Month: December 2020

Three arrested in Orillia drug bust

Two Toronto youths, along with an adult from Orillia, are facing several charges following a drug bust Thursday night.

Just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday, officers form the OPP Tactics and Rescue Unit, Central Region Emergency Response Team and Central Region Canine Unit executed a search warrant at two separate houses on Front Street in Orillia.

During the raid, police say they located and seized a quantity of crack cocaine, marijuana, paraphernalia associated with trafficking and a prohibited weapon.

The three arrested face “several drug and weapon charges,” an OPP news release issued via Twitter stated. They were all released on promises to appear in Orillia youth and adult court, respectively.

The adult charged was a resident of one of the houses. Police are continuing to investigate the involvement of the other residents.

Neither the identity of the adult accused nor the specific charges laid were released by police.

Barrie’s budget shows more than $16M in capital spending for fire stations

There’s significant investment coming to Barrie’s current and future fire stations.

The city’s capital plan from 2016-2022 identifies more than $16 million in capital spending on current Fire Stations 3 and 4, along with future stations 5 and 6.

The majority of this spending still requires city council approval on an annual basis, but Barrie’s growth – especially in the south-end – necessitates that much of it will be required.

“That’s part of planning for the future, looking ahead, to maintain that high level of service,” said Barrie Fire Chief Bill Boyes.

Barrie Fire and Emergency Service (BFES) has a response mandate of one truck on- scene within six minutes, 90% of the time. Last year that response level was 93.25%, Boyes said.

This capital spending will help meet these levels in the future as well.

Fire Station No. 3, which opened in 1995, has bay expansion and interior renovations scheduled in 2017 and 2018, for $2.05 million and $2.25 -million respectively, for example.

Boyes said the Big Bay Point Road station is simply full, with a pumper, aerial and hazardous materials truck, along with spare apparatus.

“There’s literally no room in there to store any vehicles,” he said. “I mean, it’s very cramped and we’re looking at expanding the bay there to have the additional third bay.

“It just needs to catch up with the growth.”

What started as a one-truck station with four to five staff on duty, now has 8-10 staff on duty at all times.

Station No. 3’s living quarters will also be renovated to meet all of the required accessibility standards, and facilitate both men and women.

While BFES has three female firefighters out of its total compliment of 144, there are a significant number of women who are in fire prevention, communication and dispatch.

The city’s capital budget also contains $940,000 for renovations to Fire Station No. 4 in 2017-2018. It opened in 2000 on Ardagh Road; renovations there include better facilities for women, re-doing the parking lot and upgrading the generator.

Barrie has a temporary Fire Station No. 5 on King Street, land being leased from Innisfil Hydro. But the city is looking for a permanent location elsewhere, and there’s nearly $5.7 million in the capital budget between 2019 and 2022 for its construction.

“We’re assessing the growth and the future build-out of the city, to find exactly where that ideal location will be that works the best in terms of response time,” Boyes said.

The city and BFES are also looking at a permanent fire training centre. Right now property is being leased on Saunders Road as a temporary training ground.

And there’s more; a sixth Barrie fire hall is also planned.

The capital budget contains $5.2 million between 2016 and 2019 for a station at an undetermined location – although Boyes expects one new hall in south-east Barrie, the other in the south-west.

“That (funding) is all dependent on the growth and development of the city as well, so it will coincide with the city development,” he said. “Obviously we will need the infrastructure and services in place (roads, pipes, utilities, etc.) before that station could be (built).”

Barrie’s fire chief said new stations are about one main thing.

“It will definitely improve our response time, which will be needed as the infrastructure comes into play,” he said, “and citizens and businesses move into the neighbourhoods, as the traffic gets busier.”

Barrie also has Fire Station No. 1 on Dunlop Street West and Fire Station No. 2 on Bell Farm Road.

The province approved Barrie’s southern boundary extension into Innisfil and it was enacted by the Barrie-Innisfil Boundary Adjustment Act, 2009. It came into effect Jan. 1, 2010 and expanded the city by about 5,700 acres.

City planning department figures show not only a population of 154,283 people in Barrie now that will increase to 210,000 by 2031 – but a city of 253,000 residents by 2041.

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Cabinet minister holds roundtable on youth engagement in Penetanguishene

SIMCOE COUNTY – Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs met local officials and youth leaders Monday in Penetanguishene to discuss ways to engage young people in Simcoe County and across the province.

“There are a lot of barriers to youth engagement,” said Jeff Leal. “We’re looking at ways to break them down.”

Attendees told Leal one of the reasons young people choose to leave the county is lack of educational opportunities. Tiny Township resident Alex Laurin said there needs to be increased investment in post-secondary education in order to keep youths.

“There’s no university up here,” he said. “A lot of people don’t want to come back after they’ve gone away to school.”

Springwater Mayor Bill French noted cutbacks in education, particularly closing schools, also have an effect on youth engagement.

“How can we expect young people to stay involved in their communities if they need to get on a bus and commute to school?” he said.

Wasaga Beach Mayor Brian Smith agreed, noting his town does not have a high school.

“High school is where people decide their home is the place to be,” he said. “We need more funds to make sure high schools in smaller communities stay open.”

Leal said the province’s current Grants for Student Needs funding system may be in need of a rethink, as it tends to lead to the closing of schools with low enrolment.

“It’s based on the old idea of bums in seats,” he said. “Maybe we need to look at a new formula that takes into account other concerns.”

Coun. Cody Oschefski of Midland said more should be done to ensure youths are working at municipal jobs, which could lead to entry-level positions when they graduate.

“It seems like the jobs that go to students and youth are the first to go when there are cutbacks,” he said. “We need to make sure we have more student responsibilities in government.”

Innisfil Deputy Mayor Lynn Dollin said officials need to do a better job attracting young people to jobs that aren’t viewed as “sexy,” such as water treatment and personal support workers.

“These are good-paying jobs with benefits and pensions,” she said. “But they can’t be filled because, for some reason, people don’t want to do them.”

Leal said he intends to bring input from the meeting to cabinet.

“We develop a conversation and a dialogue through these meetings,” he said. “It’s part of making public policy collectively.”

Midland wrestling show a big deal for local grappler

MIDLAND – Live professional wrestling will slam its way into Midland on April 1.

Rock Solid Wrestling is partnering with the Huronia Special Olympics on a card at Midland Secondary School called Midland Mania.

The action will get started at 7 p.m., with proceeds from the event supporting the Special Olympics.

The event will feature the return to the ring of Midland native Travis Lepage. The 26-year-old MSS graduate, who will face “Pro Wrestling Black Belt” Jake O’Reilly, started wrestling when he was 18.

“It’s an honour to be able to showcase my talent in my hometown,” he said. “It’s an opportunity that not many people get. I’m very excited.”

Lepage said some of his heroes include Bret (Hitman) Hart and Randy (Macho Man) Savage.

“I’ve watched wrestling for as long as I can remember and I’ve always wanted to be a pro wrestler,” he said. “I was heavily influenced by the smaller wrestlers that were able to use their size to their advantage.”

The card will also feature a main event for the Canadian heavyweight championship match featuring “Mr. DDT” Cody Deaner defending his belt against Anthony Darko.

Also on the card will be a women’s match with KC Spinelli challenging Rosemary, who wrestles for Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling based in Tennessee.

Tickets are $15 at the door or $10 in advance at Breakaway Sports and Bayshore Lanes. For more information, visit .