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.

Rob Sampson — Blue Mountains councillor

I am currently part owner and the managing director of Ceres BioSystems India Private Limited, a Canadian company investing in and operating facilities in India that convert organic waste material into a valuable fertilizer using a Canadian technology.

From June 1995 to September 2003 I was an elected member of the legislative assembly of Ontario and was a member of the Government of Ontario cabinet. I also served as the government caucus chair.

Prior to entering politics, I worked in commercial and corporate banking positions.

I have an MBA and a BA economics both from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

I have decided to run for the position of councillor for The Blue Mountains because my community needs help and I believe that I have the skills to fill that need. The Blue Mountains is a rapidly growing and developing mix of agriculture, recreational/tourist and residential communities, with an overall “small town feel.” However, friction is developing between those communities and a fractured council during the last term has not manage that friction well. Council has also been distracted by issues that are not the voters’ main concern. New leadership is required on The Blue Mountains council.

Growth has brought a strong tax base to The Blue Mountains, but it has put pressure on the town’s infrastructure — roads, attainable housing, and transportation to name a few. Our current relationship with the County of Grey is outdated and no longer reflects our local service needs or our considerable share of the Grey County tax base. This needs to change in order for us to be able to fund the local infrastructure cost demands of the future.

If elected, I will work as a team player on the new council and will focus on the issues that are of critical importance to the town taxpayers. I will also work with the newly elected council to provide the leadership to the town staff that has been lacking.


Twitter: @RobSampson4TBM


Stayner man to throw 1st pitch at Blue Jays game

Raymond Hardisty thought he was showing up for a normal work shift at Dairy Queen in Stayner.

Boy, was he was wrong.

Hardisty received quite the surprise courtesy of Dairy Queen and the Toronto Blue Jays. Ace, the team mascot, was on hand to let Hardisty know he had a call from Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez.

Martinez called to tell Hardisty that he would be throwing out the first pitch at the Rogers Centre on Aug. 8 in celebration of Miracle Treat Day.

“I think that’s awesome,” Martinez said. “You’ll also go behind the scenes and we’re going to take you out on the field to watch the Blue Jays take batting practice.”

Hardisty has a deep connection with Miracle Treat Day at the Hospital for Sick Children.

He was diagnosed with leukemia at age four, received a bone-marrow transplant and was diagnosed with graft versus host disease.

Hardisty was a Miracle Treat Day champion child in 2000 and has raised $30,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network. Miracle Treat Day takes place on Aug. 9 and sees a portion of every Blizzard treat sold go to the Children’s Miracle Network.

“Every kid deserves to live a full life,” he said. “It’s a shame when a kid is born and they’re sick. They shouldn’t have to live the first few years of their life in a hospital bed.”

Hardisty also received a Blue Jays jersey with his name on it as well as a new ball glove.

He said he’s always been a Blue Jays fan and said it’s “unbelievable” that he will be throwing out the first pitch.

“I’ve been a Blue Jays ever since I was a little kid,” he said.  “Even when I came home from the hospital, for my birthday, my parents made up a nice Toronto Blue Jays birthday cake for me.”

Stayner Dairy Queen owner Sherry Schaap thanked Hardisty for all of the work he has done in the community and for SickKids.

“I know you always say they have given you a second life, they have given our community a special angel, and you are that angel,” she said.