Innisfil mom holding summer bottle drive for Grade 8 class trip

Innisfil mom Melanie Norton isn’t giving up her quest to help her son’s Grade 8 class afford its year-end trip next year.

She’s hosting a summer bottle drive called Bottles For Kids to raise funds, but is getting resistance.

“When I was telling people, the first thing out of their mouth was 10 reasons why it wouldn’t work and it was really devastating to me,” Norton said.

She hopes the whole community pitches in for the bottle drive. Lefroy’s Taste of Europe is giving a donation for customers ordering ice cream mentioning Bottles for Kids.

“I want people to step up more. I use an analogy from the Humboldt Broncos accident. If one of our kids got hit by a car, or a family’s house burnt down, this community would be out the door, around the corner to give their support,” she said. “Why can’t we do that now?”

Even though Norton comes from a one-income family, she isn’t doing this to raise money just for her son.

“Times are hard, I get that. I want to make a difference,” she said.

Norton or Esther Schaffel will pick up any empties prior to July 21.

To arrange a pick up, email Norton at or Schaffel at.

RCMP lays drug conspiracy charges against Bradford man

A joint Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Border Services Agency investigation has led to the arrest of a Bradford man.

The eight-month investigation came after the previous arrest of a Toronto resident accused of importing nearly 50 kilograms of cocaine on Nov. 19, 2017, at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge Commercial Operations.

Omari Kutaladze was arrested after Canada Border Services Agency officers and a drug-detector dog found and seized 50 packages of cocaine concealed in cardboard boxes containing plastic resin pellets, officials say.

After further investigation, police have arrested 41-year-old Dmitri Davidov from Bradford, the RCMP said July 27.

He was arrested by the RCMP on July 25 and charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence of importing cocaine.

Davidov appeared in court on July 26 for a bail hearing at the St. Catharines courthouse.

“Any time we can get illegal drugs off our streets, making our community safer, it’s a great thing,” said RCMP Insp. Ann Koenig. “This investigation highlights how partnerships are essential in the fight against serious and organized crime.”

If you have information on suspicious or criminal activities, contact your local police, the Ontario RCMP at 1-800-387-0020, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

If you have information about suspicious cross-border activity, contact the CBSA Border Watch 1-888-502-9060.

Simcoe County approves Friday Harbour addition in Innisfil

Simcoe County council has now signed off on adding 1,000 extra homes at in Innisfil.

The developer applied for an amendment to both the town and the county’s Official Plans in order to add 1,000 units to its site. The .

“(The additional resort units) will help further the County’s objectives to promote economic development, enhance employment and business opportunities, promote the development of communities with diversified economic functions, a diverse range of housing options, offering quality lifestyles, and efficient and cost-effective development”, Friday Harbour spokesperson Cheryl Shindruk said.

She explained the addition won’t change the current layout of the Big Bay Point area resort.

“All additional units will be incorporated into the existing approved development footprint,” she said.”

Constructed to date are the golf course, trail system, marina, harbourmaster building, Beach Club, 700 resort units, 800-space underground parking facility, boardwalk, pier and 40,000 square feet of retail space.

Simcoe County’s director of planning, development and tourism David Parks said the lands are currently designated for the proposed uses, which is one of the reasons council approved the amendment June 27.

“There is sufficient sewer and water capacity to service the proposed additional units,” he said. “The traffic studies indicate the road network has sufficient capacity to handle the additional traffic with minor phased road improvements. There are no environmental constraints with the additional development.”

This summer Fishbone Restaurant, FH Fine Food, and an apparel shop will be opening at the resort, which are all open to the public. The Avenue restaurant is also in the planning stages.

Friday Harbour is a seasonal resort community which will “further enhance the county as world-class tourism destination,” Parks said.

Friday Harbour now awaits a provincial decision on the unit increase, before it can go ahead with the expansion.

“(The Official Plan amendment) will be submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for approval,” Parks said, adding it has 210 days to respond.

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.

How many kilometres will this Wasaga dad and daughter do for a miracle?

Bruce Johnson and his daughter Holly will add another 28,000 kilometres to the odometer, as they travel from the topmost point in North America reachable by road, to the southern tip of South America.

This — what they’re calling the Ends of the Earth Ride — is the third long-distance motorcycle trip the pair has been on in the past four years to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), and certainly the longest, in terms of both distance and time.

Along the way, as with their previous two trips, Dad — an agent with Re/Max of Wasaga Beach — and daughter will be stopping at CMN hospitals and Re/Max offices along the way.

CMN funds children’s hospitals throughout Canada and the United States, including SickKids in Toronto.

Their first trip in 2014, when Holly was 12, took them from Toronto to Costa Rica; in 2016, they biked across Canada. Along the way, on both trips, they’ve carried flags signed by Re/Max agents, staff at children’s hospitals across the country, and families whose kids are receiving treatment. Both flags have been auctioned off at the end of the Johnsons’ trips, each raising about $30,000.

Motorcycle for Miracles also raises money for the family’s foundation, the Alyssa Rae Johnson Fund.

The fund was created by Bruce and his wife Mary in 2013, named after their first daughter, Alyssa Rae, who died in the neonatal intensive care unit at SickKids in 1998, 20 days after she was born with a large omphalocele — meaning some of her organs were outside of her body.

On this trip, they and Bruce’s 2007 BMW R1200 GS will go on a flight from Toronto to Edmonton, and then on to Inuvik, N.W.T.

Bruce’s wife, Mary, and the couple’s younger daughter, Jocelyn, will remain on the home front, co-ordinating fundraising and planning efforts.

From Inuvik, the pair will ride to , N.W.T., on a highway that was just completed in November, to touch the Arctic Ocean.

Johnson said he was inspired to take the trip when he was 15, and read an article in a Canadian motorcycle magazine by a writer who took the trip from one end of the Americas to the other on his motorcycle — in January, starting on the ice highway between Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik.

“(The article) planted the seed … I was consumed to do this trip, going through the Americas the same way,” he said.

The start of their journey has another significance for Johnson: he and Mary first met, in 1991 in Inuvik, and in 1993 the couple started a three-year cycling trip from that point, and through the Americas.

The motorcycle ride won’t take that long — just six months, to get to , on the southern tip of mainland Argentina — though it will mean Holly misses her first semester of Grade 12. In preparation, she completed three Grade 12 courses so she can graduate with her peers, and is now eying a university degree in global development.

The trips with her dad, she said, have been great opportunities for personal growth.

“I really enjoy meeting new people. I was a bit more shy before going on the trips, but being with my dad and seeing him unapologetically knock on doors and ask for help has helped get me out of my shell,” she said. 

Not having to worry about school gives her a chance to “take everything in.

“It’s been really cool to experience other cultures by being immersed in them; I have friends in Mexico who I’m still in touch with.”

Before venturing out on July 31, they had already topped their $100,000 goal, in part thanks to “champion” Re/Max agents who have each donated $2,000 to the cause. Johnson estimated the family foundation, used by SickKids as an endowment fund, with purchases made using the fund’s interest for items considered of “highest” need, is now sitting at more than $400,000.

For Bruce, the trips have given him “a fuller heart.”

“There are so many people part of our lives who weren’t before,” he said. “Having Holly witness acts of kindness toward us from people when we needed help along the way has been a great gift, because now she’s not afraid of the world.

“We’ve had people stop us at gas stations and ask where we’re going, and they’re giving us a donation,” Bruce said. “It gets very emotional, because a lot of families (they meet at hospitals) who have lost children … it’s emotionally more exhausting than physically exhausting, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

“As a father, it’s been interesting to see my daughter’s eyes opened up to the world. It really makes for a rich experience for the whole family.”

For more on Motorcycle for Miracles, and to follow their journey, go to , or find them on Facebook at .

Clare Riepma – Barrie Ward 1

I was born on a farm in southwestern Ontario and went to university in Toronto.  We chose to live in Barrie because it has a lot to offer and to be closer to our parents, children and grandchildren.

I am a civil engineer with a master’s degree in environmental studies and have my own consulting company working primarily as a city planner. 

I have worked in many municipalities throughout Ontario and as a result have a great deal of experience in the area of municipal government.  I have always been involved in my community and have served as president of the Barrie East End Householders Association, on Town and Gown, North Shore Working Group, and various other municipal advisory committees over the years.

It is time for a change in Ward 1.  Time for a more positive and collaborative approach to resolving issues in Ward 1.  Listening to resident’s concerns and doing something about them is my priority.

Our roads are rough but we pay generous taxes.  We need better value for our tax dollar.  I will work hard to find efficiencies in the city’s operations so that we can hold the line on taxes.  

Our neighbourhoods were not designed to accommodate the numbers of students currently living in some of them. 

As a result, there are conflicts and some absentee landowners are having a negative effect in some our neighbourhoods. 

I will propose that these units be better regulated and inspected to ensure that they are safe and that standards such as parking and maintenance are respected.

We need to attract more businesses to Barrie.  People need good jobs close to home and our youth need opportunities as well.  We need to balance our industrial – residential assessment to bring our taxes into line.

I am a strong supporter of our downtown, and our waterfront.  We need to bring more people, the arts and economic activity to the area to support our local businesses.

Oro-Medonte to allow ATVs on some roadways in one-year trial

All-terrain and off-road vehicle users will be able to ride on some Oro-Medonte roadways as part of a one-year trial period.

On July 18, Oro-Medonte council amended a bylaw to allow the vehicles on some roadways in the township for a trial period, beginning Aug. 7.

Residents will be able to ride their vehicles in wards 2, 4, and 5, with the exception of settlement areas, between April 16 and Nov. 14. Under a previous bylaw, riders are also permitted in another area south of Highway 11 from Line 1 to Line 14/15 between Jan. 1 and March 15.

Oro-Medonte resident Allan Baker was vocal in his opposition to the bylaw amendment, presenting a petition of 600 residents who supported the status quo to council.

He said residents have a number of concerns.

“The biggest one obviously is safety,” Baker said.

Enforcing the boundaries of the permitted areas and rules surrounding the bylaw also present a challenge, he said.

He noted there is an ATV/ORV user group who plans to act as a “neighbourhood watch” and help enforce the rules, but he said he doesn’t see what authority they’ll be able to exercise. “Ultimately the enforcement lies with the OPP and they just don’t have the resources.”

Shawn Scott, the Oro-Medonte resident who spearheaded the ATV/ORV proposal to council, said he has at least 50 people who have volunteered to help with enforcement through a program called Safety Through Observation Reporting and Education.

Scott said they can approach people seen not safely obeying the bylaw and educate them.

“If offenses continue to be observed, what those people can do is they can notify myself, or one of the other four people that are going to be the points of contact with the OPP,” he said, adding the OPP Snow-Vehicle, All-Terrain Vehicle, and Vessel Enforcement team has told him they are willing to assist.  

As for why ATV/ORV users want to access the roadways, Scott said it will make it easier for them to access recreational activities and to do other things like snowplowing and wood harvesting.

“It’s not to be a mode of transportation per-se, it’s more to allow us to get to and do certain activities.”

There are no approved trails for the vehicles in the Simcoe County forests in Oro-Medonte, but riders could use the roads to access trails in Severn Township.

Oro-Medonte’s Deputy Mayor Ralph Hough also shared concerns about the bylaw during the July 18 meeting, including liability if someone were to sue over an accident on township roads.

“If somebody sues and names the township, even if we’re found one per cent responsible, we could be liable for 100 per cent of any award,” he said, adding, “They’re not designed for road use.”

Despite the opposition, Scott hopes ATV/ORV users will get a chance to prove themselves responsible road users.

“I’d like the people who oppose this to at least give it an opportunity,” Scott said.

For more information about ATV/ORV use in Oro-Medonte, visit

Avery Konda – Barrie Ward 1

I have been avidly involved in local politics through organizations such as Georgian College and RVH, ensuring that two of our largest employers in Barrie create opportunity, and continue to build economic growth.

However, I have noticed less and less focus on Ward 1 over these years, and a need for more of a fair share for our community.

Through Georgian College, as GCSA president,  I worked to foster a community of changemakers, the opportunity for students to become entrepreneurially active, and become leaders in their communities.

As a member of the Georgian College Changemaker Committee I worked diligently with a diverse team of faculty, staff and senior leaders to become the first Ashoka designated Changemaker College in Canada, and one of 250 schools in the world with this designation.

I was also a champion in the $25,000 donation to the RVH Mental Health Youth Wing that provided youth mental health support in Simcoe County.

Through my leadership at the college, I was selected as the recipient for the HBEC Student Entrepreneur Award, Employee Entrepreneurial Award, and 1 of 3 leaders in Canada to receive the CiCan Leadership Excellence Award.

I currently work at Georgian College as a program assistant, and volunteer for numerous organizations in the community such as Startup Barrie, Christmas Cheer, the Georgian College Pow Wow, and more.

Through my volunteering, I have been a proponent in creating business and entrepreneurial opportunity through Georgian College, providing food aid to local residents through Christmas Cheer, and promoting a culture of inclusion within our Ward.

My background allows me to quickly step into the role of councillor for Ward 1, and to create action to bring my platform of “Fair Share” to each of our residents.

Through my Fair Share platform I will champion three main issues:

1. Infrastructure Challenges, with road repair and rehabilitation to target and prioritize aging infrastructure within our community.

2. Community Safety, with positive actions to reduce speeding on our roads and in our neighbourhoods to keep families, seniors, and residents safe.

3. Smart Growth and Not Forced Growth, to create a Smart Growth Plan for our Ward to prioritize future repairs and developments, ensuring our Ward does not become left behind in the City of Barrie’s future.

To see a more in depth explanation of my #FairShare platform, please check out my social links, website, and contact information.


Phone number:

Connect with me:

Facebook page:

Twitter profile:

Instagram profile:

LinkedIn profile:

Great Clips comes to Orillia

Great Clips has been building a following since opening at the County Fair Plaza in late November, said manager Ann Dawson.

“It has been very, very busy.”

Located next to Zehrs, the salon and its staff of eight offers haircuts, shampoos and styles.

“No chemicals here,” said Dawson. “We don’t do any colours or perms. We keep it chemical-free.”

Customers can check-in online, by downloading a Great Clips app on their phones for free, she added.  

“It will hold them for an hour,” Dawson said. “It will tell you how busy it is. If there is an hour wait, it will tell you on the app that there is an hour wait and you can pop your name in next in line.”