bfit and bacpa express interest in purchasing facility
People who gathered along the route to watch the Bayfield Community Fair Parade in August held up signs protesting the permanent removal of ice from the Bayfield Arena in the Spring of 2018. These signs were viewed by members of the Municipality of Bluewater Council as they progressed along the parade route. (Photos by Melody Falconer-Pounder)
On Aug. 29, the Bayfield Facilities Initiative Team (BFIT) and the Bayfield Arena Community Partners Association (BACPA) together submitted a letter to the Mayor of Bluewater and his council to advise the Municipality of Bluewater of their interest in the operation of the entire Bayfield Community Centre.
Rebecca Merner walked with members of the Bayfield Skating Club during the Bayfield Community Fair Parade in mid-August to let people know that ice users are opposed to the decision to permanently remove the ice from the facility in the Spring of 2018.
The letter stated, “At this point, it would appear the facility will be underutilized by April 2018 and we would appreciate a response on the cost to purchase the facility from the Municipality of Bluewater or how much Bluewater would expect from a lease agreement.”
They then requested that council include prices in their response so that both the organizations would be advised of what council’s expectations would be going forward.
This letter was prompted by the decision that was made by council on the evening of Aug. 21. At that time council approved the motion “that the ice be removed permanently from the Bayfield Arena effective April 2018; that staff provide Council with the public input received regarding the repurposing of the Bayfield Community Centre, and that a feasibility study be initiated to develop a plan for the future use of the Bayfield Community Centre.”
This motion was passed with Bayfield Ward Councilor Bill Whetstone and Zurich Ward Councilor Janisse Zimmerman voting against it.
The motion was made following presentations made by BACPA and BFIT to council members in front of a gallery filled to capacity with people opposed to the ice removal.
Ron Keys and Karen Morrison presented on behalf of the BACPA while Steven Baker and Sandy Scotchmer spoke on behalf of BFIT.
Young ice users gathered with their parents in the parking lot at the Stanley Complex in Varna as Bluewater councilors gathered for their meeting on Aug. 21 to let them know that they are opposed to the permanent removal of the ice.
The BACPA was formed in January 2014 in an effort to dissuade the Municipality of Bluewater from removing the ice that spring. Their mandate is to inspire healthy living through a multi generational facility that puts physical, educational and social activities under one roof for an entire community to enjoy. They asked for three years to prove that the ice surface in the arena could be better utilized.
“At the beginning of its mandate BACPA’s goals had included taking over some responsibility for human resources which was never granted,” said Keys. “Our hands have been tied to marketing.”
He noted that from the data that BACPA has collected since 2014, and have had confirmed by an unbiased accountant, they feel they have done fairly well in achieving their goals, “and could have made more headway had we the full support of the municipality.”
Numbers calculated by the municipality and the numbers crunched by BACPA show some discrepancies in operating deficits.
Keys noted that the hall usage is highly subsidized which contributes to the overall deficit of the facility.
“Our data indicates that revenue from the ice is up, not down. As far as the numbers that have been reported to us it appears that the arena deficit is calculated as a whole and that the municipality calculates revenues based on weekly usage ice contracts and does not factor in one time rentals and other uses of the ice onto the revenue side of the balance sheet,” Keys said.
Keys also stated in his presentation that BACPA would like to know how the human resources costs are calculated and allocated. He asked council, “Would you agree this allocation and total amount will not change after the re-purposing?”
BACPA believes that currently the billed use of the ice is almost equal to the subsidized use of the hall.
“From the figures we have been provided with, and making conservative estimates of actual costs to the ice surface including human resources, we believe that the actual deficit associated with the ice is much smaller than the actual deficit of the arena. We believe it costs $40,000 to have ice,” he said. “You will be kicking out your largest tenant and with the ice removed the deficit will go up.”
After both delegations had presented the treasurer for the municipality explained that she had determined the deficit for the facility to be $69,133.31 while the total operating costs were $131,848.18.
Morrison spoke to the added attractiveness of the community by having ice in the arena in winter.
“In winter the ice pad is the centre of many community activities, which promote our sense of community and improve our quality of life. These can’t be measured on a balance sheet,” she said.
She sited the benefits of offering public skating, sponsored at no cost to residents, as an all-ages activity. She also noted that the Bayfield Skating Club had about 50 youth members last year and even offered adult skating lessons. She noted that these recreational offerings were made popular by the fact that people can walk to the arena.
“In fact, research shows that the farther one has to travel the less likely people are to take part in leisure activities like this,” she said.
She noted that the BACPA has sponsored and supervised shinny hockey for youngsters who would like to play hockey but can’t necessarily afford the costs of playing in a formal league and that this opportunity has proven extremely popular and is not offered anywhere else. She explained that the BACPA also organized both Tyke Hockey tournaments and Over 50 Hockey tournaments in the winter months that not only generated funds for the arena but also brought much needed business to the stores, hotels and restaurants in the village during the low season.
Morrison stated, “It has been suggested that the ice surface may be better utilized year-round without ice and that major tenants could be accommodated in other Bluewater facilities. That would mean that traditional community events like the Bayfield Antique Show, Bayfield Community Fair and fundraising events be held elsewhere. The year round use of the arena for various groups in our community is at the heart and soul of the history and identity of Bayfield.”
Morrison encouraged council to keep the ice in while an independent feasibility study is conducted.
“It doesn’t seem to make sense to get rid of the ice, then decide what to do with it. At least the ice is generating some revenue, rather than sitting empty while waiting on the results of a feasibility study,” Morrison said.
When BFIT representatives, Scotchmer and Baker, took to the microphone they both expressed disappointment that council did not appear open to their request to allow the BACPA to market the ice for another three years while their group worked to come up with a plan for a new community facility.
The vision of BFIT is to create “a privately funded, multi-general facility to promote, celebrate and sustain health, wellness and pride of individuals and families that make up Bayfield. The benefactors of the facility’s educational, social, health and recreational programs are of all ages, including residents, local businesses, service groups and visitors. A representative Board of local residents will manage the facility.”
“BFIT has been here to speak to council before. We had hoped we had made a bigger impression on council than we obviously did,” Scotchmer said. “We would like to see council work together with BFIT and have two councilors sit on the committee while allowing BACPA to continue their efforts to boost numbers at the arena. We would like to see council reach out and hold a public meeting.”
Baker noted that Bayfield is not just an aging community.
“Don’t view it solely as a retirement community. It is part of a trend toward growing nuclear families that are moving home to be closer to their parents so that they can help them with the raising of their young children,” he said. “A facility that will service the community for 30 to 40 years; a place where youngsters can learn to skate, play hockey, ringuette, basketball, tennis, floor hockey will play a factor where these families decide to settle. By slowly ratcheting down our community centre council is demonstrating that they want these young families to settle in other communities.”
On the evening of Aug. 21, the Municipality of Bluewater Council voted to permanently remove the ice from the Bayfield Arena in the Spring of 2018. This sign was posted on the lawn of a homeowner near the Stanley Complex in Varna where council holds its sessions so that everyone travelling from Bayfield to the meeting could read it.
Baker encouraged council to put the current motion on the books on hold and spend the next year doing an independent feasibility study as well as holding public meetings for community input. He also made it clear to council that no one had come to the table asking for money as BFIT thinks that they can raise the funds for a new facility privately.
In conclusion, Scotchmer said, “You just don’t build up a community by taking things away. Take heed to that and listen to your Bayfield community.”
When the time came for council to vote on the motion regarding the permanent removal of the ice in the Bayfield Arena, Deputy Mayor Jim Fergusson addressed the gallery.
“I find it disturbing that council and staff have been accused of being biased on this issue. I am sorry that the community feels that way but it is unfounded and untrue. Council doesn’t want to take services away from its communities. All Bluewater receives the services that they deserve and expect within the revenues that they have,” he said. “I asked for the report that was started by the former Facilities Manager and finished by the CAO. There are considerable capital costs in that arena and I can’t commit wondering if the ice equipment will continue to work. I want to work with people who want to lean forward not backward.”
Hensall Ward Councilor, Marnie Hill said she believed that the municipal staff had provided accurate, concise information that was acceptable for Bluewater. She also noted that she is not in favor of a community run hall because in the long run it would still be the responsibility of Bluewater. She also disagreed with the comment that parents won’t drive their children to other centres for recreation activities.
“There is no skating club in Hensall so I drive them to Zurich,” Hill said.
“(Removing the ice) is what is best for Bluewater,” she added. “In ten years it will be Hensall on the chopping block.”
Whetstone then took his turn to address council, “At the last meeting my comments on the report were challenged regarding items that our previous Facility Manager had stated in the report as ‘required’ or ‘necessary’ in order for ice to be part of the facility for the next three years and the capital costs.”
As a result, the Bayfield Ward Councilor took it upon himself to do some research regarding the three areas that were in question: the board and glass system and netting, the refrigeration system and the ice-resurfacer.
“On Page 107 of the (Bayfield Arena – Ice Surface) report it states that the boards and glass system and netting ‘do not meet Hockey Canada Standards’. As I stated previously this is not correct. To justify my response I have since contacted Todd Jackson, director, Insurance and Risk Management, Hockey Canada.
“In his email he stated and I quote: The recommendations around facilities are in our rulebook on Page 14. Note these are only recommendations. Presently we have no guidelines around netting.”
Whetstone then brought council’s attention to Page 14 of the Hockey Canada Rulebook.***
“Let’s look at Page 14 Section 1 Rule 1.2. ‘It is recommended that glass, plexiglass or other similar material be mounted to the boards, flush to the playing surface, to assist in the prevention of pucks going into the spectator area.’ So there is $120,000 of so called requirements that are not required at all,” said Whetstone.
Whetstone also noted that the former facilities manager sought the opinion of Cimco Refrigeration out of Toronto, a company that services the ice of NHL teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, with regards to the arena’s refrigeration system rather than consulting Black and McDonald with a branch in London, ON, who have been servicing the equipment for more than three decades.
“Why would we use Cimco Refrigeration for this when Black and McDonald have been servicing this equipment for over 30 years? They are the experts on what has been done and what is needed. Black and McDonald were sent the report and have responded based on the three items that are considered to be required for ice to be installed for the next three years.”
Black and McDonald’s report on the ice requirements stated that they have all the parts available to repair or replace the refrigeration compressor, arena dehumidifier and condenser if needed during the course of the next three years.
It was noted in the report by Black and McDonald that the condenser has a history of repaired tube leaks; however, the condenser ran without issue last ice season. “It is reasonable to say that we could get the condenser through the next three ice seasons with available parts and scheduled maintenance, but it is impossible to predict failure of the unit due to its age,” Black and McDonald said in their report.
The company reported that the cost to maintain the ice equipment could range from $3,000 to $19,500. They also estimated the replacement costs for all three pieces of equipment to total $125,000.
Whetstone stated, “So here is another $168,000 to $233,729 of so called requirements that are not required at all.”
He added, “The state of the ice-resurfacer has also been questioned and there is no need as it is still passes any regulations and the municipality has the documentation to show that.”
He then posed the question, “Why are we afraid of having a public meeting? How can any councilor make a decision on such a sensitive subject without hearing from the residents?”
According to BACPA it would appear that council is satisfied that the requested public meeting already took place four years ago under the direction of the previous council. However, in doing some research BACPA believes that the meeting that council seems to be referencing was by invitation only at the request of the then Bayfield Arena Working Committee sent out on Nov. 13, 2013. It asked that local service clubs and groups with an interest in the facility attend a meeting in the Council Chambers in Varna on Nov. 28, 2013. They were allowed to appoint one spokesperson per group.
“This, in our opinion, does not constitute a public meeting,” said Keys.
As a result BFIT and the BACPA are together inviting all Bluewater community residents to attend a Public Meeting regarding the permanent removal of ice from the Bayfield Arena in the spring of 2018. The date originally set for tomorrow (Sept. 14) has been postponed as the Mayor was unable to attend. A new date will be posted as soon as he provides the two groups with a date suitable to his attendance. Members of council have also been invited to attend.
The letter from BACPA and BFIT was brought forth at the Sept. 5 meeting of Bluewater Council. According to BACPA, the letter of intent on the cost to purchase the arena was approved for discussion at the next council meeting scheduled for Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Stanley Complex in Varna.
***Here is a link to the Hockey Canada Rulebook
Heritage hall concerts
Sept. 23 is the date for Taw Connors' tribute concert to his father Stompin' Tom at the Hensall Heritage Hall. (Submitted photo)
The fall schedule of the Hensall Heritage Hall kicks off Saturday, Sept. 23 with Taw Connors' tribute to his father Stompin' Tom.
Those who attend will enjoy such iconic Canadian hits as Sudbury Saturday Night, Bud the Spud and The Hockey Song. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 and are available from Liz at 519 262-2715 or Kathy at 519 263-2343.
The Hall will welcome the Classic Country Show with CCR featuring, Elton Lammie and Wendy Lynn Snider, on Oct. 14. Tickets are $30 and available from the numbers listed above or Carolyn at 519 262-3444 or Ticketscene.
Nicole Coward will entertain Nov. 2nd at 7 p.m. Coward's show features hits from such classic Canadian musicians as Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray, Sarah McLachlan and more. Tickets are $25.
On Nov. 19, at 2 p.m., the Hall is proud to welcome back the always-popular Larry Mercey Trio Christmas Show with special guest Cousin Clem. Tickets are $30 and will be available soon.
Working Ranch Demos at ipm
Huron County's own Turkey Run Ranch will be teaming up with Dodge RAM Rodeo Tour in the RAM Rodeo Ring every day of IPM 2017 to showcase ranch life and host challenges with real life cowboys. (Submitted photo)
Turkey Run Ranch, of Brussels, is teaming up with the RAM Rodeo Tour to ensure the RAM Rodeo Ring at the 2017 International Plowing Match (IPM) and Rural Expo is always in the hustle and bustle.
Huron County natives Brian and Jo-Anne Workman operate Turkey Run Ranch, and will offer exciting demonstrations and competitions. The Workmans, and their crew of ten, have travelled across South Western Ontario, to different fall fairs and expos.
In the Cowboy Obstacles, the Down and Back includes two riders racing horses down and back completing six different obstacles along the way. The Cowboy Trail Challenge replicates what a horse and rider may encounter on a ride through the forest. Riders will compete against each other navigating a designed pattern of fallen trees and crossing a bridge.
The Birds of Prey Demonstration on Wednesday in the RAM Rodeo Ring showcases how eagles, owls, and hawks hunt and survive in the wild.
The Working Ranch Demo is a 40-minute explanation of how a ranch operated in the Old West, when cattle roamed free, with no fences, barns, or feedlots. Taking care of livestock was very different then, but these old-fashioned tasks are the foundation of all modern-day Quarter Horse competitive events. Just like today, cowboys represented their Ranch in competitions, riding for their brand and bragging rights. This show will run Wednesday thru Friday.
IPM 2017 will take place Sept. 19-23, in Walton, ON. Tickets will be available at the gates on the day of for $18 per person. More information about all the entertainment schedules and programming for IPM 2017 can be found online at plowingmatch.org/ipm-2017 or the Facebook Page Huron IPM 2017.
Trip of the Month
Joe Darling, of Exeter, ON, was the winner of the ninth draw in BAFHT’s Trip A Month lottery. (Submitted photo)
Bluewater Area Family Health Team (BAFHT) is pleased to announce that Joe Darling of Exeter, ON, was the winner of the ninth draw in BAFHT’s Trip A Month lottery.
The September prize was a $1,600 Quebec City Fall Colours travel voucher package. The lottery continues with monthly draws for vacation packages to various destinations on the first Friday throughout 2017.
The Trip A Month lottery is part of BAFHT’s ongoing fundraising campaign to raise over $600,000 for its building expansion and renovation project. Nearly half of this goal has been raised to date so the committee continues to look for continued support. BAFHT is a registered charity and tax receipts will be issued for donations.
Please contact Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519 236-4413 for further details on the project or to join the BAFHT patient roster or to donate.
IPM Beautification Gala Winners
The 2017 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM 2017) Beautification Gala was held Aug. 31 at the Seaforth Arena where over 450 people attended to see the winners announced for the Beautification Competition and to see the winners of the Fan Favorite of the Huron County Barn Quilt Trail.
Owner of the Host Farm of Tented City Jack Ryan received his Mayoral Chain of Office.
The Ballaghs brought entertainment throughout the night.
The evening also marked the launch of the Huron County Barn Quilt Trail book that compiled the photos and stories of all 164 barn quilts that were entered. The book will continue to be sold at IPM 2017 in the Souvenir Tent for $20.
The winners of the Beautification Competition were: Rural Home Most Attractive - 1st,George and Ruth Townsend; 2nd, Karen and Craig Piett; 3rd, Mark and Christine Coulthard; and HM, Jan and Chris Neutel. Agri-Business – 1st, Huron Feeding Systems; 2nd, Maelstroms Winery; and 3rd, EverFresh. Farmstead Most Attractive - 1st, Doreen and Bill Taylor; 2nd, Sharon and Jim Nivins; and 3rd, Janet and Brad Bettles. Gateway Entrance – 1st, Costa Plenty Farms, Joanne and Glen Walker; 2nd, Ken Papple; 3rd, Maja and Don Dodds; and HM, Monique and Don Baan; Beautification Project – 1st, Northwoods Elementary School, Ethel; 2nd, Howick Bloomers; 3rd, Auburn Horticulture Society; and HM, Wingham Horticulture Society. Farmstead Most Improved – 1st, Nancy and Mark Kernighan; 2nd, Arletta and Steve Hallahan; 3rd, Glanville Farms; and HM, Leslie and Steve Forman. Urban Home Most Attractive – 1st, Matt and Aimee Townsend; 2nd, Marian and Frank Hallahan; and 3rd, Bob Leeming. 4-H Gatesign Award (Sponsored by Dodds Century Farms) - Jessalyn Hendriks.
Kim and Kevin Murray were the 8x8 Barn Quilt Fan Favorite winners. They had their picture taken with sponsors, Tim and Donna Prior (right) at the IPM Beautification Gala in Seaforth on Aug. 31. (Submitted photo)
Fan Favorite Huron County Barn Quilt Trail Winners - 8x8, Kim and Kevin Murray; and 4x4 - Mary and Tony Vanden Hengel. The Murrays have Quilt #147 and the Vanden Hengel have Quilt #66 in the first edition of the Huron County Barn Quilt Trail Map. The map can be found online for download at http://plowingmatch.org/committees-2017-main/beautification-ipm-2017/barn-quilts.
All 8x8 barn quilts will be added to the Ontario Barn Quilt Trail that can be found online at www.barnquilttrails.ca.
For more information on the Beautification Award winners or if you would like to create a Barn Quilt, contact Beautification Committee Chair Deb Falconer at 519 233- 5393.
Grief Support Programs
BY KAILYN PASMA**
Huron Residential Hospice recognizes that grief is a personal and unique response to loss. There are no universal responses or absolutes for grief and bereavement. Grief is a normal and natural response to a loss of any kind (griefrecoverymethod.ca). Huron Residential Hospice upholds the values of a confidential, safe and non-judgmental environment where grief recovery programs are available for everyone in Huron County.
Jackie Simpson, Certified Grief Recovery specialist and manager of Programs and Community Engagement at Huron Hospice Volunteer Service, assesses the grief and bereavement needs of the county. After being in the education field for 28 years as a teacher and principal, she noticed that there were few supports available for families and children to help them deal with loss.
Simpson said, “When I left the education world I wanted to pursue a way to support children, teens, and their families in difficult times.”
Simpson and Huron Residential Hospice want to ensure that everyone has access to the grief support they need.
At times, grief and bereavement support programs need to have a focus and specialty for a specific loss and population. It is important to recognize that there is no universal pathway for grieving. It is also necessary to identify the stigmatisms of certain losses such as a loss from suicide, loss of a pet and that children and teens require different recovery methods than adults. Huron Hospice recognizes these challenges and has specific programs for these types of losses and populations.
“Healing the Hurt Program” is a preventative mental health initiative for youth and young adults that complement other agencies’ programs in the county. It is a grief recovery group, facilitated by a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which guides participants through specific and practical actions to deal with the emotional upheaval caused by a loss. It is an educational and skill-building program that promotes a safe environment and allows connections, bonding and support. In an effort to minimize unhealthy coping strategies, Huron Hospice’s goal is to equip youth and young adults with the knowledge, skills and support to handle loss in their lives.
At the Second Annual Handbags for Hospice Gala, our compassionate community raised $15,000 in support for this program alone, in five minutes. The proceeds have allowed Huron Hospice to continue building awareness, train facilitators, and begin offering this program in every high school in Huron County on a yearly basis. Because of a generous community, youth and young adults will have a chance to “heal from their hurt.”
“Suicide Support Group” is a six-week program that provides a safe place for those left behind after a suicide. The stigma of suicide and the associated painful questions and emotions often leave individuals feeling isolated when they need support most. Bereavement from suicide is unique, profoundly difficult and complex. This program provides guidance through the individual’s grief process and allows participants to share and ask questions with others who have experienced a similar loss.
“Grief Recovery Program for Pet Loss” is a step-by-step program for grieving the loss of a pet in a meaningful way. For a pet owner, grieving is often intense and can be an extremely difficult experience. Pets are always there when others may not be; they listen without any analysis, criticism, or judgment. It can be difficult to understand the bereavement pet owners can feel if one has not had a similar attachment to an animal. The sense of loss can be acute and very painful.
“Helping Children Deal with Loss” is an educational presentation for parents, teachers, caregivers and anyone who works closely with children. Grief for a child can be caused by any number of life events such as divorce or separation of parents, death of a loved one, moving homes or schools, loss of friends, being bullied at school, etc. It is important to have the knowledge and skills to help a child handle this loss in a healthy way. Grief can have negative life-long effects on a child if it is not processed well. This program helps individuals learn more about childhood grief and gain valuable tools to help a child when loss occurs.
Huron Residential Hospice understands that it is a privilege to walk alongside individuals in our community during times of grief and bereavement. It is the compassion of community members that has built the foundation of Huron Hospice and continues to uphold the vision of Huron Residential Hospice. All the kindhearted volunteers of Huron Hospice are the backbone of this organization. They believe in its mission, vision and values and will continue to provide quality and holistic palliative care support for our compassionate community in the residential hospice.
If you or someone you know would like to join or inquire more about a grief recovery program, please contact Huron Hospice at 519-482-3440 Ext. 6301.
**Kailyn Pasma, RN, CHPCN(c), Huron Hospice Board Member