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 Simcoe.com 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 Simcoe.com 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. Simcoe.com 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

Email:

Phone:

Digital kiosk brings free Wi-Fi to Orillia’s waterfront

Hidden beneath a billowing blue sheet tied with a celebratory ribbon stood the first visual indication of Orillia’s entry into the wireless age.  

“It’s a different society today,” Coun. Ralph Cipolla said moments after the unveiling of the digital kiosk that drew a crowd to the lakeside event.

Situated outside the Orillia Waterfront Centre, the touch-screen kiosk features twin 54-inch vertical LCD screens, one on either side of the unit.

One screen broadcasts events, community happenings and paid advertisements and the other provides a touch-screen that allows users to browse information about local events, activities and amenities such as hotels, restaurants and shopping, along with directions.

“It is basically a way for cities to connect with their citizens and for citizens to connect with the city,” Gary Semplonius, Bell senior vice-president, business, sales and marketing, told Simcoe.com.

The kiosk’s digital sign can also be employed to broadcast community messages and public safety alerts, he added.

“And because it’s interactive, it’s a great way to attract tourism as well,” Semplonius said.  

The kiosk also serves as an access point for free Wi-Fi in the area and includes a USB charger for phones and tablets.

“The Orillia SMART Kiosk is the first of its kind in Ontario and only the second in Canada, and showcases that Orillia is stepping things up when it comes to innovation and technology,” Mayor Steve Clarke added.

The initiative is one component of a research partnership between the municipality and Bell that leverage’s Bell’s Smart City platform to help the city make better-informed decisions on municipal operations and infrastructure through data collection.

Other phases are expected to take shape over the next month, including a second kiosk outside the Orillia Opera House.

The free Wi-Fi network will be expanded to cover the downtown area along with the waterfront, from the port to the Rotary Aqua Theatre.

The kiosks and Wi-Fi applications will provide the city with anonymous data related to where visitors originate from and what it is they value while in Orillia.

According to Semplonius, the launch of the first SMART kiosk in Ontario represents a “significant milestone on Orillia’s path to becoming one of Canada’s leading smart cities.”

Cipolla, a member of the Smart Cities Working Group, said the project would usher Orillia “into the 21st century.”

Two other applications unrelated to the kiosks are in development in partnership with Bell and will be introduced later this year.

One will allow residents to monitor snowplow progress and the other will detect ground water infiltration into the city’s sewer system.

The partnership with Bell is a one-year pilot, with any future commitments subject to future council approval.

Bell has also agreed to provide fibre optic connectivity to the city’s residences and businesses, placing Orillia at the forefront of Canadian communities in the area of smart-city initiatives, said Dan Landry, manager of business retention and expansion and industrial development.

“This will factor greatly into how we market investment and business opportunities in Orillia moving forward,” Landry added.

Celebrate island life and support Orillia’s Aqua Theatre

Orillia’s time-worn will benefit from an upcoming celebration of island life.

Proceeds from a Caribbean-flavoured Island Princess boat cruise on Aug. 19 will support the Rotary Club of Orillia and a revitalization of the lakeside stage.

Organizer Janice Thompson is mounting the event as a thank-you to the club and city in recognition of the positive impact the waterfront has had on her life as she contends with medical issues.

“I wanted to contribute back,” said Thompson.

A two-hour, ticketed cruise is billed as the main event during an otherwise free Jamaica Day reggae festival at Couchiching Beach Park from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The day includes Caribbean food, clothing booths, music and dancing.

“It will be mostly Bob Marley music,” Thompson added.  

The Aqua Theatre was erected at Couchiching Beach Park in 1958 by the local service club with assistance from the community.

The club and the city are working to refurbish and improve the theatre while renewing interest in it as a performance space/community hub.

In a nod to that vision, four cedar trees were recently planted along the fence next to the grassed seating area to improve viewing conditions when the sun sets during outdoor movie nights.

“That row of trees is going to be dedicated on Sept. 1 to some people that were key in getting the Aqua Theatre built,” said club president Andrew Shuttleworth.

Council approved $225,000 in the 2018 capital budget for the first phase of work, including a new slab floor, repairs to the exterior, sand blasting and painting, and a new steel roof.

Staff will seek an additional $225,000 for a second phase, including a revamped viewing area, during 2019 budget talks.

Recommendations stemming from a recent design exercise exploring proposed enhancements include a sloping roof structure and replacement of existing seats with moulded, stadium-style seating.

The recommendations have been provided to the club for consideration in their fundraising efforts.  

Tickets to the Aug. 19 cruise are $65 and include live music and dinner.

The cruise runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Island Princess office starting Aug. 15.

Alliston baker Samantha Young developing loyal following with her butter tarts

Some artists express their creativity with the stroke of a paint brush on a canvas, while others like Samantha Young use butter, flour, eggs, sugar and a warm oven to bring their visions to life.

Young, who turns 23 next month, has long dreamed of having her own bakery.

She’ll never forget the day she asked her mom how she could combine her love of art and baking.

“She said ‘Oh, you can be a baker or a pastry chef.’ So since (age) 10 that’s what I wanted to do for sure. I never changed,” Young said.

After graduating from Banting Memorial High School she went to the University of Houston to get her business degree in hotel and restaurant management, and finished her studies after transferring to Guelph.

When she graduated in February she was still planning on attending culinary school, but then an opportunity came up after a storefront in downtown Alliston became available.

The property’s landlord reached out to her to see if she would open her own bakery.

“I hadn’t gone to culinary school yet, but I decided I will just do all of my self-taught baking,” she said. “I might as well just dive in and see what happens.”

Leading up to this she was already building up a loyal customer base with the treats she sold during the fall at her boyfriend’s business down the street, Cool Moose Creamery, like her famous butter tarts, pies and cookies.

“I kinda got my following there, and then at The Well Café a couple doors down, I started baking for them too,” she said.

The landlord of the Well also owns the building where her bakery is located.

“He was obsessed with my butter tarts and said I needed a place to sell these things,” she added.

Carriage House Bakery celebrated its grand opening in late April.

“It’s been unbelievable, the support from the community has been even better than we imagined it would be,” she said.

Most of the treats are based on old family recipes passed down from her grandparents and other relatives.

Her Scottish shortbread has been in the family for generations, and her fudge squares are her great aunt’s recipe.

Her butter tarts, which come in plain, pecan and raisin varieties, are the most popular daily baked items, followed closely by the scones, cinnamon biscuits and cookies.

She also does custom orders for cakes, cookies, cupcakes and cake pops.

“That’s starting to take off more than we expected to,” she said. “We are now getting booked three weekends in advance.”

Her dad Greg bakes the bread, which is offered in different varieties throughout the week, like farmhouse white, chunky cheddar, multigrain, whole wheat and natural sour dough.

“His passion has always been bread,” she said. “He’s always loved it and he’s a real bread nerd.”

Carriage House Bakery is located at

To contact them call , visit their or follow them on Instagram

They are open Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.