Wawa Firefighter Recognized for 20 Years Service

A Wawa firefighter was honoured for longtime service at this week's Council meeting.

Wawa Volunteer Fire Department Captain Craig Spooner was presented with a 20 Year Exemplary Service Medal by Fire Chief Kevin Sabourin, while Mayor Ron Rody presented Spooner with a related certificate.

Both Rody and Sabourin lauded Spooner for his dedication - with Rody noting Spooner had to miss several seasons of golf due to an injury sustained as a firefighter - while Spooner joked that the twenty years had "gone by quick" before thanking the mayor and chief for their support, and particularly the other firefighters for the support, friendship, and camaraderie, especially for having his back at the many calls over the years, adding he has their back, as well.

Superior East OPP Urge Safe Driving Around School Buses

Local police are issuing a few safety reminders as kids return to school.

While he warns drivers to watch for kids walking to and from school, Superior East Ontario Provincial Police Constable Trevor Tremblay also emphasizes it's important to be careful around school buses.

Constable Tremblay also warns the owner of the vehicle could be charged for passing a school bus illegally - even if someone else was driving or even if they weren't in the vehicle at the time.

Drivers are also encouraged to watch for crossing guards and give bicyclists lots of room, with cyclists reminded to wear their helmets.

The Township of Chapleau's also asking drivers to be careful, particularly around school buses and along the highway into town, keeping their speed down and watching for children.

Wawa Council Holding Committee and Regular Meetings Back-to-Back

Fresh off the Labour Day long weekend, Wawa Municipal Council's set to hold a pair of meetings tonight.

First up will be a Corporate Planning Committee meeting, with items on the agenda including the presentation of a Firefighter 20-Year Exemplary Service Medal, a deputation from Wawa Minor Hockey Association President Peter Moore, and discussion on a proposed revised policy for arena ice rentals.

While the current policy mandates ice be ready for the public on the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday, ice has usually been made in mid-September - the new policy would allow for a one-week "shoulder season" ahead of Thanksgiving, an attempt to compromise calls for earlier ice with the difficulty and costs involved in making ice amid warmer September weather.

The proposed policy also seeks to address cancellation issues, refusing refunds during the "Spring or Fall Shoulder Season" - otherwise requiring at least 24 hours notice of a cancellation for an event taking no more than 6 hours, or 3 days notice for events requiring more than 6 hours of ice time over a span of one or more days - while "no organization, group, or user will have ice times automatically reserved from one year to the next", though the Municipality will attempt to maintain consistency when possible.

It also mandates the Municipality to inform users groups of annual ice rental rates and charges once the Municipal Fees and Charges By-Law is approved by Council - or no later than July 1st - though it further emphasizes all users will be charged per the schedule of fees unless Council authorizes an exception.

Council will also discuss a report on engineering for the Connecting Link project, and monthly reports from department heads.

After the committee meeting, Council will hold a regular meeting, with items including a resolution to award consulting services for the Connecting Link project and a by-law adopting the proposed arena ice policy.

There are also two "in-camera" items on that agenda, both legal issues - one relates to a Freedom of Information request, the other about litigation or potential litigation relating to "summer projects".

Aside from the "in-camera" portion, tonight's meetings are open to the public, starting at 6:30 pm in Council Chambers.

Superior East OPP Searching For Missing Chapleau Man

Ontario Provincial Police are searching for a missing Chapleau man last seen at a local park.

Superior East OPP say 36-year-old Alain Bergeron was last seen walking on Cogen Road last Thursday, August 29th, and his family and friends are concerned for his safety.

Bergeron's described as five feet eight inches tall, weighing 185 pounds, and is noted to have hazel eyes and short brown hair - provided pictures show facial hair, but it is not mentioned in the description provided by the OPP.

Police also note his "typical form of dress" is jeans, a long sleeve shirt, a ball cap, and work boots.

Anyone with information about Bergeron's whereabouts is urged to call the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.

Superior East OPP Issue Back-to-School Safety Reminder

Local police are issuing a few safety reminders as kids return to school this week.

Superior East Ontario Provincial Police Constable Trevor Tremblay says drivers are especially urged to be cautious.

Constable Tremblay also reminds drivers that it is illegal to pass a school bus whose overhead lights are flashing - whether or not the stop arm's extended - an offence that could lead to a $500 fine and six demerit points, with the owner of the vehicle able to be charged even if they weren't in the vehicle at the time.

Drivers are also encouraged to watch for crossing guards and give bicyclists lots of room, with cyclists reminded to wear their helmets.

Today is a PD Day for local schools, with students starting classes tomorrow.

12th Annual PC Children's Charity BBQ Called a Success

Organizers of Wawa's annual President's Choice Children's Charity Barbecue are thanking the community for its support.

Held earlier today, the twelfth annual event was able to raise $1227.25 for the PC Children's Charity - John's Valu-Mart owner John Michalcewicz explains the charity helps families of children with special needs.

John's Valu-Mart also highlights the support from people who made donations in addition to buying some food at the barbecue, noting they were a great help.

Congratulations are also in order for Jim Burn, the winner of the barbecue and propane tank used for the event.

Sponsors for the event included Home Building Centre Wawa, Davidson Fuels, Old Dutch Chips, Weston Bakeries, Lecoupe Ice, John's Valu-Mart, and JJAM FM.

Public Comments Accepted on Wawa's Proposed Waterfront Policy

The Municipality of Wawa's asking for public input on a proposed new policy for docking, mooring, launching, and boating on Wawa Lake beachfront properties.

CAO/Treasurer Maury O'Neill says policy stems from concerns raised by some members of the public about some boats and users staying on the waterfront "permanently" - which she notes is a "hazard" from an insurance perspective - though she assures the policy isn't intended to block boats from the lake.

The draft policy's posted on the municipal website and available at the Municipal Offices, with the Municipality accepting comments until September 10th.

Superior East OPP Distracted Driving Blitz For Labour Day Weekend

Ontario Provincial Police will be hitting the roads watching for inattentive drivers this upcoming long weekend.

Superior East OPP Constable Trevor Tremblay says officers will be watching for all kinds of distracted driving this weekend, including cellphone or entertainment device use in "all manner of motor vehicles".

Constable Tremblay further emphasizes that penalties are now more severe.

Tremblay adds OPP will also be watching for the other "Big Four" - aggressive or impaired driving and seatbelt use - urging drivers against taking "unnecessary risks", especially when you have "precious cargo" in the vehicle.

John's Valu-Mart Hosting 12th Annual PC Children's Charity BBQ

JJAM FM and John's Valu-Mart are inviting everyone to start the long weekend with a barbecue - and help a great cause.

John's Valu-Mart owner John Michalcewicz explains the 12th annual "PC Children's Charity Barbecue" raises funds for the charity, which supports kids with special needs.

Michalcewicz notes about $11,000 have been raised by the barbecues, and invites everyone to come out for a hamburger or hot dog - and a chance to win the barbecue used in the event.

The barbecue runs from 11 am to 1 pm at John's Valu-Mart.

Algoma-Manitoulin NDP MPP Reacts to End of Ring of Fire Framework Agreement

Local New Democrat Michael Mantha's decrying news the PC government's scrapped a regional framework agreement with First Nations in the Ring of Fire region.

The PC government confirmed earlier this week that it has ended the agreement with the Matawa First Nations, instead noting that major industry player Noront Resources has memorandums of understanding with the communities.

Mantha is attacking the PCs over the move, saying they "didn't even pay lip service to the billion dollars in funding" needed for access roads to the Ring of Fire, while this year's budget "made no commitments to meaningful consultations with First Nations impacted by development in this area".

While the Algoma-Manitoulin MPP says the preceeding Liberal government "wasted a decade of potential economic opportunities for northerners", he's accusing Premier Doug Ford of "making things worse", putting the province "at risk of losing another decade of opportunity", as he says development of the Ring of Fire "can only happen in true partnership with First Nations".