The Christmas Holiday break is good time to review the past years headlines that
had an impact on the Port Stanley community. The headlines selected show a diversity
of events that shape and define our way of life in this community that sits on the
shores of Lake Erie. Looking back at 2019, to see the big picture, we start at the
beginning, as 2019 proved to be a very busy year in and around the Port Stanley area.
Proposed 5-Storey Apartment Buildings Open House
A open house was planned for Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 in accordance with a Procedural
Order issued by the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal on October 10, 2018 involving
Case No. PL180077. People were invited by Prespa Construction Limited to learn more
about a proposed development consisting of two new 5-storey apartment buildings
to be located at 146-156 William Street in Port Stanley, adjacent to Why Not Park.
Proposed Building 1 facing William Street will be a mixed-use building, containing
32 residential units and two ground level commercial units. Proposed Building 2
facing Edith Cavell Boulevard will contain 30 residential units. The proposed development
replaces a previous proposal by Prespa Construction Limited to construct a 9-storey
apartment building and three detached dwellings on the subject property.
Improved School Facilities in Port Stanley
February 1, 2019 - Today, Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education, notified the Thames
Valley District School Board of approval to proceed with a proposed capital project
at the Kettle Creek Public School in Port Stanley, Ontario.
"Our government is committed to providing students with high-quality learning environments
that support student success," said Minister Thompson. "This addition and renovation
will ensure Port Stanley has the right supports in place to accommodate the needs
of the community."
The project includes:
- An addition to accommodate a new school library;
- Retrofits to create two new classrooms; and
- Renovations to improve existing school conditions.
Fifth Annual Port Stanley Polar Bear Dip
Little Beach in Port Stanley, Ontario, site of the 5th Annual Port Stanley Polar
Bear Dip for Childcan in Lake Erie continues to grow in popularity.
This year Childcan set their fund raising goal at $50,000.00 for this event, and
through the Polar Bear Dipping efforts of 38 Teams, 198 Participants, numerous ChildCan,
and Port Stanley Firefighters Association volunteers, this event raised over $67,231.39
in pledges and donations for a great cause.
Childcan's programs and services provide families with the emotional, social and
financial support for their most pressing needs: hospital parking passes and meal
vouchers, individual financial assistance, support groups, family fun days, post-secondary
bursaries, novel research and so much more.
Port Stanley's First Local Planning Appeal Tribunal
After waiting for over three years to start construction on a mid-rise development
on William Street in Port Stanley, it would seem that Prespa Construction Limited
will still have to wait for at least another two to three months before the Local
Planning Appeal Tribunal will have any kind of decision on what can happen next.
This proceeding came before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal because of a claim
by Prespa Construction Limited that the Municipality of Central Elgin failed to
make a decision on a proposed development application within the 120 days allotted.
The initial Zoning By-Law Amendment Application that was received on October 15,
2015 was for a 9 storey complex to be built by Prespa Construction Limited at 146-156
William in Port Stanley.
The public first became aware of this new development as a 9 storey complex at 146-156
William Street at a Central Elgin Council meeting on January 18, 2016. The application
was for a zoning amendment to permit mixed use development to construct a nine storey
mixed use development on the west side of William Street, north of Edith Cavell
Boulevard. The development proposed 52 residential units within the 9 storeys with
a ground floor commercial space and three detached dwellings fronting onto Edith
Cavell Boulevard. That evening at Council it was decided to wait until the next
meeting to schedule a date for a public meeting. At the next meeting of Council
on Monday, January 25, 2016 the public meeting for the proposed Prespa development
of a 9-storey apartment building on William Street was set to be held at the Port
Stanley Arena on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Anne Milchberg acting LPAT member thanked all
participants that participated in this Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, and said
that a decision could take possibly two to three months to complete. Editors note
- As of December 26th, 2019 there still has been no decision from the Local Planning
Appeal Tribunal on this proposed development.
Watch Out For That Yield!
Watch out for some new traffic signs at the Bridge Street - William Street intersection.
Some caution must be taken for those drivers that for years have been using the
same route to the beach going West along Bridge Street then turning South onto William
After going threw that intersection from George Street a couple of times, I can
honestly say that when it gets busy it will surely add some free extra excitement
to all those visitors heading for the beach.
Spring Construction In Port Stanley
Spring construction in Port Stanley this year is different from last year, mostly
due to some major construction projects in both East and West areas of the village.
It would seem that Port Stanley's in the early stages of some major changes to it's
landscape that will forever change it's identity.
KCCA Cancels Reservations for Long Weekend
St. Thomas, May 14, 2019 - Due to wet ground conditions, Kettle Creek Conservation
Authority has made the difficult decision to cancel all reservations at Dalewood
and Lake Whittaker Conservation Area until Tuesday, May 21, including reservations
for the Victoria Day Long Weekend.
VanHooren says the Authority had hoped that conditions would improve this past weekend.
However, the persistent rain and cooler weather means the grounds at both campgrounds
remain saturated preventing the ground from drying out and in some cases hindering
maintenance to get campsites ready for visitors.
Help Find A Missing Weather Balloon
On Friday, May 10, 2018, Ryan Wallick's fourth grade students in Elkhart, Indiana,
USA launched a weather balloon. The launched represented the culmination of a months-long
project based learning assignment for the students. In January of 2019, students
began learning about weather and climate, as well as Earth's atmosphere. During
the project, students secured donations for Helium to lift their balloon, persuaded
Elkhart-area businesses to donate t-shirts for their launch event, presented their
project to their school board, and even filed a Notice to Airmen before their balloon
launch with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Missing Weather Balloon Returns Home
A weather balloon launched by a group of fourth-grade students that traveled more
than 250 miles (400 kilometers), crossed the Canadian border, and landed in Lake
Erie is back home in Elkhart, Indiana, USA.
Flood Watch for Lake Erie Shoreline
June 11, 2019 - Record high water levels prompts KCCA to issue a Flood Watch for
Lake Erie Shoreline
The KCCA advises that, due to the record high lake levels, a Flood Watch is in effect
for all shoreline areas within the KCCA watershed. Areas of concern are the low
lying beach communities and shoreline areas along Lake Erie, including the low lying
areas along the downstream reaches of Kettle Creek within Port Stanley. Unless superseded
by a Flood Warning, this watch will remain in effect until June 30, 2019 at which
time conditions will be re-evaluated.
Currently the static (calm) water levels on Lake Erie are still setting records
but have stabilized. As of June 6, 2019, Lake Erie’s static water level was 175.11 m.
This water level is 77 cm above average and 8 cm above the record-high for this time
of year (set in 1986). This level does not account for any increase in water levels
due to storm surge or wind driven waves. Water levels are forecast to peak mid-June
at which time water levels are anticipated to start the seasonal decline.
MPP Yurek Meets LENSLA
Dexter, ON, June 25, 2019 - On Tuesday evening MPP Jeff Yurek enjoyed a perch dinner
courtesy of the Lake Erie North Shore Landowners Association at the Dexter Hall
in Dexter, Ontario. The main purpose of the meeting was to introduce the new Minister
of the Environment to the ongoing issues that many Lake Erie shoreline landowners
KCCA Lake Erie High Water Information Session
Port Stanley, ON - The Kettle Creek Conservation Authority had a Lake Erie High
Water information session at the Port Stanley arena on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. This
information session was called because of record breaking Lake Erie water levels
and to show how and where a storm surge could cause flooding in Port Stanley.
Is It Time To Spend More Harbour Divestiture Money On Fixing Port Stanley's Harbour?
Installation of a new breakwater across the channel from the end of the west pier
(near the boat launch) heading westerly. This structure would eliminate the majority
of the wave action within the harbour. The breakwater would be constructed from
Armour Stone and would extend across the mouth of the channel approximately 50 metres
long. The breakwater would be similar to the armour stone breakwater on the east
side of the harbour. The cost to construct this structure is estimated at approximately
Federal Funding Announced for Port Bruce Bridge Replacement
Central Elgin - On September 3, 2019, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister
of Rural Economic Development, announced that the County of Elgin will receive $2,500,000
in federal funding for the replacement of the Port Bruce Bridge. The Province of
Ontario has already committed to contributing $1,666,500 towards the Port Bruce
Bridge Replacement project.
The Port Bruce Bridge collapsed on February 23, 2018. The replacement project will
restore permanent access across Catfish Creek, facilitate more active transportation
and provide safer travel for residents and visitors.
Port Stanley's King George VI Lift Bridge to get 14 Month Restoration
Earlier this year a Detailed Condition Assessment and Load Limit Evaluation was
completed to assess the structural, mechanical, and electrical condition of the
bridge. As a result of the existing condition of the bridge the County of Elgin
retained the services of GM BluePlan Engineering Limited to complete the design
and administration for the Rehabilitation of the King George VI Lift Bridge.
Bid Farewell To Port Stanley's Russell House Apparel
Russell House Apparel, that incredible Port Stanley store that's filled with some
of the most Unique Men and Women's Apparel and located at 211 Main Street
will be leaving Port Stanley on September 15th with a Bon Voyage Come and Go Party
from 12 pm to 4 pm.
Store owner Elizabeth De Wit said that "It's hard to believe that after an amazing
12 and a half years in Port Stanley, and meeting so many wonderful people, that
we will be closing our doors on September 15th.
The 2019 Hawk Cliff Weekends are here!
For parents or grandparents that want to get the kids out and introduced to nature,
there is no better way than to visit Hawk Cliff Weekends. Visitors can get up close
and personal with nature during the two daily presentations about monarch butterflies
and the birds of prey that migrate along the shores of Lake Erie. This fall event
is made possible by the dedicated members of the St. Thomas Field Naturalists Club,
the Hawk Cliff Banding Station, volunteers of Monarch Watch, and the Thames Talbot
Land Trust, owners of Hawk Cliff Woods. Presentations are held in open air tents,
with seating available on a first come, first serve basis.
Climate Strike St.Thomas - #FridaysForFuture
Friday, September, 27, 2019 - People of all ages inspired by Greta Thunberg
and looking for Climate Change Action locally were gather today in front of St.
Thomas City Hall as part of the #FridaysForFuture climate strikes. This action was
to show elected leaders, here in St. Thomas, across Ontario and across Canada that
climate change is not an issue. It's a reality and must be faced now if we expect
our children to grow up to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
A Climate Emergency
On Monday, October 28th, 2019 Central Elgin Council supported a resolution declaring
a Climate Emergency. The idea of joining this growing National and International
movement came from Mayor Sally Martyn who has been attending Fridays for Future
Climate Strike activities in St. Thomas. Before supporting the vote Deputy Mayor
Marks questioned whether supporting this resolution would add to staff's workload
or to the cost of Central Elgin doing business. Mr. Leitch's answer was that he
thought measuring the impact of any additional costs that considered a State of
a Climate Emergency would have to be done on a case by case basis.
Port Stanley 2019 Remembrance Day Ceremonies
November 10th, 2019 - Veterans, their families and residents gathered outside the
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 410 in Port Stanley today to remember those lost in
past wars and to pay tribute to Canada's veterans, currently serving soldiers and
Rehabilitation of King George VI Lift Bridge Public Information Meeting
November 21, 2019 - Anyone that didn't attended last nights King George VI Lift
Bridge Public Information meeting at the Port Stanley Arena did not miss much. At
the entrance to the meeting there was handouts to be filled out with comments, questions
or suggestions about this project. There was also several self-serve information
boards in a circle around the Arenas upstairs room that illustrated the Bridge Existing
Conditions, Recommended Rehabilitation Scope, Estimated Construction Costs, Estimated
Project Schedule, and if you had any questions the boards didn't answer, there was
some Elgin County staff there to help you.
The biggest and possibly the most damaging local news maker of 2019 was the proposed
Rehabilitation of the King George VI Lift Bridge. This construction project would
involve shutting down operations of the Lift Bridge for over 14 months beginning
in March 2020 then ongoing to May 2021 creating a transportation barrier over Kettle
Creek. The issues created by closing the Lift Bridge for such an extended length
of time can only be thought of as being devastating for downtown Port Stanley core
businesses and many local community groups. The Lift Bridge joins more than both
sides of Kettle Creek, it creates a sense of community spirit as well by playing a
crucial role in several annual traditions for both young and old that will either
be cancelled or could be lost forever.
Spencer Dyck Memory Walk
December 8, 2019 - Today, family and friends gathered in front of the Port Stanley
Arena for a Memory Walk in honour of Spencer Mackenzie Dyck.
Spencer was only twenty-five years old when his life was tragically taken by an
impaired driver a year ago today on December 8, 2018.
He will be forever missed by his family and a multitude of friends that came out
today to cherish his memory.
2019 - Too many things to influence our lives bringing a lot of change coming our way
whether people like it or not!