Daily News About Aylmer, Ontario and East Elgin

MONDAY, April 28/14





-Turn Off Screens: Zumba, Dodgeball (see Thur. story)

-All week: Aylmer Yard Waste pickup (In Paper Bags, Day Before Garbage Day)


-Tue. – EEC Complex Sr. Day Out; 9:30 am; (see Fri. story)

-Thu. -Bayham, Malahide Councils





Aylmer Library Supervisor Chris Mayhew is retiring this Wednesday. She became Branch Supervisor here in 1983 replacing Eleanor Given (The library moved into the Old Town Hall in 1981). She was a native of Illinois. Growing up her family spent summers at a cottage at Pt. Bruce. She received a Master’s of Library Science from the University of Illinois.

Said Chris: “There are three milestones in my career: In 2004, the Aylmer Library was short listed for the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence for its Growing with Books project. Conceived by Elgin County Library staff , the project delivers a literacy package/book bag to every newborn in Elgin County over the course of three years. As well, in 2005, the Aylmer Library won the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence for its Open the Doors to Learning program. This partnership between the Aylmer Library and Summers’ Corners Public School led to the development of a blueprint for future library tours for school children in all Elgin County branch libraries. And in 2011, the Aylmer Library received the Minister’s Award for Innovation for its Check it in, Check it out radio program for kids. Developed as as a radio broadcast pilot project in partnership with Mennonite Community Services, Check it in, Check it out brings the library, its resources, programs, and services, to the Low German Mennonite immigrant population of East Elgin. I have also been blessed to have been surrounded by a warm and supportive staff and a welcoming community. My future plans include travelling, reading, swimming, sailing etc.”

Elgin County Library announced Friday that Ms. Rachel Charette will be the next Supervisor of the Aylmer Library, the largest branch in the Elgin County system in terms of materials circulated and population served.  Ms. Charette begins her duties on Tuesday. She has 11 years of supervisory experience in public libraries in Michigan as Branch Manager / Head of Children’s Services at Livonia Public Library and Head Librarian at Capital Area District Library in South Lansing. Ms. Charette holds a Master of Library & Information Science degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a Bachelor or Arts degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology  from DePaul University in Chicago.


About seventy five persons attended a retirement event for Aylmer Library Supervisor Chris Mayhew in the OTH theatre Friday night. (kb) (CLICK)

About seventy five persons attended a retirement event for Aylmer Library Supervisor Chris Mayhew in the OTH theatre Friday night. (kb) (CLICK)





(Information from Coach/EESS teacher Brandi Geerts:) – “I started the team seven years ago at East Elgin. A number of girls had expressed interest in playing and  I used to play fastball  We have had a team here every year since with the exception of two years. Softball is still considered a club sport since there is not a league currently  in Thames Valley. All our play is done through tournaments and/or exhibition games.  This year we will be playing in two tournaments: One at St. Mary’s High School in Woodstock and the other is the OFSAA Girls Slo-Pitch Tournament held at Slo-Pitch City in Dorchester. It is my hope that a female softball league can be created in Thames Valley where league games are played in addition to tournaments.This year we have a team of 15 exceptional ladies and Ms. Nichole Grayson is helping as coach.”





(Randall Breyer of Vienna sent a note to Bayham Council recently asking for permission to establish a Farmers’ Market in Bayham this summer. Bayham approved the request in principle. Mr. Breyer provides this outline:) “I am owner of Bayham’s Family Table Restaurant in Vienna (former Vienna Hotel). My wife and I operated a Diner in the Guelph area in the past. I have worked for 30 years in the Food Manufacturing Industry.

When we first moved to Port Burwell I became entrapped in the saga of the HMCS Ojibwa and saw the opportunity to assist in the rejuvenation of Bayham. Being an Ambassador for the Elgin Tourist Association I was pleasantly surprised to hear that a survey showed that there was a common thought that more Farmer’s Markets were required in Elgin County. The location I have chosen will give the vendors one of the best exposures in the area with the Provincial Park having 115,000 entries last year alone and Highway 19 through Vienna sees about 80% of the traffic. There is also Sand Hills Park within 10 minutes of Vienna adding a substantial market. The location of the Municipal Park in Vienna is a perfect location for a Farmer’s market promoting the produce of the area and aiding in getting people out to see what else the area has to offer.”





The Aylmer library renovation needs to make ‘common sense’ as well as have ‘common cents.’ Despite Aylmer Council’s hasty motion – without a study – to move the library to the EEC Complex,  judging by last week’s public meetings a sizable and vocal group is opposed to this. They cite concerns about poor design, too far for user groups ie. children, too little cost savings and the fact that most area communities don’t have a library away from the downtown etc. Common sense. On the other hand a large group it appears is also opposed to the building of a new library downtown due to its cost of two and a half million dollars – despite the Mayor’s ‘attractive’ financial plan – and many like the idea of retaining the green area nearby. Common cents.

The next chapter? Despite the apparent stalemate, let’s not close the book. This renovation discussion has been going on for several years. And why should Aylmer stay underserviced at 3300 square feet while many others in the area have modernized and expanded ie. even Dutton has 5000 square feet and Straffordville has 4500 square feet.  I’m also convinced the ‘library era’ is still popular as technology is fickle and we have many needy local groups who still use its services.

So, is it time to resurrect an original idea which was to keep it where it is – a popular site and certainly the vision of 1981-  and put an addition on the west end. The library would stay downtown – the green space would remain. It would need a connecting walkway so as not to infringe on any Ontario Heritage restrictions. Yes, you would have to tear up a dozen parking spots. But there is room to accommodate the necessary 7,000 square feet in a two storey structure. And it would cost a lot less. Plus down the road a downtown ‘vision’ might incorporate the former Steam Laundry building to the north into a museum and allow for necessary theatre improvements.

Just  looking for a happy ending for an apparently never-ending story that would have elements of both common sense and cents. (KB)




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FRIDAY, April 25/14





-EESS Girls Ex. Soccer Tourney, all day; at Columbus Park

-Fri-Sun – Aylmer Home, Garden Show (see ad)


-Sat. -Richmond Comm. Water Open House, 10 am-2 pm, 9190 Richmond Road


-Next week: Aylmer Yard Waste pickup (In Paper Bags, Day Before Garbage Day)

-Next Week: Turn Off Screens Events (see Thur. story)





Almost 150 persons attended the EEC Complex Review public meeting held in the Imperial Room of the Complex last night. (kb) (CLICK)

Almost 150 persons attended the EEC Complex Review public meeting held in the Imperial Room of the Complex last night. (kb) (CLICK)


AYLMER – About 150 persons with some two dozen speakers were present at the EEC Complex Review public meeting hosted by the Aylmer Malahide EECC Liason Committee in the Imperial Room of the Complex last night. About half the speakers had comments on the proposed relocation of the Aylmer library to the Complex. Malahide Mayor Dave Mennill was Chairman. Among the speakers:

-Jim Crane of Malahide said a reorganization of the advisory group was needed and they should pay attention to the fact that the report said the EECC was greatly outspending other centres. Later he added that the committee needs to know what it costs to run the complex on a month to month basis.

-Greg Currie of Aylmer representing the Aylmer Taxpayers Advisory Council said that the review provided the committee with “the tools you need” and they had to find “measurable results”.

-Ron Baldwin of Aylmer said the movement of the library to the Complex was a practical expansion as he felt the proposed new library building took up valuable green space south of the present library.

-Bill Murch of Aylmer said the library needs to be downtown to stimulate economic interest and that the plan to relocate to the Complex was “simplistic, misguided political grandstanding.”

-Larry Jeffery of Aylmer said the relocation of the library to the Complex was not convenient, the savings were minimal, those who were so critical of any library plans were not users and Aylmer Council needed to “back off and look at other options”.

-Toni Shields representing B.A.D. girls hockey said her organization had no plans to leave the Complex although they were always looking for user friendly facilities and they liked using the Hall for their end of season banquet.

-Penny Tolmie of Aylmer said the comparison of the four centres in the review was an “eye-opener” and felt the idea of moving the library to the Complex was a “knee-jerk reaction”.

-Mary Ann Vanbommel-Dwyaert of Dorchester, a prominent figure skating coach, said it’s wonderful to have the Complex and summer use was best for figure skating needs.

-Ron Martens of Aylmer said the complex is not generating enough activity and wondered if it is enough to have cheap taxes if children don’t have adequate facilities such as the Complex has to offer.

-Bob Nesbitt of Aylmer said the Complex’s $600,000 debt definitely needs to be cut.

-Nancy Dueck of Aylmer said her company which runs the concession at the arena was terminating its operations after five years of steadily declining sales and said factors in this decision were Complex mismanagement and operational red tape; it needed to be more user friendly.

-Stephen Douglas of Aylmer said moving the library to the Complex was against the town’s official plan and it would fragment the downtown.

-Tania Reid of Aylmer representing Aylmer Minor Hockey asked that they be consulted in any changes.

-In conclusion of the ninety minute meeting, Mayor Mennill said he felt the Complex was clean with fantastic ice and well maintained but added, “things have changed with more competition in the mix”. He felt the committee should focus on four of the 22 suggestions – removal of summer ice, cessation of hall operations, governance and how many hours it is open. They set the next Liason Committee meeting for May 9.





The monthly Seniors’ Day Out at the EEC Complex will be held next Tuesday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Cost is $10 and includes a Fitness Class with Stefanie Thompson of Fitness of the Max or Shuffleboard or Adult Skate, a guest speaker and lunch from Slice of Aylmer. Registration in advance is required. Guest speaker is Deb Benner from Heritage Line Herbs, presenting about the local services offered by Heritage Line Herbs, the production of their products and information about herbs that will spice up your cooking.





-Stafford, Sophia of Aylmer passed away today in her 91st year. Predeceased by her husband Charles. Survivors: four children including – Susan Wiltsie (Russ) of Malahide and Virginia DuBroy of Aylmer; sister-in-law Helen Melville (Vern), brother-in-law Karl Stafford (Margaret) and sister-in-law Michelle Stafford, all of the Aylmer area etc.. A private family service will be held. Arrangements through Kebbel’s Funeral Home.





“Re- Mr. Stevens’ letter (yesterday): I fail to see any benefit to the actual users of the library (by moving it to the Complex). I visit the library approximately 30 times a year. In good weather I like to ride my bicycle and sometimes I walk there. I frequently tie my visit to some shopping uptown. The library staff did a survey a while back, and I think the figure for patrons walking there was 30% or higher. That would of course include seniors and the many youth that use the library. The Complex is 1.8 km from the present location, 1.8 km along the most busy stretch of road in town. That means a further 3.6 km (round trip) for all those living east of John Street. I would not allow a child to cross Talbot St W beyond the Elm Street intersection where the road becomes wider and traffic tends to speed up. A previous suggestion to put a crosswalk at the Complex is ludicrous: the crosswalks in town are dangerous enough as it is.

There have been many suggestions in regards to where the library should be located, but I think that those who actually use the library are the ones who should be listened to. There was a drop box at the library last month for patron’s thoughts on where/what should be done. I doubt that there were many patrons who wanted the change to the Complex. Personally, I would rather see it stay where it is, with no changes made at this time, than to see it moved out to the west end. Moving it would simply be a very minor fix for the many problems at the Complex and it would be detrimental to our centrally located, vitally important community asset.”  (David Ritchie)





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THURSDAY, April 24/14





-EEC Complex Review Public Meeting, 7pm, EEC Complex Imperial Rm.

-EESS Boys Ex. Soccer Tourney, all day; at Columbus Park


-Fri. -EESS Girls Ex. Soccer Tourney, all day; at Columbus Park

-Fri-Sun – Aylmer Home, Garden Show (see ad)

-Sat. -Richmond Comm. Water Open House, 10 am-2 pm, 9190 Richmond Road


-Next week: Aylmer Yard Waste pickup (In Paper Bags, Day Before Garbage Day)

-Next Week: Turn Off Screens Events (see today’s story)





(Contributed) – “Elgin County Economic Development will provide local businesses with the opportunity to learn successful methods of creating a strong brand and attracting their target market at the eighth installment of the Elgin County Conference Series. ‘Essentials of Marketing’ will be held on May 7 at the St. Thomas Golf and Country Club and will feature presentations from experts in print, TV, radio, and online marketing. Topics presented will include: communicating in a changing media landscape, partnering with not-for-profits and secrets to online success. Keynote Speaker, Sean Irvine, is an award winning reporter, a videographer and an occasional anchor on CTV News London and Windsor. To register, visit www.elgincountyconference.eventbrite.ca or call 519–631–1460 ext. 168. For more information on speakers, topics and a full agenda visit www.progressivebynature.com/conference. “





About 60 persons attended the Aylmer Council Budget Public Information session at the EEC Complex Tuesday night. (kb) (CLICK)

About 60 persons attended the Aylmer Council Budget Public Information session at the EEC Complex Tuesday night. (kb) (CLICK)





“While  currently out of town and unable to attend the budget meeting, I am amazed that there was not one speaker in agreement that the library should be placed in the Complex. It is a logical and reasonable decision that would be to the benefit of all residents of Aylmer. The mayor’s comment that the level of taxation will be reduced is suspect in light of incuring new capital costs with the new library as well as having done nothing in the past three years. It is amazing what promises are made in an election year.” (Peter Stevens) 





(Pause to Play/Turn Off the Screens Week is returning next week for local school children. Davenport, Immanuel Christian, Assumption and McGregor Schools are participating. Aylmer Co-Ordinator Penny Hilliker, a McGregor Public School teacher, provides the following information:) – The events include: Sunday -Public Skating, Free admission with ticket from 1– 2:30 pm at the EEC Complex; Monday – Zumba Fitness 6- 7 pm at Davenport School and Dodgeball Mania for Gr. 1–3 from 6 – 6:45 pm and Gr. 4-8 from 6:45 -7:45 pm at Immanuel Christian School; Tuesday – Playground games, scavenger hunt, outdoor fitness fun from 6 – 7 pm  at McGregor School;

Wednesday – Active Reading. Listen to stories read by local athletes (Pizza and drinks after) 6 – 8 pm at Aylmer Library and Bowling – 2 free games & shoes from 5 – 6:30 or 6:30 – 8 pm at Cy’s Lanes; Thursday -Hockey 6 – 7 pm at Assumption School and Horseshoes 6 pm to dusk at rear of EEC Complex.  (Students under age 10 must be accompanied by an adult.)





-Davis, Bette Rae of Tillsonburg passed away on Tuesday at the age of 70. Survivors: mother Marie (Earle) (Davis) Keeble of Aylmer etc.. There is no funeral service. Arrangements with Verhoeve Funeral Home, Tillsonburg.





(Information from Drew Buchner of the Aylmer Shrine Club:) – The Club is still collecting pop cans, beer cans, bottles and liquor bottles. We do the sorting three-four times a year. The pop cans go to recycled aluminum and all  liquor bottles and beer cans are sorted and recycled at the LCBO. Our income is $3000-6000 yearly on this with proceeds  to local children and to shrine hospitals. Pop cans and any liquor containers can be dropped off at 30 Dufferin St. or at 47733 John Wise Line (Drew’s Auto) or for pick up phone 773-2070.




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WEDNESDAY, April 23/14





-Thu. -EEC Complex Review Public Meeting, 7pm, EEC Complex Imperial Rm.

-Fri-Sun – Aylmer Home, Garden Show (see ad)





About sixty persons attended the public budget meeting held by Aylmer Council prior to their regular meeting in the Imperial Room of the EEC Complex last night. There were fifteen speakers. Among the highlights:

-Greg Currie representing the Aylmer Taxpayers Coalition said he was concerned about: the timing of the meeting as it was after the budget was all but finalized by Council, the fact that town staffing had doubled in the past ten years, the sizable policing increase, and a need for a business plan.

-Bill Murch said he would like Council to take an interest in the Elgin Cycling Master Plan and the Citizens for Active Transportation Plan to promote more bicycle trails and racks.

-An unidentified man questioned the increase in the policing budget, saying it was not sustainable. Co. Dave Lapointe responded that it was difficult to hold the line, the increase was 4.6%, with the notable OPP raise in Ontario occuring this year, and even though it represented 35% of the total budget, they would try again next year.

-Several citizens spoke on Council’s decision to consider the library in the EEC Complex. Larry Jeffery said the decision is wrong as it’s not convenient and only offers a ten per cent savings for the Complex debt. Colleen Sawyer said the Council should not consider the relocation until a public meeting is held and Council has all the facts. Jacquie Jeffery reminded Council that they have already invested $300,000 in purchasing a downtown lot for a future library site. Carol McLay said the relocation would be very detrimental to the downtown core. Pat Musclow said she was disappointed in the decision as there were no figures, no studies done before the vote. Ron Baldwin objected to the downtown library location saying there was no sound business plan for the new building and it was being bulldozed to taxpayers. Cam Watts said Council needed to provide a clear understanding of costs before making a library decision. Linda Cryderman said she had trouble seeing the Complex as a beautiful, welcoming library.

-Ted McDonald said the town must be more responsible with policing costs. Chief Andre Reymer responded that there were 12 communities with a population of under 15,000 in Ontario that had their own police forces and 95% of policing costs were in salaries as Aylmer had mostly a senior staff.

-When asked about a concern that Aylmer’s taxes were much higher than comparable area communities, Mayor Jack Couckuyt replied that taxes here were very high and had been so for a long time but that Council had a plan to reduce the debt and was steadily working in that direction. When asked about criticism that Aylmer did not have a business plan he said that the town did have a plan but needed to be concerned about services as well as profits. Co. Peter Barbour added that Council was doing a good job of reducing debt but it needed to be done in a manner that was affordable.

After the public meeting, Council passed the budget calling for a levy increase of .64%. Last year’s increase was .68%.





-Hunter, Sandra Jean (Zimmer) of RR4 Aylmer passed away on Saturday in her 66th year. Survivors: husband Brian Hunter; two children etc.. A celebration of  life will be held at the family farm at a later date. Arrangements through Kebbel’s Funeral Home.


-Kennedy, Angela Susan (Ghesquiere) of Tillsonburg passed away Monday in her 86th year. Survivors: three children, four stepchildren etc.. Predeceased by her husband Joseph Kennedy (2001). Angela was a former tobacco farmer in the Aylmer area. Visitation at Ostrander’s Funeral Home Tillsonburg on Thursday from 2–4 pm and 7–9 pm. The funeral service will be held there on Friday at 1 pm.


-Graham, Sheila Anita (Rule) of Springfield passed away on Monday in her 80th year. Wife of the late Glenn Graham (1971). Survivors: five children etc.. Visitation at Kebbel’s Funeral Home on Thursday from 7-9 pm. A family graveside service will be held at Springfield Cemetery.





Eastlink TV will air a program on last night’s Aylmer Council Public Budget meeting as part of its Cross County show next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday beginning at 9 pm. As well Eastlink will broadcast tomorrow night’s EEC Complex Review public meeting next Thursday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 8 pm.





(Information on the Rec Centre in St.Marys is from Stephanie Ische, Senior Manager Recreation, Facilities:)  – “The St. Marys Pyramid Recreation Centre is a recreation complex situated in the east end of our town. The facility includes: two ice pads, indoor pool, community centre with various sizes of halls and Senior Services recreation complex. (The Seniors centre is for adults 50 plus offering wellness, leisure and volunteer opportunities.) One pad remains open all year and we do rent summer ice. The remaining pad we run dry floor activities on it throughout the season. We do have a large banquet hall.  Our staffing compliment can be broken down—we have 5 operators.  I have a supervisor of Facilities (this is more facility infrastructure, capital projects and repairs and maintenance), Supervisor of Recreation (programming component), Custodial Supervisor and under all of these staff we have guards, canteen staff, custodians, parks workers, and part time arena students ”




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-Aylmer Council Public Budget Meeting, 7 pm, EEC Complex Imperial Rm.

-Aylmer Earth Day Events (see Thur. story) *Site – Upstairs in OTH Library 


-Thu. -EEC Complex Review Public Meeting, 7pm, EEC Complex Imperial Rm.

-Fri-Sun – Aylmer Home, Garden Show (see ad)





-Hamminga, Evert of Tillsonburg passed away on Wednesday at the age of 88 years. Husband of Anna Elizabeth (Oosters) Hamminga (and the late Annie (Brouwer) Hamminga (1967). Survivors: three children and five step-children including Nancy (Don) Steenbergen of the Aylmer area etc.. He operated the Community Information & Help Centre in Aylmer from 1973-1991. The funeral service was Saturday. Arrangements through Ostrander’s Funeral Home, Tillsonburg.


-Todd, Marjorie Florence (McCurdy) of St.Thomas formerly of Port Burwell passed away Thursday at the age of 85 years. Predeceased by husband Norman (1997). Survivors: three children etc.. The visitation was yesterday; the funeral Service is at Ostrander’s Funeral Home Tillsonburg today at 11 am.


-Howe, Myrtle of St.Thomas passed away on Friday in her 85th year. Wife of the late John Howe (2010). Survivors: three children including – Darlene Chambers of Vienna, William LaForge of Aylmer etc.. The funeral service was held yesterday at Kebbel’s Funeral Home, Aylmer.


-Meharg, Olive Meree of London passed away Thursday in her 82nd year. Former wife of Robert Meharg. Survivors: two children including Bob Meharg (Katie) of Aylmer etc.. She was an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada. Visitation was yesterday; the funeral service will be held today at 11 am at Kebbel’s Funeral Home.





– April 19, 2014, Station #1, 49976 Vienna Line, Grass Fire

– April 21, 2014, Station #2, Rogers Road, Medical Assist

– April 21, 2014, Station #3,  Springfield Road, Medical Assist





(Information from Malahide Clerk Diana Wilson:) – Malahide Council on Thursday received the resolution from Aylmer Council about relocating the Aylmer Library to the EEC Complex and decided that further consideration of the proposal “be deferred until after the EECC Operational Review Public Consultation Session on April 24, it being noted that while the Malahide Township Council supports the concept of locating the Aylmer Library at the EECC, it wishes to obtain feedback from the public prior to making a final decision.”





1-MAYOR COUCKUYT’S FINANCING (paraphrased from the Mayor’s Blog):


“We are guaranteed lease payments from the County which will increase with the Cost of Living. They start at $128,000 a year. The lease payments will be sufficient to pay for the amortization costs. Elgin County has a policy to provide $400,000 to Aylmer interest free for a library. Elgin County Council is unanimously supportive of a new Library in Aylmer of 10,000 square feet. We have managed to pay off almost 2 million in debt in the last three years and have kept tax levy increases below inflation. We have money placed in reserves every year for municipal buildings.  On September 16, 2013, Aylmer CAO  Jenny Reynaert presented a report on the projected cost of a new building for a 10,700 square foot library – $2.680 million, On April 07, 2014, Planning Director Dan Dale presented the actual tenders and added in the contingency, the full HST and the remaining cost to the architects. This came to 2.95 million. With the rebate of HST (we pay only 2%) of approximately $250,000, the cost would come to 2.70 million. This qualifies for a $400,000 interest free loan from the County, so we could amortize the cost  at 2.25 million, which would be $11,264.00 per month at 3.5%. The lease from the County would bring in $10,666 per month and that leaves a shortfall of about $7000 the first year. Maintenance and energy cost usually come in at about 2 to 2.50 per square foot.  This would amount to another $25,000 per year. Staff and furniture would be up to the County. If the amortization were at 4%, there would be an additional $6000/year cost. The market looks good for 3.5% interest  at this time. So the cost would be about $32000 (under  $12 per household) plus the repayment of the County loan at $40,000 per year. We have used provincial OMPF funds in the past for principal repayments so we would do so again, leaving the $32,000 for taxes or for savings we can find elsewhere.”   




A survey of non-arena uses of recreational facilities in nearby towns reveals the following: the Leamington Kinsmen Recreation Centre has a Fitness Centre and a Banquet Room; the Strathoy Gemini Sportsplex has a Banquet Hall; the Tillsonburg Complex has a Banquet Hall and a Health Club; the Victoria Park Community Centre at Ingersoll has a Fitness Room; the St. Marys Community Centre has an Older Adult Centre; and the Thames Centre Recreational Centre at Dorchester has a Seniors Center.





The St. Thomas chapter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario presented a Residential Award at their meeting last Wednesday to Grey Gables Bed and Breakfast at 22 Erieus St. in Port Burwell. It is owned by Jim Hevenor. The description noted the home was  which was constructed  circa. 1860 as a Gothic Revival “ had been recently undergone restoration which retained the exterior clapboard on the original building and extended it to the addition.”  And “the owner took care to conserve many interior features including period doors, floors and staircase elements.”   According to Mr. Hevenor, previous owners included  Perry Williams who owned the village supermarket and Baptist Church which used it as a parsonage. He purchased in l997. His recent expansion included an H shape design with two wings off the center gable   He has operated  the bed and breakfast there, with seven rooms, for fifteen years.



THE SURVEY SAID: (Noon Friday)


Q-Location of Library?

1.In the EEC Complex            -49%

4.Keep library as it is              -21%

3.Downtown, add to present   -19%

2.Downtown – new building     -11%

Total Votes: 280




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THURSDAY, April 17/14



*TANews will not publish Friday or Monday. Happy Easter.




– All week: Aylmer Brush Collection

– Bayham 7, Malahide 7:30 Councils


-Fri. -DadNDaughters FishNChips Open, 11-8pm

-Sat. -Aylmer Kinsmen Trivia Night, 7:30 pm, EEC Complex


-Tue. -Aylmer Earth Day Events (see story below)

-Tue. – Aylmer Council (Public Budget Meeting), 7 pm, EEC Complex)





(Information on a statement from the Aylmer BIA at their regular meeting Tuesday is from Nicole Pressey-Wiebenga, Administrator, Aylmer BIA:) – “In October 2012, MainStreet Aylmer submitted a letter of support to the Town of Aylmer regarding the future expansion of the Aylmer branch-Elgin County Library. To re-emphasize their position, the committee feels it is fundamental to keep the Library within the downtown core. It is a destination for many people living within Aylmer or visiting the facility. It is an economic booster for the core businesses. The Aylmer BIA values having the Aylmer Library locally.”





“Yesterday you published a letter in which the writers compare Aylmer’s tax rate to other towns in Ontario. Unfortunately the numbers provided are meaningless without some context. For instance, if the Aylmer tax rate is 20% higher than another community then how do assessed values compare. If an average 1200 sq. ft. bungalow in Aylmer has an assessed value of 20% less than the community with the lower tax rate then the result is equivalence. As a retired property tax assessor I can tell you that assessed values and tax rates can vary significantly between municipalities. Several years ago while I was still employed I had access to the property taxes in many Canadian municipalities and was considering a move back to south western Ontario from Alberta. In comparing property in London, St. Thomas and Aylmer it was clear that at that time (2007-2009) Aylmer property taxes were lower than the other 2 communities on comparable properties. Market values were also significantly different with London generally having the highest market values. Hopefully the writers of the letter did a fair comparison as we all know that numbers can lie.”  (Mike Tuthill, Fort McMurray Alberta)





(From Norfolk OPP) – “Yesterday, Norfolk OPP arrested and charged 40-year-old Craig Stephen Gregson of Bayham twp. with Counsel to Commit Murder. He had a bail hearing in Provincial Court in Simcoe yesterday. No further details were released.





(Further information on the Belmont B.A.D. (Belmont, Aylmer, Dorchester) girls winning the provincial hockey title last weekend is from coach Ian Graham:) – “Their record for the entire year was 45 wins, 6 losses, 14 ties. On the weekend they played 3 round robin games – won vs Lambeth 2-1, tied Ottawa 0-0, won vs Ennismore 3-0. They finished top in their pool in the round robin. Then defeated Mount Forest 5-1 in the quarter finals, defeated East Lambton 1-0 in the semi finals and played Ottawa in the Gold Medal game and won 4-3. It took 4 and a half periods of overtime to win. The play went back and forth with both goalies making unbelievable saves to keep their team in the game. In regular season – we won our division in WOGHL and won the league playoffs. We entered 3 tournaments and won won and lost the other two in the finals. Assistant coaches include Brad DeHaan, Jason Orlebar, Rob Brower and Dave Moylan. Our trainer is Dawn Brower and our Manager is Stephanie Smith. Our goalie coach is Keira Moylan.





There will be a public meeting on the proposed Aylmer budget for 2014 before the regular Council meeting on Tuesday at 7 pm, to be held in the Imperial Room of the EEC Complex. The public may bring their submissions to the meeting; it is advised to contact the Clerk at that time to be put on the agenda. As well on Thursday a public meeting on the EEC Complex Operational Review will be held at 7 pm also in the Imperial Room of the EEC Complex. Again the public may bring their submissions to the meeting and it is advised to notify the clerk of either municipality that evening in order to be included on the agenda.





Aylmer will celebrate Earth Day on Tuesday with the following program: 10 am – Tree Planting Ceremony in Balmoral Park; 11 am – (At the Town Hall) – Official Launch of the “Yellow Fish Environmental Awareness Program” by EESS Environmental Club; 1:30 pm – “Back Yard Composting” Presented by Dianne Vaughan; 2:30 pm – “Water Wise Gardens” Presented by Ron Rossini; 3:30 pm – “The Real Cost of Eating Well in Elgin” Presented by Joy Dawkins, Public Health Nurse/ Courtney-Brooke Laurie, Registered Dietitian, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health; 4:30 pm – “Share the Road & Elgin/St. Thomas Cycling Master Plan – Presented by Erica Arnett – Health Promoter, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.




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WEDNESDAY, April 16/14





-All week: Aylmer Brush Collection

-Thu. -Bayham 7, Malahide 7:30 Councils





(Information from Julie Richards-Bramill, who assists the Aylmer Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program with marketing:) – An Aylmer Amish farm is again sponsoring the 7th Triple Cord CSA’s Summer Organic Community Shared Agriculture program. Last year thirty members had a produce agreement with Mervin Miller’s organic vegetable farm on Glencolin Line. This year the program runs from May 16 to October 10th (22 weeks). CSA is a partnership with the farmer focusing on producing organic foods using ecologically sound methods of farming. People buy a share of the harvest – a regular share should provide enough fresh produce for a family of two adults and two children at a cost of $550; a smaller share is $360. There are also programs in place in London and Woodstock. More information at Triple Cord CSA’s blog: http://triplecordcsaorganicproduce.wordpress.com





-Bell (Hennessey), Geraldine  of Terrace Lodge Aylmer passed away on Monday in her 86th year. She was a resident of Hamilton for many years. Funeral Mass at Holy Angels’ Church St.Thomas on Wednesday at 2 pm. Arrangements through Williams Funeral Home St.Thomas.





“It’s budget time again and Aylmer citizens will continue to pay one of the highest tax rates in the province once again. Town Hall continues to put big money into reserves which comes right out of your pockets instead of dropping the high mill rate which burdens young families and seniors alike. This lack of initiative to recognize the competitive disadvantage that Aylmer taxpayers face can explain why the population growth has been close to zero since 1996. When it comes to tax rates Strathroy is one community that cares about how competitive their rates are. A recent study of 33 communities’ tax rates across Ontario illustrated that Aylmer would have ranked #29 or near the highest taxed. Another study of lower tier towns with populations of 5000-10,000 showed an average property tax rate of 1.37 versus Aylmer’s 1.68.  Almost 20% lower! In these same communities the commercial rates were approximately 22% lower. This combined with sky high telephone rates and utility rates equates to a heavy burden on the shoulders of business owners.

Aylmer and Malahide are each on the hook for almost $300,000 in cost overruns at the Complex this year and Imperial Hall continues to show rental declines and had an income last year of just under $31,000 according to the Complex study. For years various committees and members of the public and  council have tried to correct the fiscal problems that existed only to get stonewalled when trying to gather critical information. We will soon have paid an extra five million to keep the Complex afloat. And when will elected officials in Aylmer realize that the residents in the township of Malahide  are vital to the overall economic, social and business success of Aylmer? Every decision in these tough times has got to consider present AND future costs. Limiting the annual tax increases to close to the Consumer Price Index is a start but it’s still added on the backs of one of the highest tax rates of any municipality. This council has had years to create a fiscal plan to reduce these tax rates. The numbers clearly indicating where we stand relative to our competition are readily available, however it appears that it may take a third party consulting firm’s study before our elected officials will pay attention.  (Aylmer Taxpayers Advisory Committee – Bob Warnock Jack Vankasteran Greg Currie Rudy Gheysen Don Shepherd)





(Information from Anne Ramsay, Communications Specialist for Partners In Research:) – “Summer STEM Camp (see ad) is an opportunity for youth to connect with STEM Experts during the summer months in a fun and educational way. Youth aged 5-13 participate in hands-on activities in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Each activity is enhanced with a video conference session during which campers explore topics and ask  questions of scientists, engineers, astronauts, and other champions across Canada.

Each camp is one week long and activities vary from week to week so campers can come for multiple weeks and participate in the same activity twice. Past activities have included: building solar cars, planting tomato seeds from the space shuttle, designing and printing 3D printer models etc.. After two successful camps in London and Woodstock last summer, Partners In Research is expanding Summer STEM Camp to St. Thomas this summer at the Fanshawe College Campus.”






“These other communities (see Tues. story) don’t have the problem Aylmer has. The complex has to be taken care of, they can’t continue to run at such a large deficit. So if the library will help this problem then they should consider it. Also the tax payers don’t want another white elephant to take care of! Maybe they should consider not moving the current library anywhere until the Complex situation is solved. I understand keeping the library downtown, but this isn’t the problem; the problem is that Aylmer and Malahide have a big problem with the finances at the complex and something has to be done. Moving the library or building a new library shouldn’t even be thought of until the complex situation is solved.  Money doesn’t grow on trees!” (Judy Killough)



“Aylmer Council decided not to approve the construction of a new library building. Why this approval was not given was brought about by another very troubling presence in the room – the East Elgin Community Complex Operational Review. Moving the Aylmer Library out of the downtown to the EECC is not a done deal. A large number of people are demanding to see the justification for such a move.  Although I strongly disagree with this rather surprising development,  I believe it does provide an opportunity for residents of Aylmer and Malahide to receive several important things: 1. A full and comprehensive study of the eleven reasons being put forward suggesting that the Aylmer Library/EECC location option is a reasonable compromise; 2. A clear demonstration that both Councils – Aylmer and Malahide – are serious about resolving the many problems at the EECC as identified in the EECC operational review.

As the review clearly states what has been lacking at the complex is the correct vision. Years ago its purpose as a conference convention centre was called into question. The answer by previous Councils was to simply throw money at it in what has proved to the near impossible expectation that the centre and the arenas could find a proper footing in two very competitive markets. Yes, having a library in the EECC is one of at least five ideas offered in the EECC operational review. But I would caution Aylmer Council and anyone else from taking this one word out of context with the report’s Recommendation: B3. There is a time and a place for a ‘reasonable compromise’. Now Aylmer Council must convince us that putting the Aylmer Library in the EECC is a reasonable compromise.  (Bill Murch)




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TUESDAY, April 15/14





-All week: Aylmer Brush Collection

-Thu. -Bayham 7, Malahide 7:30 Councils





(Information from Andrew Morrison, Media Relations for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services:) – Last year the Ontario Police College at Aylmer cancelled the May class for Basic Constable Training for new recruits due to low enrolment. BCT is a 60 day residential program offered three times a year at OPC and the cancellation in May was rare – believed to be a consequence of reduced hirings in the province. This year OPC has sufficient interest to resume the May class – 240 have expressed interest. They had 191 recruits attend in September followed by 233 recruits in the January intake.





(Information from Toni Shields of the B.A.D. (Belmont-Aylmer-Dorchester) girls hockey organization:) –  The provincials were held in various arenas in Toronto this weekend. Novice B, Atom C and Senior B made it to quarter finals and Atom B  won Bronze. The Peewee C team, coached by Ian Graham, won Gold. Last year Bantam B and Senior BB won Gold.





(Contributed) – Keith and Kristyn Getty, Irish modern hymn singer/songwriters and recording artists are returning to Aylmer for a concert at the Aylmer Christian Reformed Church, Thursday, May 1 at 7 pm. For Tickets: call 519 765 5098 or email: gettyconcertaylmer@hotmail.com . Ticket prices range from $30-60. The concert is sponsored by H. Broer Equipment Sales & Service, Aylmer.





(Contributed) – The application process is open for the 2014 International Plowing Match (IPM) Legacy Agricultural Scholarship. Each year $2500 is awarded to one female and one male student who are attending college or university in Canada to study an agriculturally-related program. To be eligible an applicant must: be a resident of Elgin or St. Thomas; have completed at least the first year of studying at a post secondary institution in Canada and be studying a discipline related to agriculture. All applications must be received by 4:30 pm on May 15. Visit www.elgincounty.ca or call (519) 631-1460 ext. 180.







According to Google Maps, all the towns similar in size to Aylmer in southwestern Ontario have their libraries located close to their downtown districts:

Dorchester, Tillsonburg, Delhi, Simcoe, Pt. Dover, Hanover, Paris, New Hamburg, Ingersoll, St. Marys, Strathroy, Kincardine, Goderich, Leamington, Petrolia, Wallaceburg, Amherstburg, (St.Thomas).

The only exception is the village of Komoka.

It is in a Complex on the edge of the village. According to Tammy Johnson, Library Supervisor, the Komoka Library opened inside the Middlesex Centre Wellness and Recreation Complex in September 2011. It is a multi-use facility with twin ice pads, gymnasium and the YMCA.  The library was previously located in the Komoka Community Centre in the village.




(Information from Lisa Miettinen, CEO of the Oxford County Library System:) – “The square footage of the renovated Tillsonburg Library (now a branch of the Oxford County Library) is approximately 8,500 square feet. While this is smaller than would be considered ideal for the population size, the decision was made by the County to purchase the existing library facility and renovate it rather than attempt to secure a new location. In addition, we constructed a 400 square foot addition at the rear of the building, allowing us to build two quiet study rooms. We believe that the library’s location in the downtown core is ideal. The collection size is smaller. However, the age of the collection is much newer: as of January 2014 the percentage of the collection published in 2000 or later is 92.2%.”




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