Political Opinions

Lieutenant Governor’s Canada Day message

 Happy Canada Day, Ontario!

  Today is a day worthy of celebration, even as, in common with citizens around the globe, we continue to face a crisis virtually unknown to living generations. The world has been turned on its head. My first thoughts are with those who have succumbed to COVID-19, and their families.

  The stories of the last few months tell of hardship and inequality. They have exposed weaknesses in the economic and social systems upon which we rely, and have confirmed our interdependence with those beyond our neighbourhoods and our country. We grieve collectively.

  But in equal measure, we are witnessing empathy, collaboration, creativity, and courage. Deserving of special gratitude are the many frontline workers who are bravely leading us through this crisis, and also the millions of people across Ontario, especially seniors, who are, at great personal cost, doing the right thing and staying home to prevent the spread of the virus.

  We see all orders of government working in common cause, making evidence-based decisions; businesses and industries demonstrating ingenuity as they retool; civil society empowered by digital tools to nurture cohesive communities; scientists and researchers racing with single focus to develop a vaccine; and arts and cultural organizations, in solidarity and kindness, bringing moments of awe and wonder into our homes.

  There is an unmistakable hunger for normalcy. As we all do our part in the coming months to envision what a “better normal” could be, let us dare to dream of a world that works for everyone. Perhaps the first step is to listen to those who are hurting and to engage in thoughtful and respectful conversations about what we have learned and what needs to change.

  As Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in Ontario, I pay tribute to Indigenous people who have stewarded these lands for thousands of years and countless generations. There is inspiration in the special relationship between First Peoples and the Crown. May we also pay attention to people from all walks of life, including those marginalized and impoverished, who continue to raise their voices in support of social and economic justice. We all deserve to live with dignity.

  Throughout this journey, I have been reassured and inspired by you, the people of Ontario. Together you have demonstrated uncommon generosity of spirit and an exceptional drive for resilience.

  Ours is a caring nation. It is together that we will save lives and livelihoods. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. And that is why, in the midst of adversity, we celebrate the promise of Canada.

 

Canada Day with Bruce Stanton

The federal government is working in partnership (Canadian Agricultural Partnership) with the province of Ontario to deliver Covid -19 support programs and expanded credit assistance to the agriculture and Agri-food industries. Here is a quick summary of the resources available or announced. I urge farmers and those in these agri-businesses in our area to contact my offices for more information and assistance. I am pleased to help.

The Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP) provides support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them, to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory isolation. However, following the death of two immigrant workers in Southwestern Ontario, Mexico has temporary suspended all, travel of foreign workers to Canada. That means as many as 5,000 temporary foreign workers expected to arrive in Canada in the coming months are being held back, for now.

The government has created a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations so they can better supply Canadians with food during this period. This applies mainly to food processors and will be of no help to farmers.

The government has enabled Farm Credit Canada to provide an additional $5 billion in lending to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. The aim is to provide increased flexibility to farmers who face cash flow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially sound during this difficult time. That said, I am hearing from many farmers in our area who aren’t looking o take on more debt and I don’t blame them. I will continue to urge the government to implement the ask of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, to help farmers and farm businesses cope with the affects of COVID-19.

Some other measures which are in process;

  • A national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This new federal funding will help beef and pork producers and processors adapt to a changing market, and help farmers and ranchers keep their animals longer before marketing.
  • Increases to the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste.
  • Launching a first-ever Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.
  • Working with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent through AgriStability, a federal, provincial and territorial program that supports producers who face significant revenue declines.

As always, if I can be of any assistance on these measures, please let me know. My office in Midland has reopened for in-person meetings by appointment. The Orillia office will be opening soon, once we have PPE in place. You can reach me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (1-800) 265-6228.

Bruce Stanton,  Simcoe North MP

 

A message from Doug Downey

BARRIE - Today, Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, was joined for a our of key manufacturing facilities who are providing PPE to frontline workers by Finance Minister Rod Phillips and MPP for Barrie-Innisfil, Andrea Khanjin. The MPP and Ministers toured the facilities at Southmedic Inc. in Barrie and Molded Precision Components in OroMedonte. These facilities are part of the hundreds of Ontario businesses who have answered the call to create Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, for medical frontline staff and other frontline service workers.

Southmedic Inc., located in the north end of Barrie, is a recent recipient of a provincial investment of $1.8 million, earmarked to help the company re-engineer and retool its current production and purchase new moulding equipment. Molded Precision Components recently celebrated the production of its millionth face shield. In partnership with J. Sterling Industries of Concord, Molded Precision Components has been serving both Federal and Provincial contacts to produce medical equipment for frontline workers.

“Today is a celebration of the ingenuity and community spirit of these companies,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie - Springwater - Oro-Medonte. “When COVID-19 struck, Molded Precision Components and Southmedic Inc. were two of the first companies to answer the call for protective equipment. Now, their work has helped us to move towards recovery. They are both the true definition of the Ontario Spirit right here in the riding of Barrie-Springwater-OroMedonte.”

Minster Phillips also joined MPP Andrea Khanjin to tour Discount Granite Plus with owner and operator, Stephanie Gourlie.

“Stephanie is just one of many examples of local business operators who are providing each other with advice on how best to operate in Stage 2,” said MPP Khanjin. “While businesses might not look exactly the same as they did before the pandemic began, our local retailers are open and are welcoming clients back.”

For more information on how local businesses are retooling operations to produce medical and protective equipment, or for more information about Stage 2 re-openings, please visit www.DougDowney.ca or www.Andreampp.com

 

A message from MP Doug Shipley

Across Barrie – Springwater – Oro-Medonte and the province, things are slowly getting back to normal. We can now enjoy shopping in local businesses, dining on restaurant patios, and forming social circles of up to 10 people.

Unfortunately, we aren’t reopening soon enough for some of our great summer festivals and activities. It will not be a normal summer without the iconic Kempenfest, Oro World’s Fair, Midhurst Autumnfest, or the Elmvale Fall Fair. Even our normal Canada Day celebrations have been cancelled.

In order to bring us together to celebrate our great nation from a distance, I am excited to be hosting a drive-through celebration on Canada Day at the Royal Canadian Legion on St. Vincent Street in Barrie.

Everyone is welcome to attend! There will be free cupcakes, paper flags, activity booklets for kids, and other fun giveaways for you and your family to pick up on Canada Day, July 1st between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This event will be held in accordance with current public health guidelines.

In addition to this, I have created Happy Canada Day lawn signs that are still available through my office in Barrie. They are free to all residents of Barrie – Springwater – Oro-Medonte. If you’d like to reserve your sign, give my office a call at 705-728-2596 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your address.

I want to remind you that if you need help dealing with the federal government, or accessing federal supports, please contact my office for assistance.

My office in Barrie remains staffed and ready to help you. We are not currently open for walk-ins, but we look forward to the day we can meet again in person.

I hope you have a wonderful Canada Day!

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

 

Springwater councillors vote to regain authority

AWARE News Network -- Springwater council voted 4-3 last week to rescind a March 25 2020 bylaw that delegated its authority to CAO Jeff Schmidt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The return to pre-COVID 19 governance was not intended as a criticism of Schmidt, said Councillor Anita Moore, stating that she felt that he and township staff had performed admirably. 

However, even if a predicted second wave of infection occurs, Moore said she feels council can react quickly to meet and make urgent decisions and all councillors should take on the responsibility they were elected to discharge.

Voting in favour of rescinding were Councillors Moore, George Cabral, Jack Hanna and Perry Ritchie. Voting against were Mayor Don Allen, Deputy Mayor Jennifer Coughlin and Councillor Wanda Maw Chapman.

The motion will not become effective until the next council meeting when the necessary bylaw is enacted, and by that time it could be “moot,” as the delegated authority bylaw lapses if Ontario ends its emergency declaration at the end of June.

 

My View – Bill French

Our Police Services

It amazes me (maybe my age) that we simply jump on something and say everything is terrible and all police are rednecks and are biased and let’s get rid of them. Think for a  minute what would happen without our police protection and the concept of a law abiding world. It would be Dodge City and anarchy would rule.

A civilized society operates by certain principles and laws and 99% of us abide by them and have little interaction with those that are charged with keeping the “Peace”. The brutal murder in Minneapolis by a Police officer that triggered all this frenzy is truly unforgiveable and worthy of protest and I support that outrage. However, with 99% of our police officers going about their business in a courteous, helpful and professional manner, I find it highly offensive that they are all under attack.

I reject the populace propaganda that police bias is systematic. I am sure you can find isolated departments that need to be revamped but it is definitely not systematic, which means they are all the same. There are of course a few that should not be wearing the uniform and should be thrown out of the ranks. I find few professionals, whether they be priests, doctors, lawyers or teachers are perfect, but when one of them abuses their positions, we don’t call for the elimination of their profession.

Sensible and mature people take measures to correct the problem and that is what we should all be focused on. If we continue to denigrate our police officers, the problem will actually grow as those that want to do the right thing will not join a maligned profession.

Midhurst Secondary Plan

I was surprised, like many, that Springwater Council has now cleared the way for the mega Midhurst Secondary Plan (MSP) to proceed.

It appears that any resistance has now gone by the wayside and the plan to grow Midhurst and area to the size of the City of Orillia while destroying 2,000 acres of the best farmland in the Township is in play. It would appear that over the next 20 years the entire area around Midhurst from Wilson Road in the West to The Old Second in the East (borders 400) will be in constant construction and turmoil.

It is interesting that Ontario’s Growth Plan policy of 2006 discouraged urban sprawl of this magnitude on unserviced land with no existing infrastructure. The Provincial Plan had merit, as the desire was to protect agricultural land and natural heritage such as forests and streams. It would also reduce the need for more infrastructure in a world of huge Infrastructure deficits.

The County of Simcoe objected when Springwater Council passed the MSP in 2008 as did the Ontario Government both stating that it offended the 2006 policy. However with the stroke of a pen by then Minister Chairelli, in 2011 and 2012 the Midhurst Special Rule was passed that allowed for the development on 400 (about 7800 homes) of the 750 hectares. The County approved the Plan in 2011. Then with another clever provincial move called Population Allocation another 3,000 people (approx. 1,000 homes) was permitted in the Midhurst area.

There is supposed to be a sanity check when there is a build out to 3,850 homes or 11,000 people and am curious when the developers will apply for that to be lifted or rescinded. If they apply, I predict that neither the existing Springwater Council nor the County Council will object, making it a done deal. To be frank, the landowners and developers, that some perceive as the bad guys, did not create this problem. They, like good business people, in the interests of their shareholders took a risk

(Explanation: when they bought the land, there was no opportunity for development because of the 2006 Plan, but they did recognize there was a settlement boundary drawn for long term growth over the next 75 years. With some good salesmanship the policy and interpretation could be blurred).

Certain parties lobbied the province appropriately and succeeded. There is nothing sinister about that. The fault is and has always been with both the Township and County Councils from 2006 to 2012. If you speak to any of them, they all argue that it is progress and you can’t stop progress. There was a slight pause in the speed of development of the MSP during the 2014 to 2018 Council as the Council asked many questions and expressed many concerns about the development in a constructive manner and as a result some conditions were clarified. I will be curious to see the final Development Agreement and whether this Council included strong language to protect the best interests of us the taxpayer as this mega venture unfolds. Stay tuned.

Delegation of Authority     

I applaud Councillor Anita Moore for tabling a motion that rescinded the “Delegation Authority” bylaw passed in March whereby the CAO was given some legislative power normally restricted to Council for events surrounding COVID-19.

There was also an Emergency Control Group put in play made up of senior staff, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. At the time, Ms. Moore asked for an example of what that power might entail. Surprisingly, the CAO could not provide an example, but those were trying times so let’s not concern ourselves with that decision. However during the discussion to rescind  the “Delegation of Authority” last week, the CAO made it clear that he made no such decisions under the bylaw and since Council Meetings were conducted by way of the internet, Council was able to engage, debate and make any required decisions.

So my question is, “Why was the Deputy Mayor in a rather superficial argument so adamant about retaining the delegation in place, even though the power had never been used?” You should also ask the Mayor and Ward 3 Councillor why they voted against the motion to rescind. The good news is that the motion to rescind was passed by a 4 to 3 vote and control is where it is supposed to be. It is back with Council whom we elected to make such decisions.

The motion to rescind was supported by Councillors Moore, Cabral, Hanna and Ritchie. They appear to have a better understanding of what leadership is and take their responsibilities seriously.

Keep safe and let’s all support those local businesses and services that had to close their doors for 3 months.

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.

 

Mayor Don’s Update – June 25, 2020

A Message to All Graduates

Congratulations on this momentous occasion. No doubt, this is not the graduation you pictured, however I urge you to take time to reflect on all that you have accomplished. Your hard work has paid off and you are moving on to the next step. Whether you are entering the workforce, taking up a trade or pursuing higher education, the Township of Springwater is proud of you.

As you move on to the next chapter, remember your roots and where you came from. Your community will always be here to support you.

On behalf of the Township of Springwater, I congratulate you on your success and all that is in store for you. The future looks bright and you will contribute to that.

Canada Day

Canada Day will look different this year since gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited under the Provincial Emergency Order. However, you are encouraged to celebrate our beautiful country by decorating your home in red and white and displaying your Canadian flags proudly.

In an effort to spread some Canadian spirit throughout our municipality, the Springwater Fire Department will be touring through the neighbourhoods to spread goodwill and cheer. The trucks will travel through Midhurst, Minesing, Elmvale, Anten Mills, Phelpston and Hillsdale beginning at 1 pm. Route information can be found on the Township website at www.springwater.ca/virtualrecreation

Please remember if you light Canada Day fireworks to do so safely and always use caution. Keep gatherings to less than 10 people and practice physical distancing.

However you choose to celebrate this year, I wish you and your family a wonderful, safe and memorable Canada Day. Watch Rogers TV during the week of June 25 for a special Canada Day program and message from the mayors of Simcoe County.

Watering Restrictions

Each year, warm weather brings a higher demand on municipal water systems leading to decreased potable water reserves and low water pressure. In extreme cases, it puts the water system at risk and makes it difficult to fight a fire.

Between June 1 and September 15 each year, the following watering restrictions apply to residents on municipal water:

  • Residents with odd number civic addresses may use outdoor water on odd number calendar days.
  • Residents with even number civic addresses may use outdoor water on even number calendar days.
  • Residents may only water lawns and gardens between the hours of 12 a.m.(midnight) to 8 a.m. OR 7 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. on their scheduled days.
  • Residents cannot use more than one tap for the purpose of watering a lawn or garden, or for washing their vehicle.

If you would like an exemption for a newly seeded, sodded or sprayed lawn, please contact the Public Works Department at 705-728-4784 Ext. 2075.

Farmers’ Market

The Springwater-Elmvale Farmers’ Market has officially reopened for the season. There are a number of health and safety measures in place to protect both vendors and patrons of the market. There are a number of great vendors to provide the best in local produce, baked goods and unique arts and crafts. The Market operates every Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the municipal parking lot at 33 Queen Street W.

Businesses Re-opening

A number of businesses are reopening in Springwater. The Province has laid out strict guidelines for the safe re-opening of these businesses, including limitations on the number of patrons and physical distancing guidelines.

The Township has worked with a number of businesses to assist them with their reopening plans. If you are reopening a business, contact the Township Economic Development Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive complimentary physical distancing floor stickers.

Outdoor patios are now open at both Steelers and the Palace in downtown Elmvale. The Elmvale Jungle Zoo has also reopened. Due to limitations on the number of visitors they are able to have at any one time, you must pre-book your visit on their website www.elmvalejunglezoo.com or by calling 705-322-1112.

Covid19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka area increased in the last week. Please adhere to numbers of people in your group gatherings and practice physical distancing and other safety precautions to keep safe and reduce numbers of cases. Happy summer and Canada Day. 

 

SCDSB Update 16 – June 17, 2020

In response to COVID-19, the Simcoe County District School Board Education Centre is currently closed. The June 17 Board Meeting was held virtually via Zoom meeting. The recorded version of the meeting is available at www.scdsb.on.ca

This update provides highlights of the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) Board Meeting held Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Agendas and/or reports considered at this meeting are available at www.scdsb.on.ca.

Student Trustee Presentation

Trustee Beacock thanked the out-going student trustees for their contributions as representatives of students from across the SCDSB. Trustee Beacock noted the efforts of the student trustees in successfully increasing attendance at Student Senate meetings and passing a motion to ensure feminine hygiene products are available in secondary schools free of charge. Trustee Beacock congratulated the student trustees and wished them well in the next phase of their educational journey. 

Report from the Closed Session of the Board in Committee of the Whole

The Board ratified the following recommendation taken in the Closed Session meeting of the Committee of the Whole on Wednesday, June 17, 2020:

That the Board ratify the collective agreement reached with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) District 17 (Simcoe) (Occasional Teachers’ Bargaining Unit) for the term of September 1, 2019, to August 31, 2022, as set out in Report No. CL-B-2-a, Board Ratification of Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) District 17 (Simcoe) (Occasional Teachers’ Bargaining Unit) and Its Local Agreement, dated June 17, 2020.

D-7 Staff Reports

Steve Blake, Director of Education, recognized all SCDSB staff, the Board of Trustees, students, parents/guardians and the community for their efforts and support during the school closure period. 

Director Blake commented on the SCDSB’s continued focus on the Strategic Priorities that have guided the work of the SCDSB during this unprecedented time. Director Blake noted that the SCDSB is conducting a survey of students, staff and parents/guardians in order to gather information to assist with planning and preparation for the fall. Director Blake indicated that staff are planning for the reopening of schools and are awaiting further information from the Ministry regarding the 2020-2021 school year. Director Blake noted that information and updates will be provided as they become available. 

Superintendent Samis indicated that report cards will be distributed electronically to over 50,000 students in early July. Superintendent Stephens noted that SCDSB staff coordinated the retrieval of student belongings following safety guidelines provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Superintendent Stephens acknowledged the accomplishments of the 2020 graduates and commended staff for their efforts in developing celebratory videos to be shared digitally with all Grade 8 and Grade 12 graduates and their families. 

Superintendent Jeffs provided an update regarding the reopening of child care centres and day camps and noted that SCDSB staff are accepting applications from child care providers to expand child care operations. Superintendent Jeffs noted that outdoor permits are being considered based on public health guidelines and all indoor summer permits have been cancelled.

Superintendent Jeffs reported that the SCDSB has not received the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) or technical papers required to finalize the 2020-2021 budget

Trustee Beacock congratulated the SCDSB for receiving the Ontario Music Education Association Administrators of Excellence award in recognition of the music in elementary schools program.

Visit www.scdsb.on.ca for information about future Board and Committee meetings, or to view video archives of Board meetings.

 

Ontario Introduces New Math Curriculum for Elementary Students

The Ontario government released the province's new elementary math curriculum to better prepare students for work in a rapidly changing world, strengthen math competence and improve grades. The curriculum was developed over two years in consultation with parents, math educators, academics and math education experts, and is designed to reverse a decade of declining math scores. It will be available to students across the province beginning in September 2020.

The new math curriculum for Grades 1-8 will:

Build understanding of the value and use of money through mandatory financial literacy concepts;

For the first time, teach coding or computer programming skills starting in Grade 1 to improve problem solving and fluency with technology, to prepare students for jobs of the future;

Use relevant, current, and practical examples so students can connect math to everyday life;

Put a focus on fundamental math concepts and skills, such as learning and recalling number facts.

"For over a decade, too many students were lacking everyday math, financial literacy, and numeracy skills," said Minister Lecce. "The new curriculum will help students solve everyday math problems, enshrine financial literacy in the early grades, and better prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow by ensuring every student learns how to code."

The Ministry of Education is also changing how it makes curriculum available to better reflect how Ontarians consume information. The new math curriculum will be the first uploaded to the new Curriculum and Resources website, a digital space where anyone can access curriculum and learning resources. This platform will help parents, students, and teachers see connections between learning in different grades and subjects.

"Our research team provided an extensive background research report giving the Ministry of Education the most up-to-date research and analysis of other curricula," said Dr. Christine Suurtamm, Vice Dean Research, and Professor of Mathematics Education, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. "Ontario's new mathematics curriculum builds on what we know about student learning and how students develop an understanding of mathematics. It supports all students to be math learners with opportunities to learn foundational mathematics and engage in current topics. The goal is to support how students use math in the world today, and how they will use math to make informed decisions in the world ahead of them."

Quick Facts

  • The last update to Ontario’s elementary math curriculum was in 2005.
  • The new elementary math curriculum is part of the government’s four-year math strategy to ensure that students can build the confidence and skills they need to excel in math.
  • The elementary report card will be updated to align with the new curriculum and provide an overall mark in math, along with comments on the different strands of the curriculum to give parents a better overall assessment of how their child is doing.
  • Grade 3 and 6 students will not participate in Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) assessments during the 2020-21 school year, as the ministry works to align the assessments with the new curriculum. Students in Grade 9 and Grade 10 will continue to take the mathematics assessment and Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), respectively.
  • The Ontario Government is committed to supporting educators in effectively implementing the new elementary math curriculum. This includes providing classroom-ready resources for each grade, as well as in-depth virtual training for teachers, principals and board staff.
  • Educators will also continue to benefit from investments in professional development and math supports, including $10 million for board-based math learning leads, $15 million for school-based math learning facilitators, and $15 million to support release time for educators to become expertly familiar with the curriculum.

 

Tiny launches modified summer programs

Tiny’s new Fun in a Box program and Sports Equipment Loaner Kits will bring summer fun to your doorstep

The Township of Tiny is excited to announce the launch of new, innovative programming to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Recreation Department has developed interactive summer fun that participants can take advantage of from the safety of their home.

Camp in a Box Program

Camp in a Box is designed to help bring the magic of camp into your home. Eight weekly themed boxes have been developed and contain different craft, dance, sport, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and nature-based activities, along with specialty items, craft materials and written instructions. Each week, camp staff will post interactive videos to the Tiny Recreation YouTube channel to play games, sing songs, and offer ‘how-to’ clips in their usual warm and amusing ways.

Each box will cost $50.00 (HST included) and is prepared for one participant aged 4 to 12. Families will receive a 50% discount off the third box purchased each week. Some adult assistance may be needed and adult supervision is required.

Weekly themes for the Camp in a Box program are as follows:

  • July 6 Underwater: “Whale-come to camp”
  • July 13 All things Science: “Up and atom! We’ve got energy to burn”
  • July 20 From the Garden: “It’s party THYME”
  • July 27 All things Sports: “Home runs, hat-tricks, and three pointers”
  • August 3 In the Jungle: “We don’t have time to be lion around!”
  • August 10 All things Superhero: “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… Superman?!”
  • August 17 Out in Space: “Fly me to the moon…”
  • August 24 All things Summer: “We are fluent in ‘smore’s code’!”

Limited-Edition Specialty Boxes

A limited amount of Specialty Boxes will be released throughout the summer, focusing on specific themes, and will deliver activities the whole family can enjoy.

Limited-Edition Specialty Box themes are as follows:

Birthday in a Box $100.00 (HST included) Available starting July 6

“Minute to Win It” in a Box $50.00 (HST included) Available starting July 13

Beach in a Box $60.00 (HST included) Available starting July 20

Tiny Trails in a Box $50.00 (HST included) Available starting July 27

Sports Equipment Loaner Kits

A variety of free sports equipment loaner kits are also available to borrow and will contain everything needed to play a variety of sports. These kits have been carefully prepared and contain all the equipment needed to play in the backyard or at a favourite Township of Tiny park. Each kit includes instructions, game play rules and examples of

skill drills and activities. These may be borrowed for one week and may be renewed once for up to two weeks in total.

The following sports equipment loaner kits are available for rent throughout the summer:

Pickleball  •  Tennis  •  Soccer  •  Bocce ball  •  Frisbee golf  •  Ball hockey  •  Beach volleyball  •  Giant lawn bowling

Registration and Payment

In an effort to help parents and families, the Township of Tiny is offering registration for summer recreational programming with no upfront charge or administrative fees. Customers will be able to register for programs and will not be required to pay for their registrations until two weeks prior to the start of the program.

  • Registration dates for summer programming are as follows:
  • Registration date for Tiny taxpayers: Monday, June 22 at 12:00pm (noon)
  • Registration date for non-Tiny taxpayers Monday, June 29 at 12:00pm (noon)

The Tiny Online Portal (www.tiny.ca/onlineportal) will accept all Visa and Mastercard credit cards, as well as Visa and Mastercard debit cards. Payment will be automatically charged two weeks prior to the start date of the program. Please note: if you are registering on the ‘taxpayer date’, your account address must be located in the Township of Tiny. If you prefer to register and pay using another method of payment, please contact Jaelen Josiah, Recreation Administrative Coordinator by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 705-526-4204 ext. 288.

 

Springwater Council Highlights - June 17

This summary is not a full representation of the June 17 meeting. For the official record, please read the Council Minutes in the next Council Agenda.

Memorial Bench in Honour of Mark Ramolla

A new memorial bench will be placed at the Minesing Pavilion in honour of Mark Ramolla, a local teenager who tragically passed away in February of this year. The Brown Family has spearheaded the initiative and all costs associated with the bench will be fundraised by the family.

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 The Original Pieces of Olde, located at 28 Queen Street W in Elmvale, with $480 under the Signage Improvement Program.

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

Micks Subdivision Agreement

Council has authorized the execution of a Subdivision Agreement related to the Micks Subdivision. The Micks Subdivision is planned to include 342 residential units and is the first phase of development to commence within the Midhurst Secondary Plan Area.

The subdivision agreement allows for site work and site preparations to be completed. Additional information can be found on the Township website at www.springwater.ca/currentdevelopment

Outdoor Patios

Springwater is making it easier for businesses who wish to open an outdoor patio by allowing for temporary encroachment agreements. Staff will expedite requests and work with owners and operators who may require an encroachment agreement on municipal property to allow for extra outdoor space in order to meet Provincial Health Guidelines and requirements related to COVID-19. Outdoor patios on private property do not require an encroachment agreement, however they do require municipal consent. All patios must adhere to zoning, building and safety requirements.

 

 

County Council Highlights
Committee of the Whole: June 9, 2020
County Council:

June 9, 2020

Simcoe Manor Redevelopment Project

Simcoe Manor and Village is one of four long term care and seniors services facilities owned and operated by the County of Simcoe, located in Beeton, Collingwood, Orillia and Penetanguishene. Simcoe Manor and Village has existed in Beeton since 1898 and has undertaken multiple renovations. Currently, the Manor consists of 126 long term care beds and 32 self-contained supportive living apartment units as part of Simcoe Village.

Ongoing planning since 2018 has produced a redevelopment plan for Simcoe Manor, to transform the facility in into a complete adult lifestyle community campus with a range of housing options that allows residents to age in place modeled after the successful design of Georgian Village in Penetanguishene.

The redevelopment plans will result in a in a 160-bed long term care home, (additional 34 new beds), and more than 170 seniors housing units/homes (140+ new) and adult day program space for seniors with varying levels of care and support needs. The plans for a $177M seniors campus covering 438,558 sq. ft also include a range of amenities, such as health/medical services, pharmacy, dental, restaurant/dining/cafe, retail, salon, exercise area, and outdoor recreation options, among other services and programs.

Gypsy Moth

European Gypsy Moth is a non-native insect that has been established in Ontario since 1969. The larvae of the moth can impact tree health by feeding on leaves and causing defoliation. Populations of this insect are cyclical and an increase within parts of Simcoe County occurred in 2019, resulting in an increase in concerns and inquiries from residents. The Forestry Department launched a website in late 2019 to provide information to residents. Surveys were completed in fall 2019 to assess the population and forecast future impacts and further monitoring is planned for 2020.

Council received a report that stated that the significant impacts and mortality of healthy trees will only result after repeated annual defoliation levels of 50-60 per cent. The report concluded that control measures are therefore not warranted at this time, but monitoring in 2020 will continue to evaluate the insect population to forecast future impacts. More information on management options for residents is available at www.simcoe.ca/gypsymoth.

Security Services Barrie Ontario Works Office

Following Council approval on June 11, 2019, the Ontario Works department worked with the County of Simcoe Procurement department to secure a vendor for the provision of security services. The procurement process resulted in the selection of GardaWorld as the on-site security vendor.

Prior to initiating on-site security on July 29, 2019, incidents were occurring frequently, often daily, ranging from verbal aggression, to threats, to illegal activities. Responses ranged from intervention by the Ontario Works Supervisor on-site through to police involvement depending on the nature of the incident and the outcome of the direction provided to the individuals involved.

Given the significant reduction in the number of incidents at the Barrie office and the frequency for police intervention as a result of the introduction of Security Services, as well as the feedback from staff and clients reflecting a greatly improved sense of safety and well-being at the site, Council voted in favour of Security Services continuing at the Barrie Ontario Works office as part of the annual budget process.

Sustainable Operations Program – Summer 2020 Update

In 2014 and 2019, County Council approved the first and second Corporate Conservation and Energy Management Plans (CCEMP). The CCEMP established the County’s 5-year strategic plan to manage and conserve energy. The 2014 CCEMP provided the corporation with a baseline to move forward on implementing improvements to its operations, facilities, and culture that reduce electricity and gas consumption, the associated costs and the negative environmental effects of the corporation’s energy consumption. As required by the Electricity Act, the CCEMP was updated and approved by Council in 2019 and outlined a new 5-year plan for energy conservation and demand management opportunities, projects and initiatives.

The report received by Council highlights steps taken by the County to manage energy use intensity and promote sustainable decision making. In 2019, staff was successful in attaining a total of $27,528.25 in savings, cost avoidance, and incentives. Since the initiation of the Sustainable Operations Program in 2012, $1,354,142 in cost avoidances, savings or funding have been realized by the County of Simcoe.

Update on the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) Program and Climate Action Planning

In April 2018, County Council approved the County of Simcoe’s membership in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities “Partners for Climate Protection” Program. PCP was designed to assist and guide municipalities through the development of a climate change action plan, and connects a network of over 350 Canadian municipalities publicly committed to reducing emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), the main cause of climate change.
Council received a report outlining progress on the first three of five program milestones: Creating a greenhouse gas inventory and forecast; Setting an emissions reduction target; and Developing a local climate action plan. Staff will report back to Council in the fall with a progress update on the PCP program Milestones 1, 2 and 3, as well as other sustainable operations activities across the corporation.

 

County support to help local businesses go digital expands

Midhurst/June 18, 2020 – In a move to further support local small and medium-sized business, the County has joined ShopHERE powered by Google, a collaboration between Digital Main Street, Google, Shopify, Mastercard and Microsoft, to build and optimize online stores in a matter of days.

“It is exciting to see this important program receive additional support, allowing even more local independent businesses to develop an increased online presence,” said Warden George Cornell. “Even as more and more small and medium sized businesses begin to reopen to the public with safety measures in place, it’s important that we provide additional support to assist our businesses in recovering from the pandemic, while adapting and diversifying their business models for the future.”  

The ShopHERE program compliments the County’s investment in Digital Service Squads which provides up to 10 hours of free one-on-one coaching to businesses from a team of highly trained professionals. The investment in Digital Service Squads was based on staff recommendations from the analysis of the County’s Business Impact Surveys completed by local businesses in relation to urgent COVID-19 needs.

The ShopHERE program is now available to small businesses across the County of Simcoe. Interested parties can apply for the program by visiting www.digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere for an opportunity to have their online store built at no-cost.

For more information about Digital Service Squads, please visit https://edo.simcoe.ca/Pages/COVID-19-Government-Supports.aspx.

About Digital Main Street and Beyond

Digital Main Street and Beyond is a program and service that helps businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and a Digital Service Squad, a team of highly trained professionals who help businesses grow and manage their operations through technology.

About ShopHERE powered by Google

The ShopHERE program offers businesses and artists the opportunity to build a digital presence and minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Council approves milestone agreements for Midhurst 

By Kate Harries AWARE News Network 

In a momentous decision last week, Springwater Township Council authorized execution of an agreement to allow the Micks subdivision to proceed as well as an agreement requiring developers to pay for external infrastructure for all of the Midhurst Secondary Plan.

The 30-year Master External Infrastructure Agreement covers all eight plans of subdivision, totalling about 5,000 residential units, that received conditional approval from the Ontario Municipal Board in 2014.

The Micks subdivision east of Wilson Rd. and south of Rainbow Valley Rd. provides for 342 residential units in the first phase of development within the MSP area.

The vote was unanimous, with Councillor Jack Hanna, as previously announced, departing from his long-held stance - and the widely held expectation in Midhurst - that all OMB conditions must be satisfied before approvals could be granted and work begin on expansion of the village.  

The June 17 2020 council meeting provided the public its first glimpse of agreements that have been the subject of negotiations with MSP developers and in camera meetings since a new council was elected in October 2018. 

Reception of the milestone package of documents, listed on the agenda as item 8.2 under action reports, was muted. It was not pulled for discussion by any member of council. Mayor Don Allen provided no comment himself but asked Planning Director Brent Spagnol to do so.

Spagnol said the Micks agreement is “the first stage of a number of stage agreements to facilitate the implementation of the draft plan approvals that were established in 2014.” It reflects the fact that “the conditions for site alteration have been satisfied to staff’s satisfaction,” he said.

Spagnol called on lawyer Bruce Engell of Weir Foulds, “the main point person working on township’s behalf from a legal standpoint,” to elaborate.

Engell explained that the approach arising from the OMB’s 2014 draft approval does not reflect a conventional approach in which a subdivision agreement comes forward near the end of the process and just before registration of the plan and final approval. 

“Because of the way the conditions were structured here, that isn’t the way it was designed,” Engell said.

The difference is that “the basic concept in approvals for all the (eight) plans was that the external infrastructure required to support those plans was going to be provided and paid for by the developers,” Engell said. “Staff felt that was important to have that agreement in place before we got the ball rolling on any of the subdivisions.”

Engell added that the developer also wanted approval for stage 2 but staff felt there are items that need further negotiation that can take place while site alteration proceeds. A stage 3 agreement, when it comes, would cover the building of the sewage treatment and water treatment plants.

The master infrastructure agreement is between the Corporation of the Township of Springwater and two groups of companies:

The “Carson Owners” of lands to the west of Highway 27, consisting of 1757688 Ontario Inc., 1757689 Ontario Inc., 1757690 Ontario Inc., 1757699 Ontario Inc.,  and1757704 Ontario Inc. and

The “Doran Owners” of lands to the east of 27, consisting of Midhurst Rose Alliance Inc., Midhurst Rose Alliance Clooney Inc., Midhurst Rose Alliance O’Brien Inc., Midhurst Development Doran Road Inc., 1754865 Ontario Inc., 1754866 Ontario Inc., and 1755571 Ontario Inc.

It requires the developers to construct the water, wastewater, transportation and other infrastructure required for the subdivisions in a “timely and cost-effective manner,” at no cost to the township.

There is provision to allow the developers to seek cost sharing from other landowners who may benefit from the infrastructure.

In a staff report to council, Spagnol states that the public interest has been protected through the completion of:

-the Midhurst Environmental Assessment process, 

-a long-range financial plan,

-a comprehensive storm water management plan, 

-a draft subdivision agreement, 

-a draft external works agreement, 

-detailed engineering design and 

-an updated development charge by-law.

Spagnol states that the Micks agreement consists of 152 conditions “which are made up of overarching MSP conditions that are intended to protect the public interest on a community wide basis.” Other conditions reflect specific design requirements such as architectural controls and mailbox locations.

Securities in the amount of $883,408.04 are required for this stage of the agreement. That’s a portion of $2,560,603.00 required in site alteration security, an amount that may be reduced by the municipality on request from the developer. 

“Once all three stages of the Subdivision Agreement have been executed and any outstanding final clearances obtained from review agencies and utility providers, the subdivision may be registered and the lots sold to individual owners,” Spagnol’s report states.

Council approval means that earth work and grading - but not servicing - will start for the Micks area, and continue for the next two or three months, Joe Mullen of Ainley and Associates, the township’s consultant for the project, told council. Equipment will access the site through a farm laneway off Carson Rd., he said.

For more information, go to www.aware-simcoe.ca

 

INTERVIEW WITH LEADER OF THE TEGUCIGALPA FOOD DONATION PROGRAM: THANK YOU FOR YOUR ONGOING FINANCIAL SUPPORT

In a recent interview, Karen Spring asked the leader of the Tegucigalpa food donation program, Maria Vallez* to describe the situation in Honduras during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the COVID cases skyrocket in the capital city, more Honduran families face starvation.

Can you describe the situation in the country? During the pandemic, the country is seeing once again, the violation of our human rights and our labour rights that the Constitution guarantees, like healthcare and other basic necessities that the state is supposed to provide. 

The Honduran government has received millions of dollars in support from foreign donations and loans, the highest in Latin America. This support is for the public finances of the government. Nevertheless, the money received by the government for the people is not getting to those in need and to public programs. An example of this is monies donated to purchase needed medical equipment for health centers and to cover basic supplies and medicines has not been given. Physicians are denouncing the government because they have not received medicines or equipment. At one point, the government stated that monies donated were used to purchase respirators and medical masks for the hospitals. But hospitals have not received these. No protective equipment or masks have been provided. 

Another important issue has been that the lockdown hasn’t allowed people to go out on the streets to carry out their everyday activities. The majority of the Honduran population, more than 50%, lives by way of the informal economy, such as buying from street vendors and farmers selling in local markets. This has meant that a lot of people must remain in their houses; many vendors cannot open their vegetable, fruit, tortilla, or meat stands. So, there are few places to buy or sell food due to these restrictions. Supermarkets run out of food and they are expensive to shop in.

The distribution of food by the government has been delivered in a political manner and there has been very little food for people in communities, in neighbourhoods, and in the places where it’s most needed. 

Describe the group that is involved in distributing the food supplies in Tegucigalpa? How does this distribution work? The Convergence Committee is made up of many human rights and environmental organizations, university student groups, religious groups, unions and some professional associations, like the teachers. We have been working on many activities like denouncing what is going on in the media and concentrating on community-based organizing, as we want to contribute to the human needs required by so many of our people in our neighbourhoods. So, we discussed a protocol and implemented it; we began our food distribution work which has been an important process. 

The first step was to establish contacts with local leaders who are those that are already involved in their communities and are members of local organizations. We make sure they get at least 5 bags of food each for distribution unless they live in bigger neighbourhoods, then we try to provide them with more. We consult with the leaders who are the ones that establish which families are in most need. The need is extensive so we can only help people that are at the greatest disadvantage. 

There are volunteers that price out the food and then purchase it; a second group picks up the food and takes it to a safe place where they pack it into bags and organize the bags for distribution. We deliver approximately 13 to 15 products in each bag. The rations can’t cover an entire month, but it helps somewhat. 

There is also a team of people that have vehicles that help to collect the food bags and distribute them to the different neighbourhoods where contact has been established. The leaders deliver on foot in their neighbourhood or village, distributing the food bags to the families that have been identified. The leaders are responsible for collecting the names and ID numbers of each person that receives the bag. We include this information in our final report. 

Can you describe some of the difficulties of doing food distribution during the pandemic? The biggest problem is that each person can only go and purchase all the food they need one day every 15 days. When restrictions began, people could go out once a week but now each person can only purchase food every 15 days. 

So, we have to wait for the day when we are able to leave our house and only one person can go do the buying. Purchasing all the food is the most cumbersome because there is also a limit to the number of products one can purchase in times of the pandemic. To overcome this issue, we have had to dialogue and explain to the owners of some small supermarkets that the food portions we are buying are to donate, because we buy 20, 30, 50, or up to 100 products all at once and the government doesn’t allow stores to sell that much to a few people. But we have had luck with some places that are flexible, open, and understand what we are doing. One supermarket owner allowed our committee to sort all of the food in his store as a large space is needed. [Photo courtesy of Maria Vallez shows how the food is sorted to be compiled into packages].

Another issue that has been worrisome for us is that the police and military has been taking the food away from the people who are distributing packages in the neighbourhoods, telling them that only the government could do that. So, what we have started to do with the people distributing the food in their vehicles is to reduce the amount of food they carry with them, like avoiding large truck loads and only traveling with small amounts. That way, we disguise what we are doing and make the bags look like the food has been purchased for one’s own household.

We were also worried about the people distributing food - worried that they would be detained at the checkpoints because they were distributing food on the days that the bags were ready but it was not the day they were authorized to leave their house [as per the one day every two week authorization by the government based on the last number of one’s ID card]. This was a risk, so the volunteers had to play around with figuring this out.  

But this is always a challenge, so we had to find how to avoid the military and police checkpoints and know the points in the city where they were asking for documents as well as dealing with the normal risks that we always confront in our neighbourhoods. There are many as a result of the insecurity in the country, nevertheless, we have not had problems with gangs or with anyone when our volunteers go into some places. 

Is there a message you would like to send to the community of Simcoe County and beyond? Yes, our resources are very limited. We the people of Honduras with our low wages are struggling; we are very limited because the cost of basic food supplies has risen during this pandemic and our ability to be economically in solidarity with our own people is limited. People are starving; there is so much need. Without the support from Simcoe County and people in other communities near to your area, it would not have been possible to distribute the 200 bags so far, of food. Each bag costs on average of 170 Lempiras [~$7 USD] and with that, we have been able to get more food to more people. 

We have been working in the centre of the country in Tegucigalpa, but we know the need on a national level is huge. We will continue distributing food to as many communities as possible. Over 100,000 neighbourhoods in this area of the country greatly need these food donations. We are deeply grateful for the support that your organization has given us and appreciate any continued support your community can provide.

Thank you so much for your generosity. 

Maria Vallez, Convergence Food Committee, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

*Name has been changed for identity protection