fauxpop media named Huron Chamber's business of the year
Huron Chamber of Commerce board member, Nadine VandenHeuvel presents the Huron Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award to Mark Hussey, of FauxPop Media, while Mayor of Goderich John Grace (right) looks on. (Submitted photo)
FauxPop Media was named Business of the Year during the Huron Chamber of Commerce – Goderich, Central and North Huron Spirit of Success Awards event, which was livestreamed from FauxPop Media’s studios in Goderich on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
“The judges have selected a winner that they say became the go-to place for the community to find news and information since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” said Heather Boa, the Chamber’s operations manager. “How fitting, since we transformed our annual live gala into an online event this year, with a lot of help from FauxPop Media.”
“FauxPop Media is extremely community-minded and has worked hard through the pandemic to ensure that non-profits can continue to raise funds, business can continue to promote their products and services, and the public can be entertained,” wrote the person who nominated FauxPop Media for the Goderich Signal-Star Community Impact Award.
Judges decided that out of more than 100 nominations of businesses, individuals and events in five categories, this nomination earned the top award.
Co-owners Mark Hussey and Randall Lobb and their colleagues have helped organizations like Huron Hospice, Alexandra Marine and General Hospital Foundation, and Huron Chamber of Commerce pivot to online fundraising, and given voice to many other organizations and businesses looking for ways to safely reach their audience.
“If you go back in history: what was FauxPop? It was to help supplement something that was lacking in the area – regional representation in the news. We saw that social media was creating these bubbles and we were losing that regional affiliation and that community affiliation and how could we bring that back?” said Lobb. He said their plan was accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chamber’s Spirit of Success event featured pre-recorded videos segments of each of the six award sponsors announcing award winners followed by on-site pre-recorded videos of the winners, at which time they learned they were award winners. Pre-recorded videos were also submitted by title co-sponsors Libro Credit Union of Goderich and Zehrs Markets of Goderich, along with host Chamber of Commerce, Huron Bruce MP Ben Lobb and Huron Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson. Masters of ceremony Nadine VandenHeuvel and Goderich Mayor John Grace led the event live from the studio.
It may be viewed at facebook.com/huronchamber
Other award winners included: Goderich Signal-Star Community Impact Award – Annie Sparling of Blyth; Downtown Goderich BIA Award – Huron Optometric Centres; MicroAge Basics Service Award – Huron BJJ; Tourism Goderich Hospitality Business Award – Windmill Lake Wake and Eco Park; and Zehrs Goderich Retail Business Award – Port Albert General Store and Pub.
Final winners were selected by a panel of three judges from 102 nominations.
Libro Credit Union of Goderich and Zehrs Markets Goderich were the title co-sponsor for this gala event. Trophy sponsor was Artech Signs and Graphics. Media sponsor was FauxPop Media.
changes to Conservation Authorities Act fuel concern
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) has joined Conservation Ontario and conservation authorities across the province in expressing concern about some of Ontario’s proposed budget-bill changes to the Conservation Authorities Act. The provincial government proposed the changes in the Ontario budget bill on Nov. 5. Conservation Ontario and Ontario’s conservation authorities are reviewing the potential impact of changes proposed in the bill.
“We are encouraged the Province has re-confirmed the purpose and objects of the Conservation Authorities Act but some of the proposed changes could have a significant negative impact on the ability of conservation authorities to fulfil their watershed responsibilities,” said ABCA General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer, Brian Horner.
Some changes could actually create more red tape and delay permit application approvals, according to General Manager of Conservation Ontario, Kim Gavine. Conservation Ontario is the association which represents Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities. The budget bill (Bill 229) could limit the scope of ‘non-mandatory’ programs and services, add new Ministerial powers, and change rules for appointments to conservation authority boards of directors.
“Pandemic conditions this year have certainly reinforced how much we rely on a healthy environment for our own well-being,” Gavine said. “It’s important that conservation authorities are able to continue to protect our natural environment and ensure the safety of Ontario residents.”
The Province also proposed an amendment to the Planning Act which, if passed, would prohibit conservation authorities from appealing a municipal planning decision to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) or becoming a party to an appeal before LPAT. This provides less protection for the public, according to ABCA. Right now, the conservation authority provides independent advice to municipalities on natural hazard and other planning matters but the Province’s proposed budget bill will impair that ability, according to the conservation authority.
The Province of Ontario began review, in April of 2019, of the Conservation Authorities Act. The Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks hosted five consultation meetings across the province with invited representatives primarily from municipalities, conservation authorities and agriculture, landowner and development sectors. Conservation Ontario presented at the sessions. Conservation Ontario has been working with the development sector and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to streamline client service approaches for conservation authorities to use when reviewing plan review and permit applications.
The ongoing initiative has been well-received, Gavine said.
Provincial changes to the conservation authority planning role could reduce protection, for Ontario residents, from natural hazards and increase the risk to them, according to Conservation Ontario.
“One of our main goals throughout this review has been to maintain the conservation authorities’ watershed-based approach to protecting people from natural hazards and ensuring the conservation of Ontario’s natural resources,” Gavine said. “Some of the changes will impact the conservation authorities’ ability to do so.”
The proposed amendments authorize the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to assume jurisdiction for certain permit applications in place of the conservation authority. This will add bureaucracy, slow down permitting, and it will reduce protection, for the public, from natural hazards such as flooding and erosion, according to conservation authorities. Proposed changes to the planning and permitting process could allow some individuals to circumvent checks and balances which currently protect the safe development of communities in a watershed. This provides less protection for property owners and their neighbors, according to conservation authorities.
The conservation authority uses enforcement and legal action as a last resort but, in order to protect people and property, there are times when stop-work orders are needed. The proposed provincial changes will prevent conservation authorities from issuing stop-work orders that protect people from significant threats and prevent negative impacts to flood plains, other natural hazard areas, and other environmentally sensitive areas.
As a result of these concerns, ABCA is encouraging partner municipalities, residents throughout the jurisdiction and the conservation authority’s network of supporters to reach out to the Premier of Ontario; the Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks; the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry; and their local member of provincial parliament (MPP) over the next couple of weeks to request that they address the concerns outlined above, before the Bill is enacted.
Sod turned on major housing development in Goderich
Goderich Mayor John Grace and Coast Developer Rob Wood turned the first sod at the lakeshore development on the south end of Goderich recently. (Photo courtesy Homefield Group)
Up to 300 residential units are set to begin construction over the next couple of months at the south end of Goderich. On Nov. 10, Coast Goderich, headed up by developer Rob Wood, had their official sod turning to start phase one of their major housing development. The plans have been in the making for a few years and with the housing shortage across the country everyone appears to be excited for this major development.
Mayor John Grace and the members of Goderich Town Council are very enthusiastic for the opportunity that this development brings to the community which will impact everything from recreation to small business, to the retailers in the downtown. Council looks forward to assisting Coast Goderich in achieving the success that they so well deserve.
Wood would like to recognize and thank former Mayor Deb Shewfelt for his support at the very beginning of the planning stages, as he was Mayor when his development team initially came to Goderich. He would also like to thank Council and staff at the Town of Goderich for their professionalism in working together to further enhance this development and thanks Mayor Grace for giving the final push to see this development come to fruition.
Located in Goderich’s south end, Coast Goderich is set on 98 acres – including 1,300 feet of pristine, unimpeded lakeview. With homes backing on to greenspace with a beautiful trail system, the entire community is linked to Coast’s focal point: a three-acre park on the lake. Coast Goderich and affiliate companies have been working in development and other business for over 40 years. They have completed many residential developments in various areas including Guelph, Wilmot, Woolwich and Welland. The houses that will be built will include a variety of units from single family residential to attached townhouses and semi-detached single-family homes.
Coast Goderich will offer an outstanding selection of home designs and features, ideal for families and empty nesters alike, for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. To view more information about this development visit: www.coastgoderich.com.
Payne leaves post after eight years with hospital Foundation
Krista McCann (Submitted photo)
The South Huron Hospital Foundation (SHHF) Board has accepted, with great regret, the resignation of Kimberley Payne as the Foundations’ Executive Director.
Board members are pleased to announce that Krista McCann, has accepted the position of Executive Director of the SHHF effective Dec. 1.
They thank Payne for her leadership over the past eight years. She has led them through significant changes that raised not only their profile in the community but more funds than ever for the “little hospital that does”. The SHHF board with Payne at the helm, has made their annual Gala an anticipated event every year, brought the My FM Radiothon to town and the most significant accomplishment was certainly the development and construction of Jessica’s House, their three-bedroom residential hospice. There has been over $2 million invested in South Huron Hospital in the past three years alone, which is so very impressive for such a small Foundation.
SHHF is committed to continue to invest in South Huron Hospital in the years to come.
They wish Payne continued success in her future endeavors.
McCann comes to the SHHF with experience working with the Board, supporting Payne and the Jessica’s House Operating Committee as the Fund Development Officer. During this time, she played an integral role on the fund development team as they pivoted to meet the changes brought forth by COVID-19.
McCann has been an active volunteer in the community of South Huron for more than 15 years. She has been part of such organizations as the South Huron Minor Hockey Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Huron, and The Grand Bend Holiday Home Tour. Growing up in Crediton taught McCann the strong values of community and active involvement - one of her biggest passions is to serve her community in an impactful way.
Her career history includes roles in banking and finance, people management, professional development coaching, and marketing/communications. She holds a Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies degree from Western University with a specialization in Human Resources Management; she is also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. Her combined experiences and credentials should serve her well in this new role as Executive Director. The members of the SHHF welcome her warmly.
Huron Perth moved into yellow
On Monday, Nov. 16, the Province of Ontario moved the region of Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) into the Yellow – Protect level of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.
“It is critical that we protect our vulnerable populations and our healthcare capacity,” said Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen. “Reducing the spread of this virus is a collective responsibility. Please continue to ask yourself, ‘What can I do to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and protect my family, friends and community?’”
The Yellow – Protect level provides strengthened public health measures.
Gathering limits for private events, public events and religious services, weddings and funerals will remain the same as they did in the Green - Prevent level. Requirements for face coverings and workplace screening requirements will also remain the same as they did in the Green-Prevent level.
Under Yellow – Protect there are additional requirements for the following: restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments; sports and recreational fitness facilities; meeting and event spaces; retail; personal care services; casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments; cinemas and performing arts facilities
More information on Yellow – Protect public health measures, as well as the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open#yellow and www.hpph.ca/en/news/coronavirus-covid19-update.aspx
In addition to the provincial direction, Dr. Klassen is issuing additional recommendations for long-term care homes and retirement homes in Huron and Perth. Dr. Klassen is recommending that homes put more restrictions onto visitors coming into the homes, and to cease permitting residents to leave the facility for “short-stay absences and temporary absences” except for those required for health care.
“We have seen how COVID-19 can spread among our vulnerable populations living in our long-term care and retirement homes,” said Dr. Klassen. “I am recommending that our local facilities limit visitors at this time to decrease the possibility of having the virus brought into their homes.”
Ontario Health partners step in to help quash outbreak
As of Nov. 16, active cases of COVID-19 in Huron Perth have risen from 64 to 72, some of these active cases are epidemiologically linked to the Cedarcroft Place Retirement home outbreak in Stratford and other are across Huron and Perth in various municipalities, including 17 active cases in Perth East. There is one active case in Bluewater that had originally been assessed as being from Central Huron.
Unfortunately, there have been another four deaths of Cedarcroft residents, bringing the total to eight, who had been hospitalized and tested positive for COVID-19.
“We send our deepest condolences to the families of these residents,” said Huron-Perth’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen.
To date, 44 residents and 18 staff at Cedarcroft have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 27. That’s more than half the residents, and one third of the staff. At this time there are 34 active cases among residents and 13 in staff.
On Nov. 13, the facility asked for help as they were having difficulty staffing the residence so the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and Ontario Health partners stepped in. Over the weekend, at least 10 residents were transferred out of Cedarcroft into hospitals in Stratford, Woodstock, Ingersoll, Goderich and Wingham. More are expected to be moved throughout this week in an effort to quash the outbreak and ensure proper care and staffing for the seniors.
Physicians under the direction of the Huron Perth Pandemic Leadership continue to assess and identify residents that may potentially be moved due to staff capacity at Cedarcroft.
Staff prevalence testing was carried out on Nov. 16 for those staff who have been negative and asymptomatic all along. This was the third round of prevalence testing. Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) would like to thank the Perth County Paramedic Service for their support in doing the testing, as well as the other regional paramedic services such as Huron, who are also on standby to assist.
The role of the HPPH continues to be to: assisting facilities in preparing and responding to outbreaks; providing education on screening, universal masking, PPE use, hand hygiene, environmental cleaning and auditing; surveillance; and management of cases (contact tracing).
Decisions on moving residents or where to move them are being made by the leadership of Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, and the Huron Perth Pandemic Community Lead and Huron Perth Pandemic Primary Care lead.
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
Thanks to the generous support of the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation (CPHF) and their donors, the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) - Clinton Public Hospital (CPH) site will be undergoing renovations to upgrade the Operating Rooms and Medical Device Reprocessing Department (MDRD).
“As we know, health care continually evolves and the Operating Rooms and MDRD at the Clinton Public Hospital require renovations and upgrades to meet current standards,” said Manager Surgical Services and MDRD, Lori Merner. “This work will help us continue to provide high quality outpatient surgical services to our communities.”
In order to make these upgrades, the Operating Rooms will be closed for approximately 12 weeks starting Dec. 7. During this time, many of the planned surgeries will take place at the Stratford General Hospital site of the HPHA.
The MDRD, which is the department responsible for decontaminating, high level disinfecting, sterilizing and organizing medical devices, will be relocated to the basement of the hospital and will focus exclusively on endoscopy reprocessing in the newly renovated space.
“All HPHA MDRD processes, with the exception of the Clinton endoscopy reprocessing, will be consolidated at the Stratford General Hospital,” added Merner.
The total cost of this project is estimated to be $607,000 with the CPHF setting a goal to fully fund the project. Tremendous support has been shown by the community with donations exceeding $60,000 at the CKNX Health Care Heroes Radiothon held in October, along with numerous donations that have been received throughout the year.
“Capital equipment and various projects are not funded by the government,” said Merner. “We are extremely grateful for the efforts and commitment of the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation, their generous donors and community supporters for making this upgrade a reality for our patients, families and caregivers.”
If you are interested in donating to this project, please visit the CPHF website at www.cphfoundation.ca or contact the office at 519 482-3440 Ext. 6297.
Cowbell wins award
Cowbell Brewing Co. is pleased to announce they are the 2020 recipient of the Accessible Tourism Award from the Tourism Industry Awards of Excellence Gala for the second consecutive year. The event was held virtually on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
The Tourism Industry Awards of Excellence are an annual celebration of Ontario’s tourism industry presented by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO). The awards are presented to individuals, organizations, and businesses that represent the quality of outstanding offerings that make Ontario a destination of choice.
“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by TIAO for our accessibility efforts at Cowbell,” said Grant Sparling, Chief Development officer. “Cowbell strives to continue to be a welcoming gathering place for everyone regardless of their ability. Accessibility has been carefully considered and discreetly integrated, with attention to detail in every aspect of our facility.”
To learn more about accessibility at Cowbell check out their videos on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/c/CowbellBrewingCo
Special thanks to Mikayla Ansley, Lorie Falconer, Cheryl Peach, and Julie Sawchuk, local accessibility advocates, for assisting Cowbell to honor its commitment to achieve best of class design and education for the inclusion, comfort and safety of all guests.
The challenges of the year 2020 haven’t prevented local agricultural producers from moving forward with the adoption of beneficial cover crops.
Last year, in 2019, farmers in Ausable Bayfield watersheds planted close to 3,000 acres of cover crops with the support of programs administered by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). That was a record year in the watershed.
This year, in 2020, local farmers have applied for grants for planting of almost 4,000 acres of cover crops. That is a new record. It is also in addition to all the many thousands of acres of cover crops planted in the watershed that did not receive funding from financial incentive programs.
To find out more about the benefits of cover crops visit the cover crops web page on the abca.ca website at this link: www.abca.ca/forestry/cover-crops
The use of cover crops is a practice that benefits soil health and water quality. Cover crops have many benefits to the landowner and the community, according to ABCA. Cover crops help to protect water quality and build soil health. Cover crops help to reduce loss of nutrients and topsoil, reduce the amount and speed of water running off of land, and reduce wind speed at ground level which reduces wind and water erosion and the speed of water runoff. Those are just some of the benefits.
“We are pleased to see so many local farmers embracing cover crops and learning about them and adopting them even during a challenging year,” said Manager of Stewardship, Land and Education with ABCA, Kate Monk. “We also appreciate the funding partners that support programs providing grants that make it possible to adopt cover crops as a best management practice. Our soil, our water, and our local residents all benefit from more year-round vegetative cover.”
The month of November is #NoTillNovember with a #KeepTheStubble campaign that encourages less tillage and informs producers they can ‘save time, save money, and save soil.’
Neil Sass is owner of a no-till farm in the United States. He is a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Area Soil Scientist in Iowa and creator of No-Till November. He has written about Six Tips for Switching to No-Till. His six steps include: 1) Start planning at least a year before implementation; 2) Pick an easy entry point and crop; 3) Select the right seeds; 4) Set up your planter correctly; 5) Plant according to soil conditions, not the calendar; and 6) Seek advice and recommendations from successful no-tillers.
For more details read his article here: www.farmers.gov/connect/blog/conservation/6-tips-switching-no-till
Huron Waves Auction
Get ready to have some fun completing Christmas shopping this year, with the “Celebrate the Season with Huron Waves Auction”, opened online on Monday, Nov. 16. Personal visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus; a spring golf tournament for eight, including dinners and bus transportation; collections of holiday music CDs; Samsonite luggage; paintings and framed photographs; cooking classes and fine dining, they are all up for auction to the highest bidder, in support of Huron Waves Music Festival (HWMF).
“There are more than 100 items with a distinctively local flavor, all graciously donated by individuals who have readily offered support to Huron Waves despite the current challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cass Bayley, who is chair of the fund-raising committee.
Every Monday from now to Dec. 7, a new lot of new products, services and experiences will be listed on-line, with bidding open until that Saturday. The auction closes on Saturday, Dec. 12.
“We have so many wonderful fund-raising ideas that tie together music, food and companionship, but we’ve had to put them on hold for now. This auction is a safe way for everyone to have fun, be entertained, and raise funds so that we can bring international artists to our area,” she said.
Bidders are encouraged to register for the auction at www.huronwavesauction.ca. Safely gather family in your bubble every Saturday afternoon to see who submitted the highest bid.
All funds support Huron Waves Music Festival (HWMF), which will showcase the best of Canadian and visiting international artists at an annual springtime music festival in the region that includes Grand Bend, Exeter and other communities.
Its 2020 Festival was originally scheduled for the first two weekends of May, but emergency measures initiated to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic have twice delayed it.
ABCA Outdoor Family Experiences
The traditional one-night Owl Prowl is cancelled for 2020, as part of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) response during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but the conservation authority is offering activities for the entire month of November to replace the popular event this year.
ABCA is making November, Birds of Prey Month.
Raptors are meat-eating birds of prey and include owls, hawks, eagles, and falcons and they play a very important role in the local ecosystem, according to ABCA.
During the month of November, people may find out more about birds of prey including owls through Outdoor Family Experiences offered by ABCA, through social media posts, and webinars on ZOOM and YouTube.
Interested parties may book a ‘COVID-friendly’ Owl Prowl for their family at Morrison Dam Conservation Area for dates starting in November until Feb. 27, 2021. Staff at ABCA ask everyone to please note that conservation area trails are closed to the public from sunset to sunrise. The public can only use trails at night when a program is booked and they are accompanied by ABCA staff.
Weekend outdoor family experiences can be booked through Eventbrite.ca and include owl prowls; autumn hikes at Bannockburn Conservation Area; pond studies at Morrison Dam Conservation Area (MDCA); fossil hunts at Rock Glen Conservation Area; a nature awareness hike at any conservation area; or ‘Christmas in the Forest’ at MDCA. The Eventbrite.ca website has the available dates and times to register for one of these experiences.
For more information contact conservation education staff at 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.
The education programs adhere to the pandemic protocols for gathering sizes and social physical distancing, etc. from public health authorities.
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.
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.
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.