Political Opinions

Doug Downey MPP Barrie Springwater Oro-Medonte

2020 is shaping up to be a very busy year. We are only three weeks in and I already have a handful of new announcements and initiatives to share with you.

Budget Consultations

Our government’s second provincial budget is quickly approaching, and we are looking for more feedback from the public on your priorities. The Ministry of Finance has opened up multiple resources for submitting feedback including online surveys, submissions, and in-person sessions. You can find more information on how to participate at www.Ontario.ca/page/2020-budget-consultations

Job Growth

We received some really terrific new from Stats Canada earlier this month. Their December report on unemployment saw Ontario leading the country in job creation, and Barrie leading the province. The provincial jobless rate fell from 5.4% to 5.3%, with 25,100 mostly full-time jobs created. Barrie gained 2700 new jobs over the month, dropping our local unemployment rate from 5.9% to 5.2%. This is great progress in our work to encourage economic growth, and restore Ontario’s competitiveness.

Health Card Transition

On July 1st, red and white health cards will no longer be valid for OHIP coverage. These old model cards are more susceptible to fraudulent use than the more secure photo health cards. With people accessing up to $108 million in health services every month with these risky cards, we need to ensure every cent is being spent responsibly. Switching to a photo health card is free and can be done at any Service Ontario location.

Free Family Day Skates

Finally, I will be hosting a free Family Day skate event at two local rinks on February 17th, from 1pm – 3pm. There will be free skating and hot chocolate at the Oro-Medonte Community Centre with MP Doug Shipley, and at the Holly Recreation centre with MPP Andrea Khanjin. I hope you and yours can join us for this exciting day of family fun. 

Doug Downey MPP Barrie Springwater Oro-Medonte

 

2019 WARD FIVE COUNCILLOR REPORT

Happy New Year.  The following is my brief update of what has transpired in 2019.

As usual I will be sharing information that may not have already been communicated.

Given the extensive code of conduct adopted by this Council and to avoid personal attacks, I have refrained from submitting any updates in 2019. The following are the more important issues that have transpired and that I have questioned on.    

CRIMINAL CHARGES: News articles have reported the criminal charges against the Township of Springwater Mayor.  Except for the Nov 6th agenda item from Principals of Integrity, the matter has not been discussed at any meetings of Council. This does not mean that we condone the alleged conduct. I share the concerns that our conduct has on public trust and take the matter seriously. I did receive a public complaint describing the alleged incident that resulted in the criminal charges. I and two other councillors were obligated to forward the complaint to the Integrating Commissioner. I submitted the complaint on July 5th as serious issues need to transcend politics and relationships. 

Council’s authority is limited and we need to avoid assertions of interference in matters that are before the court. The procedures in dealing with this purported issue are twofold. The court process and any code of conduct violations. The next court date is not until September 17, 2020. An investigate report by Principals of Integrity is also being delayed. Council has refrained from addressing the issue until that report is received.   

PERSONAL ATTACKS:  On July 12th, I was advised that a complaint had now been submitted claiming I had made disparaging comments about Township staff. Principals of Integrity provided a document that stated to the effect that their findings were based on assumptions, not facts. Councillors Moore and Cabral were included in the allegations. They are both respected and trusted members of council and were seated beside me during the alleged comment(s). They both gave statements confirming I never made any negative comments about staff. The complaint was submitted by the retiring Township CAO. Thus far, it has not been established if the CAO did this without consultation and/or direction from others? After the public council meeting, where it was proven I did not make any negative comments about staff, Mayor Allen and Deputy Mayor Coughlin voted to accept the report and the recommendation that I be reprimanded. For what? You be the judge? Thank you to all the residents for their support and those who provided expert legal advice.

The following link contains more of the details. http://awaresimcoe.ca/2019/11/barbecuegate-springwater-councillors-reject-principlesintegrity-report/

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT MSP:  The Province has informed the TWP that additional environmental assessments would not be required for all of the projects proposed in the Midhurst Water, Wastewater and Transportation Class Environmental Assessment for the MSP. The Province did impose eight conditions on the municipality with respect to the MSP. Details are available at  https://www.springwater.ca  

AUTUMNFEST FALL FAIR: The 2019 event was held at the new pavilion. It was another great success. The young volunteer members of the Hall Board (MCRA) took the lead and did a great job. They will be in university next year and not available. We are looking for Coordinator(s) to takeover. Younger volunteers are always encouraged. 

TREE LIGHTING: Midhurst now has a community Christmas tree. The inaugural tree lighting was an enjoyable evening thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and TWP staff. Special thanks to Steve John of Kelsey’s on Bayfield St. for donating the hamburgers and Brandon Rea from Shack Shine for assisting with the lighting.     

PAVILION SKATING: Volunteers have been trying to make ice at the pavilion. There are  signs asking people to stay off the surface until it is frozen. Those who choose to disregard the request are delaying the enjoyment for everyone else.  

BUDGET: By the time you read this you will know that the 2020 TWP budget was approved with an estimated 0.57%. tax increase. Council provided responsible oversite but credit also needs to go to staff and the new CAO for advancing justifiable requests.    

WASTE PICKUP: Starting February 3, 2020, garbage and recycling collection will occur on alternating weeks, while green bin collection will continue every week. The following link provides additional details. simcoe.ca/collectionschange 

CONSTITUENT BCC EMAIL LIST:  If you wish to receive my emails and/or important updates or to contact me directly, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   My news articles and emails are part of my commitment to keeping taxpayers informed in a truthful and accurate manner.  I do not speak for the rest of Council.    

NOTE:  Trust and respect do not come with a title; they must be earned!

Jack Hanna   -    Ward 5 Councillor

 

Tiny Mayor’s Monthly Column

The hustle and bustle of the holidays has come and gone, and Tiny Council is settling into 2020 feeling refreshed and energized! 

Starting February 3, the County of Simcoe is changing curbside waste collections. The week of February 3 to 7, residents will receive garbage and green bin collection only. The following week (February 10 to 14), residents will receive recycling and green bin collection only. Green bin collection will occur every week, while garbage and recycling collection will occur on alternating weeks. This change will help bring consistency back to the collection service and will have big environmental benefits, including growing the green bin program, reducing single-use plastics and lowering emissions with fewer trucks on the road. Details are available at www.simcoe.ca/collectionschange.

Tiny is excited to be hosting three open houses at local seniors clubs, in partnership with the Government of Ontario. The first open house is at Bayshore Seniors Club on January 21, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. All are welcome to attend this free event to explore membership and program opportunities offered to older adults. 

New this year are Tiny’s Senior Day Trips. Sign up now for the February 16th day trip to the Orillia Opera House for a showing of “Art of Dining”. Tickets are $25 plus tax and include transportation, admission and a meal. 

Tiny’s Winter Carnaval d’Hiver is on February 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Perkinsfield Park. Enjoy a free pancake lunch and winter fun for all ages. 

Save the Date: Senior Speaker Series (January 28), Open House at The Place (February 20), and Youth Symposium (May 5).

Find full details about Tiny events, programs and news at www.tiny.ca

Did You Know: The Township of Tiny offers opportunities for students to gain experience in numerous fields, including government administration, recreation, by-law enforcement and public works. Full details about this year’s student employment opportunities will be available on our website.

Until next month!                    Mayor George Cornell

 

Mayor Don’s Update

January 20, 2020

Curbside Waste Collection Changes

The week after next starts our new Simcoe County curbside waste collection schedule which you have been hearing a lot about. For our zone 2 in Springwater the new schedule will work as follows:

Week of February 3: Garbage and organics green bin only

Week of February 10: Recycling and organics only

The cycle will continue to alternate each week. Please have your collectibles out by 7am each collection day.

This is a positive change which will bring consistency and predictability back to the pick-up schedules and will have long-term benefits for the environment. It will promote keeping organic material out of landfills with increased diversion into the green bin for recycling (presently 40% of the average garbage bag consists of items that should go into the green bin). It will lower greenhouse gas emissions due to fewer garbage trucks on the road each day and it will help control waste disposal contract costs.

You should have received the Simcoe 2020 waste calendar. Extra copies are available at the Simcoe Administrative Centre on Hwy 26. The Simcoe County Collects App is great to download to provide weekly reminders and other useful information. Also, sign up for collection alerts at Simcoe.ca/wastereminder.

Some points to remember:

Green Bin (weekly)

Wrap organics in paper or use certified compostable bags;

Includes bagged pet waste and wood and cedar shavings, kitty litter and paper from bird cages;

Green bin maximum weight 20 kg (44 lbs.);

Many forms of soiled paper products (including paper drink cups without the lids) are allowed in the green bin instead of in the recycle blue bin (see calendar or app for more info).

Recycle Blue Bin (bi-weekly)

Paper and containers no longer need to be separated in separate bins;

Rinse food residue and remove and include lids;

Flatten cardboard and tie in bundles (max. 75 cm X 75 cm X 20 cm);

Get your free blue bin with the voucher sent to you (while quantities last);

Extra/overflow recycling may be put in clear bags;

Includes drink cup plastic lids, aluminum plates and foil, empty paint cans with lids removed.

Garbage (bi-weekly)

Container maximum 80 L or bags 90 cm X 75 cm. Per collection - 2 untagged bag or containers and up to 6 tagged bags per collection. Maximum weight 20 kg. or 44 lbs. per container. Bag tags ($3 each) from Simcoe.ca;

Coffee disks go in garbage, even the ones labelled as compostable or recyclable;

Black plastic food bottoms go in the garbage as they cannot be processed on conveyor belts at recycle plants;

Includes plastic bags and film overwrap, toys, vacuum bags, foil and plastic wrappers, styrofoam packaging, cigarette butts, plastic corks, drinking pouches, and light bulbs.

General - Special days are on your calendar or app for leaf/yard waste, Christmas trees, clothing , electronics and battery collections

Bulky collection 5 items for $40 June through September – call 800-263-3199

Skate Trail at Simcoe County Museum

This one-kilometer skating trail is now open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings 6 to 9 pm and Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 4 pm (weather permitting 705-728-3721). It is a beautiful setting which travels around the Museum's heritage buildings, historic equipment displays, and forest pathways,

2020 Age-Friendly Seniors Housing Grant Program (to March 31, 2020)

To prepare for the region’s aging population, Simcoe County Council approved $500,000 in annual funding towards the Age-friendly Grant Program to support eligible applicants in creating age-friendly housing by incorporating  accessible, adaptable, and inclusive designs for adults aged 60 and older that allow seniors to continue to live independently in their homes and participate in their community as long as possible. Grant amounts will be distributed based on number of applications received and ability to meet funding criteria. Examples of improvements include ramps, handrails, chair and bath lifts, height adjustments to countertops and bathroom modifications.

Grant Applications are available on-line at simcoe.ca/age-friendly or contact the County of Simcoe, Age-Friendly Project Lead at (705) 726-9300 extension 1405 to receive a copy via email.

Please drop off (postmarked by the closing date for application submissions), mail, or email your completed application by March 31, 2020.

County of Simcoe

Health & Emergency Services

Attn: Age-Friendly Seniors Housing Grant Program

1110 Highway 26, Midhurst, ON L9X 1N6

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  (705) 726-9300 ext. 1405

The comments above are my thoughts. Check out my recent radio interview reviewing current Springwater news items with Rock95 and 107.5 KOOL FM news director Dan Blakeley. See https://barrie360.com/springwater-update/

Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 705-728-4784 Ext. 2013 to set a time to meet or reach me directly at 705-302-4253. We can also stay connected on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @MayorDonAllen and review updates on www.donallen.ca

 

Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor Update:

Two Year Anniversary of Edwin Espinal’s Arrest and Imprisonment

I am writing this update on Sunday January 19, 2020, the two-year anniversary of Edwin Espinal’s arrest and later incarceration in La Tolva Prison for over 19 months. Since that time the Honduran people continue to be repressed by the Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) regime, particularly those people who protested the electoral fraud of November 2017. They continue to fight this repression and demand that President Hernandez step down. The country is experiencing further violence due to drug wars, gang violence, unemployment, cuts in education and health care, all brought upon by a fraudulent government, which is supported by the US and Canadian governments.

Life is so difficult in Honduras that people continue to flee. Just last week, another migrant caravan of over 2000 people left the northern city of San Pedro Sula to make the arduous, dangerous journey through Guatemala and Mexico to the southern U.S. border. Since 2017, tens of thousands of Hondurans have left their homes in search of a safer environment and better future for their children. Despite the Trump government’s repression of migrants traveling from Central America to apply for asylum in the United States, the Honduran people still leave. They are desperate.

Meanwhile reports continue to surface about families in great distress in detention centers across the Southern U.S. border, where Central Americans seeking asylum are being kept in ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detention centers. Many are ill as they have been housed in cold, makeshift pens in shelters, denied adequate food, and are suffering from anxiety and depression due to being separated from family members.

This past weekend, U.S. authorities have announced that they will be deporting a sick Honduran mother and her two very ill children to Guatemala as soon as they are given clearance by a U.S. doctor. At present, they are being hospitalized but now their case has come to the attention of human rights advocates; the case is now before the courts. For further information refer to: https://wtop.com/national/2020/01/us-seeks-to-deport-honduran-mom-sick-children-to-guatemala/

This Honduran mother is one of many asylum seekers fearing to be sent back to an unsafe country, as the U.S. government has announced that migrants seeking asylum will be sent to Guatemala or El Salvador under President Trump’s Safe Third Country Agreement. This agreement was made with the above governments last year. However, the mother maintains that if she is sent back, she and her family will die. Gang violence, extortion, drug wars, and corrupt governments make Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and others, unsafe countries.

Another recent development is the cancellation of the anti-corruption body of the OAS – Organization of American States - the MACCIH – Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras. This U.S. based group has worked in Honduras since April of 2016, since President Hernandez came to power; this body has been investigating corruption and impunity that has caused severe repression against the people of Honduras. Due to Hernandez’ refusal to renew the MACCIH agreement, people are demanding that JOH step down. Protests are called for January 21, 2019 in the capital city of Tegucigalpa to bring this to international attention.

Juan Orlando Hernandez continues to be under great scrutiny, especially since his brother, Tony Hernandez, was found guilty of many counts of drug trafficking in a New York courtroom in November 2019. JOH has also been implicated in this and has been named co-conspirator #4. Despite these facts and continued impunity of the Honduran government, the U.S. and Canadian governments continue to support this extremely corrupt narco state.

Two years ago, the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor was formed to advocate for the release of all political prisoners arrested during and after the 2017 electoral crisis. Edwin Espinal, Raul Alvarez, and many others who spoke against the fraudulent Hernandez government have been released. Yet there is much work still to be accomplished to advocate for the rights of the Honduran people and for those who are still imprisoned for protesting against the government.

To continue our work, SCHRM is planning a delegation in May 2020 to Honduras when Edwin and Raul’s legal trials begin. If you are interested in joining this Canadian delegation, please contact us at: 705-734-4238.

We thank the community of Springwater for your continued support.

Janet Spring and the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor