Plan to close Clearview road stirs residents, environmental groups

A coalition of residents and environmental groups is continuing a fight against a road agreement it says was reached behind closed doors and could have a negative impact on community safety and the environment.

A group calling itself Quarry Aware — a coalition of residents and citizen groups —  is raising questions about the deal that saw what was formerly County Road 91 transferred to an aggregate company.

While the agreement between the County of Simcoe, Clearview Township and Walker Industries to transfer 91 to Walker is now more than six years old — one of the conditions of — the process of handing over and closing the road has been delayed while the township gets approvals from the Niagara Escarpment Commission to upgrade the surrounding road network.

Under the agreement, Walker would take ownership of County Road 91 west from the 10th Concession to the township boundary, and nearly $10 million would be spent in upgrades to 91 east to Duntroon — which are now complete — as well as the 10th Concession and the .

The work would largely be financed by the aggregate company.

Quarry Aware member Doug Dingeldein said the matter has been brought back to the fore because of the upcoming municipal election, citing community security and road safety issues.

“We want to put pressure on people who are running,” he said. “It’s an issue because there’s a growing awareness in the community of the implications of closing that road.

“People are stunned when they find that the road is going to be closed, they don’t believe it,: he said. “It’s been dragged on so long that people think it’s gone away, it’s dead, because nothing has happened.”

The environment is also a factor, as the agreement specifies that in closing 91, the 26/27 Sideroad — which is essentially only passable in summer — would be upgraded to year-round use; environmentalists say that would negatively affect a nearby cold-water stream used as a spawning area for brook trout.

In 2015, the NEC denied the township’s application to upgrade Sideroad 26/27 west of the 10th Line to the municipal boundary. The municipality has since made an application to amend the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP), and is challenging the NEC’s decision through the Niagara Escarpment Hearing Office (NEHO).

The NEC turned down the permit because the project did not meet the commission’s test of ‘essential’, though NEC planners had supported the application. The NEC’s decision has been backed at the tribunal by neighbours and the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust, which has party status at the NEHO hearing.

George Powell, a member of the Trust’s Watershed Action Group, said while the Trust is not affiliated with Quarry Aware, the two groups share similar goals.

Powell said the Trust wanted to see a class environmental assessment of the 26/27 proposal, “otherwise (the township) would not be in this mess.

“This is a transportation issue, but it is also an environmental issue,” he said, noting the sideroad runs through the highest point in Ontario and is the headwaters for four area streams.

Powell said several additional wetland areas along the sideroad were not documented in the original application by the township, and the Trust has asked the Minister of the Environment to suspend the hearing process.

“The initial failure by Clearview Township to carry out the appropriate level of environmental assessment remains as a serious and major problem,” Powell wrote to Minister Rod Phillips in July. In response, the ministry declined to get involved, citing the ongoing hearing process.

A status update on the township’s appeal will be held Aug. 18.

Clearview Township officials declined to comment to Quarry Aware’s position on the agreement. In an email to, the township’s communications and marketing co-ordinator Tim Hendry stated the township’s appeal of the NEC decision is ongoing, and municipal officials continue to work toward completing an amendment to the NEP.

The township is also awaiting on the NEC to approve a development permit to repave the 10th Line from 124 to north of 26/27. The township budgeted $4 million in the 2018 budget for the work; $3 million would come from Walker, while the township’s share would be funded through gas tax revenue.

Quarry Aware has asked for a traffic study to be undertaken on the area, and “none has been forthcoming,” said Dingeldein.

“We want it stopped — there are no ifs, ands, buts or maybes, we want the deal jettisoned. That’s the easiest thing,” Dingeldein said. “I don’t think the taxpayers in Clearview have a really good idea of what their council is spending on this project — spending on lawyers, planners, experts, studies, and it’s been going on a long time.”

Ted Emond — Orillia Ward 1

It has been an honour to serve as a Ward 1 Councillor for the past four years.

I moved to Orillia in 1979 and have resided in Ward 1 since 1987. My wife, Julia Bailey, who practices family and children’s law in Orillia, and I live in the Villages of Leacock Point.

During the 1980s I served as a director and chair of the Orillia Economic Development Commission. I was subsequently elected Mayor of Orillia for a three-year term. 

During the 1990s, I was twice elected a commissioner of the Orillia Water Light Power Commission. After retiring from Hewitt Associates in 2010, served for five years as a director of Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and three years as a director of OSMH Foundation.

I made two commitments when I ran for council in 2014. One was to help return decorum and civility to the deliberations of city council, and the second was to encourage council to make decisions that would have a long-lasting, positive impact on our city.  

My first commitment was, for the most part, accomplished thanks to the courtesy and thoughtfulness of my colleagues.  

In fulfilling my second commitment, council made three significant, long-term decisions. These were:

•    The construction of a new aquatic, gymnasium and fitness recreation centre on West Street South.

•    The redevelopment of our waterfront, including the Metro Plaza and railway lands, which are already a catalyst for private-sector commercial and residential investment.

•    The potential sale of our electric distribution utility to Hydro One, which has committed to building three new facilities in West Orillia, creating economic stimulus and significant future employment opportunities.

I believe the next council will be challenged to not only bring these projects to completion, but improve day-to-day services while keeping tax increases to a level of inflation, improve support for social assistance and health care, and explore city boundary adjustments to permit future economic growth.

Ted Emond

Innisfil’s Bruno Alonzi has a passion for baking

For more than 35 years, Bruno Alonzi, has risen at 4:30 a.m. to head to work in the bakery business.

And he has done so with a smile.

“I absolutely love what I do,” says the 52-year-old baker who owns and operates Bruno’s Bakery and Cafe in Innisfil with his wife, Silvia.

Baking is in his blood, as Alonzi was trained by his father, starting at age 15, as the two worked side by side at the Open Window Bakery in Toronto (now closed).

After working at and operating other bakeries, he opened Bruno’s in 2012.

The neighbourhood bakery serves up cookies, pastries, pies, breads, buns, custom cakes and more. The 34-seat café also offers specialty coffees, Italian ice cream, fresh pizza, deli meats and cheeses, homemade frozen meals, and a hot table.

“Our hot table is very popular and features anything from veal or chicken Parmesan on a bun, to cabbage rolls and soups,” he says.

Everything is made in house and from scratch.

Along with offering breakfast, lunch and dinner service, Bruno’s also offers Sunday brunch.

“We do a bit of everything,” he explains.

Must-have items include Bruno’s rye bread, egg bread, chocolate buffaloes, custard tarts and danishes.

As for his food philosophy?

“Use the proper ingredients and if you are going to make it — do it right.”

His favourite part of the job is seeing the satisfaction on customers’ faces when they visit the bakery to pick up bakery items, or to enjoy a savoury meal.

While known for his baking skills, Alonzi garnered plenty of media attention last summer when he returned a prized lost guitar to Ontario singer-songwriter and Juno nominee Danny Michel.

The guitar had been accidentally left at the Tesla charging station at Park Place in Barrie, when the band was moving equipment between vehicles.

“I had noticed them moving things around, but after their vehicles left I realized they had left a guitar behind.”  

Rather than leaving it there, he picked it up hoping he could find its owner.

Soon after, the baker started seeing Facebook posts about the lost guitar from the distraught musician, “I got in touch with him right away to return it.”  

Danny Michel was incredibly thankful, and word of the good news story travelled fast. “It got lots of media attention from CBC, local TV and radio stations and newspapers,” he explains.

Michel even played his guitar at the bakery, and encouraged others to visit the bakery and buy “cakes, breads, pastries and assorted desserts made and baked from scratch by a super-kind honest man,” and to thank him online.

He received kind messages from around the world — even one from Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield.

“To this day, people still come in and thank me for returning that guitar,” he says with a smile.

Bruno’s Bakery and Cafe is located at . For more information, call
or visit them on Facebook. Open seven days a week.

Barrie has ‘evaded responsibility’ on heritage preservation: community advocate

In Barrie, Bill Scott puts his money where his home is. 

The longtime member of the Allandale Neighbourhood Association and Barrie’s historical neighbourhoods strategy committee is calling on the city to do a better job of protecting its heritage properties — especially in the Allandale, Queen’s and Brock parks, downtown core, Kempenfelt Village and Tollendal areas.

There are currently 34 properties listed on the city’s heritage register — 18 have received designation status under the Ontario Heritage Act.

“The city’s approach is that only voluntarily will (properties) get put on the register,” he said, sitting in the living room of his Burton Avenue house, a building constructed in 1900 and once occupied by railway workers. “Council has really evaded its responsibility. It’s supposed to make that register, not invite people to put themselves on it. There should be several hundred properties (listed). One or two get added a year; that’s not enough to protect an area.”

Scott owns one of the first homes listed on the city’s register. Being added to the register does come with some restrictions, perhaps most notably a 60-day delay on the issuance of demolition permits for the property. However, it’s different from full designation status, which can be achieved only through a consultant’s report that identifies unique and historical characteristics on a property — stained glass, interior moulding or roof shape, for example. Once designation is achieved, those elements cannot be altered.

Owners can still do renovations to their property, regardless of the level of protection added, he said.

For example, Scott has completed thousands of dollars of work to his home and intends to rebuild an addition that was placed on the house decades ago.

“Don’t buy an old house if you don’t expect maintenance is a big part of it,” he said. “The soul of a city lies in its history. The historic fabric is the physical memory of what happened here before. If this area is redeveloped to be all modern houses, the history’s gone.”

Scott said St. George’s Anglican and Burton Avenue United churches and most houses on Burton should be listed.

And many of the city’s older neighbourhoods should be designated as historical districts, in a similar manner to the protections Innisfil put in place in Cookstown recently, he said.

“There are, no doubt, many properties — almost all homes — with historic value,” Mayor Jeff Lehman said. “But should they be listed without the owner’s consent? We’re trying to support heritage preservation through grants — carrots, not sticks.”

The next term of council will also need to address neighbourhood protection, he said.

City planning director Andrea Bourrie said municipal staff will present a heritage strategy to council in the fall. Heritage policies will also be explored while the city updates its official plan and zoning bylaws over the next few years.

“We don’t pursue designation without homeowner support,” she said. “So, the number of homes listed and designated is not entirely within the city’s control.”

Association members will blitz the Allandale area this summer, in an effort to convince more owners to list their properties, Scott said.

Dump trucks banned from using Cookstown roads

There could be less rumbling through Cookstown after council banned Essa Township’s dump-truck traffic.

Deputy Mayor Lynn Dollin put forward a motion June 20 to ban the construction vehicles from using County Road 89 as a way to get to Essa Township developments.

“I’ve emailed Essa Mayor Terry Dowdall, along with council so as not to surprise them,” Dollin said. “It has become a cumbersome problem, I’ve clocked them at about one dump truck every 15 seconds.”

The problem is that the heavy trucks using Church, Queen and King streets cause a safety concern for pedestrians and other traffic, and the town just spent about $2 million to upgrade the road, Dollin noted.

Ward 1 Coun. Doug Lougheed asked where the trucks should be rerouted.

“If they’re coming from Hwy. 400, I can see a logistical problem if they can’t be absolutely in the town of Innisfil,” Lougheed said.

Dollin suggested the trucks are already using the 5th Sideroad of Essa to get to the two dumping sites and added they could use County Road 21 or County Road 27.

Cookstown business owner Joseph Delgrosso said dump trucks aren’t the only problem.

Traffic overall has become worse , he said.

“It’s supposed to be 40 km/h. I don’t understand why the town’s holding back on making it safe,” he said. “That’s why people don’t come here no more. They don’t feel it’s safe.”

He said dump-truck traffic is more consistent in the morning, but a dump truck passes by his storefront almost every minute during the day.

“We need to put a sign up that Cookstown has zero tolerance for speeding,” he said. “Look at Bradford. You go through Bradford like that, they’ll throw you in jail.”

Delgrosso has had his Joseph’s Art Studio space for four years and said he’s never seen police radar patrol in front of his business, even after the town reduced the speed to 40 km/h last year.

“It’s only gotten worse. Sometimes, my windows shake when they go by here.”

Simcoe County to build affordable seniors residence in Victoria Harbour

A 41-unit affordable senior’s residence will be built in Victoria Harbour.

Simcoe County council has approved a $12.8-million rental development to be built on a 3.2-acre lot behind the rink at the back of the Oakwood Community Centre.

“I’m excited. It’s going to be an incredible building,” said Tay Township Mayor Scott Warnock. “I’m glad I was around long enough to see this come to fruition.”

A single three-storey building will house all 41-units, which will be targeted toward seniors and persons with disabilities. The project will exhibit Victorian architecture, historic colour schemes, include a common area, outdoor seating and gathering areas and provide a connection to the Tay Shore Trail.

Many residents in Tay Township have been voicing concerns over the lack of seniors housing in the community for years. The topic came up during the 2014 election and quickly became a major priority for Township council.

“The constituents wanted to see something built that would be affordable that was tailored toward seniors,” said Warnock. “And the municipality just doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to do it ourselves.”

When Simcoe County began rolling out a program for affordable housing, it initially only favoured towns and cities with access to hospitals and transit. Warnock was part of a group of politicians advocating for a rural housing program. The county obliged and changed the rules for smaller communities.

“We created a special program at the County for rural communities,” said Warden Gerry Marshall. “We tucked away $2 million in 2018 and $2 million in 2019 to create affordable housing in non-urban locations such as Victoria Harbour.”

The township did everything they possible could to help make the project a reality. Various studies were paid for with township funds and they offered up the land to the county for just $1.

“We have an aging community. If people can’t age at home, they want to be able to age in their community,” said Warnock. “My kids and my grandchildren are here. This is the community my wife grew up in. We would love to stay here, if we possibly could. This (building) will give us an opportunity.”

The county has just completed phase one of a ten-year plan to address affordable housing needs in the region. The strategy has created more than 1,000 new units since 2014.

Tay Township had a 10-year goal of 48 affordable units.

“To get 41 units in one fell swoop is great,” said Warnock. “It gets us very close to the target for affordable housing units to be built in Tay Township.”

On June 12, staff were given the green light by county council to move forward with designs, tendering, site preparation and construction.

“The council, citizens and the staff has all been energized about this project,” said Marshall. “A lot of people are going to be happy when we break ground.”

A site plan will be submitted to the Township in early fall for approval, with an agreement expected to be in place by December. The project should go to tender in February with construction beginning as early as March.

Wasaga Beach bar will be hosting this hair-raising event

About a dozen folks will be lopping off their locks for a good cause.

A Gift of Hair Because We Care will be held at the on July 19 from 6 until 9 p.m.

Organizer Leslie Farkas said six hair donations have come through the mail, and another six people — children and adults — have lined up to get their hair cut at the event by stylists from Transformation Hair Studio. The hair will be donated to Angel Hair for Kids Foundation.

Local magician Jayden Vanderburg and musical duo the Strange Potatoes will be the entertainment, along with giant bubbles, face painting, and hair braiding.

This will be fifth time Farkas has donated his hair.

South Simcoe police launch new rescue boat in Innisfil

Lieutenant-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell popped the top to a bottle of champagne as she christened a new South Simcoe police marine vessel June 22.

The boat, christened the John Graves Simcoe, replaces the John Wardrop and includes a heater, two outboard motors and a bow thruster, a davit for removing patients from the water and adequate space for patients inside the closed cabin.

“People spend so much time on the water here, we put so much stress on police services. They need the best equipment for the job and I’m told this is overdue,” Dowdeswell said.

South Simcoe police board chairperson Rod Hicks is proud of the new $320,000 vessel and watched some of the training.

“I’m a boater and know that when the rest of us are rushing to shore to avoid bad weather, our officers are heading out into those dangerous situations,” he said. “Now they’ve got a boat that’s designed to handle the large waves and the power and unpredictability of Lake Simcoe.”

South Simcoe police Chief Andrew Fletcher said officers take about 200 calls on Lake Simcoe, which will only increase as Friday Harbour continues to grow.

The former police boat, the John Wardrop, was sold to someone in North Bay who will refurbish it.

Collingwood mother believes daughter overdosed on purple heroin

A Collingwood woman wants answers into her daughter’s death, which she believes was from purple heroin.

Darlene Loucks said her daughter, Priscilla Rowbotham, died after an overdose at a Collingwood hotel in March.

However, that’s about all she knows. She has sent letters to the coroner’s office asking for the toxicology and autopsy reports, but has been told the death is still under investigation.

Loucks told she believes Rowbotham had heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil in her system; those drugs are also in what’s known as purple heroin. She said this was told to her during conference calls with the coroner.

“I’m thinking it’s that purple heroin,” she said. “All those things were mentioned to me verbally.”

Collingwood OPP announced on July 31 they had found purple heroin in Collingwood and said a small grain was powerful enough to kill someone. OPP Const. Martin Hachey said police were not releasing details surrounding discovery of the drugs.

Loucks said it was “disheartening” to read that report, and that she is frustrated with the lack of answers.

She has filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) regarding her interactions with investigating officer.

She has also made a complaint to the Death Investigation Oversight Council for Ontario and is also hoping for an inquest.

A June 8 response from the oversight council said the investigation is ongoing and her request would be considered once the investigation had been completed.

Cheryl Mahyr from the Office of the Chief Coroner said they are unable to release information but the investigation is ongoing.

The issues of opioid use is on the rise in the community.

According to Collingwood Deputy Fire Chief Dan Thurman, the department has responded to 40 overdose cases since June.

“We had five in a 24-hour span a few weeks ago,” he said.

All of the fire trucks are equipped with naloxone kits, which are also available at drug stores and can temporarily reverse and opioid overdose.

“It takes two to three minutes to go through their system and it’s only good for about 30 minutes,” Thurman said. “Because you’re brain is telling you not to breath, it goes into the system and allows you to breath again.”

Chief Ross Parr said using them is the last resort.

He said firefighters, who respond to all medical calls, have received training from the County of Simcoe paramedics and have a series of procedures they are required to follow when dealing with an overdose.

“We follow medical directives,” Parr said. “The first thing isn’t to do that (naloxone) … Oxygen administration is No. 1. “

Parr said all full-time firefighters in Collingwood have received training, as they were previously going to medical calls without that knowledge.

“I’ve got to take every reasonable precaution to protect our workers,” Parr said. “We want to make sure we’re on the same page with the paramedics.”

Parr said firefighters from Wasaga Beach and Clearview Township have received the same training.

Over the last 18 months, Collingwood General & Marine Hospital has seen 43 visits to its emergency department related to opioid use. The hospital said there has been very little change in these numbers from the first six months of 2018 and the same period in 2017.

Hachey told that the Collingwood OPP has laid 10 charges for opioid possession so far in 2018.

Thurman said the issue continues to grow. In speaking with fire department colleagues and doctors from across Ontario, it’s an issue in a lot of communities.

“It’s heading this way,” he said.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit released its opioid strategy last month.

The strategy would roll out on a short and long-term basis, with short-term projects being rolled out in 2018 and long-term activities implemented by 2020.

Some of the programs include improved needle exchange programs, the implementation of a rapid access addictions medicine program, and greater collaboration between law enforcement agencies.

“We have seen there was a slow worsening of the opioid impact in our region and in Ontario as a whole through the 2000s,” Dr. Lisa Simon, co-chair of the steering committee, said. “It’s really the 2017 data over the 2016 data where we’ve seen this grow exponentially.”

Loucks said her daughter was seeking counselling for bipolar disorder in Collingwood.

Loucks wants to know what happened inside the hotel room, how the investigation was handled by police, and circumstances surrounding her death. She feels the coroner considers her daughter’s death “another statistic,” and she’s not satisfied.

“I am a grieving mother and have grieving family,” she said in a letter to the death oversight council. “I ask for justice, I ask for answers.”

Loucks has started a go fund me page to help with legal fees. You can find more information

More information about the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy is available at .

Editor’s note: A correction was made to this story on Aug. 10. Priscilla Rowbotham, was receiving counseling for her bipolar disorder not her addictions. regrets the error.

Fran Sainsbury — New Tecumseth Ward 4

Why should I be elected?

Serving on council as your representative requires many attributes. Experience is the “best teacher.”

I have served in five jurisdictions, 12 as mayor, 11 as councillor. I believe I am the only person to date, who served on York Region and Simcoe County council. I do my homework, work well with staff, understand my role and the rules that govern council. This allows me to make informed decisions, save time, cut costs and work with the council setting priorities, funding them, while keeping tax increases at a reasonable rate.

Formerly being a chief executive officer helps me envision the “big picture,” be fair and support projects we can afford throughout the whole town. We must provide realistic levels of service. This role is about “you,” not about self-interest or caving to groups who bring pressure to bear.  

I have time to dedicate to achieving your goals.  My concerns are the same as all in Ward 4, control spending due to fixed incomes. 

Encouraging economic development helps our residential tax base. Managing a large corporation requires education, experience, patience and dedication. Provincial and county regulations are far different than running private businesses. We have many “checks and balances.” Simcoe County is just beginning its journey managing growth. The saving of the “Oak Ridges Moraine” in York Region brought many developers into our area.    

Downloading of services from higher levels of government increases our debt and tax burden. I want to concentrate on our “needs,” not our “wants.” As a small town, we have a mandated debt ceiling which we are fairly close to now. New Tecumseth has much to offer residents, but proposed changes must be good for the town or council should not approve applications.

This takes courage. I have proven these past eight years as your representative, that I indeed have courage. The future of your local council is in your hands. Let’s face the future together. Vote.

Fran Sainsbury Campaign 2018

17 Green Briar Rd., Alliston, Ont., L9R 1R6