Political Opinions

Doug Downey MPP Barrie Springwater Oro-Medonte

As the summer begins to draw to a close, parents and teachers alike are looking towards the next school year and the changes that we can expect to see within the classroom. Discussions have already begun with schoolboards about the changes necessary to keep students and teachers safe during the first month of their return to class, and as more information becomes available, a clearer picture of what September may look like begins to form.

Throughout all the changes that our classrooms may face, one fact remains clear; the government of Ontario is dedicated to supporting students across the province, and right here in Simcoe County, through funding increases to important programs that improve student life. These programs include mental health and well-being funding, STEM education, financial literacy, language and Indigenous education as well as additional supports for Special Needs and Autistic students.

Overall, the government of Ontario is providing $25.5B to school boards in Grants for Student Needs funding – an increase of $736M over last year – and $300M through the Priorities and Partnerships Program. This also includes an increase of $250 per student, taking the total of per-pupil funding to $12,252.

In Simcoe County, our school boards can also expect a massive funding boost. The Simcoe County DSB will receive an increase of over $17.8M to a total of $618M, while the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic DSB can expect an increase of over $5.1M to over $256M. This funding will help students get the crucial support they need to ensure their continued educational success.

Over the past two years, Ontario has provided school boards with an increase in funding annually, to support the programs that best benefit students. These programs include increasing of over $1.9M for a total of $79M this year for Simcoe County DSB and and increase of nearly $500k to a total of $33M to the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic DSB fr Special Needs Education and Autism supports. This funding goes directly to hiring Educational Assistants, as well as procuring special equipment and any additional supports that these students may need.

Ontario has also continued to support our students through the Mental Health and Well-Being Grant with a funding increase of $1.6M to the Simcoe County DSB, and $800K to the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic DSB. This funding aligns with the promise of the government to reduce wait times for students accessing mental health services by funding frontline mental health workers in secondary schools and supporting the continued well-being and learning of students who would otherwise be suspended or expelled.

This highlights a small portion of the increased funding available to both the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic DSB and the Simcoe County DSB. Additionally, the government has created an increase in funding to restore and renovate our schools through the Priorities and Partnerships Program, as well effecting changes in the curriculum, such math literacy, in order to give our students the skills they need to succeed in the future.

As always, I hope you are staying safe during this time. If you have any provincially related issues, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 705-726-5538 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Environment minister to let municipalities dump raw sewage into waterways until 2040

Since 2013, over 900 billion litres of raw sewage has been dumped into Canadian waterways.

The Trudeau government has given municipalities a free pass to dump raw sewage into waterways for the next 20 years.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson gave notice that his department will be amending the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations, giving municipalities until 2040 to meet current sewage-treatment standards.

“Transitional authorizations allow communities more time to plan and finance upgrades to wastewater treatment plants, recognizing that constructing and upgrading the systems take significant time to plan and finance,” Environment Canada wrote.

“The duration of a transitional authorization is to the end of 2020, 2030 or 2040 based on the level of risk associated with a wastewater system.”

The current sewage regulations have been in place for the past eight years.

In 2012, the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations were introduced to ensure that sewage plants dispose of wastewater and sewage safely.

The regulations determine limits to how many toxic chemicals can be released into the water and requires testing to ensure aquatic life is not being harmed.

The amount of raw sewage dumped into Canadian waterways has been gradually increasing in recent years, with over 900 billion litres going into lakes, rivers and streams since 2013.

The true amount of wastewater dumped is not clear as Environment Canada does not require municipalities to report how much they dump into waterways. In December, Wilkinson had promised to increase efforts to protect Canada’s water systems, announcing the creation of a Canada Water Agency to “find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean and well-managed.”

In the 2019 federal election both the Conservatives and Greens campaigned on ending the practice of dumping untreated sewage. Both parties have been critical of the Liberals for allowing the practice to continue without intervening.

“It’s troubling to think that there are wastewater treatment facilities that are not regulated,” said former-Conservative MP Harold Albrecht.

“Why do we have them if they are not regulated?”

 

Springwater Council Highlights – July 8

This summary is not a full representation of the meeting. For the official record, please refer to the minutes in the next Council Agenda.

Kissing Rock Added to Heritage Register

The Kissing Rock located in Anten Mills has been added to the Springwater Heritage Registry. The Kissing Rock, also referred to as the Giant Rock, was given its name because it was said that if you kissed someone on it, that was the person you were going to marry. The rock has been added to the registry as a property of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest (not designated) in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act.

Accessibility Plan

Springwater will be updating its Multi-year Accessibility Plan for the next five year period and will be engaging the community to determine priorities. Municipalities are required to implement an Accessibility Plan outlining the organization’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers The Township will gather feedback from interested residents and stakeholders through an online survey.

Bertram Industrial Subdivision Agreement

Council has authorized a Subdivision Agreement for the PGC Investments Industrial subdivision located within the Bertram Industrial Business Park. The new subdivision will consist of eight industrial lots which are privately serviced by well and septic.

Tender Awards

The tender for the rehabilitation of the St. Vincent Street Bridge was awarded to McPherson-Andrews Contracting in the amount of $705,462 excluding HST.

The contract for the reconstruction of Doran Road, from County Road 27 to 180 meters north of Belmont Crescent, was awarded to KJ Excavating Inc. at a cost of $861,844.79 including HST.

Winters Aggregates Limited was awarded the tender for aggregate production in the amount of $174,944.06 including HST.

The Roads Needs Study and Structure Assessments tender was awarded to D.M Wills Associates Ltd. at a cost of $26,591.40. The study will include a ten year road maintenance and capital improvement plan and the Structure Assessment will provide the Township with a ten year structure maintenance and capital improvement plan.

The award for a hydraulic dump, hot mix transporter and trailer was awarded to Marathon Equipment at a cost of $31,926.

Safe Roads Engineering was awarded the tender for guide rail design at a cost of $2,825.

The award for extrication tools for Fire Station 3 was awarded to Code 4 Fire & Rescue. The extrication tools will provide firefighters with heavy hydraulic capabilities in the event that extrication is required. The cost of the tools is $41,401.05 and includes the training of firefighters assigned to Fire Station 3.

Electronic Participation Approved for Local Boards/Committees

All local board and committee meetings have been suspended since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; under a new by-law they are able to resume meetings with members participating electronically. The new by-law is only applicable during a declared emergency. 

 

County Council Highlights

Committee of the Whole: July 14, 2020
County Council: July 14, 2020

​Mandatory Face Coverings in Indoor Public Settings

On July 7, 2020, Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe and Muskoka’s medical officer of health, issued a letter to the Councils and the CAOs of the municipalities in the County of Simcoe, the District of Muskoka, and the Cities of Orillia and Barrie, drawing upon regulation O. Reg 263/20 s.4(2) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act R.S.O. 1990, to instruct the businesses and organizations within the municipalities serviced by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, requiring persons within publicly accessible indoor locations, including public transit systems, to wear a face covering (i.e. a non-medical mask).

As the County begins to experience a large and increasing number of visitors from parts of the province with a much higher incidence of COVID-19, Council voted last week in favour of issuing a letter from Warden George Cornell, in support of Dr. Gardner’s guidance, which is based on emerging evidence suggesting that COVID-19 transmission rates can be reduced with a high level of population compliance of face covering/non-medical mask use. Council opted not to adopt a by-law that would apply to all lower tier municipalities in Simcoe County.

Early Learning and Child Care System Update

On March 25, 2020, the Province directed the County as a Consolidated Municipal Service Manager (CMSM) to consider which licensed child care facilities might be able to open for the purpose of emergency care provision for children with parents working within select sectors. As a result, three centres were reopened, operating under strict guidelines provided by Public Health. While the demand for spaces significantly exceeded availability, these three sites collectively served a total of 110 children, with no resulting cases of COVID-19.

On June 9, 2020, the Province announced that licensed child care operators would be permitted to reopen effective June 12, as part of the provincial ‘Phase 2 reopening of Ontario’. The announcement also established June 26 as the date for closure of emergency child care.

On July 14, Council received an update on the early learning and child care system, which outlined the significant challenges for families, operators and CMSMs as a result of the closure of licensed child care centres in March 2020, as well as the difficulties in reopening.

2021 High level Budget Direction

The potential economic effects on the County of Simcoe's services due to declining global markets, possible disruption in supply chains, and measures being introduced at various levels of government to curtail the spread of the virus, are significant. Staff continue to monitor this situation as it develops and provide the 2021 draft budget based on the most current information. As a regional service provider, the County provides significant services to vulnerable residents; with demand for these services increasing in times of need.

At the last session, Council provided initial direction to staff in support of developing assumptions for the 2021 budget that will be presented to County Council in the Fall, traditionally followed by approval in November, allowing the County to begin issuing tenders for the following year. Council directed that the draft 2021 County of Simcoe property tax levy be based on a 0% increase.

LINX Transit Update

Simcoe County LINX entered Phase 2 of the implementation plan in August 2019, successfully launching Route 2 - Wasaga Beach, Stayner, Angus and Barrie, Route 3 - Orillia, Oro-Medonte and Barrie, and assuming Route 4 - Wasaga Beach to Collingwood. The LINX Transit system observed strong ridership performance for the remainder of 2019, as it immediately gained traction within the new communities that it serves. LINX ridership continued to grow into 2020, with 14,957 rides in January - 85% over budgeted figures - and February, with 13,505 trips - 87% over budgeted figures.

Though Transit service levels have been reduced as ridership has decreased due to COVID-19, Transit staff are monitoring ridership levels and restoring standard service hours as required. Additional sanitization measures and Public Health guidelines due to the coronavirus remain in effect.

On July 14, Council received a LINX Transit update, including plans to roll out Route 5, Alliston to Bradford on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 with free service for the first month. Route 6 Penetanguishene/ Midland – Tay – Severn – Oro-Medonte – Orillia will have a later start date due to the delay of bus deliveries as a result of COVID-19.

Temporary Pandemic Pay- Shelters and Supportive Housing Sector

On April 25, 2020, the Province announced its COVID-19: Temporary Pandemic Pay Initiative, aimed at helping frontline staff working under stressful conditions and at heightened risk during the pandemic. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will provide the related funding to CMSMSs for subsequent allocation to eligible staff working in shelters and supportive housing settings.

Last week, Council received a report on the Temporary Pandemic Pay, which will provide an additional $4.00 per hour for eligible frontline workers in Shelters and Supportive Housing settings, effective for 16 weeks from April 24, 2020 to August 13, 2020. Eligible workers who work at least 100 hours in a designated four-week period will also receive an additional lump sum payment of $250 per each four-week period, for a possible total of $1000 over 16 weeks.

To view the full Committee of the Whole or Council Agenda visit: https://simcoe.civicweb.net/Portal/

To view the County Council Highlights online visit https://www.simcoe.ca/dpt/ccd/newsletters

 

County of Simcoe helps local businesses with transition to new normal

Midhurst/July 9, 2020 – While continuing to manage County services during this far-reaching emergency, reopening and recovery efforts are also underway. The County of Simcoe is focused on working with businesses, municipalities and partner organizations to get the local economy back on track. Tourism Simcoe County (TSC) and the Economic Development Office (EDO) for the County of Simcoe have introduced a wide range of initiatives to encourage shop local campaigns and promote Simcoe County products and services through targeted and strategic investment.

“Throughout the recent pandemic, the County has been working with various partners and businesses to keep our economy moving,” said Warden George Cornell. “As we start to reopen where safe, the County is here to assist with the necessary education, funding and training to allow businesses to operate within new health guidelines. Simcoe County’s talent, skills and raw materials provide a wide variety of world class products and services and we are committed to help our businesses market them locally, nationally and internationally while ensuring our jobs remain in place.” 

Over the past three months, the County has promoted local manufacturers from a diversity of industries that have pivoted to offering Made in Simcoe County solutions to keep people safe and healthy, and  the County’s EDO is pleased to partner with the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing to showcase the impressive work and collaborative efforts of local manufacturers, including Honda of Canada Mfg. in Alliston, Molded Precision Components in Oro Medonte, Industrial Filter Manufacturing in Penetanguishene and Heretic Spirits in Collingwood. Click here to read the article.

As County residents, businesses and industry face this new normal, here are some of the opportunities available to help local businesses reopen and resume operations:

Shop local Campaign

TSC and EDO, in conjunction with member municipalities and area partners, have launched an online directory to highlight local businesses in Simcoe County that are continuing to safely provide services and goods such as food, and other daily essentials by local retailers and artisans across the region who are offering call-in, online purchasing options, delivery, take-out and curbside pick-up. For a list of participating businesses visit www.experience.simcoe.ca​. 

TSC continues to support tourism operators with multi-media digital campaigns, that message “buy local”. Campaigns include digital, social, television, radio and billboards. TSC also supports the sector with providing free e-learning modules such as how to take your business on-line. Tourism Simcoe County continues to develop products and experiences with operators that will be marketed when it is safe to visit. Experiences include; The Simcoe County Honey Trail, Maple Trail, Barn Quilt Trail and a 160 km cycling loop trail.

Ask an Expert Series

The County of Simcoe along with the regional Small Business Enterprise Centres and regional Community Futures Development Corporations are presenting ‘Ask an Expert Series’ over the coming weeks. The sessions will feature experts on topics such as Health and Safety, HR, Accounting, Marketing, Business Planning, Legal and Mental Health as well as Q&A sessions.

Over 240 businesses attended our first session to learn how to reopen and operate their business safely during the pandemic. To watch recorded sessions, or for more information on how to register for upcoming talks, visit www.simcoe.ca/askanexpert.

Digital Main Street

The County of Simcoe is providing funding toward a unique program to help local small and medium-sized businesses go digital. Eligible businesses will receive up to 10 hours of free one-on-one coaching from Digital Service Squads and other digital supports through Digital Main Street and Beyond. For more information, including full eligibility criteria, visit https://edo.simcoe.ca/Pages/COVID-19-Government-Supports.aspx  

ShopHERE

The ShopHERE program is now available to small businesses across the County of Simcoe. This program helps businesses to build and optimize online stores in a matter of days. Interested parties can apply for the program by visiting www.digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere for an opportunity to have their online store built at no-cost.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities in the County of Simcoe, local Community Features Development Corporations will administer the funding and focus on assisting “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants, corner stores, and businesses of strategic importance to our communities, with interest-free loans up to $40,000. For more information, please visit the County’s EDO website.

‘Work in Simcoe County’ Jobs Portal

Working with area partners, the County has launched a new interactive job portal. The Work in Simcoe County site includes local resources and job opportunities, as well as vital information to empower and inspire residents. Using an automated fetching tool to aggregate job listings from over 20 popular job boards and career sites and new user-friendly features, the portal provides services for job seekers, students, parents and local government and helps to link residents with local opportunities, specifically in the skilled trades. To learn more, go to www.workinsimcoecounty.ca.

Tourism Simcoe County and the Economic Development Office continue to provide COVID-19 updates, resources, links to local businesses open for business, and virtual learning opportunities for businesses – all of which is routinely updated. Visit our websites for more information, at https://experience.simcoe.ca/ and https://edo.simcoe.ca/covid-19-business-resources.

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.­­­­­­

 

Canada’s Bad Reputation: Canadian Companies Exploit the Honduran People

Canadian Company NJOI Unlawfully Digs Up Beach in Honduras

Canadian company NJOI, based in Newmarket Ontario, is illegally digging up a public beach in a Garifuna community on the north coast of Honduras. Despite NJOI announcing that “we respect the law”, the company is destroying Garifuna owned land and also the beach area so that no persons will be able to walk along that area. With a 90% impunity rate under the dictatorship of Juan Orlando Hernandez, NJOI steals land from residents, seizes their properties then builds tourist projects. NJOI is well known to the Simcoe County area as their billboards with advertising announcing, “Buy smart, retire early,” have appeared along County Rd 92 west of Elmvale, and on County Rd 90 east of Angus. After the billboard owner was notified of the illegitimate and illegal nature of this company, the billboards were taken down. We thank Datamax Outdoor Advertising for its ongoing support.

Canadian tourist projects are popping up across the north coast of Honduras as unsuspecting Canadian retirees purchase land that is in dispute. In these extremely tense situations, Canadians are purchasing holiday homes in areas where Garifuna leaders and community members are disappeared, tortured, and murdered by company officials for speaking out in protest. Leaders try to bring attention to this illegal land appropriation an as a result are targeted. These areas under legal dispute are not the place where unsuspecting, uninformed and naïve Canadians should spend their hard-earned retirement savings.

Disappearance of Four Garifuna Community Members

On Saturday July 18, in the community of Triunfo de la Cruz, community leader Snider Centeno and three other residents were kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests, labeled with the initials of the Honduran National Police (DPI in Spanish). This investigative police squadron was trained by the US military. Despite urgent action messages that immediately circulated, the men have not been seen since.

On Monday July 20, Triunfo de la Cruz community members blocked the main road to some of the expansive tourist projects in Tela Bay to demand the disappeared men be returned alive and unharmed. The Honduran military and police arrived to repress the people with bullets and teargas. (See photo, courtesy of @hondurassol)

In Honduras, there is almost a 100% impunity rate for murders and disappearances that are carried out by the DPI. Family members often never hear about the fate of their loved ones. Disappearances are carried out to scare and terrorize community members into submission. It is disgusting that Canadian and US tourist companies are involved in this type of illegal land acquisition and being linked to murders and disappearances.

Canadian Company Gildan Activewear Policies Spread COVID-19 to Communities

Another Canadian company, Gildan Activewear, based in Montreal, has also been under scrutiny for their unethical health practices at their sweatshops in the cities of El Progreso and Choloma, Honduras. SCHRM is supporting a food program in the region where one of the Gildan sweatshops is operating. According to our reports from community leaders, the women in the community who work for Gildan have been forced to report for work or lose their jobs if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. The virus is now running rampant throughout the community.

Not only are the residents suffering from lack of proper food and nutrition, they are in need of funds to purchase medicines and natural vitamins to fight the virus. Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor has been asked to donate funds for medications as well as for food, which we have offered to do. We thank the community of Elmvale and beyond for their very generous donations to this very important and necessary food/medication program. Our grassroots Canadian support is greatly appreciated by the communities who send us receipts of purchases and photos of the projects. One of the largest food programs in El Progreso feeds approximately 100 children one meal per day.

On Monday July 20, a shoot-out occurred in Tamara prison outside of Tegucigalpa. Military troops fired shots at prisoners inside for reasons unknown. Prisons in Honduras are under the control of the military. Many prisoners have a long wait in captivity before their trials; some do not have opportunities to talk to their lawyers in private and many are incarcerated on false charges.

During the COVID-19 crisis, prisoners are at extreme risk of contracting the virus, as prisons are a hot-bed of infection. On Saturday July 18, well known and respected Honduran journalist David Romero, who was arrested under questionable conditions last year, died of COVID-19 in prison. Romero uncovered and exposed numerous government-related corruption scandals in the past few years. Many believe his arrest was due to his reporting against the government as evidence against him was lacking in credibility; he should have been a free man. His death comes at a time when journalists are in extreme danger in Honduras and other Central American countries. To make matters worse, government authorities would not release his body to his family, who demanded that his remains be buried in a common grave.

Condolences to Political Prisoner Raul Alvarez
Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor sends condolences to political prisoner and human rights activist Raul Alvarez on the unexpected death of his mother. Raul was incarcerated in La Tolva Prison with Edwin Espinal. Both men who were released almost a year ago, are still awaiting their trials that were scheduled in May of this year. But due to COVID-19, they have been postponed indefinitely. As the Honduran justice system is under the strict jurisdiction of the corrupt government of Juan Orlando Hernandez, we fear for a positive outcome regarding their acquittal.

Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor thanks the Simcoe County community for their continued support. If you wish to donate to our ongoing food programs, please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact me at: 705-734-4238

Janet Spring and the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor Committee

 

Ontario Eliminating the Practice of Birth Alerts

Today, Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues, announced the province is eliminating the practice of birth alerts. Birth alerts are notifications sent by children's aid societies to hospitals when they believe a newborn may be in need of protection. This new approach will improve pre- and post-natal services by promoting collaboration between children's aid societies, hospitals, service providers, Indigenous partners and community-based service providers.

"Ending the use of birth alerts is an important step as we shift our focus to prevention, early intervention and improve outcomes for families and their children," said Minister Dunlop. "This change is part of our government's effort to build a child welfare system that is better coordinated and focused on community-based prevention services that are high quality, culturally appropriate and truly responsive to the needs of children, youth and families."

It has been reported the practice of birth alerts disproportionately affects racialized and marginalized mothers and families. Expectant mothers can be deterred from seeking prenatal care or parenting supports while pregnant due to fears of having a birth alert issued.

Birth alerts have never been required under provincial legislation and have been used inconsistently by children's aid societies across the province. Going forward, the government is directing children's aid societies to end the practice of using birth alerts by October 15, 2020. This means working with families, community partners and service providers to create a pre- and post-natal plan that supports the parents of newborns, to ensure more families stay together.

"By ending the use of birth alerts and encouraging collaborative alternatives for children's aid societies and other health care providers, expectant parents will be better supported in accessing community resources before the birth of their child," said Jamil Jivani, Ontario's Advocate for Community Opportunities. "This is a step in the right direction in helping racialized and marginalized communities across Ontario."

Quick Facts

Ending the use of birth alerts was a recommendation from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Alternative approaches to birth alerts include providing counselling services such as birth planning services, pre-natal services and referrals to community resources and agencies that can provide support to expectant parents.

Birth alerts are also referred to as hospital alerts.

The government is undertaking an extensive review of the child welfare system, including the overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous and racialized children and youth.

 

Mayor Don’s Update – July 23

Bob Sporring

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Bob Sporring this past weekend. Bob exemplified community spirit and was always willing to lend a helping hand. He was actively involved in many facets of the community, serving on Springwater (then Vespra Council), working with the Anten Mills Community Hall Board and chairing the Springwater Community Policing Committee. He was passionate about making our community safer and spent many hours moving Stanley, the Speed Sign, around our community to remind motorists to slow down and assist in gathering speed data. He also organized seminars to educate seniors on the dangers of ‘identity theft’, organized bike ‘rodeos’ for our local schools and shared community safety tips through the Springwater Link. Our thoughts are with his wife Rose and their family. Bob will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him.   

COVID-19 Stage 3 Update

As of Friday, July 17 at 12:01 a.m. the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, along with 23 additional health units, has moved into Stage 3 of the provincial reopening framework.

Gathering Limits:

Indoor gathering limits have increased to a maximum of 50 people

Outdoor gathering limits have increased to a maximum of 100 people

Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements

Social circles will be kept to a maximum of 10 people province-wide

What is Permitted to Reopen:

Most businesses are permitted to reopen including dine-in restaurants and bars, fitness centres, facilities for sports and recreation, performing arts etc. These business must follow strict health & safety physical distancing guidelines. Guides are available at Ontario.ca/reopen

Outdoor playgrounds and play structures are permitted to reopen.

Recreational courses and instruction. Physical distancing and gathering limits apply.

Amateur and recreational sports leagues may resume provided there is no prolonged or deliberate contact. Leagues must contain no more than 50 participants total. Leagues may divide into smaller groups if they exceed 50 people. Players may not play against players outside of their league or group.

Libraries may resume all on-site services, as long as materials that are circulated and returned are disinfected or quarantined before being recirculated again.

The following business are not permitted to reopen during stage 3: amusement parks and water parks, buffet-style food services, dancing at restaurants and bars, overnight stays at camp for children, private karaoke rooms, saunas steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars, table games at casinos and gaming establishments

Any business that is listed above is able to submit a proposal for how they can reopen safely and the government will work with them on a case by case basis

Any business owners with questions are invited to call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659

Township Administration Centre Reopening

The Township Administration Centre is reopening to the public as of July 27, 2020. The administration Centre originally closed to the public in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  A number of health and safety precautions will be in place to protect both residents and staff members. Anyone entering the Township Administration Centre is strongly encouraged to wear a mask or face covering. Additional sanitization stations have been set-up and physical distancing measures have been put in place. Anyone who is feeling sick is asked to please stay home. An appointment is strongly recommended to avoid lengthier wait times.

Springwater Public Library Partially Reopens

Springwater Public Library will be implementing a limited reopening to the public starting Monday, July 27 at Midhurst branch and Tuesday, July 28 at Elmvale Branch. At the moment, Minesing will be continuing with curbside service on Thursdays. Computer access by appointment only will begin in August. Library staff are excited to welcome our customers back to the Library branches. There will be a few changes inside as we work to keep everyone safe. Plexiglass has been installed at the circulation desk, arrows are on the floor for promoting one way movement throughout the branches, toys and chairs have been removed, and bins have been placed throughout for the reshelving of materials.

Playgrounds and Splash Pad Reopen

Playgrounds, outdoor fitness equipment and the splash pad have officially reopened. Please continue to follow physical distancing when using these amenities. If you can not stay 2 metres away from others, please wait until there is more room. All children must be supervised by an adult at all times. If using the splash pad, please use your elbow, rather than your hand, to press the button that activates the splash pad. Remember that this equipment is not sanitized.

High Speed Internet in Simcoe County

Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) is a non-profit regional broadband project initiated by the Western Ontario Wardens Caucus to subsidize the construction of high-speed broadband networks across Southwestern Ontario. They are advancing the expansion of high-speed networks across our region to close internet service gaps.

The Simcoe County RFP was released March 9, 2020. Contracts will be awarded, and service provider agreements will be put in place shortly after the RFP closes on September 11, 2020. Pre-qualified service providers have until September 11, 2020 to submit network designs and proposals to address broadband service gaps in eligible funding areas throughout the County.

Approved projects will be announced once SWIFT has completed its evaluation assessment. The Township looks forward to learning more about the approved programs. For additional details visit: www.swiftruralbroadband.ca

The Ontario government is also working to expand access to reliable broadband and cellular service in underserved and unserved parts of the province. The application intake for the $150 million Improving Connectivity for Ontario program (ICON) opened recently. Telecommunication service providers, municipalities, Indigenous communities and non-profits are invited to submit proposals and lend their investment, expertise and experience to improve connectivity in communities across Ontario. The preliminary application deadline for the first intake of the ICON program is August 21, 2020. Springwater Township is exploring the best way to apply for this.

Fire Ban and Outdoor Water Bans Lifted

This summer has had extreme temperatures with many heat advisories in effect and little rain. This has put additional strain on our water systems. An outdoor water were put in place a couple of weeks ago to ensure that enough water was available for unexpected emergencies such as fires and to ensure we did not exceed our water withdrawing permits. A fire ban was also put in place. Since then, both bans have been lifted, however you are reminded to use extreme caution if lighting a fire and always follow the rules listed on your fire permit.

Additionally, standard water restrictions remains in effect. Residents with odd number civic addresses may use outdoor water on odd number calendar days

Residents with even number civic addresses may use outdoor water on even number calendar days

Residents may only water lawns, trees and shrubs, or wash vehicles between the hours of 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. on their scheduled day
Additional details are available at www.springwater.ca/wateringrestrictions

 

LINX Transit Update

Simcoe County LINX entered Phase 2 of the implementation plan in August 2019, successfully launching Route 2 - Wasaga Beach, Stayner, Angus and Barrie, Route 3 - Orillia, Oro-Medonte and Barrie, and assuming Route 4 - Wasaga Beach to Collingwood. The LINX Transit system observed strong ridership performance for the remainder of 2019, as it immediately gained traction within the new communities that it serves. LINX ridership continued to grow into 2020, with 14,957 rides in January - 85% over budgeted figures - and February, with 13,505 trips - 87% over budgeted figures.

Though Transit service levels have been reduced as ridership has decreased due to COVID-19, Transit staff are monitoring ridership levels and restoring standard service hours as required. Additional sanitization measures and Public Health guidelines due to the coronavirus remain in effect. On July 14, Council received a LINX Transit update, including plans to roll out Route 5, Alliston to Bradford on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 with free service for the first month. Route 6 Penetanguishene/ Midland – Tay – Severn – Oro-Medonte – Orillia will have a later start date due to the delay of bus deliveries as a result of COVID-19.

Stay safe and enjoy Summer.