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Mayor Don’s Update

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility for Children and Youth

As of Thursday, July 28, parents and caregivers of children aged six months to under five years can book appointments for the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine. Furthermore, immunocompromised youth aged 12 to 17 are now eligible to schedule their second booster dose if at least six months have passed since their first booster. Appointments can be booked through the COVID-19 Vaccination Portal at covid19.ontariohealth.ca, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900, or through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, select pharmacies, and primary care settings.

Community Hub Master Planning

The community engagement portion of the Community Hub master planning process is now complete, following a consultation campaign that included multiple stakeholder meetings, public outreach and group visioning sessions. The process was guided by a gender-balanced steering committee with representation from the north and south ends of the Township, minorities, youth and Indigenous persons. With input received from those living and/or working in all areas of Springwater, the community has spoken loud and clear on their desires for the new Community Hub. The Hub is envisioned as a place that:

  • Is welcoming, vibrant and that helps residents uplift themselves.
  • Blends into nature rather than overpowering it.
  • Provides access to social services, support for professional development, and learning in reading, writing, art, performance and technical skills.
  • Includes education and programming for all ages, water sports and swimming, ice pads, self-programmable spaces, indoor fitness equipment, seating areas, a café, and quiet study spaces.
  • Provides access to recreation, nature, year-round activity and family entertainment.
  • Includes a library that is large enough for the growing population.
  • Is surrounded by a pedestrian-friendly area with slower traffic, restaurants, fresh food markets, music, culture, arts, crafts and other locally made products.

The next steps in this project include formalizing the output of the engagement process and tabulating the results into a vision document outlining the community’s wishes in each main area. Using this guiding document, the consultant will prepare a draft long-term master plan for the property’s development, including any phasing plans. This long-term master plan will take two months to come together, after which the conceptual plan/design will be created.

Midhurst Development Updates

Township staff have advised that the effluent main work continues on Highway 26 and Wilson Drive. At this time, Wilson Drive remains closed due to sink holes and is anticipated to remain closed into August. Updates will continue to be provided to the public through the Township’s website and social media channels. With regards to the Micks Subdivision, the construction of homes continues, and the developer is currently working to remove excess soil from the site. Work is also moving forward on the east side of Bayfield Street, with earthworks scheduled to begin at the site of the Midhurst Heights Subdivision later this summer. Finally, the traffic signals at Snow Valley Road and Wilson Drive have now been installed, though hydro still needs to make the final connection before the lights may be commissioned.

North Simcoe Rail Trail Resurfacing Project

The Township was successful in its application for $30,000 of funding assistance through the County of Simcoe’s Trails Connecting Communities Program. The funds will be allocated to partially offset the Township’s contribution to the North Simcoe Rail Trail (NSRT) resurfacing project, for which additional grant funding was received through FedDev Ontario. Of the $1,000,000 in total project costs, 75% or up to $750,000 will be contributed from the Federal Government, whereas the Township is responsible for the remaining 25% or up to $250,000.

The scope of work proposed under both grant applications is to resurface up to 30 kms of track along the NSRT to increase its accessibility. This will involve replacing the current natural sand and dirt base of the trail with an accessible surface material, such as limestone screenings. The project also includes replacing culverts along the trail, leveling and adding limestone screenings to four trail entrance parking lots, and installing 30 trail entrance gates to meet accessibility standards. The project area spans from just north of County Road 90 to 5 km north of Elmvale.

Status Update on Spongy Moth Infestation

At its August 3rd Meeting, Council received an update report on the Spongy Moth (Lymantria Dispar Dispar – LDD) outbreak in our area. Over the spring, the Township prepared 195 burlap trap kits, which could be picked up for free by residents and included information on how to manage Spongy Moth at their various life stages. An enhanced webpage dedicated to Spongy Moth was also developed on the Township’s website, providing easy access to information and management resources. The enhanced webpage included a reporting tool through which residents could report major egg mass and caterpillar sightings on their property. A total of seven egg mass and caterpillar hatching sightings were reported, though staff did not receive any concerns from residents regarding hatched caterpillars leading to severe defoliation.

2022 reports from the County of Simcoe’s Forestry Department and the Severn Sound Environmental Association have indicated that the infestation has almost entirely collapsed in our region. As such, the County will not be investing further staff time or funds into monitoring the current cyclical outbreak. The Township will continue to keep its Spongy Moth webpage updated as new data is reported by the Province. Residents can also continue to submit their Spongy Moth concerns through the reporting tool on the webpage, which can be accessed at springwater.ca/SpongyMoth.

Have a safe and fun August.

 

Update From Doug Downey MPP

Ontario Releases the ‘Plan to Catch Up’

The government of Ontario has released its Plan to Catch Up for the upcoming 2022-23 school year, including several initiatives supported by historic funding. The province will continue to support the learning recovery journey for all students, including those disproportionally affected by learning disruptions. The province’s Plan to Catch Up is focused on providing students with the best learning experience possible, so that they can get back on track, and learn the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.

The plan includes five main categories, focused on student experience and learning. Back to Normal means students will be back in the classroom on-time, and schools will remain open while staying safe this year. The plan also supports an enriching school experience that enables academic success, and lets students take advantage of the activities and programs that enhance classroom learning and build social and life skills. Key to this step of the plan are having the appropriate and up to date health and safety measures in place, such as ventilation improvements, and safe practices, such as frequent hand washing, enhanced cleaning protocols, and screening policies supported by free rapid tests.

Expanded Student Supports offers enhanced tutoring support programs, focused on literacy and math, made possible by a landmark investment of $175 million. Additionally, the province is implementing long term reforms on the way reading is taught in schools, with a focus on evidence-based approaches. More than $3.25 billion will be available in Special Education Grant Funding to help prevent and remove barriers for students with disabilities or special education needs and ensure our most vulnerable have every opportunity to succeed.

Ontario’s Modern Curriculum focuses on preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow by providing a revised careers studies course including personal financial management, budgeting, and financial planning tools, as well as providing opportunities for students to investigate careers in high growth industries. The math curriculum has also been overhauled to focus on foundational math skills, financial literacy, budgeting and coding. De-streamed grade nine math and science courses focus on new learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, engineering design, the skilled trades and emerging technologies.

Ontario is also providing More Money to Build Schools and Improve Education by delivering over $26.6 billion for the 2022-23 school year, as well as investing $14 billion over ten years to build state-of-the-art schools and classrooms, and to renew and repair existing schools, including $2.1 billion for the 2022-23 school year. The province has also allocated $304 million of limited-time funding to support the hiring of up to 3,000 more front-line staff, including teachers and educational assistants.

At the core of the Plan to Catch Up remains the wellbeing of students, and a focus on Mental Health as a foundation for student success. Students will have access to mental health supports where they need it. The Province is launching consultations with mental health stakeholders to explore how to best leverage the available evidence on student mental health needs. Additionally, the province has also allocated $90 million for mental health initiatives and supports for students.

Through the government’s Plan to Catch Up students, parents and teachers can look forward to a return to normal this year in schools.

 

MUNICIPAL ELECTION

Township of Springwater

Filings as of July 19, 2022 for the unofficial list:

Mayor:  Coughlin, Jennifer and Haight, Bill

Deputy Mayor: Maw-Chapman, Wanda and Cabral, George

Councillor Ward 1:  Garwood, Matthew and Horgan, Francis

Councillor Ward 2:  Nelson-Hewitt, Chantal

Councillor Ward 3: Thompson, Brad and Mainprize, Cory

Councillor Ward 4:  Moore, Anita and Smith, Linda

Councillor Ward 5: Fisher, Phil and Zapolnik, Dominika

 

Eligible Springwater voters will elect a number of different positions on Voting Day, including:

One (1) Mayor

One (1) Deputy Mayor

Five (5) Ward Councillors (one for each of Wards 1 to 5)

 

Township of Tiny

As of July 29, 2022 for unofficial list

Mayor: David Evans

Deputy Mayor: Sean Miskimins

Councillor (3 to be elected): John Bryant, Ema Canadic, Stephen McNamara, Janice Murton, Steffen Walma and Gibb Wishart

 

Eligible Tiny voters will elect a number of different positions on Voting Day, including:

One (1) Mayor

One (1) Deputy Mayor

Three (3) Ward Councillors (one for each of Wards 1 to 3)

 

Fraser Institute News Release: Employment Rate for Canadians 15-64 at Record Levels, But Aging Population Limiting Overall Labour Market Recovery

The employment rate for Canadians between 15 and 64 years of age (working age) is at a historic high, but the overall labour market has yet to fully recover from the pandemic-induced recession due to the continued aging of the country’s population, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study compares labour statistics for the first five months of 2022 relative to the same period in 2019 to gauge the recovery of the country’s labour market. In total, there were 347,300 more potential workers aged 15 to 64 in 2022 compared to 2019. However, there were 533,120 more people employed in this age category in 2022 than 2019, vastly outstripping the growth in population.

“Clearly the labour market, and more specifically employment levels for working-age Canadians, has more than rebounded from the pandemic-induced recession,” commented Tegan Hill, economist at the Fraser Institute and co-author of An Aging Population: The Demographic Drag on Canada’s Labour Market.

The lack of a full recovery in the employment rate is explained by Canada’s aging population. The study shows how there were 729,100 more people over the age of 65 in 2022 compared to 2019 but that only 62,680 were employed. Put differently, only 8.6 per cent of the new people over the age of 65 in 2022 compared to 2019 are employed.

“The aging of the population will continue to impose a drag on the labour market as seniors continue to represent a larger share of the population over the age of 15, assuming no changes in their participation or employment rates,” said Alex Whalen, policy analyst at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the study.

“Canada needs to re-assess policies impeding potential workers over the age of 65 from participating in the labour market.”

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