Following up on a council motion last November for the engineering department to provide information about installing sound barriers along Highway 400 adjacent to residential areas, a memo to council advises that barriers for six of 13 identified areas have been deemed not feasible.
The highway falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), and as part of the environmental process for the widening of the highway the ministry completed noise assessments for an area one kilometre south of Highway 89 to the Highway 11/400 junction.
The assessment identified 13 possible areas for sound barriers. Three were determined to be not economically feasible, while three were found to be not technically viable.
“The identified locations are then investigated to determine if noise mitigation measures within the right of way (ROW) would achieve a 5 dBA noise reduction or greater. In locations where the noise reduction is achievable, noise mitigation measures are reviewed based on the following criteria: a) Technical feasibility – the constructability of the mitigation with regards to safety, topography, and the ability to achieve a 5 dBA reduction, among other concerns; b) Economic feasibility – the cost / benefit analysis of the mitigation; and, c) Administrative feasibility – the ability to locate the noise barrier on publicly owned lands such as the MTO ROW,” writes Bala Araniyasundaran, project engineer.
The assessment “identified noise barriers for the majority of residential areas that are abutting the highway corridor … these recommendations will be subject to further assessment as part of detailed design.”
To read the staff report and view the locations of noise barriers, click here. 

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Investigation into bank robbery ongoing

The Barrie Police Service requests the assistance of the public with regards to an ongoing robbery investigation.
On Thursday, March 7, at 2:30 p.m., police responded to a report of a robbery at the CIBC at 600 Yonge Street in Barrie. Upon arrival, it was determined by uniformed officers that the two suspects involved had fled the scene in an unknown vehicle and in an unknown direction. No weapons were seen and an undisclosed amount of Canadian currency was obtained.
At the scene, the Barrie Police Tactical Support and Canine Units assisted, however a short canine track determined that the suspects fled the bank likely to a car that was waiting for them on the west side of the bank. The ongoing investigation, which is being conducted by detectives from the Barrie Police Investigative Services and the Forensic Identification Unit, is continuing.
From witness interviews and surveillance video from within the bank, police are able to now provide the description of the two suspects who carried out this mid-afternoon robbery. The suspects are described as:

  • Male black, mid 20’s black hoody, black track pants with a white stripe and wearing a dark face mask.
  • Male non-white, possibly Asian or Hispanic, mid 20’s wearing dark jacket with grey hoody and grey face mask.
  • Believed to have fled in a silver or white passenger 4-door car.

The Barrie Police Service is asking anyone with information on this robbery to contact Barrie Police Investigative Services at 705-725-7025, ext. 2743, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.
Also, should anyone have dash camera video of either a white or silver coloured four-door passenger car traveling westbound on Big Bay Point Road or southbound on Yonge Street shortly after 2:30p.m., you are encouraged to contact the Barrie Police Service.

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The public’s assistance is being sought by the Barrie Police Service to help identify a female driver who was in a motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian.
On Monday, March 4, at approximately 7:40 a.m., a pedestrian was walking southbound on Yonge Street approaching Big Bay Point Road in Barrie. The pedestrian was walking on the west side of the street across the merge lane in an attempt to cross the street. While crossing within the merge lane, the pedestrian was struck by a vehicle that was turning right onto Big Bay Point Road, police report.
The only vehicle description able to be provided was of an orange/red vehicle operated by a female in her 40s, with curly brown hair and tanned skin. The female driver did make an effort to ask if the pedestrian was injured before leaving. Police are also asking for the driver of the vehicle to contact police in order to successfully complete the investigation.
The investigating officer is asking anyone who may have information to please contact the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025, ext. 2777 or  by email to 7498@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.

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“Barrie called to all the beautiful things in the world and crammed them all up into one city.” – Evan Hutt’s I Love Barrie contest submission


Who loves Barrie the most? From the City’s ‘I Love Barrie’ contest, four school children love Barrie the most.
From Feb. 1 to 22, the City welcomed entries from youth sharing why they love Barrie. The contest was open to all elementary-aged children.
Students from 20 elementary schools across the city submitted artwork and essays.
“We received many insightful essays and heart-warming artwork pieces for the I Love Barrie contest,” said Ward 10 Councillor Mike McCann. “It’s so inspiring to see how engaged our youth are and how much they love our city. I want to thank everyone who took the time to submit a contest entry.”
The  contest winners are:
Primary (Kindergarten to Grade 3): Carol Gao, Grade 2, Hewitt’s Creek Public School
Junior (Grade 4 to 6): Sanjit Narasimhan, Grade 4, Ferndale Woods Elementary School
Intermediate (Grade 7 and 8): Evan Hutt, Grade 7, The Good Shepherd Catholic School
Honourable Mention: Lillianne Forest, Kindergarten, École élémentaire La Source.
The top three winners will have their submissions published on barrie.ca and shared in The Barrie Advance in the City’s “This Week in Barrie” feature in March. They will also showcase their artwork or read their essay at the city council meeting on March 25. The Honourable Mention winner receives an ‘I Love Barrie’ prize pack.
The winning entries can be viewed on the City’s website.

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A staple of summer in Barrie is approaching, with planning underway for the 19th annual Celebrate Barrie.
The event is scheduled for June 1 at Centennial Park. The search is on for community groups, businesses, and performers from Barrie and the surrounding area who offer unique experiences, doing things differently and helping to create an exciting, inclusive, and dynamic city. 
For local performers, Celebrate Barrie is an opportunity to showcase their talent and entertain thousands of residents and visitors. Performers of all kinds are invited to submit, including bands, individual musicians, choirs, dance groups, theatre companies, and more.
For community groups and local not-for-profit organizations, Celebrate Barrie is an opportunity to connect with the community in a fun environment and to create awareness for the programs and support they provide.
To be eligible to participate, groups must provide a free, unique, and engaging activity. Special consideration will be given to organizations offering new experiences and those providing activities for people of all ages and abilities, students, and visitors to our community. City Hall is also looking for local businesses, innovators, and food vendors to participate in this year’s event.
Community groups and businesses interested in being considered for Celebrate Barrie are encouraged to attend a free Community Engagement Workshop on Friday, March 22. For more information or to register for the workshop, email events@barrie.ca.
The Creative Economy Department will accept submissions from community groups, businesses, and performers until Friday, April 5 at 4:30 p.m.
Celebrate Barrie began in 2000 as a one-time celebration to commemorate the new millennium and proved to be so popular it continued as an annual community event. It has evolved over the years and is now considered Barrie’s kick-off to the summer festival season featuring live entertainment, a heritage village, family fun zone, community displays, local vendor market, outdoor film, and so much more.
More than 10,000 residents and visitors attended last year’s event. For complete details on how you can join the celebration, please visit www.barrie.ca/CelebrateBarrie.

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A Barrie man, 19, has been charged in connection with a series of robberies that occurred in Barrie recently. The man faces charges relating to four armed robberies.
On Monday, about 2:45 p.m., police responded to a report of an armed robbery that had just occurred at a fast food outlet on Bayfield Street. After failing to obtain any money, the suspect fled across Bayfield Street and entered a hair salon, where he produced a weapon and demanded money. He also failed to obtain any money in this robbery attempt and fled through the parking lot of the Georgian Mall.
The suspect was quickly located and was placed under arrest with assistance from the Barrie Police Traffic Unit, the Tactical Support Unit and uniformed officers. He is now facing several charges related to the two attempted robberies on Monday, as well as the two armed robberies that took place on Sunday.
He faces the following charges:
• Disguise with Intent to Commit a Crime – 4 counts
• Possession of a Weapon for Dangerous Purpose – 4 counts
• Robbery with a Weapon – 4 counts.
The accused appeared in an Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie on Tuesday for a bail hearing.

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Canine unit helps collar man fleeing police

A four-legged police ‘officer’ helped apprehend a suspect early Monday morning, who was attempting to flee police.
What began as a report of a possible impaired driver in the area of Galloway Street in Innisfil at 12:49 a.m. ended with the Barrie Police Canine Unit apprehending a fleeing suspect on Grove Street East in the City of Barrie, just 22 minutes later, police report. A 27-year old male from LaSalle, Ontario is appeared at the Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie to answer to a slew of charges.
After failing to stop for the South Simcoe Police Service (SSPS) on two occasions, the driver of what has been determined to be stolen sport utility vehicle left the Innisfil area and continued north towards Barrie. Working together, the South Simcoe Police Service and the Barrie Police Service made numerous attempts to stop the fleeing vehicle, but due to the dangerous manner in which the vehicle was being operated, the collaborative effort had to be called off.
A short time later, the fleeing vehicle struck a marked Barrie Police cruiser at Bayfield and Dunlop streets, and the vehicle continued to the area of Grove Street East where the driver attempted to elude the police. Police units in the area observed the vehicle pull into the rear parking area of an apartment complex and quickly responded as the vehicle again attempted to flee, police report.
The driver eventually got stuck in some snow along the west side of the building and tried to flee on foot, only to be apprehended by the Barrie Police Canine Unit a few steps away.
As a result of the investigation that followed, the driver is now facing the following charges:
• Dangerous Driving (2 counts)
• Flight from Police Officer (3 counts)
• Fail to Remain ( 2 counts)
• Possession of a Controlled Substance (2 Counts)
• Possession of Property obtained by Crime Over $5000
• Breach of Probation.

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UPDATE: Barrie police have charged a 34-year-old Barrie man with Theft Under $5,000 and Fail to Comply with Probation after the suspect reimbursed the money stolen, and turned himself in. He was released with a future court date. 

The public’s assistance is being sought by police to identify a suspect, following a theft from Pita Pit located at 89 Park Place Boulevard in Barrie.
Police obtained video surveillance of the theft that occurred on Monday at approximately 3:30 p.m. The male suspect took two small plastic jars of tips left for restaurant employees and attempted to steal the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) donation box, before leaving the store.
He was unsuccessful in stealing the MADD donations, but he did obtain a quantity of cash from the tip jars.
The investigation is ongoing. The suspect is described as a male, white, 20 – 29; about 5’10” to 6’ tall, with a slim build; wearing a black jacket and winter hat, blue jeans and a grey hooded sweatshirt, with dark shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Constable Minke of the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025 Ext.2777 or jminke@barriepolice.ca. Information can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

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The search is on for a suspect believed to be responsible for two armed robberies that took place in Barrie on Sunday, March 3.

The search is on for a suspect believed to be responsible for two armed robberies that took place in Barrie on Sunday, March 3.
Police report that around 12:30 p.m., the suspect entered a convenience store on Cundles Road West. Once in the store, the suspect approached the front counter, produced a knife and demanded the money from the cash register.
The victim complied, and the suspect obtained a quantity of cash before fleeing on foot. The employee was not physically injured as a result of the incident, police report.
Later the same afternoon, about 5 p.m., a suspect entered a pet store located on Livingstone Street East in Barrie. He approached the front counter, produced a knife and demanded the money from the cash register.
The victim complied, and the suspect obtained a quantity of cash before fleeing on foot. The employee was not physically injured as a result of the incident.
Police believe the same suspect is responsible for both incidents and are seeking the assistance of the community in identifying the suspect, described as: Male, white, thin build; 5’10” to 6’ tall; a dark coloured scarf or bandana covering his face.
In the first incident, the suspect was wearing a thin grey, zip-up hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and tall black winter boots. In the second, the suspect was wearing a grey coat with a black hoodie, blue jeans and black and white running shoes.
He is also described as having purple hair showing underneath his hat/hood.
Investigating officers are asking anyone who may have information to please contact Detective Constable Scott of the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025 ext. 2741 or rscott@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.

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Barrie police responded to 28 vehicle crashes on Wednesday, more than on Monday when the region was hit by a blizzard.
Police report that the 28 motor vehicle collisions within city limits occurred in less than 12 hours, between 9:15 a.m. and 8:45 p.m. This number was higher than the number of collisions reported on Monday, while the city was under a Blizzard Warning from Environment Canada. This also does not include any collisions that weren’t reported to police.
While Wednesday’s forecast initially called for Barrie to receive only a few centimetres worth of snow, the flakes were flying for most of the day, making roads slick and visibility low, police report, adding that “thankfully, there were no serious injuries yesterday; however, police remind motorists that they must drive according to the conditions they are experiencing.”
Drivers may be hoping for warmer weather, but it will be weeks before spring arrives so don’t pack away your cold-weather gear and winter driving habits just yet.
Keep these tips in mind as you travel through the last of the winter weather.
• Plan your trip and check road and weather conditions before you leave, and allow for extra travel time if needed.
• Remove all snow from your vehicle before departing.
• Top up your gas tank and windshield washer fluid before setting out.
• Slow down at corners, intersections and any other hazards. Be prepared for under-steering and over-steering and know how to correct it when necessary.
Most importantly, keep your speed as low as practically possible, increase your distance between vehicles and wear your seatbelt.

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Forensic unit remains at the scene

The ongoing death investigation, which is being conducted by the Barrie Police Homicide Unit, is continuing. The Barrie Police Forensic Identification Unit is on scene at the residence and will remain at the home until their work is complete.
Yesterday, a forensic post mortem examination was conducted at the Office of the Chief Coroner and Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OCC-OFPS) located in Toronto. The cause of death has been determined and the identity of the deceased has been confirmed. Detectives from the Barrie Police Homicide Unit can confirm that the male victim is 15 years old, however, in accordance with Section 111(1) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), the identity of the victim cannot be released.
The 14-year old youth who has been charged in this ongoing homicide investigation appeared today at the Ontario Court of Justice located in Barrie for a bail hearing and will remain in custody. He is scheduled to appear by video next on March 8, 2019.
As a result of a publication ban issued by the Ontario Court of Justice regarding this incident, no further details surrounding this investigation will be released by the Barrie Police Service.

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Lock it or lose it: Barrie police

The Barrie Police Service has been reaching out to the public and reminding them to always lock their vehicle doors when leaving your vehicle unattended.
On Saturday, Feb. 16 at approximately 4 a.m., two males were observed on a home video surveillance system checking out vehicles parked in the driveways of two Barrie homes. Locked doors kept these suspects out, but police would like to know the identity of these two males. The suspects are described as:
• Suspect #1: male, white, mid-20s, black coat, black winter hat, jeans, black and white Adidas shoes.
• Suspect #2: male, mid-20s, black vest, grey sweater with hood, black winter hat, and brown work boots.
Anyone with information on this suspicious incident is asked to contact Constable Smith of the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025, ext. 2718 or by email at rsmith@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 City has been recognized for its efforts in providing children’s recreation programs, gaining a ‘High Five Accreditation.’
Developed by Parks and Recreation Ontario, the accreditation is the country’s highest recognized quality standard for children’s recreation programs. It acknowledges the City’s recreation department’s focus on healthy child development in all aspects of operations, from programming to policies and risk management,’ says a City press release.
All City staff involved in delivering children’s recreation programs complete the accreditation’s Principles of Healthy Child Development Training.
“This is an incredible achievement and I’m so proud of our recreation team. HIGH FIVE is about putting kids first and offering the highest levels of quality and safety in our programs,” said Steve Lee Young, Manager of Recreation Programs.
“At the City of Barrie, all kids’ recreation programs are delivered by trained, caring leaders who place an emphasis on helping participants make new friends, feel stimulated through play, build confidence through learning new skills, and feel like part of the team through active participation.”
The City’s Spring/Summer Recreation Guide includes hundreds of affordable programs for all ages and abilities from summer camps and swimming lessons to dance and fitness classes. Registration opens Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Copies of the guide are available for pick-up at City recreation facilities, Barrie Public Libraries and City Hall, or view it online via www.barrie.ca/RecGuide.

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Barrie police continue investigation into armed robbery

Barrie police continue to search for a suspect in an armed robbery that occurred at a convenience store on Innisfil Street in Barrie last week.
On Friday, Feb. 15, just before 6 p.m., the suspect entered a convenience store in a small plaza on Innisfil Street in Barrie. The suspect entered the store alone, walked behind the counter and displayed a weapon, demanding the clerk lay down on the ground. 
The suspect then obtained a quantity of cash and cigarettes before fleeing on foot. The employee was not physically injured as a result of the incident, police report.
Police are seeking the assistance of the community in identifying the suspect, described as a younger male (adult age), tall with a slim build, and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, with a black mask over his face, black pants with a Nike logo on the thigh, gloves and black shoes.
Investigating officers are asking anyone who may have information to please contact Detective Constable Armstrong of the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025 ext. 2586 or tarmstrong@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.

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A number of charges, including first degree murder, have been laid against a 14-year-old Barrie youth in relation to a death that occurred Tuesday at a Barrie residence.
The youth has been charged with:
• First Degree Murder, Contrary to Section 235(1), Criminal Code of Canada
• Aggravated Assault with a Weapon, Contrary to Section 267(a), Criminal Code of Canada
• Fail to Comply with Sentence, Contrary to Section 137, Youth Criminal Justice Act (2 Counts).
The identity of the accused, who was remanded into custody late yesterday afternoon, cannot be released in accordance with provisions contained within the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). He is scheduled to return to the Ontario Court of Justice located in Barrie on Friday for a bail hearing, police report.
Police can now confirm that a post mortem is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Office of the Chief Coroner and Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OCC-OFPS) located in Toronto in order to determine the cause of death.

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The Barrie Police Service is presently investigating an early morning death after officers responded to a residence located on Penvill Trail in Barrie.
At 5:49 a.m. this morning, Barrie police report to responded to the home where a male victim was located suffering from life threatening injuries. The male was then taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
One person is currently in custody and the Barrie Police Homicide Unit is conducting this ongoing investigation. The Barrie Police Forensic Identification Unit and uniform officers are also providing assistance at the scene.
The identity of the deceased will not be released until the conclusion of a forensic post mortem examination which is scheduled to take place at the Office of the Chief Coroner and Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OCC-OFPS) located in Toronto.
This investigation is isolated in nature and there is no threat to public safety, police report.

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Winter conditions force closures and cancellations

Today’s winter storm is expected to be a lengthy one. Winter crews are working hard and will continue their cleanup efforts throughout the day. Details on today’s operations are available at www.barrie.ca/snow.
Below is a list of City of Barrie cancellations and closures due to the winter storm. We will continue to update our social media channels if anything else changes.

Updates, Cancellations, Closures – February 12, 2019: 
·        All City Registered Recreation Programs & Drop in Programs are cancelled. Fitness centres will close at 3:00 pm. All facilities remain open for ice permits and room rentals. For updates visitwww.barrie.ca/RecCancellations  or call (705) 739-4215
·        Barrie Transit is running, but experiencing delays. Visit www.myridebarrie.ca for real-time bus information
·        The City of Barrie Landfill site is closed for the remainder of the day. The Landfill is expected to reopen tomorrow: www.barrie.ca/landfill
·        Today’s Community Job Fair has been rescheduled for tomorrow (February 13) 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm at Liberty North

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Usage at charging stations for electrical vehicles (EV) at various locations in Barrie is falling “well below” initial estimates, Adam McMullin, manager of energy management, advises city council in a memo.
“Staff previously reported an initial estimated cost of $12,000 annually for the electrical usage of these EV charge stations. Based on part-year consumption data (as of December 31/2018), it is estimated that these costs will fall well below the initial estimate for the foreseeable future, even with an anticipated increase in utilization of the locations,” he writes. 
Back in late 2017, the City connected with Tesla to install charging stations at four locations, with Tesla covered all of the capital costs for the installation. In all 54 stations were installed at four locations:
• Marina, with 12 stations
• Heritage Park, with 12 stations 
• The library, with six stations
• The Parkade building, with 24 stations 
“The parkade chargers were energized on February 22, 2018 followed by the Heritage Park and marina locations on July 1, 2018, with usage increasing over the course of the summer as their existence became more commonly known. The library location chargers were brought online on September 15, 2018,” writes McMullin.
As part of the planning process, the Downtown Barrie Business Association (BIA) voiced support for the EV charge station deployment, “potentially offering sponsorship of the electrical operating costs. Staff have reached out to the BIA to discuss this partnership opportunity and are awaiting feedback from the BIA executive group.”
In addition, staff received both support and opposition for the program from the public. Feedback included comment that users of the stations should pay for the service without any cost to taxpayers.
“Staff will be reporting back to Council in the fall of 2019 after a full year of operation on public comments and feedback received, parking options, fee and charging alternatives and future opportunities,” continues McMullin.
“This evaluation period is necessary as the EV market is rapidly growing and the municipal best practices for adoption of EV charge infrastructure is evolving. Furthermore, it will allow staff to capture additional public feedback and evaluate the seasonal impact of usage and operation of these stations before potential options are brought forward for Council’s consideration.”

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City and county in talks to coordinate transit services

City transit staff are meeting with their county counterparts to explore ways to cooperate on transit services for Barrie and county riders.
In a memo to city council, Tyrell Turner, the City’s supervisor of transit business services, explained the Transit and Parking Strategy Department is “meeting regularly with the County of Simcoe (Simcoe County LINX) to explore opportunities to work together to provide the best customer service for any riders using both Simcoe LINX and Barrie Transit with the goal of building ridership for both parties.” 
The talks, he continues, include transfer stops, alignment of bus schedules, communication of schedule information, bus stop infrastructure, future routing plans, and fare integration.
“A fare integration encourages a transit rider to utilize both transit systems to complete their entire trip with the benefit of a reduced fare both to and from their destination. A fare integration plan has been established and the following parameters have been discussed and agreed to by both parties.”

 • Fares 
Transit riders departing the Simcoe County LINX would receive a $1 discount off the regular cash fare for Barrie Transit. Alternatively Barrie Transit riders would receive a $1 discount off their Simcoe County LINX cash fare. 

• Eligibility
Transit riders must provide a date and time stamped transfer from the originating transit provider to receive the corresponding discount. Transfers would be valid for 120 minutes to accommodate the length of the original trip plus transition onto the LINX or Barrie Transit system. Departing transfers would only be valid for discount at Barrie bus stops that are serviced by the Simcoe County LINX system. 

• Reporting
Both the Simcoe County LINX and Barrie Transit will configure their fare boxes to track the number of discounted fares provided throughout the pilot. This will provide valuable insight into the uptake of the pilot and associated travel patterns. 

Term 
The pilot be undertaken for a 12-month term from March 1, 2019 to February 28, 2020. At that time the County of Simcoe and the City of Barrie can review the pilot and make an informed recommendation to their respective Council for a potential permanent fare integration moving forward. 

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Police services board seeks full-time special constable

The Barrie Police Services Board is seeking qualified applicants for the position of full-time Special Constable, Community Service Unit.
The incumbent will work as an effective member of a team to deliver the Barrie Police Service Values, Influences, Peers (VIP) Program to grade school students.
For complete details and requirements of this posting, please visit our Current Opportunities page. The closing date for this position is Thursday, February 21, 2019, at 3:00 p.m.

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Police agencies, including the Barrie Police Service, held a press conference Monday to report on an investigation into human trafficking involving Mexican workers.
In addition to the Barrie Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and community-based agencies were part of the investigation.
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, about 250 frontline and support unit members from the OPP, Barrie police and CBSA executed 12 search warrants in Barrie and Wasaga Beach. Thanks to advanced, victim-focussed planning, the 43 victims – mostly males ranging in age from 20 to 46 years – were brought to safety, re-housed and provided with legal employment, police report.
“Whether it involves forced labour or the sex trade, human trafficking is not welcome and has no place in any community. The victims have renewed hope and the possibility of the better life they were promised now that they are free from the control of people who exploited them for personal gain,” said Barrie police chief Kimberley Greenwood.
Since 2018, police have been investigating information that suggested Mexican-born workers were being trafficked and/or defrauded by a cleaning company based in Barrie. They had been brought to Canada under the pretence of being here for either educational purposes or the promise of work visas and eventual permanent residency status, police report.
At the news conference, Greenwood, OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum, and representatives from Canada Border Services Agency, Barrie and Area Victim Services, and County of Simcoe Paramedic Services elaborated on their organization’s roles prior to, during, and after last week’s police activities.
The victims initially paid the traffickers large sums of money to leave their home country and be transported to Canada. Once here, the victims were made to live in squalid conditions at locations in Barrie and Wasaga Beach. The victims were transported by the traffickers to and from forced work locations in Collingwood, Innisfil, Oro-Medonte and Cornwall. The traffickers controlled wages and charged the victims fees for accommodations and transportation, police report.
The investigation is ongoing and criminal charges are expected be laid at a later date. But police and community support advocates remind everyone that if they believe they or someone they know is a victim of any form of human trafficking, to contact police or community victim services agencies for assistance.
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery. Labour human trafficking is a difficult crime to investigate. At every stage, our collective concern has been to ensure these 43 victims are well cared for from a personal health and wellness perspective and that they are now safely housed,” saids OPP deputy commissioner BARNUM, Provincial Commander OPP Investigations and Organized Crime.

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Victims of human trafficking rescued and relocated

Police agencies, including the Barrie Police Service, executed warrants in Barrie and Wasaga Beach, rescuing multiple victims of human trafficking.
The warrants were executed Tuesday morning, police report, involving Barrie police, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in relation to a Labour Human Trafficking investigation.
“Public safety was not in jeopardy. This phase of the investigation is now complete and multiple victims of Labour Human Trafficking were safely relocated. Police will have more detailed information to provide about this ongoing investigation at a media conference in the coming days. Police appreciate the public’s interest and media’s cooperation.”

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With any luck the Polar Vortex might have lifted and the plunge won’t be quite so icy for members of the Barrie Police Service and other dippers.
The Annual Polar Plunge is set for Saturday, March 2 to raise money for Special Olympics Ontario, and 100 per cent of the funds will directly benefit the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Ontario.
Plungers can either pay the registration fee or fundraise the minimum requirement to be able to take part in the plunge. In most cases, incentives will be given to plungers based on how much money they raise in donations.
The team that raises the most money will win a pizza party sponsored by Boston Pizza. There will also be medals awarded for best costumes. This event is supported by 107.5 KoolFM and Rock 95.
The plunge is set for Centennial Beach, with registration at noon and the actual dip beginning at 1 p./m. The cost for Registered SOO Athletes & Volunteers is $25 (or raise $50 to waive the fee). Adult registration is $50 (or raise $100.00 to waive the fee).
Participants can pre-register and pick-up their event kit on Thursday, Feb. 28, between 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., at the Barrie Police Service Headquarters, 29 Sperling Drive, Barrie. 
All plungers will get a Polar Plunge Icy Mug! Highest fundraiser per plunge: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8″ 32 GB. Raise $100: Polar Plunge Socks. Raise $150: Polar Plunge Socks & Polar Plunge Shirt. Highest fundraiser in the province: Tickets to a Leafs Alumni box at an upcoming Leafs game (Date TBC)

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Winterfest showcases Barrie Native Friendship Centre

The City is partnering with the Barrie Native Friendship Centre for this year’s Winterfest, Saturday and Sunday.
The centre will be celebrating their 31st anniversary. It works to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together to promote culture and community in the City of Barrie. Winterfest 2019 will highlight and celebrate the local Indigenous community through a number of events and programming, including ice and snow sculptures, speakers, hoop dancing and cultural sharing.
Winterfest takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Heritage Park and Meridian Place, with most activities being free. There are also drop-in activities and events at indoor venues throughout the community all weekend.
Outdoor fun
• Ice and snow sculptures highlighting Clans of the local Indigenous community
• Battle of the Chainsaws (Saturday at 1 p.m.)
• Lumberjack shows
• Toronto Maple Leafs Mobile Fan Zone
• Winter sport demonstrations – snowshoeing and snowboarding
• Helicopter rides (for a fee)
• Snow Valley’s mini tube slide
• Walking tour with Barrie’s Town Crier
• Skating at the Heritage Park pond, City Hall, or Centennial Park
• Polar Bear Dip – free to participate and no pre-registration required
• Maple taffy samples
• Learn about the history of making maple syrup with the Barrie Native Friendship Centre
• Family entertainment with Team T & J
Drop-in activities
• Barrie Native Friendship Centre – Knowledge Keeper: Clan System and Clan Governance; Learn to Hoop Dance
• Barrie Public Library – Indigenous Speaker Series: Jennifer Podemski and Nookmis Learning Circle
• MacLaren Art Centre – Storytime, NFB film screenings, Family Workshop, and performance by the Simcoe Contemporary Dancers
• Grey & Simcoe Foresters’ Regimental Museum Tour
• Toonie skates and swims at East Bayfield Community Centre, Allandale Recreation Centre, and Holly Community Centre
Community events   
• Winterfest Pancake Breakfast – hosted by the Lion’s Club of Barrie on Saturday morning at Collier Street United Church
• February Blues Festival – enjoy Jazz & Blues music in venues throughout the community
• Downtown Barrie’s Hot Cocoa Trail – hot chocolate creations available at downtown cafes and eateries every weekend in February
Free Winterfest shuttle
Winterfest offers a free Park ‘n Ride Shuttle on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shuttle will pick up passengers on Coulter Street behind the Bayfield Mall at Barrie Transit stop #203, stopping on Bayfield Street at the Barrie Native Friendship Centre (stop #64 & #74) to hop on or off, and will drop off at the Downtown Transit Terminal.
Parking and road closure
If you’re driving, there’s plenty of downtown and waterfront parking available within close walking distance, including the Collier Street Parkade – a fully accessible, seven-level parking facility with over 300 spots located on Collier Street between Owen and Clapperton Streets.
Reminder: Barrie residents can park for free in waterfront lots when displaying a Resident Waterfront Parking Pass. Simcoe Street will be closed from Maple Avenue to Dunlop Street from 6 a.m. on February 2 to 6 p.m. on February 3.
For more information, including a full schedule of activities, times and locations, visit www.barrie.ca/Winterfest.

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After all the deliberations and amendments, it comes down to this: Barrie city council approved an operating 2019 budget of $343 million, and a capital budget budget of $263.6 million.
That relates to a property tax increase of 1.88 per cent, plus a one per cent increase for the Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Fund, used to replace and renew Barrie’s roads, pipes and buildings, bringing the total to 2.88 per cent.
“This budget takes a significant step forward in tackling Barrie’s infrastructure deficit,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“For the second year in a row, we’ve kept the increase to operating costs below two per cent so we can invest more in fixing our infrastructure, facilitating affordable housing and preparing for growth. Yet there are also a lot of innovative projects in this budget that will improve how the City delivers services and save money.”
For the average Barrie home assessed at $336,000, this increase translates to an additional $124 annually. 
Council also approved a 3.44 per cent increase to water rates and a 3.39 per cent increase to wastewater rates. For a typical Barrie home consuming 180 cubic metres of water annually, the water bill will increase by $11.45 and the wastewater bill will increase by $15.86.
Key projects in the 2019 capital budget include:
• the continuation of the Barrie–Simcoe Emergency Services Campus, which is scheduled to open in 2020
• the Harvie Road crossing of Highway 400
• the widening of Mapleview Drive East from Country Lane to Yonge Street and the Road Resurfacing Program.
• Design work will continue on the new McKay Road interchange at Highway 400 and construction will begin on the rehabilitation of Hurst Drive from Cox Mill to Golden Meadow Road. 
Improvements to Barrie’s roads was a key priority identified by residents through the online Budget Allocator Tool. The 2019 budget includes a $55 million investment in roads, 11 times more than the 2013 budget of $5 million. In response to feedback from residents about road safety, council also approved funds to purchase five LED Radar Speed Boards to discourage speeding and improve safety.  
The City also plans to implement a Six Sigma program that will use a data-driven approach to improve processes across City departments. A review of the City’s winter road maintenance operations will aim to optimize routes, reduce costs and prepare for further growth.
A fleet renewal program will be introduced in 2019 to provide sustainable funding to manage the replacement of City vehicles in a cost-effective manner, and the Shift Government project will tackle the root causes of issues such as public health, the opioid crisis, and homelessness by bringing innovative, proactive approaches to service delivery.
Barrie’s waterfront will see four-season enhancements through additional beach and trail grooming, clean-up and new equipment such as benches, picnic tables and fire pits. The enhancements will be funded with revenues generated from tourism as a result of the new Municipal Accommodation Tax, which applies to room rentals provided by hotels, motels and inns in Barrie. 
Residential property tax bill funds are allocated to City services (55%), education (14% as mandated by the Province) and Service Partners (31% between the Barrie Police Service, Public Library, County of Simcoe, etc.). The Business Plan & Budget will be funded through property taxes, user fees and other financing sources.
The 2019 Business Plan & Budget is available at barrie.ca/budget.

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