Rural High Speed Internet in Port Hope Ward 2

Not many things in life are as frustrating as slow Internet or not being able to access the Internet at all.

As mayor, i believe like most of you do, that in this day and age, high speed Internet is absolutely critical to keeping our rural lifestyle, to raising children in a rural environment, and to attracting and doing business in a rural community.

Some areas in our rural Ward 2 have access to high speed Internet now, but many areas, due to typography don’t. There are a number of Internet providers including: Xplornet, Airnet Wireless, WISP, and Bell and Rogers. But for those properties that don’t have good line of sight to wireless towers, their option is cellular internet access (typically expensive and through a “Hub” product) or by satellite (more expensive).

The government-funded Eastern Ontario Rural Network (EORN) whose mission it is to provide “higher speeds and bandwidth to at least 95 per cent of homes and businesses in Eastern Ontario” now had a 5,500-km network of new and existing fibre optic cable, with 160 new access points.

Recently, the EORN completed its $170-million fibre optic project that improved access to high speed Internet in areas of Hastings, Peterborough, Renfrew, Northumberland, Halliburton, Frontenac, Prince Edward, Lennox and Addington, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, as well as the City of Kawartha Lakes. This has benefited urban areas but done little for the less densely populated rural areas, like our rural Ward 2 in Port Hope.

EORN has now proposed a $213 million public-private partnership to improve both the reach and quality of cellular data services in rural Eastern Ontario, which is essential for business investment, jobs and quality of life. About one quarter of Eastern Ontario where there are homes, businesses or major roads in the region cannot access any cellular services. And many areas don’t have enough capacity to meet growing demand for mobile broadband.

The EORN project is seeking one-third of the funding from the federal government, one-third from the provincial government and one-third from mobile carriers.

I know it’s frustrating for those locations where high speed wireless Internet isn’t available yet – but progress IS being made, there’s more coverage than when I took office four years ago, but still a lot more to do, and I will continue working with EORN and provincial and federal departments to improve and expand our rural access to high speed Internet.

It’s not time to change course.

I believe that together we can make Port Hope even better!

Believe Together

Hope Township LLRW Funds – Ward 2

Under Mayor Bob Sanderson’s leadership the issue of how to use the Ward 2 (former Hope Township) LLRW funds has permanently been resolved. The full $10 million is completely intact and now secured in perpetuity for the exclusive benefit of our rural Ward 2 residents. Interest earned will continue to be applied directly to reducing property tax for Ward 2 citizens.

Mayor Sanderson says: “I am looking to bring forward a bylaw that clearly clarifies and states that the revenues must only be used to reduce taxes. I am working on that now – with the Director of Finance.”

It’s not time to change course.

I believe that together we can make Port Hope even better!

Believe Together!

PHAI – Port Hope Area Initiative

• Currently, the most pressing issue facing Port Hope and our residents is managing the PHAI (Port Hope Area Initiative) cleanup.

The long awaited PHAI low level radioactive waste cleanup is finally underway. It will affect every person in Port Hope one way or another. Mayor Sanderson has been the lead on this file during the past four years. He will continue to personally lead our municipal team of four professionals whose mandate is to ensure Port Hope’s municipal requirements are met and that the project is completed safely and on time. The cost of these four positions is funded entirely by the federal government and there is no impact on taxes.

We have to continue to work with the Federal Government and its contractor Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) to ensure the remediation of our community is done safely, completely and on time.

Mayor Sanderson seeks your support for a strong mandate to continue providing leadership on this important PHAI project. Consistent management is very important as the project starts to have greater impact on more citizens and their property. Now is not the time to change leadership on this PHAI file.

• Another high priority is to review and update our municipal medium and long-term Strategic Plan for the waterfront and other municipally-owned lands south of Town Hall. We need to start our planning now, looking ahead to when the PHAI cleanup is finished. This is the best time to get it right for generations to come, to ensure that Poet Hope remains “Port Hope.”

We need this planning to start now. After the cleanup Port Hope will own some of the best, most pristine, undeveloped waterfront properties on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Our strategic plan will determine how to manage the strong economic growth that will result.

It’s not time to change course.

I believe that together we can make Port Hope even better!

Believe Together!

Four Years of Accomplishment

Bob Sanderson has been our mayor for the past four years and during that time a lot has been accomplished. A few highlights:

  • It may seem like a distant memory now. But the first action taken by Port Hope council under his leadership was the cancellation of the ENTECH REM incineration project that was being planned for Wesleyville Village. Port Hope successfully dodged a bullet in that one.
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  • Under Bob’s leadership, Council moved quickly to reorganize the entire administrative structure of the municipality. The high-salary CAO position has been vacated, and the number of department heads has been reduced from seven to five. The ongoing reorganization will shortly add a sixth department, focused on Community Development. It will amalgamate Planning, Tourism and Economic Development. director is yet to be hired. The savings from these administrative reforms amount to approximately $300,000 a year or over $1.4 Million over the 4-year term. Collaboration and efficiency has been much improved with department heads working together in executing the direction of council.
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  • The long awaited PHAI low level radioactive waste cleanup is finally underway. It will affect every person in Port Hope one way or another. Mayor Sanderson has been the lead on this file. He will continue to personally lead our municipal team of four professionals whose mandate is to ensure Port Hope’s municipal requirements are met and that the project is completed safely and on time. The cost of these four positions is funded entirely by the federal government and there is no impact on taxes.
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  • Another accomplishment of Council has been the recent purchase of Lakeland Place beside our Town Hall, which with allow us to potentially form an “administrative campus” for the Municipality. This reorganization would centralize municipal services in one location. This campus approach addresses efficiency, cost of operations and ease of use for citizens, with the added value that when completed, it will be part of the beautification of that part of the riverside.

Economic Development Under Mayor Bob Sanderson

Economic growth is one of the most important keys to sustaining a viable community, but it does not come without hard work. Port Hope needs a strong reputation for providing support for new business ventures at all levels. And in fact over the past four years Port Hope has been seen by many as a great place to establish, build or move a business.

This is a significant change from the period when our business park sat empty, as did many of our commercial buildings.. We are currently experiencing strong private sector economic investment because business has renewed confidence that Port Hope is a good place to invest.

Here are some of the projects that have come to Port Hope over the last term of council, under the leadership of Mayor Bob:

• The North West Business Park, empty in 2014, is now fully committed, and has a new manufacturing business (Trade Tech Industries) providing many new, quality jobs,

• A new medical clinic has opened on Henderson Street).

• Maple Lodge Farms is expanding, and there are plans for an 80 room Hampton Inn hotel.

• Other business expansion includes two auto dealerships, a new KFC, and a new gas station.

• The Central Public School has been purchased by a condominium developer who plans to provide more downtown housing for seniors, and assisted living services.

• The former Nicholson File building has been purchased, and we will work with the new owner with the intention of seeing this long-deserted industrial building repurposed.

• The site of the former vacant Canadian Tire store is being redeveloped.

• A micro-brewing company has purchased the empty lot on Mill Street just south of the Skeena building.

• The retirement community housing near Wlaydka Park is expanding.

Much of this investment is occurring because we have invested in ourselves over the past several years, confident in our future.

And because our Mayor can make the tough decisions sometimes required.

Now is not the time to change leadership!

Maintaining and Improving Rural Roads in Port Hope

Roads are a big issue in rural Port Hope, and I am committed to maintaining and improving them!

Roads in rural Port Hope have been in poor repair for years from neglect. Having rural roads that are well maintained and in proper condition is important to our local farmers and residents. I’m happy to say that this is, and has been, being fixed. We’ve increased the budget to fix rural roads by 300%. There’s a lot of kilometers of roads to fix, but we’re doing it and I’ll make sure it gets done. #BelieveTogether

Sanderson on Rural Roads in Port Hope from Limelight Advertising & Design on Vimeo.

It’s not time to change course.

I believe that together we can make Port Hope even better!

Believe Together!

Mayor Sanderson on Port Hope Yacht Club and Turning Basin

The use of the turning basin post remediation is yet to be determined.

  • The turning basis will be re mediated fully so it is clean and will be dredged.
  • To prepare for this required that the Port Hope yacht club vacate the basin.
  • The municipality owns the building that the yacht club rented and the rental agreement was not renewed knowing that remediation was going to occur.
  • The building is very close to the basin wall and there were some concerns expressed by our staff that the area under the building was eroded and unsafe.
  • The net result of all this was basically a disbursement of the boaters to other locations and the yacht club disbanded.

Of note,

The yacht club is not a municipal club and they can continue as such and they do not need to disband.

What is the future?

The future of the club is in their hands but is probably dependent on what happens to the turning basin after remediation (starting now) and will the municipality have a building for them to rent.

I am working to establish a working group to address “best uses” for the waterfront in it’s entirety and in addition to the beaches, the river, the centre pier but it will include the turning basin.

The option to reestablish the use of the basin for the yacht club is one that needs public involvement.

The municipally owned building will have to be removed or demolished. If it is demolished then the municipality will be compensated for the value by the government.

As an FYI, I have indicated that we do not want to be paid for the building but rather we value the building and it needs to be moved or replaced in a location suitable to the municipality.

Bottom line – Use of the turning basin and the building is TBD with public input. The yacht club itself is not a municipal entity.

Mayor Bob Sanderson on Long-Term Care and 65 Ward St

Council’s vote on Reconsideration of the former Port Hospital at 65 Ward St

At the last council meeting the motion brought forward by councillor Hickey requesting council to reconsider the intent to designate was defeated. A two thirds majority vote was necessary (5 members of council) to pass.

As Mayor, I voted against the reconsideration for very specific reasons. Although my vote was not a deciding vote I have received input both in support and against. I would like to explain the reasons for my vote.

My vote was in support of LTC (Long Term Care)

I am strongly in support of maintaining and expanding our Long Term Care (LTC) facilities in Port Hope. I am also very supportive of Southbridge and their proposal to upgrade their current facilities and the municipality is prepared to work diligently in support of them to do so.

My vote was in support of our Heritage and of 65 Ward St – Port Hope’s former Hospital I am also very supportive of maintaining our heritage including structures. I have personally had 3 properties designated and have independently restored one of the most significant buildings that was considered beyond salvation – “The Little Bluestone House”.

Isn’t it a contradictory statement to say you are supportive of both?

NO – it is not a contradictory statement. I believe we do not need to choose one over the other.

I believe that by working together now that the inappropriate emotional negotiations are at a stalemate that the way is now clear for us to try for a win-win solution going forward. As I clearly stated in the council meeting, Southbridge will continue to care for the residents as well as they have done to date.

Even if a green light to develop and destroy the old hospital was given to Southbridge now, the proposed new facility will take 2 ½ years (as stated by Southbridge).

So let’s be clear, long term care is not in immediate jeopardy in any way whereas the historic “Old” Hospital would be in immediate jeopardy if the reconsideration motion had passed.

Going forward we need to take a business like and rational approach to supporting Southbridge request to upgrade their facility in Port Hope and we need to work together with them to explore all options. Options include looking at every option including different designs for the current site and considering alternate locations. This process is essential to making the correct decision before we rashly lose such a significant building. Losing the building may occur and if that is the final outcome, at least make sure we have done our due diligence and it is the “last” option.

It is now time to roll up our sleeves and work with Southbridge in a business like fashion and put the emotional arguments to the side. The emotional positioning of both parties has caused undue anxiety to the residents and staff of Hope Terrace and the residents of Port Hope and that is something I feel was inappropriate and it must stop.

The “motion to reconsider”

I believe that bringing forward a motion to reconsider on such an important and emotional issue when you absolutely know do not have the support of council was a disservice to everyone in this community but especially to the staff and residents of the long term care. It could appear that bringing the motion forward knowing it would not be supported was politically motivated for personal political gain with no regard for the consequences to others. That is neither leadership no governance.

Mayor Bob Sanderson on Port Hope’s East and West Beach

I am a firm supporter of the west beach and Port Hope’s entire waterfront. Rather than having a predetermined opposition to the extension of Choat St (ring road) I would work toward maximizing all beach access.

Some background information: the ring road was approved by council in 2009, and requested by Cameco as a critical component of maintaining their business. However, like all projects, the process will involve environmental and other studies, and will also include a strong request for public involvement.

I do not think any decision can be supported or opposed until the municipality and our citizens have the facts and information required to make decisions.

I definitely do not support industrial expansion on our waterfront. I support maximizing public use and access and enhancing the waterfront to increase enjoyment.

The West Beach is a wonderful asset to Port Hope, for nature lovers, families with kids, and for creative projects like the recent sculpture temporarily installed there that is getting lots of attention and rave reviews!

West Beach Timelapse from Two Blue Shirts Productions on Vimeo.