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A new $50,000 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario will allow the City, with support from the Downtown Barrie Business Association (BIA), to maintain a Digital Service Squad, helping small businesses, particularly in the downtown zone.
Digital Service Squad members support small businesses create a digital footprint. Funding for the grant is provided by FedDev Ontario, a federal program. In July 2019, the City got $40,000 to help downtown small businesses learn and adopt digital tools and processes.
“Smart recovery programs help build capacity for businesses that can give them lasting strength. Digital Main Street has proven to be effective in supporting small business at a time when many of them need it,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “I’m delighted to see the program expanding here in Barrie.”
Established in 2018, the Digital Main Street Ontario program was extended thanks to an investment of $42.5 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), and $7.45 million from the Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT).
The almost $50-million investment will help small businesses across Ontario pivot their operations to include online business models, regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers. The Ontario BIA Association administers the DMS grant program for Ontario’s main street small business.
Digital Service Squads are fundamental to Digital Main Street’s design and success, with trained specialists who meet with small business, at no cost, to help them improve their online presence. The squads assist with a number of activities, including developing a Google My Business profile, enhancing their social media presence and providing support of basic website and e-commerce set-up.
Squads will also assist qualified small businesses through the application process for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant, which includes an online assessment, online training modules and the development of a Digital Transformation Plan (DTP).

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Mayor Jeff Lehman

” The City has made necessary adjustments during COVID-19 to cut spending to compensate for reduced revenue, while still maintaining essential services to our residents” – Mayor Jeff Lehman


The City’s credit remains in readily good shape, with Standard & Poor (S&P) keeping Barrie’s credit rating at a ‘AA’ situation.
According to the financial services company’s latest report, the City’s outlook for the near future is stable. The report is issued annually from S&P, which offers services including credit ratings, data analysis, and equity research to private and public sectors worldwide.
“A better credit rating saves our taxpayers real dollars, as it reduces the interest costs on borrowing. In this way, good financial management helps us keep taxes down. The City has made necessary adjustments during COVID-19 to cut spending to compensate for reduced revenue, while still maintaining essential services to our residents,” says Mayor Jeff Lehman. The report attributes Barrie’s ‘AA’ rating to the City’s cost-containment efforts, a diverse and healthy economy, growing workforce, and strong operating balance. Although there may be some budgetary stresses due to the ongoing pandemic, S&P predicts a stable outlook for the City over the next two years.
“Our strong financial management practices have maintained our rating,” says Craig Millar, Director of Finance. “The steps staff have taken to minimize economic impacts over the last six months have helped protect the City’s financial future.” 

S&P Report Highlights:

• “Although COVID-19 will be a temporary shock to the City of Barrie, the city will proceed with its healthy growth rates and plans to diversify its economy once the effects of the pandemic subside.”
• “Financial management will continue to demonstrate prudence, allowing the city to generate healthy operating surpluses and keep its debt burden manageable, despite the pandemic-related operating pressures.”
To read the full report, visit barrie.ca/Finance

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Businesses are reopening as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but after closer reflection it appears that offering Barrie high school students free rides aboard Barrie Transit is a notion whose time has not yet arrived – at least not as far as the district’s school boards are concerned.
Last month city council adopted a motion, originally put forward by Ward 10 councillor Mike McCann, to investigate the feasibility of providing free transit to students until Dec. 31, to help fill in COVID-19-related transit gaps of students finishing classes before school buses are available.
The idea was to provide free transit service from an hour following the end of school at bus stops adjacent to secondary schools. Staff in the Transit and Parking Strategy Department were also to look into the feasibility of a more permanent solution to free busing for students.
Staff reached out to the Simcoe County District School Board, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, the area’s French language school boards, and the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium (SCSTC), getting feedback from the consortium and the public school board.
According to a staff report, they weren’t particularly receptive to the plan.
“City staff reached out to the school boards to receive feedback regarding the initial motion. Feedback was received … indicating they would not be in support of the motion if it encouraged students to depart prior to the end of the scheduled school day,” reads the report.
“However, they were encouraged that the City was continuing to explore opportunities and develop upon programs already in place between the City and SCSTC.”
Staff, according to the report, will continue to investigate a longer-term solution to providing students with free transit, and report back to council in 2021.
Adjusting to COVID-19 realities, school boards in Ontario have adopted protocols to enhance distancing, which includes the SCSTC adjusting its “transportation services to accommodate the student’s transportation needs yet adhere to the required in-school time,” reads the report.
The school day typically runs from 8 a.m to 2 p.m., with buses dropping students off 15 to 20 minutes before classes begin, and picking them up shortly after the school day ends.
“Unlike other school board transportation consortia in other regions of the province, SCSTC have not observed any service level concerns or pressures during the high school transportation windows either before or after school,” reads the report.
Before boarding the bus in the morning, students are required to:
• Conduct daily self-assessments before going to their bus stops
• Practice physical distancing at bus stops
• Wear face coverings and follow assigned seating plans
The report also advises general committee that allowing students to ride for free would put additional pressure on Barrie Transit, which is operating at about 85 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 levels, due to distancing measures.
“Based on the fact that many of these schools have 1,000+ students, there is the potential to put significant pressure on the already limited bus capacities and could negatively affect the current riders who depend on the service for essential travel to work, appointments, groceries, etc.”
The health unit also raised concerns.
“While the SMDHU commends the spirit and goodwill of the motion in increasing ridership and providing benefit to students to encourage public transit as a mode of transportation, considering the region is firmly in the second wave of the pandemic there are concerns with encouraging additional ridership on the public transit system at this time.”

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Seniors 80 years of age and older have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, having both the highest incidence and case fatality rates; however, younger adults between 18 and 34 years had the highest rate of infection since June.

Latest health unit COVID-19 update reports 1,099 confirmed cases, 42 deaths, and more cases so far in October than in all of September

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region is pushing 1,100, with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reporting today (Thursday) 1,099 confirmed cases, 18 more than the day before.
Recent cases include one confirmed at Innisdale Secondary School, and 38 connected to a long-term care home in New Tecumseth. The health unit updates daily, Monday through Friday. Of the current cases, 915 have recovered while deaths have risen to 42.
According to the unit’s pandemic trajectory, the seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka steadily increased from early August to early October, from less than one case per day to more than 14 cases per day. Other findings include:
• The effective reproductive number for a given period of time or Rt is the average number of secondary cases that a new case will infect. If Rt is greater than one it indicates that the spread of COVID-19 in Simcoe Muskoka is growing, and if Rt is less than one, the spread of COVID-19 is slowing and containment/mitigation efforts may be working to keep the outbreak under control.
• While the rate of new COVID-19 infections decreased for all age groups until June, from July to September younger adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years have had the highest rate of infection – more than triple any other age-group.
• The rate of new cases among males were more than five times higher in September when compared to the rates in July and August. The rate of new cases among females tripled in September when compared with July and August.
Highlights of the latest update are:
• For the week beginning Oct. 4, there were 110 new cases reported by the health unit, which is now the largest number of weekly cases reported and is 50 per cent higher than the previous week’s total. This includes 38 cases associated with a long-term care home outbreak in New Tecumseth. There have been more cases reported so far in October than were reported in all of September.
• The vast majority of COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka have recovered from the infection.
• Seniors 80 years of age and older have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, having both the highest incidence and case fatality rates; however, younger adults between 18 and 34 years had the highest rate of infection since June.
• The rate of COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka is highest among those that live in areas that are moderately or well resourced, as measured by the Ontario Marginalization Index. For more information on the impact of marginalization on COVID-19 infection in Simcoe Muskoka see the full reportand summary presentation.
• The rate of COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka is highest among those that live in areas with greater ethnic diversity when compared to areas with lower ethnic diversity as measured by the Ontario Marginalization Index. For more information on the impact of COVID-19 infections in culturally diverse areas of Simcoe Muskoka see the full report and summary presentation.
• There are outbreaks in long-term care facilities and retirement home in our area. See the list of current institutional outbreaks for more details. 
Other information:
Estimating Local COVID-19 Transmission
Tables of Case Counts by Age, Status & Transmission
Epidemic Curve by Date of Symptom Onset
Actions individuals can take everyday to protect themselves and others include:
• Stay home as much as possible (this applies to people who have not travelled outside of the country or who are not self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19 and must stay at home.
• Practise physical distancing by keeping two metres between you and another person, unless they are members of your household.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.
If you need immediate medical attention you should call 911 and tell them your symptoms and if you have travelled.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit used a simulation model developed by the University of Toronto to help us understand the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in our area. Please see the linked presentation for more details.
In summary, the results suggest:
• Intense physical distancing, or moderate physical distancing with increased case finding and isolation, is the best way to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.
• Without physical distancing being applied for at least 12 of the next 24 months, it is projected that Ontario would not have enough hospital ICU beds.
• Applying physical distancing in a repeated way could prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed and allow mental health and economic breaks for everyone.
A repeated cycle of physical distancing would lift physical distancing rules to allow people to return to a more ‘normal’ life and then restore physical distancing rules as cases start to re-appear.

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Officers wearing body-cameras during the pilot project will issue pamphlets with information to a survey link to all investigative contacts that are recorded for their input and feedback.

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Barrie’s frontline, uniformed police officers are wearing body cameras as part of a pilot program that launched Oct. 13, and has been four years in the works.
The Barrie Police Service has been working since 2016 to implement body-worn cameras. After extensive research and work with other organizations across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, and a careful analysis of the results of other implementations, the service says it is ready to move forward with a pilot project.
“I look forward to the results of the body-worn camera pilot project and the benefits it will bring as a tool to support our commitment to community safety and our officers,” police chief Kimberly Greenwood said earlier in the summer. “We have been working on this initiative for a number of years and it’s very timely that we are ready to launch the pilot project as body-worn cameras have recently been discussed by a number of services.”
Cameras will be worn attached to the officers’ uniforms (usually on the chest) and will capture video and audio evidence during investigative police interactions. The video captured will provide visual evidence to be used in court proceedings, but will also contribute to transparency in our community. 
Officers wearing body-cameras during the pilot project will issue pamphlets with information to a survey link to all investigative contacts that are recorded for their input and feedback.  The information collected in the public survey will assist the Barrie Police Service in evaluating body-worn cameras in our community.
 An FAQ document is available online by visiting www.barriepolice.ca and addresses questions around when the cameras will be activated, privacy concerns, and how the information is stored.

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Data shows that between January and May, there were 44 confirmed and probable opioid-related deaths in Simcoe Muskoka, 50 per cent higher than the comparable average for the previous three years.


“We need to come together and create a safe space with clean injection supplies, care and compassion and reconnect our most vulnerable citizens with society and much needed health services.” – Dr. Valerie Grdisa, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Mental Health Association, Simcoe County Branch

The search for a supervised consumption site (SCS) is back on, with the site selection advisory committee focusing on two downtown locations: 110 Dunlop Street West and 31 Toronto Street.
The Toronto Street location features a structure at the back of the property that would serve as the SCS. The committee is also providing an opportunity for residents to voice their opinions on the locations through an online survey, available at www.smdhu.org/SCS until October 30. A paper copy of the survey can be mailed out by calling 1-877-721-7520, ext. 7333, leaving a voice mail.
“The opioid crisis has not abated during COVID-19. It has continued to be a tragic problem in our region and particularly in Barrie, which has been disproportionally impacted by a recent increase in opioid-related deaths,” said Dr. Lisa Simon, Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
The applicants had previously focused on 90 Mulcaster Street as a location for an SCS. The property is owned by the Canadian Mental Heart Association (CMHA), adjacent to the Busby Street Centre. That process included community consultations, but encountered opposition. In April, the search for a site was put on hold due to resource challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The unit is a co-applicant for the SCS, along with the CMHA Simcoe Branch, as the lead applicant. The survey aims to gather views from people who live, work, own a business or go to school in Barrie, on the proposed sites. The two properties were deemed the most viable by the committee, following a search process and a criteria-based comparison of the location options.
Data shows that between January and May, there were 44 confirmed and probable opioid-related deaths in Simcoe Muskoka, 50 per cent higher than the comparable average for the previous three years. Nineteen (or 43 per cent) of these deaths occurred in Barrie, which has a quarter of the region’s population.
Advocates for supervised consumption sites say they help save lives and create safer communities, providing a safe and clean environment for people to use their own drugs under the care of nursing staff. They can connect clients to treatment for addictions and mental illness, and other health and social services. 
“The (SCS) is a fundamental element of our overall strategy to address the escalating opioid crisis that has had such a profound impact on our community,” said Dr. Valerie Grdisa, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Mental Health Association, Simcoe County Branch. “We need to come together and create a safe space with clean injection supplies, care and compassion and reconnect our most vulnerable citizens with society and much needed health services.”
The survey, which is voluntary and anonymous, is part of public consultations on a proposed SCS in downtown Barrie as a service for people who use drugs. Virtual facilitated community consultations will also be offered for addresses and occupants within 250 metres of the two locations later this fall. 
The application for a SCS is part of the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy’s (SMOS) Action Plan. SMOS is a large partnership of agencies, organizations and individuals working to address the crisis of opioid use and overdose in the region. For more information on the SMOS Action Plan and related work, visit www.preventod.ca
For more information on SCSs, including the local SCS application history and the recent work of the Advisory committee, visit www.smdhu.org/SCS or call Health Connection at 1-877-721-7520 or 705-721-7520 weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

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“We face one of the most significant global health and economic challenges in more than a century – with far-reaching implications we have yet to comprehend. We need graduates not only as innovators, skilled workers and professionals who will play a vital role in the resurgence and growth of our economy, but as citizens who will work to improve and strengthen our communities.” – Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO, Georgian College


Opinion by Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO of Georgian College

Businesses are reopening as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

With Thanksgiving weekend just around the corner, I’ve been reflecting on what an extraordinary seven months it has been for Georgian students, employees and our extended college family. I’ve always been proud to be Georgian’s president and that pride has only deepened during this challenging time. The entire college community has shown tremendous perseverance and collective resolve as we continue to adapt to our new teaching, learning and working reality and navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
It is also evident to me that now, more than ever, we need Georgian graduates. We face one of the most significant global health and economic challenges in more than a century – with far-reaching implications we have yet to comprehend. We need graduates not only as innovators, skilled workers and professionals who will play a vital role in the resurgence and growth of our economy, but as citizens who will work to improve and strengthen our communities.
Georgian graduates will be the resilient leaders who define and influence a better future for us all. These changemakers offer our world immense hope – hope for a more just society, hope for creating flourishing businesses and workplaces, hope for a stronger, safer, and healthier planet. I’m confident of this because I’ve seen firsthand what Georgian students are capable of during this pandemic.
Many students quickly learned what might be the ultimate lesson in the classroom of life: things don’t often go as planned. What matters is how we respond and the mindset we choose to adopt.
They’ve had an opportunity to put into practice skills we know today’s employers are looking for – ones like empathy, creativity, innovative thinking and problem solving. They’ve shown up for themselves and each other, even on difficult days, reminding me and everyone else around them that we really are stronger together. 
Early on in the pandemic, students were among Georgian’s research and innovation teams that heeded the call for help from our health-care partners and manufactured temporary face shields. They also collaborated with Orillia-based Kubota Materials Canada Corporation to put its two 3D printers to use to produce and supply parts for masks and face shields.
Since then, Georgian students have continued to support industry and community remotely through various projects – everything from developing a robot cell to help a company expand its product line, to conducting a deep statistical study full of insights into a local business’ marketing approach.
Our students worked in tandem with staff to plant and harvest a community garden at the Barrie Campus. Hundreds of kilograms of food were donated to local charities as a result.
More recently, Georgian announced students will be part of two Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada applied research grant projects that aim to benefit health-care workers during COVID-19 through a partnership with Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. Our health-care workers have been absolute heroes during COVID-19 and this $150,000 in research funding will help us understand and help to address their needs moving forward.
I could go on, but these are just a few examples of how, despite the circumstances, our students have stood up as leaders and shown us there can be a brighter tomorrow. Thank you to our community, industry and government partners for providing them with ongoing, generous support. 
This month, almost 2,000 students across all Georgian programs join our alumni family of more than 85,000 graduates. They’ve proven earning a credential during a global pandemic is possible – that getting up, standing tall and pushing forward is possible, even in the face incredible uncertainty.
These graduates will be part of our recovery and solutions for whatever challenges we face next. We need them. You need them. Our workplaces and communities need them.
On behalf of the Georgian community, I wish you and your loved ones a healthy fall season.
Be safe, stay well, choose kindness and, like our students, share hope.

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The east and west sides of Barrie divided by Highway 400 will be more connected next summer, as the bridge joining Harvie and Big Bay Point roads is scheduled to open.
All roadwork on the east side of the bridge will be complete and open to traffic by late October. All roadwork west of the Harvie Road reservoir is wrapping up as well, and Harvie will reopen by the end of this month.
The project is near completion and had an anticipated completion date of early November. Construction has progressed well, but the nature of remaining work, combined with uncertain weather conditions, makes the opening of the bridge by the end of October unlikely.
The east side of the bridge will be complete by late October, but the west side of the bridge requires further work, including bringing in fill to build up the embankment to meet the bridge, water main installation and asphalt work. The project contractor has made the decision to shut down operations for the winter at the end of October. While working into November and December may be possible, dependent on weather, there is work that can’t be completed in low temperatures or under wet conditions. Work will be shut down over the winter months and will restart in spring 2021.
It’s estimated that the entire project will be complete by late June 2021. This major $76 million project has been carefully designed and constructed over the last four years to help reduce traffic congestion in Barrie’s south end. This final work will ensure that the project is completely ready for public use, including active transportation options, by next year.
Over the last 10 months, the following work has taken place on this project:​​
• construction of the centre pier, and the east and west abutments
• formwork and reinforcing steel for the bridge
• delivery and placement of fill material for the east and west embankments
• installation of storm sewers and water-mains
• installation of 26 bridge girders and concrete pouring for the bridge deck
• paving of the new road surfaces and pouring of concrete sidewalks
When complete, the bridge will have five lanes for vehicle traffic, two separate lanes for bicycles and two sidewalks for pedestrians. Visit barrie.ca/roadwork for more information.

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Businesses are reopening as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

Georgian College is using $150,000 in applied research grants in partnership with Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care for two projects that aim to benefit health-care workers.
The funding comes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada special College and Community Innovation Program – Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19 fund. All projects are intended to address topics of immediate relevance to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Georgian and Waypoint identified two project ideas – one focused on health-care workers in the return-to-work period, and the other on an online mindfulness training program for health-care professionals. Both projects are already in progress with applications approved by both Waypoint and Georgian Research Ethics Boards.
Faculty and staff from both the college and the hospital will be involved in the execution of the projects, as well as alumni and co-op students from Georgian’s Research Analyst program.
“We’re looking forward to partnering with Waypoint on ways to support health-care workers who have been absolute heroes during COVID-19,” said Mira Ray, Director, Research and Innovation at Georgian. “And Waypoint is already a valuable partner for us as many students from our health, wellness and sciences, computer studies and business programs complete their clinical training, field work, or co-op work terms at the hospital.”
The first project, titled Effects of Covid-19 on Health-care Providers: Opportunities for Education and Support, or ECHOES, addresses how COVID-19 has unsettled daily life for everyone, especially health-care providers who already experience high stress, anxiety, and depression in their workplaces.
Research will involve individual interviews, focus groups, and surveys to understand the experiences and needs of mental health-care providers from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions (e.g., social isolation, work- and home-life restructuring) as they return to work with fewer restrictions. Secondly, the project will develop education and support tools for mental health-care providers to help them build awareness and resiliency, and improve teamwork so these essential workers may continue to deliver quality mental health care during pandemic recovery. 
The second project is titled Mindfulness to Combat Health-care Worker Burnout during COVID-19: Evaluating a 4-week Tailored Program. Mindfulness programs are known to decrease physician burnout and while typically face-to-face delivery has been the favoured instructional method, with COVID-19 restrictions, the second research project will evaluate the efficacy of online mindfulness for health-care workers, as well as long-term maintenance effects.
Waypoint will implement a four-week online mindfulness training program adapted from the Mindfulness Without Borders Mindfulness Ambassador Program, an evidence-based curriculum rooted in social and emotional development. It will be delivered by certified Waypoint facilitators, and open to all health-care workers across the North Simcoe Muskoka area.
“We are excited to partner with Georgian on these important projects to support health-care workers and anticipate many more collaborations in the future,” said Dr. Nathan Kolla, Vice-President, Research and Academics, Waypoint. “
Waypoint is committed to being a leader and trusted partner to shape health-care that meets unique community needs, which includes health-care workers themselves. We believe the online mindfulness component and targeted education and support tools of these projects will do just that.”
The funding will support project costs such as faculty course release, research assistants and/or research associates, supplies, knowledge transfer and dissemination activities over the course of one year.

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Michelle Leblanc (right) came out to the Growler’s Market with her daughter Sarah Resendes on Sept. 29 at the Barrie Campus and picked up goodie bags filled with cool Georgian swag. Both women are first-year Georgian College students.


More than 500 first-year students registered to attend Georgian’s free swag giveaway on Sept. 29 and 30 in one of the parking lots at the Barrie Campus.
Growler’s Market welcomed new students and provided them with an opportunity to collect a goodie bag of swag items they would typically be given at an on-campus orientation event to kick off the semester.
Michelle Leblanc attended the event with her daughter Sarah Resendes. Both women are first-year students at the Barrie Campus. Leblanc is enrolled in the Business program and Resendes in the Esthetician program.
“It was really great for my daughter and I to meet some of our fellow students and get a bit of the college life experience,” said Leblanc. “This is our first time going to college and we’re excited.”
The students were given a goodie bag that included a water bottle, buffs, pens, student planner, hand sanitizer, lanyard and a Grizzly mask.
“We wanted to ensure this opportunity for personal connection with our new students was not lost,” said Sheona Morrison, Manager, Student Leadership and Transition Programs.
Morrison added that the welcome team worked diligently to develop a safe and accessible event plan.
“It’s very important for us to continue to build community – both on our campus and virtually – to welcome and empower our new and returning students,” she said.
“We also wanted to personally thank our new learners for choosing to become part of our Grizzly family. And we were excited to interact with our new students on campus and provide them with a number of goodies and swag items.”
Other Georgian campuses will be hosting similar opportunities for students to receive their swag.

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The City’s planning staff produced a user-friendly growth report, prompting both praise and additional questions from planning committee

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The City’s planning committee got its first look at the planning department’s new approach to reporting growth recently, and the method gandered praise but also questions about data not included.
“For the growth report this year we really wanted an easy-to-understand report showing meaningful metrics demonstrating the movement of land through land-use planning, development approvals, construction, and complete communities in the city over the past year, really looking at going from vacant land to people living in our community and capturing the data along the way,” said Michelle Banfield, Director of Development Services.
“The entire report is … infographic style that summarizes the key activities of 2019.”
 Highlights of the report include: 
• 110 development applications received
• 2,060 residential units approved
• $43.8 million development charges collected 
• 10 hectares of land dedicated for public open space/environmental protection
• 312 additional households
• $76 Million in value of ICI (industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) and multi-residential construction) permits  
“You, as our council, are going to be seeing the impact of that growth, not only by people living in our community, but also the costs … associated with supporting (growth), costs that really come to light during the time of budget when you are asked to look at capital plans, projects and the associated operating costs,” said Banfield.
The report, and its longer six-page version, dealt with land use, development approvals, construction, and complete communities.

[continue reading…]
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The Barrie Police Service is appealing to the public for assistance after a female was sexually assaulted at Hurst Park, located at 34 Hurst Drive, on Oct. 1, between 9-10 p.m.
Police were made aware of an occurrence in which a female was walking her dog in the park. The investigation is being conducted by the Barrie Police Service Crimes Against Person Unit and the Criminal Investigations Bureau. Officers will be conducting a canvass in the area of Hurst Drive and are asking for anyone with video surveillance contact the police.
Detectives have determined that the person, who is believed to be responsible for this assault, is described as:
• Male, white, between the age of 16 to 26 years of age, 5’8″ slim build with shaved blonde hair, and wearing an Under Armour top, unknown colour.
Anyone with information with regards to this incident is asked to call 705-728-5629 or 705-725-7025, ext. 2700, send an email to tips@barriepolice.ca, by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.
Further details and updates will only be provided as the investigation permits. The Barrie Police Service reminds the public to be aware of their personal safety at all times and where possible, to avoid dark areas unless artificial lighting is available, especially during the overnight hours.

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• From the desk of Catherine McCullough, Interim Director of Education, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, in a message to parents and guardians

“We have experienced situations related to COVID-19 in our schools and I can confidently say that our process and protocols are working well.” – Catherine McCullough

Dear SMCDSB Families,

I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out to families as we continue to navigate what has been a difficult, but also hopeful school start-up. There have been some challenges along the way, but the care, support and patience demonstrated by our students, staff and families has been nothing short of incredible. We have experienced situations related to COVID-19 in our schools and I can confidently say that our process and protocols are working well. We continue to respond, adapt and make improvements to our processes so that we can provide the best possible academic experience for our students in the safest way possible. 
I encourage you to take a look at our first Faith Matters newsletter for this school year. The mosaic of the word hope on the first page of this edition was created during Catholic Education Week last May, when families responded to a request for photos showing how they were spending time together during lockdown. This mosaic is an incredible show of unity and provides us with inspiration as we continue to adjust to our new reality.
Currently there is a rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our region, which makes it even more important for everyone to do their part to stop the spread. The decisions we make each and every day make a difference in protecting you as well as all those in your school community. To that end, I would like to remind families of the following:
• Use the province’s Covid-19 School Self Screening Tool every single day before sending your child to school or on the school bus. It’s a quick and useful way to decide whether it’s okay to attend school.
• Install the Covid tracking app on your mobile phone, as another layer of protection. It’s safe, secure, and the more people that use it, the more effective it will be.
• Finally, plan to  get a flu shot as soon as they become available. This year, more than ever, it’s important to protect ourselves, and safeguard the resources of our health care system.
Reinforce physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and mask wearing with your child – these are small things we must all do for the benefit of everyone. 
I would like to thank everyone for their continued support and I do encourage you to read the faith-filled messaging in this month’s edition of Faith Matters.

Yours in Faith,
Catherine McCullough
Interim Director of Education

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Businesses are reopening as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

COVID-19 worries are keeping Santa from coming to town, at least for the annual parade bearing the jolly guy’s name.
The Barrie Chamber of Commerce’s Santa Claus Parade and Downtown Barrie’s Tree Lighting Celebration have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both organizations were hopeful about bringing these long-time favourites to the downtown this Christmas season, but organizers have made the difficult decision to cancel them due to the public health risks associated with mass gatherings. The events were due to take place on Saturday, Nov. 21.
There will still be lots to do this Christmas season in downtown Barrie, though. Residents and visitors can explore the new Dunlop streetscape while checking out all that’s planned for Noella in the City: Rotary Festival of Trees in Meridian Place and Heritage Park, festive window displays in downtown businesses, the Noella Tree & Wreath Lot in support of Hospice Simcoe, and the well-known and loved Holly Days.
Stay up-to-date on all things Noella by visiting noella.downtownbarrie.ca and following us on social media @downtownbarrie.
The chamber is intent on maintaining the history of the parade, as this is quite likely the first time the event has been cancelled since World War II. It has been working on an online format that will keep Santa in hearts and minds this Christmas season, while shopping local and supporting the regional economy. Watch for our official Santa Tour launch details in the coming weeks. 

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Businesses are reopening as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

The City’s draft of the new official plan and city-wide urban design guidelines are now available for a 90-day review and comment period.
“The Official Plan is a foundational document that sets out the high-level community structure to help manage the direction of city growth over the next 20 years and beyond,” explains Andrea Miller, General Manager of Infrastructure and Growth Management.
“This project is the culmination of extensive community engagement, policy direction from Council, and ongoing technical work by staff in many departments.”
Accompanying the release of the draft plan, is the design guidelines document.
Together, these documents will establish a new policy framework needed for the continued planning of Barrie as a complete community. They will also introduce a level of policy direction to ensure residents, businesses, and the City share an aligned vision for Barrie’s future.
“The new policy documents provide a clear set of expectations and bring more certainty for both the community and those who want to invest and develop in Barrie,” adds Miller.
In accordance with the Planning Act, R.S.O 1990, the City is welcoming feedback on the draft plan and design guidelines throughout the next 90 days.
“Staff will continue public engagement efforts over the next 90 days, and we look forward to receiving community input as we get ready to finalize the documents,” says Michelle Banfield, Director of Development Services.
Following the 90-day public consultation period, staff will make any necessary updates to the documents and prepare the draft plan for further consultation at the statutory public open house and public meeting scheduled for spring 2021.
Residents are invited to visit buildingbarrie.ca/OfficialPlan to review the documents and learn how they can provide their feedback.

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 Shanicka Edwards, President and CEO of Shak’s World, enters the Shak’s World Community Centre location at 59-A Maple Avenue. Photo courtesy of Michèle Newton/Konvo Media 


Shak’s World Community Centre is set to open its doors in November, operating from a downtown location at 59-A Maple Avenue.
The centre, Shak’s World says in a press release, will provide youth from across Simcoe County with access to elite-level programs, deploying basketball, innovation, and mentorship as a bridge to youth employment, education, and training. The new, youth-led urban community development project is designed to tackle some of the underlying issues that can lead to youth addiction, homelessness, and mental health challenges. 
“My life experiences have shown me how important it is to have a community and to have support. I know how opening Shak’s World Community Centre fills a critical need for belonging, health and wellness and inclusion in our community,” says Shanicka Edwards, president and CEO, Shak’s World.
“Without a community, especially as a young person, you may end up in the wrong places. If no one turns you around, you could remain there for the rest of your life.”
Through low-cost and free programming and services, SWCC plans to encourage a positive and stable environment for youth to take steps in defining and implementing direction in their lives. The programming leads are all 29 years of age and under, including a complement of mentors from the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program (NBYMP), and coaches from Canada Basketball. 
Ontario Basketball also supports Shak’s World initiatives with giveaways and prizes. 
“Mentorship is such an underrated concept that many youth unfortunately do not have access to. By connecting youth to various pro basketball athletes, coaches and other parents that they can relate to, this will undoubtedly help to build confidence, courage and their awareness between right and wrong,” says Kevin Wilson, Founder and President of NBYMP.
The centre will welcome youth from across Simcoe County between the ages of seven and 17, to participate in a one-year, three-phase community integration program and 10-week basketball training programs. There will be a specific focus on engaging youth from several of Barrie’s higher-need neighbourhoods. To overcome COVID-19 limitations to in-person interactions, SWCC will use technology to effectively implement their programming.
Helping to finance SWCC is the monthly rental of several community offices in the building. While there are still rental opportunities, the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association and NewPath have committed to renting office space for the upcoming 12 months.
Financial support for SWCC through sponsorships and donations, including in-kind donations (like sporting goods), is needed on an ongoing basis. Donations may be made by e-transfer to info@shaksworld.com or through PayPal. Inquiries for monthly and occasional rental space may also be made by emailing info@shaksworld.com
“Everything I’ve done and continue to do, is to … build the community I never had when I was a kid,” Edwards says.
“It takes a community to raise children. It is going to take all of us, together, to give these youth a safe space they deserve and need to be successful today—with all the resources, activities, and access to like-minded people.”

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Businesses are reopening as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

The Province is spending $1.07 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and case and contact management, and is also immediately investing $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province’s long-term care homes, retirement homes and schools.
These investments are part of the Province’s plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19. Details were provided Thursday by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health.
“We’ve put over $1 billion on the table to help track, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19 through the largest and most robust pandemic testing initiative in the country,” said Ford. “By ramping up our daily testing capacity to 50,000 tests and closely monitoring our long-term care homes and schools, we can quickly respond to any outbreaks and surges and stop the spread of this deadly virus in its tracks.”

Expanding testing and case and contact management

A critical part of Ontario’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan is encouraging people to continue to adhere to foundational public health measures and monitor public health trends carefully.
“As part of our plan to ensure the health system’s readiness for future waves of COVID-19, our government is dramatically expanding our testing capacity, launching more testing locations and adding more case and contact management resources to trace and isolate new cases,” said Elliott. “In doing so, we will also support long-term care homes, schools and hospitals to effectively prevent, track and contain outbreaks of COVID-19.”
Steps by the Province to maintain adherence to public health measures and established a strong foundation for testing and case and contact management, include:
• Establishing a provincial COVID-19 lab network with capacity for more than 40,000 daily tests
• Establishing over 150 assessment centres
• Testing long-term care home residents and staff in addition to the ongoing testing of staff and homes in outbreak
• Providing up to 1,700 more contact tracers to support public health units in contact follow-ups through an agreement with the federal government
• Launching a new, custom-built case and contact management digital system to improve data quality and timeliness and eliminate the use of the multiple tools being used across the province and the integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) for COVID-19
• Launching COVID Alert, the country’s made-in-Ontario exposure notification app
• Launching a robust public awareness campaign to educate the public on how to keep them and their families safe, including targeted campaigns to young Ontarians
Building on these efforts, the Province plans to strengthen public health measures and continue to expand testing and case and contact management through the following:
More Testing Locations: Working with Ontario Health, local public health units and hospitals, Ontario will expand testing locations based on local needs to provide Ontarians with more access to testing and reduce testing wait times. This will include adding more testing locations such as primary care offices, at-home testing for certain home and community care clients, and starting on Friday, September 25, 2020, in participating pharmacies
More Testing Options: Ontario will ensure health professionals can provide more people with timely and convenient tests by expanding the methods for COVID-19 testing. Less invasive collection methods, such as throat, nasal swabbing and saliva collection will now be used in addition to nasopharyngeal swabs to test for COVID-19. Starting this week, three Ontario hospitals are offering saliva collection, with more assessment centres offering this option in the coming weeks. The province continues to review innovative technologies, such as rapid and point of care tests, to ensure Ontarians have access to leading and faster testing options
More Testing Capacity: Ontario will continue to expand the capacity of the provincial lab network so more tests can be processed and testing targets can be achieved. This includes hiring more lab staff and professional staff and improving data quality through digitizing requisition forms and other automated features. As a first step, the province will increase testing capacity to conduct up to 50,000 daily tests
More Case and Contact Managers: Ontario will continue to add case and contact management staff to prevent the spread of the virus. There are currently more than 2,750 case and contact management staff active across all public health units tracing and managing COVID-19 cases, up from approximately 1,500 staff in the spring. An additional 500 Statistics Canada employees are being onboarded this month to assist with contact management and Ontario is hiring an additional 500 contact tracers. In total, there will be more than 3,750 case and contact management staff working to keep Ontarians safe
Better Health Behaviour Information: Ontario will conduct health behaviour surveillance to track adherence to public health measures across Ontario and to help understand how to better communicate the importance and benefit of continuing to follow public health measures.
To measure success in these efforts, Ontario will track progress against the following:
• Faster turnaround time for testing: 80 per cent of test results delivered within 48 hours
• Maintain test positivity rate under three per cent
• Ensure sufficient case management and contact tracing capacity to continue reaching 90 per cent of cases within 24 hours
• Compliance with public health measures (based on health behaviour surveillance data)
In support of these efforts, the province has also released new testing guidance to help focus public resources on where they are needed the most.

Quickly Identify, Manage and Prevent Outbreaks

With the flu and cold season approaching and a potential second wave of COVID-19, Ontario will invest $30 million to build on its efforts to rapidly identify and contain any COVID-19 outbreaks. To date, Ontario has worked to improve outbreak prevention and management by:
• Deploying hospital infection prevention and control (IPAC) resources to provide ongoing support to long-term care homes
• Naming Dr. Dirk Huyer as Coordinator of Provincial Outbreak Response to work collaboratively with all ministries, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health units to prevent, minimize and manage outbreaks, including in schools, long-term care homes, retirement homes, child care centres, farms and hospitals
• Developing a COVID-19 surveillance strategy to monitor the disease and detect cases and outbreaks in a timely manner, including in long-term care homes and schools
• Launching a new, custom-built case and contact management digital system for rapid identification of cases to speed up outbreak management response times
For more on this, click here.

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Devine musings

Businesses are reopening as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

Perhaps the biggest surprise about the number of COVID-19 deaths in Canada’s long-term care (LTC) homes is that people are surprised at all. After all, we’ve known about the troubles in that sector for a very long time.
Here’s a number that tells a stark tale. According to an analysis by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, more than 80 per cent of all COVID-connected deaths in Canada occurred in long-term care facilities. That’s almost double the average found in other OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, where the average COVID death rate in LTC homes was 42 per cent.
Premier Doug Ford announced this week the creation of a commission to investigate how the virus spread through long-term care homes, and what can be done to fix the problems by the time the next virus comes calling. All good and fine, but as said it’s not as if this should come as a surprise to anyone.
We have all read the stories about residents being left unattended due to a range of issues, including overcrowding and inadequate staffing. If we really want to fix the problems and give residents the safe and dignified life we all say they deserve, we should start with those two areas.
Here are some terms that are being applied to the reopening of workplaces and schools that could also work in long-term care homes.
• Density: This refers to the number of people gathering in a limited space, like a shared room or cafeteria. The more people gathered in close proximity, the more likely it is for a virus to spread.
• Geometry: In a post-COVID-19 world, consideration will have to be given as to how furniture is laid out, to minimize contact and adhere to distancing protocols.
• Division: This is about installing screens, panels, and barriers designed to enhance safety to achieve minimum distancing requirements.
When the commission has done its work and filed its report, expected next April, it would be surprising if it didn’t offer these solutions and others, that include:
• Reduce or eliminate overcrowding in rooms and common areas. Residents should have their own rooms, complete with washrooms, showers, and other basic amenities. If they did and got sick, then the ability to isolate them in their own room, while providing care, would minimize the risk of a virus being spread. It’s also more dignified.
• Increase wages for nurses and other staff. The practice of staff working in various homes has been pegged as a significant contributor to the spread of the virus. Pay people enough so that they don’t have to work for more than one facility.
• Regardless of whether homes are operating privately or publicly, they should have to meet strong quality-of-care standards. Also, they should be subject to a rigorous inspection protocol, which likely means hiring more inspectors.
• Maintaining people in their own homes as long as possible is another direction we need to take more seriously.
All of this, of course, will cost money, perhaps a lot of money. Currently, if you have the financial resources, you can and do get the treatment and dignity money can afford. If we are serious about solving the problems that COVID-19 has exposed, it will mean raising standards for seniors who perhaps can’t afford the best.
That’s not to say it should be a free ride, but perhaps fees could be tied to income, say 80 per cent of available monthly income with an upper cap limit. Generally speaking, and from my perspective, the solution would seem to involve bringing standards and quality of care closer to what can be found in the very best of the long-term care home sector.

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“That is really a testament to the strength of Barrie’s business community and (the local) economy, and the fact that we have so many businesses here that are committed to working their way through COVID and keeping their workforces.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman


Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

Barrie businesses got a “shoutout” from Mayor Jeff Lehman for their efforts to keep employees working during the COVID-19 crisis, an observation backed up by jobs data from Statistics Canada.
“I’d like to give a shoutout to the Barrie business community. On the Friday before Labour Day weekend, the August jobs report was issued by Statistics Canada … and for the fifth month in a row, Barrie had the highest employment rate of any city in the country,” Lehman said during the Sept. 14 council meeting.
“That is really a testament to the strength of Barrie’s business community and (the local) economy, and the fact that we have so many businesses here that are committed to working their way through COVID and keeping their workforces.”
He continued that he was pleased to see strength in a number of sectors, including construction, real estate, and manufacturing.
In the construction sector, “the employment level is now above pre-COVID, and in the manufacturing sector the employment level has returned to the same level that it was pre-COVID. We have some other sectors like professional and technical that have actually increased their employment above pre-COVID levels.”
The mayor acknowledged that other sectors continue to struggle.
“Anything tourism related, anything that requires a large indoor audience, hotels, and other sectors like restaurants continue to have serious challenges, and there are a lot of people out of work. The unemployment level has not returned to pre-COVID levels,” he said.
“But I do want to say the progress of the Barrie business community and the work that they have done over the last six months to try and work through these incredibly trying times has put us on the top of the table across the country, and I really want to express my appreciation for everyone out there who has been part of trying to maintain jobs through this difficult time.”
The mayor also noted that the pace of development applications has increased “contrary to what folks might have expected” and urged residents to go online to review them.
“We are seeing substantial development interest across the city, and that probably goes hand-in-glove with the very, very strong  real estate market in Barrie … the amount of information now available on the website surrounding all planning applications is light years ahead of where we were just a few years ago.”

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It’s back to normal for Barrie Transit routes 1, 6, and 8, which will return to 30-minute frequencies starting next Monday.
These routes, along with route 100 which returned to normal service level in July, show the highest volume of riders and increased frequency will better support physical distancing on board.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of routes have been running on an hourly service since April 6. With these four routes returning to pre-COVID-19 service frequencies, Barrie Transit’s overall service level will increase from 65 per cent of normal to 85 per cent.
Staff are assessing volumes and working to put the required resources in place to return to normal service levels across all routes. Since Barrie Transit has only recently resumed collecting revenue from the service, a full timeline for when this will happen is unavailable.
All riders are required to wear non-medical face masks or face coverings as part of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s requirement to wear a face covering when entering a public indoor space or using Barrie Transit. Children under the age of two, or those under five who cannot be persuaded, are not required to wear a face covering, as well as individuals whose health or ability, or cultural or religious reasons would prevent them from doing so. 
For more information including further updates and schedules, visit barrie.ca/transit.

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“I would also like to encourage residents not to walk their animals at night in the park, unless they are using a flashlight … that kind of discourages coyotes from coming near them.” – City Clerk Wendy Cooke


Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

Coyote sightings at Sunnidale Park seem to be frequent enough that Ward 4 councillor Barry Ward says he gets calls from concerned residents about the canines almost on a daily basis.
At last week’s council meeting, Ward asked City Clerk Wendy Cooke about the City’s policy regarding coyotes and what he could tell the people who call him about the predators, known to attack small pets.
There is no specific policy, but Cooke said staff will provide information on how to discourage coyotes from entering property, and how to keep oneself and pets safe. For instance, people walking dogs in a park should keep them on a leash, expect when in the dogs off-leash area.
“I would also like to encourage residents not to walk their animals at night in the park, unless they are using a flashlight … that kind of discourages coyotes from coming near them.”
She also advised keeping pets inside at night, and not walking with food, and directed residents to the ‘preventing and managing conflict with coyotes’ section of www.ontario.ca. Here are some tips from the site:
• Properly store and maintain garbage containers to help prevent coyotes from becoming a problem
• Keep pet food indoors
• Put garbage out the morning of a scheduled pickup
• Use enclosed composting bins rather than exposed piles
• Pick ripe fruit and seed from trees and remove fallen fruit from the ground
• Protect vegetable gardens with heavy-duty garden fences or place vegetable plants in a greenhouse
The site also has advice for preventing conflict between dogs and coyotes, including: 
• Keep dogs inside at night
• Clean up after your dog — coyotes are attracted to dog feces
• Spay and neuter your dogs — coyotes are attracted to, and can mate with, domestic dogs that have not been spayed or neutered
• Keep pet food indoors 
• Do not let your dogs roam from your property
• Fence your property with a two-metre-high fence that extends at least 20 centimetres underground as coyotes may dig under a barrier
Tips for protecting your dog off your property include: 
• Keep your dog on a leash
• Carry a flashlight at night to scare off coyotes
• Do not let your dog chase a coyote as it could result in injury to your dog
Ward asked Cooke if the City had considered putting up a sign warning residents about the presence of coyotes in the park. “We have not considered that at this time, but can certainly look into it,” she said.
The last word on the matter was left to the mayor.
“Yes, the Sunnidale coyote has certainly become a thing with sightings reported online, and concern from different residents.” 

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From the desk of Catherine McCullough, Interim Director of Education, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, in a message to parents and guardians

“”With student safety as our top priority, we have made the decision that all students must remain in their classroom during lunch beginning Tuesday, September 22. – Catherine McCullough

Dear Parents/Guardians,
Over the past two weeks, we have had the opportunity to welcome back our students and staff into our schools, with new health and safety measures in place.
At the secondary level, students have had the choice to eat their lunches inside their classroom, or leave the building. As a result, many students who are going outside for lunch are gathering in close proximity to one another without masks on. This behaviour is concerning and affects the safety of all staff and students when they come back to school after their lunch. 
As you are aware, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the province. With student safety as our top priority, we have made the decision that all students must remain in their classroom during lunch beginning Tuesday, September 22. This health and safety measure will help keep students in their cohort for the duration of the day, and therefore limit unnecessary contact with other students.
Please be advised that schools will not accept notes from parents/guardians who wish to excuse their child from the building for lunch. In keeping with the integrity of the cohort, any student who leaves the building during the assigned lunch period, will not be permitted to return to the school for the remainder of the day. Students who are truant may also be subject to progressive discipline measures.
We will continue to monitor this situation throughout the coming weeks.  
Thank you for your understanding.

Yours in faith,
Catherine McCullough
Interim Director of Education

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“I believe this is a good opportunity for the kids, community, school boards, and the City

Barrie high school students may be able to catch an after-school ride until the end of December free of charge, courtesy of the City and Barrie Transit.
Monday night, city council adopted a motion, originally put forward by Ward 10 councillor Mike McCann, to investigate the feasibility of providing free transit to students until Dec. 31, to help fill in COVID-19-related transit gaps of students finishing classes before school buses are available.
“I believe this is a good opportunity for the kids, community, school boards, and the City … because it gives us a real opportunity to take some of the transportation issues that the school boards have, and we can present ourselves to be a solution to that stress,” said McCann.
The motion adopted has four parts:
• That staff, in consultation with school boards and the transportation consortium, investigate the feasibility of providing free transit service to Barrie high school students until Dec. 31.
• That the free transit service be only provided within one hour following the end of school time, and at bus stops adjacent to Barrie secondary schools.
• That the free transit service be contingent on support from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to remove passenger capacity limits on transit routes.
• That staff, in consultation with the school boards and the transportation consortium, investigate the feasibility of implementing a longer-term solution to provide free transit service to Barrie high school students, and report back to general committee.
If the program proves successful, it could be included in next year’s budget, said Mayor Jeff Lehman. As well as helping students, the program would be a good way to showcase Barrie Transit as an environmental and financial alternative, said McCann.

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Dunlop Street closes to traffic for Open Air Dunlop

As part of the Economic Recovery Plan, the City has collaborated with the Downtown Barrie BIA to bring Culture Days programming to Open Air Dunlop.
Open Air Dunlop is the pedestrianization of a part of Dunlop St. on select Saturdays this fall.
Culture Days is extending beyond the traditional annual weekend of events to a more inclusive and interactive four-week schedule of activities. Kicking off Sept. 25 and running until the end of October, Culture Days invites everyone in the city to participate in and show appreciation for arts and culture in their own communities and nationwide. 
As part of Open Air Dunlop, Dunlop Street East between Mulcaster and Clapperton streets will be closed to vehicle traffic from morning until midnight for four Saturdays beginning Sept. 26. The public is welcome to bike or walk along the street to check out the downtown’s newly constructed streetscape, visit a local patio or shop, and discover local artists and their works.
Culture Days invites the public to view arts and culture programming and participation through the thematic lens of Unexpected Intersections — encouraging creative and outside-the-box thinking to reveal new avenues of discovery, learning, and expression.
In an effort to keep the community safe, the majority of this year’s Culture Days programming will take place online, through self-guided exploration and Open Air Dunlop. Strict COVID-19 safety protocols will be maintained as is required by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
There are a variety of ways that businesses, artists, and arts organizations can get involved this year:

Artists in Biz

Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

This program pairs artists with local businesses to feature artists’ works. Businesses and artists are invited to apply by Sept. 21.

Online offerings

If an artist or arts/culture organization has an online performance, talk, workshop, or art demonstration they want to share, they can make it available online. It can be pre-recorded and available at any time during the month, can be a one-time or multiple time “event” with specific streaming dates and times given.
Alternatively, it can be a live, interactive session that people register for and participate in at a scheduled time. These opportunities are intended to be free, and funds may be available to cover artist and creative expenses related to recording or streaming. Those interested can email creative@barrie.cawith their proposed program details.
Culture Days invites the public to get behind-the-scenes to highlight the importance of arts and culture in our communities. The Culture Days organization supports a Canada-wide network of arts, culture, and heritage organizers to facilitate free public events in their communities every year.

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“Our expectation is that Shak is working towards an Oct. 1 start, so not too far in the future, a couple of weeks.” – Ward 8 councillor Jim Harris

The vision of a local non-profit organization seeking to create a community centre in the downtown core for at-risk youth appears set to become a reality with the support of local partners.
The group, Shak’s World, wants to move into 59-A Maple Avenue, the site of the former Barrie Youth Centre, as Shak’s World Community Centre. Identified programming could include a Canadian Mental Health Association (CHMA) drop-in site, a junior police academy, a Black youth night with the Barrie Police Service, a junior NBA program, a scholarly elite tutoring service, Shak’s World’s basketball program, and a Youth Haven community-integration program.
“Having a hub for all of (these programs) would be incredible,” the organization’s founder and president Shanicka Edwards (Shak) told council on Aug. 10 during a presentation about her programs.
Edwards had been seeking $42,000 from the City. However, a staff report says municipal funding is not required at this time because of community support.
“It is staff’s understanding that council funding is not required as funding has been secured for the first six months of operation of Shak’s World,” says the report.
“Staff also understand that community organizations such as New Path and CMHA have potential to offer funding opportunities for the following six months should applications be submitted and approved. Shak’s World could also apply for additional funding from other external community-based organizations.”
Recreation and culture staff met with Shak’s World, as directed by council on Aug. 10, to explore support opportunities, including the leasing of 59-A Maple and the use of other City facilities to host programming, and to review the group’s business plan. The plan, says the report, did not include pro-forma financial statements (to) identify sources of revenue and planned expenses in a level of detail necessary to determine any measure of financial sustainability. 
“Without further detail on revenues and expenses, it is difficult to comment on the financial sustainability of the program as outlined in the existing business plan. Further development of the business plan is strongly recommended.”
On Monday, committee adopted a two-part motion presented by Mayor Jeff Lehman: that council expresses its support for Shak’s World’s vision to establish a centre for at-risk youth in Barrie, and that staff refer Shak’s World to the Sandbox Centre and Georgian College’s Centre for Change Making and Social Innovation for guidance, including the development of their business plan.
Georgian’s centre, said Lehman, has “a specific mandate to support the development of social enterprise in the community (and) is actually a world-leading institution with a Ashoka designation … (the) centre has a really excellent handle on the granting process, the kinds of government programs that are out there … and they have resources in-house to (provide assistance).”
The Sandbox, he continued, has the knowledge and capacity to “assist with … the task of business planning.”
Information in the staff report included:
• Shak’s World’s identified mission is to address youth mental health through sports, mentorship and community, and the guiding principles to achieve this mission were identified as respect, integrity, discipline and accountability 
• Its target demographic is youth aged 7-17 years old, with priority neighbourhoods being the Letitia Heights and Grove Street areas
• The general structure of programming provides participants a year-long, three-phase program that includes basketball training, life skills, mentoring, nutrition, and educational opportunities; the intent is to provide programming to 240 marginalized youth in the first year of operations.  
• Ward 8 councillor Jim Harris assisted in obtaining the funding through community organizations supporting youth mental health. In addition, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up with a fundraising goal of $42,000.
• The site at 59-A Maple Avenue totals 12,588 square feet and includes a gym, 13 individual office spaces, several multi-purpose areas, and a non-industrial kitchen area.  The office spaces and multi-purpose areas provide ample space to offer workshops, conduct meetings, and provide offices for both Shak’s World and partner organizations as well as rental opportunities. The downtown location is in close proximity to the geographic target market outlined in the business plan. It does, however, provide challenges in serving marginalized youth in other areas of the City. 
Harris told committee that “our expectation is that Shak is working towards an Oct. 1 start, so not too far in the future, a couple of weeks.”
He was praised for his efforts in securing community support for the program.
“Shak’s World has been able to partner with two local organizations (New Path and CMHA) and I really have to thank councillor Jim Harris for his work (on this). The sentiment around the table was that this can be a very good thing for Barrie, and that (Shak) is a community leader that we want to support and assist in developing her vision,” said Lehman.

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