Fire dispatch contract — Thompson bridge — budget simulation tool — Northumberland Eats — tourism —  Lymantria Dispar

Article by Valerie MacDonald

Above image: Bill Cane

Northumberland County is taking the “path of least resistance” with renewing its present contract with the City of Peterborough to dispatch Northumberland’s municipal fire departments, Jennifer Moore, chief administrative officer with Northumberland County explained to councillors during its July 21 council session.

This “meshes the paperwork” and avoids a “battle,” she said after councillors heard a report from County staffer, Ken Stubbings.

He explained that the five-year agreement to supply radio dispatching duties for the County’s 7 municipalities was up for renewal and that the County wanted to keep the arrangement whereby it signs the agreement for all the municipalities. A solicitor representing Peterborough County, wanted all of the municipalities to be signatures to the renewal agreement but the County baulked at this, saying its signature was sufficient.

His report recommended this “stalemate” be resolved by carrying on with a multi-party agreement for fire dispatch with Peterborough.

“Peterborough has provided the best radio communication we’ve ever had,” County Councillor Hamilton Township Mayor Bill Cane said, about continuing with the service that supported County Councillor and Alnwick/Haldimand Mayor Gail Latchford’s view not to look for a new provider.

In other County Council news:

1. Ongoing repair work on the closed Thompson Bridge in Trent Hills has revealed more deterioration of the bridge, upping repair costs. It will remain closed awaiting public input on an ongoing environmental assessment of the bridge, and the County staff’s preferred option of a phased-in, permanent closure of the bridge.

2. Councillors received a presentation on using a new 2022 Budget Simulation Tool that would allow the public to understand the state of the 2021 budget, and offer recommendations about reduced spending and revenue-generating options for the 2022 budget. In the past few years, the County has used public meetings and surveys as a way to gain public input during the budget-setting process, which saw its development between July and November and adoption by Council by year’s end or early the next year. According to the presentation, the “Balancing Act” budget simulation tool will launch Aug. 3 and be available via the Join In Northumberland consultation portal at

3. Council also accepted a report through its Social Services Committee about the project, Northumberland Eats. Vouchers were distributed through various organizations with no criteria for who received the $5 and $10 vouchers redeemable at various grocery and fast food outlets. “The highest volume was given to young people” during the trial period that ended March 2021, spokesperson Sarah Tanner said. Most of those were unemployed and receiving some kind of social assistance, councillors heard. The Northumberland United Way is taking on this initiative and by the end of the year will operate without County support and will be looking for other ways to raise more money to support Northumberland Eats.

4. Councillors accepted a recommendation from its Economic Development and Tourism Committee asking staff to look at the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on health and wellness businesses in Northumberland County, like Ste. Anne’s and Northumberland Heights and will report back.

Canadian Government image

5. County councillors received a detailed report about the Lymantria dispar dispar moth first discovered in Ontario in 1969. It states that the moth’s cyclical return is usually every 7 to 10 years with biggest outbreaks lasting three seasons. At present, we are in year two. Work is underway in special management zones in the county’s forest, to remove egg masses. An egg count is underway to “predict the extent of the 2022 outbreak,” the report states.

To see pest management strategies go to We are currently at the end stage of hand-picking pupa and entering the period when it is possible to trap the male and female moths as a means of reducing the spread of the moth formerly known as “gypsy” but increasing referred to by its scientific name (Lymantria dispar) because of negative cultural associations that come with the use of its heritage name.

6. Council supported resolutions from its standing committees to ban un-encapsulated polystyrene foam such at that used on docks, and to support adding microplastics filters for washing machines to keep them out of watercourses and the Great Lakes.


Editor’s Note: The name and title of Northumberland’s Chief Administrative Officer have been corrected and the date for the launch of the “Balancing Act” budget simulation tool changed, too. Apologies for the incorrect info.