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Political Opinions

My View – Bill French

Covid-19 – Economic and Political Impact

As we all live the new experiences of COVID-19, do we really have any idea of where we are going and how we will get there? The world has never experienced anything like this, and it is much more than any of the experiences of our World Wars or even the great depression, which are probably the closest comparator. The only honest statement I have seen from government is from the Ontario Minister of Finance, who stated that we have no idea how long this will last or what the outcome will be and if anyone has a crystal ball, he would like to borrow it. I have been impressed with the Premiers of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia as they provide solid valuable information in their updates. On the other hand I find Trudeau’s National updates, shallow, lacking solid information and sounding like that of a disconnected privileged individual who simply thinks the answer is throwing more money at a situation. Our Chief Public Health Officer simply frightens me with some of her rather flippant remarks.

Currently we have 3 million unemployed and another 2 million applying for the 75% benefit, which in my view represents an effective unemployed rate of 30% not the 13% reported last week. Typically we are in the 5% unemployment range nationally. That has never occurred in the history of Canada. Another startling fact is that almost 80% of the workforce is employed in the service sector and most of that is closed down. 50 to 70 years ago, about half the workforce was employed in the manufacturing sector, so we have lost all those good paying blue collar jobs, resulting in collecting less income tax and unemployment premiums that funds all of our government programs. We are simply spending much more than we can afford or will ever have. I expect all the reserves for the unemployment benefit will be quickly obliterated. I would like to see our government talking about how to recover those funds. I would suggest that the unemployment premium deductions would need to be at least doubled from the current rate of about 1.6% or even as much as 5% to rebuild the reserves for future needs. There probably needs to be an income tax surcharge of 5% for a number of years to recover government funds. I would like to see all of our governments talking about how they plan to get back to where we were before COVID-19 and what a 10 year plan will be, as it will take that long. Opening the economy is important of course, but that is only one aspect of recovering the cost of this Pandemic. It is difficult to even fathom the amount of lost income to the government coffers since this started and the shortfall over the next two years with deficit spending.

I expect that we will continue to borrow money to soften the blow, as that is the Trudeau socialist approach which unfortunately seems to be shared by many. Based on this mentality, we will build deficits that have been unheard of over the next two years, as I believe it will be at least that long before anything is stabilized. Don’t be surprised to see our GDP drop as much as 30 to 40% and our national debt double, as the programs that are being offered are simply unsustainable. Right now I don’t see any plan or vision from any level of government, which is shocking.

One of our great challenges is that we have built, what I described for years now as a false economy, based on debt buying of our “wants” rather than just our “needs”. In times of crisis, we all revert to survival and address our needs and put off our wants. Unfortunately, most of our economy has been built on wants since the 60’s and it may never be able to recover because we, at all levels from the state to our personal level, have spent so much more than we can afford. I expect it will take 2 or 3 future generations to normalize the world after this is over. I am not sure we have given those generations the ability or skill set to undertake such a task.

It is a wake up call for all of us, but how long will we remember this before returning to our old ways?

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.

 

County Council Highlights
Committee of the Whole: April 28, 2020
Friends of Simcoe Forests Outraged as–  County of Simcoe uses COVID-19 in effort to avoid LPAT hearing over the proposed waste processing complex in the Freele County Forest. 

 SPRINGWATER TOWNSHIP, APRIL 29, 2020 – The County of Simcoe is using the COVID-19 pandemic to ram through approval of the Environmental Resource Recover Centre (ERRC), a large waste processing complex in the Freele County Forest. Last year, the Friends of Simcoe Forests Inc., a local citizens’ group, appealed the decision to establish the ERRC in the Freele County Forest to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). 

 On April 17, 2020, the County of Simcoe sent a request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) asking the Minister to issue a Minister’s Zoning Order to the ERRC.  

The issuance of a Minister’s Zoning Order would terminate the LPAT proceeding and would leave the legal, planning, and technical issues with the ERRC unresolved.  FSF is unaware of any instance where a Minister’s Zoning Order has been issued for a project while a matter was before the LPAT. 

“We are outraged,” said Mary Wagner, President of the FSF. “We have participated in the local and provincial planning process in good faith for 4 years. Local residents have spent

time, money and resources to prepare for the case.  The County is now attempting to circumvent the LPAT hearing and citing the pandemic as a reason for trampling on citizens’ rights to engage in the democratic process.” 

 FSF has long been opposed to the site chosen by the County of Simcoe to place a major waste management and processing complex within the Freele County Forest. 

 “This proposal is fundamentally at odds with the Ontario’s environmental and planning laws,” Mary Wagner added. “We want to have the County take care of its waste – but not here, this is not an industrial site, it’s the wrong place for this facility.”

 FSF and two local businesses have appealed the matter to LPAT.  

 “The issuance of a Minister’s Zoning Order would be extremely unfair at this late stage and would fundamentally undermine public trust and confidence in Ontario’s planning regime,” said Cindy Mercer, a local resident and member of FSF. 

The County’s move comes after a controversial decision by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in September 2019 to introduce modifications to Ontario Regulation 311/06 (Transitional Matters – Growth Plans) to exempt the proposed site from the natural heritage policies under the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. FSF has challenged the legality of the regulation to LPAT.

The closed Environmental Registry posting is found here: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-0018

 FSF is a local non-profit organization that seeks to protect and conserve forests in Simcoe County. FSF has expended significant time, resources, and money through tireless fundraising efforts to prepare for the LPAT hearing process which is currently underway. 

FSF’s expert consultants have raised serious concerns about the adequacy of the County’s technical studies in relation to the Significant Woodland and four types of Significant Wildlife Habitat found on the proposed site. 

“We continue to be subject to unfair measures by the government authorities to prevent us from raising legitimate arguments in this case,” said Cindy Mercer. “Ontarians should be entitled to an opportunity to engage in the LPAT hearing process without political interference. “

FSF is calling on the public to write Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark urging him not to issue a Minister’s Zoning Order to the ERRC.  https://www.friendsofsimcoeforests.com/download

 Please contact: Mary Wagner {705-716-6564) or through FSF at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Please visit the website for more information.  www.friendsofsimcoeforests.com

Doug Downey MPP Barrie Springwater Oro-Medonte

We are living in unprecedented times. As we continue to battle COVID-19 within our communities, the provincial government has released new regulations to help seniors with the cost of dispensing fees for medications. 

 On March 20, 2020, the Ministry of Health recommended to pharmacists that they dispense no more than a 30-day supply of medication, even though a greater supply may be prescribed and payable under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program. This recommendation was released with the intention to protect the drug supply chain, prevent drug shortages caused by stockpiling of medications, and to deal with increase in demand for medications for patients with COVID-19. 

Unfortunately, this recommendation led to ODB program recipients paying more than 1 co-payment for the same supply of medication that is now being dispensed in 30 day installments, in accordance with the Ministry’s recommendation.

This has cost implications for ODB program recipients. Now that prescriptions are only available in one month installments, this leaves ODB recipients to pay three separate dispensing fees for the same supply of medication. 

 To help alleviate the unintended cost impact to ODB recipients, the Ministry of Health is proposing to amend the Ontario Drug Benefit Act to ensure that recipients only pay 1 co-payment for a 30+ day supply, by reducing the co-payments to $0 for the 2nd and, if applicable, 3rd dispensing event.  

The Ministry of Health would reimburse pharmacies for the co-payment that they would no longer receive for the 2nd dispensing event. For the 3rd dispensing event, the Regulation would be amended to reduce the dispensing fee paid to pharmacies and dispensing physicians by the co-payment amount that would previously have been payable by the recipient (for example, reduced from $8.83 to $2.72 for prescriptions that require a $6.11 co-payment from seniors; and reduced from $8.83 to $6.83 for prescriptions that require a $2 co-payment).

These changes would only be applicable for the duration of the government recommendation to limit dispensing to no more than a 30-day supply. Once a full supply is available again, the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will revert to its original status.   

The changes to the Ontario Drug Benefit program are going to lead to real financial relief, especially for Ontario’s seniors. These changes will ensure that seniors are only responsible for one payment for the same supply that they are accustomed to receiving. It is through consultation with all Ontarians that these changes were made possible. We are listening, and we are continuing to make changes that keep you safe and make life more affordable during these uncertain times.   

Please visit DougDowney.ca/recovery to share your feedback with us.

 

Springwater Council Highlights – May 6

Community Improvement Plan

The Township’s Community Improvement Plan (CIP) supports eligible businesses through municipal funding opportunities. There are eight program areas, spanning from permit fee rebates and historic property improvements to new signage and façade improvements.

Council has awarded Hillsdale Pharmacy, located at 4570 Penetanguishene Road, with $6,500 to renovate and improve the interior of the commercial space, as well as enhance signage for the building.

The CIP program helps to enhance and promote Springwater businesses, while preserving local heritage. Funds are still available. Learn more about the program and the application process at www.springwater.ca/CIP

Service Delivery Review – Tender Awarded

Springwater will be undertaking a Service Delivery Review to determine how services are delivered throughout the Township and whether any efficiencies can be found. The review will include levels of services, methods of delivery and administrative processes, as well as examine organizational structure. Council awarded the project to MNP LLP at a maximum cost of $59,000 plus HST. The funding for the review will come from two grants, the Municipal Modernization Program and the Modernization Fund (Small & Rural Funding).

Financial Implications of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed daily life and impacted the operations of the Township. The Township has responded to the crisis by closing a number of facilities, cancelling programs and changing how essential services are delivered. Staff have been monitoring and assessing the financial impacts of the crisis and provided a report to Council outlining a preliminary overview of expected financial implications.

For tax-funded departments, the impact is estimated to be a loss ranging from $83,000 should the crisis end by June 30, up to $792,000 should the crisis extend to December 31.

Additionally, staff have outlined a number of potential cost savings as a result of the crisis including savings on staffing due to delayed hiring or the cancellation of contracts; savings on training, mileage and conference; savings on fuel and hydro and the deferral of some capital projects until 2021.

 

Mayor Don’s Update – May 14, 2020

COVID-19 Update

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and so does the Springwater’s response. The Township’s Community Control Group continues to meet on a regular basis via conference call and adjust the operations of the municipality as needed.

As the new case count begins to drop in the Province, we are starting to see the restrictions loosen up. At the time of writing this article, the Province has announced:

Garden centres, hardware and safety stores are permitted to open to the public.

Stores with a street level entrance are permitted to provide curbside pickup.

Elective surgeries and procedures will be resumed in Ontario hospitals. This will be a phased in approach to ensure that hospitals have the capacity to deal with a potential COVID-19 outbreak

Provincial Parks have reopened for day-use including walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Anyone using the parks is reminded to properly physically distance at all times.

The Province is taking a phased in approach and is implementing strict health and safety guidelines for each of the reopening’s. Potential impacts will be monitored closely to ensure a resurgence does not occur. 

The Township has implemented a recovery task force to prepare for the reopening of Township facilities. The task force will look at issues related to staffing considerations, personal protective equipment, health and safety and the re-opening of facilities and amenities in a safe and controlled manner, amongst other things.

As we approach the long weekend, you are reminded to practice physical distancing, avoid group gatherings and remain at home as much as possible. We are flattening the curve and by continuing to follow the instructions of the Province and the local health unit, we will be successful in our fight against COVID-19.

Elmvale & District Food Bank Groundbreaking

This week was a special week as we held a ‘physically distanced’ groundbreaking for the Elmvale & District Food Bank. Each person involved participated at a separate time so that there was no overlap and people were never on site at the same time.

The new facility will be located at 62 Yonge St. N. and will address food storage, privacy and accessibility concerns volunteers deal with at the current facility.

In February 2019, the Township committed to a one-time capital contribution of $100,000 towards the construction of a new facility and the Food Bank has fundraised $100,000. The municipality has also agreed to front end the necessary funds in excess of $200,000 to be repaid over a period of up to 10 years.

The Township is happy to support the important work the Food Bank is doing in our community.

Prepare Your Selfie Contest

Springwater Fire is encouraging residents to get prepared for an emergency by making a plan, building a kit and staying informed.

Residents who build a 72-hour emergency kit are encouraged to take a ‘selfie’ of themselves with their kit and share their #PrepareYourSelfie on social media to have a chance to win a survival kit for your vehicle.

1) Prepare a 72-hour emergency kit.

2) Take a selfie with your kit.

3) Share your selfie on social media with the hashtag #PrepareYourSelfie. Make sure you tag the Township of Springwater on Facebook or @SpringwaterTwp or @SpringwaterFire on Twitter

Learn what goes in a kit at https://www.springwater.ca/en/living-here/emergency-preparedness. The contest closes on May 30, 2020, so build your kit today!

Blue Box Transition Date

The Provincial blue box recycling program is moving toward producer responsibility, targeting between 2023 and 2025. Provincial regulation details about this are currently under development. Producer responsibility involves the producers, brand owners and importers of printed paper and packaging becoming fully responsible for the provincial blue box program. This is estimated to reduce the collective financial burden on Ontario municipalities by approximately $130 million annually.

County Simcoe’s 2018 gross blue box program costs were $7,137,916, partially offset by producer funding received in 2018 of $3,140,984 for a net cost of $3,996,932. Theoretically, upon transition to producer responsibility, this cost will be removed. Over 2019 -2020, the Province will consult with municipalities and finalize the regulations before year-end. Over 2021-2022, producers will be consulting with municipalities. Over 2023-2025 a phased transfer of responsibility is projected to occur. A goal is to get more standardization of materials to make recycling and collection easier. County staff is recommending selection of January 1, 2023 to target transition the County’s blue box program to full producer responsibility to accelerate and maximize cost savings. The County may have an interest in continuing to provide some blue box services, including collection, contract management, and potentially transfer, assuming mutually agreeable contract terms could be reached with the producers for County provision of these services.

Please continue to follow the physical distancing and other rules and practices as some activities are starting to return. Stay well and safe.

 

Notice: Statement of Completion - Hasty Tract

The Township of Springwater (the Township) has expressed an interest in purchasing a portion of a Crown land property located at 1132 Snow Valley Road in the Township of Springwater from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). The Township intends to use the property for new capital construction projects. Facilities being considered include a Fire Station, multi-purpose recreational complex, multi-purpose outdoor fields and other public uses. The first facility proposed is a fire station. The remainder of the proposed development will be phased to meet the needs of the community. The land proposed for purchase by the Township is located on the east half of the property (approximately 50 acres).

A public Notice of Commencement was previously issued on May 3, 2018. A Public Information Centre was held on September 26, 2019 to provide an opportunity for public input and comment.

 A Category B project evaluation and consultation process was carried out for this project (sale of Crown land) in accordance with the Class Environmental Assessment for MNR Resource Stewardship and Facility Development Projects. The Category B project evaluation determined that the project will have no significant adverse environmental effects provided that appropriate mitigation measures are implemented.

A Notice of Completion was sent to all public, agencies, and Indigenous communities on the project contact list on February 6, 2020. The Notice of Completion advised that Project Evaluation Report was available for public review. A digital copy of the Project Evaluation Report was made available on the Township’s website and a hardcopy was available at the Township Administration Centre for public review. Contact information and the opportunity to provide comment was provided to the public, agency and Indigenous communities, including the opportunity to request a Part II Order from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. No comments were received during the 30-day commenting period that ended on March 8, 2020. There were also no Part II Orders received.

The MNRF considers that there are no significant outstanding concerns and has concluded the Class EA process. This decision is published through the Statement of Completion and formally indicates the completion of the Class EA. A copy of the Statement of Completion can be found on the Township’s website at www.springwater.ca.  Based on the completion of the Class EA, MNRF and the Township will now proceed with the process for the sale of the subject property.

 

Further Precarious Situation for President Juan Orlando Hernandez

As the COVID-19 cases in Honduras rise, the people are finding it more difficult to leave their homes to purchase food and necessities. Military police line the roads at checkpoints throughout the country to check ID cards of citizens who are only allowed to leave their homes to purchase food and necessities once a week according to their personal ID number. See photo below, courtesy of The Guardian.

This heavy, repressive, military presence makes traveling throughout the city and rural areas to buy food difficult and dangerous. Many are harassed, beaten, tear gassed, or arrested if their ID cards are not deemed satisfactory, or if they are forced to travel back and forth to work. Despite the lockdown, many workers must report to their workplaces and defy the orders to stay home. If they do not go to work, especially if they work in Canadian and US sweatshops, they lose their jobs.

To help those who are struggling during this pandemic, the SCHRM has sent funds to front-line volunteers so that they can purchase food for community members in need. Monies are received by local social movement leaders who purchase staples like rice, beans, flour, dairy products, vegetables, etc. Packages are measured, sorted, and delivered by community resistance members to those families who are suffering due to COVID-19 restrictions, health problems, lack of employment, or job loss. Aid sent to Honduras by the Canadian government, other foreign governments or agencies, does not necessarily reach the people on the ground. Conversely, SCHRM donations go directly to those who need it the most.

In the Northern part of Honduras, Afro-Indigenous leaders are taking their own precautions during the COVID crisis to protect their communities. On May 5, 2020, leaders of a community in the Department of Cortes, set up checkpoints to monitor vehicles coming in and out of the community and to fumigate areas as part of bio security precautionary measures to stop the spread of the virus. When military police arrived, they threatened to disband the community check point by returning with tear gas and a military convoy. The community leaders refused to cooperate so the military dispersed.

Afro-Indigenous leader Miriam Miranda of the Garifuna organization, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), reports that over 26 communities in Northern Honduras are taking the pandemic very seriously to protect the elders and families. Members continually monitor their communities and organize community food distribution projects. These locally led efforts demonstrate that citizens greatly mistrust the Honduran government’s handling of the COVID-19 measures and the military occupation of their neighbourhoods. For more information, and to view a webinar of May 6, 2020, featuring Miriam Miranda, refer to www.hondurassolidaritynetwork.org.

On April 30, 2020, the U.S. Southern District Court of New York indicted the former head of the Honduran National Police, Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares on four counts of drug trafficking and weapons charges. Known as ‘El Tigre’ for his ruthlessness, Bonilla protected those involved in shipping cocaine in and out of Honduras. He not only abused his power as a high-ranking officer, but allegedly committed the murder of a rival drug trafficker.

In the indictment of Bonilla, Juan Orlando Hernandez has been implicated. This puts President Hernandez in a more precarious situation if Bonilla cooperates with the courts and further incriminates him as the U.S Justice Department continues to investigate and charge high ranking officials in Honduras of serious drug trafficking offences.

While the U.S. New York court brings charges against Honduran officials like Bonilla and brother of the president, the Trump administration continues to ‘do business’ as usual with the Hernandez government through the Asylum Cooperative Agreement, which is similar to the Safe-Third-World Agreement. This sends asylum seekers back to Guatemala and/or Honduras from the U.S. after they have been detained then deported. Many critics of this repressive policy that sends migrants back to very unsafe conditions believe that the Hernandez government cooperates with the Trump administration only to protect its position. Meanwhile drug trafficking charges could eventually bring down the Honduran presidency. For more information, refer to: https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/politics-news-pmn/guatemala-seeks-to-limit-migrants-returned-under-u-s-asylum-agreement

The Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor thanks the greater Springwater community for its support so that we can continue our work in Honduras to advocate for the people. We wish everyone good health during this difficult time.

Janet Spring and the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor Committee

County Council: April 28, 2020

County COVID-19 service impacts and updates

Midhurst/May 5, 2020 – The County of Simcoe continues to provide vital services to residents and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. Due to health protocols, staffing impacts and public utilisation of some programs and services, the County continues to adjust operations to ensure essential and urgent supports remain in place.

LINX Transit

Starting Monday, May 11, LINX Transit is making the following adjustments:

Route 1 – Penetanguishene/Midland to Barrie – Transit service will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the last trips leaving at 6:30 p.m. The frequency of service remains every 90 minutes

Route 2 – Wasaga Beach to Barrie – Transit service will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the last trips leaving at 6:30 p.m. Service frequency remains unchanged

Route 3 – Orillia to Barrie – Morning service will begin in Orillia at 6:45 a.m. with the last morning trip leaving Barrie at 9:05 a.m. Service will resume in the afternoon, starting in Orillia at 3:05 p.m. with the last trip leaving Barrie at 5:25 p.m. Service frequency during these hours of operation is every 100 minutes

Route 4 – Wasaga Beach to Collingwood – Transit services operating daily on the Sunday schedule beginning in Collingwood at 7:00 a.m. with the last trip leaving Wasaga Beach at 8:30 p.m. Service frequency is hourly. There is no service to Collingwood Collegiate, and no service on Victoria Day, Monday, May 18, 2020

LINX+ (accessible transit) is not affected by these schedule changes

Reminder: To find out when your next bus is arriving, go to www.nextlinx.simcoe.ca/ or use Transit app, available at https://transitapp.com/ or download on your device free of charge.

In keeping with public health guidelines, the County is requesting that ALL riders:

Keep 2 meters (6 feet) between them and other passengers and the driver

Remove all personal belongings and waste upon departure

Sneeze/cough into their elbow, use hand sanitizer and wash hands properly

Solid Waste Management

Curbside Clothing Collection

​Clothing collection, which was scheduled to occur the weeks of June 15 and June 22, 2020, has been postponed until further notice due to the temporary closure of the processing facility where material is sorted and graded.

Spring ​Compost Sales

​Spring residential and commercial compost sales (offered annually at landfills and transfer stations) have been postponed until further notice in order to adhere to provincial health guidelines regarding essential services and limit visits to landfill sites to emergencies only.

Call-in Bulky Item Collection

Call-in Bulky Item Collection that normally runs from June through September has been postponed until further notice to adhere to public health guidelines and to assist in maximizing staff resources supporting essential services and programs.

Long-Term Care COVID-19 testing

The Province has launched a new proactive testing strategy that tests staff and residents in all long-term care homes to help limit the spread of COVID-19 through earlier detection of asymptomatic carriers​. By expanding testing, health officials will be better able to understand the breadth of this problem so that they can work with all levels of government and our health agencies to identify risk and limit the extent of further exposure. This testing will also allow public health and long-term care homes to gain helpful insight into our current situation and tailor health precautions accordingly. While additional positive cases may be identified through mass testing, the process will support measures to flatten the COVID-19 curve earlier and work to mitigate further spread. County of Simcoe Paramedic Services are supporting the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit as needed on testing.

Tourism and business supports

Tourism Simcoe County and the County's Economic Development Office, in conjunction with member municipalities and area partners, continue to update an online directory of local businesses in Simcoe County that are providing services and goods to residents while following provincial guidelines and physical distancing measures. Visit experience.simcoe.ca, or follow @TourismSimcoeCounty on Facebook, follow @SimcoeCountyEDO on Twitter and @experiencesimcoecounty on Instagram for daily updates.

The County of Simcoe Economic Development Office (EDO), in partnership with member municipalities, the cities of Barrie and Orillia and regional partners, has launched phase II of the Business Impact Survey to assess regional economic development needs and opportunities. To participate in the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey 2.0, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YVSYPZ2. The deadline for survey submissions is May 8, 2020.

Museum month and Museum from home programming
May is Museum month and the Simcoe County Museum is offering a range of virtual programs to provide interesting entertainment and history lessons for all ages through informative and engaging activities and tours. Visit www.museum.simcoe.ca for details.

Staff will continue to monitor usage of our services and adjust services accordingly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to avoid non-essential travel and use of our County waste facilities and follow public health guidelines to stay home and help us flatten the COVID-19 curve.

 

2020 Tourism, Culture and Sport Grant

In January, the County launched its 2020 Tourism, Culture and Sport Grant to cultivate collaborations to develop tourism, culture and sport programs and initiatives. Ninety-nine applications were received, totalling a subscription of $1,089,446 for the $300,000 envelope. Due to the unforeseen COVID-19 crisis, well over half of the recommended recipients will no longer be able to carry out their intended projects.

Council approved an amended recommendation that the 2020 Tourism, Culture and Sport Grant be suspended and that the budgeted $300,000 from 2020 be transferred to the Tourism Simcoe County Reserve.

2019 Year End Report

The 2019 Year End Report provides the County’s statement of operations with a comparison to the 2019 budget, in addition to the balances for both reserves and financing requirements. Key Performance Indicators supplement year-end reporting to allow the measuring, reporting and monitoring of progress in order to manage, maintain and improve business performance.

Council received the 2019 Year End Report showing that the overall 2019 year-end surplus for operating and capital is $1.1M (0.21%) of the County of Simcoe’s $548M budget. This surplus is primarily due to savings in Social and Community Services, Health and Emergency Services and General Municipal costs. The surplus will be placed in reserves and considered for potential use to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

County of Simcoe Official Plan Amendment - Big Bay Point Golf Club –

In August 9, 2018, the County of Simcoe received an application for an amendment to the County Official Plan (‘SCOPA’) for properties on Big Bay Point Road in the Town of Innisfil. The purpose and effect of the requested amendment was to redesignate the lands in order to include a golf course as a permitted use on the properties. Simcoe County Committee of the Whole considered the staff report on November 26, 2019. The report has since been deferred twice in order to allow Town of Innisfil Council to consider and make a decision on the related applications to amend the Town’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law. Due to COVID-19, the report was also further delayed.

In November 2019, planning staff’s initial recommendation was for County Council to refuse the subject SCOPA. While the proposal met a number of Provincial and County policies including promoting tourism and economic development outside of Settlement Areas, due to the conformity issues with Provincial and County policy discussed, in particular as it relates to the protection and retention of significant natural heritage features present on the site, County planning staff could not support the SCOPA to permit the proposed golf course for these lands.

While planning staff agreed that a revised site plan did represent an improvement, Council supported staff’s view that the same policy conformity challenges existed, and ultimately voted to refuse the SCOPA.

Temporary Road Closure – CR 17

Construction for the rehabilitation of three bridges: Upper Big Chute Bridge, Durnford Bridge, and Lovering Bridge on County Road 17, is anticipated to commence in May 2020. During the course of construction for this project, it is recommended that County Road 17 be temporarily closed to through traffic at alternating locations of Durnford Bridge and Lovering bridge for a total duration of approximately 30 weeks. A single lane of two-way traffic will be maintained at Upper Big Chute Bridge utilizing temporary traffic signals throughout the duration of construction.

Council received a report on the temporary closure, which is anticipated between May and November 2020, with further confirmations to be provided once the project commences.

Simcoe County Hospital Alliance Funding Allocation

In June 2017, County Council approved the extension of the 2017-2026 Simcoe County Hospital Alliance Funding Policy, allocating $3 million annually to the Hospital Alliance for a 15-year period extending from 2017 to 2031. The County is not mandated to provide funding to area hospitals as it is a provincial jurisdiction but does so to support the local healthcare system. Between 1994-2031 the County has committed $107 million towards area hospitals. To incentivize emergency departments to receive patients in a prompt manner in order to allow Paramedics to be able to respond to the next call, transfer time performance is now measured for each hospital and the value of lost Paramedic time is deducted from the individual hospital’s capital payment by the County for that given year.

Council approved 2019 hospital allocations in the amount of $2,976,994 to reflect $23,006 of adjustments for failure to receive 90 per cent of transfers within 30 minutes.

Oro-Medonte McLean Park Initiative - Request for County Support for MZO

The McLean Family is requesting support from the County of Simcoe in its request for a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO). Their goal for the Oro-Medonte McLean Park initiative is to create a healthy and vibrant community which will enhance the quality of life for residents of all ages and incomes. This project will exceed current standards with regards to preservation of agricultural land, parks, recreation and gathering spaces.

Council voted to support the Oro-Medonte McLean Park initiative’s request for an MZO to speed up the project, which aims to create approximately 430 new and permanent jobs and integrate seniors housing, long-term care, innovative community uses, low and medium density housing options and new agricultural technologies.

To view the full Committee of the Whole or Council Agenda visit: https://simcoe.civicweb.net/Portal/

To view the County Council Highlights online visit https://www.simcoe.ca/dpt/ccd/newsletters

 

Trudeau Liberals fail to release cost of carbon tax on farmers

 May 11, 2020 - OTTAWA, ON — Today, John Barlow, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Richard Lehoux, Associate Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food, issued the following statement regarding the Trudeau government’s decision to not release the cost of the carbon tax on farmers:

“In a response to a written question in the House of Commons, the Trudeau government has refused to publicly release the cost of the Liberal carbon tax on farmers and producers. How can the cost of a new tax be “secret”?  The Liberals need to be open and transparent with Canadians.

“While Canada’s farmers and producers have been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trudeau government increased their costs by raising the carbon tax. Instead of providing supports for this essential sector, the government decided to add more taxes. This is wrong.

“The carbon tax hurts farmers and producers. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 82 per cent of farmers say the federal carbon tax is negatively impacting their business and that an average farmer paid $14,000 in federal carbon taxes last year. While Justin Trudeau says that the carbon tax helps farm families, we know the opposite is true.

“The Trudeau government must immediately exempt Canada’s agriculture sector from the carbon tax. Canada’s agriculture sector needs our help right now, not higher taxes.

“While Justin Trudeau is letting down Canada’s agriculture sector, Conservatives will always stand up and fight for Canada’s farmers and producers.”

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In Case You Missed It:

• All municipal facilities, playgrounds, fitness equipment, and outdoor rinks remain closed to the public until further notice.
• All classes and programs are cancelled until further notice.
• Council has approved the waiving of interest and penalties on all property tax and water/wasterwater bills coming due until June 1.
• The Province of Ontario has announced that gatherings of more than 5 people are prohibited with some strict exceptions.
• Ontario 211 can help you find stores that are open and offering delivery services, as well as provide information on programs and  services available in our area.

We can ALL help fight COVID-19 locally

These are unprecedented times and our federal, provincial and municipal governments are all working extremely hard to manage this pandemic through strong leadership, financial relief, effective and timely mass communication, and very clear guidance on how to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Our heroes, now more than ever, are our doctors, nurses, health care workers, para-medics, police officers, fire fighters, but in this battle against an invisible foe our local heroes have joined the fight. Our incredible front line local heroes include cashiers, clerks, truckers, delivery staff, cooks, and the list goes on and on. Regular folk, our neighbours and friends, who are staying at work and doing an absolutely incredible job on behalf of the rest of us.

Each of us has the power to help support every one of these incredible people by doing our part to prevent the spread of Covid-19. There are many ways to rob Covid-19 of further opportunities to spread by following the advice of our local public health authority. Key is to not touch your eyes, nose or mouth, washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and practice social distancing, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve and not your hands and avoiding non-essential outing except for essentials.

We can stop the spread of Covid -19 by doing whatever is possible to eliminate, at every opportunity, Covid-19's ability to spread. Social distancing and reducing interaction with others is critical to preventing it's spread and each time we don't venture out eliminates another opportunity for Covid-19's to infect.

Its understood that we must protect our most vulnerable elderly and help them stay self-isolated without any undue hardships. To this end I am working with our local Elmvale Foodland owner Ryan Reynolds and I will be delivering grocery orders to our most vulnerable elderly so they are able to remain safe at home. Here in Elmvale our local Foodland, 14 Yonge St N ( Ryan & Amanda Reynolds), as do many others grocers, take "call in orders" for groceries ( 705-322-2261 ) as well as email orders ( fld3238elmvale@sobeys.com ).The Elmvale Foodland asks that you email your order/list if at all possible so available staff can focus on filling orders. Prepared orders can then be picked up curbside once the order has been filled, or may be delivered by a 3rd party for a fee. ....

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