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Barrie Central land for sale for $4.96M

If you seek to own a piece of local history, you can now buy Barrie Central Collegiate for a cool $4.9 million.

The school, which is closing in June, officially went on the market Thursday.

The – for Central and nearby Prince of Wales Public School, a heritage property. The properties total about 18,400 square metres.

“Over seven acres in the downtown is a great opportunity. That’s pretty hard to find these days,” said Sutton broker Shannon MacIntyre, an industrial commercial real-estate specialist leading the sale for the Simcoe County District School Board.

“I think that, by and large, is its unique feature.”

There will be no open houses for the buildings, rather all qualified buyers will get scheduled tours after school hours, she said.

Offers must be submitted by April 15 at 3 p.m., she added.

“We have to be sensitive that Central is still operating. We’re trying very hard to have some rules and regulations because there are quite a few students still there,” MacIntyre said.

The board is also allowing a month for potential buyers to put in offers so they have time to consider how the properties might fit into their plans, such as by checking zoning, land densities and project master plans, she said.

The school board had a third-party appraisal done on the properties before choosing a selling price, she said.

“It’s one of those sites that has lots of moving parts. It has two addresses. It’s right in the downtown. It’s very unique,” she said.

As of noon on Thursday, no one had made inquiries into the listing, she said, but several people in the community have shared their interest.

The board previously turned down a for a school for 800 students and a Georgian College entrepreneurship centre, a new YMCA, and housing, such as three high-rise towers and stacked townhouses.

Damian Spaulding, director of Spaulding School of Music in Barrie and Collingwood, wants to there.

He had estimated the listing price would be $6 million. When told it was millions less, he exclaimed, “That is so exciting! I can’t say how exciting that is.”

“We have all our ducks in a row,” he said, adding he believes his chances of having the winning offer are high.

Spaulding said he has music industry partners and investors on board to donate money for his project, which could also qualify for federal funding. He is lining up a series of concerts and fundraisers to help as well.

“This is astounding. With the amount of community support that’s been, it’s overwhelming,” he said.

He said he plans to organize a concert with a headlining act and have kids and local bands as the opening acts, as well as a sort of “giant Art Attack” by having hundreds of people draw with chalk all over the parking lot at 80 Bradford St.

LIVE: Marco Muzzo sentencing expected today

UPDATE: Marco Muzzo was to 10 years in prison and banned from driving for 12 years after his time in custody.

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Marco Muzzo is in court this morning awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to impaired driving causing death.

The collision killed Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, his brother Harrison, 5, their sister Milly, 2, and their grandfather, Gary Neville, 65.

The facts of the case involve Muzzo getting off a private jet in Toronto Sept. 27 after his bachelor party in Miami.

He then jumped in his Jeep Cherokee to drive home to King.

In the lead up to the crash, Muzzo was driving 85 km/h, slowed to 54 km/h and then 43 km/h, removed his foot from the brake and then T-boned the Neville-Lake’s Caravan 3.7 seconds after first applying the brakes, according to data recovered from the vehicle.

He slowed, but did not stop at the stop sign, even though conditions were ideal for visibility, according to witnesses.

After the crash, Muzzo’s vehicle then collided with a white Mercedes.

After the Neville-Lake vehicle ended up in a ditch, a number of witnesses said Muzzo wasn’t acting “normal”, suggesting his eyes were glossy and he was stumbling.

Police said Muzzo had urinated himself and couldn’t understand basic directions.

An initial breath test indicated he had 192 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. A second test showed 204 mg., which is nearly three times the legal limit.

By the time his breath sample was taken, all the children had died, the court heard.

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Quota Club of Barrie gives to Youth Haven

The Quota Club of Barrie recently presented a cheque for $3,000.00 to Nathan Sykes – the executive director of Youth Haven Barrie – which represented the proceeds of the annual New Year Eve’s Dance.  

The Quota Club mandate is hearing impaired and women and disadvantaged children so assisting with Youth Haven is a top priority.  

For further information about the Quota Club , call 705-728-6273.

CBC science expert coming to Midland

Bob McDonald, host of the popular CBC Radio series Quirks and Quarks, is coming to the Midland Cultural Centre March 22 to bring a message about environmental sustainability to north Simcoe.

McDonald, who was born in Orillia, is appearing as part of Sustainable Severn Sound’s Sustainability Speaker Series.

“I’ve known the Georgian Bay area since I was a kid,” he said. “Preserving it is something that’s important to me.”

McDonald said he wants to talk about water preservation and quality at his talk, which will also include taking audience questions on the environment and science.

“Every population centre in Canada has issues regarding quality or quantity of water,” he said. “And that’s stupid, because Canada has more water than any country on the planet.”

McDonald said part of his presentation will deal with water on a planetary as well as local scale.

“But it’s not a doom and gloom thing,” he said. “Water, if we leave it alone, can clean itself up.”

McDonald said Canada needs to reduce its water consumption in order to ensure that we have enough to meet our needs in the future.

“We consume something like 400 litres of water per person per day,” he said. “Little things like more efficient shower heads can make a lot of difference.”

McDonald has hosted Quirks and Quarks, CBC Radio’s flagship science program, since 1991. The program currently attracts 500,000 listeners per week.

The talk is being held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the MCC on March 22. Tickets are $20 and $10 for students if purchased in advance. At the door tickets will be $25.

More information can be found at

Springwater Township teen reported missing

(SPRINGWATER TOWNSHIP) – Members of the Huronia West Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say they have safely located Matthew Hilderbrand, 17, from Springwater.

The teen was last seen at approximately 8:30 a.m. Tuesday leaving his school on County Road #22 (Horseshoe Valley Road).

He has since been located, OPP say.

Burger stand a historic site: Orillia Coun.

The removal of a well-known willow tree next to an iconic Orillia restaurant has prompted a call for a plaque recognizing the history of both.

“Unfortunately, I don’t believe that the willow is coming back,” said Coun. Jeff Clark. “Perhaps this is, in fact, a great place to start commemorating the waterfront.”

Located adjacent to the red-and-yellow clapboard restaurant known as French’s Stand, the tree in question was recently felled at the recommendation of a city arborist.

“The willow had lots of lean and rot on the main stem and was close to charged wires,” said Clark.

A nearby maple tree was also removed.

“Unfortunately, both the owner of French’s Stand and members of the heritage committee didn’t know that the willow was coming down beforehand,” Clark said.

The city’s heritage committee had hoped to see the tree given a heritage designation along with the restaurant.  

Clark is urging council to consider erecting a plaque or storyboard detailing the history of the long-running restaurant and the now-absent tree.

“There was some disappointment that the willow was taken down without any chance for consideration by the members of the committee or both the owners of French’s stand,” he said.

Coun. Ted Emond suggested a history of the area should be broadened to include other aspects of the local waterfront lore, including the former Hunter boat works that once thrived along the shoreline.

“The concept of putting together a visual and word story of that history would, I think, be something that would be significant both to those in our community and those visiting our community,” he said.

Staff will report on the request for a storyboard or plaque outlining the history of the concession stand, changes to the waterfront over time and local lore about the willow tree.

New Orillia high school opens

More than 1,000 students and staff trekked to the newly opened Orillia Secondary School on Collegiate Drive today, after embarking en masse from their former school on Borland Street at about 10 a.m. The group was accompanied by a police escort and the school band, which belted out ‘Louie, Louie’ and other classics while seated on a flatbed truck.

Spread over 150,000 square feet, the two-and-a-half storey building features an expansive front entrance, a health sciences facility, mini-theatre and cafetorium, both with a central stage, a triple gymnasium, specialized music, drama and dance rooms, and a learning commons. Environmentally friendly features include LED lighting and reflective roofing material to reduce the ‘heat island’ effect. Costing $28.6 million, the school will accommodate 1,110 students.