Spring is here, bringing renewed hope and much to look forward to. It is wonderful to be back attending in-person community events. This past month the community came together for the Volunteer Recognition Dinner to celebrate and honour the tremendous volunteers in Scugog. Volunteers were presented with a certificate of recognition for their hard work and dedication to serving the community, and many long-serving volunteers were honoured, including the amazing Ilean Pugh. Ilean Pugh was recognized for 60 years of volunteering with the Prince Albert Community Hall Committee, incredible! We thank all the volunteers who dedicate their time and expertise to improving our community.

Last week, The Scugog Sports Hall of Fame Committee hosted the Sports Hall of Fame inductee ceremony celebrating the rich sporting history in Scugog and recognizing those individuals who have contributed to our sport’s legacy. Visit scugog.ca for information on the inductees and the Scugog Facebook page for pictures.

Spring also means construction season, and improving the condition of our roads is one of our top priorities. Through identifying efficiencies and cost savings, implementation of dedicated levies and grants from other levels of government, investments into our roads and bridges have grown to an average of $4.97 million per year over the past five years. In the past five years, over 200 lane km of gravel roads have been resurfaced, and approximately 80 lane km of hard-surfaced/ paved roads have been reconstructed or rehabilitated. This spring, our approved capital budget will allow us to continue our rehabilitation of many roads across Scugog.

The construction of a new playground in Palmer Park is planned for fall 2022 as part of the revitalization work identified in the Waterfront Action Plan. The new playground is expected to assist in the economic recovery of the Township and provide an enhanced space to bring children and youth from the Township together in a safe, outdoor setting which will provide both physical and mental health benefits. Thank you to the 632 visitors to the project site and the almost 140 residents who took the time to fill out the survey.

In community news, the Town Hall Theatre will receive $562,182 of joint federal and provincial funding to renovate and restore the theatre. The Theatre is a cornerstone building and a significant part of our heritage history, serving as the original municipal office, once a fire hall and movie theatre. Projects like these are often only made possible through funding support. We know the overall restoration work will have many benefits for the community, providing a fully accessible and revitalized space that will attract more artistic and cultural productions, patrons, and visitors to historic downtown Port Perry.

Technological improvements are continuing, and the Township has added an online building permits process. As of April 1st, new building permit applicants can use the online Cloudpermit system to apply for and track new building permits. This e-permitting system will assist with providing customer service on a digital platform. It is one part of our five-year Scugog IT Strategy that strives to modernize the various processes and services to better serve our community.

A draft official plan amendment and zoning by-law amendment have been prepared to regulate the siting and design of cannabis production facilities in the Township. On April 11th, the Township hosted a virtual public open house to seek public input on the proposed amendments. A future staff report will include an analysis of the comments received at the public meeting, together with any written comments received, and will offer a recommendation on the amendments for Council’s consideration. It is anticipated that a staff recommendation report will be forwarded to Council in June.

The Lookout Youth Centre has reopened, offering a free drop-in centre for kids grades six and up to enjoy video games and activities in a supervised, safe hang-out space. The Lookout is located on the second floor of the Scugog arena, open Tuesday to Friday, 4:30 to 8 p.m.

I am happy to announce we will be hosting a Mayor’s Gala on November 3rd, 2022. Council approved an Ad–hoc Committee be established to help assist with planning. In the past, the community has supported the gala, and I am looking forward to bringing the community together again. All surplus funds raised will be donated to three charities: Oak Ridges Hospice of Durham, Port Perry Hospital Foundation, and the Lake Scugog Enhancement Project.

With the warmer weather here, I hope you and your family enjoy the many wonderful community events planned this spring. Visit scugogtourism.ca for a list of events.