Category: okjpbrm

Hwy. 400 crossing in Barrie could benefit from fed budget

One Barrie business owner is worried the city will miss catching a ride on new federal government infrastructure funding for the Harvie Road crossing.   

But Mayor Jeff Lehman doesn’t share that view.

The Liberals unveiled a budget Tuesday that included $11.9 billion for infrastructure projects.

“These projects the government is going to fund, they’re shovel ready. The Harvie Road project is nowhere near shovel ready,” said Barrie Garden Centre owner Warren Patterson.

The Harvie Road Crossing Coalition member said there have been “huge gaps” in the initiative’s planning, such as city staff getting a go-ahead to move forward with a request for proposals for the work, which was not done until six months later.

“Barrie city staff has not been moving forward and is now going to miss the opportunity. It’s frustrating for the whole city,” he said. “The city has an opportunity to really expedite this process. It would be a shame (to miss the funding). At least apply for it.”

Mayor Lehman called the federal Liberals’ spending plan an “incredibly welcome budget from the point of view of mayors” and said he does not expect the city to miss out on any potential funding for the Harvie Road project.

“The infrastructure plan is a 10-year plan, and the Harvie Road bridge is well within that 10-year period, (and) the feds are now saying that design costs can be part of the project eligibility,” he said.

This means the federal government will now pay half of design costs instead of the one-third it would have before, he said.

“One issue may be whether or not a highway bridge is eligible or not. We don’t know that yet.”

Lehman said the city is also already jumping on leftover infrastructure funding from 2015.

This includes applying for money for a series of stormwater projects to clean up Lake Simcoe and deal with climate change, and transit fleet replacement and accessibility initiatives.

“We were really waiting to hear about eligibility criteria before we sent a definitive list. These were just a few ‘shovel ready’ projects or those that seemed to fit the areas of interest,” such as the environment and transit, he said.

Barrie Chamber of Commerce CEO Rod Jackson said he is concerned the federal government is focusing on ‘shovel-ready’ projects, which he perceives as easy.

“Is it going to benefit the growth, or is it going to be a Band-Aid?” he said. “I don’t see anything specifically for Barrie or Simcoe County.”

About 75 per cent of workers in Simcoe County are employed by businesses with four or fewer people, so helping people find jobs and small businesses thrive should be key for the federal government, he said.

“We’re lucky in Barrie, our economy … is fairly strong. We don’t have a huge unemployment problem,” he said. “I’d like to see more of a roadmap of investment.”

Included in the federal government’s 2016 infrastructure funding are $3.4 billion for public transit and $250 million for the category “supporting municipal capacity building.”

First Nations communities are also slated to get $2.2 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure and $1.2 billion for social infrastructure.

Lehman said he expects Barrie to get some of this funding within the next year.

For example, the allocation of some transit funding is based on ridership.

“That could help buy buses,” he said.

Lehman said he is also pleased with the budget’s doubling of affordable housing funding to about $1.5 billion and the inclusion of ‘housing first’ initiatives.

“The feds have put that right in the budget. Pathways in Barrie is exactly in line with that. That’s something that could directly help affording housing funding Barrie,” he said.

Dale Biddell, CEO of United Way Greater Simcoe County, said the organization is pleased with the affordable housing funding section of the budget.

“We’re hoping that’s going to trickle down to our region,” she said. “We’re specifically delighted that there’s $112 million more for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.”

The United Way administers the strategy’s funds and assisted 714 Simcoe-Muskoka families in the last year, she said.

Biddell added United Way understands families need access to more resources, and the organization will continue helping the federal government “understand the benefits of 211,” a sort-of emergency phone number for social needs.

“The budget is addressing issues related to poverty and is going to present opportunities for low-income Canadians,” she said.

– With files from Torstar News Services

Rejection of bylaw amendment in Oro-Medonte could put weddings in jeopardy

A messy split between an Oro-Medonte business and the township may leave some couples crying before they make it to the chapel.

In January, Oro-Medonte council denied the zoning bylaw amendment applied for by the owners of Lazy Dayz Bed, Breakfast and Rustic Barn that would allow it to continue to hold weddings and other special events on the property. This had gone against a recommendation from township staff that called for the application to be deferred again so a noise study it requested could be peer-reviewed. 

The previous deferral, in October 2015, also went against staff’s recommendation; at that time, staff called for the application to be denied outright.

The applicants have since appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes said was the best-case scenario to see the file closed in the most expedient manner.

"The most effective way to bring this to a more rapid conclusion … was to deny it," Hughes said. "It was very clear that regardless of the outcome, this was probably going to go to an OMB."

While a hearing date has not been set, it is not expected to take place until the summer, leaving Lazy Dayz without the approvals it needs to host future weddings.

"They don’t have any permissions for temporary events on the property," said Andria Leigh, the township’s director of development services.

A call to Lazy Dayz for comment was not returned.

For the 2014 and 2015 wedding seasons, a temporary bylaw was in place allowing Lazy Dayz owners Kate Marrs and Jamie Anderson to operate a wedding venue in a rustic barn on the property, capitalizing on the barn wedding craze. The land is currently zoned to allow the bed-and-breakfast on the property, while the amendment requested would permit indoor and outdoor special events, such as banquets, weddings, receptions or similar functions.

The special events held under the temporary bylaw are on land abutting the Horseshoe Valley Settlement Area, with more than 100 homes in the immediate vicinity. This temporary bylaw was enacted so staff and council could get a handle on the issues surrounding the application, particularly with the increase in traffic and noise.

Throughout the 2014 and 2015 seasons, "municipal bylaw-enforcement staff received a considerable amount of complaints from the public," a staff report to council indicated, with dozens of emails provided as evidence as a supplement to the report.

"It seems really inappropriate to have a commercial event so close to people’s backyards," Jane Ravenshaw in a June 2015 email that was representative of several of the complaints. "A typical neighbour does not have 100 people over for Saturday afternoon every week."

Township staff directed the applicants to submit respective studies on both traffic and noise, Leigh said. In its October 2015 recommendation to deny, staff identified a number of planning issues that needed to be addressed.

While the information required to justify the planning application was subsequently received by the applicants’ planner, the noise report was not submitted until late 2015, which didn’t give staff time to have the findings peer-reviewed. In January, staff requested more time to get the information it desired, but council was tired of waiting.

"This whole thing had dragged for a long time," Hughes said. "We expected a report to be back before the end of the calendar year. What happened was that report didn’t get back to us until January."

This places council and staff in an interesting situation, as council has essentially gone against a staff recommendation in denying a planning application. If the case proceeds to the OMB, council will have to retain its own planner to support its decision, while township planning staff may be subpoenaed by the applicants to give evidence to support the initial recommendation.

What makes the situation less black-and-white, Hughes said, was staff’s previous recommendation to deny the application outright. The potential convoluted mess could be irrelevant, as Hughes feels the case could be resolved before going to the OMB.

"One of the things this situation at Lazy Dayz cries out for is mediation," Hughes said. "If the parties sat down at the table, I believe we will likely see a resolution without the long, drawn-out, expensive process of an OMB (hearing)."

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Renovations at CFB Borden, Meaford for refugees cost $2.8M: report

The federal government spent almost $6.4 million to prepare temporary accommodations for Syrian refugees at five Canadian Forces bases.

Work to prepare C and was stopped by the government in February.

In a written response to questions from Conservative MP James Bezan, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the upgrades created space for 6,159 refugees at five military bases.

At CFB Borden, $2.64 million was spent to accommodate up to 1,500 refugees. It includes the cost of insulating 236 Weatherhaven shelters and reskinning shelters that were deficient, renting equipment to power and heat tent structures, purchasing and installing security cameras, and changing service contracts to absorb additional usage. 

The government spent $255,000 at CFB Meaford to house 335 refugees.

The work completed at the Meaford base was to install shelter for a social, recreational, cultural and worship site, upgrade an ablution building, and add barrier free access ramps for Weatherhavens.

The federal government spent $400,000 for upgrades at CFB Kingston, $2.82 million at CFB Valcartier, $257,000 at CFB Trenton.

According to Sajjan’s written response, the Department of National Defence will absorb the costs and current operations or capabilities will not be impacted. 

Polar Bear Dip in Collingwood April 3

Who wants to go for a dip?

Meridian Credit Union hopes you do.

The local branch is holding their fourth-annual Polar Bear Dip in support of Collingwood General & Marine Hospital on April 3 at Collingwood Harbour.

The event has raised about $50,000 for equipment at the hospital over the past three years.

Organizers expect about 40 participants.

Registration starts at 11 a.m., with dipping at noon.

There will be prizes for best costume and a grand prize of a $1,000 travel voucher.

For more information visit

Georgian College invites Grey-Bruce non-profits to Changemaker Days

The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Georgian College, together with the Social Enterprise Network of Central Ontario, is hosting Owen Sound Changemaker Days at the Owen Sound Campus on March 23 from 10 a.m. to noon.

The free professional development events include “Localized Coffee Conversations” and an introductory social enterprise and change making workshop.

The event will appeal most to Grey-Bruce non-profit organizations and their stakeholders who are developing or are already operating a social enterprise. Participants will enjoy fresh local coffee, great conversation and networking, followed by specialized workshops.

Social enterprises address the most pressing problems faced by societies by employing scalable, self-sustaining and innovative unique social business models.

These business models address the “triple bottom line”: planet (environmental); people (social and cultural) and profit. Social enterprise is a method for creating change, but is also a tool to diversify and create financial sustainability in non-profit organizations.  

Owen Sound Changemaker Days will be tracked on social media through #ChangemakerGC and at @ChangemakerGC.

The event is sponsored by Georgian College’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship using RECODE grant funding from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

For more information or to register, visit or contact Dominika Zapolnik at the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at [email protected]

Barrie man survives heart attack in doctor’s waiting room

Vera Bedrin will never forget husband Don’s head rolling back before he collapsed in the waiting room of his cardiologist’s office in January.

“I had said something funny, but it wasn’t that funny,” Vera said at home. “He passed out and flew off the chair.”

She watched as her husband of 43 years slumped to the floor and she knew something wasn’t right.


She called for help and staff at the Partners in Advance Cardiac Evaluation (PACE) clinic brought a crash cart to revive Don.

Don said he hadn’t felt well over the Christmas holidays, mostly fatigue and a runny nose — nothing he thought was serious.

Not one to make a fuss, it was only after Vera’s urging he saw his family doctor, who requested an echocardiogram.

Don got the test done Jan. 12, but before leaving, the clinician told him to wait for a cardiologist, even though he didn’t have an appointment.

“One of our ECG technologists recognized that the patient’s ECG was abnormal,” Dr. Rajeev Rao said.

Before Rao could see him, he was called out to the waiting room.

“After a quick pulse check, I started basic life support with CPR and called for a defibrillator,” Rao said. “This was the first time I have done it in an out-of-hospital setting, so figuring out what we had for equipment was the biggest challenge.”

It took several shocks and multiple rounds of CPR to revive the patient, he said.

Don said he was out for 15 minutes.

“In my case, it was definitely an unusual situation,” Rao said. “But we train for many years and have run many cardiac arrests in hospital. I drew upon my experience to ensure he had the best chance for survival with early CPR and defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED) that we have in the clinic.”

Rao said he was fortunate to bring Don back with little neurologic injury.

“Survival of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is quite poor — only 10 per cent survive to hospital discharge.”

He also told Don if his heart attack happened in the parking lot, he might not be alive today.

Instead of sending Don to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, Rao sent him straight to Southlake Regional Health Centre for care.

Southlake is the closest hospital with a catheterization laboratory, although, one is planned for RVH in 2017.

While in hospital, Don had three arteries unblocked and a pacemaker inserted.

He knows a series of follow-up appointments is in his future but is happy to be alive.

Don’s father was 67 when he died from a heart attack.

“I had no idea he was going to have a cardiac arrest, but learning what I did about his history after the acute situation had resolved, he was someone who was certainly at risk of this occurring,” Rao said.

Now recovering at home, Don is still fatigued but starting to return to his old self, even resuming his hobby of painting Ukranian eggs.

“I’m the same guy, I feel fine,” Don said.

But Vera knows there’s more behind that statement.

“He doesn’t show a lot of emotion. We look at each other differently now. This would’ve been so different if he wasn’t in that waiting room,” Vera said.

For now, his kids call him the bionic ox.

“He still has a bad heart, but with guidance, he’ll go through cardiac rehabilitation and the doctors feel we can strengthen it.”

NVCA warns of potential of flooding

Lots of rain and melting ice and snow has created localized flooding in Beaver Valley.

The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority advises that 25-50 mm of rainfall is expected across the watershed over the next 24 hours, which will cause water levels to rise in area watercourses.

A total of 25-50mm of rainfall is forecast for Sunday night through Monday afternoon.

Temperatures are forecast remain warmer over this period.

The rainfall will cause higher than normal water levels in watercourses throughout our jurisdiction.

In addition, the warmer temperatures and rain will cause any remaining snowpack to continue to melt.

Rivers and streams are expected to rise to near bank-full water levels, and localized flooding may occur.

No major flooding is anticipated.

The public and especially children are advised to stay away from all waterbodies as hazardous conditions exist around all waterbodies if a person falls into the extremely cold water.

The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority continues to monitor river and stream conditions and will issue additional messages as conditions warrant.

This Flood Outlook Statement will be in effect until 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 29.