| Mar 26, 2009

Back to HomeLetters - March 26, 2009Letters: March 26

School Year Beginning before Labour Day, Joanne Pickett

Take Advantage of the Uranium Mine Tax Break, Frank Morrison

School Year Beginning before Labour Day

It has recently come to light that the Limestone Board of Education and its affiliated Boards are proposing that the 2009/2010 school year begin on Tuesday, Sept. 2, the week preceding Labour Day weekend.  Labour Day Monday will fall on September 7 this year and because of an ever-increasing number of PA days and an added holiday - Family Day - the school year calendar will be two days short of the arbitrary number (194) of  "instructional" days legislated by the provincial ministry of education. Rather than waive a couple of PA days or work with the provincial government to amend the number of predetermined instructional days this year, they will effectively shorten the summer break in 2009 by 10%, sending vacationing families home before Labour Day weekend.

For those who depend on summer tourism to earn their living, that’s 10% fewer sales, 10% fewer cottage rentals, 10% fewer restaurant meals - the economic impact for Kingston and the Islands and cottage country to the north could be substantial and far-reaching. Unlike the bureaucrats making this decision, we are riding a wave of financial uncertainty, now exacerbated by the potential loss of the last - and most profitable - week of summer tourism.

The Inroads Studio Tour, held every Labour Day weekend in our community, carries with it substantial economic benefits, felt over a large geographical area. Its success will no doubt be in some jeopardy this year if this proposal comes to fruition.

Last week the Toronto District School Board  - in response to public outcry  - agreed to delay the opening of classes until September 8. Parents complained that everything from their final summer vacations and camp deadlines to older kids getting summer jobs would have been negatively affected by an early return. If the Toronto Board can do it - so can our school Board. Education Minister Kathleen Wynne  is refusing to get involved in the final decision, saying it was up to the individual boards to decide. She suggested teachers hold one of their scheduled PA days in late August to compensate.

I urge everyone to email or call your provincial and municipal members of government, those who serve on the Limestone District board of trustees, and Brenda Hunter - the director of the Limestone board.

Joanne Pickett

Take Advantage of the Uranium Mine Tax Break

By now you have all received your MPAC statements. Here's something to consider. Some say if you are within a hundred miles of a uranium mine you can be affected by it. So, many of us will be, and some already are being affected. Land values certainly are. I was told of two property sales that fell through last year, because of the uranium mine. One neighbor was told by an agent not to even bother listing.

It's not too late to contact MPAC and request a review of your property taxes. Their phone number is 866-296-6722. Their address is P.O. Box 9808, Toronto, ON, MIS 5T9. Call first and let them know the reason for the request for a review. But remember, you must mail a written request, and it must be post-marked no later than March 31.

Frank Morrison

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