Preservation society one step closer to owning Collingwood lighthouse

The Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation Society (NLPS) is once step closer to owning the lighthouse.

The society announced last week it has received notice from the federal government that both parties will be moving forward with facilitating transfer of ownership.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans confirmed that a required Indigenous land claim study is nearing conclusion.

“The intent of these investigations is to determine whether any claims exist as the result of pre-existing treaties or agreements made between the government and other parties,” said Robert Square, government liaison for the society.

The preservation society was incorporated and received charitable status in 2015 to ensure that the heritage resources of the Nottawasaga Island Lighthouse are protected.

The lighthouse is one of six “imperial towers” of the Great Lakes constructed in 1855-1858.

Public meeting set for July 11 for proposed condo development in Beeton

The Beeton Station Condominium development will be the focus of a public meeting taking place next week.

The town received an application from a developer seeking to build two four-storey condo buildings on a vacant 5.36-acre site on the west side of Dayfoot Street, south of Danielle Gate.

The buildings are to include a total of 87 units, a two-storey clubhouse and underground and surface parking.

The application seeks to re-designate the lands from medium density residential to urban residential exception.

John Robulack, the architect behind the proposal, made a brief presentation to council back in November.

He told council the proposal seeks to honour the heritage of Beeton and would feature Victorian-style buildings.

He also said the site includes lands that were purchased from the South Simcoe Railway and the developer would rebuild the 1887 era train station, allowing residents to ride the steam train between Tottenham and Beeton.

At the meeting, Coun. Richard Norcross highlighted a number of issues that would need to be addressed, including the location of the sidewalk on Dayfoot Street, storm water management, traffic studies and parking.

The public meeting takes place Wednesday, July 11 at 7 p.m.

Wasaga woman finds it tough to reach water’s edge because of accessibility issues

Kathleen Thackaberry stares down the sandy slope to the beckoning waves beyond.

“I’d make it down, but I wouldn’t make it back up,” said Thackaberry, as she shuffles, cane in hand, back to her husband’s van.

The Thackaberrys bought their cottage on Mosley Street more than 15 years ago, when Kathleen would have thought nothing of walking down 14th Street to access the beach.

She and her husband, Foster, came to Canada in 1982. She first worked in nursing, then in the school system with children with mobility issues.

“We bought the cottage so I could go down to the beach,” she said. “I’m from Trinidad, so this reminds me of my home.”

Today, she can’t go for more than a few feet — and certainly not down a sandy slope. The next nearest access to the beach, at 15th Street, is no better.

“For me to walk even a little bit is painful. I can walk down, but coming back I’m frightened I’d end up in an ambulance,” Thackaberry said, noting she hurt her ankle the previous week trying to get up the slope. An elderly neighbour broke a rib after falling while trying to navigate her way up the access point.

When it rains, the water creates gullies that make the walk even more treacherous.`

Thackaberry wonders why either the municipality or Ontario Parks can’t install a walkway — not just for her, she said, but for a number of neighbourhood residents who have mobility issues.

The access points are owned by Ontario Parks; an Ontario Parks representative did not respond to a request for interview.

In 2013, polymer mats called Mobi Mats were installed at and, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to access the water and washrooms. Fred Heyduk, the chair of the town’s accessibility advisory committee, said those were determined to be the best two locations based on parking, ease of access, and availability of washroom facilities.

Heyduk said the committee is considering purchasing another, “but they are really expensive.”

The first mats were purchased thanks to a federal government grant and a donation from a Stonebridge owner Hamount Investments.

Last year, the committee arranged for the purchase of two Mobi Chairs that can be taken into the water; the chairs are free to use, and available at Nancy Island and the provincial park office.

The committee is discussing the purchase of ‘wings’ for the Mobi Mats that would allow an individual using a wheelchair to pull off to the side of the main mat area at the water’s edge. It would be a project in 2019, if it receives budget approval.

“There’s definitely more to be done,” Heyduk said. “We’re making that beach as accessible as possible, but we also have to be cautious and courteous of our guests who come to Wasaga Beach.”

The committee’s other initiatives have included recommendations to make public transit stops accessible, and the installation of audible crosswalk signals.

“You might not see it, but we are making a lot of improvements and a lot of headway,” Heyduk said. “The town is … all about making this beach more accessible for seniors.”

“(But) we have to mindful where we’re going to spend money.”

Thackaberry hopes her issue can be addressed, since driving somewhere else to access one of the other beach areas is a “huge rigmarole.”

“We worked hard to get this little cottage, and for us not to be able to access the beach is hard,” she said.

Collingwood Elvis Festival back for 24th year this weekend

Are you ready to shake, rattle and roll?

The Elvis Festival returns for its 24th year from July 27-29 and will see hundreds of tribute artists and thousands of fans descend on Collingwood to celebrate the king of rock n’ roll.

The festival will feature three days of performances at various venues in Collingwood as well as Blue Mountain Village.

The annual competition kicks off at 1 p.m. on July 27 at the centre stage on Hurontario Street between First and Second streets.

The annual street party will kick off at 5:30 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. on Hurontario Street.

There will be three performances at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena throughout the weekend.

The first takes place at 11 a.m. on July 28 and will see the top 30 tribute artists compete in the semi finals as well as a showcase of past grand champions of the event.

The signature event of the festival takes is called Elvis United and takes place at the Eddie Bush Arena at 8 p.m.

The show will feature youth champion Connor Russo, Brycen Katolinsky, former Ultimate Elvis champion Dean Z and 2017 grand champion Gordon Hendricks.

The final event in the Eddie Bush Arena will be the grand finals at 2 p.m. on July 29 and will see the crowning of the 2018 grand champion.

Tribute artists John and Mason Cigan will be giving people an opportunity to express their inner Elvis as they host an open mic session at the inner Elvis stage near Third Street at 11 a.m., on each day of the event.

On July 28, OLG Spotlight Showcase takes place at centre stage at noon, featuring past champions Jesse Aron, Bruce Andrew Stewart, Corny Rempel and Norm Ackland Jr.

Elvis historian and blues performer Memphis Jones will be performing with his band at Blue Mountain Village at 5 p.m. on July 28.

There will also be a host of performances at local restaurants and businesses throughout the weekend as well as the vendor market in downtown Collingwood. For more information, visit .

Basil Clarke — Ramara Township mayor

Dear constituents of Ramara Township:

I have considered it a privilege to serve Ramara Township in multiple capacities over the past 18 years: two terms as councillor, two terms as Deputy Mayor and one term as mayor. I’ve chaired numerous committees, both in Ramara and at the Simcoe County level. I have a great working relationship with our surrounding municipalities and local First Nations communities. With this experience, I feel that I am the best candidate to lead council as mayor for the next four years.

I have extensive experience working with the Simcoe County Economic Development committee, in the position of chair, for three years. Working alongside the economic development committee, we have sold 23 acres of Ramara’s industrial land. The businesses are not up and running yet, but they soon will be and will provide Ramara Township with much needed commercial taxes and jobs. My goal for the next four years is to sell the remaining 22 acres.

In the term prior to my time as mayor, Ramara was cut off from all provincial grants. After numerous meetings with Municipal Affairs, I have re-established a good working relationship with the province, and Ramara has access once again to grants. Our bank account has gone from a $3 million deficit to a $2 million balance, and we have increased our reserves to $6 million. Continuing with this fiscal responsibility, I want to ensure that in the next four years, as we move forward with new projects, we never jeopardize our finances again.

We need to continue our partnerships with Simcoe County and SWIFT to bring affordable high-speed internet to Ramara. This will not happen overnight, but I have already begun this process. This will also involve creating new partnerships, one possibility being Ramara township building towers and renting space to smaller internet providers.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve this wonderful community.


Basil Clarke

County school board disappointed with cancellation of indigenous sessions

Simcoe County District School Board trustee and vice-chairperson Jodi Lloyd says it was disappointing to see Indigenous curriculum writing sessions be cancelled by the provincial government, and worries it is a step in the wrong direction.

The sessions, set for early July, would’ve bolstered Indigenous education topics in Ontario’s school curriculum, but were cancelled last minute, reportedly due to a government ban on non-essential travel.

“These curriculum-writing sessions were very, very important and in all likelihood there were very little savings realized because most of the costs had already been incurred,” said Lloyd, adding people were notified of the cancellation the Friday before the sessions were set to start.

The SCDSB published a letter to Minister of Education Lisa Thompson outlining the importance of the sessions and a desire to see improvements to the Indigenous education curriculum continue.

“The cancellation of these specific writing sessions sends a negative message to the education system, the Indigenous community (including students), as well as the greater public,” the letter sent on behalf of the board reads. “In our opinion, it infers that there is a limited value placed on the curriculum revisions.”

Lloyd said the writing sessions would’ve provided further opportunity to improve on calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada for reconciliation-focused education.

Indigenous education topics such as residential schools, treaties, and aboriginal people’s historic and contemporary contributions to Canada are already taught at the SCDSB, but the writing sessions could’ve further established the topics across the province, Lloyd said.  

“We’re a very inclusive board and we are a leader in indigenous education in this province so we felt it was important for our board to speak out and express our disappointment,” she said.

According to a spokesperson for the minister of education, the TRC curriculum revisions will continue to move ahead with the help of experts, elders and indigenous communities in the “most cost-effective way possible.”

Still, Lloyd worries the cancellation sends the wrong message and was a step in the wrong direction, adding there has been no communication about a rescheduling.

To read the full letter from the board, visit

— With files from Torstar News Service

Need another way to beat the heat? Let Barrie firefighters cool you off this summer

Firefighters are about to give Barrie residents another way to cool down.

Barrie Fire and Emergency Service, in collaboration with Wendy’s restaurants, will kick off the annual Hot Summer Nights campaign this week. Residents are encouraged to bring their kids to meet firefighters, participate in safety activities and enjoy a cooling mist from the fire trucks.

“We want to promote fire safety, protection, prevention and escape,” Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Weber said. “This is just a chance for us to also give back to the community a little bit and share a night of family fun. Where else can you go for zero cost and have a little bit of fun?”

The first event runs at , near the Ardagh Road and Batteaux Street intersection, July 5. Similar events also run at the following parks: (231 Ashford Dr.) July 12, (at the Innisfil Street and Baldwin Lane intersection) July 19, (211 Johnson St.) July 26 and (227 Sunnidale Rd.) Aug. 2.

Each event runs from 6 p.m to 8 p.m.

Announcements of any cancellations due to inclement weather will take place by 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event, via Barrie Fire’s page and handle.

Application submitted to build gas station, car wash near Treetops subdivision

Residents of the Treetops subdivision in Alliston could soon have a new place to fuel up their cars.

The town has received a zoning bylaw amendment application to permit a gas station, tunnel car wash and convenience store with fast food service to be developed at the southwest corner of Highway 89 and 10 Sideroad.

The town received the application June 7 and the planning department deemed it complete June 21.

The parcel of land located across the street from the Treetops subdivision was recently purchased by the Biffis family.

• The 0.7 hectare property is the former road allowance of 10 Sideroad, which was shifted east last year to align with the 6th Line of Essa for the installation of a signalized intersection

• The eastern side is zoned urban highway commercial exception and the west side is zoned agricultural and recreational open space

• The application seeks to rezone the west side to urban highway commercial exception

• The applicant has also submitted a planning justification report, site plan and conceptual drawings, functional servicing report and traffic impact study

• The town will hold a public meeting about the application at a future date before the final report is presented to council for approval

• An Ultramar station is currently located just around the corner on Highway 89, between the intersection and the entrance to the Nottawasaga Resort

• Residents who have questions about the proposal can contact the town at or email

Editor’s note: Changes were made to this article July 24 to include the correct contact information for the town.

Collingwood’s gathering circle to honour Indigenous heritage

The first project of Collingwood’s Waterfront Master Plan will celebrate the Indigenous heritage of the region and the country.

At the July 9 council meeting, parks, recreation and culture staff unveiled the design for the gathering circle.

The project will be constructed on top of a two-metre berm at Harbourview Park.

Town consultant Cal Brook said his group worked with four Indigenous architects with guidance and vision coming from Dr. Duke Redbird, an elder with the Saugeen First Nation.

“I think it represents a real progressive vision that the town has chosen to start with this kind of project,” Brook said. “When we are working with our Indigenous partners, it’s critical that process is being led by our Indigenous partners.”

The design replicates a food forest and features tree like posts with canopies on top.

There are benches at the bottom with each one featuring the name of one of the seven grandfather teachings.

“Each canopy has a different pattern related to seven grandfather teachings,” said Brook. “I’m really proud to be part of this.”

Brook said Redbird, a lifelong educator, saw this as a place to bring school groups.

“The opportunity he saw with this project was not just a gathering place but a kind tool that someone like he could use to take people through a story and a journey that talked about Indigenous world views, history, culture,” he said.

Dean Collver, director of parks, recreation and culture, said the project is expected to be completed by September. The town will be receiving from the Steelworkers union who while in town for a conference, will be offering financial contribution but in-kind labour support for the project.

He said their contribution saved the project about $100,000.

However, Collver said the project will come in higher than the projected $600,000 budget and he plans to return to council to ask for the extra amount, which will come out of reserves.

The Waterfront Master Plan was introduced in 2016 and is a three phase, $50 million project that could be completed over the next 17 years.



Election or acclamation? Three of 11 council seats uncontested in Barrie

There are more uncontested seats in Barrie’s municipal election than days left to register to run.

With the deadline to file candidacy in the 2018 election set for Friday afternoon, three of 11 city council seats are headed toward acclamation. And only one candidate is registered for trustee seats in the Simcoe County District School Board wards 7 to 10, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board wards 1 to 5 and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir areas.

On Barrie council, incumbents Jeff Lehman (mayor), Sergio Morales (Ward 9) and Mike McCann (Ward 10) are currently running unopposed.

Ward 1 Coun. Bonnie Ainsworth, who is not vying for re-election, said a run for political office can cost thousands of dollars these days. Many candidates also run on a controversial issue or after a bad experience with government, but council has been relatively calm over the last four years.

“A lot of it is leadership and public opinion,” she said. “Often people run because they … strongly object to something. ‎Under Mayor Lehman’s lead, our council has not been controversial. I don’t think anyone running to unseat an incumbent is doing it because they think they can do better. I just think they want the job for any number of reasons which is absolutely their right. It also costs a lot of money to run now … and the thought of not winning could be off-putting.” 

In 2014, two seats — Michael Prowse in Ward 6 and Maria Hardie in Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board’s Area 2 — were acclaimed in the city. No candidates were handed seats in 2010.

The overall number of candidates is also down from previous elections. A total of 41 candidates are currently registered to run. But 62 council and trustee candidates signed up in 2014 and 66 ran in 2010.

It seems Barrie may be caught in a provincewide trend, city clerk Wendy Cooke said.

“We’re into the final week to register and so far we’ve not seen many candidates coming forward,” she said. “Other municipalities that I’ve spoken to are also reporting similar unusually low numbers. Last year, 22 candidates filed in the last two weeks, so we might get busy this week. There’s still time to register to run in the upcoming municipal election.”

Residents can sign-up to run for city mayoral and councillor positions, and nominations for trustee positions in the Simcoe County, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District, Viamonde and catholique MonAvenir school boards are also open.

The nomination period runs until 2 p.m. July 27. The municipal election is Oct. 22.

Candidates can submit a nomination form and applicable fee ($200 for mayor, $100 for all other positions) at city hall, 70 Collier St. They must also meet eligibility requirements. Candidates running for mayor and councillor positions need to submit an endorsement form signed by 25 people who can currently vote in the city.

More information is available at .