cargo now arriving at new wharf in Goderich harbor
The Port of Goderich welcomed its first cargo to the newly created dock #8 and adjacent four acres of wharf on Aug. 28. The first cargo to arrive came aboard the MV Saginaw a self-discharging bulk carrier owned by the Lower Lakes Towing Ltd, a Rand Logistics company. (Submitted photos)
The Port was divested from the Federal ports system in 1999 and is owned by the Town of Goderich, operated by Goderich Port Management Corp (GPMC).
The Port of Goderich welcomed its first cargo to the newly created dock #8 and adjacent four acres of wharf on Aug. 28. The Port was divested from the Federal ports system in 1999 and is owned by the Town of Goderich, operated by Goderich Port Management Corp (GPMC).
The first cargo to arrive came aboard the MV Saginaw a self-discharging bulk carrier owned by the Lower Lakes Towing Ltd, a Rand Logistics company. The 16,500 tons of aggregate was loaded at Bruce Mines in northern Lake Huron and is destined for highway construction purposes in this area. The customer was fittingly Miller-Lavis who was also the prime contractor on the building of the project.
“Lavis Contracting Co. Limited was very proud and excited not only in the construction of the new dock but being the first user of the dock,” said Bentley Ehgoetz, Divisional manager of Lavis Contracting Co Limited. “The use of the dock to bring in premium aggregate by ship, instead of by road, is another tool for our company to use in competing in a very competitive market.”
The expansion project began life almost 12 years ago and gained momentum when, in 2011, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) of the Province of Ontario, committed to funding support needed to complete a number of port improvements and create a new dock and wharf to the north of the existing harbor. The entire project has been completed with the use of Port funds and MTO support, with no cost to the local tax base.
“This represents a new era for this port that has so long been constrained by the lack of available space,” said Rowland Howe, president of GPMC. “Despite being one of the busiest Great Lakes ports, the footprint of the existing users and the proximity of the tourist areas left little space to welcome new cargos.”
“The expansion project for the port of Goderich is an incredible success,” said Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson. “The province has invested more than $15.7 million into this much needed upgrade and it is money well spent as it will bring increased business and commerce to the area for decades to come. Having taken people down to the harbor and seeing first hand the lakers using the new slip certainly demonstrates the value of the investment.”
The project, once defined, went through the provincial planning process for an individual Environmental Assessment (EA). Several local stakeholders and indigenous groups were consulted during that process. Final approvals were granted in 2017, and in-water construction commenced. During the EA process, several new fish habitat projects were supported to offset the loss of habitat due to the construction. These projects ranged from the rehabilitation of wetlands on Walpole Island to a study of fish feeding habits before and after construction. Construction involved the installation of a steel frame to support the dock and infilling four acres behind to create a wharf to land cargo area.
While it is expected that many cargos will arrive and leave on bulk self-unloading vessels, the dock has been constructed to allow heavy cargos to be handled as well. The wharf has no structures built on it, allowing maximum flexibility. The dock has seaway depth draft allowing the largest vessels navigating the Great Lakes and St Lawrence seaway system to berth at it.
“We can now fully participate in the growing trend to marine transportation, it is safe, environmentally friendly and an economic route to markets both around the Great Lakes region and overseas,” said Mayor of the Town of Goderich, John Grace. “This creates a true marine gateway to southwestern Ontario, strategically positioned to play an increasing role in a world of changing markets and international trade.”
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway, increasingly referred to as the “H2O Highway”, is a 3,700 KM marine highway that runs between Canada and the United States. Comprised of the St. Lawrence River, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Great Lakes, it flows directly into the commercial, industrial, and agricultural heartland of North America, home to some 100 million people.
For more information about the port expansion please visit www.goderichport.ca.
Winter and high lake levels may cause shoreline damage
The Lake Huron water level is just below the record high for the month of September. This level is slightly below the all-time high lake level recorded in 1986 but it is high enough to cause significant damage to the shoreline when autumn and winter storms arrive, according to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA).
The water level for Lake Huron is projected to be just more than 10 centimetres (four inches) higher, in September 2020, than it was in September 2019. The water level is expected to drop slightly in October but may still be very close to the October 2019 level.
Storm systems in autumn and winter bring strong northwest winds. Those heavy winds impact the Lake Huron shoreline. These winds, combined with high water, create intensified wave action. As temperatures drop this wave action may also create freezing spray. ABCA encourages property owners with structures close to the water to prepare for the possibility of flooding and freezing spray. Precautionary measures include boarding up windows and doors when closing one’s cottage for the season.
There are steep bluffs in the area. People should take caution in bluff areas especially in autumn and winter. Bluffs can fail any time during or after autumn, even much later, or any season.
Geoffrey Cade is ABCA Manager of Water and Planning. He said wave action can cause erosion at the base of the bluffs and, when bluffs are saturated with water, bluff failures are more likely. He said people should not walk along the top of bluffs and people should stay out of structures close to the edge of the bluff.
In order to protect life and property, ABCA has – for many years – been discouraging people from placing structures in areas of natural hazards such as flooding and erosion.
“We would encourage property owners along the shoreline to consider relocating amenity features such as decks and other structures away from hazard areas while conditions permit,” Cade said. For erosion and property-specific information please contact ABCA Planning and Regulations staff at abca.ca.
ABCA continues to monitor weather forecasts and storm-surge models over Lake Huron. ABCA does this in order to provide timely messaging to municipalities. ABCA messages include Shoreline Conditions Statements for weather events likely to result in high waves reaching the shoreline, resulting in potential coastal flooding and shoreline erosion issues. These statements, and other flood messages, are posted on the abca.ca website at this link: www.abca.ca/news/flooding/ These messages are also posted on Ausable Bayfield Conservation’s social media channels (Facebook and Twitter).
To learn more about Great Lakes water levels, there is a Canada newsletter and monthly update, on Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River water levels, LEVELnews, at this link: www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/water-overview/quantity/great-lakes-levels-related-data/levelnews-great-lakes-st-lawrence.html. In addition to LEVELnews, Environment and Climate Change Canada also has a web page with links to a number of official websites containing Great Lakes water level and related data: www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/water-overview/quantity/great-lakes-levels-related-data.html. People may also visit the new Lake Huron web page at abca.ca at this link: www.abca.ca/about/lake-huron.
Jack McLaren Exhibit opening tomorrow at County Museum
In 1923, Jack McLaren joined the Toronto Arts and Letters Club and became well acquainted with the members of the Group of Seven. This work by Jack McLaren of the Bayfield Town Hall is owned by Phil and Ilse Gemeinhardt, of Bayfield. This painting and around 100 others are now on display at the Huron County Museum until April 2021. Please call the museum to make an appointment to visit. (Submitted photo)
The Huron County Museum and the Huron County Historical Society (HCHS) are pleased to announce the opening of the much-anticipated exhibit “Reflections: The Life and Work of J.W. (Jack) McLaren” on Oct. 8. While there won’t be an event scheduled to celebrate the opening as organizers had hoped people are invited to pre-arrange their visit at their convenience to catch the exhibit, which is on until Apr. 30, 2021.
From mirth and mud at Ypres Salient and Vimy Ridge to the vibrancy of landscapes from Huron County and the Maitland Valley, the exhibit explores McLaren's prolific career as an artist, illustrator, and performer. Reflections is presented in partnership with the HCHS and features close to 100 works on loan from the community.
At this time, the Museum is open to the public Thursday to Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m. To pre-arrange a visit, please call 519 524-2686 and be sure to review the latest guidelines for visiting the Museum on their website.
Reflections is included with regular admission or free for Museum Members and Huron County Library card holders. Please call the Museum at 519 524-2686 to pre-arrange a visit today.
Gateway presents "Screenagers Next Chapter" on demand
As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”. One part of the village is Gateway Centre for Excellence in Rural Health (Gateway) offering an on-line screening of a documentary “Screenagers Next Chapter: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience”. Join the community conversation in a follow-up Zoom Q and A session about strategies to help kids and teens build crucial skills to navigate stress, anxiety, and depression in the digital age.
This topic is especially relevant during the pandemic. Last month a report was released by a research team at McMaster University and The Offord Centre for Child Studies – “Impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on Ontario Families with Children: Findings from the Initial Lockdown”. The report provided a snapshot of the experiences of Ontario families during the initial phase of the lockdown. Caregivers and children of all ages were coping with unparalleled challenges. The report noted: “Many parents indicate that their children are worse off in terms of behaviour and mood since the COVID 19 pandemic started.” A third of the more than 7,400 caregivers surveyed reported needing assistance with their child’s behavior and/or stress and more than half of parents stated that they would be interested in receiving parenting tips.
Remote learning is a reality for many students this Fall, requiring much more screen time than they are used to. It’s so important to make the most of their time outside school hours to enjoy the outdoors and get lots of exercise for their general well being. Safe distancing interaction with peers within their bubble or class cohort is also beneficial for their mental health. Social skills are learned and like any skill, they require practice.
The documentary, follows filmmaker and physician, Dr. Delaney Ruston as she finds herself at a loss as to how to help her own teens as they struggle with their emotional wellbeing. She sets out to understand these challenges in this current screen-filled society, and how parents, grandparents and educators, can empower teens to overcome mental health challenges and build emotional agility, communication savvy, and stress resilience. The viewers will witness Delaney as she finds her way from ineffective parenting to much-improved strategies. They will follow other personal stories of families from an array of backgrounds with a spectrum of emotional challenges. Interwoven into the stories are surprising insights from brain researchers, psychologists, and thought leaders that reveal evidence-based ways to support mental wellness among youth. The impact of social media and other screen time is incorporated in all the topics raised in Screenagers Next Chapter, how it may be impacting teen mental health, and what can be done to help foster youth in the face of these struggles.
Gateway would like to acknowledge and thank the Town of Goderich and Larry Otten Contracting, sponsors of these virtual Speaker Series events.
Gateway has purchased the licencing rights which allows this organization to offer this documentary to registering participants. Registrants will watch Next Chapter on their own time during a two-week on demand viewing period from Oct. 8-22, then opt to participate in a moderated Q and A session on ZOOM Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. led by a facilitator and a panel of local experts coordinated by Gateway. The cost is $20.
Register for this documentary online:www.eventbrite.ca/e/116131706059
Huron Perth Medical Officer of Health provides statement
The following is a special statement from Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Office of Health for Huron and Perth, issued on Oct. 1:
As our province and regions continue their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I continue to be impressed by the patience and dedication that the people of Huron-Perth have displayed in protecting our community. I also understand that the changes in COVID-19 response over the last few weeks have been challenging. Please allow me to share information that I hope will help you in continuing to do your part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Huron Perth hospitals and some primary care centres, working under direction from Ontario Health West, continue to work diligently to provide assessment and testing for Huron-Perth residents. Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) is grateful for their commitment and excellent work, as well as the work of the labs who are processing the tests.
We understand from our partners that there is still a considerable demand for tests; please remember that the province has prioritized testing for: those with COVID-19 symptoms;
those who have been instructed by public health to get tested and those eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care, which includes visitors to long-term care homes.
People who are household members of a sick person who is going for testing do not also need to go for a test unless otherwise advised by your family doctor or public health. This guidance is so that testing capacity is best deployed to prevent and control outbreaks and identify people who need treatment and support.
If you are in Huron-Perth, and wondering if you should get tested: complete the provincial assessment tool available on the province’s website at www.ontario.ca or if it’s a school or daycare situation, as in you are a staff member or your child is feeling ill, use the provincial screening tool for school at covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/.
If your screening results show you are recommended to be tested, follow up with your healthcare provider and follow their direction about isolating and when to return to work, school or childcare.
Testing is not recommended for those without symptoms or risk who are seeking reassurance or who want to be “cleared” prior to an event or gathering, as the result is only valid on the day of collection. Instead, continue to keep 2 M distance from others who are not in your social circle, wear a mask indoors and keep your hands clean; in this way, you are unlikely to encounter the COVID-19 virus.
I would like to remind employers and workplaces that clearance swabs are not recommended for general workplaces. Nor is a clearance swab necessary for employees who are asymptomatic parents of children who are being swabbed. At this time, household members of a person (such as a child) who is going for testing or who is sick DO NOT need to self-isolate; they can continue to go to work, school or daycare, unless otherwise advised by their healthcare provider or public health. For schools, parents can advise a school of when a doctor has allowed a child to return.
I realize that some children are being kept home with symptoms that may not be COVID related, and HPPH does recognize the inconvenience on families – many of us are parents of daycare-age and school-age children so we understand just how different this school year is.
I am grateful that despite the inconvenience, so many parents and caregivers are performing daily screening, keeping sick kids home and contacting their healthcare provider for direction. These are all very important actions so schools and childcare centres can stay open.
We are also grateful for our many primary care partners who are assessing and providing direction to families, as well as employers who are being supportive for employees who need to take time off. We are extremely grateful to our school and childcare partners for their continued support and cooperation.
Parents and caregivers, please continue to screen each of your children daily using the provincial online tool. School and childcare staff must also complete daily screening.
It’s important to realize that every situation is different. If you are talking with your neighbor or another parent and feel like they are receiving different messages or advice from their healthcare provider, this may be because their situation is different than yours. The assessments and recommendations made by each healthcare provider depend on each individual’s situation.
I am confident that we will get through this by supporting and showing kindness to each other, so please keep up the great work.
The Huron Perth Public Health website is updated regularly with confirmed case counts received.
“Our online case reporting is not a real-time tool but is meant to keep the community informed on trends we are seeing,” explains Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen.
For the latest statistics on COVID-19 cases in Huron and Perth Counties please visit: www.hpph.ca
Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Office of Health for Huron-Perth recently noted that, “While our case count has remained steady in Huron-Perth, the province is seeing an increasing number of cases and the risk is getting higher.”
In a statement released on Oct. 5, the province has introduced additional public health measures in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases in Ontario. As the community prepares for Thanksgiving, people should make sure their celebrations are as safe as possible.
Remember that provincial gathering limits for private events are now:
• 10 people for indoor events or gatherings
• 25 people for outdoor events or gatherings
Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together.
Also, the province now advises Ontarians to allow close contact only with people living in their own household. Please maintain 2 Ms physical distancing from anyone not in your household. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.
This Thanksgiving, consider other ways to connect with family and friends:
• Call or video chats
• Online celebrations or dinner parties
• Write letters or send cards
• Contactless delivery of gifts or treats
• Go on a family walk.
Reflect on traditions. One of the most difficult things about this new normal is that traditions are upended. But people can do something about it: Ask which traditions are able to continue? Make a recipe, sing a traditional song or read a book. Or start a new tradition – try calling an old friend or finding a new way to be active. Consider what you can do to help others in the community or let others know if you need help. Call 211 to find programs and services in the community.
“Not being able to connect with our friends and loved ones in the ways we are used to is difficult,” said Dr. Klassen. “But while there is disappointment and frustration, there is also resilience and caring. Please continue to create new, safer ways to be social. We all need to think about how we can contribute on a personal, family and organizational level; and we need to remain kind to others who are making the best decisions they can based on their circumstances and needs.”
She added, remember, no action is too small. If we continue to work hard now, we have a better chance at seeing the benefits of our efforts sooner.
Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson has announced that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has approved Jessica’s House for annual base funding to cover end of life nursing and personal support services.
“Since the beginning, volunteers and supporters of Jessica’s House have worked so hard to make this legacy for an amazing young lady a reality. The support of the local businesses, organizations and residents has been truly heart warming,” Thompson said. “In light of the community’s support and vision, it goes without saying that I was more than pleased when I learned the funding had been approved.”
In its first two years, Jessica’s House has provided a much-needed service to the local area and beyond. It also compliments additional hospices in the region.
The funding announcement was welcome news for Pat O’Rourke, chair, Jessica’s House Governance Board and South Huron Hospital Foundation.
“We are extremely pleased that our provincial government has decided to extend funding to Jessica’s House, our residential hospice in Exeter,” O’Rourke said. “Lisa Thompson, our Member of Provincial Parliament, has been a champion of Jessica’s House from the beginning and without her continued support this would not have taken place. The community is forever grateful to her and the provincial government in recognizing the quality end of life care that is available at Jessica’s House.”
First opened in June of 2018, Jessica’s House is a three-bed residential hospice providing around the clock nursing care with one-on-one bereavement support in partnership with VON along with community support and outreach services.
Thompson concluded that the provincial government “is committed to funding compassionate end of life care and I thank Jessica’s House for doing just that.”
ABCA Outdoor learning programs
Parents and guardians now have an extra two weeks to register for the new outdoor learning programs for students, remote learners, and homeschoolers. The new programs are among adaptations, by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), to conservation education programming this autumn to deliver education in new ways during the current pandemic.
These programs take place at Morrison Dam Conservation Area (MDCA) east of Exeter. The programs include exploration, hands-on activities, experiments, and sensory awareness to help children gain curriculum-based knowledge and develop a deep respect for nature and taking care of soil, water and living things in the watershed.
“We feel these programs will maintain a child’s connection to nature throughout the current school year and in all types of weather,” said Denise Iszczuk, Conservation educator. “Those taking part will spend lots of time in direct experience with the outdoors in all conditions.”
Science Outdoors is a program for students, remote learners and homeschoolers looking for outdoor learning beyond the classroom. It takes place on Wednesdays, over six weeks. It starts on Oct. 21. Junior students attend from 9 a.m. to noon and Primary students attend from 1-4 p.m. Science Outdoors for the Intermediate students will start on Oct. 23 and take place on Fridays from 1-4 p.m. The participants will have ‘hands-on’ exploration and activities to learn grade-specific science concepts from the Ontario Curriculum. There is a maximum of ten students per divisional time slot so space is limited.
The Outdoor School is an inquiry and curriculum based outdoor program for ages 9-13. The program starts on Oct. 20 and will run on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. until November 24. There is a maximum of 14 students so space is limited.
ABCA’s conservation educators strive to be dynamic, caring and creative natural leaders while facilitating these outdoor learning programs. In addition, educators are following local health unit recommendations and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s COVID-19 guidelines for day camps.
Anyone who would like to chat with educators about these programs, is asked to please call 519 235-2610, or toll-free 1-888-286-2610, Ext. 255 or 262. To register or to find out more visit the abca.ca website’s education web page at this link at: www.abca.ca/education/
GET OUTDOORS BINGO
Local people can get active, experience nature, and maybe win a prize through a new local Get Outdoors Bingo contest. Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is hosting the fun activity and contest on its website, at abca.ca, from Oct. 1-29.
To download a PDF of the Get Outdoors Bingo visit the abca.ca website at this web page: www.abca.ca/post/?ID=1106. The bingo card, as well as contest rules, are posted on that page.
Anyone can play the Get Outdoors Bingo game but the contest is open to residents of any municipality of the ABCA watershed. The contest’s prize winner is to win a prize that includes an outdoor experience, delivered by ABCA staff, worth $70, as well as a Dragonfly Field Guide (or similar) and a 17-ounce Chilly Moose Kearney Traveller.
Entrants must date and check off the activities as they complete them and they need to follow all locally-applicable COVID-19 public health protocols. They are challenged to complete five activities in a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal on the Bingo card) and then scan or take a photo and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered into the draw.
The Bingo card includes 25 different outdoor nature activities including a beach cleanup, visits to trails and conservation areas, taking photos of autumn colors, a demonstration farm visit, outdoor education, birdwatching, tree planting, geocaching, paddling, bicycling, and more.
“This new spin on a classic game is a fun way for individuals and families to learn about plants, animals, and local nature areas and to safely enjoy activity and education in the great outdoors,” said Hope Brock, ABCA Healthy Watersheds technician.
rural economic development
“The Rural Economic Development Program plays a key role in helping fund important projects that might not get started without the support,” Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson said recently. “I am glad to see that the program is so well received and supported in Huron-Bruce.”
The Rural Economic Development (RED) Program intake is directed at not-for-profit organizations with a mandate towards regional economic development and qualified projects would be eligible for up to 70 per cent of total costs to a maximum of $75,000 in provincial funding.
New RED applications will be accepted from now until Oct. 9. All costs must be incurred on or before March 31, 2021. Projects will not be extended beyond that date. Projects need to meet the following criteria: benefit rural Ontario; have tangible outcomes; and reach beyond one county, region, or district.
COVID-19 IMPACT Survey
COVID-19 has had serious and potentially long-lasting impacts on communities. While the recovery will be long and difficult for everyone, small and rural communities face particular challenges. A partnership between the University of Guelph (U of G), United Way Perth-Huron’s Social Research and Planning Council (SRPC), the County of Huron, the Huron Arts and Heritage Network and the Listowel Salvation Army aims to ensure rural voices are heard.
“Fifteen per cent of Ontarians live in small communities and rural environments and these areas have a unique voice,” said Leith Deacon, assistant professor at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Design and Rural Development. “We want to make sure that voice is heard. We’re looking forward to working in Perth and Huron Counties to learn about the concerns and anxieties of local people as communities look for ways to recover from the pandemic.”
The U of G survey aims to determine not only what planning is required to best support ongoing recovery in Perth and Huron but also how to best increase resilience and well-being over the longer term. Researchers aim to identify vulnerable populations, determine priority programs including mental health, income and food security, and education specifically to support those populations during and after COVID-19, explore opportunities for the non-profit sector and identify emergent mental health and economic concerns. The project is funded through Mitacs, a non-profit research organization that, through partnerships with Canadian academia, private industry and government, operates research and training in fields related to social and industrial innovation.
The research team is encouraging all residents over the age of 18 to complete the survey in an effort to capture the most accurate data that reflects the experiences of people from across Huron and Perth Counties. The survey takes roughly half an hour to complete and is now open to people in Huron. Residents can visit linktr.ee/RURAL_RESPONSE to complete the online version of the survey. All households within Huron County will receive a paper copy in the mail, including a prepaid return envelope.
“We’re looking forward to the results of this important survey,” said SRPC Director of Planning, Susanna Reid. “This research will form the basis of our future research and planning efforts in Perth and Huron Counties. Everyone’s voice is important. What we learn from this research will help shape programs and policies that will be tailored to local needs.”"
The SRPC is operated by United Way Perth-Huron and is comprised of volunteer community representatives dedicated to the collection, analysis and distribution of information relating to local social trends. Research enables United Way to discover and understand the root causes of issues affecting Perth-Huron and in turn mobilize the community.