Year in Review - April 2017
One of three howitzers from 2 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery fires a salute at Vimy in France during ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge, held in April.
GARRISON MOURNS: Family, friends and comrades mourned the loss of Sgt. Robert “Bobby” Dynerowicz, who died on April 25 when the Light Armoured Vehicle III (LAV III) he was crew commanding was involved in an accident at CFB Wainwright. Three other members of the regiment were injured. The incident occurred as Garrison Petawawa's 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was training for Exercise Maple Resolve. The 34-year-old Dragoon enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2005. He was subsequently stationed in Petawawa and Meaford, Ontario. He served overseas in Kandahar, Afghanistan on two tours in 2007 and 2010. Flags flew at half mast at the garrison and around the Town of Petawawa. Before a ribbon cutting at Petawawa Showcase, Mayor Bob Sweet also offered condolences on behalf of town residents.
DRIVER SENTENCED: The driver who fatally struck a retired soldier outside the Pembroke Memorial Centre following a Lumber Kings game received 22 months in jail and a five-year driving prohibition. Martial Laverdure, 41, learned his fate on April 20 in a Pembroke superior court. He had been convicted of one count of dangerous driving causing death in connection with the Jan. 11, 2015 accident which claimed the life of retired Chief Warrant Officer Ernie Hall. The sentencing concluded more than two years of waiting for closure for Hall’s family and former comrades. Assistant Crown attorney Caitlin Downing had been seeking a 30-month prison sentence for Laverdure, while defence counsel Jessica Fuller had asked for nine months in jail. In handing down his decision, Justice Martin James acknowledged that Laverdure, a father of three, did not have a significant criminal record nor did his driving record show any reckless or inappropriate driving. The justice noted the accused had the support of his family, and was not engaged in racing, distracted driving or was under the influence of alcohol or drugs the night that his SUV hit Hall and two other pedestrians.
FLOODING HITS CITY: Flooding along the Indian River kept city crews and volunteers sandbagging throughout the early weeks of April. Localized flooding in the Doran Street and McGee Street areas, as well as Miller Street Hill, Indian Lane, and Murray Street had forced the city of Pembroke to close those streets until further notice. Only emergency services vehicles and local traffic were permitted in these locations. Chris Mantha, the city's roads and fleet supervisor, said he and work crews had been dealing with the emergency since April 11.
FLOOD WATERS RISE ON ROUND LAKE: Residents in and around Round Lake and the Bonnechere River battled floodwaters in April. Water levels were on record highs all through Eastern Ontario. The Pembroke District Office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry advised residents a flood warning was still in effect for Renfrew County.
REMEMBERING VIMY: Garrison Petawawa united with the Town of Petawawa to commemorate the historic 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9. The event began with a parade involving units from the Garrison and 2 Canadian Mechanize Brigade Group along with veterans, cadet corps and members of the Royal Canadian Legion who collectively marched together to commemorate the centennial. Leaving Garrison Petawawa, the parade members travelled all along Petawawa Bouleveard – past the Petawawa River Bridge where Bishop Smith Catholic High School students had tied yellow ribbons of remembrance – until they arrived at the Petawawa Civic Centre where they were met by a crowd of local dignitaries and members of the public keen to pay their respects at the monumental ceremony. Once all parade members had marched onto the grounds and stepped into formation, the sounds of the ‘Last Post’ trumpeted through the grounds as all took off their headwear, bowed their heads and took part in two minutes of silence to remember those soldiers who fought at Vimy.
PEMBROKE STICKS WITH OPP: In April, Pembroke signed a new six-year contract with the Ontario Provincial Police. City council approved the signing of a deal which will give the city OPP police services until Dec. 31, 2022. The city was charged under the OPP billing model, which uses a base service rate, plus total calls for service and other costs to determine what the city will be charged for a particular year. Pembroke's base rate had been calculated to be $191.84 per property, covering 6,543 households and 414 commercial and industrial properties for a total base rate of $1,334,631. When one adds in calls for service, overtime, prisoner transportation, and other costs, the policing bill for 2017 broke down to $573 per property, or a total of $3.98 million.
KIWANIS FESTIVAL ENDS: The promising singers, dancers and musicians who had electrified the Festival Hall stage with their remarkable talent took
their final bow in April as the 69th edition of the Pembroke Kiwanis Music Festival drew to a spectacular close. The Kiwanis Festival of Stars signalled not only the conclusion of the contest but allowed many of the 500 youth who had performed here a chance to show their stuff for family and friends escaping the watchful scrutiny of the adjudicators for a night of fun.
“The music students themselves deserve high praise for their talents, efforts, discipline and devotion,” Kiwanis Music Festival Committee co-chairman Raghavan Vijay said in his opening remarks to the audience.
SYRIAN FAMILY WELCOMED: Pembroke’s Project Welcome announced that they had successfully sponsored a family fleeing war-torn Syria. Back in late 2015, local friends Shannon MacLaggan and Kate Mooney founded Project Welcome – with help from their friends Lacey Rose, Lauren McIllfaterick and Shara Dupuis – with the aim of sponsoring at least one Syrian refugee family and helping them find safety, happiness and freedom in the Ottawa Valley. After teaming up with the Upper Valley Presbytery of the United Church of Canada - a registered charity with decades of experience in sponsoring refugees – Project Welcome was matched with the Badin family, a Syrian family of four that was chosen from a list of approved refugees generated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
FIRST LOOK AT STATION: City council learned that the Pembroke fire station project was thus far on time and on budget. City councillors got their first look at the design of the $5 million facility. The station is being located at the corner of International Drive and Upper Valley Drive, close to the Boundary Road entrance.
BRIDGE PROJECT PROCEEDS: Pembroke city council approved awarding the Indian River Bridge Rehabilitation (Boundary Road) to Willis Kerr Contracting Limited in the amount of $655,780. Council also approved awarding contract administration services to HP Engineering Inc., the design consultant, in the amount of $63,365, plus a contingency and other expenses totalling $101,400. The total value of the recommendations comes to $820,545, cheaper than the $1.2 million the city was originally expecting. Brian Lewis, Supervisor of Capital Works, said it had been decided Boundary Road will be completely closed off for the duration of the work.
HALL OF FAME IN 2018: Volunteers unveiled plans for a new Petawawa Hall of Fame to showcase those whose outstanding achievements have brought recognition to the town have made their pitch to council. Rick
Schroeder, vice-president of the hall's board of directors, told council this endeavour will provide Petawawa with an opportunity to celebrate past achievement in the areas of sports and entertainment and build a legacy of excellence for the future.