Unemployment Budget starting December 3, 2017
The federal government has provided details of a number of measures they announced in the 2017 Budget relating to Employment Insurance (EI), including the new option for new parents to take 18 months of parental leave, rather than the current 12.
The changes will come into effect on December 3, 2017, and include:
• Caregivers who provide care to a critically ill or injured adult family member will have access to a new Family Caregiver benefit for adults of up to 15 weeks. This will help more Canadians provide care or support to an adult family member 18 years of age or older who is critically ill (i.e. whose life is at risk as a result of illness or injury and has experienced a significant change in their baseline state of health).
• Immediate and extended family members of children who are critically ill will, for the first time, have access to a new Family Caregiver benefit for children that was previously available only to parents. It will replace the Parents of Critically Ill Children benefit and continue to provide up to 35 weeks of benefits. Claimants can share these Family Caregiver benefits either concurrently or separately, and receive their benefits when most needed within a 52-week period.
• Both medical doctors and nurse practitioners will now be able to sign medical certificates for the existing and new family caregiving benefits, which will simplify the process.
• Parents will be able to choose the option that best meets their family’s needs: standard parental benefits (taken over 12 months at a rate of 55% of average weekly earnings) or extended parental benefits (taken over 18 months at a rate of 33% of average weekly earnings).
• Eligible pregnant workers will be able to receive EI maternity benefits earlier, up to 12 weeks (from the current 8 weeks) before their due date. This increased flexibility will allow pregnant workers to consider their personal, health, and workplace circumstances when choosing when to begin their maternity leave.
If you’d like more information on these changes, I’ve posted this article and a link to the backgrounder produced by Employment and Social Development Canada on my website, www.brucestantonmp.ca
Ward One Report
Councillor Katy Austin
Mayor French and I and the Elmvale BIA are still trying to deal with the potential closing of the TD Bank. We are reaching out to TD and to other financial institutions to work on possible solutions. In the meantime, residents may wish to sign the petition that the BIA is circulating by dropping in to G&S Computers.
Whitfield Crescent and Nash Avenue should be getting their final paving done next year. Heather Coleman, the Director of Public Works for the Township, explained that the original developer of the homes on Whitfield went bankrupt, so the empty lots on Nash and Patchell remained undeveloped for several years until a new builder was able to finish the development. The final paving on Whitfield had to wait until Nash was completed; it will be paid for by securities that the Township retained from the original developer.
The proposed development of townhouses on Train Avenue near Tim Horton’s now has a name: St. Andrew’s Village. A public meeting was held on November 20 to hear comments from residents and public agencies. The plan is now undergoing more fine tuning from the Township’s Planning Department.
At the November 15th Council meeting, Ron Belcourt, Director of Recreation, Parks and Properties, presented an information report on splash pads. Depending on the type of water use (Single-Use or Re-Circulating) the initial cost to build one varies between $200,000 and $500,000, and the annual operating costs would vary between $31,000 and $88,000. The cost of building a splash pad would come from Development Charges; the annual operating costs would come from taxation. During the Recreation Master Plan Update in 2015, one of the themes that emerged through the community survey and the public information open houses was the lack of facilities and quality of facilities, of which outdoor water play (Splash Pad) and aquatic facilities were among the most requested services. The summary of the report notes that splash pads are the largest growing recreational activity in North America; they bring vitality to their communities, increase community value, are safe and environmentally sustainable and represent a modest investment for high value. Splash pads are not being considered in the 2018 budget, nor in the six-year capital plan. Residents who have opinions regarding this subject are encouraged to write their Council members.
The Springwater policing committee is looking for new members. Please contact the Township if you are interested.
Kudos to the Elmvale and District Horticultural Society, who held their Annual General Meeting and potluck supper last week. They are a wonderful example of how volunteers can contribute to the betterment of our community.
The holiday season continues to offer a variety of community events in the near future:
• Seniors Rock 55+ making candy sleighs for the Food Bank, at the Elmvale Library Dec. 7, 2:30 to 4:00
• Santa Claus Parade December 3, 1 p.m.
• Christmas Candlelight Memorial Service, December 3, 7 p.m. St. John’s United Church
• Christmas in the Village Craft Show and Sale Dec. 2 and 3 at the Elmvale Community Hall
• Presbyterian Youth Chorus, “Candy Cane Lane” Dec. 9 &10 at 7 p.m.
• Lionesses Annual Sleigh Ride December 8, 6-9 p.m. Elmvale Community Hall
The comments made in this article are strictly my own. I do not speak on behalf of Council.
Province Raising Minimum Wage,
Providing Equal Pay for Part-Time and Full-Time Workers, Paid Sick Days, and Expanded Paid Leave
Today, Ontario passed landmark legislation that will bring more fairness to Ontario workplaces and create more security and opportunity for vulnerable workers and their families.
The Act will raise the minimum wage, ensure more fairness for part-time and contract workers, expand personal emergency leave and step up enforcement of employment laws.
The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 will:
• Raise Ontario's general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation
• Mandate equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as employees at the agencies' client companies
• Expand personal emergency leave to 10 days per calendar year for all employees, with at least two paid days per year for employees who have been employed for at least a week
• Ban employers from requiring a doctor's sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave
• Provide up to 17 weeks off without the fear of losing their job when a worker or their child has experienced or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence, including paid leave for the first five days
• Bring Ontario's vacation time in line with the national average by ensuring at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer
• Make employee scheduling fairer, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time
The government is also expanding family leaves and adding measures to ensure that employees are not misclassified as independent contractors, ensuring they get the benefits and protections they deserve.
• To enforce these changes, the province is hiring up to 175 more employment standards officers and is launching a program to educate both employees and businesses about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes raising the minimum wage, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of Medicare in a generation.
• The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 responds to the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review. It was the first-ever independent review of both the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995.
• The report estimated that more than 30 per cent of Ontario workers were in precarious work in 2014. In 2016, the median hourly wage was $13.00 for part-time workers and $24.73 for full-time workers. Over the past 30 years, part-time work has grown to represent nearly 20 per cent of total employment.
• Studies show that a higher minimum wage results in less employee turnover, which increases business productivity.
Alex Nuttall MP Barrie Springwater Oro-Medonte
Living Lake Simcoe
On the 10 year anniversary of the Federal Conservative Government commencing their investment of $60 million dollars into Lake Simcoe, the Federal Liberal Government is killing it. The goals of the funding were to reduce phosphates leeching into the lake by stopping them upstream or at their source, rehabilitate creek beds and banks, and restore culverts or creeks that had disappeared completely. This funding was in response to a lake that was dying, with reduced fish population and species and increasing phosphorus levels.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to have money for everything; spending here, there and everywhere. Wait, scratch that. He’s not spending here. He’s not protecting the ecosystem of this Canadian Lake that supports Canadian tourism and Canadian jobs, in a Canadian Province.
It was the Ladies of the Lake, the many hunter and angler associations, the conservation authorities, the service clubs and public groups that were able to gain the attention of the Conservative Government, who responded with both funding and action.
The environmental argument for investing in the health of Lake Simcoe is strong, considering its connection to the Great Lakes and its proximity to major residential growth, mandated by the Liberal Places to Grow Plan. Lake Simcoe is not just an environmental gem for the communities that surround it, but also the driver for a great quality of life, strength in our real estate market, and economic growth. Secondary water and hydro supply are the main reasons that IBM, BMO and TD Data centres chose Barrie as their home. Having artesian well source water alongside Lake Simcoe is a competitive advantage for our communities in every way.
This is why the Conservative Federal Government’s continual investment in Lake Simcoe was not just an environmental one, but one that invested in our jobs, quality of life, and lifestyle. Our community relies on the health of Lake Simcoe, and on a clean environment, more than we realize. This begs the question, why would Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party kill the funding for Lake Simcoe, thereby hurting the future of our community, our environment, and our economy.
While development continues around Lake Simcoe’s shores, tourism and development continues to increase exponentially throughout the watershed. It is of the utmost importance that this funding continues, and that Justin Trudeau puts Lake Simcoe first.
I cannot begin to outline the hypocrisy of this Prime Minister on environmental issues over the last two years, but cancelling funding for Lake Simcoe is definitely one great example of it.
The Mayor’s View By Bill French
Update on TD Elmvale Branch Closure
I have had further discussions with the district VP for TD and the outcome is by no means reassuring. I have been told by some high level executives in banking, that the decision is made far up the chain of command and it is simply a bottom line decision to squeeze a few more pennies to the bottom line. I guess record profits and share values are not enough anymore. Since banks in Canada have been virtually given a monopoly or at least an oligopoly (few players), they have lost sight of their social responsibility and the severe negative impacts on a community when they close a branch. They try to make up for it by their involvement in local charities and events to suggest they are good corporate citizens. We thank them for those contributions, but doing so they should ensure they put their customers ahead of these altruistic efforts. They seem to forget without those customers they would not have the ability to undertake those good corporate initiatives. There is a policy under the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada which governs the actions of banks like TD. It states “The Commissioner will hold a meeting about the proposed branch closure if the following conditions are met”. One condition states, “The federally regulated financial institution has failed to properly consult the community about the closure”. The answer I received from the TD VP suggests the meeting in January will fulfill that condition. My response was “that is not consulting, that is informing”. But since the major banks helped create the policy, I guess they get to interpret it also. I have spoken to MP Nuttall, since banks are federally regulated, and I suggest you contact his office and ask him to put pressure on federal officials. In the meantime I am reaching out to some smaller financial institutions and providing them demographic information on the Elmvale and Springwater catchment area and see what comes of it. We had a meeting last week with one such institution and met with them in Elmvale. I will keep you posted.
We had meetings this week on Monday and Wednesday and these meetings are open to the public. I encourage you to review the budget report that is on the Township website and come to the budget meetings to hear the discussion of Council and see for yourself the various Councillors positions on some items that may have an impact on the tax rate increase. As mentioned in my last column the Draft 2018 Tax Based Operating Budget proposes a 3.1% or $337,223 net tax levy increase over 2017 for the Township’s portion. This includes a 1% contribution towards Capital Infrastructure; however excludes any program changes. Since the County of Simcoe approved its 2018 Budget with an increase of 1.04% and if we continue to assume that the Provincial Government remains neutral on the education tax rate, then the blended tax increase (including the Policing Charge) is estimated to be 1.85%. For an average home assessed at $422,584, this translates into about $68 property tax increase over 2017 levels or approximately $5.70 per month. The proposed budget aims to maintain – and in certain key areas, improve – service levels to Springwater residents; and invest in key infrastructure projects while being fiscally responsible. I have received a few letters asking that the Splash Pad in Elmvale be approved as these are well used facilities in some neighbouring municipalities. I had a few people mention the need in the last election and a delegation was brought to Council in the last term asking for the Splash Pad. I am generally in favour of keeping recreation local but some point out Elmvale is close to Wasaga Beach and Orr Lake so is it really needed? The capital costs would come from DC charges but the operation of a Splash Pad adds about .5% to everyone’s tax bill. More input on this would be appreciated so Council can make a good decision. The same goes for Library services. Should we do more or is the service we provide appropriate, since so many resources are available on line. We need your input on all of these things. The budget tabled is a good starting point but I for one am still looking for some more savings, if at all possible, to push our portion of the tax increases closer to 2% which is more reflective of what I consider tight fiscal control. Some things are beyond our control like hydro and gas prices which cost all of us more money to run the day to day operations. We are continually challenged as the Province in recent years has downloaded or mandated certain policies and procedures to municipalities but fail to provide any funding for those new initiatives. The legalization of the recreational use of marijuana for one will have an impact on our policing costs as an example but no new funding is provided. More budget sessions will be held on Dec 4 and 6 next week, so please participate and provide comments to your local Councillor.
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
We had a great turnout last week for our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. It was our way, on behalf of Council, senior management and all residents in Springwater to say thank you to those that do so many things to make Springwater that special place to live, work and play. A special thank you goes to the organizers, Rick Groves for his musical entertainment and Snow Valley for such a relaxing and pleasant evening.
Business Ownership Change
Deputy Mayor Allen, Councillor Austin and I had the opportunity to attend the change of ownership and ribbon cutting of Elmvale’s well know Steelers Restaurant and present a congratulatory certificate. Congratulations to Sue and Jay and their staff and may they continue the great tradition of servicing the many local residents and visitors that pass through each year. I encourage all of our residents to take the time to visit all of the dining businesses we have in both the Elmvale and Midhurst areas.
Christmas and Holiday Season Events
The Christmas and holiday festive season is upon us. There are many events coming forward and I will list the ones that have been confirmed and I suggest you put them in the calendar as they are all well done.
Christmas Tree Lighting Events will take place in Elmvale Dec 1, Hillsdale Dec 2, Anten Mills Dec 9.
Santa Claus Parades will be held in Elmvale Dec 3 and Anten Mills Dec 10.
Phelpston and Elmvale will both feature Sleigh/Wagon Rides and treats on Dec 8th.
These events are fantastic and there is something for the whole family.
Reminder-Recruiting Volunteer Firefighters
If you are thinking of a long term career either in fire or emergency services, becoming a volunteer is a great introduction to these careers. Many on our force also join simply to help protect their community as they already have productive careers. We employ over 90 volunteers and they work from 4 stations. The members frequently give up their weekends to perform the tasks but also assist in community fire safety training and education along with raising funds for worthwhile causes. The Volunteers do receive an honorarium for their services based on the hours they spend on duty or in training. For more details go to www.springwater.ca/careers . Without our volunteers, the Township would be hard pressed to provide the quality of protection that we currently enjoy. Thank you to our dedicated team.
Mayors Open Visiting Hours
If you would like to meet with me on any matter you can always arrange an appointment or if in the neighbourhood of the Administrative Centre you can drop by any Thursday afternoons from 1 to 4:00 p.m. and no appointment is required. I invite you to bring your complaints, concerns or even appreciation for what is happening in Springwater. I have had numerous people come by and in some cases we have resolved some simple issues. If nothing else I promise that you will be heard. The door is open. If you can’t make it and want to keep up to date, you can listen to my thoughts on matters of interest on our local Kool FM or Rock 95 or go to their website as they have a feature with a monthly interview with me hosted by Dan Blakely.
Keep informed and involved with Springwater by checking out our website www.springwwater.ca and especially our calendar of meetings. Tune into our live streaming of the Council Meetings at www.springwater.ca/live . Stay close to the action and read this excellent local paper, the Springwater News, and check out our regular Springwater Link and Council Corner columns. Be part of the solution and have your say.
A reminder these articles are my thoughts and perspectives on issues and I am but one voice on Council. These opinions may not reflect the position of other Councillors.
Council approves 2018 County of Simcoe Budget
County Council’s direction continues positive financial position going forward
Midhurst / November 28, 2017 – Simcoe County Council today approved a $510 million budget for 2018, which focuses on the resources necessary to maintain existing services and service levels, while continuing to invest in roads, economic development, Solid Waste Management, and Social Housing.
The 2018 budget also ensures the County continues along a path of long-term fiscal stability, and contains items that address areas of growth, as well as initiatives directed by Council to enhance service levels, increase efficiencies, and prepare for the future.
“Meeting the varied needs of our residents while remaining fiscally responsible and accountable is the top priority for our Council,” said Warden Gerry Marshall. “The 2018 budget allows us to build upon our investment in social and community services, health services, and economic development, all the while improving on the many vital partnerships we share with municipal and community stakeholders.”
Residents will see an overall 1 per cent increase on the County portion of their municipal property taxes in 2018, an impact of approximately $3.06 per $100,000 of property assessment.
2018 Budget Highlights include:
Total County Expenditures for 218: $510 million:
Ontario Works $71 million
Long Term Care and Seniors Services $57 million
Transportation and Engineering $74 million
Solid Waste Management $43 million
Social Housing $83 million
Paramedic Services $54 million
Children and Community Services $53 million
The County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at simcoe.ca.
Bruce Stanton MP North Simcoe
The Trudeau government recently announced a National Housing Strategy to address the shortage in affordable housing in Canada. The plan calls for $40 billion in spending over the next ten years, some of which is expected to come from the private sector, and also includes contributions from the provincial and territorial governments.
The plan is expected to deliver the following results:
• Building 100,000 new affordable housing units.
• Repairing 300,000 affordable housing units.
• Cutting chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.
• Protecting 385,000 households from losing an affordable home.
• Providing 300,000 households with financial assistance through the Canada Housing Benefit.
• Removing 530,000 households from housing need.
One of the centerpieces of the plan is the Canada Housing Benefit, which will provide an average rent subsidy of $2,500 /year to families spending more than 30% of their after-tax income on housing. It will run from April 2020 to 2028 and cost $4 billion, half of which is expected to come from the provinces. If a province or territory does not sign up, the Benefit will not be available in that region.
A second key component is the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, which will offer $4.7 billion in financial contributions and $11.2 billion in low-interest loans to developers that meet the following conditions:
o 30 per cent of units in a development will rent for less than 80 per cent of median market rents for at least 20 years.
o At least a 25 per cent reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over national building and energy codes.
o 20 per cent of units meet accessibility standards.
The National Housing Co-Investment Fund will, the government says, help build 60,000 of the promised 100,000 new affordable housing units, repair 240,000 of the 300,000 units in need of renovations, create 7,000 shelter places, 12,000 new affordable units for seniors and another 2,400 affordable units for people with developmental disabilities. Some of this funding (unspecified amount) will also go towards repairing existing social/affordable housing.
The plan also includes $4.8 billion to renew expiring social housing agreements ($8.6 billion when provincial contributions taken into account), and $2.2 billion to expand and extend the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, which had been due to end in 2018-19
I’ve posted a backgrounder from Employment and Social Development Canada on the National Housing Strategy on my website (www.brucestantonmp.ca) if you would like more information. Of course, if you have any questions, please let me know.
Deputy Don’s Update - by Don Allen
ERRC and FIRE
The proposed Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC) facility that the County of Simcoe is considering constructing in the County forest at 2976 Horseshoe Valley Rd. W. in Springwater raises many concerns. Ones major concern involves the potential of fire breaking out in the material management facility and/or the organics processing facility and spreading into the surrounding forest.
A US report states that, for the 12 months ended June 2017, there were 268 reported fires at recycling facilities in North America, with many more suspected of being unreported. Recent examples in Ontario include: On May 25, 2017, there was a six-alarm fire at the Cherry Street recycling plant in Toronto, with damages estimated at $20 million. More than 500 firefighters fought the fire for over three days. The Courtice Waste Management Transfer Facility (Baseline Rd. just north of Hwy 401) fire on August 29, 2017 burned for more than 20 hours. A challenge for firefighters was the lack of hydrants. Tanker trucks shuttled water from a distant facility and returned to the site to fill large holding tanks. The Earl Turcott Waste Management Facility in Markham had a massive fire on September 20, 2017. The Guelph recycling facility had a five-alarm fire on July 5, 2016. The industry is vulnerable to fires simply because of the nature of the materials handled. I asked our Fire Chief to advise me on his concerns and recommendations and he reached out to obtain information from the Fire Chiefs and staff from 3 of the larger fire departments who had recent fires at similar facilities in their municipalities. It is evident that there are trends and lessons learned that must be considered when planning facilities such as these. Some of these are as follows:
1. Firstly, none of these facilities are contained within a forest. Rather, they are located primarily in industrial areas with a water main and a good hydrant system and good transportation routes around them. Fires will happen at some point. It seems illogical to have the facility in the middle of a forest, an area which promotes fire spreading.
2. When recycling became more widespread around 20 years ago, the Ministry of Environment imposed relaxed tonnage requirements for facilities such as these and this situation continues to the present. There is often far more fire load allowed than fire prevention officers are comfortable with, resulting in an overwhelming situation.
3. The facility and other buildings in the immediate vicinity should be non-combustible and must be built in accordance with the Ontario Building Code and the specific requirements of the Authority Having Jurisdiction, which in this case is the Township of Springwater.
4. If the building is constructed on the proposed Horseshoe Valley Rd W site, a sufficiently wide clear space should be maintained between the buildings, outdoor piles of material and the forested lands. Good access to all areas should be maintained. Fires in these facilities produce intense heat and smoke and they need to be dealt with by removing the burning/smoldering materials out of the building to the outside, breaking them down and ensuring that the fire in the material is fully extinguished. This requires concrete surface areas outside the building at least as large as the building internal area plus special separation to segregate burning material. Heavy equipment and operators are needed onsite to remove burning or smouldering material when necessary.
5. The slash on the ground in the surrounding forest should ideally be removed and kept clear to reduce the speed of the spread of any potential fire in the forest floor.
6. It is the view of many that the surrounding road system needs to be improved to ensure access and safe escape routes in the event of fire, including Rainbow Valley Rd. E., Baseline Rd. to Flos Rd. 4 E. and Matheson Rd. The risk of fire in a forest may arise from a structure or other fire at any of the surrounding residences, or from broken glass or a carelessly discarded smoking material. The building of the ERRC increases the potential of fire breaking out. Homeowners and business need to be educated to maintain defensible space between their residence or business and the forest by reducing long ground cover, limbing trees and removing or moving man made “fuel” piles/storage and accessory buildings.
7. Facility operators cannot control contamination - they can’t prevent someone from improperly disposing of other items with the recycling material. Incompatible waste mixing can cause spontaneous combustion – for example, it is possible that lithium batteries improperly mixed with other materials can start fires. Fires can also start from self-heating in waste. Large stockpiles of waste materials contribute to the intensity of the blaze once it starts.
8. Sprinklers are not typically required in the recycling plant by code, but they should be required in this proposed facility. These should be integrated into a fire alarm system, triggering an alarm at a remote monitoring facility as soon as the sprinklers were activated.
9. Water supply for a prolonged fire suppression effort needs to be sufficient, preferably from an industrial water main and hydrant system. This system is not available at the proposed Horseshoe Valley Rd W. site, as it is not an industrial park which is where many similar facilities are usually constructed. In the absence of an industrial sized water distribution system, water for a sprinkler system and for fire suppression should come from an on-site water storage facility (100,000 gallons or more) which needs to be sufficient to sustain a prolonged operation of both ground level and aerial master stream fire attack plus an ongoing sprinkler activation. This would need to be in the form of a water tank, or cistern or pond which would not freeze. It should be noted that much of the water used to fight the May Toronto fire was supplied by a fireboat just offshore from Lake Ontario.
10. With the location of the Springwater fire stations to the proposed site, it is estimated that it could take 15 to 30 minutes from the time of the alarm to get firefighters and equipment on site and working. It is estimated that from the Springwater volunteer firefighter contingent, there might be up to 25 firefighters who could respond to a fire in this location. Paper and fibre and plastics burn hard and fast. The intensity of a fire increases, as a rule of thumb, on average 100% every minute.
11. One or more aerial fire apparatus, equipped with an aerial master stream, is essential to operations in a defensive attack at a major fire, to gain situational awareness and/or to gain roof access for ventilation or rescue. This resource must arrive on site quickly upon a fire event and cannot be delayed by travelling long distances. Water supply needs to keep up with both aerial master stream operations and hand lines, requiring a fire flow well in excess of 1,750 Imperial gallons a minute. The Township does not at present have an aerial fire apparatus. The cost of each of these is currently $1,250,000 in today’s dollars and may reach $1,750,000 at the time of proposed building of the ERRC.
12. The Township of Springwater’s tanker shuttle rating could not currently provide sufficient water supply for a major fire in this type of facility.
13. A Mandatory Fire Prevention Plan will need to be instituted and monitored, including:
• Limits on storage of materials outside and stockpile limits;
• Springwater Fire Department (SWFD) being engaged in pre-planning of the facility design and construction and with facility familiarization on a regular basis with the operator. They should proactively educate facility staff and management on how to reduce the risk of fire and how to extinguish fires in their incipient stage and how to react to a fire situation;
• Fire inspections not less than an twice yearly by the SWFD;
• Notification to SWFD of ALL fires that occur at the facility.
Given all of these factors and risks, it does not make sense to locate these facilities in a forest. We are potentially exposing Springwater and Simcoe to significant risk to life and property. We need to re-evaluate a better location for this project, as we are accountable for doing this right.
These are my thoughts and interpretations of these topics and not necessarily those of Council or the Fire Chief.
Patrick Brown MPP North Simcoe
Lowering Taxes for the Middle Class
Patrick Brown and the Ontario PCs will lower the tax burden for families earning under $100,000 by at least 25%
OTTAWA – Today Patrick Brown, Ontario PC Leader, laid out his plan to lower taxes for the middle class by cutting middle and lower income tax rates and increasing the Ontario Sales Tax Credit.
“Families in every corner of the province are struggling to make ends meet. They need a break,” said Brown. “Ontario will cut taxes for middle class families to make life more affordable.”
Ontario has lost its traditional above-average income status in Canada. In the 1990s, Ontario’s average income was 10% above the national average but, in 2012, incomes in Ontario fell below the national average for the first time ever.
Ontario families are working harder, paying more, and getting less. That’s why the government needs to do more to alleviate the tax burden on the middle class.
Over the course of the mandate, Patrick Brown and the Ontario PCs will cut personal income taxes for the middle-class tax bracket – on income between about $45,000 and $80,000 – by 22.5%.
In addition, Patrick Brown and the Ontario PCs will cut personal income taxes for the first income tax bracket – on income between $0 and about $45,000 – by 10%. Finally, they will increase the Ontario Sales Tax Credit by $100 per adult and $100 per child in order to provide relief to Ontario’s low-income residents.
“Households earning $100,000 or less will see at least a 25% tax reduction,” Brown said. “Families earning between $100,000 and $200,000 will see on average a 20% reduction in their tax owing, while families with incomes above $200,000 will see on average a 7% reduction in tax owing.”
Cutting middle class taxes by 22.5% is one of five key measures included in the Ontario PC Party’s plan to get Ontario back on track, called the People’s Guarantee. Additional measures in the People’s Guarantee include:
• 75% refund for child care expenses
• 12% more off your hydro bill
• The largest mental health commitment in Canadian provincial history
• The first-ever Trust, Integrity and Accountability Act
NOVEMBER WARD FIVE COUNCILLOR REPORT
By the time you get to read this you will be thinking of Christmas, shopping, families, parties, travelling, and all the positive things we enjoy during the festive season. However, we still need to attend to the business of the Township. Others will write of all the positives, special events, and things that will get sugar plums dancing in your head. I do not want to waste your time repeating those great things. You also need to know the rest of the story. If not me, who?
2018 BUDGET: The draft budget has been prepared by staff and can be found at www.springwater.ca Municipal Services/Finance & Taxes/2018 Budget. Council debates are scheduled for Mon Nov 27, 08:30, Wed Nov 29, 08:30, Mon Dec 4, 18:30 and Wed December 6, 15:30. These meetings are open to the public and will be live broadcasted at http://www.springwater.ca/live As always, I will do my best to protect taxpayer’s interest’s and advance your concerns. As your representative my decisions will reflect public input (when reasonable) be supported by facts and never for self-interest. Those with personal agendas that are arguing for expenditures at the expense of others are being encouraged by some to attend and pressure Council decisions. The silent majority also need to advance their views. A major business owner stated that a company cannot be successful and continue to exist by simply throwing money at problems to satisfy a few at the expense of others and investors. He has obviously never worked in government where financial expenditures are made to pacify special interest groups and seek support for reelection.
SINGING IN THE CHIPMUNK CHOIR: A nice thing happened a few weeks ago. Dave C. Shepherd, author of the novel, “Singing in the Chipmunk Choir” presented me with an autographed copy just before our Council meeting. The book is about Midhurst and the Tewateno Girl Guides Camp. This was an informative read and an enjoyable break from all the compulsory reading required on Council. Copies available at https://www.bookdepository.com/Singing-Chipmunk-ChoirDc-Shepherd An enjoyable stocking stuffer.
REMEMBRANCE DAY CELEBRATIONS: Great attendance on November 11th at the Springwater Provincial Park. Approximately 200 adults and a few children attended. Given that it was a Saturday, it was disappointing that only a couple students attend to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thanks to the organizers, Emergency Services, Park Staff and First Nations for their participation. Thank you to Midhurst’s Circle K for donating the hot coffee.
VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION: A special event to honor Springwater’s dedicated volunteers was held at Snow Valley resort. The event was funded with proceeds from the Township’s annual golf tournament. It was a pleasure to pay tribute to our volunteers, see old friends and interact with a few great staff in a social setting.
SPRINGWATER FIRE SERVICE: Our Fire Service needs volunteers. If you wish to join this elite group of dedicated volunteers go to www.springwater.ca/careers The Fire Service tradition of transporting Santa throughout the Township will be confirmed closer to Christmas Eve.
IMPORTANT DATES: Regular Council Meetings: Wednesdays, Dec 6th and 20th at 6:30 pm. There are always several other special and closed session meetings. For other committee meeting times and dates go to: www.springwater.ca Meetings are held at the Township Administration Centre. You can view the live broadcast feed of Council meetings at http://www.springwater.ca/live .
Please pass this on. My news articles and emails are part of my commitment to keeping taxpayers informed in a truthful, accurate and timely manner. I do not speak for the rest of Council.
Wishing you and yours a safe, happy and healthy CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR.
Jack Hanna Ward 5 Councillor
Dick’s Tiny Corner
by Dick Wesselo.
Former London, Toronto and York Regional Police Chief Julian Fantino who moved on to serve one term as the MP representing the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge, is now the executive chair of the marijuana company Aleafia, while ex-RCMP deputy commissioner Raf Souccar, is the company's President and CEO.
How these two retired senior Police Officers have openly adopted the legalization of marijuana through this commercial enterprise puzzles the mind. I have difficulty getting my head around the fact how in all good conscience, one can go from looking at the product as illegal to commercially promoting the stuff.
Those of us who were around in the 60's and 70's witnessed some of our friends and family members getting 'spaced-out' or becoming 'dope-heads'. We also noted that some of them stayed that way for a long time. Some have stayed that way forever. Police Officers at all levels have had to deal with many of them during some event in some capacity.
The current legalization process is expected to increase the amount of marijuana smoked as well as increase the social issues surrounding the use of the product.
Healthcare costs associated with smoke are already sky-high and are going higher. Tay Township Mayor Scott Warnock (in his capacity as the Chair of the Board of Health of the Simcoe/Muskoka District Health Unit) wrote in a recent letter to Dr. Eric Hoskins (the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care), that the Province “proceed with developing a renewed Smoke-Free Ontario strategy committing to the end-game target with a smoking prevalence of less than 5% by 2035, by employing the bold strategies recommended in the Smoke Free Ontario Modernization report. Ontario's success in alleviating this tobacco epidemic requires strong leadership and action by your Ministry to strengthen and create legislation and supports that will diminish addiction to products that are the single greatest threat to the health of Ontarians.” On the one hand does the Province try to get people to stop smoking while on the other hand, Government encourages a consumption process through the legalization of marijuana. At the same time, the Minister of Finance for Ontario proposes in a letter to Ontario’s Mayors dated October 27, 2017 that “a safe and sensible framework to govern the lawful use and retail distribution of non-medical cannabis as a carefully controlled substance within the province of Ontario” is being built. As part of this framework, the Government is proposing to retail cannabis through a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCB0). “This approach would meet the standards of control and social responsibility that Ontarians expect, while responding to consumer demand and displacing the illegal market” the Minister writes. My guess is that some serious cannabis was smoked in Ottawa and Queens Park. Nothing about this endeavor makes sense to me at this time. Is the Government two-faced about the issue? Enough horror stories are coming out of Colorado, Washington State and other jurisdictions where the product was recently legalized. Maybe it will all become clear to me when I start using pot… NOT!
The November 13th Committee of the Whole Meeting (CoW) discussed BABB’s 2018 Summer Events Schedule. The Association received approval to advertise the 2018 “Busk until Dusk” events in the Heart of Georgian Bay publication and the CoW further recommended that the complete 2018 Summer Schedule for Balm Beach events be discussed at a future meeting pending additional community consultation.
A presentation about the expansion of the Greenbelt in the County of Simcoe was also discussed. The Committee recommended that Staff be directed to attend the workshop hosted by the Simcoe County Green Belt Coalition scheduled for last Monday, November 27, 2017. A report about this workshop is expected at a future CoW meeting.
The installation of a four-way stop sign at Albert Avenue and Winterset Avenue in Balm Beach was approved. Traffic has increased in that area because of the neighborhood dog park and road improvements have caused increases in speeding.
A number of Public Works projects have reportedly come in under budget. These savings allowed Council to transfer the remaining Capital Budget allocations for these projects to the Tiny Beaches Road North Slope Stabilization project (just south of Concession 14W) without this having an effect on the overall 2017 Budget. Tiny needs more good news like that!
“Share the Road / multi-road use” signage will be installed on Champlain Road between the Penetanguishene Town Line and Kettles Beach. Council has received a number of presentations and reports that expressed safety concerns primarily for walkers and bicycle riders.
A discussion about the recommendations contained in the Draft Fire Master Plan was deferred. Some items will be dealt with within the 2018 Budget and it was agreed that the remainder should be held in abeyance until the new Director of Emergency Services/Fire Chief was hired.
Changes to the on-call provisions within Ontario’s Employment Standards Act will result in exorbitant cost increases to small Rural Municipalities. Tiny could be looking at a cost of close to a million dollars to maintain volunteer fire prevention services and its on-call system for snow plowing and road maintenance requirements. On behalf of the Rural Municipalities, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) has submitted a position paper to the Ontario government that specifically requested the exemption of all Bill148 requirements for municipal employees who are required to be on-call to provide statutorily mandated public safety services. The document also requests that the Province conducts a full economic impact study of Bill 148 to determine the full effect of the Bill on businesses and municipalities across Ontario.
The dumping of Septage on Tiny’s fields reared its ugly head again. As the issue hasn’t been on the table for a while, the CoW recommended that Tiny’s staff prepare an update.
The Surf Restaurant sale was the subject of yet another closed session meeting. The due date for the resolution of the conditions is coming near!
A correction regarding the last column. I wrote that “Education and Training Purposes” is NOT a valid reason to go into “Closed Session” for under Section 239 of the Municipal Act. Way past the “Exceptions” it does indeed state that the item is covered. My apologies for the error.
While on the subject of “Closed Sessions” Clerk's Report CR-054-17 (to be discussed on November 27 and dealing with Procedural Changes) provides for a significant expansion of the reasons a Municipality can enter into a “Closed Meeting”. Most of them make sense, if sensibly applied. I have concern about one though:
“• a position, plan, procedure, criteria or instruction to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the municipality or local board.”
It’s the generality of this last “catch-all” provision that I am most concerned about as this potentially could encompass just about every aspect of a Municipality’s business.
Tiny’s first 2018 Budget meeting took place on November 20th. Many of the numbers presented will be changed before the budget is finalized as operational activities and capital project spending are ongoing. Also, neither the County’s nor the Province’s 2018 taxation rates are available at this time and the amounts of the “Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund” (OMPF) and the “Northern & Rural Fiscal Circumstances Grant” have yet to be released. Neither has the formal 2018 Assessment Role been received although an estimated growth of 3% was estimated for discussion purposes. This brings the value of Tiny’s real estate to $3,757billion!
Total Township spending will increase significantly. The total discretionary cost impact could, if nothing else changes, equate to a tax rate change of around 8.5%. Adding the “non-discretionary” costs could bring this number near 10.5%. Clearly not an acceptable number. A Municipal tax hike of around 2% was in principal agreed upon by Council. Even this number may be a surprise to some as 2018 is after all an election year. Council however does not have a lot of choice. There are many competing demands for the funding of projects in Tiny. Many commitments have been made to residents. The wear and tear on Tiny’s infrastructure is showing in many places and steps must be taken to mitigate the risks this deterioration poses. The ever-increasing costs of equipment for Public Works, the Roads and Fire Departments must be funded somehow. Also, the Treasurer is trying to put money aside for future expenditures which, in the absence of a crystal ball, is not easy. As an example, the expected 2018 Municipal election costs may almost be double the cost that was incurred during 2014. 16k has faithfully been put aside during the last 4 years in the hope that 2018’s costs would be covered. No such luck. Going forward, the annual reserve allocation will increase from 16k to 27k annually in the hope that the costs in 2022 will have levelled off somewhat. Inflation, increases in printing and mailing costs make up the lion’s share of the increase.
The gross cost of salaries and wages for the 2018 draft budget is $345.9k (about 6.35%) higher than the 2017 Budget. The proposed 2018 general wage adjustment is +1.6% or $91.4k. This brings the total costs of wages for 2018 to $5,788.7k against $11,615.3k in expected revenues; more than 50%!
A few new positions have been created while some have been abandoned. Communications continue to be a challenge and a new “Communications & Committee Coordinator” role has been created. In summary, this individual will be “responsible for coordinating, maintaining, developing and implementing all aspects of corporate communications and is responsible for all aspects of advisory committee preparations including acting as the official recording secretary for the Advisory Committees of Council”. This position should reduce much of the overtime that is currently being paid to those Staff-members that currently do this work. 2018 will also be the year during which many of the currently outsourced Engineering requirements will be brought “in-house”. In doing so, many of the dependencies on the outside contract Engineers (Burnside) will be eliminated.
A number of jobs within the Public Works, Roads and Water Departments have been re-aligned already. Overall, these efforts look promising for the future.
As of November 1, 2017, Tiny’s Businesses and Residents were in arrears on their property taxes to the tune of $1,594,860. Apparently, this is a favorable number on a percentage basis when compared to other Municipalities. The largest single debtor remains the Villageois in LaFontaine. The amount owed by them covers around 3.5% of Tiny’s 2018 Budget! Something has to be done to resolve that issue.
The Building Department’s 2017 budget for permits issued was $450k and as of Nov 6, 2017 showed an actual sales value of $686.5k. The good news is that this strong trend is expected to continue through 2018.
As expected, Bylaw’s “pay parking” revenue dropped because of the now Township-wide Parking Strategy. The value of “parking permit fees” however is, YTD, about 14% higher than budgeted. During 2017, 1376 Parking Tickets were issued and just over $46k has been collected in fines ytd.
The most notable item in the Water Department Budget was the increase in the “Laboratory Fee” category. The cost for one Provincially Mandated test went from $48.00 to more than $300.00. I wonder if these tests are done by chance at a Provincially owned Laboratory?
The Capital portion of the Budget will be addressed on December 18, 2017.
Those who are interested in some fast, clean, yet very competitive hockey must keep the afternoon of December 12 open. The outdoor Port McNicoll Community rink will be the site of the "Catholic High Schools winter classic". The two combatants are St. Theresa's School from Midland and St. Joseph's School out of Barrie. St. Joe’s won the last game 3-0 and St. Theresa’s is looking to even the score. I’ve had the opportunity to watch both these teams play on a couple of occasions as of late and they are impressive! Dress warmly, bring the kids and come‘on down to the rink in Port McNicoll to cheer on St. T’s Thunder!. Take 8th Avenue off Talbot Street and you can’t miss Calvert Street. The game starts at 3PM.
Upcoming Local Events:
- 2017-2018 Senior Speaker series. FREE workshops scheduled between November 2017 and March 2018. Visit www.tiny.ca for dates and other details
- 8th Annual Wyevale Santa Claus Parade & Party – Saturday, December 2, 2017, 6-9pm, Wyevale United Church.
- Special Committee of the Whole Meetings for the 2018 Tiny Budget: December 18, 2017 and February 5, 2018.