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Ice storm causes power outages in Alliston, Barrie

UPDATED – The power is still out in parts of Barrie and New Tecumseth following last night’s ice storm.

Earlier today at the height of the outage, PowerStream said 6,699 Barrie customers and 11,549 customers between Alliston, Beeton and Tottenham were affected.

PowerStream and Hydro One hope to have power restored by late afternoon, according to the latest update.

An update from New Tecumseth deputy CAO Blaine Parkin on the restoration efforts was posted to social media earlier today.

“We are currently experiencing significant power outages across the town due to the severe weather that is moving through the area,” he wrote. “Our fire and emergency crews along with our public works staff are dispersed throughout the town handling several calls and are working diligently to address downed trees and blocked roads.”

New Tecumseth residents who come across downed tree limbs or other safety hazards are asked to call the public works emergency line at 905-729-2291.

In Beeton, the fire hall is open for residents who need to charge their cell phones or warm up.

If you’re on the roads, drive carefully. There is a lot of debris in the roadways.

OPP are also reminding drivers to treat intersections without power as four-way stops.

Wanted man surrenders to Barrie cops

Barrie Police officers were called after a disturbance behind an Anne Street tire retailer at about 2 p.m. yesterday. Initially, three men ran away, but one was found walking south on Anne Street and surrendered to officers.

The 43-year-old told police he was wanted on outstanding warrants. It turned out he had five warrants to his name and he was arrested and taken to the station to wait for a bail hearing.

Collingwood Mayor, Deputy Mayor clash over CAO contract renewal

A discussion over the extension of the town’s chief administrative officer erupted into a skirmish between Collingwood’s mayor and deputy mayor.


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Mayor Sandra Cooper and Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson faced off Monday night over Saunderson’s motion – introduced two weeks ago as a notice of motion – to extend John Brown’s contract by a year.

Council voted 5-4 to keep Brown on for another year with Saunderson, councillors Deb Doherty, Kathy Jeffery, Cam Ecclestone and Bob Madigan voting in favour, while Cooper, and councillors Tim Fryer, Mike Edwards and Kevin Lloyd voted against the extension.

Brown’s contract was set to expire this September and $70,000 had been put in this year’s budget to look for a new CAO.

“Our obligation around this table is to do what is in the best interest of this community and I believe in the term of this council, we have done that,” said the deputy mayor.

Saunderson felt the right decision was to discuss the issue in a public forum.

“We are doing our business where you can all see it,” he said.

However, Cooper accused Saunderson of circumventing her office, stating the issue should have been discussed in-camera before being brought to the public.

Cooper read a prepared statement and took several shots at Saunderson and other members of council.

“People who know me would suggest that I am a consensus builder and try whenever possible to avoid creating a caustic environment, sometimes at a fault,” she said. “This longstanding approach creates an atmosphere where some individuals feel they can aggressively push me aside or not engage my office with the opinion that there will be little consequence.

“In spite of my efforts to engage the deputy mayor and members of council, a few – including the deputy mayor – continue to make their way through issues without providing the level of respect and engagement the mayor’s office requires.”

Saunderson attempted to call Cooper on a point of privilege but was denied.

“You are impugning my integrity, I brought this notice of motion in public at the last meeting and if you can point me to one aspect of the procedural bylaw that somehow I might have fallen aside or a stray of, I’d like you to point it out,” Saunderson said before he was cut off by the mayor. “Other than that I’d like you to either retract your comments or apologize.”

Cooper apologized, sort of.

“I will leave those the comments then,” she said. “I apologize that you feel that way about the mayor’s office and the comments that I’ve made. I will just leave those statements and continue on.”

Cooper believed the issue should have been discussed in-camera with all members of council.

“We have chosen a different path that is divisive and shows a complete, in my view, disrespect for the mayor’s office,” she said. “When treating the mayor’s office (this way), it’s disrespectful to the will of the electorate. Hopefully, once a decision is made, we will put this matter behind us and enter into a new era of cooperation and respect.”

However, Saunderson wanted a rebuttal but was shut down by Cooper who pounded the gavel and said, “Deputy mayor, you do not have the floor.”

Saunderson persisted.

“This is going under objection,” he said. “I have made a point of privilege that you refuse to rule on. You went ahead and accused myself and other members of this council of disrespect with process.”

While Saunderson was speaking, Cooper said, “as I am right now.”

She then abruptly called for a 30-minute recess.

After they re-convened, Cooper and Saunderson appeared to resolve the issue.

“I accept your apology with respect to the point of personal privilege,” he said. “It was not my intention to disrespect my office of the mayor. I look forward to moving ahead as a council. We may have strong opinions about different issues but that’s part of the job.”

Councillor Mike Edwards wanted the town to move forward with a “permanent” CAO.

“I think it’s time that council appointed a full-time CAO and not one on contract that seems to continue and continue and paying a premium rate,” he said.

Concerns were raised about Brown’s compensation, which totals $225,000, with $192,000 in base pay and a $33,000 payment in lieu of a contribution to his pension.

“John Brown is our permanent CAO, whether or not it’s as a staff member or as a contract employee,” Saunderson said. “He is getting paid what he deserves and he’s getting paid to do the job that he does.”

Both Saunderson and Edwards outlined the salaries paid to CAO’s by other municipalities including Innisfil ($192,000), New Tecumseth ($194,000), Bradford-West Gwillimbury ($193,000), Oro-Medonte ($164,000), The Blue Mountains ($161,000), Meaford ($151,000) and Orillia ($167,000).

Jeffery believes extending Brown’s contract is a good business decision.

“The CAO was hired by the previous council,” she said. “I think it was probably one of the best decisions of that four years. I think we’ve had excellent results.

“What I think what is best and a good business decision is to manage and mitigate our risk going forward by having some continuity.”

Knights of Meaford recruits skate for coaches

The Knights of Meaford continue to shape their roster for the 2016/17 season.

The Knights held a special recruiting session at the arena on March 19. New recruits and returning players combined for a 90-minute practice under the watchful eyes of team management and coaching.

“I feel really good so far,” said Head Scout Danny Smith about the team’s off season work. “With the guys we have signed and the players returning from last year, we will have a competitive group.”

Smith said he will be making a scouting trip to Europe and will attend a showcase event in Las Vegas in the near future in search of players for the team.

“We are looking to make some deals to strengthen our back end and secondary scoring,” he said. “This coming year we will have players from Italy, Northern Ireland, Norway, the United States and from coast-to-coast across Canada.”

Left winger T.J. Thomas was in town on March 19 and has signed with the Knights. Thomas played in the GMHL last year with the Bobcaygeon Storm and led the team in scoring with 17 goals and 16 assists in 35 games.

“Danny was in contact with me and told me all the great things about Meaford and the organization,” Thomas said. “When I had the opportunity to sign I took it.”

Brandon Kelly is an 18-year-old centre from Lebanon, New Hampshire. If he signs with the Knights it will be his first year in the GMHL.

“You will see lots of goals,” he joked.

Centre/RW Liam Dinner was in town from Ottawa to meet with team officials and learn about the Knights program. Dinner played in Long Island, New York last year and led his team in scoring.

“I read up on the team and the league and thought I would check out the town,” he said. “I’m more of a play maker, but I can score goals.”

Smith and Knights Assistant Coach Dean Martin put the players through their paces on the ice, while Head Coach Nathan Parrish watched from the arena’s media booth.

Smith said he expects approximately 10 players from last year’s team to return. Players will report for training camp in late August.

“That’s when we will see where we stand,” Smith said. “We’re looking to build off the momentum of last year.”