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Collective political opinions of the community

Mayor Don’s Update

Swaley Drain Update

I am pleased to report that after an extensive consultation and approval process, extension works on the Swaley Drain have now commenced. The Township received the NVCA permit just prior to the holidays, which was the last hurdle in the finalization of this project getting started. The work involves extending the Swaley Drain 750 metres downstream and further into the Minesing Wetlands where wetland water levels are lower. Though two possible routes were proposed by the Drainage Engineer, the 750-metre route was chosen because it follows an existing channel and will therefore minimize wetland disturbance. Dan Higgs Excavating & Marine Services has been contracted to complete the work, which will be done from a barge over the winter 2022 period. The project is estimated to cost a total of $357,000, with $127,000 paid by Springwater, $35,000 assessed to the Province, $27,000 to Simcoe County and $165,000 to the resident landowners (averaging a net cost of $17 to $25 per acre, after the consideration of a grant provided by the Township). Included in the above cost are agreed upon environmental enhancements, a 5-year monitoring program of the work, and “brushing” of the Downey Drain by the Drainage Superintendent to be completed as a separate project.

Hasty Tract Update

A drive through the intersection of Snow Valley Road and HWY 26 is looking very different these days given the ongoing tree clearing and grubbing work at the Hasty Tract property. These site preparations are part of Phase 1 of the Township’s Community Hub project, which includes the construction of a new Fire Station 2 and Simcoe County EMS post. At the end of last year, Council awarded Phase 1 of the new Fire Station 2 design to Masri O Inc. at a cost of $193,008.19. The Phase 1 design works include geotechnical and hydrological investigations, preliminary designs and tendering, all being carried out pursuant to environmental rules and regulations. Staff and Council may revisit the award of Phase 2 at a later date, which would include contract administration and field review during the Design-Build and construction phases.

Concurrent to Phase 1 of the Community Hub project, Phase 2 development has also seen some recent progress. At our last Council Meeting on January 19, the Community Hub Master Plan contract was awarded to Weston Consulting in the amount of $183,002.64. As part of this Master Plan, the consultant will be responsible for public consultation, which will occur shortly, preparing a long-term concept plan for the property, site servicing, cost projections and design criteria for future facility development. We look forward to working with them to progress our new Community Hub, which has been many years in the making.

 

Cart Exchanges

The County of Simcoe is introducing a new cart request program that will allow residents and businesses to exchange their garbage and/or recycling carts for smaller sizes. Cart sizes available for selection include:

  • Recycling – 360 L (default size), 240 L, 120 L
  • Garbage – 240 L (default size), 120 L
  • Organics – 120 L only

Residents and businesses will be able to submit their cart exchange requests starting January 17, 2022. To submit a request, visit carts.simcoe.ca and go to the ‘Cart Exchange’ section. This page provides all the relevant information about swapping carts as well as a link to an online portal where you can make your request. For those without internet access, requests can be made through the County’s Contact Centre at 1-800-263-3199.

If you are considering swapping your carts, please keep in mind the following:

  • Requests can only be made by home/property-owners. Renters should contact their landlords or property managers for assistance.
  • The first exchange for each eligible County household is free until July 30, 2022.
  • For any subsequent exchanges (maximum once annually) or exchange requests made after July 30, 2022, there is an administration fee of $50 per cart, unless you are a new homeowner.
  • Exchange deliveries will commence in early March and may take several weeks to complete.
  • You will be notified prior to delivery to have your current EMPTY cart(s) at roadside for the exchange to occur.
  • Please carefully select the best size for your household. If smaller carts are selected and the location has consistent overflow of materials or overstuffed carts, the location will be required to revert to a larger size cart and the $50 per cart administration fee will be applied. Overflow garbage must have a $3 tag affixed.

New Ontario Business Support Programs

The Ontario government has announced new supports for businesses most impact by the public health measures imposed in response to the Omicron variant, including:

  1. Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant – focuses on small businesses that are subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. The grant is to provide eligible small businesses with a grant payment in the amount of $10,000.
  2. Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program – provides eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity with rebate payments for a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these measures.
  3. Improving Cash Flows for Ontario Businesses – provides additional support to help improve cash flows for Ontario businesses by providing a six-month interest and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. The six-month period will begin January 1, 2022 and end July 1, 2022.

For additional information on the programs, please visit ontario.ca or call 1-866-668-8297.

Central Shelter Access Intake Line

Anyone in need of shelter or warmth can contact the Central Shelter Access Intake Line at 705-828-3795. Shelter is available in the City of Barrie and throughout the region.

Centralized Shelter Access is a support for individuals and families experiencing homelessness who require immediate emergency shelter. This winter pilot program includes coordinated shelter support and placement, with family shelters and shelters for single female identified and single men identified, gender fluid individuals and youth 16 years and older. Those who do not have access to a phone can connect with the Busby Centre’s Detour Street Outreach Team or the sheltering agencies directly.

Springwater Restaurant Directory

Show your support for our local Springwater restaurants who have been required to shut down their in-person dining services until January 26 at the earliest. Many are offering take-out and/or contact-less delivery options in an effort to continue operating under the latest restrictions. The Township has put together a directory of the local offerings, which you can find online at springwater.ca/COVID19.

Outdoor Rinks

As of the writing of this update, outdoor rinks are permitted to be open under the modified Step Two of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen. We are grateful to our dedicated community volunteers who are working hard to build and maintain the rinks, so we all have a way of staying active this winter. Most locations are now open, with the exception of a few that are still under construction. Find out more by visiting springwater.ca/OutdoorRinks. Residents are asked to follow all public health recommendations and maintain a distance of 6 feet from others while using the rinks. Wearing a mask on the ice is strongly recommended. Please also respect the hours posted for public skating and do not play shinny/hockey during these times. Your support and consideration are appreciated.

Municipal Service Impacts of Modified Step Two

As a result of the framework under the Province’s modified Step Two, all Township facilities including the Township Administration Centre, the Elmvale Community Arena, Fire Halls and public works yards are closed to the public until further notice. Staff are available to assist residents by phone or email. Contact information is available at springwater.ca/Contact. The Elmvale, Midhurst and Minesing branches of the Springwater Public Library are open for curbside service only. For more information on what’s open and closed, visit springwater.ca/COVID19.

Enjoy winter and stay safe.

 

Ontario Launches Virtual 2022 Budget Consultations

Today, Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy announced the launch of 2022 Budget consultations and encouraged Ontarians to share their ideas for making Ontario the best place to build a career, a family and a future.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the government engaged people and businesses in a series of consultations to help inform the Province’s ongoing response to fight this virus. This is a critical time for the government to protect Ontario’s progress against COVID-19 and, more specifically, the newer threat posed by Omicron. The government will continue its conversations with the people of this province by asking them what they want to see in the 2022 Budget.

“It is clear that while the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, our government will continue to make decisions that will lay a strong, stable fiscal foundation that Ontario workers, families and entrepreneurs can build on,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “We are looking for ideas that will help us continue to build Ontario’s long-term prosperity and create jobs, while supporting workers and communities in every corner of our province.”

People and organizations are welcome to share their ideas via an online survey, emailed or mailed submissions to the Ministry of Finance, or through a series of virtual consultations across the province that begin Monday, January 17.

Visit Ontario.ca/budgetconsultations to learn how to submit your ideas by email, mail, or by filling out a survey. The 2022 Budget consultations will close on February 11, 2022.

The 2022 Budget will be delivered by March 31, 2022.

Quick Facts

People can participate in this year’s Budget consultations by:

Sharing ideas online by participating in the online survey

Emailing written submissions to submissions@ontario.ca

Mailing submissions to the Minister of Finance

Attending a virtual consultation session

Additional Resources

Learn more about the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect people from COVID-19.

 

Ontario Providing Supports for Small Businesses, Workers and Families

The Ontario government is providing targeted relief for businesses and people impacted by the current public health measures aimed at blunting the spread of the Omicron variant. As part of this plan, the government is introducing a $10,000 grant for eligible businesses that are subject to closures under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen and is providing additional electricity-rate relief for businesses, as well as workers and families spending more time at home.

“Our government understands that public health measures needed to blunt the spread of the Omicron variant are impacting the lives and livelihoods of small businesses, workers and families across Ontario,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Since the first day of the pandemic, we have provided unprecedented levels of support to protect people, jobs and our economy. We will continue to deliver on that commitment.”

As part of a comprehensive plan to support workers and businesses, the government is announcing an Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for small businesses that are subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. It will provide eligible small businesses with a grant payment of $10,000.

Eligible small businesses include:

  • Restaurants and bars;
  • Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms);
  • Performing arts and cinemas;
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
  • Meeting or event spaces;
  • Tour and guide services;
  • Conference centres and convention centres;
  • Driving instruction for individuals; and
  • Before- and after- school programs.

Eligible businesses that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and that are subject to closure under modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and will not need to apply to the new program. Newly established and newly eligible small businesses will need to apply once the application portal opens in the coming weeks. Small businesses that qualify can expect to receive their payment in February.

“Small businesses, job creators and the entrepreneurial spirit are the backbone of Ontario’s economy. Unfortunately, these businesses have been some of the most impacted by COVID-19, and many continue to struggle,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Since the start of the pandemic, we have provided unprecedented supports for businesses in every region of the province. With the new Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant, our government will provide relief for thousands of small businesses that create jobs for hard working Ontarians.”

The Ontario government is also providing electricity-rate relief to support small businesses, as well as workers and families spending more time at home while the province is in Modified Step Two. For 21 days starting at 12:01 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, electricity prices will be set 24 hours a day at the current off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is less than half the cost of the current on-peak rate. The off-peak rate will apply automatically to residential, small businesses and farms who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and get a bill from a utility and will benefit customers on both Time-of-Use and Tiered rate plans.

“We know that spending more time at home means using more electricity during the day when prices are higher, that’s why we are moving to off-peak electricity rates 24 hours per day, seven days a week,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “The off-peak rate will provide immediate savings for families, small businesses and farms as all Ontarians work together to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.”

Further, online applications for the previously-announced Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program will open on January 18. This program will provide eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity with rebate payments for up to 100 per cent of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.

Eligible businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. Those required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs. A complete list of eligible businesses will be provided prior to the launch of the application portal.

“Small businesses are at the heart of every community across our province and make a tremendous contribution to Ontario’s economy,” said Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “Our government knows how important it is to support small business owners during such a difficult time. That’s why throughout the pandemic, our government has supported small businesses and continues to do so through the new Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant.”

The government is also improving cash flows for Ontario businesses by providing up to $7.5 billion through a six-month interest- and penalty-free period starting January 1, 2022 for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. This supports businesses now and provides the flexibility they will need for long-term planning. Building on Ontario’s efforts to improve cash flows for businesses, the province continues to call on the federal government to match provincial tax deferral efforts by allowing small businesses impacted by public health restrictions to defer their HST remittances for a period of six months.

“Ontario’s heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries have been hit first, hardest, and are expected to take the longest to recover from the pandemic,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “These new supports are critical to protect sectors that contribute more than $76 billion and hundreds of thousands of jobs in communities across the province.”

These measures will build on Ontario’s support for businesses and workers, including:

  • Cutting wholesale alcohol prices to provide approximately $60 million in annual support to restaurants, bars and other businesses, as well as making it easier for businesses to create and extend patios and permanently allowing licenced restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order.
  • Extending COVID-19 paid sick days until July 31, 2022 to keep workers safe and ensure they do not lose pay if they need to miss work for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Enabling an estimated $10.1 billion in cost savings and support to Ontario businesses in 2021, with more than 60 per cent, or $6.3 billion, going to small businesses, including:
  • Supporting a reduction in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premiums.
  • Allowing businesses to accelerate write-offs of capital investments for tax purposes.
  • Reducing the small business Corporate Income Tax rate to 3.2 per cent.
  • Providing the Digital Main Street program, which helped more than 20,000 businesses across the province to increase their digital presence in 2020-21.
  • Introducing and temporarily enhancing the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit to encourage investments in certain regions of Ontario that have lagged in employment growth in the past.
  • Providing targeted COVID-19 support through the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant.
  • Lowering high Business Education Tax rates for job creators.
  • Increasing the Employer Health Tax exemption from $490,000 to $1 million.
  • Lowering electricity bills through measures such as the Comprehensive Electricity Plan, with the Province paying for a portion of high-priced, non-hydro renewable energy contracts.
  • Providing targeted COVID-19 support through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which delivered $3 billion in urgent and unprecedented support to over 110,000 small businesses across the province.

Quick Facts

  • The government has temporarily moved the province back into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen, with modifications that take into account the province’s successful vaccination efforts. These time-limited measures will help blunt transmission and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed as the province continues to accelerate its booster dose rollout. They will be in place at least until January 26, 2022, subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.
  • Launched in January 2021, the Ontario Small Business Support Grant provided direct financial support to eligible small businesses that were required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown that came into effect in December 2020.
  • Businesses subject to 50 per cent capacity restrictions are not eligible for the new Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant.
  • The Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program provides eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity with rebate payments for a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.

 

Additional Resources

  • COVID-19 public health measures and advice
  • Ontario Further Strengthening Response to Omicron
  • All Ontarians 18+ Eligible for COVID-19 Booster Appointments at Three-Month Interval
  • COVID-19: Help for businesses in Ontario
  • Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport
  • Business who have questions about public health and workplace safety measures can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only

 

Let Others Speak for Themselves

There is a practice that has the power to sabotage communication and relationships. We all do it or have done it. It is so prevalent in the way we think about others that we are scarcely aware we are violating others when we do it. It is like a computer virus that has the potential to disable all of our programs.

What could it be? It is when we make assumptions about what others are thinking. How often sentences begin with, “you think”, “she thinks”, “they think”, or even, “everyone thinks”. It is not an assumption when you report directly and accurately what another has said. Telling someone your preschooler thinks there are monsters under the bed may be a statement of fact, if that is what she told you. However, to say that your teenager thinks everyone should pick up after him, because he never puts anything away, is an assumption, unless he actually made that statement.

Statements such as, “You think you can just walk all over me”, “You think the world revolves around you”, or “You just don’t care”, are actually very invasive, hostile and judgmental. It is hard for the recipient of such messages to respond in any reasonable way. Denial of the allegation generally invites further judgments, as the speaker tries to prove his or her assumption is accurate. Saying, for example, that he does care, may cause the speaker to cite a litany of examples “proving” that he does not. Unable to respond reasonably, the one attached may resort to tossing out a few assumptions of his own, reacting angrily, or simply walking away. Of course this “proves” to the initiator that she was right all along.

Right? Wrong! This is what we call crazy-making. It distorts the communication process and takes on a life of its own. We must let others speak for themselves. We honour them when we take the time to ask what their thoughts and feelings are. We must accept what they say as their truth. There is simply no point in arguing with someone about what they think, because we cannot get into their heads. If there is any doubt in your mind about how this affects others, just try to remember a time when someone either told you what you thought, or otherwise insisted he knew more about what is in your head than you do. It is to communication what a red flag is to a bull.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.

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