The SMOS Action Plan is organized by pillars focused on Prevention, Treatment/Clinical Practice, Harm Reduction, Enforcement, and Emergency Management

Barrie identified as focus of consultations due to high rates of opioid overdoses

The group of agencies involved in the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy has written to Barrie councillors, informing them that one of its priority is “to explore an application for supervised consumption services in Barrie.”
Agencies involved in the strategy include include the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), the Canadian Mental Health Association Simcoe County (CMHA), and the Gilbert Centre.
“A key component of the application process is community stakeholder consultations. Our organizations will begin these consultations in early 2019 and will provide people with lived experience of opioid use, health and social service providers, outreach service providers, police, fire, paramedics, City of Barrie Council and municipal staff , businesses and the general public in Barrie with an opportunity to share thoughts and perspectives on supervised consumption services (SCS) in Barrie,” states the letter.
It is signed by Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health; Gerry Croteau; Executive Director, Gilbert Centre; and Nancy Roxborough, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Mental Health Association.
The Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy (SMOS) is described as a multi-sector collaboration aimed at reducing opioid harms in Simcoe and Muskoka.
“In 2017-2018, SMOS developed and began implementing a comprehensive Action Plan, organized by pillars focused on Prevention, Treatment/Clinical Practice, Harm Reduction, Enforcement, and Emergency Management.”
There exists “a substantial amount of empirical evidence” that a supervised consumption service, often know as a safe injection site, delivers harm reduction benefits in terms of public health and safety, according to the report.
“Supervised Consumption Sites (SCS) provide an immediate response to an overdose and increase access to health and social services. A SCS is a legally sanctioned health facility that offers a hygienic environment where people can use illicit drugs under the supervision of trained staff. These SCSs are also called safer injection sites, drug consumption rooms and supervised injecting centers or facilities.
Such sites, says the report, provide benefits including:
• reduced overdose fatalities
• lower rates of syringe sharing (which in turn is anticipated to reduce the risk of HIV and Hepatitis C transmission)
• promoting safer and hygienic drug use, thus preventing adverse health outcomes, such as abscesses and infections
• are an effective strategy to reach people at greatest risk of overdose or blood-borne infections, and may improve access to HIV care
• provide an effective referral mechanism to detoxification and addiction treatment
• help to reduce public injecting and the inappropriate discarding of syringes.
The report goes on to say there is no evidence that SCS encourage increased drug use or initiate new users, or that operation of SCS leads to an increase in drug-related crimes.
The letter encourages council, as a community stakeholder, to participate in the consultation process.
“Your feedback is important as it will help to shape a proposed model for SCS in Barrie. Results from the consultations will guide the applications to the federal and provincial governments for SCS in Barrie. You will be contacted in the first few months in 2019 to request an in-person consultation.”
Barrie, the letter continues, is the focus of this consultation due to data which shows:
• rates of emergency department (ED) visits in 2017 for opioid overdoses were significantly higher in Barrie compared to rates in Ontario and the region of Simcoe Muskoka, and in fact ranked third in the province among municipalities larger than 100,000 people
• In 2017 there were 81 opioid related deaths in Simcoe Muskoka, with 36 of those deaths in Barrie
• The central north area of Barrie (which includes downtown) had ten-times the rate of Opioid Overdose ED visits in 2017 compared with the provincial average, and four-times the overall Barrie average. This includes 34 visits among those identifying homelessness.

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Police make arrest in assault cases

Barrie Police Service received two separate reports from victims who had reported being sexually assaulted in the east end of the city.  From the initial investigations, it was determined that both of these occurrences were likely carried out by the same person.
As a result of an ongoing investigation that has been conducted by the Barrie Police Service Crimes Against Persons Unit, an arrest was made. A 20-year old male, who currently resides in Barrie, has been charged with two counts of Sexual Assault.
The Barrie Police Service wish to thank the public for their assistance in this matter and remind citizens to always be aware of their personal safety at all times and where possible, to travel with a friend and utilize well-travelled and property lit areas.

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Wondering what the new era of legal cannabis might mean to you? The Barrie Police Service has released some details. Click here for a City Scene story.

Food For Thought

A couple of staff reports hit Barrie councillors’ desks this week, resulting in some revisions which may or may not mean anything at the end of the day.
A report recommending that Barrie be among the Ontario centres bidding for the opening round of pot stores was discussed by general committee, and will likely be adopted by council this coming Monday. The province is conducting a lottery for an initial 25 locations, and municipalities need to decide by Jan. 22 if they are in or out.
So, Barrie, barring unforeseen circumstances, is in and if successful in the lottery will earn the right to open one store. To be sure, more locations will follow down the road, but right now we are talking about a competition for one of 25 locations.
Sounds like a lot of fuss for not much of anything, but even so committee spent some time discussing the report’s recommendations, and adding to it. Among those recommendations is a condition that would restrict a pot store from operating closer than 300 metres from a number of “sensitive uses,” including schools, parks and open spaces, day care centres and nurseries, and locations that retail alcohol.
That would seem to put much of the city off limits to a pot store, including the downtown given the presence of a liquor store on Mary Street.
The whole exercise might be moot in any regard, as the only restriction the province has placed on retail pot locations is that they be at least 150 metres from schools. And as you may well know, the province has the last word when it comes to this sort of thing. The City can ask, but the province is under no obligation to listen.
Another decision made by committee that is likely to mean nothing is the addition of a clause to ban the smoking of pot on city sidewalks, even though it is now a legal product. Currently, the smoking of cannabis comes with the same restrictions as tobacco use, meaning it’s not allowed in parks, enclosed public places, etc.
However, as anyone who has ever attended a bar or club knows, smokers frequently gather near the front door to puff away, and the province has aligned the smoking of pot with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, meaning that as far as the province is concerned, pot smoking can be allowed anywhere people legally smoke a cigarette.
It’s possible that Queen’s Park may be amenable to changing its rules, but I’m betting that’s not likely. At any rate, how is the City going to enforce such a restriction without more bylaw enforcement working nights and the wee hours of the morning? Could happen, but don’t hold your breath. As I understand it, there were only 12 smoking-related offences in all of last year.
The other report related to the possible privatization, either through sale or lease, of the Barrie marina. Back in 2016, council decided to take a look as to whether the City should be in the marina business at all, following some service complaints from marina patrons. To really no one’s surprise, the report recommended the marina stay in the City’s hands, saying there was no identifiable advantage to doing otherwise.
So, it’s status quo, with the possibility of some service upgrades paid for through marina surpluses; the place pays for itself, with no contributions from the overall tax base. However, one councillor did feel the need to say that the City remains open to future bids to privatize operations. If the issue does come up again, here are a couple of points to consider.

  • Although the marina is self-sustaining, it is connected to the waterfront upgrades financed by many millions of taxpayer money. So, all that taxpayer money spent to provide an attractive and convenient location to a future private operator? Doesn’t sound like much of a plan for Barrie or the taxpayers.
  • The report also suggested that a future operating model could include getting rid of the rule that prioritizes Barrie residents for marina slips. The thinking is that non-residents with bigger boats would pay more to access the marina, perhaps paying for service upgrades. Right now the marina is described as low-fee, low-service, although that is a bit misleading as marina users pay out-of-pocket for related services like winter storage and parking. When these costs are added to the mix, the marina is more of a moderate-fee, low-service model. Even so, there are relatively few complaints coming from patrons. The current model seems to work.
  • If the City did go with a model that favoured non-residents over residents, would boaters be able to buy their way in? If so, the new out-of-town boaters would gain access to a marina at the centre of a lovely waterfront paid for by city taxpayers, and a location supported by past and present patrons.

Questions, questions … the devil, after all, is in the details.

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Barrie Police are asking for the public’s assistance following two sexual assaults that were recently reported in the city’s east end.
On Wednesday, Jan. 2, at approximately 6:50 p.m., a female was walking on a pathway which is located at the north end of Cheltenham Road when she was sexually assaulted, police report. The second incident occurred on Monday, Jan. 7, at approximately 3:10 p.m. In this case, the victim was walking on a pathway on Dunsmore Lane, when she too was sexually assaulted.
The Barrie Police Service Crimes Against Persons Unit has been investigating these incidents and it is strongly believed that the same person is responsible for both of the sexual assaults. As a result of the ongoing investigation, detectives are attempting to locate an individual who is described as: 
• Male, South Asian approximately 20 years old, 5’8 to 5’10 with a large build. He has dark short hair and is unshaven.
The Barrie Police Service reminds the public to be aware of their personal safety at all times and when possible, refrain from entering secluded and poorly lit areas alone.
Anyone with information or who may have residential video surveillance is asked to contact Barrie Police Crimes Against Persons Unit at 705-725-7025, ext. 2931 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

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Barrie police have issued a caution about selling items online and arranging to meet with a prospective buyer.
“With the holiday season behind us, many people are realizing that they have items around their homes that they may no longer require. Many of these gently used items make their way to online sites that specialize in providing a format that allows for sellers to advertise their items to potential buyers.
“Recently, a person who had advertised a mobile phone for sale agreed to meet a buyer in a large shopping plaza lot located in the City of Barrie, but at the last minute, the location was changed to an isolated, less travelled area. The seller did not feel good about agreeing to the last minute change in plans, but did so reluctantly. Unfortunately the intended buyer arrived with a friend and armed with a large knife attempted to rob the seller.
“This incident did not end in a robbery, nor did the intended seller sustain any injury, but the outcome was not something that the intended seller expected. Thankfully, when things started to go wrong, the seller, who also brought a friend, was able to call for police who were able to respond quickly to the area.”
The Barrie Police Service is reminding the public to never compromise your safety when completing a transaction and strongly recommends the following tips that will hopefully ensure your safety:
• Meet in a busy place during daylight hours.
• Meet in person to inspect the product.
• Bring a trusted friend or family member along as a witness.
• Bring a cell phone in case you need to call for help.
“If you must go alone, tell a friend or family member when and where you are meeting someone. Don’t invite a stranger into your home. It allows them access to the layout of your house, gives them information regarding alarm systems and/or dogs and provides a chance to see any valuables you may have.
“Never tell your schedule to a stranger. They do not need to know when you will not be home. Don’t erase any e-mails, texts or voicemails between yourself and the seller or buyer.

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Police seek suspects who broke into a food store, gaining access to ATM

Barrie police are seeking suspects in connection with a break and enter at a local food store and the subsequent theft from an ATM.
On Monday, Dec. 17, at 1:40 a.m., police responded to the Food Basics grocery store at 555 Essa Road to investigate a break and enter which had just occurred. From the investigation that followed, it has been determined that two suspects forced open the front sliding doors and then attended to a Bank of Montreal Automated Teller Machine (ATM), policed report.
The machine was then forcibly accessed and two black cash drawers were removed that contained an undisclosed amount of currency. The suspects then left the store and went to a nearby street where a short time later, a light coloured pickup truck was seen leaving the area. The entire incident, both inside and outside the store was captured on closed circuit television (CCTV).
The following description of the involved suspects has been obtained:
Suspect #1:
Male white, 5’9 to 6’0 tall,  wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a white hawk on the back of the sweater, black and white Nike shoes, blue jeans and white construction gloves. Suspect #1 is observed entering the store first holding the pry bar, then using a sledge hammer that suspect #2 was holding upon entry to smash the ATM.
Suspect #2:
Male white, 5’9 to 6’0 tall, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt with a white label on the lower center rear, blue jeans, yellow work gloves with black rubber like material on the palms and fingers, light blue running shoes.
Both males were wearing face masks during the break and enter. Anyone with information on this break, enter and theft is asked to contact Detective Constable Davies of the Barrie Police Service Street Crime Unit at 705-725-7025, ext. 2304 or by email at rdavies@barriepolice.ca.
You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

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Barrie police are currently seeking the location of a Barrie woman

UPDATE: The Barrie Police Service would like to thank the public for their assistance in locating Wendy Palmer. Wendy’s whereabouts and safety has been confirmed and she is no longer considered missing.

Barrie police are currently seeking the whereabouts of Wendy Palmer, 24, from Barrie.
She was reported missing after leaving home late at night on Sunday, Jan. 6, police report. They and and family are concerned for her well-being and are seeking the public’s assistance in locating her.
Wendy is described as white, approximately 5’7”, with a heavy build and short dark black hair. She has a tattoo of a wolf on her right upper arm and was last seen wearing a beige winter jacket, a black shirt, black pants, black shoes and a shoulder bag.
Anyone with information on Wendy or her whereabouts is asked to contact Barrie Police Investigative Services at 705-725-7025 ext. 2516, or to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.p3tips.com.

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Allow cannabis sales in Barrie, report recommends

Wondering what the new era of legal cannabis might mean to you? The Barrie Police Service has released some details. Click here for a City Scene story.

Getting into the pot retailing business should be high on the city’s list of things to do, according to a staff report.
The report, prepared by Dawn McAlpine, general manager of community and corporate services, recommends that provincially licensed cannabis stores be allowed to sell their wares in the city, and that if the recommendation takes root, a third of any funding coming from the province go to “increased costs associated with road safety and illegal cannabis storefront enforcement.”
The other two-thirds, says the report, should go to funding additional resources, including “increasing the number of Municipal Law Enforcement Officers as deemed appropriate to address matters related to smoking regulations.”
Other identified resources include litigation and prosecutorial research, and additional court resources to address charge volume.
Cannabis became legal Oct. 17 of last year. The previous Liberal provincial government was preparing a system whereby cannabis would be sold from provincial stores, but when elected the Doug Ford government elected to have cannabis sales handled through private retail locations. Municipalities can decide to opt-in/out of the system, saying yes or no to selling cannabis within their boundaries. They have to decide if they are in or out by Jan. 22.
“The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 and the Cannabis Act, 2017 were amended to clarify where the smoking and vaping medicinal and recreational cannabis is permitted as well as where it is prohibited, such as in enclosed public places and enclosed workplaces, vehicles and boats,” states the report.
“The maximum fine for using cannabis in a prohibited place would be $1,000 for a first offence, and $5,000 for a subsequent offence, the same fines that apply to smoking tobacco or using an electronic cigarette in a prohibited place.”
Retail stores will be required to be “stand-alone” locations, open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Employees will need to be trained to conduct “responsible sales.” The government is planning a lottery to “determine who is eligible for the initial cannabis retail store licences to legally operate in Ontario … municipalities and the public (will have) a 15-day notification period of a proposed store site to receive public input,” says the report.
In recommending cannabis sales in Barrie, the report says that if the City opts-out, “individuals seeking to legally purchase cannabis would be required to use the online platform to acquire it. Given the timing for delivery, cannabis use would need to be pre-planned well in advance.
“If individuals had not pre-planned their purchase, they may turn to the illegal market to obtain cannabis. The individuals would then be subject to significant risk associated with the often contaminated and unregulated product that is sourced from criminal organizations.
“The intent of a legalized product and sales is to combat this criminal market and reduce access for youth, one of the groups the most at risk from the harms of cannabis.”
The report says that in the interest of public health and safety, cannabis stores should not be permitted in the following:
• Areas that already have a high concentration of such stores or with retail outlets selling alcohol (ie. “clustering” of stores should be avoided)
• Locations that have insufficient parking or transit access
• Locations that are not pedestrian-friendly
• Locations that are on residentially zoned lands or within 50 metres of residentially zoned lands. 
Cannabis legislation mandates that retail stores be at least 150 metres away from schools, however the report says “in order to help ensure public health and safety, protect youth and reduce illegal sales,” pot stores should not be located within 300 metres of the following sensitive uses that are designed to serve youth and/or vulnerable populations: 
• Schools 
• A Georgian College location
• Parks and Open Spaces
• Addiction facilities such as Alcohol and Detox Treatment Centres/Clinics
• Day Nurseries/Child Care Centres
• Libraries
• Community Centres/Arenas
• Mental Health/Addiction. 
The City is due to receive a payment of $136,869 from the province this month, if it opts-in, and only $5,000 if it opts-out. If the City is in, it will receive a second payment on a per-household basis.

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Barrie police investigate fail to remain

The Barrie Police Service is appealing to the public for assistance after a fail-to-remain collision occurred in the City of Barrie, Friday, Jan. 4 about 11:29 p.m
At that time police responded to a report of a fail-to-remain collision that occurred on Hickling Trail. From the investigation that followed, it was apparent that while attempting to turn around on the street and travelling at a high rate of speed, the vehicle was unable to do so, lost control and struck an electrical transformer and a tree.
The involved motor vehicle, which is believed to be a white Ford Crown Victoria, left the scene with what is described as extensive front end damage and was occupied by two males.
Anyone with information on this fail to remain is asked to contact Constable Casey of the Barrie Police Service Traffic Unit at 705-725-7025, ext. 2918 or by email at mcasey@barriepolice.ca. You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

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The Waterfront & Marina Strategic Plan also recommended maintaining public ownership and operation of the marina.

A staff report investigating the potential privatization, either through lease, sale or outsourcing management, of the Barrie Marina recommends not entering those waters as they offer no clear advantage for the City.
Rather, the report, prepared by Gus Diamantopoulos, manager of corporate facility services, presents an alternative operating strategy for the marina, which includes the potential for it to become a “higher service marina,” in part by removing restrictions that prevent non-residents from getting a slip.
“There is demand for slips in the Barrie marina from non-residents who own larger more expensive boats. These boaters are willing to pay higher rates based on the size of boat provided that marina amenities more closely match those of other marinas in the area,” reads the report. 
“These enhanced amenities include wi-fi, winter haul-out and storage services, laundry facilities, upgraded dedicated washroom and shower facilities plus community space for barbecues and member get-togethers.”
However, the report recommends no action on this alternative yet, as “staff are continuing to investigate these opportunities.”
In addition to the alternative operating strategy, the report presented three other options: leasing the marina as a public/private partnership, selling the marina to a private operator, and outsourcing marina operations to a management firm.
Requests for expressions of interest received no responses for selling or leasing the marina, and one from an American marina management operator.
The report is in response to a May 9, 2016 motion that called on staff to “investigate and update the feasibility of privatizing the City of Barrie Marina and/or Marina operations through lease or sale and report back” to general committee.” 
Also, during the Barrie Waterfront & Marina Strategic Plan, Baird & Associates were asked to specifically comment about the advisability of selling or leasing the Marina to the private sector. The following is an excerpt from the Baird & Associates Plan, states the report.
“In our view, there would be no significant advantages to the City. Given the marina’s central placement in the waterfront and the opportunities that surround it for future public benefits, the disadvantages associated with losing control outweigh any benefits.” 
The Waterfront & Marina Strategic Plan also recommended maintaining public ownership and operation of the marina. This recommendation was accepted by council through motion 13-G-274.
The City has managed the marina since 1971. Prior to that, it was leased to a series of private operators with the City being responsible for all capital investment and renewal, with the primary focus being to provide “seasonal marina services to Barrie residents for small to mid-sized boats, and transient boat slips for visitors.” 
Staff refer to it as a low-fee, low-service marina compared to other such facilities in the region. 
“On average the City marina fees are 20 to 40 per cent lower than other local marinas. The marina offers the basic services essential to the boating community including a gas dock, waste pump-out, boat launch, potable water supply, shore power and minimal restroom/shower facilities.”
However, the report doesn’t go into the additional costs marina patrons pay, including winter storage, parking, lift in/out, that are covered by fees paid at other marinas. These additional out-of-pocket expenses bring the overall costs of keeping a boat at the Barrie marina closer to the fees paid at other marinas which include such services in overall costs.
The marina is self-sufficient, with all operating and capital costs coming through fees and at no cost to the “tax fund.” It operates with an annual surplus. Weaknesses identified include distance from the Trent-Severn system and related boat traffic, limited boater amenities, lack of parking, lack of winter storage, and limited capacity to accommodate larger boats.
Opportunities detailed include rate increases to support upgrades to the marina and “immediate vicinity,” expanding launch, pump-out fees, and masting fees to all users; currently, only non-residents are charged a launch fee.  
Other opportunities identified include expanding services, including wi-fi, laundry facilities, winter storage and commercial opportunities.
“A broad range of commercial opportunities including sailing and fishing charters could be supported out of the marina.”
Threats listed include access to capital and resistance from marina users. “There is a general resistance from the marina’s current seasonal lessees, 98 per cent of which are City of Barrie residents, to pay more than a marginal rate increase for an enhanced level of service.”

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Barrie chamber offers mini-MBA certificate program

The Barrie Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Schulich School of Business to bring a unique Mini-MBA to members.
This certificate program is for local executives, entrepreneurs, and future leaders, and will be held at the Barrie chamber office. 
The chamber says it has negotiated the best price available, with the first 10 registrants saving an additional $300.
The program is designed to give participants the latest knowledge and skills grounded in academic research and industry best practices, moving beyond the perspective of a single position to make decisions which integrate across the organization and developing renewed confidence associated with being able to communicate with senior management more effectively about a full range of business disciplines.
For more information, click here.

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The Sam Roberts Band, hailing from Montreal, will headline the Downtown Countdown, Barrie’s annual New Year’s Eve bash.
“In partnership with Rock 95 and 107.5 KOOL FM, the City is excited to welcome Canadian favourite Sam Roberts Band to headline the Downtown Countdown,” said Arin Donnelly, Community Events Coordinator. “With alt-rock anthems like Brother Down, Don’t Walk Away Eileen, and Where Have All the Good People Gone, this show in Barrie on New Year’s Eve is the place to be.”
Roberts, a Juno Award winning artist, has six albums under his belt, with the latest being We Were Born In A Flame Deluxe Edition (2018). The band has won five MuchMusic Video Awards and has performed at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Ottawa Canada Day celebrations and NHL and CFL events.
This year’s line-up will also include Skye Wallace, a classically-trained singer with east coast roots who discovered punk rock in her youth. Hailing from Toronto, Skye’s music is inspired by every corner of Canada, and her newest album, Something Wicked, was listed as one of Vancouver Weekly’s Best Albums of 2016.
Also scheduled for the fest is Fred Penner, four-time Juno Award winner. The four-time recipient of the Parents’ Choice Award has shared his positive philosophy to make a difference through music, videos, books, speaking engagements and television, including 12 seasons of the hit CBC show Fred Penner’s Place.
Every year, local bands are invited to submit their music for the opportunity to perform on the Downtown Countdown stage. From over 30 submissions this year, Cousin Jack, an alternative rock trio from Barrie currently working on their debut EP, has been selected to perform.
This year’s free celebration outside City Hall in downtown Barrie also includes skating at the City Hall rink, horse-drawn wagon rides, roaming street performers, food vendors, fun family activities and two fireworks displays. The festivities get underway at 6 p.m. on Dec. 31. To stay up-to-date on event details, including transit and parking, visit www.barrie.ca/DowntownCountdown.

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Barrie police report that five drivers, over the span of four hours, were hit with impaired driving charges Thursday night.
Last night, between 6:22 p.m. and 10:18 p.m., five drivers, four males and one female, discovered that Barrie police are out on city streets ensuring they are free of impaired drivers, as they removed them and their motor vehicles from the road.
In fact, police say, one driver was almost five times over the legal limit and one of the drivers was arrested after failing a roadside screening test during a R.I.D.E. spot check.
“This type of behaviour is totally preventable and with the recent changes in the laws associated with impaired operation and the numerous options available to motorists who choose to consume alcohol and recreational cannabis, these results are beyond acceptable,” says Barrie Police Deputy Chief Ken Weatherill.
“I commend our officers for their commitment to road and traffic safety; it is their efforts that are making a difference and are helping to save lives every day of the year and not just during the holiday season.”
The safety of all those on City of Barrie streets is a priority of the Barrie Police Service and with Christmas and New Year’s celebrations just around the corner, it becomes everyone’s responsibility to make sure that no one gets behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, police say.
“If you have not yet taken the time to plan out your travels and how you will get home should you wish to consume alcohol, now is the time to do so. If you don’t, you could be the next driver that we arrest.”

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Barrie Transit offers free rides New Year’s Eve

The City of Barrie reminds residents of the following schedule changes during the holidays:

Barrie Transit Holiday Schedule
Transit will operate a regular Sunday Service schedule on Dec. 24. There will be no service on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. On Dec. 26, Transit will operate a Sunday Service with an early 7 a.m. start. On Dec. 31, there will be regular weekday service with extended free service from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.  (www.barrie.ca/TransitNotices)

Curbside Collection
There will be no curbside collection on Christmas Day (Tuesday, Dec. 25) and New Year’s Day (Tuesday, Jan. 1) in Barrie. Collection will occur one day later for both of these weeks.  Materials must be curbside by 7 a.m. on your collection day. (www.barrie.ca/CurbsideCollection)

Landfill Holiday Schedule
The Landfill Site will be closed Dec. 25, 26 and Jan. 1, and will close at noon on Dec. 24 and 31.

City Hall
City Hall will be closed on Dec. 25, 26 and Jan. 1, and will close at noon on Dec. 24 and 31.

Recreation
Allandale Recreation Centre and East Bayfield Community Centre will be open Dec. 24 & 31 from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Both centres will be closed Dec. 26 & Jan. 1. 
Holly Community Centre (HCC) will be open Dec. 24 from 6 a.m. – 11 a.m. HCC will be closed Dec. 25, 26, 31 & January 1 (Note: Holly Community Centre will be closed on Dec. 31 for maintenance).
Check out the Holiday Drop-In schedules at www.barrie.ca/DropIns.

Parking
Downtown parking (on-street and lots) is free on all statutory holidays. Waterfront parking is enforced 24/7/365; residents must display their permits and visitors are required to pay $3/hour (daily maximum: $15).

Overnight On-Street Parking
From Dec. 1st through March 31st, on-street parking is not permitted from 3–6 a.m. within the Downtown BIA, and on other City streets from 12:01–7 a.m. (www.barrie.ca/parking)

Possible Overnight On-Street Parking Exemption:
If winter maintenance is not required, on-street parking will be permitted for the following dates and times:
·        12:01 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Dec. 25, 12:01 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Dec. 26, 12:01 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Jan. 1.
If winter maintenance is required on these nights, the City will ask residents to remove parked vehicles from the road to allow crews to effectively clear the streets.
A notice will be posted at www.barrie.ca/snow, Facebook, and Twitter by 4 p.m. on the day prior (Dec. 24, 25, and 31) that will confirm whether overnight on-street parking is permitted.

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“We want all families and caregivers for vulnerable persons to be aware of this incredibly useful program. We know that families of those living with conditions like Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Autism may not be aware of the services that are out there to support them and their loved ones. Belonging to Project Lifesaver can be very comforting for these caregivers who are worried that their loved one may wander off.” – Randy Starr of Seniors Helpers, Barrie

The Project Lifesaver program combines radio technology with a coordinated police response to locate wandering and disoriented persons due to Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Acquired Brain Disorder, or other conditions or disorders.

With winter settling in, and along with it the dip in temperature that chills toes and fingers, the Barrie Police Service is reminding the public about Project Lifesaver, a program for individuals who are at risk of wandering and getting lost.
Participants registered with the Project Lifesaver program wear a wristband which emits an FM signal that can be tracked by police in the event that the individual goes missing. The watch-sized bracelet is a one-ounce, battery-operated transmitter that emits an FM radio frequency signal every second, 24 hours a day.
If a caregiver notifies Barrie Police Service that their loved one is missing, police will respond to the area where the person was last seen and utilize the specialized mobile-location tracking system.
Seniors Helpers, a Barrie business that specializes in the needs of seniors, has partnered with the Barrie Police Service to help deliver this program.
 “We want all families and caregivers for vulnerable persons to be aware of this incredibly useful program,” said Randy Starr of Seniors Helpers, Barrie. “We know that families of those living with conditions like Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Autism may not be aware of the services that are out there to support them and their loved ones. Belonging to Project Lifesaver can be very comforting for these caregivers who are worried that their loved one may wander off.”
Starr also notes that what sets Project Lifesaver apart is the equipment worn by the participant and the technology used to communicate with police.
“The wristbands are secure and difficult to remove. Volunteers from Georgian Bay Search and Rescue visit every 60 days to check and change the device’s batteries and ensure that the wristband is always in perfect working order,” said Starr.
Project Lifesaver participants must be registered with the Barrie Police Service’s Vulnerable Person’s Registry. If their caregiver reports them as missing, being registered with Project Lifesaver can make a significant difference to police as they begin to search for the individual.
“Project Lifesaver helps our efforts significantly when searching for missing vulnerable persons,” said Constable Jamie Saunders, a Search Master for the Barrie Police Service.
“We are able to use the highly accurate FM signal to get a better idea of the area where the missing person might be located. As a Search Master, we are then able to deploy the most effective human resources to that area, increasing the likelihood we will locate the missing person in the best possible condition in the least amount of time.”
The cost of the transmitter, bracelets and batteries is $500 for the year. After the first year, there is a $10 per month or $120 annual cost for replacement batteries and wristbands. Senior Helpers will meet with potential participants and their caregivers to provide and properly fit the bracelets and transmitters. Call 1-249-888-0249 to book an appointment. 
More information is also available on the Barrie Police Service website at BarriePolice.ca/project-lifesaver-simcoe.

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“The Busby Centre provides a key service in our community, helping the most marginalized citizens … with winter at hand, it is critical that the centre open for clients as soon as possible.” – Ward 4 Coun. Barry Ward

The top four reasons for being homeless were identified as addiction/substance abuse (21 per cent), inability to pay rent/mortgage (20 per cent), conflict with spouse/partner (16 per cent), and unsafe housing conditions (15 per cent).

The $200,000 granted to the David Busby Centre by City Council Monday night is in keeping with the 2018-2022 term priorities the new council adopted recently, says Ward 4 Coun. Barry Ward.
For the coming term, council set five priorities: growing the local economy, fostering a safe and healthy city, building strong neighbourhoods, offering innovative and citizen-driven services, and improving the ability to get around Barrie.
“The Busby Centre provides a key service in our community, helping the most marginalized citizens … with winter at hand, it is critical that the centre open for clients as soon as possible,” says Ward.
The centre’s home at 88 Mulcaster Street has been undergoing a $920,000 renovation to increase its size from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet. The centre has managed to raise $520,000 towards the renovations, but fundraising has fallen short, says Ward, who put the motion to grant the $200,000 on the floor at the request of Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“The Busby Centre fundraising is still underway but has fallen short of the goal to date and the centre is ready to open. The purpose of the (centre’s) deputation (was) to bring council up to date on what is happening, along with informing new councillors about what services the Busby provides.”
Busby took over the Out of the Cold program last year, which worked with local churches to provide overnight shelter to those experiencing homelessness. A report, Simcoe County Homeless Enumeration, released in April identified almost 700 people who were homeless in Simcoe County, with 305 being located in Barrie.
When open, the centre will operate on a 24/7 basis. The Out of the Cold program was taken over by Busby last year, and has since ended. The centre will deploy its Housing First strategy, seeking to place those in need in permanent housing, with followup services.
“It is my understanding that Simcoe County, our social services partner, is also being asked to provide funding. At least half of the funding will come through the Busby’s own fundraising efforts,” says Ward.
“The way the grant request funding would be done is the result of the mayor consulting with staff as to the best way to provide the dollars. Section 37 money, or bonusing from developers, is meant to be directed to projects which have a community benefit. The Busby Centre, in my opinion, fits the bill.”

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How many people are experiencing homelessness in the region and, specifically, Barrie? Revisiting the Simcoe County Homeless Enumeration, released in April, provides some answers.
According to the report, 697 people were determined to be homeless, with 305, or 49 per cent of the total, being centred in Barrie. Midland had 138 of the total, while Orillia had 97. The rest were located in other county centres. 
The homeless population was determined using “observation, survey and agency utilization date,” according to the report, the first combined Homeless Point-in-Time Count and Registry Week, which brought together various community and funding partners, and was led by the Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness.
“Simcoe County’s first combined Homeless Point-in-Time Count and Registry Week would not have been possible without the support of many dedicated community members,” states the report’s authors.
“Most importantly, we would like to thank the 488 (the number of unique homeless survey participants who provided consent for their information to be used) people experiencing homelessness in Simcoe County who participated in the enumeration – the information you shared about your experience informs planning and work to end homelessness across Simcoe County, Ontario and Canada.”
The top four reasons for being homeless were identified as addiction/substance abuse (21 per cent), inability to pay rent/mortgage (20 per cent), conflict with spouse/partner (16 per cent), and unsafe housing conditions (15 per cent).
Nearly 30 per cent of respondents indicated they were newly homeless. Of that number, 28 per cent said they had recently left a hospital or correctional facility, four per cent indicated they had aged out of/left foster care, and two per cent had left a First Nations Reserve. The largest percentage of survey participants who reported they exited an institution to homelessness were surveyed in Barrie, states the report.
“About one quarter (24 per cent) of survey participants indicated they had experienced living in foster care settings at some time in their past. Thirty percent of participants who had experienced living in foster care settings indicated their first experience of homelessness was before they exited foster care.”
The report pinpoints where those deemed homeless found shelter of some sort:

The top four reasons for being homeless were identified as addiction/substance abuse (21 per cent), inability to pay rent/mortgage (20 per cent), conflict with spouse/partner (16 per cent), and unsafe housing conditions (15 per cent).
  • Provincially accommodated (315 people): This means people “who are technically homeless and without permanent shelter,” with access to “accommodation that offers no prospect of permanence … they may be accessing temporary housing provided by the government or the non-profit sector, or may have independently made arrangements for short-term accommodation.”
  • Emergency sheltered (292 people): The report says this “refers to people who, because they cannot secure permanent housing, are accessing emergency shelter and system supports, generally provided at no cost or minimal cost to the user. Such accommodation represents an institutional response to homelessness provided by government, non-profit, faith-based organizations and/or volunteers.”
  • Unsheltered (82): “This includes people who lack housing and are not accessing emergency shelters or accommodation, except during extreme weather conditions. In most cases, people are staying in places that are not designed for or fit for human habitation,” the report says.

• A further eight people who were deemed to be in an unknown location were “likely homeless.”
The report reveals that the county’s rate of homelessness at the time of the survey was about 14 for every 10,000 residents. Males accounted for the largest share of homeless, at 61 per cent. Females were found to have “more complex and challenging housing supports” than men. About eight per cent of respondents identified as LGBTQ.
Additionally, 57 per cent met the national definition of chronic homelessness, 180 days of homelessness in the past year. Those aged 18-24 accounted for 16 per cent of survey respondents, the same number for those 65 and older. Mental health factored in the homeless equation, with 62 per cent of respondents indicating they dealt with such issues.
The federal government in June reaffirmed its commitment to reduce chronic homelessness in half by 2028, the report states. County agencies partnering with the federal government towards this goal provide “training for front-line homeless services workers to build community capacity to reduce homelessness, and fund “housing support and housing first workers to assist people, including Indigenous Peoples, who are experiencing chronic homelessness and housing instability, to find, secure and maintain permanent housing.” 
Recommendations for next steps include:

  • Introduce low-barrier, housing-focused shelter and transitional housing policy standards.
  • Build capacity and collaboration among emergency services providers to develop better pathways to stable housing.
  • Continue to build capacity and collaborations among emergency services providers to develop effective service response models and coordinated entry protocols that help ensure the right health, police and/or human service providers respond to emergency calls for assistance.
  • Increase primary care, mental health and addiction services and other supports for street involved populations including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ), youth, physically or mental ill, and other very vulnerable populations.
  • Collaborate with other key sector partners such as health, children’s and community services, develop innovative and collaborative approaches to prevent homelessness by discharging people from institutions directly to housing with supports.
  • Reduce homelessness among Indigenous Peoples across Simcoe County.
  • Convene youth service providers to develop a youth specific, local approach to ending youth homelessness in Simcoe County.
  • Increase housing options for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Implement the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS) among Simcoe County homeless services providers.
  • Undertake a review of access to County of Simcoe housing programs to ensure that people who have experienced homelessness have equitable opportunities for housing.

To read the full report, click here.

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A trial project launched in November and geared towards improving snow removal services for residential routes will benefit the city and its residents in better response times and lower overtime costs, according to a municipal release.
“By adding a second shift, the City will benefit from efficiencies in reduced overtime costs and better response times to snow storms. The added shift also means when winter maintenance is not required, road maintenance (e.g. filling potholes) can be done overnight instead of during peak travel times,” says the release.
Here are some winter maintenance reminders in Barrie:

Plowing of City roads
The priority is the main roads – those with the most traffic in the city. These roads are serviced when at least five cm of snow has fallen. The secondary (residential) routes are plowed when there is at least eight cm of snow. The goal is to have most routes plowed 12–24 hours after the end of a snow event. With Barrie’s Plow Tracker, you can track the progress of the road plows and see when your street was last serviced. A reminder – plows can’t avoid leaving snow at the bottom of driveways because they can’t lift the blades in between driveways.

Sidewalk plowing
Sidewalk plowing is done on main sidewalks when five cm of snow falls and on residential sidewalks when there’s eight cm of snow. If you see a sidewalk plow driving on the road, there’s a good reason – they’re travelling to their next destination for plowing because it’s faster than travelling on the sidewalk. 

Parking restrictions
A reminder that on-street parking is not permitted on city streets from 12:01–7 a.m. and 3–6 a.m. within the Downtown Business Improvement Area, from Dec. 1 through March 31. This ensures that the streets can be completely cleared and that large emergency vehicles can get down the street.

Waste collection
Shovel out a small area at the bottom of your driveway for your garbage, recycling boxes and green bin, as far from the road as possible without blocking the sidewalk. Do not place them on top of the snow bank.
For more information and updates about winter maintenance, visit www.barrie.ca/Snow.

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Barrie’s new council spent some time on Saturday discussing strategic priorities for the 2018-2022 term. Five goals to guide the strategic direction for Barrie over the next four years were identified.
They are: growing the local economy, fostering a safe and healthy city, building strong neighbourhoods, offering innovative and citizen driven services, improving the ability to get around Barrie.
“As a team of (11) we now have the honour of shaping our city for the next four years,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “There was a lot of energy in the room as this (council) started setting our priorities. We know there’s a lot of work to do, and there is clearly a sense of optimism as we set the direction for our community.  It starts with having a straightforward vision, which I believe we achieved today.”
Council discussed several key issues they heard while campaigning, including affordable housing, the opioid crisis, community safety, road safety, innovation, and customer service.
Staff will now work on developing actions plans for each strategic direction and will report back to General Committee early

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The meeting is scheduled prior to general committee, 7 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall. The submission is made by Innovative Planning Solutions (IPS) on behalf of Mason Homes Limited.

A public meeting is scheduled tonight (Monday) to review an application for an Official Plan (OP) amendment and a zoning bylaw change to build a 153-unit condo development at the intersection of Yonge Street and Little Avenue.
The meeting is scheduled prior to general committee, 7 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall. The submission is made by Innovative Planning Solutions (IPS) on behalf of Mason Homes Limited.
The request is to change the OP designation of the property from General Commercial to Residential and the zoning from General Commercial (C4) to Residential Multiple Second Density with Special Provisions (RM2). The special provisions requested to the RM2 zone include: an increase in density to 73 units per hectare, reduced front and rear yard setbacks, increased lot coverage and gross floor area, increased height to 17 metres and an unconsolidated amenity area.
For more on the development, click here.

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During the Lock it OR Lose it campaign, police officers, auxiliary officers, and crime prevention personnel examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that no valuables have been left in plain view.

During the Christmas season stores and malls are bustling with people spending their hard-earned money on gifts for friends and family.
Barrie police are reminded buyers that to avoid trauma and torment, shoppers need to Lock it OR Lose to prevent theft. The annual provincial campaign (#LockItOrLoseIt) is sponsored by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).
During the Lock it OR Lose it campaign, police officers, auxiliary officers, and crime prevention personnel examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that no valuables have been left in plain view. They place a small notice on vehicles checked indicating what safety precautions were neglected and offer simple prevention tips for drivers to protect their vehicles against theft. The notices also congratulate drivers who have secured their vehicle.
“When we conduct Lock it or Lose it campaigns, we’re pleased to see that most vehicles are locked, without any visible valuables,” said Cst. Bovair, a Crime Prevention Officer with the Barrie Police Service. “We do find several vehicles that are not as secure, and we remind them that the best way to prevent thefts is by locking vehicles and securing valuables.”
Between 2016 and 2017, there was an overall increase of six per cent in auto theft across Canada.According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, on average, a car is stolen every seven minutes in Canada. Automobile thefts cost Canadians close to $1 billion. This can be broken down to $542 million for insurers to fix or replace stolen vehicles, $250 million in police, health care and court system costs, and the rest for correctional services. It’s estimated that about 40 people die and 65 people are injured as a direct result of auto theft every year.
Motorists and passengers are urged not to keep personal documents such as vehicle ownership, liability pink slips, credit card invoices, or other documents containing personal information in their vehicles. Identity thieves are looking for such documents so they can assume identities, secure credit card accounts, lease vehicles for export, and even take out a mortgage against victims’ properties without their knowledge.

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The proposal calls for a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, ranging from 559 to 1,076 square feet, two ground floor commercial units, 103 parking spaces, individual balconies, and common amenity areas.

A public meeting is scheduled for Monday before general committee to review an application for the construction of an eight-story apartment building with 96 rental units on Dunlop Street West, between Boys and Frances streets.
The proposal calls for a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, ranging from 559 to 1,076 square feet, two ground floor commercial units, 103 parking spaces, individual balconies, and common amenity areas. An application for amendments to the Official Plan and the zoning bylaw to permit the development has been made by Innovative Planning Solutions on behalf of MDM Developments.
In total, the land is 1.78 acres in size, and is currently designated ‘Residential’ and ‘Environmental Protection’ in the City’s Official Plan, zoned ‘Multi-Residential Second Density Special Provision’ and ‘Multi-Residential Second Density Special Provision.’
The owner has applied to amend the Official Plan to permit a density in excess of 150 units per hectare outside of the Urban Growth Centre (UGC), and to amend the current zoning of the property to ‘Residential Apartment Dwelling First Density-3 Special’ (RA1-3)(SP)’ to permit the development.
To see a presentation of the proposal, click here.

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The scheduling of neighbourhood meetings to gather residents’ feedback about planned developments is being changed so that the meetings can be held before a planning application is formally submitted.
Staff believe the change will provide a number of benefits, including providing an earlier opportunity for residents to “view and understand the proposal and provide feedback,” council was told in a memo from Michelle Banfield, the City’s manager of growth and development.
“The process improvement will have the neighbourhood meeting scheduled in advance of the submission of the planning application. The comments and feedback provided by the community at the neighbourhood meeting are expected to be addressed by the applicant or agent as part of a complete planning application in their plans, drawings and reports,” she writes.
Other expected benefits include:
• Allowing the applicant or agent to hear feedback on a draft version of the plans, drawings and reports, affording the opportunity to respond to the feedback through discussion and revisions to the documents
• Maximizing the use of the legislated approval timelines under the Planning Act by focusing the review matters to those of a technical nature, having already incorporated the feedback from the community into the submission
• Reduce the amount of revisions to plans, drawings and reports throughout the process, ultimately decreasing time and costs for everyone involved.
The neighbourhood meetings are not required under the Planning Act but the City has held them for years. Such meetings “have been scheduled to provide the community an opportunity to review the proposal, speak to the applicant/agent and get a better understanding of the proposal prior to the statutory public meeting (required under the Planning Act),” continues Banfield.
The statutory public meeting which is required is scheduled at the beginning of a General Committee meeting, while the “neighbourhood meetings are less formal and tend to be more comfortable for community members to express their feedback.”
For more on this, including a read of a staff-prepared ‘Terms of Reference for the Neighbourhood Meeting,’ click here.

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Donations to the Barrie Police Service’s Mitten Tree drive can be made at any of the three Zehrs locations in Barrie.

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It’s time once again for Barrie residents to decorate the Barrie Police Service’s Mitten Tree and keep hands and fingers warn and cosy through the winter.
The service is collecting donations for the annual Mitten Tree campaign, the 20th anniversary of the drive which began with Constable Janet Schefter having a vision and a goal, which had been inspired by a group of individuals who had been struggling to stay warm throughout the winter months.
It was her goal to see that everyone in our community would be kept warm throughout the winter months, which led to the creation of the Mitten Tree, the service reports.
Many families, including seniors, are faced with low income, high rent and everyday living expenses, and it can be a struggle to make ends meet. The need to help individuals stay warm within the community has continued to grow throughout the years.
The Mitten Tree is one of many holiday initiatives which allow members of the Barrie Police Service and the community to give back. More than 20,000 hats, mittens, gloves and scarves have been distributed to individuals of all ages, throughout Barrie and surrounding area.
The success of the Mitten Tree can be attributed to the generosity of the community, local elementary schools and members of the Barrie Police Service. The Mitten Trees continue to become more vibrant and erupt with vast donations of hats, mittens, gloves and scarves which have been donated to:

  • Out of the Cold
  • Youth Haven
  • David Busby Street Centre
  • The Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie
  • Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre and Addiction Services
  • CARAH House
  • Elizabeth Fry Society
  • Salvation Army Barrie
  • Hospice Simcoe

To donate to the Mitten Tree campaign, visit the Barrie Police Service, at one of two locations, 29 Sperling Drive or 60 Bell Farm Road, Unit # 1, in the City of Barrie. Barrie Zehrs are also accepting donations at all three locations: 607 Cundles Road East, 11 Bryne Drive, 620 Yonge Street.
All donated items must be newly purchased for health reasons. Donations will be accepted up until Thursday, Dec. 20. All inquiries can be directed to Corporate Communications at 705-725-7025, ext. 2926.

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Barrie hires new general manager

Blaine Parkin is Barrie has a new General Manager of Infrastructure and Growth Management, effective Jan. 16.

Barrie has a new General Manager of Infrastructure and Growth Management. Blaine Parkin will begin the role, effective Jan. 16.
“This is a key leadership role within the municipality and we are pleased to have Blaine join our Executive Management Team,” says Chief Administrative Officer Michael Prowse. “Blaine’s extensive experience as well as his strengths as a leader and collaborator will be an asset to Barrie as we begin to enter our next phase of incredible growth.”
Parkin has extensive experience in both the private and municipal sectors, the City says in a release. Most recently, he was the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Town of New Tecumseth. Prior to that, he held the positions of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer and General Manager of Infrastructure & Development at the Town.
He is a familiar face at the City of Barrie. Before going to the Town of Tecumseth, he worked at the City for 10 years in a variety of capacities, including Director of Corporate Asset Management, Director of Strategic Services and Economic Development, Manager of Policy and Development and Policy and Program Engineer.
In addition to his municipal experience, Parkin has also worked as a Surety Claims Adjuster with The Guarantee Company of North America. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science-Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Architecture from the University of Manitoba and is a professional engineer.
His role role will involve leading a multi-faceted division that includes Planning and Building Services, Engineering, Environmental Services and Roads, Parks and Fleet.

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