Canada Day fireworks are going virtual this year

It will be a Canada Day unlike others in recent memory, but it will be a Canada Day nonetheless.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Canada Day festivities have been reworked in communities across the country. The fireworks will still go off, but not at the usual location on the waterfront. Rather, the display will be a virtual one that can be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of one’s own home.
Download the free Snapd HUB app​ on your mobile device and tune in for a spectacular fireworks display with countdown led by Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, at 9:30 p.m. on Canada Day.
People can watch scheduled virtual programming on the City’s social media channels, and interact with other Barrie residents on its Canada Day Engagement Hub. Activities include Canadian-themed quick polls and sharing of what makes you proud to be Canadian.
Programming includes:
• Family fun at 10 a.m.
• National Daytime Show: Canada Day Across the Country at 1 p.m.
• Canada Day Campfire Sessions at 4 p.m.
Jason McCoy and The Washboard Union will be headlining the Campfire Fire Session, and will be joined by a number of other talented artists. The full entertainment and activity lineup is posted to www.barrie.ca/CanadaDay
• Oh Canada at 7 p.m.
• National Evening Show: Canada Day Together at 8 p.m.
• Virtual Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
In addition to the scheduled virtual programming, residents can check out the City’s Canada Day engagement hub to get in the spirit leading up to the big day. Take Canadian-themed quick polls, check out Canada Day themed activities you can do from home, and share what makes you proud to be Canadian.
Residents are encouraged to post photos and videos of how they’re celebrating on social media using #CanadaDayInBarrie and #OhCanada. The City’s virtual Canada Day celebration is funded in part by the Government of Canada.

Share

{ 0 comments }

The median age of cases who have recovered is 50 years compared to the median age of 83 years among deceased cases

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has confirmed 600 current cases of COVID-19, including 491 recovered and 36 deaths.
Highlights are of the latest update include:
• The vast majority of COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka have recovered from the infection.
• Most COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka are from the Barrie and South Simcoe areas, including two large outbreaks in long-term care homes.
• Seniors 80 years of age and older have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, having both the highest incidence and case fatality rates.
The incidence rate in Muskoka remains significantly lower than the rate in Simcoe County, Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario. The median age of cases who have recovered is 50 years compared to the median age of 83 years among deceased cases.
Seniors 80 years of age or older have the highest incidence rate (189 new cases per 100,000 population) and the highest case fatality rate (36 deaths per 100 cases).
In March, travel was the most common means of acquiring COVID-19. By May, most cases are community-acquired or outbreak-related. There are outbreaks in long-term care facilities and retirement home in our area. See the list of current institutional outbreaks for more details. 
Other information:
Estimating Local COVID-19 Transmission
Tables of Case Counts by Age, Status & Transmission
Epidemic Curve by Date of Symptom Onset
Actions individuals can take everyday to protect themselves and others include:
• Stay home as much as possible (this applies to people who have not travelled outside of the country or who are not self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19 and must stay at home.
• Practise physical distancing by keeping two metres between you and another person, unless they are members of your household.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.
If you need immediate medical attention you should call 911 and tell them your symptoms and if you have travelled.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit used a simulation model developed by the University of Toronto to help us understand the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in our area. Please see the linked presentation for more details.
In summary, the results suggest:
• Intense physical distancing, or moderate physical distancing with increased case finding and isolation, is the best way to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.
• Without physical distancing being applied for at least 12 of the next 24 months, it is projected that Ontario would not have enough hospital ICU beds.
• Applying physical distancing in a repeated way could prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed and allow mental health and economic breaks for everyone.
A repeated cycle of physical distancing would lift physical distancing rules to allow people to return to a more ‘normal’ life and then restore physical distancing rules as cases start to re-appear.
As of April 22, 2020, the list of confirmed cases is now available via SMDHU’s new tool:  the COVID-19 Case Explorer.

Share

{ 0 comments }

A graphical depiction of this plan, excluding the floating breakwater but including an additional 14 moorings for small boats or Sea-Doos 

The City’s interest in a possible public/private partnership to construct a marina expansion has generated interest from a Prince Edward Island firm, East Coast Dock (ECD).
Last December council instructed staff to look for a partner for a marina expansion, a process that included the possibility of the Sea Cadets moving from their present location on the waterfront, just west of Bayfield Street.
Staff issued a public request for expression of interest to test the waters. The request was accessed by 19 firms, but only one, ECD, made a proposal. If the partnership proceeds, it could result in the firm supplying and installing new docks and a breakwater on the waterfront.
The City would finance the expansion, and manage it once completed.
East Cost Dock “is an installer of floating dock systems,” reads a memo to council.
In its proposal, ECD envisions a marina expansion with a new floating breakwater system about 700 feet in length, accessible as a part of the Heritage Park walkway.
“The breakwater would be placed in the water with the intention of being left in the water year-round. The proposal notes that the new dock systems could also be left in the water over the winter season if placed within an enclosed harbour, although doing so would void the dock’s warranty,” reads the memo.
 The proposal involves:
• 700-feet floating breakwater
• floating dock systems 
• water and electricity access to the floating dock systems
• anchoring of the breakwater and marina system 
• anchoring and attachment of the moorings 
• pathway on current breakwater 
Council’s December motion talked about moving the Sea Cadets to the south shore. ECD’s plan describes a relocation of the Sea Cadets, but not to the south shore. The firm outlined a “potential alternative that would see the installation of a floating dock onto which the City could construct a new Sea Cadets building on the north shore near its current location,” reads the memo.
“Under this scenario, ECD would work with the city and its designers to install an engineered floating dock structure onto which the city could build a new Sea Cadet facility. ECD referenced previous projects where restaurants and offices have been constructed on top of their dock systems as examples of this type of installation.”
The memo adds that the firm provided estimates of annual operating and maintenance costs, but that an “expansion of this magnitude is not currently forecast in the marina’s capital or operating plan.” 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Flags recognizing Barrie’s COVID-19 heroes are adorning downtown and waterfront streets to honour residents who made a mark during the pandemic.
Last month, the City launched the Barrie Heroes campaign, where residents were asked to share photos and stories of community heroes—people who’ve shown strength of character in helping others during the pandemic. The flags will feature the photos that were shared with the City during this campaign and frontline workers in the community.
“The Barrie Heroes campaign was about showcasing appreciation for the many acts of kindness that members of the community have experienced during this unprecedented time,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“From what was shared with us this past month, it’s clear there have been so many selfless acts in neighbourhoods, on the front lines and in the community. This campaign highlights just how caring and compassionate our city is.”
The flags will be up along Lakeshore Drive and downtown all summer. To see all the photos and stories submitted to the Barrie Heroes campaign, visit barrie.ca/heroes.

Share

{ 0 comments }

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 extending the cancellation of special event permits until at least Sept. 8.
The cancellation will be regularly reviewed by the City’s Emergency Control Group and could be extended based on the most current advice of Public Health. Special event permits have been cancelled in the City since April 6.
The Province is still strongly discouraging non-essential in-person gatherings of any size and has restricted social gathering limits to a maximum of 10 people. The Province has also indicated that even at Stage 3, the physical distancing will be a continued practice.
Considering these restrictions and health and safety concerns, event organizers have already cancelled some popular summer events in Barrie such as Promenade Days, the Craft Beer and BBQ and Kempenfest.
The City will continually update its website at barrie.ca/Services as the situation changes. 

Share

{ 0 comments }

The City is offering modified summer day camps this year called Camp Barrie, with limited space. Registration opened on June 18. The camps will run for 8 weeks starting July 13.
The Province recently released the guidelines for operating day camps safely. Staff have reviewed the guidelines and developed modified programming for City camps. These additional health measures include physical distancing, smaller camp sizes, daily requirements for staff and camper health assessments, and extensive cleaning procedures.
Camp Barrie will be held at several outdoor locations across the city. Camps will run daily Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fee for a one-week camp will be $199. Activities will include arts and crafts, sports, and camp games.
The City is in the process of refunding all registrations for the previous 2020 summer camps. Anyone registered previously, will have to register again for the Camp Barrie. To register, visit play.barrie.ca. For more information, residents can contact the City’s Recreation & Culture Services by calling 705-739-4223 or emailing recreation.information@barrie.ca.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Just as summer dawns, beach goers in Barrie are being advised to avoid going into the water at Centennial and Minet’s point beaches.
Based on water sample results from June 22, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) recommended that swim advisories be posted. Staff are currently posting advisory signage and will be re-sampling the beaches on June 24.
A status update will be provided once a decision is made by the SMDHU.
Every summer between June and the Labour Day weekend, the unit collects water samples from public beaches within Simcoe and Muskoka.
“We test the water samples for levels of E. coli bacteria. When elevated levels of E. coli are present in the water samples, the beach may be posted with an advisory warning indicating it is unsafe for swimming, or the beach may be closed,” says the unit.
“Bacteria levels can increase in recreational beach water due to heavy rainfall, cloudy water, a large number of swimmers, a large number of birds, shallow water, wet sand, wind and high waves.”
More on beaches tested within the unit’s area can be found here.
Splash pads, however, are now opening following a brief delay. They welcomed splashers on Saturday. The City worked with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to confirm that requirements have been met for the splash pads at Heritage Park and Lampman Lane Park to reopen.
The City reminds residents to continue to follow public health guidelines: keep practicing physical distancing, no gatherings of more than 10 people and stay home when you are sick. 
The City’s webpage about impacted city services (barrie.ca/services) will be updated with information as facilities and amenities reopen.

Share

{ 0 comments }

City staff working hard to reopen amenities and facilities as quickly as possible, says Mayor Jeff Lehman

Barrie beaches will open for the summer on Saturday as the Province eases COVID-19 restrcitions.
The City is reopening more outdoor recreational amenities, based on the Province allowing municipalities in the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit region to move into Stage 2 as of Friday, June 12. As a result, City staff are preparing to reopen several amenities, in line with provincial guidelines.
However, the beaches will reopen with no lifeguards. Hiring and training of lifeguards will begin immediately, with the goal to have them in place by early July. The exact timing of guarding is subject to staff availability. Parents and guardians are reminded that children require direct supervision at the beach. 
In order to limit crowds at the beaches, waterfront parking lots will be reserved for Barrie residents only at this time. Vehicles must display a Resident Waterfront Parking Pass. Non-resident parking is not permitted and there will be no option for non-residents to pay to park.
If residents don’t have a Resident Waterfront Parking Pass or fail to display their pass and receive a parking ticket in one of the applicable waterfront lots, they can contact Enforcement Services at enforcement.services@barrie.ca or 705-739-4241 to have the ticket waived with proof of residency.  The marina lot will be temporarily for marina patrons only. Vehicles parking in the marina lot without a marina patron pass will be ticketed.
Splash pads at Heritage Park and Lampman Lane Park will reopen on June 20. Starting June 22, the City will begin accepting permits for sports fields.
Seasonal washrooms will reopen in a phased approach beginning with Centennial Park and Heritage Park next week. Other park washrooms will reopen gradually as City staff are available.
“Our staff members are working hard to reopen amenities and facilities as quickly as possible,” says Mayor Jeff Lehman. “Part of the process is to rehire staff that had to be laid off due to the revenue shortages from the closures and to ensure we have proper guidelines in place. So, we ask that residents please have patience as we work to make sure our reopening is safe and successful.”
The City reminds residents to continue to follow public health guidelines: keep practicing physical distancing, no gatherings of more than ten people and stay home when you are sick.
The City’s webpage about impacted city services (barrie.ca/services) will be updated with information as facilities and amenities reopen.

Share

{ 0 comments }

City moves to reopen northbound Lakeshore lane

A pilot project aimed providing people with more space to move about during COVID-19 restrictions is coming to an end due to lack of use.
The northbound lane of Lakeshore Drive from the Tiffin boat launch to Victoria Street will reopen to vehicles on Friday, June 12.
This part of the roadway was temporarily converted into additional space for pedestrians and cyclists as a pilot project to provide more space for people to be active and enjoy the outdoors, while maintaining a safe physical distance.
The pilot showed that the additional space was not being used as much as anticipated. As well, as businesses reopen as part of the province’s Phase 2 plans, opening the road will allow for better traffic flow and access to parking lots.
For the latest information and updates, visit barrie.ca/COVID-19.

Share

{ 0 comments }

As the weather began to turn last night ahead of forecasted thunderstorms, Barrie police received a report of two children stranded in a raft in Kempenfelt Bay, without lifejackets and unable to paddle back to shore.
Uniformed members responded to the Centennial Beach area, spotting the raft approximately 150 meters offshore. As the Marine Unit hadn’t arrived on the scene yet, the responding officers approached four members of the public who were on a private boat at the Barrie Marina, and the four individuals immediately offered to assist in transporting and assisting with the rescue.
A 21-year-old woman and an 18-year-old woman were safely rescued from the raft. While making their way to the raft, officers were advised that a kiteboarder was also in distress off Johnson Beach. The four individuals agreed to continue to assist with this second rescue.
A 37-year-old male was safely rescued from the water with his kiteboard. The three were transported to shore and were checked out by paramedics.
The Barrie Police Service would like to thank the four individuals who provided immediate and essential assistance, which undoubtedly ensured this positive outcome. Their quick actions and willingness to help are to be commended, and the Barrie Police Service is exceptionally appreciative of their assistance.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Police continue to investigate a vehicle accident that claimed the life of an Innisfil man, Wednesday night.
At approximately 7:45 p.m. police responded to a serious two-vehicle collision on Mapleview Drive East, just east of Bayview Drive in the south end, along with County of Simcoe Paramedics and Barrie Fire & Emergency Services.
 The investigation determined that a white car was driving eastbound, and attempted to pass another vehicle, when it appeared to lose control in the rain and collided with a SUV travelling westbound. The driver of the white car, a 56-year-old Innisfil man, was killed in the collision.
 The other driver was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.
The investigation remains ongoing, and investigating officers are asking anyone who may have witnessed the collision, or who may have more information to contact Constable J. Peters of the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025 extension 2912 or jpeters@barriepolice.ca.
Any information can be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

Share

{ 0 comments }

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

Queen’s Park’s plan to gradually reopening the province is taking a regional approach, which means phase 2 of the strategy will see Barrie bars and restaurants reopen Friday for patio-only service.
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, the Province is easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing.
Effective Friday, at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to phase 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.
Public health unit regions, including Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit, allowed to move into phase 2 on Friday are:
Algoma Public Health; Brant County Health Unit; Chatham-Kent Public Health; Eastern Ontario Health Unit; Grey Bruce Health Unit; Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit; Hastings Prince Edward Public Health; Huron Perth Public Health; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit; Middlesex-London Health Unit; North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit; Northwestern Health Unit; Ottawa Public Health; Peterborough Public Health; Porcupine Health Unit; Public Health Sudbury & Districts; Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services; Renfrew County and District Health Unit, Southwestern Public Health; Thunder Bay District Health Unit; Timiskaming Health Unit; Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.
“We are able to make this announcement today because of the extraordinary effort of our frontline workers and every other person in the province who helped to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“Entering (phase) 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family. Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet.”
Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering phase 2 include:
• Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties
• Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons
• Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only
• Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries
• Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools
• Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks
• Camping at private campgrounds
• Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing
• Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations
• Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing
• Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people
As more people return to work, the services they rely on will need to be available regardless of the stage a region is in. The province will soon release more details on child care, summer camps, post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate, training centres, and public transit.

Share

{ 0 comments }

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

In a bid to support local small businesses, the City is joining Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE, powered by Google, which helps independent businesses and artists build a digital presence and minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Having a strong digital presence is critical in these times. The ShopHERE program will provide more of Barrie’s local businesses and artists with the training and expertise to launch and maintain online stores and participate in the digital economy,” said Stephannie Schlichter, Director of Economic and Creative Development.
The program started in Toronto, and in May Google Canada announced a $1 million investment to enable Digital Main Street to expand the program to municipalities across the country, offering more businesses and artists the opportunity to build their own online store.
“Since Google began its business in Canada nearly 20 years ago, we’ve been focused on helping Canadian businesses of all sizes to unlock the prosperity of the internet,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP and Country Manager, Google Canada.
“We remain optimistic and more determined than ever that technology is the toolkit for a world of opportunities. Our $1 million investment will go towards expanding the ShopHERE program nationally, so we can help small businesses across Canada navigate the challenges ahead.”
The program is now available to small businesses in Barrie. Local businesses and artists can apply for the program at digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere to get their online store built at no-cost.

Share

{ 0 comments }

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

An earlier impact update from Barrie CAO Michael Prowse indicted a potential revenue loss of $65 million by the end of the year

As Barrie and other municipalities follow the province’s lead on emerging from the COVID-19 lockdown, the full impact of the pandemic remains uncertain, according to a financial update, implications and projections report to general committee.
“The duration of the disruption to the economy, and the length of time required for a full recovery, remains unknown at this time. The financial impacts are difficult to forecast and like most municipalities, the City has limited funding capacity to address these unprecedented events,” writes Jennifer Cowles, senior manager corporate finance and investments, in the report.
“As noted in the memorandum to council on May 25, the forecasting exercise completed indicates substantial lost service fee revenues have been offset by reductions in costs. However, as we begin to slowly ramp up, we expect these additional costs will have a negative effect and possibly result in a year-end deficit in 2020. The range of a potential deficit is difficult to predicate but we believe our stabilization reserves should be adequate to cover any year-end shortfalls.”
The Province doesn’t allow municipalities to budget for an operating deficit, and any such deficit needs to be covered from reserves and the following year’s budget.
The City, she continues, reacted swiftly at the beginning of the crisis to contain the impact of the virus by closing facilities, providing free transit, not enforcing parking offences, and waiving interest and penalty charges on taxes and water/wastewater bills until June 30.
“As well, residents and property owners could suspend or opt out of monthly pre-authorized payment plans for tax and water/wastewater bills. Council also approved a water/wastewater fixed rate credit program for those residents in need.”
That helped residents comply with social distancing protocols and also freed up cash for people who experienced a sudden loss of income, but it came at cost to the municipality that relies on property taxes and water/wastewater rates for most of its operating budget.
“It is difficult to forecast the impact of the pandemic on the ability of residents and businesses to pay their tax and water/wastewater bills on time, and how much of the population will defer payment,” reads the report. Here’s a look at the state of pandemic-driven receivables:
• As at April 30, the total taxes receivable balance has increased by $15.4 million or 57 per cent over the same date, 2019
• Residential receivables witnessed an increase of $4.6 million, and industrial/commercial/institutional (ICI) saw an increase of $10.8 million
“This deferral of payment is likely a combination of those who could pay but chose to take advantage of the interest and penalty holiday, and those in real need who are facing financial hardship.”
The City is also looking at an estimated loss of $18.6 million resulting from loss of fees, service charges, parking fines and other such revenue items. However, the report indicates a net savings of $18.8 million is expected from staff reductions, contract terminations, and other measures.
“To mitigate some of the initial financial impacts to the City’s operating budget, the City issued temporary layoff notices, primarily to staff impacted by the closure of facilities. Restrictions have been placed on new hiring, and contracts have been terminated. Other expenditures have been reviewed by staff and either eliminated or reduced, where feasible, to further cut costs.”
Staff, reads the report, completed the financial analysis “to quantify the potential impact of COVID-19, mainly its impact on the 2020 budget and its effect on cash flow. This was achieved by identifying lost revenues, deferred revenues, along with increased, decreased and deferred costs. Progress on the capital plan was also captured, as this creates pressure on the City’s cash flow.”
The analysis assumed that physical distancing restrictions would be lifted and services reopened Sept. 1. However, the measures are being eased sooner than expected, with phase 2 of the reopening beginning this Friday.
“In the time since this analysis was completed, the (Province) has entered Phase 1 of the recovery plan. As well, the City will begin charging for transit effective July 2. With the anticipated re-opening of some outdoor spaces earlier than contemplated in the scenario, the City will also need to incur further expenditures that do not generate offsetting revenues. The scenario indicates a complete offsetting of the lost revenues, but as this is a forecasting exercise based on a specific set of assumptions, there are many moving parts that may contribute to an actual year-end deficit.”
The City’s capital plan, continues the report, is heavily dependent on development charges. Staff reviewed the 2020 capital budget to understand the impact of the crisis on projects. Some have been stopped or slowed, while others continued as they were considered essential. At the beginning of the year, the City had $408 million in approved budget to spend. This year’s budget had $137 million of that amount included in it, “and the forecasting exercise did not show a significant decline in spend by year end, with 2020 capital spending forecast at $117 million.”
“As part of the exercise, staff captured project status details including whether the project had gone to tender. This information is being used to forecast cash flow in case there is a need to recommend delaying or deferring any approved capital spending. As of the date of the exercise, more than half of the planned spend for 2020 had not been tendered.”
The City’s financial health will also be impacted by flow of federal gas tax funding earlier than expected. Normally the funds, used for infrastructure projects, are delivered in two payments annually. However, in reaction to the pandemic, the feds announced full funding for 2020/21 will come this month. It’s anticipated the City will receive $17.55 million, $8.58 million for this year and $8.97 for 2021.
The report also contained details about the City’s reserve balances. Reserves are set aside to cope with an unexpected crisis, such as COVID-19, addressing any potential deficits. Current reserve balances are:
• Tax rate stabilization reserve: $6,534,581
• Wastewater rate stabilization reserve: $2,011,234
• Water rate stabilization reserve: $2,677,355
“These reserves also provide council with the flexibility to stabilize the impact of economic volatility on City programs. Although these reserves fall well short of their minimum expected level, these funds are available to fund an operational deficit.”

Share

{ 0 comments }

Kimberly Greenwood, Chief of Police

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week has saddened and shaken our community and our service.  It is something that should have never happened. What took place was tragic, untenable and does not reflect the training that Ontario police officers receive.
When we chose a career in policing, we did so to help people, to support our community and to make a difference in people’s lives. The Barrie Police Service holds its members to the highest standards, promoting and facilitating procedures, training and evidence based research to ensure that every member of our Service demonstrates acceptable behaviour.
(On Thursday), community members came together for a very important reason and peacefully demonstrated. You had a message to share and your message was clearly heard.
As the Chief of Police, I commend those who participated and those who came to observe. Our community is one that recognizes there are challenges that lie ahead and your Police Service is one that recognizes that diversity and inclusion are vital pieces of what is required to allow us to move forward together.
Barrie is a vibrant and strong community and together, we will collectively work to make it even better.

Share

{ 0 comments }

A developer is proposing to build four towers on Bradford Street. City planning staff are currently working through requested zoning and official plan amendments

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 planning department continues to process requested zoning bylaw and official plan amendments to allow the construction of four residential towers on Bradford Street, according to a memo to the planning committee.
The towers would be 22, 38, 40, and 42 stories in height. The buildings are proposed to include about 1,900 residential units, ground floor commercial space, and the potential for 152 hotel suites as well as public corridors that will provide linkages from Bradford Street to Lakeshore Drive.
“The purpose of this memorandum is to advise members of planning committee of the public meeting regarding applications for (the amendments) submitted by Smart Centres on behalf of Barrie Lake Shore Developments (2714708 Ontario Inc. and Greenwin Barrie Inc.) for the properties known municipally as 51-75 Bradford Street & 20 Checkley Street,” reads the memo prepared by Celeste Kitsemetry, senior planner.
The site is about 3.5 hectares in size and located between Lakeshore Drive and Bradford Street, north of Bunker’s Creek and the Bunker’s Creek Ecopark.
A neighbourhood meeting held on Dec. 11 was attended by about 63 residents, the applicant, consultant team, Ward 2 Councillor Keenan Aylwin and planning staff. Comments included:
• Question about the viability of the hotel units, location, and details for the commercial uses
• Concern with height, design, and density of the proposal, including but not limited to, relationship with the existing neighbouring apartment buildings
• Concern about the increase in traffic, reduced parking standards, the size and location of site access points and general traffic safety
• Question about viability for residential rental tenure units at this location
• General comment regarding importance of preserving and mitigating the impacts of development on the Bunker’s Creek natural feature
• Timing and disturbances from construction activity.
The rezoning requests are currently subject to a detailed technical review, reads the memo. Primary planning and land use matters being considered include:
• City centre and urban growth centre targets and urban design considerations
• Transition and integration of the concept into the existing and approved neighbourhood developments
• Floodplain protections, preservation and buffering for the Bunker’s Creek feature
• Confirmation and mitigation (if needed) related to the previous land use (Barrie Tannery)
• Impacts of increased traffic and the location and effective operation of vehicular access for this site
• Justification for the requested changes to the official plan and the appropriateness of the site specific amendments to the zoning bylaw to accommodate the proposed development.
The requested amendments would impact existing conditions on height, parking, gross floor space, commercial space, setbacks, amenity area, and minimum dwelling unit floor area.
“Staff will continue to work with both the applicant and residents to address the feedback received through the public consultation process, as well as those comments raised through the technical analysis of these applications by staff and our agency partners,” reads the report.
“These items may require revisions or updates to the plans and reports submitted in support of these applications. A staff report to planning committee is anticipated to be brought forward in fall 2020 for the municipality to make a decision on the … amendment applications.”

Share

{ 0 comments }

“This program will support our efforts for local economic recovery. The additional patio space across the city will provide options to create public spaces and to safely adapt during the pandemic.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman


Mayor Jeff Lehman

Parking spaces connected to bar and restaurants around Barrie will be allowed to be converted to patios for the summer season, following council’s support of the Patios Everywhere program.
Restaurants will also be able to deploy ‘refreshment vehicles’ and any fees already paid out for a seasonal patio licence will be refunded.
“Due to impacts experienced by the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic restaurants have been limited to take out services only since the middle of March 2020,” reads the report recommending the program.
“As restrictions on restaurant operations ease in the coming months, the operational aspects of restaurants are anticipated to be impacted by safety measures required to address such matters as physical distancing in a restaurant setting. It is anticipated this will result in a reduced patron capacity for restaurants.
“As warmer weather and patio season approaches the use of patios is being explored as a way in which to distribute restaurant capacity while meeting physical distancing measures, thus allowing restaurants to reopen dine-in services once restrictions have been eased by the provincial government.”
Businesses can apply for the Patios Everywhere program for both patios and food trucks through the City’s APLI portal at barrie.ca/APLI. City staff are exploring a dedicated location for refreshment vehicles (food trucks), potentially using city parking lots, as part of the program.
Applications and design concepts will be reviewed to ensure universal accessibility, public safety and that the patio space will positively impact the existing streetscape environment. All applications are required to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
All food/refreshment trucks would have to meet all required health and safety inspections required by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. 
Visit Patios Everywhere program at for more information and FAQs. Business owners can email patioseverywhere@barrie.ca if they have questions.
“This program will support our efforts for local economic recovery,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “The additional patio space across the city will provide options to create public spaces and to safely adapt during the pandemic.”

Share

{ 0 comments }

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

Buskers may be returning to downtown Barrie this summer, although perhaps not in a physical sense.
If council approves a staff report adopted by general committee last week recommending a continued partnership with the Ontario Musicians Cooperative, Inc. (OMCI), a non-profit-organization, performances will be delivered online, with a scheduled and advertised delivery plan, according to the report prepared by Amanda Dyke, cultural officer.
“This may involve specific private performances that are coordinated with restaurants, businesses, charities, or other community organizations that are highlighting online experiences. OMCI continue(s) to licence all live performances through the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) so that members can collect royalties,” reads the report.
If distancing and isolation measures are lifted sometime during the summer, buskers may return to perform on downtown streets and at other community spaces.
“Health and safety protocols for these performances would align with provincial and municipal standards and policies. This could include connecting artists to performance opportunities through the Patios Everywhere Program.”
Before March 26, 2018, the Emerging Musicians Program was called the Street Performer Program. A stated goal was to capitalize on the success of the existing program to help launch musical careers. For several years, the City had supporter a buskers program to add a musical note to the downtown, and support new talent.
“While the program was well received, there were challenges in terms of compensating the performers for times when foot traffic did not generate sufficient gratuities, and in ensuring that the performers were covered by insurance while they performed on municipal property,” reads the report.
“The partnership with OMCI served to elevate the existing street performer program by focusing on emerging musicians and offering skills development in addition to busking time, insurance coverage through the co-operative, marketing and booking support.”
The cooperative was successful in obtaining Canada Summer Jobs funding for 2018 and 2019, and used $203,230 to hire 49 full-time employees. It has applied for 2020 funding, intending to hire as many people from Barrie and surrounding area. The City is funding the program to the tune of $9470.
“Individuals who met the audition criteria but were not eligible for employment were permitted to busk downtown and received all other benefits of the program. In addition to musicians, OMCI were able to employ young people in communications, human resources, web and social media and festival/production support roles in 2019,” reads the report.
Contributions from the Downtown BIA and the approved City of Barrie Cultural Development Budget covered the costs of marketing and identification assets for the program, as well as speaker fees and some showcase concert costs. Performances were held from June to September, with musicians performing busker-style in the downtown every evening from Tuesday until Saturday, and in the afternoons on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Program highlights included:
• Over 500 hours of musical performance delivered in the community for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors.
• Emerging Musician Showcase on August 24 drew over 1,000 people to Meridian Place for a concert, meet and greet and autograph signing by program participants
• Engagement at festivals and events such as the Craft Beer and BBQ Festival, Canada Day, Kempenfest, Culture Days, Celebrate Barrie, Barrie Jazz & Blues Festival, Promenade Days and more
• Each artist received up to 175 hours of industry development and highly transferrable skills training over the course of the summer
• Many of the program’s musicians are studying music at college or university in 2020
• The program expanded to include Simcoe County, Orillia, and some Grey County and York Region areas, offering many opportunities for participants to expand their market outreach and grow their networks.
“The Emerging Musicians Program and the Ontario Musicians Cooperative, Inc. are unique, Barrie-created entities that have enhanced the music industry ecosystem in Barrie and beyond by serving as incubators for musical artists and other young creatives,” reads the report.
“The existing 2020 Emerging Musicians Program budget of $9,470 is highly leveraged by partnering with OMCI and delivers impacts beyond what could be achieved by the City on its own. In addition to delivering a program for street performers to activate the downtown, the partnership with OMCI delivers sector specific, quality training and skills development to program participants and beyond.”

Share

{ 0 comments }

Today (Saturday) around 3 p.m., Barrie police were called to 405 Essa Road for an abandoned house that was on fire.  The fire is believed to have been intentionally set in one of the rooms of the abandoned residence. Barrie Fire Services were also on the scene.
Information was received that three teenage males were observed in the area of the home, walking their bicycles at approximately 2:30 p.m. Police are asking residents in the area to check their home security footage to see if they have any footage of the three males as police are looking to speak with them.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Barrie Police at 705-725-7025 and speak with Detective Constable Wright at ext. 2170 or Detective Constable Ryan Trollope at ext. 2949.  Any information can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or you can leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

Share

{ 0 comments }

“Staff are confident pedestrianizing Dunlop Street will provide an opportunity for people to visit the downtown, explore the new streetscape, reacquaint themselves with the businesses and maintain physical distancing in the summer of 2020.”


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

Turning the downtown core, along Dunlop from Mulcaster to Clapperton, into a pedestrian and cyclist haven has been a point of discussion for many a year around these parts, and now that vision is set to become a reality, at least for this year.
General committee accepted a staff recommendation this week that Dunlop be closed to motorized vehicles, starting June 15 and running through to Oct. 15, to “allow for pedestrian and cyclists-only experience in this section of downtown.”
Streetscape work continues along Dunlop, but the stretch of road between Owen and Mulcaster is expected to be open by mid-June, while Owen to Clapperton is expected to be open mid-July.
“The timing of the pedestrianization initiative will be aligned to the completion of construction in each section,” reads the report written by Andrea Miller, general manager of infrastructure and growth management.
“Cities around the globe are experimenting with providing additional space for pedestrians and cyclists alike. In many cases, this happens by altering the road space that is normally available for cars to be exchanged for the use by pedestrians and cyclists.”
Dunlop Street between Mulcaster and Toronto streets has been undergoing a streetscape renewal to incorporate “a flexible sidewalk and enhanced pedestrian amenities including landscaped planters, benches, shade trees and wider sidewalks,” reads the report.
“Businesses in the downtown previously suggested that a pedestrian-only approach might complement business recovery initiatives post-construction. There is also merit in providing additional physical distancing in this area of downtown now that the economy is gradually re-opening post COVID-19.”
The downtown BIA is currently completing a survey of businesses to confirm support for the initiative. The recommended motion says the strategy is conditional on downtown support.
The roadwork through to Toronto Street is expected to continue until November. Detour routes will already be in place when Mulcaster to Clapperton gets closed to traffic.
“Staff are confident pedestrianizing Dunlop Street will provide an opportunity for people to visit the downtown, explore the new streetscape, reacquaint themselves with the businesses and maintain physical distancing in the summer of 2020,” writes Miller.
Staff are also confident “that the existing and planned detour routes will provide the travelling public and emergency service vehicles with safe and effective means of travel around this part of the downtown throughout the closure period.”

Share

{ 0 comments }

Barrie Transit riders can continue to use the service free until July 2

Barrie Transit customers will be able to continue riding for free until July 2 as the City moves to extend the service beyond the original June 1 date.
The July 2 date is appropriate for a number of reasons, council was informed in a memo from Brent Forsyth, director of transit and parking strategy. Stated reasons are:
• Barrie Transit is testing protective barriers for bus operators that will help ensure their safety against COVID-19, and allow a return to front-door boarding. This is a critical step to reintroduce paid service. The goal is to outfit the entire fleet with these protective barriers by July 2. 
• Another key consideration of reintroducing paid service is to have sales agents available at the transit terminal for riders to purchase fare products ahead of reintroducing paid service. The extension to July 2 will provide adequate time to confirm the viability of reopening the bus terminal to the public which includes: reviewing and introducing safety measures for staff and the public, rehiring and scheduling staff, ensuring we have systems, equipment, and fare products ready and available to serve the community. 
• An extension to July 2 will allow for adequate time to communicate plans and key information to the community. This can include informing riders of the intention to return to paid service, required safety measures within the terminal facility, and any potential fare adjustments needed, such as temporarily suspending the use of ride cards as a way to reduce driver-passenger contact.
• Allowing for adequate time to properly consider other logistical changes required in the new environment, such as resting and washroom facilities for staff and patrons. 
 “We believe July 2 is a realistic target for returning to paid service, however we will continue to remain flexible amidst new information and commit to updating members of council as we finalize details and move closer to this target date,” reads the memo

Share

{ 0 comments }

This week, the City’s general committee accepted a staff recommendation to forgo fees related to patios in the downtown core, between Mulcaster and Toronto streets.
The cost of the City Centre Outdoor Patio application, as well as associated on-street parking rates, should be waived for the 2020 and 2021 patio season in recognition of the impacts of the Dunlop streetscape construction, reads the report.
“Patio season runs from April 15 to October 15, however due to the construction on Dunlop Street, between Mulcaster Street and Toronto Street, the patio season for the businesses within the construction area will be shortened or not permitted at all in 2020,” reads the report.
“By waiving the patio fees in 2020 and 2021, the City of Barrie is showing their continued support, encouraging the public to visit and explore the downtown area during construction, as well as post-construction as the downtown businesses leverage the new streetscape.”
Waiving the patio fees will cost the City about $14,000 a year, or $28,000 in total. The matter comes to council on Monday for ratification.

Share

{ 0 comments }

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

Barrie’s general committee accepted a staff report this week recommending financial relief for the Barrie Colts dealing with the closure of the Sadlan Arena due to COVID-19. The report recommends that support entail:
• An extension in facility use, advertising and/or concession payment due dates for 60 days, for any payments due prior to June 30, 2020
• A reduction in the next monthly facility use payment amount of $4,000, representing the City’s savings associated with the staff time that was not required due to the final two regular season games of the 2019-2020 season being cancelled
• A commitment to revisit the matter of further potential relief for Horsepower Sports and nEntertainment Group Inc., 60 days after council consideration of this recommendation
The recommendation comes before council on Monday and is expected to pass. According to the report, the Colts approached the City on April 20 to enquire about the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program.
“The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program was developed to share the cost between small business tenants and landlords. Small business tenants and landlords would each be asked to pay 25 per cent of the tenant’s total rent (i.e., gross monthly rent payable under a lease agreement) and the provincial and federal government would cost share the remaining 50 per cent,” says the report, prepared by Rob Bell, manager of recreation and cultural facilities.
To be eligible for the program, the City needs to meet these conditions:
• Deemed a qualifying commercial property owner
• The forgivable nature of the financial assistance may be dependent on there being a mortgage on the property
• The tenant must also be an eligible small business tenant paying less than $50,000 in rent per month, and have temporarily ceased operation or have at least a 70 pert cent drop in pre-COVID revenue
Details of the program were still being sorted as the report was being written. It’s not clear, continues Bell, whether the City would qualify as assistance programs have not applied to municipalities.
“While Horsepower Sports and Entertainment Group Inc. has continued to utilize the office areas to administer team and league processes, the Barrie Colts were forced to cancel two of their games and end their regular season early due to COVID-19,” states the report.
“As a result, it is not clear whether Horsepower Sports and Entertainment Group Inc. would meet the eligibility criteria.”
The Colts have been busy in other endeavours, deploying the kitchen areas to prepare meals, which are then “generously distributed … to the Barrie Food Bank, Salvation Army, the Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), and the David Busby Centre.”
Staff prepares about 800 meals a day for these organizations.
The report also recommends the matter of further potential relief be revisited, 60 days after council consideration of this recommendation.
“This would allow the City additional time to review further details that may become available related to the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program, impact of COVID-19 in light of the various agreements with Horsepower Sports and Entertainment Group Inc. and the City’s own financial condition.”

Share

{ 0 comments }

The City is moving to ban non-electric vehicles from using parking spots with adjacent charging stations

The City is moving to ban non-electric vehicles from parking in 12 charging spots at the Barrie marina and other locations around town, under penalty of potential fines ranging from $50 to $1,000, “based on the nature of the offence.”
The staff report was adopted by general committee this week without comment or debate. Council is expected to ratify the decision this coming Monday.
The motion states that:
• No person shall park a vehicle or any part of a vehicle in an electric vehicle parking space where such vehicle is not an electric vehicle.
• No person shall park a vehicle or any part of a vehicle in an electric vehicle parking space where such vehicle is not connected to an electric vehicle charging station and charging.
It further states that an electric vehicle will be defined as one that runs only on a battery and an electric drive train, or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that runs on a battery and an electric drive train, and also uses an internal combustion engine.
In addition to the 12 spots, (eight for Tesla vehicles and four universal) at the marina parking lot, there are 24 at the Collier Street Parkade (16 Tesla and eight universal), 12 at Heritage Park, (eight Tesla and four universal), and six at the downtown library (four Tesla and two universal).
According to the staff report, owners of electric vehicles expressed frustration at not having dedicated access to the charging stations.
“Signage was installed allowing all vehicles to park at stalls with EV charging stations, including those with internal combustion engines (ICE), because some of the charging stations are located in highly utilized parking lots. Although this practice retained parking supply to meet demand at pinch points along the waterfront, it created frustration for EV drivers when they could not access the charging stations,” reads the report.
“Staff received direct correspondence regarding this issue and collected 58 survey responses. One of the major themes of the feedback concerned the inability to access charging stations due to parked ICE vehicles.”
Under normal circumstances, parking along the waterfront, including the marina lot, is at a premium during the summer, especially during event-filled long weekends like Kempenfest. Marina patrons have expressed their own frustrations over the lack of parking, even if they have purchased a seasonal parking permit.
The lot operates on a first-come, first-served basis. The report says the change is to align the City with provincial legislation preventing “the misuse of charging stations by limiting the use of these parking stalls to electric vehicles that are actively charging.”
However, the report continues that regardless of provincial legislation, “it is the professional opinion of staff that dedication is the best practice because it provides a higher level of service to the growing EV community and it optimizes the use of City assets.”
Other municipalities that have adopted similar measures include Brampton, Burlington, Kingston, London, St. Catharines and Sudbury. Signage informing the public of the parking rules will be installed at a cost of $3,000.
“There is a risk there could be additional costs to retrofit signage once the province releases the supporting regulation for Bill 123 with specifications for EV signage. To mitigate this risk, staff researched and selected a design that is already being used successfully in both the City of London and Province of British Columbia.”
The charging stations were installed following a partnership with Tesla in late 2017, with the automaker donating the equipment and funding the installation costs. The City takes care of operating costs, however, states the report, “electricity costs to date have been far lower than originally anticipated and are partially funded through a sponsorship agreement with the BIA.”
The report did not present information on how many vehicles use the charging stations, but a report from early 2019 said usage was “well below” initial estimates.

Share

{ 0 comments }

City seeks feedback for business recovery plan

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 of Barrie is asking local businesses and residents for feedback to help develop the COVID-19 Business Recovery Action Plan. The plan will guide local initiatives and economic investments to help support and accelerate the recovery of local businesses after COVID-19.
“Feedback from our business community and residents will drive the development of the City’s COVID-19 Business Recovery Action Plan to ensure we’re addressing what businesses actually need from the City to help them recover,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “We’re lucky in Barrie to have a strong, diverse business community and we look forward to working with them to develop creative solutions that will help advance our economic recovery.”
Building on existing work, the COVID-19 Business Recovery Action Plan will be developed through consultation with local industry, stakeholders, business leaders and the general public. It will target several sectors based upon the size of the sector within Barrie, the severity of impact of the pandemic and the sector’s impact on accelerating economic recovery.
Key sectors include manufacturing, tourism, arts and culture, downtown, construction, and service-based businesses. The actions identified in the plan will support the acceleration of local businesses re-opening after COVID-19 and help bring employees and customers back into local establishments safely and efficiently.
The plan will be designed to be responsive and adaptive to developments in regulations and programming at the provincial and federal levels of government and will be presented to council in June. The COVID-19 Business Recovery Action Plan builds on work already underway to address the immediate needs of businesses and help them respond to the economic impact of COVID-19 as outlined in the City’s COVID-19 Business Response Action Plan.
Businesses and residents are encouraged to have their say through the online survey available at buildingbarrie.ca/BusinessRecovery. The deadline to submit feedback is Sunday, May 24.

Share

{ 0 comments }