Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:37

March for Meals campaign hits Sydenham

The Community Support Foundation of Ontario joins with other organisations around North America to help promote the Meals on Wheels, which provides hot meals and a friendly face for seniors all year round in this region and across Ontario. Each year during March on Meals week (March 19-23 this year) local politicians and other community champions are invited to ride with dedicated Meals on Wheels volunteers delivering hot meals in the hamlets and the countryside.

The promotion aims to generate awareness of hot meal programs, the challenge of social isolation and its impact on health outcomes, and encourage support through volunteering and financial donations.

In our region, distance is a challenge, but Meals on Wheels volunteers are undaunted. Meals are delivered by Southern Frontenac Community Services (SFCS) in South Frontenac, Rural Frontenac Community Services (RFCS) in Central and parts of North Frontenac, by Land O’Lakes Community Services (LOLCS) in Addington Highlands and parts of North Frontenac, and Community Home Support – Perth Office in Tay Valley and Lanark Highlands.

Most MOW programs in Canada were started by local church groups or steering committees that saw a need to help feed elderly populations in their communities. Today, Meals on Wheels programs still operate at the local level. Programs vary widely in their size, service provided, organization and funding. In 2015-16, 2,899,292 meals were delivered to 38,800 Ontarians.

Currently in Ontario, there are 137 not-for-profit organizations receiving government funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to provide Meals on Wheels. This government funding covers only part of the cost the difference is made up by donations and/or client fees, which are kept as low as possible.

At the Grace Centre in Sydenham March for Meals was marked on Tuesday (March 19) A boisterous group gathered in the morning for coffee and treats before heading out. Southern Frontenac Community Services offers Hot Meals on Wheels every Tuesday. Meals are prepared by a professional cook to be nutritionally appropriate for older adults. Each meal includes soup or salad, an entrée and a side, and dessert.

A team of volunteer drivers delivers about 60 meals each week (sometimes as many as 75) throughout South Frontenac and rural Kingston. Drivers take a moment to check in with seniors, providing social interaction, and a chance to see how the client is faring.

SFCSC also offers a Frozen Meals program, where nutritionally appropriate, high quality frozen meals suitable for warming up can be ordered and delivered. Frozen meals cost $5 each, and Hot Meals on Wheels cost $7.

For more information on the Hot Meals on Wheels Program offered at SFCSC, call Joanne Silver at 613-3766477 ext. 303. For information about Meals on Wheels in Central and North Frontenac, RFCS call 613-279-3151. In Addington Highlands call LOLCS at 613-336-8934

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:36

Repair Cafe under way for Frontenac County

For the past few months, Wagarville Road resident Peter de Bassecourt has been making a monthly trek to Kingston to fix things.

Not things like what’s-wrong-with-the-world things; lamps and chairs and toasters type things.

He’s become part of a growing movement, called Repair Cafe, in which people bring in belongings that need fixing and other people fix them for them.

“We meet at the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship building on Concession Street,” he said. “It’s one of the 1,778 Repair Cafes worldwide.”

And now, de Bassecourt is in the process of setting up Frontenac Repair Cafe, a similar operation under the Repair Cafe banner that he sees as a roving operation — Sharbot Lake one month, Sydenham the next, then Verona, then Ompah, etc.

He’s got enthusiasm, and a Repair Cafe charter. What he needs now is some volunteers and more importantly, some locations that would be willing to host a Cafe.

Volunteers consist of people who like to (and can) fix things (could be just about anything if you have the right gear and “sewing is really huge, especially zippers”) as well as people who like to organize (ie, take names, make waiting lists, connect fixers with those needing things fixed) and people who simply like to make the coffee and bring the goodies.

“Repair Cafe gives you a ‘starter kit’ with all the information and forms you need to get started,” de Bassecourt said. “But we really need is somebody or organization to host.

“The problem is insurance. We couldn’t get the insurance we have to have on our own.”

He said church basements are common within the organization but he said there’s no reason why a business, say a hardware store, couldn’t host one. And a cafe for a particular month could be tailored towards a particular business. Cafes regularly hold ‘workshops’ on everything from fixing chairs to darning socks.

About the only no go is anything with gasoline engines, for insurance reasons.

De Bassecourt got interested when plans for a re-purpose operation at Central Frontenac waste sites went south. To him, the re-use aspect of the Repair Cafe is a big attraction.

“We’re not replacing commercial ventures,” he said. “We’re keeping things out of landfills.”

And, there’s a couple of other aspects he likes.

“It’s free, and people are really appreciative,” he said. “But we also get a lot of kids to the workshops.

“This is good because we’re losing older fixers and this is a way to pass skills on to kids.”

Anyone interested in joining up, especially groups or businesses who might be willing to host a cafe for one month or more, is asked to contact Peter de Bassecourt email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can also look up the Kingston Repair Cafe on FaceBook.


South Frontenac Council will likely have two of its members sit on the board of Southern Frontenac Community Services following a one-hour meeting between the two bodies that preceded the regular Council meeting Tuesday night in Sydenham.

During the regular Council meeting, Coun. Norm Roberts gave a notice of motion to make the recommendation for councilors to join the SFCS board part of Council’s next regular meeting.

“This meeting (before Council) was more about having the dialogue as to how Council and SFCS can come together more to meet the needs of South Frontenac citizens,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal.

“We’d both like to determine what services are needed and how best to provide them,” said Dep. Mayor Ron Sleeth. “I’d also like to point out that they were only asking for input.

“They didn’t ask us for any money.”


• • •

Council amended the Township Trailer Licence bylaw, as it pertains to single trailers on private lots, increasing the fee $35 per month from $35 effective Jan. 1, 2020. The bylaw changes also further extend the compliance date for prohibition of the use licensed trailers on private residential property to Dec. 31, 2023.

Bylaw services will inspect each property to ensure that the trailer currently on site matches the one licensed at the time the bylaw was established (and) continue to enforce the removal of unlicensed trailers, should complaints be filed about new trailers or if they are discovered during Bylaw Service’s inspection.

“I wanted to enquire from the CAO if there is any assurance that the number of trailers is dropping,” said Coun. Alan Revill. “I know the number of licensed trailers is dropping.”

“When reported, we do act on it but I can’t tell you how many appear under the cover of darkness,” said CAO Wayne Orr. “We don’t go down every lane seeking them out.”

Revill wondered if raising fees might act as a deterrent to people actually licensing trailers.

“One of the reasons for raising costs is to be able to enforce the bylaw proactively,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal.


• • •

Council voted to support a request from South Stormont Township asking the provincial government to heed its concerns about the potential reduction and/or loss of Ontario Municipal Partnership Funding.

“I think this is still worth supporting, although we heard from the government that we’d be getting $40,000 more than we got last year,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “And that they will be consulting with us in the future.”

“By ‘consulting,’ does that mean ‘telling’?” said Coun. Doug Morey.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 11:58

Gorr’s Maple Syrup of Harrowsmith

“They don’t always have a tree where you want to put the line,” says Gary Gorr, maple syrup producer and philosopher who’s been tapping 45 acres (“pretty much all hardwood”) on the family farm since 1985.

He says “the weather is unpredictable” so he focuses on what he can control, keeping his lines “straight, tight and downhill. (His operation is all gravity fed.)

“Besides, the summer before is when the sugar is made for next spring.”

His dad started tapping the trees in 1972.

“I just watched then,” he said. “But in 1985, his knees were bothering him.

“He said ‘everything is there’ and it was time for me to take it over.”

He’s 75 now and it’s still a one-man operation.

“When I started out, I was still doing some renovation-construction work but in 1986, it was a slack time,” he said. “Then more and more people started wanting our syrup, so we gradually started adding more and more.”

For example, in 1991, the County and Township paid to send 58 four-litre cans of syrup to Canadian Forces fighting in the Gulf War.

He’s seen a lot of changes, mostly to equipment as regulations change.

“In 1995, we had to get rid of all the old lead stuff,” he said. “All the metal, milk tins, sap buckets.”

But, of course, the biggest changes tend to be in the weather.

“Twenty-five years ago, I had syrup made in April,” he said. “Any more, you have to be tapped by the second week in February.”

He said he started looking through his records and in 1988, he started boiling March 19 and that ran through til April. In 1995, he started March 8 and that ran to March 22.

“In 2001, we started later, March 19 and through to April 8,” he said. “But it ran everyday.

“In 2002 and 2004, it was March 2 to April 8.”

Regardless, he soldiers on, and still enjoys when people come to the house at 3596 Quinn Road E. to buy syrup in bottles featuring the logo his daughter designed. “I added a few trees around it,” he said.

His syrup is also available at the Foodlands in Verona and Sydenham, Wilton Cheese and the Limestone Creamery as well as Pan Chancho Bakery and Cafe in Kingston. (Call 613-329-4252 or 613-372-2601 for information.)

He has no ideas about giving it up, enjoying the exercise and being out in the bush.

“You have to become a woodlot manager, doing this,” he said. “Some of the old trees are dying but I don’t cut green trees.

“The other day, a couple of wolves came through and there are lots of squirrels, chipmunks and red squirrels.

“We have a red-breasted woodpecker and a pair of cardinals.”

As for predictions for this season, Gorr is pretty non-committal. But when pressed, he grinned and said: “I thought it was going to open up there. But I think it’s going to be a long season.”


They are not exactly shovel ready just yet, but a $14,000 study by architectural firm Colbourne and Kendall concluded that if Frontenac County, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) and South Frontenac Township decide to build a combined new administrative building, each of the three partners would realise significant savings when comparing the cost they would incur building their own separate buildings.

The savings come about from various aspects of the construction, from site purchase and preparation costs, to wastewater treatment, a combined entranceway, shared meeting rooms etc. Kendall and Coulbourne said those savings could total as much as 28% in construction costs, and $5.5 million in operating costs over the 30-year life span of the building.

The assumption made by the firm was that the building would be located within South Frontenac. There would be savings if the building were located within range of the Sydenham water treatment plant but the exact location of such a building would be subject to availability of land and the needs of the three potential partners.

The newly constituted Frontenac County Building Design Task, with new membership after last fall’s election, received the report last Wednesday (February 20).

South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal, who was elected as chair of the committee, said that the first thing he has to do is bring the matter of a new building before his own Council.

“Aside from agreeing to help fund this preliminary analysis about costing a shared building, our council has not talked at all about this,” said Vandewal. “We need to have that discussion before we can commit to anything from the township end.”

South Frontenac currently has two administrative offices. One is located in Sydenham, in the same building as the council chamber, and the other is nearby on Keeley road, on the public works site.

Frontenac County is based at the ‘Old House’ and the Fairmount Home site, and about two years ago CAO Kelly Pender brought a report to Council regarding the inadequacy of the building, sparking a process to look at renovations or a building something new.

Last year the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority approached Frontenac County about the possibility of co-location, and South Frontenac joined the process last summer.

Kelly Pender said that the Board of directors of the CRCA will be meeting this week to look at their next steps, in light of the report.

“They are in more of a hurry than we are at this table,” Pender said, “because their building is at the end of its useful life and they need to find a new home pretty soon. They may not want to wait for us to decide.

In light of the fact that all three of the potential partners in the project will now have to consider seriously the prospect of a multi-million dollar project before any next steps can be taken, the committee could not do more than accept the report and refer it to the three councils to decide if they are in or out before proceeding to deal with any of the details surrounding the project, such as site selection, building design, and an ownership model.

The matter will come before South Frontenac Council soon, perhaps at a Committee of the Whole meeting in March, and to Frontenac County Council as well, likely in March or April.


Fresh off an Eastern Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association (EOSSAA) championship victory last week in Pembroke where they defeated a tough Casselman team 25-19 and 25-11 in the finals, the Sydenham Golden Eagles senior girls volleyballers are off to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) AA championships March 4-6 in Amherstburg near Windsor.

Coach Bryan English said “the girls played well” to win EOSSAA but knows an OFSAA championship will be a more elusive goal.

“We didn’t really play any of the teams we’ll be facing at OFSAA this year but having been there the last couple of years, we know the kind of teams that will be there,” English said. “We expect to be a fairly high seed, 13-17, but we’ll be in tough for a top-2 finish in our pool.

“Last year, we finished third in our pool and went on to win the consolation final so something like that is realistic this year.”

After trips to OFSAA four years in a row (plus a triple-A berth five years ago), English hopes his squad hasn’t become complacent.

“It’s the first trip for the Grade 11s but I just hope the Grade 12s don’t take it for granted,” he said.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 11:19

Sydenham Legion celebrates 70 years of service

More than 100 people braved the cold Saturday to help the Bob Richardson Branch # 496, Royal Canadian Legion, Sydenham celebrate its 70th anniversary with a hot lunch and speeches.

“We’re doing quite well,” said President George Kish, a Legion member for 40 years, 20 years at the Sydenham branch. “We have 170 members now and 22 years ago, the first time I was president, we only had 118.

“We have more and more vets coming in to help.”

The Sydenham branch participates in many of the Legion activities and programs including the PTSD program and getting homeless veterans off the street. It is also quite active in the community with its poem, poster and essay contests and the hall is a busy place with many groups and individuals renting it out for their activities.

The Sydenham branch was granted its official charter on Jan. 14, 1949. The inaugural organizational meeting took place in the basement of St. Paul’s church in October of 1948. The current hall was purchased in 1965 but was not officially opened until 1972. Prior to that, the branch met on the top floor of the local blacksmith’s shop, also located on Amelia Street.

In 1960, the same year that the cenotaph was dedicated, the branch took on the name Bob Richardson Branch, for Robert Miles Richardson.

Richardson was a Sydenham resident born in 1874. Richardson joined the Canadian infantry in January of 1916 at the age of 41.

He served at both Vimy Ridge and Passchendale with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles and was wounded in December 1917.

He was then repatriated to Canada where he lived until his death in May 1949.


Last summer South Frontenac Councillor Ross Sutherland lodged a complaint about Council’s in camera discussions of litigation on Sydenham’s water treatment plant. The essence of Sutherland’s complaint, according to the report that came out as the result of it being lodged, was that “the public should have been better informed, in a general way, about the closed session item.”

A report to the township by “closed meeting investigator” Amberley Gavel Ltd, was released this week.

Amberley Gavel looked at whether the closed meeting that Council held, on August 7 of last year, concerning litigation in relation to the Sydenham Water System, conforms to rules set out for closed meetings in the Municipal Act of Ontario.

Sutherland said this week that his complaint was not centred on whether a closed meeting was justified, but on whether the public had a right to know that the litigation related to the Sydenham Water System, a fact that was not disclosed at the time. Sutherland also complained about some of the debate that took place at that closed meeting, which, he said, could have been conducted in open session.

“It is an issue of transparency,” Sutherland said, “people have a right to know that litigation which may result in a cost to the township of hundreds of thousands of dollars, relates to the water system, a fact that was not disclosed at the time.

In their findings, Amberley Gavel said first that the in-camera session was justified under the Municipal Act.

They also said, however, that instead of saying in the agenda for the August 7 meeting that the in camera session was being held “to discuss litigation”, the agenda could, and should, have offered more detail.

“The in camera session could have been titled: Closed session dealing with litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board, …, respecting the Sydenham Water Treatment Plant.” They also said that the township could have reported more about the meeting in the minutes to the open session of council that followed the closed meeting.

In their conclusion, Amberley Gavel said that the closed meeting was justified, that any lack of disclosure before or after the meeting “does not render the meeting or the outcome of the meeting improper or illegal”.

However, they also said “Council could have been more open and transparent, …, ands should consider amending its practices to do so wherever possible.”

“These recommendations are important,” said Sutherland, “without them, for example, a major piece of municipal infrastructure could have a problem and that problem is never reported out the public. All discussions take place at a staff level and in closed meetings. Then a settlement is reached with a confidentiality agreement. In this situation, a matter of significant public interest involving hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money could pass without the public, even in a general way, knowing. This does not seem to meet any level of trenchancy and openness.”


“Selling edibles isn’t legal yet, but if you want to make your own, it’s OK,” SSgt. Sharon Brown told the SALT lunch Friday at the Grace Centre in Sydenham. “So no bake sale brownies, OK?”

In fact, Brown used humour to make many of her important points during her presentation on what cannabis now being legal means in Ontario from a policing perspective.

“You can smoke cannabis in a private residence or anywhere it’s legal to smoke a cigarette or vape,” she said. “When you’re walking down the sidewalk in downtown Sydenham, don’t crack open a beer, but you can smoke a joint.”

Brown wasn’t being flippant, she was just making a point that one is governed by the Liquor Licensing Act and the other by the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and her audience certainly seemed to appreciate her candor.

“In vehicles and boats, you can’t have cannabis available to the driver, which means passengers can’t be smoking it either,” she said. “Now, in the case of an RV, it can’t be available while the RV is moving, but once you’ve stopped for the night, it becomes your residence and then it’s OK.

“There’s no charges applicable if you’re riding a bicycle because a bicycle is not considered a motor vehicle.”

She did say that passengers in a motor vehicle can consume edibles if they’re in the passenger seat.

She said people 19 and over are allowed to have .30 grams of dried leaf in public but more than that can get you into trouble in varying degrees depending on the amount.

You can’t have products that have been made with solvents such as butane but you can grow your own plants (maximum four plants per residence, regardless of how many people live there.)

“If I come into your house and see four plants, it’s OK,” she said. “More than that and you’re likely getting charged.”

She said that Oct. 17, the day cannabis became legal in Canada “came and went and it was pretty non-descript” in this area at any rate.

She said the best thing about legalization is the effect it should have in cutting down on the illicit drug trade, helping to make marijuana laced with things like cocaine and fentanyl less available.

“Right now, the only legal way to get cannabis is at the online government store,” she said.

When asked about all the ‘pot shops’ in Deseronto, she said: “I’m going to do a Gretzky-like pass and not talk about that.”

She did say that police are concerned about drivers impaired by cannabis and they are sending more officers for training in how to spot in and conduct roadside testing.

But, they aren’t going to be using anything like a Breathalyzer just yet.

“The OPP are not going with screening devices right now,” she said. “I don’t want a machine that ‘might’ work.”

There is another SALT talk on cannabis scheduled for Jan. 25 in the Verona Free Methodist Church at 11:30 a.m.

There is no charge for SALT talks admission and lunch is provided. The lunch at the Grace Centre was particularlly good.


On January 19, 2019, Bob Richardson Branch #496 of the Royal Canadian Legion will celebrate the 70th Anniversary of its founding Charter.

The Branch is named after Private Robert Miles Richardson, a Sydenham resident born in 1874, and who joined the Canadian infantry in January 1916, making him 41 years of age at time of enlistment. Having served at both Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, he was wounded in December 1917, and was repatriated to Canada where he lived until his death in May 1949.

While the Branch, which is located on Amelia Street in Sydenham, was granted its official Charter on January 14, 1949, the inaugural organization meeting took place in the basement of St. Paul’s Church in October of 1948, and the name change to the Bob Richardson Branch did not occur until December, 1960, the same year that the Sydenham Cenotaph was dedicated.

The current Hall was purchased in 1965, but was not officially opened until 1972; prior to that, the Branch met on the top floor of the local blacksmith shop, also located on Amelia Street.

The 70th Anniversary Celebration will take place on January 19, 2019 at 1130am in the main hall at 4361 Amelia Street, Sydenham. The event will include special presentations and awards to members and supporters of the Branch, as well as a luncheon prepared by the Ladies Auxiliary. The event is open to all Branch members, families, friends, and well-wishers. To assist with the cost of the luncheon tickets may be purchased at the Branch at a price of $10.00 per person. Please telephone (613) 376-6808 for further information, if needed.

We will Remember them…


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