Blyth-based architect John Rutledge presented his formal plans for the Brussels Library to Huron East Council at its Dec. 20, 2011 meeting, and then to the public at the village’s New Year’s Day Levee.
Rutledge told council at the meeting that he was happy to be making the presentation before the Christmas break. His estimates for the library had a range of approximately $300,000 depending on several variables.
Central Huron Council’s new plan for waste collection in the municipality needed just council’s approval to go forward. For 20 years Central Huron had steered clear of providing waste collection for its residents, but was forced into making a decision when local collection provider Waste Management pulled out of several municipal routes.
North Huron Council approved the Blyth BIA’s constitution just in time for the organization’s inaugural meeting on Jan. 5.
It was decided that Huron County would pay for the defence of its council composition bylaw. The appeal of the bylaw, being launched by Huron East and Central Huron Councils, was set to go to back to court later in the month in Toronto.
Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson officially opened one of her two constituency offices in Blyth on the village’s main street. She introduced Sarah Ross and Janet Haines, who would be working at the office.
North Huron Council pledged moral support, as well as $2,000 of monetary support to the appeal being launched against Huron County regarding its composition bylaw.
Alan and Laurie Willits of RR1, Wingham resumed their Italian vacation after the cruise ship they were aboard, the Costa Concordia ran aground off the island of Giglio. The couple had reached out back to Huron County to their daughter Jory for a credit card to help them along, as they lost all of their belongings in the disaster.
The History Channel’s show Canadian Pickers made a second stop in Huron County in recent years, visiting Winthrop-area resident Ken Anderson of Anderson Salvage.
The Pickers had been in the area in 2010 when they visited Blyth-area collector Tim Saunders, who told them then that they may want to stop by Anderson’s sometime if they were ever back in the community.
Morris-Turnberry Council announced that it would be setting up its own municipal fire service. The plan was to include two fire halls: one in Belgrave and one on the outskirts of Wingham.
Mayor Paul Gowing stressed that the reasoning behind the decision was for the municipality to have ownership over its own fire service.
North Huron Reeve Neil Vincent said he was “in complete shock” at the decision of Morris-Turnberry Council, adding that he was “speechless” as to how to proceed next.
With the main campus of the new Maitland River Elementary School yet to be built, it was announced that community students would be split up. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 would be split between Wingham and Turnberry Central Public Schools, while students in Grades 7 and 8 were scheduled to go to F.E. Madill Secondary School in the fall as was originally planned.
Leader of the province’s Conservative Party Tim Hudak was in Blyth to officially open Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson’s office.
Hudak called Thompson the “perfect candidate” to help convert the riding of Huron-Bruce back to a Conservative stronghold building on the momentum of Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb taking the riding back from long-time Liberal MP Paul Steckle.
Many Huron County councillors were left stunned when Warden Bernie MacLellan brought forth a “surprise” $1.7 million that would help with upcoming budget deliberations.
The money was never lost or forgotten, MacLellan insisted. It had been allocated to the Huron County Health Unit and after several years was in a surplus position of nearly $2 million.
He said that the money had always been accounted for, just that it was being rededicated to the general levy and taken from the Health Unit.
Maurice Wilson, a Grade 6/7 teacher at Grey Central Public School coached the Wilfrid Laurier women’s curling team to a gold medal at the Karuizawa International Curling Championship held in Japan. Despite his team being inexperienced and young, they triumphed when faced with the competition.
Morris-Turnberry Council presented its cost projections for its proposed fire department. With $400,000 already placed in a reserve, council stated that approximately $1.4 million in new costs would be required to have the fire service up and running by Jan. 1, 2014.
It was feared that a provincial finance report produced by economist Don Drummond would negatively affect the Clinton Raceway, as well as the local economy.
Raceway Chair Morag Watt said that at the moment she simply had more questions than answers and that those at the raceway had to take a wait-and-see approach.
An inquest into the death of OPP Const. Vu Pham was announced. The inquest would begin in London sometime in March.
It was announced that the Belgrave, Brussels and Blyth School Fair, despite local school closures, could continue and even expand to include schools in the Wingham area.
Students from the University of Waterloo made their way to Brussels to help designate heritage properties, identify properties of significance to the community and design a pair of walking trails that would help people see more of the village during their visits.
The students were in Brussels to conduct research on properties, as well as talk to residents of the community to get a feel for it ahead of preparing a detailed report.
North Huron Council presented its draft budget to the public and it included a spending increase of $120,000, a 2.9 per cent increase, and a tax increase across all three wards.
A new streetscape master plan was presented in Blyth by landscape architect and project manager Jim Vafiades of Stantec Consulting.
One of the main points in the presentation was the inclusion of “bump-outs”. These would help slow traffic, increase visibility and encourage legal parking throughout the community.
Huron East Council presented the first draft of its potential budget, which included a proposed 3.7 per cent increase.
A group of residents at the March 6 Morris-Turnberry Council meeting gathered to protest a zoning change that was being proposed to allow for the construction of a new fire hall in Belgrave.
A bill proposing to stop the construction of any new wind turbines in the province was voted down at Queen’s Park after being tabled by Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson in December, 2011.
An overpopulation of deer in the area was causing headaches for the OPP. Sixty-five deer collisions had been reported to the OPP since the beginning of the year, nearly double the 35 that had been reported by the same time the previous year.
Animal control officer Bob Trick says the mild winter had helped the deer stay healthy, leading to an overpopulation of the animal leading into spring.
A new executive was announced for the newly-named Belgrave School Fair. The board included president Steve Hallahan, first vice-president Margaret Vincent and second vice-president Erin Gaunt.
The newly-organized Brussels Farmers’ Market received a Trillium grant for over $22,000 over the next three years. The majority of the grant would go towards start-up costs, with the hope that when the three years are up, the market would then be self-sufficient.
North Huron Council called a joint fire meeting after Morris-Turnberry Council made its “demands”.
Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson said she could not support the “do-nothing” budget that had been presented by Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal Party.
Steve Howe, communications director for the Avon Maitland District School Board, said he wanted to put any rumours to rest when he announced that the tender for the Maitland River Elementary School in Wingham had been approved.
Howe said the plan was to have the school finished as soon as possible and ready to open for the first day of school in September, 2013.
Given the controversy surrounding his proposal of a Morris-Turnberry fire department, Mayor Paul Gowing proposed a county-wide fire department at the April 4 meeting of Huron County Council.
Gowing said he is tired of being the only municipality in Ontario to have not even a part-share in ownership of a fire department, and felt that should change sooner, rather than later.
Gowing said he arrived at the idea of a county-wide service after negotiating through “a great deal of difficulty” with “one of the costliest [fire services] in the county”.
Blyth’s Local Volunteer Network Agency was holding its first-ever event to honour the community’s volunteers during National Volunteer Week.
Fire Department of North Huron Chief John Black announced that he would be taking a medical leave from the department, citing a returning battle with cancer.
Black made the announcement at the Belgrave Community Centre after swearing in five new firefighters, a new department chaplain and fire protection officer.
After announcing a joint meeting to discuss fire service, North Huron Council cancelled the meeting, much to the dismay of Morris-Turnberry Mayor Paul Gowing.
After comments Gowing had made, Reeve Neil Vincent decided that the meeting “would not be in anyone’s best interests”.
Huron County Council approved its 2012 budget with a modest increase of just 0.47 per cent.
Shortly after taking a medical leave of absence, Fire Department of North Huron Chief John Black passed away on April 28, leaving the community to mourn.
Morris-Turnberry Council, which had arranged to hold a public meeting on a new fire service, postponed that meeting to honour the passing of Black and to show respect.
Fire Department of North Huron Chief John Black was honoured at a large funeral service at the Emergency Services Training Centre in Blyth.
Hundreds were on hand to celebrate a man that by all accounts was a well-liked, hard-working firefighter.
North Huron Council waived fees associated with the annual Me to We event held in Blyth after it finished in a deficit position.
The motion, put on the floor by Councillor Bernie Bailey, asked that council help the organizers of the event in any way that they could.
Former North Huron councillor Steven Sparling, in a letter to The Citizen, said he was encouraged by the Queen Street Revitalization Strategy that was being proposed for Blyth.
He said confidence in the strategy would help the local economy through tough times.
The Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund received a $15,000 donation from the Global series Canada Sings. A team of OPP officers competed on the show hoping to raise money for the Fund. They came up short, however, but WestJet, the corporation which beat out the OPP team, donated $15,000 to the cause, to which $5,000 consolation from the show was added.
The Huron County Plowmen’s Association announced that it was setting its sights on the 2017 International Plowing Match (IPM). Not only would the 2017 match be the 100th IPM held in Ontario, but it would be the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada.
Surveys scheduled to be distributed by Morris-Turnberry Council to its residents were delayed to allow new negotiations with North Huron to take place.
A report full of over 50 recommendations prepared by consultant George Cuff had members of Huron County Council talking and discussing what should be implemented and what should be left as it is.
After extended fire negotiations between North Huron and Morris-Turnberry, Central Huron Council decided that it wanted to be present for negotiations as well.
The statement came as a result of a letter written by residents of Auburn, saying that whatever decision is made in the North Huron/Morris-Turnberry situation, it would affect Central Huron residents, especially those in border villages like Auburn.
Huron County Chief Administrative Officer Larry Adams and Treasurer David Carey were officially placed on non-disciplinary administrative leave after an emergency closed-to-the-public meeting.
The Wingham Heritage Theatre closed its doors after years of service in the North Huron community.
Warden Bernie MacLellan announced that he would run for a second term of warden.
As a recommendation made by consultant George Cuff, Huron County Council began considering expanding the role of warden to a two-year term.
A Brussels-area man’s canoe was featured in Queen Elizabeth II’s flotilla.
Huron East purchased the former Brussels Public School and announced that the building would live on as a small business incubator.
The sixth annual Ainsleigh Bontaine Memorial Charity Golf Tournament was set for June 24. Prior to the 2012 tournament, previous tournaments had raised in excess of $90,000 for the children’s hospital at the London Health Sciences Centre.
Eric Coates, the longest-serving artistic director in the Blyth Festival’s history, announced that he would be stepping down from his position and moving on to become the artistic director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa.
During his time with the Festival, Coates produced 28 world premieres.
The Avon Maitland District School Board announced that several closures made during the previous year had helped them to balance the board’s budget.
Huron County Council voted to shift its representation down from 16 to 15, voting to reduce the number of Bluewater representatives from three to two.
The new policy gave “larger” municipalities two representatives and “smaller” municipalities one representatives.
Londesborough athlete Lexi Aitken won three gold medals at the Legion’s provincial track and field championships. She also set a new provincial record.
Blyth’s first annual Buskerfest was hailed as a success, drawing 35 acts.
It was announced that Stephen Charles Ainlay, great-great-grandson of William Ainlay, the founder of Brussels (which was called Ainleyville at the time) would be in Brussels later that month to marshal the village’s Homecoming parade.
Jim and Lois Lee were named Citizens of the Year for the Brussels area. The pair received over 10 nominations for the honour.
An inquest into the 2009 death of former North Huron Councillor Murray Nesbitt resulted in 14 recommendation aimed at making workplaces, such as the Sifto Salt Mine, safer.
The Ontario Fire Marshal weighed in on the dispute between North Huron and Morris-Turnberry Councils, saying he wanted a resolution sooner rather than later.
With the announcement that the E.D. Smith salad dressing plant in Seaforth would be closing by the fall of 2013, Huron East was slated to lose nearly 200 jobs as a result of the closure.
Attendance at the Walton TransCan was said to be up between 15 and 20 per cent. Organizer Chris Lee attributed the boost largely to the inclusion of a Friday night concert with Jason Blaine.
Londesborough’s Lexi Aitken set a new Canadian record in the under-16 girls 200-metre hurdles in P.E.I. at the Legion’s National Track and Field Championships.
Jacob and Brian McGavin led the way once again at the Huron County Plowing Match, which was held in their home municipality of Huron East.
Former Blyth Festival Artistic Director Peter Smith made his return to the position on an interim basis in the wake of the resignation of Eric Coates.
Members of the Blyth Festival’s Young Company, who were performing in The Farm 2012, got a special treat when they received a visit from members of the cast of The Farm Show, the original classic from the 1970s, including its creator and member of the Order of Canada Paul Thompson.
Bicycles for Humanity, a program created by Auburn-area native Mark Nonkes, returned for a third year. The program collects bicycles and sends them to Africa where they can create jobs and change lives.
Economic development specialist Douglas Barrill said he hoped to complete a county-wide business retention and expansion study by January, 2013.
In an interview with The Citizen, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson reflected back on her first year in the position, saying one of the things she was most proud of was not falling off of her horse during the Boothill Bash celebrity challenge at Brussels Homecoming.
John Black, the late chief of the Fire Department of North Huron, was set to be honoured as Huron County’s top firefighter, an award handed out annually by the warden and the rest of Huron County Council.
Both attendance and submissions were said to be low at the Brussels Fall Fair, a fact that was attributed largely to the closure of Brussels Public School.
The former Blyth Public School building was sold to an anonymous bidder at the Sept. 20 auction.
Morris-Turnberry Council began the restructuring process, moving to reduce the number of councillors by two and to eliminate the ward system.
Papineau, Quebec MP Justin Trudeau was in Seaforth to meet with Liberal Party supporters in an event catered by Blyth’s Peter Gusso, owner and operator of Part II Bistro and The Station House bed and breakfast.
Interim Artistic Director Peter Smith announced that the Blyth Festival would be taking on a Christmas play later in the year.
He said the play would be “local” adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, featuring any local person who was willing to step out onto the stage.
A business retention and expansion report on Blyth was presented three times in the community to mixed reviews.
“The reaction was less than favourable,” said Blyth BIA Chair Rick Elliott.
McGavin Farm Equipment in Walton and The Old Mill in Blyth looked to the future and participated as charging stations for the Sun Country Highway, a project enabling electric cars to travel across Canada.
Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson said she was “frustrated” with the resignation of Premier Dalton McGuinty, calling it “a cheap, selfish way to avoid further scandal”.
Those involved with the Gateway Rural Health Research Institute in Seaforth announced that it would be officially partnering with Georgian College to offer joint programming in future years.
The Blyth Festival announced its 2013 season, which will be led by a remount of Dear Johnny Deare and then a new visit to The Farm Show with Beyond The Farm Show.
Three fallen Huron County police officers were honoured with bridges being named after them.
Vu Pham, Dave Mounsey and Bruce Crew were honoured on Nov. 1 when OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis were in Goderich to officially make the announcement.
It was announced that a corporation appropriately called 237 King Street had purchased the former Blyth Public School building. The corporation consists of Steven and David Sparling and Rick and Jeff Elliott.
No further details were available on the group’s future intentions for the building and the surrounding property.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization began its screening process in Central Huron, investigating whether or not the municipality will make a good site for a nuclear waste facility.
The Blyth Festival announced that Canadian singer/songwriter Fred Eaglesmith, the artist at the heart of 2012’s runaway success Dear Johnny Deare, would be performing live at Memorial Hall to help kick off the 2013 season.
Organizers said they hoped the move would help expose theatre-goers to Eaglesmith and Eaglesmith fans to the theatre.
Gordon McGavin and Russel Bolton were honoured by being inducted to the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame. Their replica induction documents were hung in the Huron County Museum as a local reminder of their honour and contribution to the world of agriculture.
Huron East was awarded a grant of over $65,000 for the construction of the Brussels Library, which is set to commence in 2013.
Blyth’s Emergency Services Training Centre and Conestoga College announced that they would be officially partnering.
Morris-Turnberry Council set a fire deal deadline with North Huron, giving North Huron until Jan. 8 to decide on the terms dictated by Morris-Turnberry.
Morris-Turnberry’s history book A Harvest of Memories was released.
South Huron Mayor George Robertson was named Huron County warden, ending Huron East’s Bernie MacLellan’s bid for a second term in the position.
After the release of Huron County CAO Larry Adams, the county hired a new CAO, Brenda Orchard.
A new use for the former East Wawanosh Public School building was approved by Huron County Council. The building has been purchased by Euro-Parts of Lucknow owner Henry Van Heesch.