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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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 842 total confirmed cases, 38 deaths, and seven new cases since last report

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has confirmed 842 current cases of COVID-19, including 714 recovered and 38 deaths. Since the unit’s last update, seven new cases have been reported. The unit updates daily, Monday to Friday.
Highlights of the latest update are:
• There has been an increase in the number of cases reported in Barrie since the latter part of August, and nearly half of all currently active cases reside in Barrie. There have been more cases reported in Barrie in September than in any of the previous three months.
• For the week of September 13, there were 55 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the second highest weekly number that has been reported since the beginning of the pandemic. Numbers are updated daily, from Monday through Friday by the health unit.
• 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. 
• September is seeing an increase in case activity in other municipalities. In Bracebridge there have been more cases reported in September than in all previous months combined. Bradford West Gwillimbury, New Tecumseth, Wasaga Beach, Orillia, Innisfil and Huntsville already have more cases in September than was reported in all of August. Reported cases continue to decline in most other municipalities.
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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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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An update on the City’s new official plan is to be presented to planning committee, Tuesday.


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

The Province has new growth targets for Barrie, and they are throwing a bit of a wrench in the City’s development of a new official plan.
Under its Places to Grow policy, which designates Barrie a growth centre in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, the City was supposed to work towards a population of 253,000 by 2041, with almost 60,000 new jobs to support the increase. Now, the plan calls for a population of 298,000 by 2051, and 129,000 jobs to support the growth.
In September of 2018, the City began a Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) as part of its preparation of a new official plan. The work included a Land Needs Assessment report using the Province’s existing Land Needs Assessment Methodology for the 2041 targets.
In a July 29 letter to Sandra Bickford, Ontario Growth Secretariat, Michelle Banfield, Director of Development Services, said the City was disappointed that the amendment for the new growth targets did not contain any transition policies, despite the City being asked by Ministry staff earlier in the year to provide such language.
“Instead, the amendment requires conformity exercises to use the new planning horizon of 2051, new … population and employment growth forecasts, and a new Land Needs Assessment Methodology (LNAM), the details of which are not available for review and comment,” she wrote.
“Without any transition policies the City will be required to redo work already completed as part of the MCR which will cause delays in getting an approved new official plan in place,” she wrote then.
The Province’s amendment to the growth plan was finalized on Aug. 28, as was the new LNAM. The 2051 density and employment targets are minimums, according to a memo to planning committee, which also provides an update on the official plan and how the changes impact it. 
During consultation, the Province provided only a summary of the changes, indicating the methodology would be outcomes based, leaving room for local municipal characteristics and considerations in planning for growth, reads the memo. Few other details were provided. Staff is reviewing the new methodology and the few changes to it the Province made after receiving comments.
“Finally, despite the extension of the planning horizon and the shift to a new Land Needs Assessment Methodology, the amendment has not provided any extension to the deadline for municipalities to bring their official plans into conformity with the changes. The conformity deadline remains as July 1, 2022.”
The City had requested “transition provisions” that would allow municipalities that had substantially completed growth management work as part of their MCRs to be allowed to use the existing 2041 planning horizon and population and employment targets. 
“Unfortunately, the Province has not included any transition provisions in the amendment,” reads the memo, meaning staff might need to “undertake conformity work,” resulting in additional input from the consulting team, which had by the middle of June produced the first full draft of the new official plan and urban design guidelines for staff to review.
“Significant resources have been invested in the … project, particularly regarding growth management and the drafting of the new official plan. With the COVID-19 pandemic measures in place, the draft documents were not released for public review at that time,” reads the memo. “All of this would mean additional time and consulting costs, in addition to staff resources.”
However, staff isn’t recommending doing the additional work.
“The analysis that has been completed to reflect growth to 2041 is sound and has already been provided to council and to the Province. The preferred approach is to count on a future MCR and official plan update to assess the 2041-2051 growth.
“To ensure conformity occurs in a timely manner, staff propose that the text of the draft new official plan include language which calls for a conformity exercise to be completed within five years after the new official plan is approved.”
Planning committee will receive an update on the new official plan on Tuesday (Sept. 15).

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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

Culture Days in Barrie is getting a makeover, extending from its usual annual weekend to a four-week schedule events, and the City is seeking local businesses and artists to get involved.
Kicking off Sept. 25 and running until Oct. 25, 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 the event programming, the City is welcoming applications for a program called Artists in Biz. This program pairs artists with local businesses to feature artists’ works. Businesses who showcase artists work will be listed throughout Culture Days programming, providing an opportunity for drawing in new visitors to their business.
Artists will have an opportunity to share their work with new audiences and showcase to the community the level of skill and talent that exists in Barrie.
Participants for Artists in Biz will be chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis provided artist offerings align with the theme of the event and are of a quality and appropriateness that meets the satisfaction of the City. It is the responsibility of artists and businesses participating to work safely within the space provided. In light of COVID-19, artists and businesses must follow social distancing and other protocols as outlined by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
Artists and businesses are invited to apply by Sept. er 21 to be considered. For more information, visitbarrie.ca/CultureDays.
Culture Days programs invite 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 during the Culture Days weekend.

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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

To help families get a better idea of what to expect when their child returns to school, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board has created this short return-to-school video


I would like to sincerely thank our students, staff and families for their ongoing support and patience as we worked through the many challenges and opportunities facing us this year. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to a faith-filled and hope-filled year
– Interim Director of Education Catherine McCullough

We are excited to welcome our students back to a safe and healthy Catholic learning environment beginning this week. We know that our students are looking forward to seeing their friends and teachers, even if things will be a little bit different this year. We encourage families to take a look at our Staggered Entry Start Schedule to ensure that their children are arriving to school on the correct day.

Class Assignments/Timetables

Once students begin school they will be required to stay with their class cohort as much as possible. This means on the first day of school, routines for receiving class assignments in elementary and timetables in high school will be handled differently. In both cases, an email will be sent to families via our secure document delivery system in SchoolMessenger prior to the start of school to inform students of their class assignment and/or timetable.
Please note that due to the complex nature of staffing this year, we will not be in a position to entertain requests for changes. In addition, we will experience additional changes to schedules and classes during the first few weeks of September. 

Return to School at SMCDSB

To help families get a better idea of what to expect when their child returns to school, we have created this short Return to School Video. We hope this provides you with a good visual understanding of the protocols we are implementing to keep our students and staff healthy and safe at school this year.

Transportation 

On Friday evening, a letter was sent to the families of students who qualify for busing to confirm the bus route, bus stop location and assigned seating information (please note: this does not apply to our Muskoka and Parry Sound schools – a separate communication will be forthcoming).
There were some issues with receipt of these letters and/or password information. If you did not receive the letter and believe that your child qualifies for transportation, please contact your child’s school. Requests for new transportation arrangements as well as any changes to existing transportation arrangements will require additional time to process.
Students will be unable to access transportation until they have received a letter confirming their route number, bus stop location and assigned seating information. 
We may experience delays over the first weeks of school reopening as routes are refined.  Please continue to check the SCSTC website for posted delays. Local media will also be advised and will announce posted delays.

Role of Families

We all have a role to play in ensuring a successful transition back to class. We are asking our families to support schools in the following ways:
• Every day, complete the Daily Health Screening checklist with your child(ren) BEFORE they attend school or take the school bus;
• Keep your child at home when they feel unwell;
• Have a plan to pick-up your child(ren) promptly if they develop symptoms – this means having a local emergency contact available at all times;
• Keep your child home and seek a COVID-19 test if your child •vexhibits any of the symptoms (which are outlined in the Daily Health Screening) and when the symptom(s) are new and not related to seasonal allergies or pre-existing medical conditions;
• In the absence of a test, have your child self-isolate for 14 days and be symptom-free for 24 hours prior to returning to school;
• Comply with any order provided by Public Health;
• Important note: siblings of a sick child may still attend school, but must self-monitor for 14 days.
We would also like to remind families to:
• Send your child with a healthy and litter-less lunch with snacks (enough for two nutrition breaks) – dropping off lunches or taking your child out of class for lunch will not be permitted. 
• Please ensure your child has a pre-filled water bottle – drinking fountains will be decommissioned, but water refill stations are available.

Virtual Schools

The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board has created two virtual schools to accommodate the approximately 4,500 students who have opted into the remote learning program. There is one elementary school called Simcoe Muskoka Catholic Virtual School – Elementary (SMCVSE) and a secondary school called Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School – Secondary (SMCVSS).
In the coming days, the principals of these two schools will be in contact with those who have opted for remote learning programming. For more information, please see our Virtual Schools Fact Sheet.

Additional Resources and Information

There is a wealth of information and resources available on the Return to School section of our website. In particular you may wish to review:
Understand and Manage Anxiety
Creating a Visual Schedule
Mental Health Video Series
Return to Learn Guide
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Daily Health Screening Checklist
Health Unit Resources
I would like to sincerely thank our students, staff and families for their ongoing support and patience as we worked through the many challenges and opportunities facing us this year. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to a faith-filled and hope-filled year.

Yours in faith,
Catherine McCullough
Interim Director of Education

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Georgian College is offering a new graduate certificate program in artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence – Architecture, Design and Implementation will help prepare the next generation of graduates for careers in one of today’s fastest-growing transformational technologies.


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

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to rapidly transform the way organizations and their employees work, Georgian College’s new graduate certificate program, Artificial Intelligence – Architecture, Design and Implementation, is structured to help prepare the next generation of graduates for careers in one of today’s fastest-growing transformational technologies.
The program starts this January at the Barrie Campus.
Students will acquire the necessary background to become AI system designers, programmers, implementers, or machine learning analysts. With a strong focus on applied skills, they’ll learn how to design and implement supervised, unsupervised and reinforcement learning solutions for a variety of situations and solve AI challenges for a diverse set of industries.
“The AI computing paradigm radically changes the functionality and capabilities of computer systems, and through this program students will solve complex AI challenges and power next generation businesses through the application of machine learning,” said Tim Krywulak, Associate Dean, Design and Visual Arts.
The program combines 14 courses covering everything from advanced study in AI infrastructure, architecture, machine learning frameworks, reinforcement learning, to neural networks, vision and conversation systems. Students will learn how to select, configure and apply the right technology tools to solve a given challenge using AI. They will also work on a major project during their second semester applying infrastructure and architecture concepts to develop an AI solution that solves a real-world challenge.
Graduates will be prepared to fulfill a wide-range of roles such as AI system designers, programmers, implementers, or machine learning technologists. 
“There is an immense demand for highly skilled graduates in the field of AI as it’s a key disruptive technology driving the digital economy,” said Dr. Bill Angelakos, Dean, Technology and Visual Arts, Georgian College. “It will impact future jobs and how we do things in a big way.”
The program will be taught by industry-expert faculty, giving students the opportunity to explore a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and applied skills. Learn more about the program – and how to apply for classes – at GeorgianCollege.ca.

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Service Barrie reopens, with COVID-related restrictions

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 customer service centre, Service Barrie, will fully reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 8 to provide in-person services to the public.
Service Barrie is located on the first floor of City Hall (70 Collier St.) and provides services such as purchase of parking passes, garbage tags and transit passes, payments for records requests, pet licences, tax and water bill payments, and building permit payments. Residents will also now be able to pick up new recycling boxes and/or green bins and pay parking tickets.
For services such as business licenses, marriage licenses and commissioning of documents, the public will be required to book an appointment for Tuesdays and Thursdays by calling Service Barrie at 705-726-4242. For resident convenience and to skip the line, appointments can still be made for all services listed above by request. Call 705-726-4242 to make an appointment.
Service Barrie reopened in mid-July by appointment only, but starting Sept. 8, will have the capacity to offer full walk-in services, with the following safety precautions in place:
• Do not visit City Hall if you are sick or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19
•Everyone entering City Hall is required to wear a face covering
• Members of the public should access City Hall via the Worsley St. entrance off the parking lot
• You will be required to sign in and out of the building
• Capacity limits will be monitored, and you may be asked to wait outside
• Signage and floor decals will indicate proper physical distancing
• If required to assist with your transaction, only one additional person may attend the appointment
• Please use debit or credit cards to pay instead of cash or cheques, as much as possible
Service Barrie is open Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The City’s customer service representatives can also be reached via phone at 705-726-4242 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by email at ServiceBarrie@barrie.ca. Please be aware that although Service Barrie will be fully open, other in-person services with other City departments may be limited at this time.
Residents can also still access online options for City services, visit barrie.ca/OnlineServices for more information. Another option for payments of invoices and bills are the drop boxes located at the front and back of City Hall.

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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

When it’s all over, City officials and planners are obviously hoping that residents and visitors dig downtown more than they ever have.
The We Dig Downtown project is nearly complete. The final stage of Dunlop Street construction was scheduled to begin this week; the $13.1M project will transform the look of Barrie’s downtown and make Dunlop Street more accessible and pedestrian-friendly for residents and visitors, planners say.
This final stage includes work on Dunlop Street in the Five Points intersection to Maple Avenue, and from Mary to Toronto streets. It will also include closures of the Five Points intersection and the Toronto Street intersection. Barrie Transit will also be affected with detours for Routes 2,3, 6 and 8.
The project milestones that are complete or almost complete include the following:
• The area from Mulcaster to Clapperton streets is generally complete. Clean up of any outstanding deficiencies, tree plantings and top asphalt paving are the only things left to be completed in this area. Fencing will still be in place in a small section on Dunlop near Clapperton for storage of material until the Five Points (Bayfield/Clapperton) intersection is closed.
• Dunlop St. from Maple to Mary is expected to open the week of Aug. 31, weather permitting. Dunlop from Mary to Maple, including the intersections of Mary and Maple, remain closed at this time. Underground works are generally complete, but surface work and road preparation are ongoing. Paving of this section began last week. 
The entire project is ahead of the original schedule and is now expected to be complete by early November.
The Dunlop streetscape project replaces aging infrastructure in Barrie’s downtown. Above ground, the project has improved the pedestrian experience with wider sidewalks, while providing downtown businesses with more attractive and accessible storefronts. New streetlights, planters and trees will make for a refreshed and greener downtown appearance.
All businesses on Dunlop Street are accessible during construction and we invite residents to support local. Downtown parking is free until Sept. 8. Visit the BIA’s website at downtownbarrie.ca to find out more about local shops, restaurants and services. 

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As part of the City’s Business in the Parks Pilot Program, eligible businesses can submit a proposal to book outdoor space at Meridian Place or the Kiwanis Pavilion (Southshore Park) to operate their regular business activities.
Allowing local organizations to operate in public parks provides new opportunities for businesses to maximize capacity and introduce new avenues for revenue generation. The idea for the pilot program came about after consultations with the business community as part of the City’s Economic Recovery Action Plan.
Program Highlights:
The pilot program will run from Sept. 8 to Oct. 31. Booking fees are $75 + HST for a half day, and $100 + HST for a full day booking.
Eligibility criteria for the program includes:
• The business is registered in the City of Barrie
• The activity must operate in a closed format (i.e. participants have to pre-register to participate) — this may include private dance instruction, art workshops, fitness or music classes, or other similar activities
• The business provides proof of insurance for their commercial operation from an insurer licensed to do business in Ontario, and the corporation of the City of Barrie must be named as an additional insured;
• The activity cannot be based around serving or preparing food, beverages (including alcohol) or cannabis products.
Eligible businesses must submit their proposals 10 business days prior to their requested date for consideration. Before final permit approval, the City requires the business to provide a COVID-19 safety plan that meets the guidelines set by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
Barrie businesses are invited to view the full eligibility requirements and submit a proposal at Business in the Parks at barrie.ca/COVID19

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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


Free parking in the downtown core is due to come to an end next Tuesday, with a couple of exceptions.
Starting Tuesday, two-hour free parking will be back in effect as part of the We Dig Downtown Dunlop St. construction project. Two hours of free parking will be available in the Chase McEachern Way lot (including the 15 Bayfield Street lot), and the Maple Avenue Central parking lot until the end of the construction project.
​​You must print a receipt from the machine and display it on your vehicle dashboard to be eligible for free two-hour parking in these lots. Most downtown lots are five minutes or less walking distance to where the road is closed.
Downtown parking rates are enforced 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Downtown parking is free on evenings, weekends, statutory holidays, Easter Monday and the August Civic Holiday. Rates are $1.25 per hour on-street and $1 per hour off-street, with a $5.50 daily max; Collier Street Parkade is $1.25 per hour with no daily maximum.
Until further notice, on-street parking spaces along Dunlop Street and side streets are temporarily designated as loading only zones under the traffic bylaw. This limits parking to standing for 10 minutes or less, which helps businesses and customers use curb-side pickup and helps maintain traffic flow in the area. ​Visit barrie.ca/DowntownParking for more information. 
The Exploring Barrie Together video series was created to champion, highlight, and showcase some of Barrie’s new and longstanding local businesses. Residents are invited to share their favourite local places to shop, eat and explore using #BarrieTogether on social media.

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“There’s just no question that we should be doing everything we can to bring her and her programming into our community … every week she is delayed is a missed opportunity.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman

Before the discussion about City support for a community sports and mentoring group veered off into a dialogue about systemic racism, Shak Edwards of Shak’s World briefed city council about her organization and the local groups wanting to partner with it, including the Barrie Police Service.
Edwards is hoping to secure $42,000 in funding from the City to operate a community centre at 59-A Maple Avenue, the site of the former Barrie Youth Centre. At the Aug. 17 council meeting, Mayor Jeff Lehman introduced a motion to provide the funding, foregoing the usual process that includes a staff report with details, analysis, and options for council to consider and debate. 
“The process is unusual and I apologize that the motion … had to come forward in this way, but there really wasn’t any choice because of our timing. This opportunity presented itself after the final meeting of the spring session. Ms Edwards has the opportunity to run her camps this year, and that is why we are in the unusual position (of deciding) whether we would support them through a direct motion,” said Lehman.
Council won’t meet again until September, but the majority of councillors expressed unease about providing the funding without going through the regular process. 
Despite the mayor’s misgivings about waiting, council eventually adopted a new motion calling on staff to meet with Shak’s World, a local non-profit, to identify opportunities, including the leasing of 59-A Maple Avenue, and report back to general committee in September.
As presented to council, if approved the funding (for a year’s operation) would help set up the location as the Shak’s World Community Centre, a hub for programming that 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.
“The junior police academy is something that the Barrie police and Shak’s World have worked (on) together over the past few weeks, and Barrie police would like to teach the youth of Simcoe County what it means to be a police officer … and they would like the opportunity to learn from youth in this community what they experience when they are dealing with the police,” Edwards told council.
“We have the Barrie police also wanting to do a Black youth night with marginalized youth of Simcoe County; that would be ages 13-18 in collaboration with the police. They are hoping to fund this program and spend more time with the marginalized youth in this community.

A program hub at 59-A Maple could open the door to Raptors becoming a community partner: Edwards

Edwards continued that her group could begin the programs immediately once they had a secure space.
“Having a hub for all of (these programs) would be incredible,” she said, allowing for the hosting of different workshops, and different topics for parents and children. It would also open the door for the Raptors to become an official community partner.
“We are hoping with this space that we could bring them into the community as a larger community partner.”
Shak’s World’s mission, she said, is to bring awareness to youth mental health through sports, mentorship, and community. Its principles are respect, integrity, discipline, and accountability. Edwards is the founder and president of the ‘stay humble and kind world.’ She was raised in Innisfil, graduating from Alcona Glen Elementary and Nantyr Shores Secondary. 
“So I have a really good idea of how all of the systems work for youth in Simcoe County, especially marginalized youth.”
Her background in the area is extensive, and includes being a CTV Barrie athlete of the week and a youth mentor for the Innisfil Community Church. Her path eventually led to college where she studied psychology and behavioural science and “learned about the connection between sport and mental health.”
After her studies, she returned to Innisfil to launch its first recreational basketball program, in partnership with the township.
“We have evolved from coaching. When I started coaching, I was 14 and coached house league and summer camps. I went on to college and began facilitating my own summer camps … where I learned a little bit of the background and also … becoming a role model and mentor for kids.”
She later started Elite Academy Basketball “where we trained athletes here in Barrie to strengthen their minds and bodies, as well as showcase the talent that we have (locally). They did not have the same opportunity here as in the GTA when it came to basketball.”
What came out of that, she added, was a recognition that many families were concerned about mental health.
“In 2017, we held our very first youth mental health awareness basketball tournament, that we hold annually here in Barrie, and the proceeds from that go to the Canadian Mental Health Association to further their programming … something that we have noted is that the mental health concerns in our community are on the rise (and) we are hoping that we can fill the gap and give youth better access to local supports.”
The space on Maple Avenue, said Edwards, already has a basketball court, facilities for mentorship and classrooms, and offers “the opportunity to do so much and bring so many different organizations together and give our youth a chance.” Its ongoing financial plan includes community rentals, workshops/clinics, camps, grants, and community supports.
Although clearly impressed with both Edwards and her concept, council felt uncomfortable moving forward without first getting a staff report. 
“There’s just no question that we should be doing everything we can to bring her and her programming into our community. I will say in defence of the 59-A Maple space, that was the Barrie Youth Centre. It was a City of Barrie facility, fit out as a gym by the City, and from that investment … we now have the opportunity to use (the site) again for a youth centre, but this time geared towards the needs, in particular, of the Black community in Barrie,” said Lehman.
“Every week she is delayed is a missed opportunity … the core work that Shak’s World does is a need in our community and an opportunity for us to get behind this incredibly inspiring young member of our community.”
Ward 9 councillor Sergio Morales wondered if other City facilities, including recreation centres, could meet the needs of Shak’s World. Edwards replied that she has approached recreation centres in the past to try and partner with them, but “they just don’t see where my program is helpful, and I think it’s a community-based program that’s trying to fight a root cause as opposed to a recreation program.”
Securing their own location will provide the opportunity to fully provide services, said Edwards, and also give youth, especially marginalized youth, the opportunity to find resources, mentoring, and other needs all in one space.
“Being someone who grew up in Simcoe County, I know what it is like to be marginalized and not (have) access to resources or where to find those resources. I think and I believe that the community would believe that this is an important place to have just so people don’t have to go searching … they can go to one space for mental health, community, mentorship (and more),” she said.
She asked council to consider what Barrie will be like in five years, saying a program like Shak’s World will be important as the city grows and becomes more diversified. “This space is going to be needed. We should have it now, not when they get here.”

Aylwin ‘disappointed and saddened’ by decision, talks of systemic racism

“I hope all of us can do some thinking around the table about what systemic racism is and how it plays out in our lives, and how we all might be responsible for it.

Council took a break and went into planning committee, where they discussed the proposed development for the old fairgrounds/racetrack site. Ward 2 councillor Keenan Aylwin spoke when council resumed. He said he was “disappointed and saddened” by council’s decision not to support the original motion and grant the funding to Shak’s World.
“But I think this is also a great learning opportunity for all of us about the broader issues … at the forefront of some of the big conversations happening in our city and around the world,” he continued. 
“Systemic racism, what is that? We know of individual racism, when someone is hateful to another or holds hateful views, but what is systemic racism? Systemic racism is racism that is pervasive throughout a system, so that could be a corporation, it could be a schooling system, it could be a municipal government, and sometimes these forms of systemic racism aren’t readily obvious to those looking in, especially those who are privileged by the system …”
At that point Morales jumped in with an objection.
“Point of order Mayor Lehman, the member of council is implying that council is racist to Shak. This is ridiculous.”
The mayor responded by saying he “didn’t hear the member of council accuse council of being racist. I understand … that remarks are starting to be targeted at council and not the motion on the floor, so councillor Aylwin you are addressing an incredibly important issue, so please go ahead, but please address the motion on the floor.”
Aylwin continued by saying Shak’s World is reputable, has a strong track record in the community, with strong partners, and that there is an immediate need for its programming. He also questioned council’s rationale in approving $42,000 for temporary parking signage to discourage congestion along the waterfront, but not a similar amount for Shak’s World.
“I hope all of us can do some thinking around the table about what systemic racism is and how it plays out in our lives, and how we all might be responsible for it. I know I sound like I am lecturing but this is what these conversations are about. They are uncomfortable, they are difficult. I hope we would take a good hard look at what we are doing tonight, and ask why we feel comfortable delaying this until mid-September when there is a need right now.”
Ward 6 councillor Natalie Harris responded by saying she doesn’t think that anyone on council disagrees that there is systemic racism “and I don’t think that anyone on council is not interested genuinely in pursuing this program.” It was her understanding, she said, that council was going to see the presentation, and the motion to approve the funding was presented around 6:30 the night of the meeting. 
“We didn’t have any time to even consider that this was going to be a motion on the floor … but it’s a motion without notice that absolutely deserves due process,” she said.
“And I don’t think it is in the same category as funding the parking signs that we needed for topics surrounding the beaches that we’ve had all summer long. I feel mad, actually, that this implies that we have a problem with this program when we are literally just wanting time to have some answers to questions that we have that are valid. It has nothing to with whether we agree or disagree with the topic of systemic racism.”
Ward 4 councillor Barry Ward added that process is important.
“I’d like to point out that we gave out about $100,000 in arts grants this year and we require a lot of (details). Some of these groups are asking for $1,000, and we are asking them to provide us with (a lot of information).”
The matter is expected to come back to council in September. See the full discussion here.

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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 is expanding recreation services at Allandale Recreation Centre, Holly Community Centre and East Bayfield Community Centre in the coming weeks.
The East Bayfield Community Centre will reopen on Sept. 8. Starting on this date, Barrie residents and non-residents will be able to: 
• Attend select fitness classes at Allandale Recreation Centre, Holly Community Centre, and East Bayfield Community Centre. These must be booked in advance at play.barrie.ca. Online registration opens Sept. 1.
• Purchase recreation memberships (recPASS). Use their recPASS memberships that were on hold to take part in select activities that are being offered. Fees will not be charged until October.
• Book time to use the fitness centre and pool at East Bayfield Community Centre (these services have been available at Allandale Recreation Centre and Holly Community Centre since Aug. 4).
• Residents and non-residents must pre-book online at play.barrie.ca before attending any recreation activity and must follow all stated health and safety protocols while using recreation facilities. Other City recreation facilities are scheduled to reopen, and additional programming will be offered in the coming weeks and months: 
Eastview Arena will open Sept. 12 for casual ice rentals only. The maximum capacity for casual ice rentals is also increasing to up to 25 skaters.
• The ice facilities at Allandale Recreation Centre will open Sept. 12 for casual ice rentals.
• The ice facilities at Sadlon Arena, Holly Community Centre and East Bayfield Community Centre will open in October (date to be determined).
• Some Seniors programming at Allandale Recreation Centre is scheduled to begin in late fall. 
• Public rentals of the City’s community facilities (including Parkview, Dorian Parker, Lampman Lane and Southshore Centre) are scheduled to resume mid-October. 
• The City’s Five Points Theatre and Georgian Theatre will remain closed until January 2021. 
More information about the reopening of the remainder of the City’s recreation and community facilities will be shared as it become available. The City continues to follow the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s guidelines on the safe reopening of facilities.
For more information on the current status of the City’s recreation facilities and programs, visitbarrie.ca/RecUpdates. Visit barrie.ca/services to confirm the current status of all City services.

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The new RapidSkills micro-credential program will give workers in the automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors the opportunity to acquire new skills in hydraulics and pneumatics, industrial automation, precision machining, and robotics.
 

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Georgian College, in partnership with the Province, introduces RapidSkills micro-credentials to prepare workers for longevity in the auto and advanced manufacturing sectors.
RapidSkills micro-credentials offer short-term, competency-based, industry-recognized certifications in hydraulics and pneumatics, industrial automation, precision machining, and robotics.
Participants can enrol in micro-credentials that are relevant to them and will receive digital badges upon completion. They will also have the opportunity to complete industrial certifications, employability skills training, and apply for in-demand positions with employer partners.
“After consultation with employer and community partners, the RapidSkills program was developed as an innovative and responsive solution to the local labour market challenges,” said Melissa Marshall, Manager of Continuing Education and Corporate Training at Georgian. “We’re excited to offer RapidSkills micro-credentials to equip workers with the in-demand skills to become competitive while providing the manufacturing sectors with technically-trained and agile workers.” 
To be eligible, you must have been recently laid off, be at high risk of being laid off, or be an under-utilized worker. You can self-identify to RapidSkills staff or be referred to the program by eligible employers or an Employment Ontario service provider. 
RapidSkills micro-credentials will begin in September and run until March 2021, through a blend of part-time, online and in-person lectures and labs at the Barrie Campus. For a limited time, RapidSkills micro-credential tuition and training costs are free for eligible participants and employers. To learn more visit GeorgianCollege.ca/RapidSkills

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The City of Barrie, together with the Huron-Wendat Nation and the Williams Treaty First Nation communities, is making further progress on the archaeological study of the historic Allandale Station lands.
As the Stage 4 archaeology study continues, the City and partners are beginning further assessment and burial site investigation.
Work has recently begun to start mechanical trenching and screening of soil from the trenches located in the north and northwest of the station buildings. This will help identify the limits of any human remains in the area. The Huron-Wendat Nation are supportive of this strategy and consistent with prior phases of the work, have assigned a monitor to assist with the fieldwork. The Williams Treaty First Nation have been advised of this work as well.
Mechanical trenching means that heavy equipment will be used, but all soil will still be screened for any artifacts or remains. This work will take approximately four weeks. As always, First Nations partners are given the opportunity to monitor the activity at the site and provide guidance.
For more information about the project, visit barrie.ca/Living/projects.  

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The City is opening a recycling depot at the lower gate area of the landfill, starting Tuesday, to help reduce landfill wait times and make dropping off recycling and household hazardous waste materials more efficient for residents.
The depot will operate Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and will accept recyclable materials that do not carry a disposal fee, such as:
• Tires, electronic waste, blue/grey box materials, green bin organics, corrugated cardboard, scrap metal.
Household hazardous waste materials will also be accepted at the lower gate facility on Saturdays only. The landfill is located at 272 Ferndale Drive North. For more information, visit barrie.ca/landfill or call 705-739-4219.

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Repaving work on Bayfield Street that was due to begin this week is being delayed, likely to begin next week.
According to a City release, the electronic signs on Bayfield will be updated
“accordingly.” Once construction starts, lane closures will be in effect from Cundles Road to Livingstone Street during the day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and overnight from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The work is expected to be complete by October, weather permitting.
Funds to resurface the street came from the Province’s Connecting Links Program. In addition to the road resurfacing, work will include local sidewalk and curb repair. It’s expected that one lane will be closed during the day to accommodate localized curb and sidewalk repairs.
All major work (surface milling, asphalt placement) will take place overnight. One lane for northbound and one lane for southbound traffic will remain open at all times during the night work.

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