Steam Era 2010 This Weekend

For 50 years, the Milton Steam Era has ushered in the end of summer with its annual event.  This weekend is a time to bring out the kids and learn some history about the ways things used to be.

Stephanie Hounsell has a great article in the Champion this week as well.

Going full steam ahead – Fiftieth Steam-Era show this weekend

Neil Ford stands between two of the Rumely tractors he has restored and will display during this Labour Day weekend’s 50th annual Steam-Era event at the Milton Fair Grounds. Ford attended the first show 50 years ago and has the W 20-30 Rumely tractor that was displayed at the first show.

The year was 1961, and Neil Ford was a young man excited about attending the first-ever Steam-Era show at the Milton Fair Grounds.

It was something new and exciting for the then-small town, and the largely agricultural community embraced it wholeheartedly in the years to come, earning Milton the title “Steam Capital of Ontario.”

Fifty years later, Ford still eagerly anticipates the annual show, which this year will start tomorrow and continue until Monday.

It’s the tractors rather than the steam engines that draw Ford year after year, particularly Rumely tractors, of which he’ll display eight in the upcoming event, including one from the inaugural show.

The 50th anniversary of the Steam-Era is one that has the members of the Ontario Steam and Antique Preservers Association — which puts on the show — excited.

“It’s a milestone for sure,” said past president David Stirk.

As usual, the Steam-Era will take place at the Milton Fair Grounds, with the grounds opening at 8 a.m. each day and closing after the evening’s featured entertainment, except Monday, when activities will wrap up in the late afternoon.

Saturday’s ever-popular Steam-Era parade, starting at about 1 p.m., will see machines big and small lumber along downtown Main Street from Commercial Street to Bell Street and then to the fairgrounds.

Opening ceremonies will take place at 2 p.m., with a handful of the original association members on hand.

The show will feature a wide array of operating steam traction engines — a type of agricultural tractor powered by steam in the late 1800s and early 1900s — and stationary steam engines, all painstakingly restored to their original glory. Also featured will be vintage operating gas tractors and stationary engines, along with antique cars.

There will be demonstrations (sawmill, threshing, etc.), tractor pulls, steam-powered corn roasts, steam engine spark shows, daily grand parades of equipment and more. There will also be toys, crafts, music, a flea market and food vendors.

In recognition of the event’s anniversary, a tent will feature items and machines from the first 10 years of the Steam-Era.  Something new this year is an exhibit by the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association featuring a live observation hive.

Saturday at 7:30 p.m., the 33rd annual Country and Western Talent Contest will take place, while Sunday at 7 p.m. will feature music by Digger and the Campfire Country Music Band.

There’ll be something for everyone, Stirk said, adding this might be the best steam show in all of North America. People come from far away to attend.

Steam engines have fascinated Stirk for a long time.

“It’s that proverbial bug — almost like catching the flu,” he said of his fascination. “You get that steam bug and you’re stuck with it.”

Much has changed since the first Steam-Era, when admission cost 75 cents. These days, many people don’t come to remember, but to learn something new, said Stirk, who hopes new residents will give it a try.

“I can’t urge them enough. It’s a whole different form of entertainment. It’s not an amusement park, it’s not a fair, it’s a festival,” he said.

Admission costs $8 for adults and is free for kids under 12 with an adult. Weekend passes are available for $17. Admission fees include each night’s entertainment.

For more information on the Steam Era go to www.steam-era.com and see the details of what’s happening all Labour Day weekend long.

I hope to see you there.

Door Knocking Notes & School Board Trustees

I had a great time knocking on doors last night near 4th Line & Louis St Laurent and meeting up with regular readers of my blog, like Andre (Thanks for reading!)

If you were going through that intersection last night, you know they are doing some repair work finally because going through the stop sign almost felt like an off road course.  The kids love it by the way, but its not good on the suspension of the car.

Many of the people I spoke with were looking for updates on when the high school would begin construction and I’ll be sending Donna Danielli an email today to find out.  Donna is our Public School Board Trustee who has worked very hard over the last 4 years. 

With this election comes a change in the number of trustees for Milton.  There are now 2 positions open for the October election, one for the “southern” wards 1,6,7 & 8 and the other for the” northern” wards of 2,3,4 & 5.  This will provide them with more of an opportunity to concentrate their focus on a smaller area instead of the town as a whole.

School board trustees are often overlooked as a “minor” position and are not given the due they deserve.  Hours upon hours of work are put into this job with almost very little recognition.  I know from experience dealing with a number of trustees that this position is anything but “minor”  It takes dedication and a lot of hard work to do what they do and to help ensure that as the town grows, so do the opportunities for our education system.

This election as you choose who you want to support for Regional Chair, Mayor, Regional Council, and Local Council (thats me!), take some time and research who you want to be your public and catholic school board trustee.

If you live in wards 2,3,4 &5 drop Donna a note as shes running for re-election at the public school board level.  Tell her I sent you.

The evenings are becoming more comfortable for strolls (and door knocking) and Im looking to do some more tonight and later on this week.  I hope to see you at the doors.

*edit*  Thanks to Gary for letting me know I had the wards Donna was running in listed incorrectly.

Not Much Budget Talk

Last nights council meeting had a number of items on the agenda.  In fact some of the people in the gallery were placing bets on when it would end.  I had predicted 11:50PM but I was about 20 minutes off.

One of the highly anticipated items on the agenda was the 2011 Budget Call Report which outlined staffs recommendations or reasons why the town needs to increase the mill rate by 6.91% in 2011.  There are a number of factors why the increase is “needed’ including the costs for the new Arts & Entertainment centre, Milton Sports Centre among other items.  I blogged on this the other day and you can see that post here.

You will find the Budget Call Report on the Town’s website here.  Its 33 pages long and not the most interesting reading, but its important to understand where the town is coming from when it tries to justify such a large increase in property taxes.

There were a few delegations to the meeting but most of the discussion was on traffic calming zones near schools and a number of questions from Councillor Paul Scherer.  Some delegates proposed that the town propose a zero per cent increase for 2011, given the fact that Milton residents will not be able to afford it.

As the town grows, so will the demands on services they provide and as new facilities come online, there are additional pressures to staff them, electricity, heating and maintenance that will increase costs.  I have stated before that the tax increase shouldn’t be more than the rate of inflation if at all possible.  A zero per cent increase should be the goal, but anything higher than the inflation rate would be deemed unacceptable.  When the budget meetings begin in December, the starting point should be zero, instead of working from a higher number and then work from there.

Outside of that, there wasn’t much discussion on the numbers included in the report.  The dynamics of this council are now much different as they will now be referred to as “lame duck council”  This happens when they are nearing the end of their term on council before an election and they are quite limited in the decisions they can make coming up to the new council being sworn in.

There could have been a little more discussion and questions of staff as to this report but it seems that most were content to deal with it after the election.  Most of the incumbents are running again for either the same or different positions (local vs regional council) and outside of a few new members (hopefully including yours truly) most will be there in December.

Over the next few weeks, I hope that I could get some input from you on what your thoughts are about the proposed increases.  Shortly after the new council is sworn in, there will be a series of meetings to approve the 2011 budget and I want to make sure I am armed with questions and comments from the voters in my ward AND in the Town of Milton.

Post a comment here on the thread or send me an email mike@mikecluett.cawith your questions and if I am elected on October 25th, I will bring them to council during the budget approval meetings.  Over the course of the next several weeks, I will also endeavour to have meet & greets around the ward to sit down with you as well.  If you would like to host one of these events, please let me know.

Only by getting direct input from voters will council have the right priorities in mind when it comes to approving what will be a very important budget setting a course for the town of Milton in the coming years.

I look forward to your input and until then, I’ll see you at the doors.

Lawn Signs Will Be Ready Soon

I have been getting a number of emails recently from people who are looking for lawn signs.  As a candidate I find this very encouraging because it means people are engaged and interested in what is going on. 

As I talked about yesterday, town council tonight will be considering a report from staff that recommends a potential, stress potential, increase in the mil rate by 6.91% for the 2011 budget year.

Nothing is written in stone as that decision is made (by the new council) in the December budget meetings.  This is a time where council makes comments and asks for further information and to give staff direction on where they would like it go.

Needless to say tonight’s council meeting should go long with the majority of council members now registered to run in the election.  I hope to hear so positive comments tonight and maybe we can hear from council that 6.91% increase is unacceptable.  There are some questions on how they arrived at this number and staff will also be making a presentation tonight.

Stay tuned to my Twitter for updates.  If you haven’t been following yet, click on my Twitter feed on my home page and send me messages on how the night progresses.

I know staff is looking at the costs involved in streaming the meetings online through www.milton.ca and this is one of those meetings I know would get a lot of interest from taxpayers.  If you can make it, bring a lunch and head down to Town Hall.  The meeting starts at 7:30pm.

If you would like to be put on the list for a lawn sign, email me mike@mikecluett.ca or leave a comment in this post and when they are ready, I’ll have one put on your front lawn.

Thank you very much for your support!  Until then, I’ll see you at the doors.

Potential 6.91% Increase To Be Discussed Monday

Well it looks like I have some reading to do.

The agenda for this coming Monday’s meeeting was online this past Thursday which includes a number of items that will keep both the councillors and us “shadow cabinet” candidates there for some time.  There is also going to be a couple of public meetings regarding 230 Ontario Street and Cancast Inc as well.  Click to see the agenda for those items.

Quickly reviewing the Budget Call Report CORS 063-10 it looks like it will be the hottest item of the night.  Staff report shows that they will be recommending a 6.91% increase in the mill rate to pay for a number of new items that have come online, including the Milton Centre for the Arts among others.

Being an election year, you know the show will be out in full force.

Here’s a quick breakdown from the report.

Take some time to review the document and if you would like to make a presentation, you can email the town and let them know you would like to be a delegation to the meeting.  Make sure you let them know by Monday at 10am.

If not, email me your questions and I will present those to the council members at that time.

Remember, this is just a suggested amount and the final decision will take place at the budget meetings in December 2010, after the new councill is elected.

Follow me on Twitter  and I will also provide updates from the council meeting as I have been doing for some time.  There will be candidates from other wards doing it as well, so you can get an idea of who might be representing the town come December 1st.

I look forward to hearing your comments, and until then I’ll see you at the doors.