The ABC’s of 2018
As is our tradition, Glengarry News editor Steven Warburton has combed through the editions of 2018 in order to bring you this alphabetized year-in-review.
A is for accidents on Highway 401, which made life difficult for South Glengarry this year. In the early summer, Mayor Ian McLeod, sounded off about the damage caused to township roads whenever traffic has to be diverted off the 401 because of an accident. That’s partly because motorists will use their GPS to find the quickest way back on the 401 rather than simply use the township’s emergency detour route. All that extra traffic, which includes many transports, creates a lot of extra wear and tear on municipal roads.
B is for businesses that were sold in Glengarry this year. We can think of two big ones – Betty Bread and Moulure Alexandria Moulding. The former was sold to La Boulangerie Auger, of StJérôme. The acquisition was expected to create 30 jobs. Moulure Alexandria Moulding was acquired by the Atlanta-based U.S. Lumber in the summer. MAM president André Cholette said he expected the merger would allow the company to hire more people.
C is for the Community Improvement Plan which, after years of operation in North Glengarry, finally made its debut in the south. The township held a number of information sessions in the spring, showing business owners how they could use loans and grants to beautify their storefronts.
D is for drought, which is something Glengarrians experienced in the mid-summer after three months of abnormally light rainfall. Flows in area water courses were less than 70 per cent of their usual summer rates and the South Nation Conservation Authority even issued a low water advisory on July 11.
E is for evaluation of the Raisin River, which the Raisin River Conservation Authority issued in May. It was not a good report; the river itself earned a C average on its report card and a number of South Glengarry water courses received F grades. Some of the creeks had abnormally low forest coverage, although the RRCA said that water quality had been improving over the past two decades.
F is for fraud, which hit the Glengarry Highland Games hard this year. Julie Robertson, 52, who worked with the Games as well as the Kenyon Agricultural Society, allegedly misappropri- ated $600,000 from her employer in order to cover up mistakes that caused money problems for those charities.
G is for guilty, which is how Brandon Smeltzer pled in the slaying of his former partner, Émilie Maheu, whose body was found in a field near Lancaster in October.
H is for the heat wave that rocked Glengarry this summer. In early July, Environment Canada issued a heat warning for Eastern Ontario when the humidex values reached 43. Local stores sold out on air conditioners and farmers expressed concern that the hotter than average temperatures were going to affect their yields.
I is for ice rinks. At least two local communities built them this year – Glen Walter and Glen Robertson. In February, the Glen Walter Firefighters Association said it would like to install a new outdoor rink in the Glen Walter Regional Park by this winter. In Glen Robertson, the community worked hard to rebuild its rink.
J is for jobs, specifically those made possible through the Canadian government’s Summer Jobs Grant. In January, the government’s insistence that applicants affirm a pro-choice mindset proved problematic for a number of faith-based groups who believe abortion is a sin. The government insisted that measure was taken just so taxes wouldn’t go to groups whose sole purpose was to promote an anti-abortion message. By the end of the year, the government had capitulated to faith groups and only insisted that applicants declare their support for human rights.
K is for kill, which is what several people thought the Champlain Local Health Integration Network was going to do to the stroke rehabilitation program at Hopital Glengarry Memorial Hospital. The LHIN said it never wanted to shut down the program; it was merely considering moving some of the beds to Cornwall. A final decision has still not been made.
L is for the log cabin church in St. Elmo that North Glengarry council – along with its Arts, Culture, and Heritage Committee – wanted to save way back in January. The 180-year-old building – also known as the St. Elmo Congregational Church – had been turned over to the Presbyterian Church of Canada, which was in the process of selling the land on which the cabin was situated. At year end, the future of the cabin is still in limbo.
M is for marijuana, which made headlines across the country after Canada decided to legalize it. In May, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit gave a presentation in Alexandria, where he expressed concern that teenagers will be tempted to use it more now that it’s legal. Although North and South Glengarry have not decided if they will allow pot shops, South Glengarry is be- lieved to be on board.
N is for “Non,” which is what Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP Amanda Simard told Premier Doug Ford after the Conservative government’s decision to cancel plans for a Frenchlanguage university and a French Languages Services Commissioner. The Conservative MPP resigned from her party to sit as an independent.
O is for the opening of the Sir John Johnson Manor House in Williamstown, which unveiled its new vision in early December after two years of renovation. The registered Federal Heritage Building, which used to house the Williamstown branch of the SDG Library, now sports a lofty-ceiling ballroom and a concierge room. Future plans involve transforming the upper portion of the house into one full suite and three bedrooms.
P is for the parish merger, which received a blessing from the Pope in the spring. That meant that the Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese and the Archdiocese of Ottawa would be “united in the person of the bishop.” In this case that would be Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. Some local Catholics were concerned that this would mean they would lose a bishop, but Rome promised to appoint an Auxiliary Archbishop to help oversee Catholics in the Alexandria Cornwall area. Earlier this month, Hull native Rev. Guy Desrochers was appointed to that position.
Qis for the quest to see. That’s the way Alexandria resident Josh MacDonald described a big part of his life. The 39-year-old had his infected left eye removed when he was three. There is a nystagmus in his right eye. These two factors seriously hampered his vision. He was allowed to test out a pair of electronic glasses that sharply improved his vision, but the $12,500 price tag was out of his reach. Enter the Alexandria and District Lions Club, which launched a fundraising campaign that paid for the glasses.
R is for RARE, also known as Recyclage Alexandria Recycling Equipe, which made a number of headlines this year. In June, it was announced that the plant would get an upgrade to allow better processing of fibre products. It also announced that as of January, 2019, it would begin operating under a two-stream solution. That means that RARE will take in fibre products one week and plastics and containers the next. South Glengarry and North Stormont Townships, former clients of RARE, will have to send their recycling elsewhere as they don’t offer two-stream recycling pickup.
S is for Smithfield Park, which might experience a new life in the future. In February, about 50 concerned residents gathered at South Glengarry Township’s office to talk about their vision for the park, which includes a new parking lot, rink, skate park, and shelter. It’s hard to deny that Smithfield Park, located in Lancaster just east of the Legion building, is enjoying a resurgence. In the fall, the Lancaster Optimist Club announced that it would move next summer’s Canada Day celebrations from Charlottenburgh Park into Smithfield.
T is for the truck stop that received a thumbs-up from South Glengarry council in November. The new stop will be part of a 15acre development in Curry Hill. Construction should begin by spring.
U is for up, which is the direction water rates went in South Glengarry after council hiked charges in order to build reserves for future capital costs. Glen Walter and Lancaster residents saw the biggest hit as their bills increased by more than 50 per cent. In Maxville, residents will also see their rates rise by about $100 a year due to the Maxville Water Project.
V is for vote, which is something Glengarrians did twice this year. In June’s provincial election, they helped re-elect Conservative MPP Jim McDonell in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry while Amanda Simard won the seat for the Conservatives in Glengarry-Prescott Russell. That election also saw the ousting of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, who were dethroned by Doug Ford’s Conservatives. In the fall, voters turned out for the municipal elections. Jamie MacDonald and Frank Prevost were acclaimed respectively as Mayors of North and South Glengarry while Carma Williams and Lyle Warden were elected as Deputy-Mayors.
W is for the aforementioned water project in Maxville, which, admittedly, has made life a bit more annoying for residents of that village. They have had to deal with dug-up roads, detours, and noise, but the good news is that when it’s all said and done, Maxville will have a stable source of drinking water. The project came to something of a head this fall with the erection of the Maxville water tower.
X marks the spot for a new seniors village, which could go up somewhere near Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital. The village is said to be a solution to one of society’s biggest problems, which is affordable housing for seniors. If it goes ahead, the village would provide such housing to seniors through a number of cost-cutting initiatives.
Y is for yes, which is something many municipalities said to a petition that called on the provincial government to designate paramedic services as a full essential service. Initiated by South Glengarry council, the petition was supported by 13 other municipalities.
Z is for zukes, which were on full display at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s Fall Festival in September. This year, the festival held a Super Zuke contest, where people were challenged to dress a zucchini as their favourite superhero.
V IS FOR VOTE: In this file photo, local Progressive Conservative candidates Amanda Simard and Jim McDonell promote their party before June’s provincial election. Both candidates won their seats, though Ms. Simard would later leave the PCs and sit as an independent in the wake of the government’s cancellation of francophone appointments.
W IS FOR WATER PROJECT: The roads of Maxville were ripped up this year in order to install infrastructure for the Maxville Water Project.
L IS FOR LOG CABIN: The future of this log cabin, which used to serve as a Congregational church in St. Elmo, is still undetermined after it became the property of the Presbyterian Church of Canada more than one year ago.
B IS FOR BUSINESSES: Moulure Alexandria Moulding was sold to an American company in 2018.