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THE YEAR IN REVIEW: 2010

JANUARY – Woolwich outside workers get 3%. Even in 2010’s tough economic climate, Woolwich’s outside workers received pay increases of three per cent annually over the next three years, as the township reached a new collective bargaining agreement with 19 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 1542.
The contract, effective Jan. 1, replaced the previous three-year deal that expired Dec. 31, 2009. For 2010, the deal brings the average wage to $22.50.

Elmira woman dies in Haiti

Yvonne Martin, 67, died in the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti Jan. 12. She was the first confirmed Canadian casualty of the magnitude seven quake.
Martin was part of a team of seven nurses from the Kitchener-Waterloo area that was in Haiti to conduct medical clinics in the northern part of the country. The visit was her fourth trip to Haiti, where she travelled to each January since retiring.

Woolwich tackles Breslau speeding

The speed limit on Chilligo Road running through the township dropped to 70 km/h, as Woolwich responded to residents’ safety concerns.
Also approved by councillors meeting Jan. 12 were new lane markings and signage to prompt drivers to slow down. The decision follows last fall’s petition by Chilligo Road residents for action on speeding and dangerous passing incidents, the result of commuters discovering the route had been paved. Once a gravel road, it has become a favourite for drivers seeking a shortcut between Cambridge and Guelph.

Big increases in taxes, water rates

Having opted against developing part of Victoria Glen Park, Woolwich moved to cover the $1.5-million shortfall by borrowing more money to pay for its recent building spree. That Jan. 19 decision led to taxes increasing by another 0.79 per cent, putting the tax rate hike at 4.48 per cent for 2010. The jump added $23.46 to the Woolwich portion of the average tax bill, based on a home valued at $214,000.
Also approved was a water rate increase of 7.26 per cent, to $1.33 per cubic metre from $1.24. That represented about a $16- to $22-per-year jump for the average household. The wastewater rate climbed by 10.1 per cent, to $1.63 per cubic metre from $1.48, adding about $27 to $36 per year to the average annual cost.

Wellesley opts for 2% tax increase

Wellesley homeowners faced another $9 in township taxes in 2010, the result of a two-per-cent tax increase given tentative approval Jan. 19 by council.
The increase brought to about $700 the township’s share of property taxes applied to an average home assessed at $214,000.

Wideman pledges $250,000 for recreation fund

NHL defenceman Dennis Wideman gave to his hometown in a big way with the announcement of a $250,000 donation to the Fit for the Future campaign.
Wideman’s donation of $50,000 a year over the next five years brought the Woolwich Community Recreation Foundation campaign within striking distance of its $5.5 million goal.

Jacks’ playoff bid falls short
The Wellesley Applejacks’ last flickering hopes for the 2009-2010 season playoffs were extinguished Jan. 29 with a 9-0 loss to Port Stanley.
The Jacks, then sitting fifth in the Bauer conference, needed to win their last five games and needed Tavistock to lose every game. The loss left the Jacks 12 points back of Tavistock in the standings, too far to catch with only three games left in the season.

FEBRUARY

Wellesley arena workers get pay hike
Part-time employees at the Wellesley and St. Clements arenas saw a big boost in their wages in 2010, with township council approving a 31-per-cent hike on Feb. 2. The hourly wage for part-time facility attendants increases to $15 from $11.42, a jump of $3.58 per hour.

Jean Horne named Citizen of the Year
An active member of the community for more than 60 years, retired teacher Jean Horne was recognized for her efforts by being named the Wellesley Citizen of the Year by the Wellesley and District Board of Trade.

Woolwich scales back arena fee hikes
Minor sports groups won a reprieve from higher rates at the Dan Snyder Arena, as councillors came up with alternative funding methods in approving the 2010 budget Feb. 9.
Rather than charge everyone a premium to use the larger arena in the Woolwich Memorial Centre, the township will exempt minor sports teams from paying the additional $18 an hour. The decision meant an $8,500 hit to the 2010 budget.

West Montrose development on hold pending CHL review

Temporarily halting major development in West Montrose was Woolwich’s first step in studying the heritage of the covered bridge and its surroundings.
In adopting an interim control bylaw for lands surrounding the bridge on Feb. 9, council put on hold for one year a gravel pit bid by Guelph-based Capital Paving. The decision cleared the way for a study to determine the need for a cultural heritage landscape (CHL) designation for some of the area surrounding the historic bridge.

Elmira bus service extended

Despite lower-than-expected ridership numbers, the bus service linking Elmira and St. Jacobs to Waterloo was extended for another year. Grand River Transit’s route 21 began operating in April, 2009 connecting Elmira with the Conestoga Mall transit terminal, with stops in the St. Jacobs core, at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market/Outlet Mall and the new Wal-Mart-anchored power centre.

Family finds peace in Ferguson guilty plea

Kenneth Ferguson, 43, was sentenced to 20 years in jail Feb. 18 after pleading guilty to second degree murder in the strangling death of his wife.
Valerie Ferguson, 44, was found dead in the bedroom of the family home in April 2008. Ferguson was charged with first-degree murder and the prosecution had strong evidence that the killing was planned, but accepted the plea to the lesser charge to spare the family a drawn-out trial.

Plans scrapped for Breslau servicing

The hundred or so Breslau residents who packed Woolwich council chambers Feb. 23 were happy the township decided to do nothing. Councillors quashed a report calling for the extension of water and sewer services into the older parts of the village. Outraged by forecasted costs of some $92,000 apiece, homeowners voiced their opinions in no uncertain terms.

Pedestrian dies after being struck
A pedestrian was struck and killed in Wellesley Township on the evening of Feb. 25. Samuel Martin, 34, was walking westbound along William Hastings Line near Manser Road when he was struck by an eastbound Ford pickup truck driven by a 39-year-old Wellesley man. Emergency services responded, but the pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.

Woolwich needs millions for future bridge work
Fresh from a decision to repair the Glasgow Street bridge at a cost of $335,000 Woolwich discovered it will need more than $6.8 million to repair or replace bridges and culverts over the next decade. Acting on a consultant’s report, Woolwich councillors charged staff with preparing a capital program for the rehabilitation work.

MARCH
New building for Floradale P.S.
Almost 270 students poured into the new Floradale Public School Mar. 22 for the grand opening of their new facility. The official sod turning for the new school was held the previous September.
The old building, constructed in 1966, gave way to the new $5.3-million school. Almost $4-million in funding was awarded by the Ministry of Education for the school, which serves students from Floradale, Wallenstein, Yatton, Hawkesville and the surrounding rural areas.
The Waterloo Region District School Board contributed $1.3 million to the project.

Expansion approved for Safety-Kleen
Meeting Mar. 23, Woolwich councillors cleared the way for an expansion at the Safety-Kleen oil re-refinery in Breslau, passing the Official Plan amendment and zone change necessary for the company to acquire 15 acres of land from the neighbouring Forwell gravel pit.
The decision came despite lingering concerns about the environmental impacts. Part of the 15-acre parcel has contaminants underneath, a legacy from Breslube Enterprises and other former operations on site. Safety-Kleen has been working for years to clean up the pollutants based on a remediation action plan approved in 2002 by the Ministry of the Environment.

Kings’ playoff run ends in semis

A gutsy, spirited playoff run came to an end Mar. 24 when the Elmira Sugar Kings were eliminated by the Brantford Golden Eagles in Game 6 of their semi-final series.
The Kings took on Brantford after putting out Listowel in the first round. The odds favoured the Golden Eagles, who finished the season at the top of the Midwestern Conference of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League with a 42-5-4 record. In six matchups with Elmira during the regular season, Brantford won all six games handily.

EMSF continues to draw ‘em in

More than 70,000 people took to the streets of Elmira Mar. 27 during the annual Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.

New community centre in Breslau
Breslau celebrated the grand opening of a new community centre Mar. 27. The new building, a 10,000-square-foot gymnasium, was designed to complement the existing sales pavilion erected by Empire Communities. That structure is 3,600 sq. ft.; with the basement included, it provides about 7,000 sq. ft. Under a deal made with the township in 2006, the company located the facility at Breslau Memorial Park with the intention of selling it to the municipality for $2 when the subdivision is built out.

APRIL
Elmira biogas plan wins FIT contract
Woolwich Bio-En Inc. was one of 184 suppliers offered Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contracts to supply alternative energy power to the province. Although the Elmira biogas project has yet to receive provincial approval, the facility was cleared Apr. 8 to connect to the power grid.
The project, the subject of many meetings throughout the year, still remains under review by the province.

West Montrose bylaw appealed to OMB
Calling the move too broad, the Murray Group has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board a township bylaw temporarily halting development near West Montrose. The Moorefield-based road construction company has an interest in developing a gravel pit in the area covered by an interim control bylaw approved earlier in the year by Woolwich council.
The land is adjacent to farm properties at 1420 and 1433 Letson Dr. where Capital Paving hopes to build a large gravel pit, but the Guelph-based company did not launch a legal challenge of its own.

Woolwich backs tougher property standards bylaw
In doing a little housecleaning of its own, Woolwich expected its residents to do likewise. The passage Apr. 20 of a new clean yards bylaw streamlined the process, making it quicker and easier to assess fines and force the cleanup of unkempt properties. The target is debris, long grass, excessive weed growth and derelict vehicles.
The new bylaw replaced one first adopted in 2007. Under the bylaw, the township has the authority to set and enforce standards for the appearance of individual properties. The rules do not extend to buildings, which are handled under the property standards bylaw.

Walter Hachborn retires from Home Hardware

After more than 70 years in the hardware business, Home Hardware co-founder and president Walter Hachborn retired in April. In the wake of that announcement, the St. Jacobs-based company made two changes to senior management.
Paul Straus, vice-president and CEO, was appointed president and CEO. Terry Davis, Home Hardware’s vice-president administration and strategic planning, was appointed executive vice-president and chief operating officer.
Hachborn, who will remain as president emeritus, originally began with Hollinger Hardware alongside Gordon Hollinger where the Home Hardware store now stands in downtown St. Jacobs. He purchased the business, transforming it into Home Hardware.

MAY
Community rallies against gravel pits
Conestogo-area residents took a look at the future, and they don’t like it one bit. Painting a picture filled with heavy equipment grinding away all day long, dust filling the air and large trucks crowding pedestrians and cyclists off of area rounds, they called on Woolwich council to put the brakes on gravel pit development. The focus of their attention May 4 was the Hunder Developments bid for a pit immediately to the east of Conestogo.
A public meeting saw some 150 people pack council chambers in opposition to the project.

Fire destroys barn
Arnold Bowman was milking cows in his barn north of Elmira on May 19 when he became aware of a fire in the structure. He attempted to evacuate his animals, but the barn quickly became fully engulfed in flames; four cows, 10 calves, 500 chickens and three horses were lost in the fire that completely destroyed the building. More than 50 firefighters from three Woolwich stations were called out to battle the blaze. Damage was estimated at $250,000.

Wellesley PS adds new wing

Wellesley Public School opened a $3.2-million addition, required to accommodate growing enrollment. Renovations that started the previous April saw the entire front side of the school redone and 10 new classrooms added. The students moved into the new classrooms in November and six portables were removed over the summer.

King/86 Developments joins BIA
The Elmira Business Improvement Area (BIA) group can count on an additional $10,000 each year following a Woolwich council decision to allow King/86 Developments to join the organization.
As part of a settlement that saw the BIA drop its opposition to the Walmart-anchored power centre in St. Jacobs, the Elmira business group got a lump-sum payment of $90,000 and an additional $10,000 annually as the developer’s membership dues.

JUNE
Woolwich arena board sales in-house
Both the township and sports groups figured they’d make more money under a revised arena advertising plan approved June 1. Council opted to take sales in-house, axing the idea of a third party selling ad space at the arenas.

WCS marks 35 years
Woolwich Community Services celebrated its 35th anniversary June 15. It was also a milestone for executive director Don Harloff, who marked 20 years with the organization.
WCS started life as the Woolwich Community Information Centre, operated out of the back of Linda Snyder’s home by a group of local women who, in 1974, were stay-at-home moms with an interest in contributing to the community. They got a $100 grant from the Canadian Mental Health Association to put in a phone and buy some supplies.

Woolwich arranges for fire coverage in Breslau
Gradually introducing fire services in Breslau, Woolwich opted to spend $264,000 in 2010 to build a temporary substation on Beacon Point Court. The site is located in the Thomasfield Homes subdivision, and will eventually house a full fire station. For now, the operation will function as a subset of the Maryhill fire station.
Meeting June 15, Woolwich council approved the work, following a staff report that deemed building more cost-effective than leasing space in the village until a permanent facility is built, likely within five years. The township has pegged the cost of constructing and equipping a Breslau station at $2.8 million.
When a new facility is finally in place, the 1,000-square-foot pre-engineered building approved in June will be converted into a storage facility.

Seniors’ apartment building OK’d
Two older buildings on Elmira’s Church Street are to replaced by a four-storey seniors’ apartment complex under a plan floated at Woolwich council June 15. Cameo Homes Ltd. hopes to build a 20-unit structure at 30 and 32 Church St. W. The company eventually got the necessary Official Plan and zoning changes from the township.

EMSF distributes $50,000 to groups
Community groups in Woolwich and area were $50,000 richer following the disbursement of proceeds from the 2010 Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. The organization distributed cheques June 16 to Elmira District Community Living (typically the largest recipient), 1st Elmira Scouts, Friends of Guiding Elmira, Elmira Nursery School, Elmira Library, Maple Syrup Museum, Elmira Theatre Company, Woolwich Community Services, YWCA – Mary’s Place, Kiwanis Transit, Community Care Concepts and the John Mahood Public School parent council.

Community loses a real booster in Bob Waters

Bob Waters, an Elmira lawyer, a former Woolwich mayor and long-time supporter of recreation projects, succumbed to cancer June 21. He was 69.
Waters was remembered as a man dedicated to community service, sometimes leading the charge but often quietly doing his part.
Waters was a councillor from 1982 to 1986. He was named mayor shortly after the ‘86 election when Ken Seiling vacated the post on being elected the chair of Waterloo Region. Waters then went on to serve three terms as mayor until 1994.
His tenure at the head of council included the difficult times that followed the discovery of contaminants in Elmira’s drinking water. Pollutants from the Chemtura Chemical plant – then known as Uniroyal – had seeped into the groundwater, eventually forcing the installation of a pipeline from Waterloo, which supplies water to the town to this day. When the crisis first hit, municipal officials were kept extremely busy. Waters worked tirelessly at the time, said Seiling.

Wideman heads for sunny Florida
The Boston Bruins traded Elmira native Dennis Wideman to the Florida Panthers June 22, along with a 15th overall pick in this year’s draft and a third-round pick in the 2011 draft. In exchange, Boston acquired forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell.

A long life well lived
Ernie Kendall, a retired teacher, war veteran, athlete, volunteer, father, grandfather and friend passed away June 26 at his home in Chateau Gardens at the age of 101.
Kendall was a man who wore many hats, but he is best known for his role as an educator. He began his studies at the Ontario Agricultural College Campus in Guelph, graduated in 1932 with a degree in entomology but then transferred to teaching shortly after. He taught sciences for 37 years at Elmira District Secondary School, followed by supply teaching for 14 more years, and retired at age 75.

Province ponies up $300 million
The province announced $300 million in funding for rapid transit in Waterloo Region. The money represents part of $790 million the region hopes to drop on the first stage of light rail transit (LRT) connecting Conestoga Mall and Fairview Park mall, with rapid buses connecting the system to Cambridge. The idea is to eventually link all three cities by LRT.

JULY
Cancer claims a real friend of townships’ seniors
The woman who launched social services for seniors in the townships succumbed to cancer July 1, leaving behind a lasting legacy. The founder of what would become Community Care Concepts, Veronica MacDonald was 54.
“She was it when it came to developing services for older adults when there were none in the townships. These are services that  wouldn’t exist without her,” said Irene O’Toole, a longtime colleague and friend, who was working in a similar capacity in Waterloo when MacDonald started what was then known as Woolwich Home Support Services.

Johnston named governor general

University of Waterloo president and Heidelberg resident David Johnston was tagged as Canada’s next governor general.
The vast majority of the 69-year-old Johnston’s working years have been spent in academia, although he had some ties to the Canadian political scene.
Born in Sudbury in 1941, Johnston studied government and international relations and law at Harvard, Cambridge and Queen’s University. His public service is seen as non-partisan, given his work for both Conservative and Liberal governments. A legal expert, Johnston is also well-versed in constitutional matters and the inner workings of Parliament Hill.

Wellesley council chambers get a facelift

Renovations planned for Wellesley council chambers Renovations to the Wellesley council chambers, budgeted to cost $79,000, got underway in Crosshill.
Built in 1854, the former township hall is the oldest continually-used municipal building in the Region of Waterloo.

Linwood fire station to be overhauled
The Linwood fire station was in line for some upgrades after Wellesley council approved spending up to $100,000 for an addition and renovations on July 5. The first phase of the project was the construction of a 20-by-55-foot truck bay on the east side of the building.

National post for Legion’s Moore
After some 25 years of service with the Elmira Legion, Gordon Moore moved up to represent the branch on a national level: he was selected to serve as Dominion first vice-president of The Royal Canadian Legion. His election to the Legion’s top executive council came at the 43rd Dominion Convention in Winnipeg.

New digs for Waterloo North Hydro

Construction of Waterloo North Hydro’s new service centre officially got underway after a groundbreaking ceremony held on the site July 21.
The new facility is located on Country Squire Road in Woolwich Township, just north of the Waterloo boundary. Half of the 104,000-square-foot facility will house administration offices, while the other half will be used for storage and maintenance of vehicles and equipment.
The work is scheduled to be completed by December 2011.

Cancer claims Elmira librarian
Mary Anne Cressman, longtime librarian and library supervisor at the Elmira branch, passed away July 25 after a brief battle with cancer. She was 67.
Cressman worked at the Elmira library for 40 years before her retirement in 2009. She presided over a number of changes during her tenure, including its expansion in the 1970s, the switch to a computerized catalogue system and recent renovations to make the building wheelchair accessible.

Fire engulfs Elmira-area barn
The fire that leveled a barn southeast of Elmira July 26 left $250,000 in damage and more than a hundred dead animals in its wake.
Columns of smoke were visible miles away from the farm on New Jerusalem Road, not far from the newly expanded parochial school. Firefighters believe the blaze began when an overheated electrical cord got too close to the nearby hay bales.
Six trucks from the Conestogo and St. Jacobs fire stations responded, along with an extra tanker from Floradale.

AUGUST

St. Jacobs’ south end to remain unserviced
The development outlook got a little brighter in St. Jacobs Aug. 2, as the township freed up sewage capacity. With the move, 16 property owners in the south end of the village no longer faced the prospect of paying up to $37,000 for hookups to municipal water and sewer systems. Instead, the affected homeowners were to remain on private wells and septic systems.
The township asked the 16 property owners if they would prefer to see the extension of water and sanitary sewers at a cost of $36,500 per household, the extension of municipal water only ($13,500) or stick with the status quo. Of the 13 who responded to the survey, the majority (nine) opted for the do-nothing approach. Three were in favour of water and sanitary sewers; one chose the water-only.

Jean Renault Classic raises $14K

More than 100 golfers who took to the links at the Conestoga Country Club Aug. 12 raised $14,000 for family violence prevention programs. It was the 16th annual outing for the Jeanne Renault Golf Classic organized by Woolwich Community Services.

Bieber fever grips Elmira

Teen pop sensation Justin Bieber’s quest for an evening of small town life in Elmira set some pre-teen hearts aflutter, but left a bad taste in the mouths of a number of youths who deemed themselves former fans.
According to a number of witnesses, Bieber visited Elmira’s Lions Park on the evening of Aug. 23 to take in the soccer match between the Woolwich U16 girl’s team and his hometown of Stratford, but when approached by fans – members of the soccer team and spectators – the teen heartthrob told fans to go away and leave him alone. A Facebook page dealing with the slight soon appeared.

Council gets tough on encroachment
Woolwich’s new get-tough approach to dealing with encroachments on public land got a written policy.
Earlier in the summer, the township identified more than 100 cases where homeowners had taken over use of abutting township property. In about 20 instances, that involved erecting structures such as fences, sheds and gazebos. Other violations included expansion of gardens and walkways.
Meeting Aug. 24, councillors approved a policy that outlines cases where the township might enter into an encroachment agreement rather than forcing the property owner to move off of the public land.

Woolley named captain of Kings
Going into their 40th season, the Elmira Sugar Kings hockey club turned to one of their most-senior players to lead them through it, naming Josh Woolley as the team’s new captain.

Rental fees on the rise in Wellesley
Meeting Aug. 31, Wellesley council approved a three-per-cent increase on all recreation facility rental fees for the 2010/ 2011 season to cover increased costs associated with the HST.
In a report prepared for council, director of recreation Brad Voisin indicated that, “facility rental rates are the key source of income for our recreation department. These rates must be adjusted yearly to reflect inflation, user group demand, and area competition.”

SEPTEMBER
Feds promise cash for transit
Prime Minster Stephen Harper’s visit to Waterloo Region Sept. 2 included a pledge of up to $265 million for rapid transit projects. The promise to fund one-third of eligible costs up to the specified maximum follows Ontario’s contribution of $300 million.
The region wants to spend $710 million building a light rail transit link between Conestogo Mall in Waterloo and Fairview Park in Kitchener. Another $80 million would provide rapid buses in Cambridge.

Report calls for pay hikes for council
A report indicating Woolwich councillors should get a 47-per-cent pay hike, the mayor 25 per cent met with an unenthusiastic welcome Sept. 14, coming just weeks before an election.
Compiled by Listowel-based Ward and Uptigrove Human Resources Solutions, the study was deferred until a later date following public input on the proposal.

CANS founder wins award

Elmira’s Dustin Martin, who started a Halloween food drive seven years previously, was presented with the 2009 Outstanding Organization Donor Award from the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and Woolwich Community Services at a Sept. 21 township council meeting.
Citizens Always Need Supper (CANS) began as a chance for five or six kids who felt as though they were a bit too old to be trick-or-treating to still go out into the community and do something fun. That goal changed from good times to giving back, and the number of participants grew from six to some 130 kids and adults who took part last year.

One Book, One Community at EDSS
The literary tour by Terry Fallis, author of this year’s One Book, One Community selection, made a stop in Elmira Sept. 22. He was at EDSS to answer questions and read excerpts from The Best Laid Plans.

Elmira teen claims Wellesley Idol
Elmira’s Maggie Wang took home the title of Wellesley Idol and the top prize of $350 at the Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese Festival held in the village Sept. 25.

Tar-like substance rains down
Chemtura Canada Co. immediately agreed to foot the bill for any cleanup costs associated with a chemical release over parts of Elmira Sept. 27.
Residents around the plant reported a tar-like substance speckled over their cars and homes following the incident shortly after 3 p.m. Chemtura identified the compound as BLE 25, a mixture of diphenylamine and acetone used as an antioxidant in the making of some rubber products.
While no health consequences were reported, the company is still dealing with cleanup efforts.

WWLHIN dumps its CEO
The agency that oversees access to health care in the region ousted its CEO. Sandra Hanmer left the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN) Sept. 27 following a board decision.
Hamner, who was paid $280,000 in 2009, was under contract until 2013. She had been with the WWLHIN since its inception in 2005.

OCTOBER
Soehner property faces demolition
The Elmira home of prominent community member Harry Soehner, who passed away earlier in the year, moved closer to redevelopment Oct. 25 as Woolwich council cleared the way for demolishing the two-storey house at 250 Arthur St. S.
Developer Emerald Homes hopes to create five new building lots on the 1.2-acre property. Four lots with 60-foot (18-metre) frontage would be accessible from Oriole Parkway, while the fifth, 75 feet (23m) wide, would front onto Arthur Street, as does the current home.

Acclamations across the board in Wellesley Township
The deadline for filing nomination papers having passed, Wellesley Township found itself with only the five incumbents running in the Oct. 25 municipal election. All were acclaimed to office for another four-year term: Shelley Wagner in Ward 1, Herb Neher in Ward 2, Jim Olender in Ward 3, and Paul Herrgott in Ward 4, along with Mayor Ross Kelterborn.

Death initially deemed suspicious
Waterloo Regional Police investigators were in West Montrose Oct. 18 following the discovery of a body near the covered bridge. A passerby walking his dog found the body of a man. A gun was also found nearby.

Collision claims Elmira teen
Miles Hamilton, 18, of Elmira was killed Oct. 22 when the black Dodge pickup truck he was a passenger in crashed into another truck parked on Elmira’s Barnswallow Drive, subsequently bursting into flames.
Police say they pulled Hamilton and the driver of the vehicle, 17-year-old Brendon Fitzgerald, from the wreckage, but Hamilton was pronounced dead at the scene.

Woolwich council gets a new look
Woolwich voters opted for change when they went to the polls for the Oct. 25 municipal election.
Todd Cowan upset four-term mayor Bill Strauss by taking 2,777 votes to Strauss’ 1,483. Former Ward 1 councillor Pat McLean finished second with 1,784 votes.
In Ward 1, where at least one new face was expected as incumbent Sandy Shantz declined to run again, two new people joined the council table. Long-time councillor Ruby Weber finished third with 1,178 votes, making Allan Poffenroth (1,775 votes) and Julie-Anne Herteis (1,257) the new representatives for Elmira. Jim David garnered 747 votes and Mary Young, who removed herself from the race shortly after nominations closed, still managed to get selected on 297 ballots.
Ward 3 also got a new councillor. Bonnie Bryant replaced four-term incumbent Murray Martin, winning 818 votes to Martin’s 681. Maryhill resident Doug Nichols was third at 266.
In Ward 2, incumbent Mark Bauman survived an early scare – the first poll reporting had challenger Eric Schwindt up 134 to 57 – to eventually post a 735-to-478 victory, 60.6 per cent of the vote.

Expansion gets underway at Safety-Kleen plant

Touting the importance of the Three Rs, Ontario Minister of the Environment John Wilkinson joined Safety-Kleen executives to break new ground for their $26-million expansion in Breslau Oct. 28.
The expansion, which received approval from Woolwich Township last March, was expected to take about 18 months to complete. It will enable the facility to increase its oil re-refining operations by 25 per cent, to 191 million litres annually from 152 million.

NOVEMBER
Councillors jeered for gravel pit decision
There was no warm send-off for Woolwich councillors Nov. 16. Their decision to approve a gravel pit application saw to that.
Meeting for the last time as a committee of the whole, councillors gave conditional approval for a new pit at 125 Peel St., Winterbourne, despite pleas from a dozen delegates to defer or defeat the application. A full public gallery jeered the decision, a 3-1 vote, with only Coun. Murray Martin opposed.
The vote went ahead despite a staff recommendation the issue be deferred to the next session of council, when the newly-elected politicians could deal with the application in context of two much larger pits proposed for the area.

Elmira subdivision almost a go
In one of its final acts, Woolwich’s current council gave the green light to a large subdivision that will reshape the northwest section of Elmira. The Official Plan and zone changes approved Nov. 16 pave the way for up to 1,400 residential units on what is currently farmland north of Church Street West.
Work on the Lunor Group project could get underway as soon as next spring.

Pendergast sides with residents in gravel fight
Looking for people willing to help with the battle against a large gravel pit proposed for a site just outside of Conestogo, the residents’ association got the backing the MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga Nov. 30. Given a choice between remaining out of the fray and doing what she can to block the development of what’s known as the Hunsberger pit, Leeanna Pendergast said she would side with her neighbours in Conestogo.
“I’ll do what I have to do to stop the pit,” she said Nov. 30, addressing a meeting of some 100 members of the Conestogo-Winterbourne Residents Association (CWRA) in the gym at Conestogo Public School.

DECEMBER
New council makes it official
There was no real business, and the reception was as warm as it’s likely to ever get as Woolwich’s new council was sworn in Dec. 7 during a special ceremony at Lions Hall in Elmira.
Mayor Todd Cowan pledged to get right to work on the changes he discussed on the campaign trail leading up to the Oct. 25 election.

Chemtura finds cause for BLE release
A vent that was closed instead of being open during the heating process, allowing for the build-up of temperature and pressure, was at the root of Chemtura’s Sept. 27 release of a chemical compound over parts of Elmira. In findings released Dec. 16, the company also notes a series of audible and visual alerts, activated as the pressure grew, went unheeded as there was no operator in the vicinity.
Some 4,200 kilograms of BLE 25, a mixture of diphenylamine and acetone used as an antioxidant in the making of some rubber products, and 112 kg of acetone were released when a rupture disc burst as designed due to the pressure build-up in the storage vessel.
In the cleanup effort that followed the release, which continued through the end of the year, the company washed BLE spots from 270 cars and 213 homes in Elmira.

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