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



Mayor Mary Small Brett is not seeking re-election in Adjala-Tos

Mary Small Brett is bidding adieu to municipal politics.

The one-term mayor of Adjala-Tosorontio, who previously served as deputy mayor and councillor, is not seeking re-election in the October municipal election.

“I believe every season has its time, and there’s times for different things in one’s life, and it’s time for me to spend more time with family,” she said. “I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. There are also health issues in my family, not me thank heavens. But I really enjoyed serving the people of Adjala-Tosorontio. So it’s sad to leave but hopefully it will be in good hands.”

She admitted the turmoil that has consumed council over the past few years was also a factor.

Council has had to deal with the controversy surrounding the CAO’s mileage payments, the gravel pit battle that led to an OMB hearing, the OPP investigation into post-retirement benefits and other enhancements and the code of conduct/harassment investigations involving two members of council, Floyd Pinto and Bob Meadows.

Pinto and Deputy Mayor Doug Little are running for mayor.

New Tecumseth Ward 8 Coun. Chris Ross, who was first elected in 2014, will also not be seeking another term.

He said he enjoyed representing the Tottenham community but has become too busy with his full-time job

“You will have noticed that I have missed some meetings during my term, and those absences were due to the travel obligations that I have as a sales representative at Knoll Inc.,” he said. “As such, I felt it best to let someone who has more time represent the constituents of Tottenham.”

There are four candidates running for Ward 8 in the upcoming election.

“I would like to thank both my supporters and non-supporters for their input over my term,” he said, adding they have helped him evaluate and consider issues over the past three and a half years.

Marc Biss, a one-term councillor for Ward 1 in Alliston, also isn’t seeking re-election.

He announced the decision in April after failing to win the nomination for the federal conservatives for Simcoe-Grey.

Three people have registered to run in Ward 1.

Essa Mayor Terry Dowdall, who won the federal conservative nomination, isn’t seeking a third term as mayor.

Dowdall was first elected mayor in 2010 and previously served as deputy mayor and councillor.

Deputy Mayor Sandie Macdonald and former mayor David Guergis are running to replace him.

Editor’s note: A correction was made to this story on Aug. 8. The original version incorrectly stated councillors Bob Meadows and Floyd Pinto were subject to conflict of interest investigations. regrets the error.

Five things you should know to start your week: Aug. 13 – Aug. 17

Here are your five things to know this week.

Clearview Council holds its bi-weekly meeting on Aug. 13 and on the agenda is the draft survey for Creemore residents on a proposed public transit route: Clearview Township municipal offices

On Aug. 13 Associate Chief Justice Frank N. Marrocco hosts a public meeting on the upcoming inquiry in Collingwood on the sale of Collus, starting at 6 p.m. Collingwood municipal offices

On Aug. 14 Multi-award winning quintet Goitse will take the stage at the Midland Cultural Centre


The Stayner-born magician Sawyer Bullock is hosting a family magic show on Aug. 15 at 2 p.m., at the Historic Gayety Theatre on Hurontario Street.

The company developing Wasaga Beach’s municipally-owned properties in the downtown and on the beachfront is looking for your input at a meeting on Aug. 15, from 1 until 9 p.m.

Here's where Fram will start developing Wasaga's downtown

Eric ‘Howie’ Major — Midland Ward 2

My name is Eric “Howie” Major.

I was raised in Midland and attended Regent Park Public School and Midland Secondary School.

I have been married to my wife Anne for 46 years. We have four kids: Sheri, Mike, Terry and Patrick.

I have been a truck driver for over 40 years.

I have been involved in the community in various ways including refereeing ice hockey, ball hockey, lacrosse and sledge hockey.

I am also a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 80 in Midland.

Volunteering in the community is a big part of my life. I have volunteered for the Bunn’s Kids Golf Tournament for 12 years, Midland Rotary’s Party on the Dock for 14 years, Tug Fest for two years, the Dan Snyder Memorial for five years, Champlain 400 for one year and the Penetanguishene Hall of Fame for two years.

I am hoping to be elected to serve the people of Midland.

Doug McKechnie — Clearview Township Ward 2

I was born in Nottawa and have lived in the Clearview area all my life. I’m about as local as you can get, but I certainly don’t feel that is a prerequisite to being a good councillor. My wife, Janis, has lived here for over 25 years after emigrating from Scotland.  

After studying aviation at Seneca College, I began my career as a pilot at Collingwood Regional Airport. I moved on to Air Canada in 1979 and recently retired after 38 years. I was also a paramedic based in Collingwood.

I’ve been an active member of numerous service clubs (Rotary, Kinsmen, Optimist) and was also a member of the Collingwood Regional Airport Services Board until its recent dissolution. This introduced me to local politics and has given me an insight to development opportunities proposed for the airport.

I was called as an expert witness at the Environmental Review Tribunal during our fight against the industrial wind turbines. My testimony was extensive and I was cross-examined by the proponent and government lawyers. I like to think that I played a significant role in our victory.

Now’s the time …

Time to PRESERVE OUR LANDSCAPE AND RURAL VALUES!  We fought the battle against the wind turbines and won! I will stand firm to ensure this threat to our beautiful vistas and natural environment never happens again. Let’s keep a clear view in Clearview.

Time to HOLD THE LINE ON TAXES! Our personal budgets are already stretched. I will say NO to increased taxes and will fight to ensure Ward 2 receives its fair share of benefits.

Time to CREATE JOBS! Our local airport can be an economic driver for the area. I will work with the owner and developers to create full-time, well-paying jobs. Let’s give our youth the opportunity to continue to live and work in Clearview.

Time for ACTION.  

Please visit my website at or email or call .

Barrie Zehrs store holds Eat Together event

Last year, President’s Choice embarked on a mission to bring Canadians to the table to #EatTogether.

This year, the journey continued with Eat Together Day on June 22 at the Zehrs at Cundles and Duckworth streets, as well as other Zehrs, Loblaws, and No Frills locations across Barrie.

Almost half (42 per cent) of all Canadians eat lunch alone every day at work. With 66 per cent of working Canadians agreeing they should be eating lunch with colleagues more on a regular basis, Eat Together is the perfect opportunity to start this habit.

Zehrs wants to address this in Barrie, so a barbecue was held at the store on June 22.

“It is a great way for everyone to come together over food which has mental and nutritional benefits,” store manager Dan Ward said. “We had live music, Clarabella the Clown doing face-painting and balloon art, and a jumpy castle for the kids.”




ONTARIO COLD CASE: Grandmother left for dead in hit-and-run by SUV

Henrietta Bushey was just a few hundred feet from work when

Nearly seven years later, the driver has yet to be arrested.

“He left me in the road; he just left me for dead in the road,” Bushey, now 68, said about the horrific hit-and-run that left her with multiple injuries, including a damaged eye socket and fractured leg.

Bushey, a mother and grandmother, was walking to work on Dec. 8, 2011, and was only minutes away from Grohe Canada, where she worked as an assembler, when she was struck while crossing the street at Lakeshore and Dixie roads at about 5:45 a.m.

She said a “Good Samaritan” stopped, helped her and called 911.

“If there had been no one there to help me, maybe another car would have struck me and I wouldn’t be here right now,” she said.

Peel Regional Police said surveillance video from a nearby eatery shows the vehicle to likely be a dark-coloured GMC Envoy.

Police said in a 2011 news release the driver surely knows he/she struck someone.

“This is someone’s loved one, and if it was one of their loved ones, they would want somebody to come forward,” police said.

The driver of the SUV that struck her remains at large. Police haven’t received a single tip as to the motorist’s whereabouts.

Police Const. Bally Saini said any little tip might help and is urging residents to call police at 905-453-2121, ext. 3710, or Peel Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

The force’s Major Collision Bureau is reminding residents during the summer months that drivers need to give their full attention to driving safely and obeying the rules of the road while pedestrians should keep in mind that their safety is in their hands, “and that they need to be fully aware, at all times, of the movement of vehicles in their vicinity.”

Girl Guide leaders launch legal battle to stop sale of Springwater camp

Girl Guide leaders in Barrie and Innisfil are convinced the guiding experience won’t be as fulfilling without Camp Tewateno in the mix.

So they’re going to court in a bid to block Girl Guides of Canada from selling off the wooded 100-acre, Springwater Township site.

Two Innisfil members of the Tewateno camp committee — Helen Gilbert and Joyce Goodenough — are seeking intervener status. A hearing is set for Oct. 9 in Toronto, where the court will decide if the volunteers will get their say.

“We could not in good faith sit back and let Girl Guides do this,” Goodenough said. “After all these years, to just let it go doesn’t seem right.”

Susan Birnie, provincial commissioner, said the Girl Guides is selling off 17 of its Ontario properties, including Camp Tewateno, to pour money back into outdoor programming.

Birnie said many of the camps are underutilized and it makes more financial sense to use funds toward outdoor experiences provided by camps owned by other organizations.

She estimates selling the properties will bring in more than $16 million, which will allow the Girl Guides to focus on programs instead of property management.

“We know a lot of people have close attachments to these camp properties, but we have to be good financial stewards at the same time,” Birnie said. “We aren’t really good at property management.”

Girl Guides can partner with other organizations, such as the YMCA and Outward Bound, to give guides outdoor experiences, Birnie said.

Meanwhile, a group of volunteers, including Goodenough and her husband, Gary, have been maintaining Camp Tewateno for the past three years.

“The camp was not being taken care of,” she said. “Our committee has put a lot of work into this.”

They argue the camp isn’t the Girl Guides to sell because it was purchased through local donations and fundraisers in 1994.

The camp committee won a similar legal argument last year when Girl Guides attempted to retain local fundraising money even though a new lodge the money was meant for was never built.

After five-year court battle, a Barrie judge ruled anyone who donated to build the lodge was entitled to get their money back.

Goodenough said a former Girl Guide leader, who is a lawyer, has agreed to take on the intervener case pro bono. The volunteer legal work will save the group about $10,000.

The group has formed the Camp Tewateno Optimist Club so the not-for-profit club can raise money to aid in its fight to keep the camp.  

“We’re hoping to have the deeds to the property transferred back to us so we can continue to keep the camp running for local youth,” Goodenough said.

Camp Tewateno has several sites, including one with Tee-Pees and another with covered wagons that portray the history of Ontario.

Another Girl Guides group in Amherstburg near Windsor is also seeking intervener status to save Camp Bryerswood from being sold off.

A petition called Save Ontario’s Girl Guide Camps has about 250,000 signatures.

Sanitation truck catches fire on Hwy. 400 in Barrie

Your morning commute may have gone into the sewer Tuesday morning, thanks to a vehicle fire on Highway 400.

Around 9 a.m. on Aug. 7, emergency crews responded to a truck fire on the northbound 400, just south of the Mapleview Drive exit, in Barrie. A K. Winter sanitation truck caught fire on the shoulder of the 400, forcing the right and middle lanes to close.

Thick black smoke could be seen billowing for kilometres, and the heat from the fire could be felt by drivers as they passed by in the left lane.

Check for more on this developing story as information becomes available.