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.

Thousands of Midland, Penetanguishene residents struggling with food insecurity

Jane Shrestha believes more needs to be done to try and address the ‘mind-boggling’ food-insecurity issues plaguing the Simcoe Muskoka region.

Shrestha is a public health nutritionist with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and someone who is passionate about trying to address the food struggles that are prevalent in Simcoe Muskoka, Ontario and all across Canada.

According to data collected by the health unit, 70,000 people in the region deal with some form of food insecurity every single day.

“About one in eight households, 12 per cent of the population, are experiencing some degree of food insecurity,” said Shrestha. “For our area that works out to be 70,000, or the combined population of Orillia, Collingwood and Huntsville. It’s mind-boggling.”

Food insecurity is when someone has inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints.

“It is rooted in poverty,” said Shrestha. “It is essentially having no money for food.”

Month after month, over 5,700 residents across Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay and Tiny struggle with having to choose between feeding their family, paying rent or purchasing basics like clothing and school supplies.

“Since about 2005, food insecurity has flat lined at about 12 per cent,” said Shrestha. “For as long as Statistics Canada has been measuring household food insecurity in Canada through the Canadian Community Health survey, things really have not budged.”

Steady statistics over the past decade show that traditional strategies such as food banks and food box programs might not be having as big an impact on addressing food issues as everyone thinks.

“Food banks and the communities that support them work really, really hard to try and address the urgent food needs. But only about one in four food insecure people visit a food bank and for those that do, when the food is gone the problem of food insecurity is still there,” said Shrestha.

While emergency food helps people out in the short term, Shrestha believes income-based solutions are needed to address the underlying issue, which is a lack of money for food.

In Midland 18.6 per cent of residents are considered after-tax low-income earners, up from 11.1 per cent in 2006. In Penetanguishene 16.1 per cent of residents fall within the low-income bracket (up from 8.7), while Tay has 13.4 per cent (up from 5.5) and Tiny has 12 per cent (up from 5.7).

The health unit has launched a campaign calling for a continuation of the basic income pilot, a living wage and an increase in social assistance. Nurses, nutritionists and other staff have been making presentations to area councils, informing them on the situation that exists and asking them to advocate for better provincial policies.

“We are asking for advocacy to encourage legislations and policies to create good jobs with regular hours and benefits,” said program manager Christine Bushey. “We need to look at income solutions. We are also asking for advocacy related to the basic income pilot that has been in place for a year and a half.”

The Liberal government launched a basic income pilot project in 2017, which will see more than 4,000 people receive up to $17,000 a year ($24,000 for couples). Another $2,000 will be paid to fill out surveys as part of a control group. Participants with disabilities will get an extra $6,000.

Shrestha believes there are already a variety of examples, which show basic income can have a direct impact on food insecurity.

“We know that when low income individuals aged 60 to 64 reach the age of 65 and start collected a government pension the rates of food insecurity are cut in half,” she said.

The unit’s push to try and solve local food insecurity is fuelled by its direct impact on the health care system. Someone who is constantly stressed and worrying about food tends to have more health issues, putting more of a strain on the health care system. The most food insecure individuals can cost the health care system 121 per cent more than someone in a stable setting.

“Someone who doesn’t worry about food on a day-to-day basis might use up about $1,600 a year in health care costs, whereas with someone who is food insecure tends to use about $4,000 a year in health care,” said Bushey.

According to the unit, food insecurity issues are known to have a huge impact on physical, mental and social health. One in three adults hospitalized due to mental health problems are from food insecure homes.

“The stress of struggling with food insecurity and the other circumstances that lead people into those situations really take a toll on mental health,” said Shrestha.

Penetanguishene and the Township of Tiny have already received presentations from the health unit, while Midland and Tay Township are scheduled to hear from delegations in late August and September.

Ontario Cold Case: Who murdered Ray Venerus?

More than a decade later, the murder of Milton man Ray Venerus is still unsolved.

The cold case remains prominently featured on the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) website under and continues to ask anyone with information to contact the HRPS homicide unit at 905-825-4747, ext. 8760 or Crime Stoppers at 1-877-222-TIPS (8477), by text message to 274637 (CRIMES) or .

Police made a public appeal for information on the anniversary of the now 11-year-old homicide investigation in February 2017. However, Det. Alistair Watt, of the Halton police homicide unit, said nothing was generated as a result from it.

“The homicide unit recognizes that there are still families and communities seeking answers and resolution to those murders that remain unsolved,” police had said about their ongoing efforts to solve cold cases.

“Families of homicide victims will never forget the loss of their loved one, regardless of the passage of time and hope to one day receive news that a perpetrator has been identified and arrested.”

Venerus, a 55-year-old local businessperson, was found shot to death outside his Dublin Line home on Feb. 21, 2007. His body was on the ground, next to his idling vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee — discovered by a passerby.

An autopsy had revealed the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.

“We don’t believe it was simply bad luck,” said Halton police Det. Sgt. Peter Hodgson, back in a 2007 interview with the Milton Canadian Champion.

Since then, police have followed up on a number of leads over the years, but none led investigators to any suspects or a killer.

When the case had already become a year old, efforts turned to publishing to try and garner any new clues and information from the public.

Another in 2016 and also published online and shared on social media in an effort by police to jog someone’s memory or get someone to have a change of heart and come forward with information.

“There have been leads, which have obviously been followed up. Some didn’t really have any legs to begin with,” Halton homicide Det. Alistair Watt told the Champion back in February 2017.

Venerus’ murder was one of several cold cases Halton police listed during , which it had stated generated a tip, but would not say to which case specifically, at the time.

In 2009, Halton police even for information for another year in hopes of netting some new tips.

Despite it being years of investigating the Milton man’s death, Halton police has said it isn’t giving up.

“We never give up,” Watt said in a previous story, adding he wants nothing more than to bring closure to Venerus’ family and those who knew him.

— with files from Catherine O’Hara and David Lea, Metroland Media

Midway returns to Wasaga Beach

The main beach area is always a fun spot to be, but now there is even more to do with the arrival of the midway.

Albion Amusements Ltd. has its midway set up at , 40 Mosley St., near Beach Area One, from Friday, July 6, until Sunday, July 15.

Hours of operation are 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., subject to weather and customer demand.

Enjoy fun rides, games, and carnival food at the longest freshwater beach in the world.

Please note that due to the midway, parking will not be available to the public at Playland Park Square parking lot from July 4 to July 17. For a list of parking lots nearby please visit

Cody Oschefski — Midland Ward 2

Hello Midland!

My name is Cody Oschefski and I am seeking re-election in Ward 2! I am a born-and-raised Midland boy. I currently work as an electrician at ZF/TRW here in Midland.

In my four years on council, I have worked very hard to be an accessible, open and accountable councillor.

I created Floatie Fest and Jaws on the lake, created the Midland Youth Committee, co-created the downtown movies, chair the buttertart festival committee, and I have hosted several community cleanups and fundraised for very worthy causes.

I have sat on several committees, Midland Cultural Center board of directors and Boys and Girls Club board of directors for a few years, as well.

I worked hard to not only fulfil my obligations as a councillor but to also bring new things to the town and to be a great representative and cheerleader for the town of Midland.

I am a committed team player and I am hoping for a dream team to help me make some of my goals come to life, such as:

moving forward with development of Midland Bay Landing, full of public assets, a functional and accessible waterfront for all;

continuing and enhancing our amazing tourism initiatives like events and cruise ships, and upgrade the appropriate areas to better accommodate them;

further developing our partnerships with neighbouring municipalities and local groups to find synergies and efficiencies;  

enhancing Little Lake Park, discuss upgrades and re-explore a camping idea;

getting the downtown revitalization right — a beautiful functional and accessible downtown will be the heart of our town;

improve infrastructure to eliminate discharge into the bay during heavy rains;

work with the county on affordable housing, transit and other important issues;

continued economic development and fiscal responsibility;

help create a welcoming environment for small businesses, entrepreneurs and artisans.

We have moved mountains for four years, now let’s plant some seeds. Thank you for voting!

Province to ‘start from scratch’ as it moves forward with Angus seed plant review

The future of the Angus seed plant is still up in the air, but the PC government has promised to halt the Liberal government’s plan to close the facility until conducts a comprehensive review and consultation process.

Local residents, including members of AWARE Essa, lauded the announcement made July 18 by Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Jeff Yurek.

Anne Learne Sharpe said this gives “hope” for the future of forests in the province.

“With the September closure deadline approaching, we are relieved and thankful that our representatives in this new government are giving the Ontario Tree Seed Plant the consideration it deserves,” she said.

Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson, who promised the closure would be reviewed during his re-election campaign, said the government will be seeking advice from growers, forestry companies and tree associations.

“We will be doing a consultation with them, which the Liberals didn’t do,” he said. “They didn’t consult with anyone, so we are going to start from scratch to figure out what this thing should look like and what the future of the property will be.”

OPSEU president Smokey Thomas said two employees are working part-time at the facility, while four others were redeployed elsewhere in the ministry.

He said nothing has been moved or sold from the facility since the closure was made public last September.

Thomas never bought the former government’s line about the private sector being able to step in to replace the seeds grown at the plant.

“You couldn’t replicate this in the private sector, it would take you years,” he said. “They do 50 native species and there are a billion seeds a year that go around the word. It’s very efficient and I’ve never heard anything but good stuff about it. And it just makes no financial sense to close it.”

Wilson said the Liberals didn’t have all the facts.

“The ministry was convinced that 95 to 98 per cent of growers and nurseries that rely on the plant have found private sector sources, but that is exactly the opposite,” he said.

One possible solution has already been presented. Wilson said Forests Ontario, the nonprofit charity that oversees the 50 Million Tree Program, has proposed to take over the facility with a “slight” grant from the province.

If the facility cannot be saved, Wilson said steps have to be taken to ensure Ontario’s seed archive is maintained in some other capacity. He would also oppose any attempt to sell the land to developers.

While the Liberal government said it was building a modern seed archive, Wilson said there is no evidence one actually exists.

Fred Sommerville, owner of Sommerville Nurseries in Everett, also fought against the closure.

“It’s really forward thinking, because forestry is a legacy in Ontario, and that would have pretty much knocked it out, because that’s the genesis of it, the seed,” he said.

Meanwhile, AWARE Essa continues to ask residents to sign their petition to keep the facility open.

For more information visit .

Soldiers from CFB Borden performing training exercises until Aug. 18

Soldiers from CFB Borden’s Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME) school will conduct a training exercise in and around the outskirts of the base until Aug. 18.

Approximately 100 soldiers will be familiarizing themselves with the conduct of military operations in a deployed context. They may be seen entering and exiting the gates around CFB Borden and driving around in convoys of eight to 10 vehicles on the main roads immediately surrounding the base.

The soldiers will be armed, but any blank or pyrotechnic ammunition will only be used within the confines of CFB Borden.

This course is designed to enhance the knowledge of tactics and administration as it relates to Maintenance Units in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Shuttle scuttled between Barrie and Casino Rama

Casino Rama is cancelling a shuttle service from Barrie.

The free ride will end Aug. 31.

“While the shuttle service is no longer running to Casino Rama Resort, transportation services will continue to be provided to our sister property, Gateway Casinos Innisfil,” said spokesperson Natasha Borutski, adding the latter facility is “closer to home” for Barrie residents. “This service is complimentary and open to all members of the Players Plus Club and Casino Rama Resort’s Players Passport Club. Both memberships are free to join.”

Under an Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation modernization project, Gateway Casinos Innisfil  and Casino Rama were grouped together as the central gaming bundle.

On July 18, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment was awarded the central bundle and now operates  both facilities.

The impending cancellation of the shuttle service prompted a social media post from a Barrie-based patron who argued the casino was “keeping us stranded” and preventing players from visiting the casino and using their meal vouchers.

Asked if the Innisfil operation would honour vouchers issued for Casino Rama, Borutski said, “we are still exploring different options to best service all our customers” once the shuttle service to Rama ends.

The bus between Barrie and Casino Rama four times daily and averaged four riders per arrival.

ONTARIO COLD CASE: Family still searching for closure 31 years later

Aside from the miserable rain, Sept. 19, 1987 should have been a regular day for the Hunter family.

Russell had taken wife Leianne to the Preston Zehrs store at 11 a.m. to buy groceries for a future family fishing trip. That’s where any semblance of normal would end.

Leianne’s body was found the next day in Riverbluffs Park at the edge of the Grand River. Her head had been bludgeoned with a heavy object and she appeared to have been sexually assaulted — proven later to be false — as her underwear was lowered and her T-shirt and undergarments pulled up.

Eight years later, Russell was charged with her death when the head of the Waterloo regional police homicide department, Peter Osinga, reopened the case.

During the 1997 trial, new evidence came to light. Crown attorney Mike Murdoch asked for an adjournment to try and tie the new evidence to Russell, but was denied. Murdoch said they had no choice but to end the trial.

Thirty-one years later, Leianne’s killer still hasn’t been brought to justice.


Melanie Hunter was 12 when she last saw her mother, and at age 42, the years have faded many memories of her. She does recall Leianne as a woman devoted to her kids, who worked hard and loved all of her children’s friends.

“Our house was a revolving door,” recalled Melanie, sitting on a bench not far from her mother’s grave in Mountview Cemetery.

But the memories of Sept. 19 have stayed with her forever. She admits she’s had to retell the story so many times, to lawyers, to the press and probably to those with morbid curiosity, that she can recite a general picture without pause.

For her it was a quiet September day. Her mom and dad went to the grocery store and Leianne didn’t come back. They got a phone call that her brother Paul had fallen out of a tree and broke his arm, and it “went chaotic after that.”

Melanie was bitter for a long time. When her father was found not guilty, she wanted the person who killed her mother brought to justice. She insisted the case be reopened 19 years ago, but at the time, the head of the homicide department, Brent Thomlinson, said the police had “compelling evidence” against Russell and had no other leads.

Melanie felt police would have to admit they were wrong, with their sights set only on Russell, and that’s why they wouldn’t reopen the case.

Now, she’s come to terms with those feelings, which have turned more to sadness. She felt bad for her maternal grandparents, who didn’t receive closure for what happened to their daughter. That same sadness passed on to her father, who died in May 2017 in Iroquois Falls, where he moved less than a year after Leianne’s death.

“He just wanted it resolved,” Melanie said of her father.

“He kept asking me for years to go to the police and have it reopened. Most of us were nervous he would be re-arrested. So we just said, ‘yeah, OK, yeah, we will. We’ll talk to the detectives.’ But most of us just wanted to put it in our past. We wanted it resolved but most of us wanted to move forward and move on with our lives.”


In 1993, new evidence led homicide detectives to reopen Leianne’s murder case.

Originally, they believed Leianne was slain while walking home from grocery shopping, having left a note of her intentions in her husband’s truck with the groceries. She was last seen walking on Concession Road, where they lived, at 1:50 p.m.

But neighbours came forward saying they saw Leianne at home at 3:45 p.m., wiping out their theory she was abducted on the way home. In addition, semen found in her body was that of husband Russell, eliminating the belief she was sexually assaulted that day.

In 1995, Russell was charged with second degree murder. The motive — Trudy Legace testified that Leianne spoke to her on the morning that she disappeared, saying she was going to issue Russell an ultimatum about his drinking problem.

The Crown’s theory was he took Leianne in his van to an industrial area near their home, killed her and dumped the body later. However, no blood was found on Russell, in his van or in their home.

Police originally believed they had a time gap, from 3:30 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. — when Russell got to the tree that Paul fell from — that was unaccounted for. That evening, Russell took Paul to Cambridge Memorial Hospital, and then Hamilton.

Going through a chronology of Russell’s day, when he had been seen by witnesses and through phone calls received and made, that time gap had been whittled down to 15 minutes. Police still believed Russell returned home between 3:45 p.m. and 4 p.m., found his wife there and left with her. He then returned home alone.

Defence attorney Murray Ellies pointed out Leianne’s friend, Karen Fieldhouse, talked to Russell on the phone at his home at 4:20 p.m., and five minutes earlier she had talked to her daughter Tara, from the Hunter’s home. Putting Russell at home at 4:15 p.m. The defence argued that 15 minutes wasn’t a long enough time to commit murder and return home.

The trial was an emotional one, with friends and family members testifying at different times that Russell had told them he “killed” Leianne.

Russell, who had an alcohol problem, wasn’t taken seriously in any of the “confessions” because he was inebriated and those who testified took his words as him feeling responsible for what happened.

The trial came to a head when the defence introduced new evidence that two particles found on Leianne’s clothing were matched with those found in the car of Leianne’s brother, Shawn Grenier. Grenier had earlier been cleared by police as a suspect.

White metallic spirals found on Leianne’s underpants and bra matched similar particles in Grenier’s trunk.

Police said they didn’t receive that evidence from the Centre for Forensic Sciences until a week prior.

They also found a red paint chip on Leianne’s jeans that was indistinguishable from a red chip found in Grenier’s trunk.

A forensic chemist at the Centre for Forensic Sciences testified that Leianne’s body was covered in an oily dirt, similar to an oily substance found in Grenier’s trunk.

The Crown asked Justice Paul Philip to grant a lengthy adjournment to try and link Russell to the paint chips, but the judge refused. Assistant Crown attorney Paul McDermott requested the not guilty verdict in light of the new evidence.

Police said, after the trial, Grenier was earlier cleared as a suspect because he and his sister worked at the same place and the paint chips could have easily transferred from her clothing to the trunk.


Melanie looks back at the murder today and sees the effects the tragedy had on her family.

Her cousin Stacey Kirk, who joined Melanie for support at that recent visit to her mother’s grave, said putting Russell on trial, and then not having some resolution after the not-guilty verdict, fractured both sides.

“I was just saying to Mel … it separated and ruined so many relationships, and separated family. It really ruined people’s lives not knowing,” Kirk noted.

While Melanie has come to terms with her feelings, Kirk admits she’s still bitter. Seeing what the lack of closure did to her mother Darlene, Leianne’s sister, prior to her death in 2009.

“I saw with my mom, all of them really, but living so close with her, I saw how it ruined her over the course of the 21 years after. She was a fantastic person, but the longer she went without her the more she longed to be with her, if that makes sense? The more hurt she carried, a lot of the times that was her focus.”

The trial also pitted one side of the family against the other. With Leianne’s side convinced Russell murdered her, and Russell’s side believing his innocence. Melanie said, at one time, she had been caught in the middle.

“I think that over the years, as you get older, I’m more open to one side or the other, and maybe there’s a different scenario,” she said.

“I don’t want to say it in a negative way, but I was really influenced by one side versus the other side of the family, and I listened to a lot of it. Of course you take the negativity from them and say, ‘oh well, it must have been your uncle, because the evidence was there.’ As I’ve gotten older, I’m impartial to all of it. I believe there’s a third story to it; I don’t know.”

She won’t go down the path of pointing fingers at Grenier, as others have.

“I’ve always taken the approach, I don’t want to know information. I don’t ask questions, because once you ask those questions and you get the answers, you can’t take it back.”

Asked point blank if she believed her father killed her mother, she said she never believed he did it.

“I tried to think if it were a possibility, but I lived with my dad, I grew up with my dad and if it was him, then hopefully something will come forward to prove that. But at this point I don’t believe it was my dad.”

She thinks at some point, the person will be revealed.

“I believe we all meet our creator in the end. I think at this point whoever did it, they’ll have to be the one to confess. Hopefully if that person’s still alive they can shed some light on what happened.”


Police haven’t touched the case since Russell was found not guilty. Retired Waterloo regional police deputy chief Brent Thomlison was urged by the family to reopen the case in 1999 when he was head of homicide, but doesn’t see the likelihood of that happening without a new lead.

“Barring either a stone that had been unturned or new information coming in, my quote from ’99 would sort of sum it up,” he said when he reached by the Times.

“Speaking more broadly … there were a number of cold cases that were unsolved, as I’m sure there still are today. Then the resources were put to either active cases, recent cases, that sort of thing. When the investigators were to have time on their hands to look at other cases, that’s when they would go back through the books so to speak and open up a case and basically look at it again.”

Made aware Russell, Ellies and others involved in the case have passed on, and that most of the police force at that time have retired, he said the perpetrator will be even harder to find.

“(When) people who were involved, be it the investigation or the prosecution or the defence or whatever, start passing on or memories fade I can only imagine how much more challenging that would be to solve a case.”

Waterloo regional police Insp. Mike Haffner said the investigation into Leianne’s murder is still active. Asked if whether advanced DNA testing might be able to assert a suspect, Haffner said he’s not sure it would make a difference.

“I am unaware what DNA would be available (i.e. seized at time, etc.) that could be tested,” Haffner said in an email to the Times.

“In addition, what would be available after 31 years … as well on the body of Leianne.”

When asked if investigators would exhume the body to get DNA evidence, Haffner said, “I am unaware investigators are at that stage at this time.”

Melanie said she isn’t in favour of exhuming her mother’s body. It would likely just bring false hope, as investigations more than 20 years prior were just as fruitless.

She said police looked at a neighbour whom her mom feared and would hide from when he came over. Then there was a murder in Kitchener in the 1970s where a girl died in the same way, according to Melanie, and the police went an interviewed a person of interest that might have connected the cases. The person moved and they lost track of him, she claims.

In trial, it also was submitted into evidence that Leianne had received obscene phone calls leading up to the days of her disappearance. Melanie didn’t know if that had any connection to the phone call her grandmother received at their home on June 8, 1988, when a man asked for her. She was at her baseball game.

The next morning, Russell had the kids packed up and moved to Iroquois Falls. She doesn’t know who was on the other end of the line.

While she doesn’t hold on to closure as she once did, she said a resolution would finally allow everyone to move on.

“We’re all at a point where we just want to enjoy our kids and move on. We can’t go into the past. We can’t hold on to that anger. I don’t want our kids to be in that generation of turmoil and anger.”

“We’ve worked very hard for our kids not to be part of that. We wanted to stop it with our generation. Some day it may be resolved, but I don’t want our kids to carry that burden.”

Anyone with information should call Waterloo Regional Police at .

with files from Metroland

Collingwood-area task force has ideas for affordable housing

The Tourism Labour Supply Task Force is proposing two projects they believe will lead to more attainable housing for South Georgian Bay.

In a recent presentation to Town of The Blue Mountains council, the task force presented options about housing projects that could work as public-private partnerships.

Andrew Siegwart, president of the Blue Mountain Village Association, has been leading the task force, which includes representatives from municipalities and business leaders in the community.

“The tourism industry is very proud to have led this initiative,” he said. “We anticipate this work will serve as a catalyst for a broader strategy.”

The task force said there is a labour shortage in the community and the lack of affordable housing is one of the factors of the shortage.

The group hired Mark Conway of NBLC Consulting to do a study on the needs of the region and potential solutions.

Conway said housing issues are prominent in resort communities, but South Georgian Bay is unique. He said the housing market is largely being driven by retirees moving to the community.

“It’s not driven completely by the resort community,” he said.

Conway said while average wages have increased about 14 per cent in the last six years while house prices have jumped 58 per cent.

He said the report gathered information from 519 respondents, 70 per cent working in the tourism industry and 50 per cent paying more than $1,500 a month in housing costs.

About 33 per cent had incomes below $45,000 and 60 per cent said affordability is a barrier to living in the area permanently

Conway said 91 per cent indicated finding housing was a challenge and 71 per cent indicated improved transit would give them more choice.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize it’s getting tougher and tougher for people to purchase and rent a home,” he said.

Conway recommended that a public-private partnership is the best way to build housing that’s affordable.

He presented the option of dormitory style housing, which would target the entry-level workforce. Conway said it would be a partnership between employers, the municipality and a developer.

He said the plan would see the employer guarantee rental of a certain number of units. He estimates rents would cost anywhere from $550-$650 per month depending if development charges were waived.

He said this is a popular option with college and university students who want to live off campus.

“Developers have figured out there is a market to provide very small units,” he said. “We think that very same model could be applied to employee housing.”

Conway also recommended an ownership apartment complex, which would see the municipality or the county offer second mortgages to residents thus reducing the down payment requirements.

He also suggested a tiny home park, which would require municipal approvals and there were some questions whether smaller homes would work in the climate of South Georgian Bay.