Beware of scammers collecting for Terry Fox run, Barrie police say

Police are warning Barrie residents about scammers going door-to-door and asking for pledges for the annual Terry Fox run.

Barrie police received reports of individuals canvassing local neighbourhoods throughout the city, under the façade of collecting cash donations on behalf of the annual run, which raises funds for cancer research.

The suspects, described as white males, have been reported using expired health cards for identification and pledge forms downloaded from the internet.

We do not ask volunteers/participants to seek out cash donations by going door-to-door. The majority of the participants in the annual run seek pledges online or approach people they know, when seeking donations,” said Michael F. McDougall, chair of Terry Fox — Barrie. Anyone wishing to make donations to the Terry Fox Run can do so, securely, online at

Anyone who suspects they may have been a victim of fraud is asked to contact police or the at 1-888-495-8501.

Collingwood public inquiry examining $12 million sole-source deal involving mayor’s brother

A judicial inquiry into the sale of half of this town’s electrical utility — and how council spent some of the proceeds — has begun six years after the deal went through.

While there is fierce disagreement on whether an inquiry is needed, many hope the public airing will lift the cloud of scandal — exacerbated by an ongoing Ontario Provincial Police investigation — hovering over this booming vacation-retirement community on the southern shore of Georgian Bay.

At an introductory session last week, Ontario Superior Court associate chief justice Frank Marrocco told residents packed into a Collingwood library room that the inquiry, which will include sworn testimony, is not a trial.

“No one is charged with criminal activity. No one is being sued,” Marrocco reiterated the next day at a hearing to consider requests from people to participate and, in some cases, to receive funding for legal representation. After public hearings, Marrocco will prepare a report that will be turned over to the Town of Collingwood. Janet Leiper, Toronto’s former integrity commissioner, is lead counsel tasked with running the proceedings.

Supporters of the inquiry, including Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson, insist it is “absolutely a necessity. We owe it to our residents to understand what happened.” He pushed for and voted last February to ask the province to convene the probe.

A lawyer running for the Collingwood mayor’s job in this fall’s election, he was not on council when it decided to sell a 50-per-cent stake in the power utility for $8 million.

Nor was he on council when it voted to use some of the proceeds to award a sole-source, $12.4 million contract to a construction company that installed a “tension fabric membrane,” on top of an ice rink and community pool, for former Liberal MP Paul Bonwick, brother of current Mayor Sandra Cooper, for his work as a consultant on the project. Cooper voted in favour of the contract. Her brother’s role was not disclosed publicly at the time.

Cooper’s lawyer declined to comment to Star for this article. Cooper has previously denied any wrongdoing. She opened the June council meeting by reading a prepared statement saying she was unaware of any family member being involved in the recreation facility deal.

David O’Connor, Bonwick’s lawyer, says while he believes the inquiry was pushed by people trying to ruin Bonwick’s reputation with “false accusations and allegations,” his client welcomes the chance to clear his name.

“We are looking forward to the public in this community to hearing the real truth about what happened,” O’Connor says, adding this his client “should be applauded” for helping bring the recreation facilities to the town.

A July 2014 “information to obtain (ITO)” document, produced by the provincial police and unsealed by a judge in Barrie earlier this year at the request of CBC News, alleged the payment to Bonwick was “shrouded in various layers of secrecy and is evidence of fraudulent activity — to which the … Town of Collingwood is the victim.” ITOs are filed by police when they are requesting a court’s authorization to perform certain tasks, such as obtain a search warrant.

None of the allegations contained in the document have been tested in court, and the OPP has laid no charges in the matter.

O’Connor says the ITO included allegations in order to obtain banking records, which “found how much he paid at the hardware store,” but “absolutely nothing to advance their investigation, and it sat there for four years.”

Saunderson, the deputy mayor, says answers are needed on “who, if anyone, benefited from that (utility sale) transaction and then how those proceeds were spent.

The inquiry “is our only way to find out what happened and if it was done badly, or if there was any impropriety,” he says.

He also defends the inquiry’s estimated cost — currently pegged at $1.5 million. “This is an investment in our governance structure and our future as a functioning municipal body,” he says.

Opponents of the inquiry see it as part of a continued “witch hunt,” driven by a current crop of council candidates running in this fall’s municipal election. Cooper is not running for re-election.

“All this happened six or more years ago, yet there are still some people in the community who are angry about those decisions,” said former Collingwood councillor Ian Chadwick, who is running for deputy mayor, addressing Monday’s public meeting.

“The current council has had three years to request an inquiry into those decisions, yet it was called for only a few weeks before nominations opened for the upcoming municipal election. Doing so now was clearly politically motivated.”

Saunderson scoffs at that assertion.

“There’s not many politicians that would want to be spending $1.5 million of town money … at the time of an election to pursue something like this,” he says.

Steve Berman, a Collingwood resident running for council, began filing freedom of information requests to the town when he started reading about the sole-source contract, “which didn’t pass the smell test,” he says.

He provided that information to OPP investigators — and was interviewed by them — and now hopes the inquiry can clear the air.

“If it’s all fine, if this is the way things are done, then the inquiry will come forward with a set of recommendations that hopefully the next council will adopt and we can make things more transparent.”

The inquiry isn’t about whether the town needed a rink, or pool, or if selling utility was the right move, it is about the process, he adds.

Berman believes what’s happening in Collingwood has broader application to towns small and large across Ontario that are transitioning to a more businesslike and transparent way of operating.

O’Connor, Bonwick’s lawyer, acknowledges the “optics” weren’t the best given that his client is the mayor’s brother and also played a role as a consultant to Powerstream, the company that purchased a 50-per-cent stake in Collingwood’s power company, Collus, in 2012.

Yet he notes that at time, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act didn’t require the mayor to declare a conflict, because siblings were not included.

Before the sole-source contract was signed, the town wanted to upgrade its recreational facilities but did not have the money to pay for a proposed $35 million facility. Bonwick helped to put together an alternative solution that cost roughly a third as much, O’Connor notes.

The construction company agreed to pay him a percentage of their contract with the town, which was a 6.5 per cent commission, and he fulfilled his obligation to them and was paid, he says.

“I think what the inquiry is going to find out is the mayor didn’t even know her brother was involved. That might seem far-fetched but if you know the mayor, it’s not, she’s a very innocent, lovely woman.”

Driver arrested after crashing into Innisfil ditch

A 55-year-old Innisfil woman is facing an impaired driving by drug charge after she crashed into a ditch Aug. 21.

South Simcoe Police Service had several 911 calls about an SUV driving erratically on the 20th Sideroad after 3 p.m., with several callers reporting the SUV almost hit them.

“They were forced to take evasive action while the SUV sped northbound, utilizing both lanes and shoulders,” Deputy Chief Robin McElary-Downer said.

Moments later, the vehicle crashed at Innisfil Beach Road and officers responded to the scene.

The driver was uninjured, but arrested and held for a bail hearing. She was also charged with dangerous driving and breach of recognizance.

UPDATE: Two arrested after stolen U-Haul van crashes into Barrie house

Police arrested a man and woman after a stolen U-Haul van crashed into a house on Hurst Drive July 20.

Barrie police say the 29-year-old man and 31-year-old woman fled on foot after the 7:30 a.m. crash but were found in the neighbourhood a few minutes later and arrested.

The man has been charged with impaired driving by drug, dangerous driving, possession of stolen property, failing to remain at the scene of a collision and driving without a licence. The woman is charged with possession of stolen property.

Michael Burlock, who lives three doors down from where the crash occurred, said he briefly spoke to the couple when they got out of the wrecked van.

“I asked if they were OK. They said they were, then they just took off,” he said. “I didn’t expect them to take off. They looked pretty shook up and the dude had no shoes.”

The U-Haul truck, which was travelling north on Hurst Drive just south of Golden Meadow Road when it left the road, ran over two trees and crossed two driveways before it crashed into the house. The homeowner was not home at the time.

Burlock said he was drinking his morning cup of coffee when he heard a “huge bang” so he went to investigate.

That’s when he saw the man and woman just outside the truck.

Burlock said he called 911 to tell police as soon as the couple left the scene of the crash.

“I walked down the street a bit to see if I could find them, but they weren’t around,” he said.

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said it’s a miracle no one was killed or seriously injured.

“There’s always someone jogging or walking down that sidewalk,” the woman said.

Barrie police continue to investigate and have yet to release charges.

What’s Going on Here: Owen Street, near the downtown Barrie Public Library branch

The view from the downtown branch of the Barrie Public Library could be changing soon.

There’s a large development proposed on the other side of Owen Street. Officially known as 53 to 59, 61 to 67 Owen St., 70 to 78 Worsley St. and 55 to 57 McDonald St., the applicant, Barrie Owen Service, has applied for a zoning bylaw amendment to permit a large residential development .

Here’s the latest on this project:

• A proposed 307-unit mixed-use development is scheduled to front Owen, Worsley and McDonald streets. The project has a total area of 0.4 hectares. If developed as planned, the property would include a 20-storey tower, with 413 square metres of ground floor commercial space, on the southern section of the site.

• The proposal also includes a five-storey podium structure, eight-storey building, seven townhouse units and 326 underground parking spaces. There will also be 101 underground bicycle parking spaces built. 

• A sixth floor amenity level is proposed to connect the two towers.

• The rezoning application was completed in January but it is still under review by city staff.

• This site currently includes a parking lot, single detached homes and mixed-use commercial and residential buildings.

Additional information on this project can be obtained by contacting city senior urban design planner Jordan Lambie at , ext. 4324, or .

Jodi Lloyd — SCDSB trustee Orillia-Ramara-Severn

When asked why I want to be a trustee: it is my passion. 

I have a long history of volunteerism whether it be with the Community Foundation, sports, YMCA, Cancer Society or hospital.  I strongly believe in giving back and enhancing the lives of others, especially children. Building a strong education system builds a strong society.

I am married, with three children with strong connections with our youth, their parents and our community. As an insurance adjuster, whose territory includes Orillia, Ramara and Severn and having lived in all three communities,  I understand the uniqueness and needs of each and the challenges of the current labour market.  

I am vice chair of the board and have been for three years, and during my three trustee terms have held various leadership positions including chair business facilities committee, audit committee and the transportation board for eight years, four years as vice chair. I have sat on our special education advisory committee and currently sit on the First Nations education advisory committee. During the last term I participated in a directors search and four supervisory officer selections.

 I am 100 per cent committed to my role. I am a strong voice at the board table and advocate on behalf of all students. I believe in strong fiscal accountability with a long-term vision for making informed decisions. My most important role is that of advocate for students. It Is my responsibility to hold administration responsible for student outcomes and ensure they hear and listen to local communities.

Moving forward we must immediately address under performance in math. We must build stronger transition planning for students grades 8 to 9 and high school to post-secondary to enable our youth to better understand and plan their pathways. We must enhance our guidance and counselling/mentorship services for our students. In this current climate of fiscal restraint, we must maximize our efficiencies, align resources to ensure we deliver programming that meets student needs equitably.  

I can be contacted at:  or

Website:      Twitter

Tanya Saari – Barrie Ward 3

“My home … My community … My passion”

That’s how I feel about Barrie, particularly Ward 3! I have lived here for over a decade and there’s no place I’d rather be.

My husband and I have raised our three children in Ward 3 for the past 13 years. They all attended schools in the area, and I also work in the community.

As your Ward 3 councillor, one of my top priorities will be keeping open communication with the residents. To best represent the needs of the community, I will make myself available to hear your comments, concerns, and ideas for the area — and I will make sure I respond to you!

It is important that you have a voice in our ward, and I will be your voice at city hall.

As a local real estate agent, I am aware of the challenges we are facing with affordable housing in Barrie. We need to re-evaluate the Registered Second Suite process, as well as ensure that new builds delegate a portion of units to affordable housing so that all residents have a place to call home.

The City of Barrie is growing rapidly, and funds are being spent to support this growth. Although this is important, we need to ensure that Ward 3 remains a priority. Our roads, parks, and development are equally as important as the rest of the city.

I am excited to work hard being the voice of our community. My commitment to communication, relationship building, and strong ethics are just what is needed for Ward 3.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me! I look forward to getting to know you!





Phone Number:

Five things you need to know about the Peak to Shore Music Festival

1. The Peak to Shore Music Festival takes place from July 4-7 in Collingwood, Thornbury and Blue Mountain.

2. The event will take place in 11 different venues including the Village Stage, MJ Byrne’s Irish Pub and Firehall Pizza at Blue Mountain Village, Gustav Chophouse, Crow Bar & Variety, Shipyards Amphitheatre in Collingwood,  and Bruce Wine Bar, the Corner Café and Maiolo’s Restaurant and Lounge in Thornbury.

3. More than 32 acts will perform during the festival including Bernadette Connors, Rebecca Rain, Shipyards Kitchen Party, Paul Reddick, Chad Price, Cold Jack, Karla Crawford and Kayla Diamond.

4. All of the concerts are free and start at 6 p.m., and run until 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 p.m. on Sunday.

5. There will be two open mike sessions on Thursday at 9 p.m., with Dave Russell at the Corner Café in Thornbury and Craig Smith at Crow Bar and Variety.

Barrie still has one of the highest apartment rental rates in Canada: PadMapper

Barrie continues to be one of the most expensive places in which to rent an apartment in Canada.

The online property rental platform PadMapper released its latest Canadian rent report Aug. 15 and Barrie ranks fourth highest on the list of most expensive markets. On average, a one-bedroom apartment costs $1,350 per month, up 11.6 per cent from the same period last year.

Toronto ($2,140), Vancouver ($2,000) and Burnaby, B.C. ($1,570) finished ahead of Barrie. Montreal ($1,250) placed fifth.

“The report analyzed hundreds of thousands of listings last month to examine rent prices across the 26 largest cities in the country,” PadMapper representative Crystal Chen said. “Listings are then aggregated on a monthly basis to calculate median asking rents, providing a comprehensive view of the current state of the market.”

It costs $1,510 per month to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Barrie, up 9.4 per cent over the same period in 2017. Two-bedroom rental is higher in Vancouver ($3,200), Toronto ($2,800), Burnaby ($2,270) and Montreal ($1,700).

Barrie has been among the most expensive places to rent in the country for more than a year, according to previous PadMapper reports.

The report does not include short-term and Airbnb listings.

To view the report, visit .

Take a hike! Explore trails in Bradford and beyond

There are plenty of great hiking trails in and around Bradford where you spend an hour or two, or more, getting exercise while enjoying the great outdoors.

Here are five:

Nokiidaa Trail

Part of this trail network includes an easy 4.5-kilometre on the west side of in East Gwillimbury. It starts on the south-west side of a dam and winds along the Holland River through mixed bush, meadow and a small wetland.

Scanlon Creek Conservation Area Trail

A moderately challenging, 3.5-kilometre, located just north of Bradford, takes you along rolling terrain, across the creek, through a wetland and forest.

Spring Creek Trail

This two-kilometre, , accessed off in Alliston, follows Spring Creek. Along the route you’ll pass a wide variety of trees including beech trees, hard sugar maples, Manitoba maple, red pine, red dogwood, hemlock, cedar and white ash.

Thornton Bales Conservation Area

Want a challenge? Nicknamed this King conservation area, off west of Bathurst Street, offers trails for the physically fit. Part of the Oak Ridges Moraine, it has an elevation that drops 54 metres. A side trail provides access to the Koffler Scientific Reserve at Joker’s Hill.

Welsh Tract  

Dubbed , this 2.2-kilometre trail, off west of 5th Side Road, winds through old growth forest and boasts rolling hills plus a secluded pond nestled among a cedar grove and sumacs.