Weekly Household Hazardous Waste Depot Now Accepts Unsafe Baby Products

The Kenora Transfer Station opened the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) depot today for its third season.

In addition to the lengthy list of hazardous substances accepted at the depot free of charge, the depot will also accept unsafe, damaged, or expired baby products. We have partnered with Safe Communities Kenora to create a regular drop off for these baby items. Safe Communities Kenora has hosted an annual one day roundup event for unsafe baby items as part of Safe Kids Week for a number of years. “We partnered with the City of Kenora to collect and dispose of old, damaged and unwanted items at no cost to residents dropping off the items,” says Maria Bagdonas, Co-Chair of Safe Communities Kenora. “Having unsafe baby products added to the list of items that can be disposed of on scheduled Household Hazardous Waste Days means that there is a smaller chance that old, damaged or recalled products will find their way into the second hand market. It is an organized and convenient way to get rid of items and to be sure they are destroyed so they can’t be reused or repurposed.”

Products such as baby walkers, cribs, car seats (infant, convertible, booster), playpens, strollers, baby gates, baby bath seats, or high chairs are now on the list of acceptable items.

The once-a-week free service collected over 40 tons of hazardous waste in Kenora in the first two seasons, a significant amount of waste diverted from the landfill. “We want to thank our residents for taking the time to dispose of toxic substances safely and properly,” says Mukesh Pokharel, Environmental Services Division Lead. “We are expecting a busier depot now that we have added baby item disposal as well.”

The HHW depot, located inside the Transfer Station, is open each Thursday from 9 am to 2 pm until September 27, 2018.

For more on what can be disposed at the specialize depot, visit Kenora.ca/ Recycling & Waste, download the free Recycle Coach app, or call 807-467-2980.

City Signs Land Swap Agreement With WNHAC

The City Kenora has finalized an agreement for a land swap with Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’Iyewigamig (WNHAC) in the area of Chipman Street and First Street South.

The land swap is a strategic move in the long term planning of the City’s vision for our downtown. A portion of the parcel of land purchased by the City in January 2017 from Plaza Retail REIT, has been traded for a similar sized parcel owned by WNHAC where the Kenwood Hotel once stood. Each party exchanged a sum of $125,000 plus HST in the property transaction, essentially being no cost for the property swap.

With the City of Kenora’s purchase of the former mall property for parking and future development potential, an opportunity emerged to access a larger, rectangular lot that could better accommodate the new WNHAC building, current parking requirements, and future expansion potential. “The City has been very supportive of our efforts,” said WNHAC Executive Director, Anita Cameron.

Megan Dokuchie, the City’s Economic Development Officer states “This is an exciting and strategic land swap which places the City in a solid position to consider future redevelopment and realignment of our downtown area. As we continue to work hard towards the redevelopment in our downtown, this area could see positive improvements to traffic and pedestrian flow, promoting a flourishing downtown area”.

The land swap supports the next phase of downtown revitalization, including the proposed realignment of First Street South through the former Shoppers Mall property that was purchased by the City last year, and provides the opportunity for further enhancement of our downtown and Harbourtown Centre. Funding opportunities are currently being pursued by administration and long term realignment visions are being finalized.

The City of Kenora has submitted funding applications to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) for Downtown Revitalization Phase IV.

Council Approves 2018 Operating Budget

Today Council approves the 2018 Operating Budget. The 2018 Capital Budget was approved on February 20. The budget includes a number of critical projects initiated by staff, council and community input.

Some of the more significant impacts the City faced in 2018 included:

  • Loss of Provincial funding of $322K
  • Increased requests from Mandated External Organizations totalling $102K
  • Combined net wage impacts of $267K
  • Continued need to work to address the City’s significant infrastructure deficit

Major capital projects planned for 2018 include:

  • Aerial Fire Truck ($1.2 million)
  • Art Centre ($4 million)
  • Seventh Avenue South Bridge ($2 million)
  • Transit Bus ($.51 million)
  • Handi Transit Bus ($.13 million)

Other projects of interest in the 2018 budget include:

  • Dufrense Island North Entrance Construction expected to be completed in 2018
  • The City has seen several new signs in 2018 as it continues with its Wayfinding Implementation projects

Overall financial highlights of the approved 2018 budget include:

  • $53.8 million in combined operating, capital, non-capital special projects / unusual spending and reserve appropriations, broken out as follows: $30.1 million in operating expenses; $1.8 million in reserve appropriations; $19.6 million in capital expenses; and $2.3 million in non-capital special projects / unusual spending
  • Combined this represents $25.4 million in net tax levy requirement

The 2018 reassessment resulted in an increase in the residential tax base of 5.7%. Of this, 4.9% related to increased values on existing homes, with the balance of the increase resulting from new construction.

Council knew it had to make every effort to help reduce the impact of these assessment increases on the average homeowner. Therefore, again in 2018, council elected to use Revenue Neutral Tax Ratios. This is a tax tool that maintains the tax burden by class, regardless of where the assessments rose the most. This was done to avoid shifting more of the tax burden onto the residential ratepayers.

Today’s budget represents a 2.6% decrease in the City’s residential municipal tax rate. Because of the change in assessments, some homeowners will see their tax bills increase and some homeowners will see their tax bills decrease.

What does this mean for the average homeowner? For a property with no changes (changes such as a new garage or an addition), on average, the assessment rose by 5.25% but the municipal property tax rate decreased by 2.6%. A property worth $166,750 in 2017 would have paid $2,390.49 in municipal taxes. In 2018, this same property, on average, is assessed at $175,500 and will pay $2,442.97 in taxes. This is a $52.48 dollar increase for the year.

We on Council believe that this budget, in conjunction with the strong financial management by City Council over recent years, will continue to maintain the City’s financial strength and stability.

We would like to recognize the time and efforts made by City staff and management, who worked so diligently in partnership with Council, towards developing a budget that maintains services and strengthens Kenora.

Jon Ranger, Budget/Special Projects Officer (807) 467-2010

City Approves Warranty Service Line Program

The City has endorsed Service Line Warranties Canada (SLWC) to offer Kenora residents an optional water and sewer line warranty program.

This voluntary program provides homeowners the opportunity to invest in an insurance plan to cover repair costs of water and sewer lines on their property. Many homeowners may not be aware that they are responsible for the maintenance, repair, or replacement of service lines from their home to the curb stop, where the lines separate from the City’s main line. Should there be a break or a freeze to their line which causes damage, these costs can be quite high.

In the coming months, Service Line Warranty Canada will be mailing letters to Kenora residents about registering for the warranty program. Residents are under no obligation to register for the program and it is simply an insurance option for our homeowners. The program offers three options for residents to consider. One plan covers the water line from the property line into the home, another offers protection for the sewer line from the property line into the home, and the third instrument offers protection against issues arising with the plumbing in the home.

Service Line Warranties Canada (SLWC) is an insurance company that works with the Local Authority Services (LAS), which was created by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). They have been providing service line protection to residents across Canada since before 1996.

Launch of ‘Choose Kenora’

A Youth Retention and Attraction Campaign

March 28, 2018    For Immediate Release

Kenora, ON – The Lake of the Woods Development Commission, in partnership with the Lake of the Woods Business Incentive Corporation, Kenora Young Professionals Network, Northwest Business Centre, Harbourtown BIZ, and the Kenora and District Chamber of Commerce, are pleased to announce the launch of the ‘Choose Kenora’ project. This marketing campaign shares stories of young professionals and entrepreneurs and highlights key features that make Kenora an amazing place to live and work.

“We are excited to launch the Choose Kenora project with our partners and are looking forward to continuing to share stories of young professionals in our community”, said Graham Chaze, Chair of the Lake of the Woods Development Commission.

The campaign features web, social media, print and video content focusing on personal and professional testimonials from several of Kenora’s young business owners, students, and career employees. The video and photography content showcases these individuals enjoying time with friends and family while pursuing their professional goals. This relaxed and well-rounded lifestyle is such a big piece of why young people are drawn to Kenora and Northwestern Ontario. The project work includes a handbook for use by employers to use in recruitment campaigns. Employers are encouraged to use the materials produced to support recruitment efforts. The materials, along with campaign visual content, can be found at ChooseKenora.ca.

“We would like to thank the participants who shared their stories with us. The project would not have been possible without their assistance. This program is intended to be dynamic and if there are any young professionals or entrepreneurs who wish to share their story, we would love to hear from them”, shared Megan Dokuchie, Economic Development Officer.

The project partners wish to thank Fifth Hammer Marketing Group and Upriver Media who were contracted to design and produce the project.

Funding for the initiative was provided through the Rural Economic Development Fund, a program provided by the Government of Ontario.

Contact Information
Megan Dokuchie, Economic Development Officer, City of Kenora

Downtown Revitalization Survey Results Released

Positive Impacts Continue for Downtown Businesses

March 27, 2018   For Immediate Release

Kenora, ON – The City of Kenora’s Economic Development Department is pleased to share the results of the recent survey of downtown merchants. The purpose of the survey was to measure the job creation indicators and economic impacts of the third phase of the Downtown Revitalization project which focused on improvements on Second Street South. Overall, businesses in the Harbourtown Centre continue to see positive impacts from Downtown Revitalization projects.

Key results from this year’s survey include:
• 52 responses
• 27 businesses created
• 17 businesses expanded/relocated
• 252 jobs created since 2013
• 23 businesses responded in 2013 and 2018
• 120 jobs created in those 23 businesses

A number of comments were submitted, including:
• Over the last four and half years, I have found Kenora to be a very supportive community for business development;
• The Community Improvement Plan (CIP) for storefronts has had, a huge impact on the effectiveness of this project as a whole
• Main Street and Second Street look great. I would like to see the corner of First Street and Matheson Street revitalized

Perhaps one of the more unanticipated and encouraging results of this year’s survey is the 120 jobs created in 23 business that responded in both 2013 and 2018. A number of positive effects can be gathered from this information. First, a fair number of businesses have remained in operation for at least 5 years. Second, businesses are not only remaining open but are also increasing the number of employees required to operate and expanding to meet needs of customers. This is very inspiring for newly opened downtown businesses and also for future entrepreneurs looking to open a business in Kenora’s downtown area.

“The City of Kenora is fortunate to have the natural beauty that surrounds our City, and our revitalized downtown area only extends that beauty by offering residents and visitors diverse and unique businesses in esthetically appealing storefronts to choose from. We really do have it all!” says Councillor Mort Goss.

”The results of the recent survey are encouraging,” says Megan Dokuchie, Economic Development Officer,  “and the indicators will be used to support funding requests for the next phase of the project.”

Corey Jones, Economic Development Intern would like to thank all the businesses that have responded to the Downtown Revitalization Impact Survey. “We appreciate the feedback and participation we received and are excited to plan for the fourth phase of the Downtown Revitalization Project, Chipman Street and First Street South.”

About the Downtown Revitalization Project and Previous Survey
The spring of 2008 marked the start of the Downtown Revitalization Project in Kenora. The project was divided into five phases which have to date included Main Street South, the Harbourfront and Lake of the Woods Plaza, and Second Street South. The fourth phase will involve Chipman Street and First Street South.

The first two phases of the project were completed between 2008 and 2013. Once completed, a survey was conducted by the City of Kenora’s Economic Development Department to gauge the impact of the project on downtown businesses. The main purpose of the survey was to measure job creation in the downtown since 2008, understand the operating hours of downtown businesses and to measure the overall business climate. The survey boasted very positive results, with 59 businesses responding and 261 jobs being created since 2008.

The third phase of Downtown Revitalization began in 2013 and was recently completed in winter 2018. To measure outcomes, the City of Kenora’s Economic Development Department again undertook a survey of downtown businesses to gauge the impacts. The purpose of this survey was very similar to the one administered in 2013 and the majority of questions remained the same, effectively allowing the results to be accurately compared.

Kenora Recreation Centre Staff Complete HIGH FIVE® Training for Children’s Programming

For Immediate Release

Kenora Recreation Centre Staff Complete HIGH FIVE® Training for Children’s Programming

Kenora, ON – In October 2017, two staff members of the Kenora Recreation Centre, Casey Pyykka, Community Liaison Coordinator, and Crystal Stokes, Aquatic Facilitator, attended a three day training clinic offered by HIGH FIVE. This unique training focuses on child development and creating positive active experiences for children.

“Incorporating the HIGH FIVE Principles into our programs ensures that our programming is planned and delivered with a Child First focus,” says Casey Pyykka.

Crystal Stokes adds, “We now have a quality assurance standard to apply to our programs that gives parents and caregivers the peace of mind in knowing their children are engaging in recreation programs that focus on the elements of Friendship, Participation, Mastery and Play, while in the presence of a Caring Adult”.

Crystal and Casey have achieved the status of Trainer in two of HIGH FIVE’s programs – Principles of Healthy Child Development (PHCD), and QUEST 2. In 2016 the Senior Aquatics Staff obtained their PHCD Certificates and in January 2018, an in-house training session took place for all student aquatics staff, picture below. It is also planned that summer staff and other day camp leaders will receive the same training on this innovative approach.

For the community, Crystal and Casey plan to host training sessions for organizations or groups involved with children’s sports and recreation. Watch for advertisements on social media and Kenora.ca on upcoming sessions. Interested organizations may contact Casey or Crystal directly to make arrangements also.

High Five Positive Impacts Poster

HIGH FIVE is Canada’s only comprehensive quality standard for children’s programs and holds true to the following five Principles of healthy child development that our research indicates are essential for providing a positive experience for kids.
• A Caring Adult
• Friends
• Play
• Mastery
• Participation
HIGH FIVE’s unique and proprietary approach is built on a Quality Framework, consisting of:
• Training and Development for staff
• Program Assessments using the scientifically-validated QUEST 2 Tool
• Establishing Policies and Procedures to manage risk
• Creating Awareness of high quality programs for kids
HIGH FIVE provides an evidence-based approach to positive experiences for kids, empowering them to excel in life.

KRC staff High Five Trained
Kenora Recreation Centre student aquatics staff show off their HIGH FIVE training certificates.

Contact Information:
Casey Pyykka, Community Liaison Coordinator

Crystal Stokes, Aquatic Facilitator

Residents Urged to Install Smoke Alarms and Practice Home Fire Escape Plans

For Immediate Release

Fire Chief Urges Residents to Install Smoke Alarms And Practice Home Fire Escape Plans

Kenora, ON – In the wake of a fatal fire in Oshawa, ON on Monday, January 8, 2018, City of Kenora Fire and Emergency Services reminds our residents to make sure that they have working smoke alarms on every storey of their home and outside all sleeping areas, and have practiced a home fire escape plan with everyone in their home.

There were no working smoke alarms in the home of last month’s fatal fire in Oshawa.

“Since January 1st, 2018 there have been 9 fire related fatalities in Ontario. Fire moves so fast that you may have less than 60 seconds to safely escape a fire, so early warning is crucial to survival,” says Fire Chief Todd Skene. “Only working smoke alarms give you that early warning.”

Just as important as having working smoke alarms is making sure everyone in your home knows exactly what to do to escape BEFORE a fire occurs. Practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in your home. Family Day is a good day to practice your Home Fire Escape Plan together.

“It is up to each of us to make sure these preventable tragedies do not happen in Kenora,” continued Chief Skene.

Simple smoke and carbon monoxide alarm tips:
• Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of your home. For added protection, install a smoke alarm in every bedroom according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms.
• Install carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage. For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of your home according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
• Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pressing the test button. Change the batteries every year.
• Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms wear out over time. Replace alarms according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

Simple steps for home fire escape planning include:
• Everyone should know two ways out of each room, if possible.
• All exits must be unobstructed and easy to use.
• If someone in your home has a disability, develop a home fire escape plan with your household that takes into account their unique needs. Determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults and anyone who needs assistance to escape.
• Choose a meeting place outside, such as a tree or a lamp post, where everyone can be accounted for.
• Call the fire department from outside the home, from a cell phone or a neighbour’s home.
• Practice your home fire escape plan.
• Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building.

For people who live in apartment buildings and need assistance to escape:
• Make sure you tell the superintendent or landlord if you need assistance.
• Make sure your name is added to the persons who require assistance list in the fire safety plan, so the fire department knows which apartment you are in.
• Know the emergency procedures outlined in the building’s fire safety plan.

City of Kenora Fire and Emergency Services are available to assist our residents in building their Home Fire Escape Plan or answer questions about smoke alarms. Please call 807-467-2090 or drop by Station One, 100 Fourteenth Street North, Kenora.

2018 ROMA Conference Draws Rural Leaders

Focus on Rural Municipal Priorities and Needs

Media Release

Kenora, ON  – Mayor Dave Canfield and Councillors Louis Roussin and Rory McMillan joined more than 1,000 rural municipal officials from across the province at the 2018 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference in Toronto from January 21 to 23.

The conference is a key opportunity for rural officials to raise local priorities with the provincial government, foster partnerships and learn about new opportunities. Funding municipal services and infrastructure continues to be a recurring a key theme, one that will be important heading into the provincial election.

Municipal governments face an estimated funding gap of $4.9 billion annually for the next ten years, just to maintain current services and address infrastructure needs. Municipal governments and property taxpayers need to see a plan that helps reduce this gap in a meaningful way. The conference was an opportunity for local leaders to press all three parties for solutions.

Key priorities for the City of Kenora were:

  • Connecting Link Program Eligibility
    The Highway 17 corridor through Kenora be recognized as an important link to services for surrounding communities and a roadway used extensively by both short and long distance travelers. The City of Kenora is seeking to be designated an eligible community under MTO’s Connecting Links Program.
  • Community Justice Centre and Supportive Housing
    Proceeding with the development of a Community Justice Centre (CJC) in Kenora will create more opportunities for court diversion and allow for early interventions by service providers to increase chances of rehabilitation. Doing so will also require investments into supportive housing. In addition, the City recognizes that the vast majority of those interacting with the court system are not from Kenora thus creating a need for community justice services across the District.

Other highlights of the conference included:
• Speeches by all three party leaders, as well as a number of Ministers
• Ministers’ forum where over 20 ministers and Premier answered questions of municipal concern from delegates
• Sessions on economic development matters, such as rural broadband, natural gas and autonomous vehicles.
• Critical challenges like rural schools and health care access
• The impacts on local services of cannabis legalization
• More than 300 municipal delegation meetings with provincial and federal ministries

Conference news releases, fact sheets and presentations from key speakers are posted on ROMA’s website at www.roma.on.ca.

ROMA is the most representative and effective voice for Ontario’s rural municipal governments. About 270 of Ontario’s 444 municipalities have populations of less than 10,000, while scores more are rural in character. Through its relationship with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, ROMA advocates for policies and programs that will help build thriving rural Ontario communities.

For more information about ROMA or the 2018 Conference, contact:
Brian Lambie, ROMA Media Contact, 416-729-5425, lambie@redbrick.ca