1981. The new by-law is aligned with current forestry standards and demonstrates Haldimand’s ongoing commitment to protecting natural resources.

Over the past two decades there have been many changes in the realm of forest management and certain activities permitted under the former Regional Forest Conservation By-law (enacted in 2000) are no longer considered best practices in the forestry industry. In 2017, staff initiated the forest conservation by-law review process to bring Haldimand’s forestry regulations up to contemporary standards.

The Forest Conservation By-law review was conducted over a 3-year period and largely informed by consultations with Haldimand’s Agricultural Advisory Committee, conservation authorities/committees, forestry industry experts, neighbouring municipalities, private landowners and the broader community. The new by-law sets out tree cutting regulations that balance the ecological need for woodland conservation with landowners’ property management and/or agricultural needs.

The new Forest Conservation By-Law:

  • promotes Good Forestry Practices to assist landowners, staff and forestry professionals when planning for and conducting tree cutting activities;
  • introduces a simple, straightforward permitting system that offers landowners more flexibility to meet personal land management objectives while protecting woodland habitats;
  • deregulates isolated woodlands that are less than one (1) hectare in size and provides additional exemptions for tree cutting;
  • sets out a defined approval and appeal process for regulated woodland clear-cutting;
  • implements harsher penalties for tree-cutting activities that contravene the by-law.

Forestry staff will be working closely with the community and private woodland owners to implement the new by-law and provide ongoing education with respect to tree conservation in Haldimand.

More information on the new Forest Conservation By-law (No. 2204/20) – including a new permit application form  – will be available shortly on the County’s Foresty web page. 

7th Annual Uniquely Haldimand Photo Contest Running October 15 – December 1, 2020

The County’s Annual Uniquely Haldimand Photo Contest – now in its 7th year – will be accepting entries from October 15 to December 1, 2020. Residents and visitors are invited to submit photos of Haldimand’s beautiful environment, architecture and vibrant community life for a chance to win some great prizes.

With 87km of gorgeous Lake Erie waterfront, the Grand River, sprawling countryside and charming towns, Haldimand County is one of the most picturesque destinations on Ontario’s southwest coast. Its abundance of outdoor recreation options, scenic lookouts, community events, historic sites and culinary experiences make it an incredible place to live, explore and photograph.

Photos eligible for entry must depict a scene from within the boundaries of Haldimand County. They must be original, digital high resolution photos no more than two years old and not previously published. Participants may submit their photos via the online submission portal, accessible at photocontest.haldimandcounty.on.ca. Photos must be submitted by Tuesday, December 1 and comply with all rules and regulations.

A panel of judges comprised of both County staff, community figures & local photographers will closely examine all submissions in December. Four winners will be announced prior to the end of 2020 with 1 Grand Prize, 1 Second Prize and 2 Honorable Mentions awarded.

Prizes include gift certificates for unique culinary experiences, Haldimand County souvenirs and more. Winning photographs will be featured in an exhibit within the new Cayuga Library + Heritage Centre and displayed permanently on the County website.

For more information and to view past winners, visit www.haldimandcounty.ca/photocontest.

Haldimand County Seeking Resident Input On Urban And Rural Speed Limits

Haldimand County is seeking input on proposed changes to current speed limits in all urban neighbourhoods and select rural areas. An online survey has been developed to collect resident feedback, results of which will be considered by staff and Council.

The first proposal is to reduce the speed limit to 40 km/h (from the standard 50 km/h) in all urban neighborhoods, including the smaller hamlets and villages such as Selkirk, Fisherville and York.

The second proposal is to lower the speed limit to 40 km/h in some rural areas, in particular South Coast Drive, Lakeshore Road and North Shore Drive along the lakeshore.

The primary objective of these proposed changes is to reduce vehicle speed and thereby increase road safety in areas with higher pedestrian/cyclist traffic.

A link to the online survey can be found on the main page of HaldimandCounty.ca; the survey may also be accessed directly via www.surveymonkey.com/r/HCspeedsurvey.

Residents are encouraged to take the survey and submit comments by November 8, 2020. To request paper copies of the survey, visit the Haldimand County Administration Building or contact the County’s Engineering division by e-mail engineering@haldimandcounty.on.ca or phone: 905-318-5932 ext. 6404.

Haldimand County Offering Virtual Recreation Programming, Family-Friendly Contests This Fall

As adults, youth, children and families look for interesting and innovative ways to fill their fall days this year, Haldimand County is continuing its virtual approach to programs and activities for all ages.

Beginning Friday, October 9, staff will be launching fall virtual programming for all ages. Over the course of the next few weeks, families will be able to participate in virtual field trips, find new games to play, get inspired with craft ideas, learn something new in ‘how-to’ webinars and more. No registration is required and all activities are free.

Three (3) virtual contests will also take place throughout fall – a virtual pumpkin carving competition, sport activity challenge and photo contest. Some great prizes will be offered, including one Grand Prize to be drawn in December for the best holiday decorations!

All entries for fall contests must be submitted by December 14 using the online submission form at HaldimandCounty.ca. Further details related to programming and how to participate will be available at HaldimandCounty.ca/recreation-facilities/programs/ on October 9.

Residents are encouraged to regularly check the County’s website and social media accounts for updates related to virtual programming and the exciting ways to explore and enjoy Haldimand this fall!

 

Haldimand County Arenas, Walking Tracks Now Open With COVID-19 Safety Protocols

All Haldimand County arenas have re-opened to the public with new safety protocols in place. Arena re-opening protocols comply with COVID-19 regulations issued by public health authorities and are aligned with industry best practices for sports and recreation associations.

New arena protocols have been introduced with the safety of staff and the community top-of-mind, and users are urged to read up on and respect the new procedures.

Key takeaways:

  • Anyone accessing the arena must enter through the front doors and be screened. No one is allowed to enter through other access doors/emergency exits;
  • All arena visitors will be screened for the purpose of contact tracing – visitors’ contact information will be kept for 30 days and then destroyed;
  • Masks must be worn at all times throughout the facility—including children under the age of ten (10)—with the exception of while participants are on the ice.

To review the complete arena protocols and Frequently Asked Questions, visit: Haldimandcounty.ca/recreation-facilities/arenas/.

Walking tracks within the Cayuga and Dunnville arenas have also re-opened for public use and will be open daily from 9 to 11am, 2 to 4pm and 7 to 9pm. A maximum of 20 walkers will be allowed on each track at any given time, and access will be permitted on a first come, first served basis.

Free public skates, preschool skates and adult skates are also being offered in addition to scheduled ice time. A schedule of free public skate times is available at HaldimandCounty.ca/calendar, and registration may be completed through the County’s online registration system (link.haldimandcounty.ca) or by calling Haldimand County customer service at 905-318-5932. Walk-ins will only be considered if space is available. Registration for free skates will open on the 4th Monday of the month prior to the start of the next month. For example – registration for November skates will open on Monday, October 26.

At this time, meeting/community rooms within arenas are not available for booking.

Residents are encouraged to check the County’s website and social media accounts regularly for updates relating to arena programming, walking track schedules and ice rentals.

New, Interactive ‘Haldimand Road Trip’ Map Promotes Local Tourism

As part of its ‘Real. Local.’ advertising campaign, Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism division has launched a Haldimand Road Trip map. The map encourages residents to stay local and explore ‘hidden gems’ in the community this fall.

The Haldimand Road Trip map features two scenic routes in Haldimand County. The South Haldimand Lakeside Route follows the shores of Lake Erie from Nanticoke to Port Maitland, and the West Haldimand Loop traverses the charming towns of Caledonia, Hagersville and Canfield.

Both routes feature recommendations for stops along the way including historical sites, breathtaking photo opportunities, unique retail experiences and great places to eat.

“The idea behind the map is to inspire locals and neighboring communities to explore our beautiful county, while supporting local businesses,” said Lidy Romanuk, Haldimand County’s Manager of Economic Development and Tourism.

In addition to the physical map, a digital version is available at TourismHaldimand.ca which includes an interactive guide of all Road Trip stops as well as links to all local businesses.

The ‘Real. Local.’ Haldimand Road Trip map can be picked up at any Haldimand County library, museum or at the Haldimand County Administration Building (53 Thorburn St. S, Cayuga). Individuals or businesses who would like to copies of the Road Trip Map – or other Haldimand County maps or guides – may contact opportunity@haldimandcounty.on.ca.

The creation of the Haldimand Road Trip map is part of the County’s COVID-19 business recovery marketing campaign currently being implemented by its Economic Development and Tourism division. The campaign and associated initiatives were made possible through funding received by the FedDev Ontario Regional Relief Recovery Fund (RRRF).

Haldimand County Accepting Applications For 2021 Community Beautification Grants

Each year, Haldimand County sets aside $60,000 in partnership funding for beautification projects on municipal property. These community beautification grants support the efforts of volunteer groups in enhancing the vitality, sense of pride and overall quality of life within the County.

Groups may apply for grant funding of up to 50% of the total cost of the proposed project to a maximum of $4,000 per year per organization.

Depending upon the number of requests received and the demand for funding, the County may be able to fund more than one application per community group. Proposed projects must take place on property owned by Haldimand County. Organizations submitting more than one application are asked to rank their requests in priority order.

Since being launched in 2006, the Community Beautification Program has resulted in County grant funding of $850,000 leveraging almost $2 million in community contributions to complete more than 260 projects.

Community/volunteer groups may access the application package online at https://www.haldimandcounty.ca/community-partnerships/.

Applications — including all supporting materials — must be received by Monday, October 19, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. by mail or in person to the Haldimand County Administration Building (53 Thorburn Street South, Cayuga, ON N0A 1E0).

All submissions are assessed relative to the total Community Beautification budget as well as equitability throughout the County.

For more information on the Community Beautification Grant program, please do not hesitate to contact the County’s Community Partnerships Liaison by e-mail (ssawyer@haldimandcounty.on.ca or phone: 905-318-5932 x 6320.

Haldimand County Administration Building Ribbon Cutting & Dedication Ceremony Postponed Due To Gathering Limit Reductions

On  Saturday, September 19, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced new restrictions for gathering limits across the province (10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors). As such, the ribbon-cutting and building dedication ceremony scheduled for Monday, September 21 at 5pm has been postponed.

The County will announce a new date for the ceremony once gathering limits are increased and it is safe to hold larger events.

A community-focused, family-friendly ‘Doors Open’ event is also being planned for a later date, to be held once it has been deemed safe to do so by public health authorities.

For more information on the County’s response to COVID-19, visit HaldimandCounty.ca/covid-19.

Statement from the Haldimand County Police Services Board RE: Caledonia protests

On Wednesday, August 26, the Haldimand County Police Services Board (PSB) met to discuss the ongoing issue of illegal protests in Caledonia, related policing concerns and the significant impacts these incidents are having on the broader community.

The PSB recognizes that legally, its role is not to direct police operations. Rather, the PSB’s role is to serve as a conduit to the wider community and provide an avenue for communication between community members and the OPP. It is also the PSB’s responsibility to establish priorities, objectives and policies regarding policing in Haldimand County, in consultation with the Detachment Commander and Haldimand County Council.

At the August 26 meeting, PSB members expressed concerns to OPP Detachment staff regarding the adequacy and effectiveness of the OPP’s response to the illegal occupation at McKenzie Meadows and related occupations of municipal roadways, provincial highways and CN railway corridor. It is imperative that policing concerns related to illegal protests are addressed in a timely manner and even more critical that the OPP uphold the rule of law and maintain peace, order and stability within Haldimand County.

The PSB also recognizes that actions taken by the OPP in response to the McKenzie Meadows occupation and related blockades are the result of decisions made not at the local detachment level, but higher up in the OPP’s chain of command. As such, the PSB has forwarded its concerns to the Ministry of the Solicitor General and senior OPP officials. Further, the PSB has requested that individuals involved in the decision-making attend an upcoming PSB meeting to discuss the community’s significant safety concerns.

The PSB remains committed to acting as the ‘voice’ of Haldimand County residents on matters of policing and will continue to advocate for the community with OPP decision-makers and senior levels of government.

The PSB will keep the community apprised of any developments related to policing services in Haldimand County, as well as the outcome of the requested meeting with senior OPP officials and representatives from the Ministry of the Solicitor General.

Haldimand County Police Services Board

Bernie Corbett (Board Chair) – Haldimand County Council Member

Dan Lawrence – Haldimand County Council Council Member

Brian Haggith (Vice Chair) – Community Member

Kerry Boon – Provincial Member

 

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