Political Opinions

Doug Downey MPP Barrie Springwater Oro-Medonte

The seasons have really shifted over to fall these past few weeks. It is far cooler outside, the leaves have begun to turn orange and red, and I have had the pleasure of visiting a few fall fairs.

Last weekend I spent the morning at the 50th annual Midhurst Autumnfest, which looked to be one of the biggest and best yet. It was great to see so many of you out there and a real treat to help officially open the new Midhurst Pavilion. I want to thank the organizers again for their hard work and I hope to see you all out there next year.

Now that October has arrived and we are deeper into fall’s festivities, it is time to start preparing for Thanksgiving. Everyone loves the long weekend and massive meals, but there is a lot more than just leisure to think about through this holiday.

Thanksgiving presents us all the opportunity to step back from our daily lives and reflect on how lucky we are. We all have something to be thankful for, whether family, friends, good health, or good luck; this is the perfect time to appreciate the good things in our lives.

We can find opportunities to be thankful even in our most difficult of circumstances. It can be something as small as a sunny day, acknowledging and appreciating it is what matters most.

I hope you all find something that you are thankful for this year, and are able to spend the holiday with those that mean the most to you. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving long weekend!


Tiny Mayor’s Monthly Column

The joint firefighter recruitment is underway in Tiny, Tay, Penetanguishene, Midland and Georgian Bay. Tiny is looking for dedicated community members to join the ranks as volunteer firefighters. View the online Orientation Guide or attend an information session on October 7 (Tiny Station 2, Wyevale) or October 19 (Midland Fire Station) to learn about the position, recruitment process, training and important dates. Apply by October 25 at 4pm.

Congratulations to the Balm Beach Family Fun Day organizers for another successful event, attended by over 2000 people on July 28th. The 2018 and 2019 events fundraised over $18,000, which will be combined with the Township’s Downtown Revitalization Program grant to construct a playground at Balm Beach. What an exciting example of community cooperation! 

We need your input on the accessibility features of the Balm Beach playground. A review of the project and proposed accessibility features will be provided at the Town Hall Meeting (Thursday, September 19, 7pm to 9pm, Wyebridge Community Centre, 8340 Hwy 93). Stop by to learn about the project, provide your feedback and get to know your local Council. 

At Tiny’s August 16th Farm Crawl, over 50 ‘crawlers’ explored Windlee Farms, Dubeau Family Farm, Monpiero Farm, Belleroots and Bulbs of Fire. The day was such a hit that tickets have already sold out for the October 5th Farm Crawl. If you missed out this year, contact Maggie Off (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to be notified when the 2020 Farm Crawl dates are announced.

Save the Date:  Noel au Village (November 23) and the Wyevale Santa Claus Parade and Party (November 30).

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

Did You Know: Every year, Tiny hands out two awards to recognize volunteers whose work has made a positive impact on the community. Let us know who you feel should be awarded for their volunteer work. Submit your nomination by Thursday, October 24 at 4:30pm.

Until next month!

Mayor George Cornell


County of Simcoe Warden proclaims October 1, 2019 National Seniors Day

Midhurst/October 1, 2019 – County of Simcoe Warden George Cornell proclaims October 1, 2019 as National Seniors Day. By observing National Seniors Day, the County of Simcoe hopes to emphasize the importance of supporting our seniors with improved health, community and social services, to celebrate their tremendous contributions to our vibrant communities, and to ensure a high quality of life for aging residents for many years to come.

Simcoe County continues to experience rapid aging above both national and provincial averages. The proportion of adults aged 65 and over in Simcoe County is 18 per cent of the population compared to 16.7 per cent in Ontario and 16.9 per cent in Canada, with the population aged 65 and over expected to more than double over the next 20 years.

Through County-led initiatives and strong partnerships with local, regional and provincial organizations, the County of Simcoe works to improve the quality of life for senior residents. From the management of four County-operated long-term care homes, to Paramedic Services programs, to improved transportation through LINX transit, to our County-run Age-friendly Community Initiative, to County representation at key healthcare-related work-groups, the County of Simcoe is actively engaged on a variety of crucial services that impact seniors in Simcoe County. 

Age-Friendly Community Initiative

The County of Simcoe received funding from the Government of Ontario of as part of its Age-Friendly Community Planning Grant Program. The funding served to establish a baseline assessment of Simcoe County’s age-friendliness and to determine the recommendations for action according to scope of community responsibility. A variety of community engagement processes were used to collect feedback from residents 60 years of age and older, caregivers, and service providers of older adults to produce the Building an Age-Friendly Simcoe County - 2016 Community Needs Assessment, annual progress reports and the County’s Positive Aging Strategy. All these documents can be found at simcoe.ca/age-friendly.



Mayor Don’s Update - by Don Allen

Doors Open 2019 – Springwater 25th Anniversary

On September 21st the Cultural and Heritage Committees, with the assistance of Deputy Clerk Sasha Helmkay and Staff, created an event that incorporated the Province-wide “Doors Open” day with the special celebration of Springwater’s 25 Anniversary. We had 14 various groups from within the Township participate by bringing their artifacts, and history – and their people!  We partnered with the “Barn Quilt” folks from the County of Simcoe, and we had re-enactors (dressed in full regalia) from Fort Willow promoting the Fort. The last four Mayors’ “living history” video was well received and captures some interesting insights over the last 15 years of the Township present and past. The video is on the Springwater website available for all to ‘share’ through social media.

Backyard Chickens

In response to requests from residents, Council is reviewing “backyard chickens” in the Township of Springwater. Currently, chickens are only permitted on agriculturally-zoned areas with a minimum lot area of 86 acres. The Township is looking for feedback from residents on the potential of permitting backyard chickens in residential areas. Share your take on this matter by completing the survey online at www.springwater.ca/chickens or in person at the Township Administration Centre or any library branch. 

A public open house will be held on November 7, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Township Administration Centre (2231 Nursery Road, Minesing) to discuss the topic and obtain comments.

Off-Road Vehicles

Council in its last meeting approved directing Staff to continue with the review and report of the permitting of Off-Road Vehicles on Springwater roads and outlining the results of the public consultation process that was conducted and then to present to Council options for consideration.

Hasty Tracks Purchase

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) received a request by Springwater to purchase a portion of a Crown land property located at 1132 Snow Valley Road in the Township of Springwater, named Hasty Tracks. The Township intends to use the property for new capital construction projects. Facilities being considered include a Fire Station, multi-purpose recreational complex, multi-purpose outdoor fields and other public uses. The first facility proposed is a fire station. The remainder of the proposed development will be phased to meet the needs of the community. The land proposed for purchase by the Township is located on the east half of the property (approximately 40 to 50 acres).

This project purchase is being planned in accordance with guidelines under the Class Environmental Assessment for MNRF Resource Stewardship and Facility Development Projects. The following studies were completed on the site: Environmental Impact Study, Preliminary Stormwater Management Study, Stage 1 and 2 Archaeological Study, Phase 1 and 2 Environmental Site Assessment and Traffic Impact Study. The studies identified that the project will have no significant social, cultural and natural environmental impact. Mitigation measures have been developed based on the information obtained from the site assessments to further reduce environmental impacts on the site. A public information centre on the Class EA process and project evaluation and to receive comment from interested persons was held on September 26th at the Township office at 7pm. Public input and comment on the project will be incorporated into the planning process. Comments received before October 11, 2019 will be taken into consideration. For more information on the project, to submit comments, or to request further notice, please contact: Jeff Schmidt, CAO at the Township of Springwater.

50th Midhurst Autumnfest

The 50th annual Midhurst Autumnfest Fall Fair was a big success. Congratulations and thank you to the organizing committee, especially the three young students that took the lead this year—Hale Mahon, Ryan Khosrovaneh, and AJ Kapty—and Midhurst Community Recreation Association board members. Thank you also to all the local businesses that supported the event by sponsoring activities or participating as a vendor.

The Township was excited to officially open the new Midhurst Pavilion with friends, family, and neighbours. We hope community members enjoy the park’s new feature for picnics, family gatherings, holiday events and more.

Festival at Fort Willow

Visitors at the Festival at Fort Willow last weekend experienced history in action with displays, entertainment and re-enactments of life as it was over two centuries ago. On the students-only day, the site greeted nearly 1,000 students across Simcoe County for an interactive field trip. The Barrie Art Club joined festivities again by dressing up as re-enactors and painting in a collaboration with the public. Visitors of all ages could step up to the artist’s easel to try their hand at a few brush strokes of painting.

Thank you to the Rotary Club of Barrie that puts on a BBQ each year at the festival. Proceeds from the sale of food and beverages at the event are donated to the Friends of Historic Fort Willow to assist with their restoration efforts. Thank you also to the Friends of Historic Fort Willow and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority for everything they do to help make this annual event educational and fun. 

Community Improvement Plan

The Township of Springwater has a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) to support and encourage new development within the Township. The CIP also invests in façade improvements, new signage, and building renovations and improvements. There are eight CIP program areas available to eligible applicants, from permit fee rebates to historic property improvements. Council recently approved an application by a business in Elmvale to share in the cost of signage and exterior improvement for a total of $5,522. Learn more at www.springwater.ca/CIP

Elmvale Fall Fair

The Flos Agricultural Society will host the 159th annual Elmvale Fall Fair from October 10-12. As always, there will be agricultural displays, fair entries, rides, and games. The school parade will be held on Friday and the general parade will be held on Saturday. There will be many vendors inside the Elmvale Arena on Friday and Saturday for local shopping and interest clubs. Discounted admission wrist bands are available at G & S Computers in Elmvale from September 23 to October 10, 2019

The Elmvale Fall Fair Ambassador Competition will be held on October 11, which is an incredible opportunity for our community’s young leaders. Talented musicians will take to the stage each night, starting with country star Manny Blu.

Business Breakfast

The Township is hosting a complimentary Business Breakfast on October 24 at the Elmvale Arena to celebrate local business owners and operators. This is a great opportunity for local businesses to meet municipal staff and Council, network with other businesses, and learn more about available support programs in Simcoe County. If you own or operate a business in Springwater and haven’t already received your invitation, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to RSVP.

 Outdoor SaveStations

We’re proud to announce that Springwater is the first municipality to introduce numbers of outdoor SaveStations installed across Springwater at parks, community centres and library branches. Each SaveStation houses a life-saving defibrillator (AED), which residents and visitors can access at any time of day or night during an emergency. Free community AED/CPR training will be held this fall at various locations throughout the municipality. Details will be released soon - watch www.springwater.ca for updates.

Red Pine House Forestry Education Centre

I joined Warden George Cornell and fellow County Councillors, staff and area forestry partners on September 24 to unveil Simcoe County Museum's latest attraction—The Red Pine House: Forestry Education Centre. The Education Centre features an exploration area for children ages 3-9, where children can learn about different elements of Simcoe County Forests, and provides information on the life of a tree—from seed to harvesting. The Centre also includes historic artifacts such as a tree planter, seed board and double bitted axe, among other pieces. Interpretive panels depict the chronological history of the forests of Simcoe County. Details about the ongoing Kirtland's Warbler endangered species habitat restoration initiative are also highlighted.

The comments here reflect my perspective and do not necessarily represent those of the whole of Council.

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.


County Council Highlights
Committee of the Whole: September 10, 2019
County Council: September 24, 2019

Ambulance Donation and Grand Opening of The Red Pine House  Shortly before Council commenced on Tuesday, September 24, the Warden, County Councillors and staff gathered for a small ceremony to commemorate the County’s donation of a 6-year old ambulance and surplus Stryker stretcher to The Living Wish Foundation. Representatives from the non profit organization, which provides transportation and medical supervision for local patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses who wish to visit places of sentimental importance one last time, were pleased to receive the gift of a decommissioned County vehicle. This ambulance will serve as the organization’s sole patient transportation vehicle and enhance the lives of many local residents and families. 

In celebration of National Forestry Week, the County also held a Grand Opening event for the new Forestry Education Centre – The Red Pine House. The Red Pine House is located at the Simcoe County Museum, overlooking the Kirtland’s Warbler Forest and Habitat Restoration site. The building features an interactive learning area for children and youth, artifacts and history on Simcoe County Forests. In keeping with our Simcoe County Forests’ #GreenandGrowing self-sustaining operations, the education centre is a 100 per cent solar-powered timber structure that pays tribute to the forests’ deep-rooted history.

Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative Year 2 Funding for Social Housing Repairs In June 25, 2019, it was recommended to Council that Year 2 Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) funding in the amount of $1,357,820 be directed to the rental housing component, with the potential for another report to be introduced at a later date for Council’s consideration, regarding the use of the funding for rental development or social housing repair.

This week, Council approved that the $1,357,820 be directed towards the capital repair needs of social housing stock to offset some of the capital repair costs. With the use of OPHI Year 2 Rental Housing funding, the draft 2020 budget amount for capital repair loans will be reduced from $4.01 million to $2.63 million.

Applications to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada In 2011, the County of Simcoe entered into an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to establish a Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) in Simcoe County. The Simcoe County LIP Settlement strategies inform community-based planning to support the attraction, recruitment, integration, and retention of immigrants. In order to develop welcoming communities, strategic direction is critical in addressing newcomer needs and their barriers to integration.

This week, Council received a report that detailed the recently approved (in principal) federal funding application for the Simcoe County LIP. The recent application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is expected to provide the County of Simcoe with a new five-year funding agreement, beginning April 1, 2020, and ending March 31, 2025. The federal submission requested $1,893,241 over five years, including salary expenses for three full-time staff. Staff anticipate that confirmation of federal funding associated with the LIP submission will not be received until later this fall.

Surplus of County owned lands As part of any road widening project it is necessary for the County to acquire land from private properties along the frontage of the road to be widened. In some cases, the impact of the widening and the construction will interfere significantly with the owner’s ability to continue to use and enjoy their property, which results in the County purchasing the entire property as opposed to a portion along the frontage. With the County Road 90 project this scenario occurred at several locations, namely 5493 County Road 90, 5499 County Road 90 and 400 Mill Street.

This week, now that construction is almost complete, Council approved staff’s recommendation that the properties be declared surplus and sold in accordance with PFP Real Estate Acquisition and Disposition Policy. Staff’s recommendation that the subject property be sold by listing with a real estate firm or broker on the MLS system was also accepted by Council, as this method will reach the broadest area for potentially interested parties and will likely result in the greatest return on value for the properties.

Timber Sales Results – Summer 2019 Simcoe County has long recognized that forests and their many benefits and resources are essential to the long-term well-being of our environment, communities and economy. Commercial timber harvesting is just one of the treatments utilized to achieve the environmental, social and economic objectives identified in the Forest Management Plan. Approximately 1,000 hectares of Simcoe County Forests are inventoried annually. If harvesting is prescribed, trees are marked and tallied according to the prescription, and volume is estimated in order to provide detailed information to prospective buyers. The standing timber is then sold to the highest bidder as per County policy.

This week, Council received a report on annual timber sales, which encompass approximately 600 to 700 hectares, generally divided into 25 to 40 individual sales. The competitive bidding process resulted in excellent prices for all sales. Revenues result in a net operating balance surplus which is applied to the Forestry Reserve to be reinvested into forestry operations and the acquisition of additional forest lands

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 introduces The Red Pine House: Forestry Education Centre 

Midhurst/September 24, 2019 – Warden George Cornell was joined by fellow County Councillors, staff and area forestry partners on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 to unveil Simcoe County Museum’s latest attraction – The Red Pine House: Forestry Education Centre.

The new building aligns with the County’s #Green&Growing forestry program and pays tribute to the region’s deep-rooted forestry history. The Education Centre features an exploration area for children ages 3-9, where children can learn about different elements of Simcoe County Forests, and provides information on the life of a tree – from seed to harvesting. The Centre also includes historic artifacts such as a tree planter, seed board and double bitted axe, among other pieces. Interpretive panels depict the chronological history of the forests of Simcoe County, beginning with the Indigenous use of the land, European settlement and the exploitation of the forests in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, and the subsequent conservation efforts led by the County and area partners. Details about the ongoing Kirtland’s Warbler endangered species habitat restoration initiative are also highlighted.

In 1922, the County of Simcoe became the first municipality in the province to sign the Government of Ontario’s Agreement Forest program. Since its inception, the Simcoe County Forest has become the largest municipally-owned forest network in Ontario spanning almost 33,000 acres across 150 properties. More than 20-million trees have been planted and all County forests are considered working forests, which provides revenue to the County to reinvest into forestry initiatives and land acquisitions.  

Materials for Red Pine House were provided by the Haliburton Forest and acquired by the County from Forests Ontario as part of a fundraising initiative.

“The County is proud of its forestry roots and ongoing efforts to grow and expand our forestry program,” said Warden George Cornell. “It’s National Forestry Week and I encourage residents to visit one of our many forest tracts and check out The Red Pine House to learn more about our deep forestry history.”

Simcoe County Forests Quick Facts:

Growing forests                                                                      

Largest municipally-owned forest network in Ontario at 33,000 acres and growing

3,000+ new acres of forest purchased by the County since 2010

150+ properties across Simcoe County

20M+ trees planted within the Simcoe County Forests

Includes 4,000+ acres of wetlands, streams and valleylands

Healthy living

Estimated ecological value of $34M annually

700+ km of trails are managed through partnerships with area clubs

Open to the public for recreational activities

Working forests benefiting the economy

2,000+ acres thinned annually to maintain forest health

All forestry revenues reinvested back into the forest

$35,000 annual contribution to local tree planting

Leaders in invasive species management

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.­­­­­­