Home Political Opinions Collective opinions of the community

Collective opinions of the community

A Message from Doug Shipley, MP

Many of us have felt a variety of emotions at different times during this pandemic, ranging from frustration, anger, loneliness, anxiety and fear to brighter moments of optimism and hope.  Over the past several months I have shared information about the many Covid relief programs that are available, and I assure you that my staff and I continue to be available to assist you, answering questions about any federal programs.

Recent announcements, including the current Stay-at-Home Order across Ontario, have triggered a lot of emotions for all of us.  This is not the time to ignore your mental and emotional health and well-being. 

When you are feeling overwhelmed or lonely, here are some cost-free ways to help lift your spirits:

Connect with friends and loved ones by phone or even on zoom.  So often we just send a text message because it’s easy or we don’t want to be a bother, but that voice to   

voice connection is so important.  Sometimes the person you are calling needs to hear your voice as much as you need to hear theirs.

Get outside and do some yard clean up or prep a garden.  We seem to be blessed with unusually good weather and warm temperatures this spring, something that we all needed to see. 

Go for a walk in your neighborhood or on a trail- focus on the sound of your footsteps, your breathing or the birds singing around you and take a well-deserved break from the worry and anxiety.

I would never want to minimize the impact that the pandemic is having on mental health and I understand that sometimes feeling better isn’t as easy as taking a walk or phoning a friend.  If you need professional help, please reach out.  There are some great local resources available, including the Canadian Mental Health Association Crisis Services, a 24-hour phone support line that can be reached by calling 705-728-5044 or toll free 1-888-893-8333.  You can also contact Telecare Distress Line at 705-327-2385 or telecaredistressline.com. Take care of yourself and your family, check in with friends and loved ones and ask if they are ok.  And please always ask for help if you need to. Stay safe everyone!

Sincerely,

Doug Shipley, Member of Parliament  Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte

My View – Bill French

The Passing of Prince Philip – What can I do?

I was intrigued with some of the news reporting on Prince Philip after his passing. The one thing that struck me was a speech I believe he made in 1957 on one of his trips. He stated that as citizens let’s not depend on government for everything, let’s do our part individually to help the common good. His words were about three years prior to John F Kennedy becoming President of the United States. The words were not as eloquent as John F Kennedy’s famous phase, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”, but both hit on a point that we all should be reflecting on now as we fight this pandemic of COVID-19. We all seem to want the government to take care of everything and almost from a sense of, “It is their duty.” We as citizens make up Canada and elect leaders to represent us, not control us. We must challenge ourselves in this most difficult time of our history and ask, “What can I do as an individual to get through this and help my neighbour”. There are some tell tale signs that people will help. I am a member of St Mary’s Parish in Barrie and Family Director with the Knights of Columbus Council. Each year we do food drives for the Foodbank and have collected close to 7,000 pounds of food in the past. Of course, in the last year, because of COVID-19 we cannot do that. So instead of gathering actual food, on Palm Sunday Weekend at all the masses and on Holy Thursday celebrations we collected donations of cash, cheques and gift cards. The total contributions were $9,500 which equates to close to 20,000 pounds of food since $1 buys on average 2 pounds of food. So instead of joining the mobs attacking our governments, ask yourself, as prompted by both Prince Philip and John F Kennedy, “What can you do?”

COVID Control Restrictions – Confusing?

Now that we have entered a “stay at home” order and the restriction levels keep changing, I understand the frustration of our small retail businesses as they try to survive and cope with the impact on their business, while large retail and big box stores profit during this crisis. When you think about it, we have 7 levels of restriction under Ontario COVID restriction rules. They are Green which is meant to prevent; Yellow which is meant to protect; Orange which is meant to restrict; Red which is meant to control; Grey which is lockdown and of course, Stay at Home. Is that not a little confusing? There seems to be a lot of overlap. Green at a stoplight means you can go, so as a starter that is very confusing. So normal behaviour is not even classified except for the fact that at some point the government will be a lifting all restrictions. Let’s simplify it. The first level should be Yellow as we all understand that as a warning that there is danger ahead and to be cautious. If things are getting worse then yes, Red makes sense as it is asking us all to stop and take more control of our situations. When it becomes out of control as it is now, then let’s have Black which signifies things are in dire trouble and significant lives are being lost. If we attached appropriate controls to each of these classifications, and now with over a year of information, could we not put appropriate levels of restrictions attached to each? If we did our controls in a less confusing manner, we can and will get ahead of this terrible pandemic. But changing the rules and the sub-categories constantly is obviously meeting with frustration, resistance and a loss of confidence in our government at all levels. That will not help us overcome this crisis. In the meantime, lets do what we can by Wearing a Mask, Keeping Physical Distance and Sanitizing and consider seriously taking the vaccine if you are able. Again, please remember these are my thoughts and I am not asking you to agree. I respect your freedom of expression and encourage you to SPEAK UP, before that freedom is taken from us!! This is already happening in Social Media and is worsening each day!

Bill French is a seasoned business leader with over 40 years experience and served in senior positions of International Enterprises. Bill served as Mayor of Springwater and a County of Simcoe Councillor from 2014 to 2018 and has taught business at the college level for over 15 years. You can also read these articles on line at http://springwatercitizens.blogspot.com/

Mayor Don’s Update – April 15, 2021

COVID Update

Under the current provincial Stay-at-Home Order you are reminded to only go out for essentials. The next few weeks will be difficult, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you are able to, I encourage you to support local businesses by ordering take-out or delivery, visiting their websites for online shopping or buying your essentials locally as much as possible. Please visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website (www.smdhu.org/covid19) for updates on the vaccine roll-out. This information changes frequently and it is the best source for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Community Hub Phase 1 Development

Phase 1 development of the Community Hub located at 1132 Snow Valley Road can move forward following Council’s approval on April 7. Planned amenities at the Community Hub include the relocation of Fire Station 2, a new recreation complex, library and creative services, meeting and active space, active and passive recreation opportunities, as well as the potential for an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) post in partnership with the County of Simcoe.

Phase 1 of the development includes site preparation (studies/survey, tree clearing and civil works), as well as the construction of the new Fire Station. Ainley & Associates has been retained for project management and the design of Phase 1.

The following project timelines are estimates:

Release RFP for new Fire Station – early April 2021

Award RFP contract for design/build of new Fire Station – August 2021

Commence tree clearing and site preparation – September 2021

Commence construction of new Fire Station – October 2021 (anticipated completion by the end of 2022)

Extension of watermain – May/June 2022

Construction of main entrance – July 2022

Phase 2 of the development will include engaging a consultant for the design, visioning and working drawings for the remainder of the Community Hub property.

This is an exciting time for Springwater and we look forward to this project advancing.

Pilot Community Garden Project

A new community garden will be created at Bishop Park on Amelia Street in Elmvale following Council’s approval of a pilot project at the April 7 Council Meeting. Community gardens help to support food security in the community by providing access to safe, affordable, nutritious diets that come for a sustainable food system.

The community garden will offer small allotment plots of land to interested residents for a nominal annual fee. The Township will be seeking interested residents to form a community garden group, which will assist in the operation and maintenance of the new garden.

If you are interested in purchasing a plot or would like to assist with the community garden group, please visit the Township website for more information at www.springwater.ca/CommunityGarden

2021 Springwater Swing Golf Tournament Cancelled

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Township Council has made the decision to cancel the Springwater Swing Golf Tournament for 2021. The event was to be held in June at the Barrie Country Club but due to changing circumstances, regulations and restrictions, Council decided to not move forward with a tournament this year.

Each year this tournament raises money that is distributed to worthwhile causes in the community, including physician recruitment, the Community Assistance Program and more. We look forward to hosting a tournament in 2022 to continue this tradition.

Off-Road Motorcycles and Extreme Terrain Vehicles on Municipal Roads

The Province expanded the type of off-road vehicles permitted on municipal and provincial roadways. The change includes allowing Extreme Terrain Vehicles (XTVs), as well as Off-Road Motorcycles (ORM) on the shoulder of public roads. Municipal Council’s have the option of opting in or opting out of permitting these vehicles on roadways.  At the April 7 meeting, Council chose to amend our current by-law to permit the operation of these vehicles on certain Springwater roadways, with certain restrictions. The amended by-law will be brought forward to Council for approval on April 21.

Simcoe County 2020 waste management update

In 2020, approximately 150,130 tonnes of material were managed through curbside and facility drop-off programs (60 tonnes less than the previous year). The combined direct diversion rate for both curbside and facility managed tonnes was 63.82%, an increase from the 2019 diversion rate (60.96%) and the highest combined direct diversion rate achieved to date. Curbside direct diversion rates for the basic level of service (weekly garbage, organics, recyclables and seasonal special collections) increased to 62.5% in 2020 from 55.5% in 2019. Curbside organics increased by 5,560 tonnes (38.3%) over 2019. Curbside garbage decreased by 4,226 tonnes (10.3%). Staff believes the increase in organics and decreases in garbage was attributed to the change to bi-weekly collection of curbside garbage in February 2020. The amount of curbside leaf and yard waste and Christmas trees collected increased significantly. The County’s curbside battery collection achieved its best results since the program was implemented in 2014. A total of 45.43 tonnes of acceptable batteries were collected, an increase of 60.5% over the previous year. The curbside textile and electronics collection programs were cancelled for 2020.

The County of Simcoe currently manages three active landfill sites, Oro (Site 11), Collingwood (Site 2) and Nottawasaga (Site 10). The remaining capacity and estimated closure year for each site is 2022, 2025 and 2024 respectively.

The County of Simcoe curbside Leaf and Yard Waste collection program starts this week, with Zone One being picked up during the weeks of April 12, 26, May 10 and 28 and Zone Two during the weeks of April 19, May 3, 17 and 31.  These are for leaves, grass, branches (sized and bundled appropriately) and other appropriately prepared garden waste. Have it placed at curbside by 7am on Monday of your week in kraft paper yard waste bags, compostable bags, cardboard boxes or open-ended rigid containers.

Springwater Spring Street Sweeping

Weather permitting, spring street sweeping will begin on Monday, April 19. The sweepers will start in the areas of Paddy Dunn’s Circle, Carson Ridge and Snow Valley Highlands, followed by Midhurst and then continue moving north. There will be two sweepers, a water truck and a dump truck to begin, with a third sweeper added at a later date. Please do not rake your sand into piles at the road or the end of your driveway as the street sweepers are unable to pick up piles.

Update

Mr. R.W. Wagner in his article in the April 1 Springwater News made reference to his thoughts about my support for locating the Simcoe County Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC) in the Freele forest on Horseshoe Valley Road in Springwater He stated, based on discussion with another County Councillor, that a majority of County Councillors believe I am supportive of this. This is totally misrepresented, unsubstantiated and untrue. Since the ERRC selection process occurred for the site last Council term and to this day, I remain totally against the location of this waste management aggregation facility at this location in the middle of a forest. I have expressed this at different times at County Council last term and this term but have not been able to get sufficient support to have a formal reconsideration of this site selection decision by County Council. Realizing that this avenue was not going to be possible, I supported proceeding with the LPAT hearing and judicial review to see if the parties appealing could be successful in challenging this. I continue to communicate with Springwater staff to monitor the progress of this and determine how we as a Township can have the greatest possible amount of input and control over specific elements of this development should it move forward, to try to mitigate risk as best possible.

Mr. Bill French continues to make negative comments in the Springwater News about me not supporting the Springwater News in a recent Council discussion and vote. Councillor Anita Moore, Deputy Mayor Coughlin and I voted to divide (not end) Springwater advertising between Springwater News and the Barrie Advance. Councillor Moore stated that some of her residents have expressed interest in that and it was worthy of consideration. That direction for the motion was not successful, so all the Springwater advertising remains with Springwater News. I believe Springwater News fulfills a good role for the community and I agree with continuing to support it through some advertising and article contribution, as I do.  However, we are growing all over the Township and some residents want additional sources of press representation. We have received letters of support as well as resistance for this.  Mr. Wagner also expressed his theories as to the motivation for those who voted to divide the advertising in his April 1 Springwater News article, which in my opinion are absurd.

Bottom line is don’t believe much of what you read and if you have questions or concerns with what you read and it involves Council, contact me at don.allen@springwater.ca and I will give you the straight goods and the truth. These comments reflect my thoughts and not necessarily those of council. Stay safe.