Durham Region Transit seeks public input to shape the future of transit in rural Durham

– Posted in: Uncategorized

Durham Region Transit (DRT) will be hosting eight drop-in events throughout Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge Townships, and the Municipality of Clarington, as part of its Rural Transit Review.

Residents are invited to provide comments and suggestions online by completing the survey at durhamregiontransit.com/ruraltransit, or in person at an upcoming drop-in. The Clarington drop-in event is on November 26, at the Diane Hamre Recreation Centre, Newcastle, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m.

Newcastle Santa Parade – November 17, 2019

– Posted in: Uncategorized

Newcastle Santa Parade buttonThe Newcastle Santa Parade is a wonderful event starting with a fantastic fireworks display at 5:30 p.m. followed by 70 entries that range from marching bands, to clowns and beautifully light up floats that children of all ages enjoy.

We are all in great anticipation for Santa’s next magical visit to Newcastle with sounds, lights and marching bands of a night time parade. This year the theme for the Parade is ‘Christmas Lights’. Mark the date on your calendar and wear a Santa button on Sunday, November 17th, 2019.

https://www.newcastlesantaparade.com

Annual General Meeting – November 19

– Posted in: Uncategorized

Gordon WeirWe welcome everyone to our annual general meeting on Tuesday, November 19 in the Newcastle Lions Room, Newcastle Community Hall, 20 King Ave. W., starting at 7 p.m.

We are very fortunate to have as our speaker, Clarington Fire Chief and Director of Emergency and Fire Services, Gordon Weir. He has five fire stations under his jurisdictions and is responsible for protecting and educating the community about safety. He will also  explain the many services firefighters offer and perform, (eg: EMS rescue, crash response and water rescue).

With winter approaching, this is a great opportunity for us to learn about fire hazards in our homes.

General Meeting Minutes – Sept. 17, 2019   

– Posted in: Uncategorized

President David Saunders called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. There were 31 Members present including Mayor Foster and Federal MP Kim Rudd. One executive member Bob Malone, was unable to attend due to other commitments. Mrs. Marion Saunders welcomed our speaker Mr. John Henry, CEO and Chair of the Region of Durham.

Mr. Henry opened by expressing an enthusiastic optimism for the Region. He described new business ventures such as a new Kubota Tractor Manufacturing plant, the Bowmanville Toyota parts distribution centre and on Church Street Pickering south of the 401, a casino, hotel, and movie complex with the potential of over 2000 jobs. The Region is presently negotiating with the Province to change their plans to have a Go train station at the 5thWheel site in Bowmanville instead of the previous plans via the CPR line. They are also negotiating to make the 407 feeder highways (412, 418) toll free to allow local commuters easy access to the 401. Our Tech expertise was executed by Oshawa’s OTU students competing in an international Tech competition. They won over the top competitor, Saudi Arabia. The Region’s AAA credit rating will be under pressure by the Province’s proposed new rationalization plan to share services to struggling neighbouring communities outside the Region. The Province also asked for a 4% budget reduction. This is difficult to accomplish when a large percentage of the budget is wages. In Durham Region 10,000 Health workers and 6000 teachers will not be looking for a wage reduction! Mr. Henry finished with a Q&A.

George Rickard thanked Mr. Henry for his excellent presentation.

Previous Minutes:                                                                                            

Secretary Warren Tait read the minutes from May 21, 2019. Masood Vatandoust moved that they be accepted and John Pierrepont seconded. This was carried.

Treasurer’s Report:

Treasurer George Rickard reported that as of April 30ththe bank balance was $927.94. George made a motion to accept the report and Rod McArthur seconded. It was carried.

New Business:

Announcements:

Padre Saunders announced that we were still seeking volunteer directors.

Date of Next General Meeting:

The next General Meeting is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.                                   The speaker in November: TBA.

Adjournment:

Moved by Linda McGregor at 9:00 p.m.

General Meeting – September 17, 2019

– Posted in: Uncategorized

John HenryWe welcome everyone to our next general meeting on Tuesday, September 17 in the Newcastle Lions room starting at 7 p.m. We are very fortunate to have as our speaker, Mr. John Henry. Mr. Henry is the Chair of the Region of Durham, an area of approximately 2500 square kilometers and a population of 645,862 (2016).

This is an opportunity for us to get a clear picture for the future development of the Municipality of Clarington.

Heavy dump trucks rumble through Newcastle village!

– Posted in: Uncategorized

Dumptruck passing through Newcastle villageOver the past several weeks, a parade of heavy, fully loaded dump trucks has entered Newcastle at the Mill Street exit from the eastbound 401. They travelled north on Mill Street to King Avenue East (Highway 2 in the Village), thence eastward to their destination close to Stapleton Road where their loads of soil were dumped. They returned to the westbound 401 by the very same route. The noise, vibration, emissions and wear and tear on our roads do not belong in the residential and business sectors of Newcastle; nor does the potential for accidents!

Your Association immediately took action by notifying Ward 4 Councillor, Marg Zwart. She then alerted those concerned at Municipal Hall and sought answers. Marg was reminded that several years ago, the same situation developed using the same unfortunate routing of loaded dump trucks rolling through downtown Newcastle and along Mill Street. At that time, our Regional Councillor (Wards 3 and 4), Willie Woo sprang into action, along with your Association, resulting a rerouting of the offensive traffic along the 401 East to Newtonville and thence to its destination.

Dumptruck at King & Mill, NewcastleMunicipal officials have now confirmed they had approved the route through the Village and that the traffic would soon end as the project was winding down. Your Association requested that, in future, serious consideration be given to choosing available, alternative routings so that the residents of Newcastle be spared the burden of this offensive use of the roads in our community.

Your Association is grateful to our Ward Councillor for her prompt attention to the matter. As well, as a local citizen, Willie Woo advised authorities that this routing of heavy truck traffic through the Village was unacceptable, along with photos of the situation!

Bob Malone,
Immediate Past President

July 5, 2019

Train horns – Wilmot Creek

– Posted in: Uncategorized

TO MAYOR ADRIAN FOSTER AND MEMBERS OF THE CLARINGTON MUNICIPAL COUNCIL,

Several months ago, Council voted to take steps necessary to cause Canadian National/VIA Rail to cease blowing train horns as their trains pass through the community of Wilmot Creek (two level crossings – Bennett Road and Cobbledick Road). Although the community did not exist at the time, the first train passed along this right-of-way from Toronto to Montreal in late October, 1856.

With six level (at grade) crossings of both major railways (CP and CN) as they pass through Newcastle, we were particularly alarmed by Council’s action to support cessation of the use of train horns at these two crossings in the Wilmot Creek community and, by possible extension, all other twenty-four level crossings in Clarington, including Newcastle. And, here’s why:

Cost

According to a study carried out on behalf of the Wilmot Creek Homeowners Association and local developers (presumably those companies planning to build Phase II of the Wilmot Creek community), the cost of preparing the two level crossings for the cessation of the use of train horns in the Wilmot Creek community is estimated at $430,000. This study and the dollar number were reported in an article appearing in Clarington This Week on March 15, 2018. Using the study number, the estimated cost of preparing all twenty-six level crossings in Clarington for the cessation of train horns would be just short of $6 million!

It could be argued that the cessation might be limited to the two level crossings in the Wilmot Creek community only. Its fair to say, though, other Clarington residents – who may share the same point of view of some of the residents of Wilmot Creek  – would feel denied if level crossings in their neighbourhood were not treated the same as the two in the Wilmot Creek Community.

All in all, the potential total cost, including insurance (if available), would impose a substantial burden upon the taxpayers of Clarington.

Liability

We have been told liability insurance might be available to provide coverage in the event of a train/vehicle/person accident. While we do not know the cost of such insurance premiums, it’s hard to imagine a small cost what with the insurers’ exposure if a catastrophic incident was to occur at a level crossing, especially the potential lifetime costs of providing for persons with major injuries. Again, a potentially substantial cost to Clarington taxpayers when it might be argued the responsibility for all costs should properly fall to the associations or groups seeking cessation of the use of train horns in their neighbourhoods.

Safety

You have heard them throughout south Clarington: the two long, one short and one long sound of a train horn as a train approaches a level crossing. Speeds vary, but VIA Rail trains travel at up to 150 kilometres per hour (90+ miles per hour) while freight trains typically travel at speeds of about 90km/h (50+ mph). At these speeds, trains will reach the level crossings in moments. And, where an obstruction of a level crossing is observed, it’s impossible to bring trains to a halt before the crossing, especially freight trains hauling 12,000 – 15,000 tons of cargo. Even with drop gates (where they exist) and red warning lights providing notice of an approaching train, an audible train horn could mean the difference between the safe passage of a train over a crossing and a catastrophe.

As well, all of us have from time to time have observed teenagers at crossings and along the right-of-way, walking along with apparent disregard for anything but what’s playing on their earbuds! We know they should be more careful at crossings and along the rail line where they know they are not supposed to be, but there they are – and it may be the piercing sound of a train horn could be the only thing between our kids and disaster.

Of interest is a Federal Railroad Association (U.S.) study in 1995 which found that, in the State of Florida, accidents at level crossings increased by an alarming 87% when the use of train horns was discontinued. This number was thought to be representative of elsewhere in the U.S. The study led the Federal Government to reserve unto itself final approval of any train horn cessation applications; such approval being formerly under the aegis of the State (1).

Safety trumps all!

Lastly

There are about 45 train movements per day (total, eastbound and westbound) along the double track CN corridor in south Newcastle and about 8 train movements per day along the CP corridor in north Newcastle. These are significant totals representing, we believe, a potential elevated risk if any of the current warning devices signalling approaching trains are discontinued, especially train horns (2).

From comments received by a number of our members, we have found the proposition of cessation of the use of train horns is NOT a universally held one.  As well, there was a reported statement from a Wilmot Creek Homeowners Association spokesperson says, “…that there are severe health impacts for our residents…caused by train whistles.” The article in which this statement appeared did not contain any reference to medical evidence/science to support what could be a contention causing alarm amongst some residents.

The Newcastle/Bond Head Ratepayers Association is opposed to the cessation of the use of train horns for the reasons set forth in this paper. As and when the matter arises again, we urge Council to refrain from taking any action which might lead to the cessation of the use of train horns in Newcastle and, indeed, in Clarington.

Respectfully submitted,

Bob Malone,
Immediate Past President
Newcastle/Bond Head Ratepayers Association

July 3, 2019

  • 1. Wikipedia (Train Horns essay)
  • 2. CP and CN Operations, via Clarington Fire Services

Newcastle/Bond Head waterfront spit and pier   –   an issue of great concern

– Posted in: Uncategorized

Bond Head PierThe Board of Directors of the Newcastle/Bond Head Ratepayers Association passed a resolution unanimously to approach local government about the appalling condition of the Bond Head spit and pier.

Bond Head spitAs you enjoy our recently renovated and expanded waterfront park, you will have noticed that the pier extending into Lake Ontario from the park has been barricaded and placed off limits to the public because of the treacherous conditions caused by many years of benign neglect and erosion caused by storms. While it is true the Operations Services of the Municipality have attempted over recent years to keep the pier open by filling in sink holes, it is thought one reason for the lack of development of an overall plan to fully restore the pier MAY have been the belief it was owned by the federal government and thus their responsibility to address the problem.  Not so – the pier became the property of the Municipality in 1999, a fact perhaps not widely known by Council.

Now is the time to act.  Immediate repair should be undertaken to render the Pier safe and usable. To this end, I contacted Councillor Granville Anderson and Councillor Marg Zwart. Councillor Zwart responded quickly and, in fact, met me on the pier to examine the sad conditions. She undertook to contact the Director of Operations of the Municipality and, indeed, has done so. She reports Mr. Horvath is attempting to contact and meet with a coastal engineer to seek guidance. Marg remains with the situation.

Long term, your Association intends to seek support from senior levels of government to underwrite the cost of rebuilding the pier, once a plan and cost has been determined. As I have said, though, IMMEDIATE REPAIRS need be undertaken to that the public might once again enjoy the pier!

Bob Malone,
Immediate Past President
Newcastle/Bond Head Ratepayers Association

July 2, 2019

General Meeting Minutes: March 12, 2019

– Posted in: Uncategorized

President David Saunders called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and welcomed our speaker, Mayor Adrian Foster.

Mayor Foster opened with an update on the many developments in Clarington, such as the Owasco expansion, the Rona building purchase and the new Toyota parts warehouse which will serve dealers from Manitoba to the east coast. A large expansion for marijuana  grow operations in this area is now   about 250,000 sq. ft. with the potential for 500,000 sq. ft. The Mayor indicated that industrial land for new development in Clarington was at a minimum.

Fortunately, the budget was kept to a 2.2% increase, (less than many GTA communities), with taxes costing approximately $5,800.00 for an average junior executive home. The Ontario Government is now reviewing Regional Governments for efficiencies. The Mayor feels that a reduction in representation from the local councils and duplication of services would help. [continue reading…]

A Gift of Art Speaker Series (free)

– Posted in: Uncategorized

A Gift of Art at 187 King Ave. E. in Newcastle is offering a free speaker series on Thursdays from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Upcoming speakers include:

  • February 28 – Christine Murphy: Humane Society of Durham
  • March 7 – Marilyn Glassford: Lakeshore Tours
  • March 21 – Kiley Percy: Clarington Public Library
  • March 28 – Sheila Burns: Primrose Donkey Sanctuary
  • April 4 – Mayor Adrian Foster: Your Clarington – an update

Refreshments are free – but the conversation that follows will be “priceless.” For more information, call 905-987-2264.