News Local

Year in Review - May 2017

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

At the LaPasse boat launch in May, Dylan Panke (right) and Jordan Leskie were busy filling sandbags which were transported to residents trying to save their homes in the Lacroix Bay area. Whitewater Region official received a flurry of phone calls from volunteers seeking to help out.

At the LaPasse boat launch in May, Dylan Panke (right) and Jordan Leskie were busy filling sandbags which were transported to residents trying to save their homes in the Lacroix Bay area. Whitewater Region official received a flurry of phone calls from volunteers seeking to help out.

DEVASTATING SPRING WITH WIDESPREAD FLOODING: Golden Lake residents sought answers while dealing with some of the worst flooding in recent memory.

Julie Ann Sanderson, Dr. Glenn Bingham and Mike Krawchuk, members of the Golden Lake and Area Community Group which represents residents living on or owning property along Golden Lake, said this spring has been devastating for the area.

DEMANDING ANSWERS: The Township of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards demanded answers from those that many residents held responsible for the spring flooding on the Bonnechere.

During a packed public information meeting at St. Casimir's Church, KHR Mayor Janice Visneskie-Moore said she, members of council and those from residents'associations located along the Bonnechere River watershed including Golden Lake and Round Lake planned to meet with representatives of Renfrew Power Generation and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to find out what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

WHITEWATER FLOODING: As the Ottawa River continued to swell its banks, the Township of Whitewater Region was added to those Renfrew County municipalities caught up in the Flood of 2017.

"This is definitely the worst that we have seen in years," Jordan Durocher, manager of community services for the township, said at the time.

FORCES HELP OUT: Canadian Forces members arrived in Mansfield, Que. ready to assist with emergency measures after extreme flooding affected more than 150 residences and cottages.

On May 3, the municipal council of Mansfield-et-Pontefract initiated emergency measures and called on all residents living in zones at risk of flooding to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of their family members and the protection of their property.

GRAND OPENING: After months of anticipation, the new CANEX Supermart opened its doors in Garrison Petawawa to great fanfare.

Standing on the historical ground of the former General Panet High School, dignitaries gathered to cut the ribbon on the 45,000-square foot CANEX flagship store in a moment that marked the end of an era for the garrison and the beginning of a new one.

ALGONQUIN COLLEGE MARKS 50 YEARS: The college's Pembroke Waterfront Campus launched the silver anniversary with ceremonies at the Champlain Trail Museum as faculty past and present came together to rekindle fond memories and take stock of what has been a remarkable five decades.

PETAWAWA TO DO INTERNET VOTING: Council passed a bylaw officially introducing internet and telephone voting in the 2018 municipal election in the Town of Petawawa.

A VISIT TO SAUDI ARABIA: A Petawawa man had the experience of a lifetime when was he was invited to address an international forum on electrical safety in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In late March, Kevin Holm, an electrical safety consultant and trainer for e-Hazard Canada, participated in the 4th annual Electrical Safety Expert Symposium as a guest of His Excellency Khalid Al-Faleh, Saudi Arabia's minister of energy.

WEGNER POINT TRAGEDY REMEMBERED: Forty-nine years ago, disaster struck in the worst training disaster in Garrison Petawawa's history as the 22 paratroopers were blown off course and landed in the frigid water of the Ottawa River off the shores of Wegner Point and family and friends gathered once again to remember those lost.

Despite the courageous efforts of the people who tried to rescue them, seven soldiers were died - Master Warrant Officer Reginald Riddell, Warrant Officer Michael McDonnell, Cpl. Hugh Fields, Cpl. Bob Knight, Cpl. Dennis Clements, Cpl. Jim Misner and Cpl. Bruce Chiswell perished in the Ottawa River the evening of May 8, 1968.

The annual memorial service was held at Wegner Point, the location of the tragedy, to honour and remember those fallen soldiers who had served in the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment and the 2nd Signals Squadron.

PETAWAWA FOOD BANK OPENS: The Petawawa Pantry began providing food security to an entire community.

May 6 marked the official grand opening of the Town of Petawawa's first food bank: the Petawawa Pantry (located at 3468B Petawawa Blvd., inside the Bridgeway Mall).

OPTIONS MARKS 15 YEARS: Renfrew County high school students celebrated a great milestone as one of the province's largest skilled trades fairs marked 15 years.

More than 200 young tradespeople took over the floor of the Pembroke Memorial Centre to demonstrate their considerable talents during the 15th edition of the Options Skilled Trades Fair.

SOLDIER ACQUITTED: A military judge acquitted a Petawawa special operations soldier of sexual assault and drunkeness.

Delivering his findings of a court martial convened since April at the garrison, Lt.-Col. Louis-Vincent d'Auteuil concluded that the prosecution could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cpl. Simon Cadieux was guilty of one count of sexual assault and one count of drunkeness in connection with an alleged incident which occurred in Jamaica nearly two years ago.

SHAW FAMILY HONOURED: It was time to celebrate excellence in business.

Representatives of local businesses and organizations gathered at the Petawawa Golf Club for the 13th Annual Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce Excellence Awards.

Herb Shaw and Sons Ltd. was honoured with the chamber's lifetime achievement award.

The lumber company was deemed a fitting choice for the award, as it was in existence 20 years before Confederation, which itself marks its 150th anniversary of this year.

WINNING THIS SPACE: The owner of a home canning company was selected to win a commercial space in downtown Pembroke.

Stacy Taylor, who took part in this city sponsored contest, wanted to move her Little Things Canning Company out of her home and into a rent-free space downtown. That became possible after she convinced a panel of judges to select her business proposal over four others during the city's first ever Win This Space Grand Finale.

HIGH WATER DOESN'T STOP RIVER EVENT: Although there were some difficulties, high water didn't scuttle plans for a whitewater celebration.

The ninth annual Hell or High Water was held despite record flows on the Petawawa River. In fact, the water was moving twice as fast as normal, and at larger volumes than any time in its recent history, but that didn't deter whitewater enthusiasts from testing their mettle.

BIG TAX INCREASE FOR LAURENTIAN VALLEY: The township wrapped up its 2017 budget deliberations with the final passing of the budget bylaw, which set out significant increases.

Council approved its 2017 budget for general purposes, streetlights, wastewater and waste collection purposes. The 2017 general budget revealed a significant levy increase of 8.64 per cent, representing $358,623: much higher than 2016's 2.9 per cent levy.

COLBY'S CRUSADE: Colby Audette and his costumed capers were able to raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy through the fifth annual Colby's Crusade at Riverside Park. This year's crusade brought in $7,000.

PEMBROKE LIBRARY PLANS FOR FUTURE: The Pembroke Public Library embarked on a fiveyear strategic plan.

The vision will serve as a road map to guide the library in the direction of this positive growth in order to provide great services and programs to its members from Pembroke and Laurentian Valley.

NO SCENTS POLICY FOR PETAWAWA: Some councillors criticized the town's new scent sensitive environment policy as an example of government overreach.

The policy, meant to regulate the use of scented products by not only municipal employees but volunteers and visitors to the municipal office and town facilities, came about as a result of a barrier-free audits conducted by the Petawawa Accessibility Advisory Committee.

FIGHTING CANCER: Taking another step in the fight against cancer, energetic runners young and old got down in the muck as hundreds completed the challenging Git 'Er Done Mud Run.

More than 700 competitors travelled to Wilderness Tours near Foresters Falls to tackle this unique and relatively new event for the Canadian Cancer Society.

MORE PRAISE FOR BREWER: The accolades continued for the Whitewater Brewing Company.

During the third annual Spring Business Leadership Conference, held at Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke, the craft brewer was honoured with the 2017 Business Innovation Award.

MPAC APPEALS TAKE TOO LONG: Renfrew County's finance and administration committee agreed to endorse a motion presented by Laurentian Valley Township that the process the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation's (MPAC) assessment review board uses to consider appeals be revised to ensure it is concluded within a maximum of 18 months.

Laurentian Valley Reeve Debbie Robinson said the municipality got stung badly after an MPAC ruling on an assessment appeal cost it $250,000 in reimbursed taxes and other fees. While the ruling was in the works for nearly six years, it came down in 2017. The delays added to the expenses owed by the township and repaying the amount at once accounted for six per cert of the municipality's total levy. 

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