CareTable is a community food table that can be accessed by anyone, donor or recipient.

KitchenCare, a local community food-share group, is planning its inaugural CareTable event this coming Saturday, in the parking lot adjacent to the downtown Barrie Public Library.
The initiative operates under the umbrella of the City’s Connected Core program,  a pilot project developed by the mayor’s Shift Government Project. The project’s main focus is to connect the community, eliminate stigma, coordinate existing resources, and to engage all community stakeholders.
CareTable is a community food table that can be accessed by anyone, donor or recipient. The program will receive donations of produce grown in backyards and or community gardens, distributing it to those is need.
“We invite everyone who can benefit from this to come and take part. If anyone has any extra produce or perishable food items, they can place it on our table. Any individual or family experiencing any level of food insecurity is invited to come and take what’s on the table, at no cost,” says Paul Kovacs, Connected Core’s program coordinator.
At each community food table, volunteers will accept garden produce or any non-perishable foods items to be shared with any community member that needs it. Any remaining food will be donated to local organizations that help vulnerable people dealing with food insecurity.
The inaugural event is planned for the parking lot at the courier of Clapperton and Worsley streets, 1-3 p.m.

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 United Way Simcoe Muskoka (UWSM) distributed almost $1.2 million throughout area communities from June 10 to July 15, through the federal government’s Emergency Community Support Fund.
The funding is to help local residents who have been impacted by COVID-19 by enabling charities and non-profits to adapt their services or launch new programs in response to the pandemic. 
“This funding is not just helping our critical charities and non-profits, but all those residents who rely on the services they provide, services that disappeared almost overnight,” says UWSM CEO, Dale Biddell. “With more than 60 years of experience funding charities and helping our most vulnerable, United Way Simcoe Muskoka has the expertise and positioning to get these funds where they need to be, when they are needed.”
The fund has distributed more than $300 million across Canada to United Way, Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada.
There are 45 local charities and non-profits that have received funding through United Way Simcoe Muskoka and the Emergency Community Support Fund. These organizations facilitate programs that address food security, women, youth, seniors, adult education, pandemic relief, in-home care, social isolation, barriers to technology, mental health challenges and more. 
“Our Community Impact review team has been delighted to support so much great work that is responding to the unexpected demands of COVID-19,” says Rosslyn Junke, Director of Community Impact at UWSM. “Despite these trying times, we are seeing lots of innovation and collaboration as agencies nimbly respond to support those who need it most.” 
For more information on United Way Simcoe Muskoka’s COVID-19 response, please visithttps://www.uwsimcoemuskoka.ca

Share

{ 0 comments }

Barrie police are reminding the public that no reputable agency will ever demand payment in gift cards or Bitcoin and that this is a common tactic used by fraudsters.
Police are aware of several scams that have been circulating recently where the victim is contacted regarding a problem with their financial accounts. The victim is given the option to purchase gift cards as either as payment or as a way of avoiding the attack on their accounts. The fraudsters may also ask for cash, even after gift cards or Bitcoins are provided.
One senior in Barrie was defrauded of a significant amount of money after being coerced into purchasing numerous beauty store gift cards at local grocery stores and providing photos of the cards to the scammer.
“Unfortunately, many fraud victims are seniors, and I encourage everyone to talk to their older relatives and make them aware of these scams,” said Constable Keira Brooks, Crime Prevention Officer with the Barrie Police Service. “We are also working with local businesses to help their staff recognize signs of potential purchases supporting these scams, and how to address them.”
Cst. Brooks also reminds the public that if you receive a call telling you there is a problem with your account, or there is a warrant for your arrest, financial organizations, and government agencies will never penalize you for hanging up on the caller, and reaching out to the organization through a trusted contact number to confirm the claims. Odds are, the claims are false, and you were a target for a scammer.
For a list of some of the common scams, visit: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/scams-fraudes/index-eng.htm. If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Planning committee will get a closer look at a development proposal for the former Barrie raceway and fairgrounds site, tonight in a ‘virtual’ meeting and presentation

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

Redevelopment plans for the old Barrie raceway and fairway grounds will be the subject of a public meeting at planning committee today (Monday).
The site is about 11.73 hectares in size, on the northeast corner of Essa Road and Highway 400, and the vision for the property includes a range of residential and commercial uses, including townhouses, apartments, long-term care facilities, ground floor commercial and an office tower.
Originally scheduled for June 22 but postponed due to COVID-19 measures, committee is scheduled to get a closer look at the proposal for 175 and 199 Essa Road, and 50 Wood Street. The project had its first neighbourhood public consultation Aug. 13, 2019.
The application is being made by SGL Planning & Design Inc. on behalf of 2106580 Ontario Inc.
Committee members will see a presentation video, existing and proposed Official Plan designation details, existing and proposed zoning details, a draft plan of subdivision, and key community features of the project.
The developer is proposing to add a Defined Policy Area to Schedule ‘C’ for the subject lands, with descriptive text in Section 4.8 of the Official Plan, to include: 
• Parking shall be permitted in the front yard driveways leading to a ground-related dwelling unit. 
• Surface parking shall be permitted on any lot containing the Barrie Curling Club, as well as the opportunity to use the parking area for flex space for the purposes of accommodating temporary private or public gatherings or events. 
A zoning change is also being requested, amending the designation on the subject lands from ‘General Commercial’ (C4) to ‘Mixed Use Corridor with Special Provisions’ and ‘Open Space’ (OS). Zoning changes would allow:
• Back-to-back and street townhouses.
• A maximum building height of 32 metres for residential and office buildings provided a minimum 50 per cent of the ground floor frontage is dedicated to commercial or institutional uses.
• A minimum ground floor frontage of 4.5 metres is only required for those buildings with frontage on Essa Road.
• Removal of the front yard setback and paving requirements for block/cluster/stacked, back to back or street townhouse uses.
• A retirement home, an assisted living facility, including a long-term care facility.
• A maximum building height of 47 metres (or 15 storeys).
“The application is required to create blocks on a plan of subdivision in order to facilitate future division of land such as creating part-lots or registration of condominium agreements,” says the meeting notice, adding that with COVID-19 measures, the meeting will be held in a virtual forum with electronic participation. It will be televised on Rogers TV and will be live-streamed on the City’s YouTube Channel

What the northeast corner of Highway 400 and Essa Road might look like based on development proposal
Share

{ 0 comments }

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


“We are asking all parents and guardians to carefully review the details about what learning will look like in elementary schools, secondary schools and using a distance learning model.” – Catherine McCullough, Interim Director of Education

The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board has been working hard on developing a plan for the safe return of students and staff back to school this fall. 
Based on the recent announcement from the Ministry of Education we know that all of our schools (elementary and secondary) will be back five days a week beginning on Sept. 8. We also know that parents will have the choice about whether or not they want their child to return to the classroom or opt-in for a distancing learning program. 
We are asking all parents and guardians to carefully review the details about what learning will look like in elementary schools, secondary schools and using a distance learning model. We are also including a Question & Answer Document  with additional details. Once you have reviewed all of the information, we are requesting all parents/guardians to complete a Fall Re-Opening Student Survey, which will provide us with critical information about your child’s plans for September.
Here is what learning will look like in September:
Elementary Schools:
• Students will attend five days a week with 300 minutes of instruction per day.
• At the elementary level, a student cohort, i.e., number of students that can come into contact with each other throughout the course of the day should not exceed 50 
• Students will remain in their class cohort for the full day, including recess and lunch
• Timing of recesses, lunches, and bathroom breaks will be staggered to support cohort levels.
• There will be clearly marked designated entrances and exits for students.
•Students in Grades 4 to 8 will be expected to wear a cloth mask at school.
• Students in primary grades (K-3) will be encouraged to wear a cloth mask at school.
• There will be enhanced protocols, including cleaning of high touch surfaces, regular opportunities for hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), where advised and necessary.
Specific details about bell times will be provided by the school prior to Sept. 8.
Most visitors, including parents, will not be permitted in school buildings. Schools with before and after programs will continue with cohorted programming. Mental health and well-being supports will be available for students.
Secondary Schools:
• Students will attend five days a week with 300 minutes of class time per day.
At the secondary level, a student cohort, i.e., number students that can come into contact with each other throughout the course of the day should not exceed 100. 
In order to maintain this student cohort, secondary schools we will be using a quadmester school timetable. This timetable will have two periods per day, but with full student attendance. In a ‘quadmester’ system, students will have two periods a day for ¼ of the year. For example:
Quad #1: Period 1&2 from Sept. 8 until Nov. 9
Quad #2: Period 3&4 from Nov. 12 until Jan. 28
Quad #3: Period 5&6 from Feb. 3 until April 16
Quad #4: Period 7&8 from April 21 until June 23
Exams and course culminating tasks will occur at the end of each ‘quadmester. Timing of lunches, and bathroom breaks will be staggered to support cohort levels. In order to reduce student contact in hallways, the use of lockers will be prohibited. There will be clearly marked designated entrances and exits for students.
Students in Grades 9 to 12 will be expected to wear a cloth mask while at school. There will be enhanced protocols, including cleaning of high touch surfaces, regular opportunities for hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), where advised and necessary.
Specific details about bell times will be provided by the school prior to Sept. 8. Schools have been asked to significantly limit or even prohibit visitors, including parents. Mental health and well-being supports will be available for students.
Distance Learning:
• Remote instruction and learning will be provided on-line with support for devices and connectivity for families where applicable and possible.
• Students participating in remote learning who are not able to access on-line materials will receive remote delivery of paper materials. Not all optional courses will be available to secondary students in remote learning, e.g. construction courses. Mental health and well-being supports will be available for students.
Transportation Considerations:
• Enhanced public health protocols will be in place on buses and buses will be disinfected twice daily.
• Bus drivers will be wearing personal protective equipment.
• A seating plan will be established designed to minimize contact between students. This may include siblings sitting together on the bus. All students in Grades 4 to 12 must wear a cloth mask while on the bus. All students in primary grades will be encouraged to wear a cloth mask while on the bus.
Fall Re-Opening Student Survey
Parents and guardians have an important and personal choice to make regarding their child’s education over the coming months. In order to assist us in the planning for September, we are asking all families to complete a Fall Re-Opening Student Survey by Monday, August 17th at 4 p.m. to let us know whether: 
• Your child(ren) will be returning to school, which will be following the cohorting guidelines and enhanced public health protocols, including the mandatory wearing of masks for all students in Grades 4-12. 
• Your child(ren) will participate in a distance learning model that would allow learning to continue from home.
Important note: Moving/switching your child from in-class to distancing learning will be carefully managed in order to maintain the Ministry’s cohorting guidelines, i.e., 50 students contacts at elementary and 100 contacts at secondary. We will be following a defined process where students moving from one model to another can only occur at appropriate times within the year, e.g., at the beginning of a quadmester. 
We recognize that this is a difficult choice for families. Our priority is to ensure the safety, well-being and learning of our students. We are working carefully through our planning process and know that there are still many questions to be answered. Over the coming weeks, please continue to refer to the School Re-Opening Section of our website where we will continue to update our Q&A Document and post more information as it becomes available. 
We thank you for your continued patience, support and prayers as we put our return to school plan into action. 
Sincerely,
Catherine McCullough, Interim Director of Education 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Ward 10 councillor Mike McCann says the recommendation is based on the beach’s designation, as it is zoned environmentally protected, and that the zoning doesn’t allow for active recreation.  Councillor-Mike

A motion to investigate closing Wilkins Park beach due to environmental damage will be considered by general committee on Monday.
If approved by committee and subsequently council, staff will review the process and implications of closing the beach, and report back by March of next year.
Ward 10 councillor Mike McCann says the recommendation is based on the beach’s designation, as it is zoned environmentally protected, and that the zoning doesn’t allow for active recreation.  
“The creek is a cold water fishery.  What is happening is overuse is killing some of the vegetation and impacting the creek.  All of this then impacts the overall health of the area,” he told City Scene.  
“And when we had a big rain storm last weekend, there was a bigger impact because there wasn’t the vegetation in place to protect the soil from erosion.  The City needs to assess and then decide whether this environmentally sensitive area should be used as a beach the way it is now.”
Committee will also consider bylaw changes required to make the ban on tents and BBQ at City beaches and parks permanent.
Further, if approved by committee, staff will investigate updating the Waterfront Strategic Plan (2015) to address emerging trends, and the impact of growth on safe and appropriate access to City beaches, public spaces and parks along the waterfront, and report back.
The report is to include a summary of COVID-19 impacts on beaches and waterfront access.

Share

{ 0 comments }

A pilot project offering Barrie Transit riders a transit-on-demand feature is set to be launched Monday, Aug. 17, according to a presentation scheduled for city council.


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

A pilot project providing Barrie Transit riders a transit-on-demand experience is to be presented to city council this coming Monday.
The project was identified in the 2020 municipal budget under new investments and service recommendations and is described as a “transit service strategy providing a new, innovative and alternative way of delivering conventional transit services.” The first phase of the project is slated to begin Monday, Aug. 17.
The idea is to develop a transit model that tailors transit use to the requirements of passengers, rather than on a conventional fixed route system. “This service delivery method is typically used during low demand time periods, in areas where there is low service demand, low density land use, new development areas and potentially in rural areas,” says the document. Identified costs range from $200,000 for 2020 to $218,500 for 2023.
Ward 4 councillor Barry Ward says the program is worth looking at, as there are parts of the city which aren’t receiving transit service.
“My ward, for example, is completely urban but the western edge, the area north of Benson Drive, has hundreds of homes which are more than 500 metres from a bus stop. They have had transit service in the past but there was not enough use to justify regular bus service. Transit-on-demand might fill the gap. It’s certainly worth trying.”
It works by combining mobile apps, which can be downloaded at app stores, web-based portals and artificial intelligence algorithms, allowing riders to request transit in real time or plan a trip later.
“A route optimization algorithm is used when collecting the booking information to ensure the bus operators are operating efficiently, while seamlessly guiding them throughout the City. It algorithm allows users to choose their pick up time and/or destination arrival time,” says the document.
Identified benefits include:
• Improving accessibility
• Improving service efficiency
• Increasing ridership
• Expanding service area coverage
• Promoting the use of public transit
• Connecting customers to main transit corridors
• Continuing to develop innovative transit services
The intent is for the pilot project to allow staff to evaluate its effectiveness by delivering it on a small scale to limit any potential disruption to the existing model.
“The project would be conducted in a way to evaluate feasibility, operations, costs, ridership, adverse events, and impact to neighbourhoods/residents. As part of the pilot project staff would be investigating the service delivery model in areas of the city or during time periods where there currently limited conventional transit service options,” reads the document.
“Staff are confident in the benefits of this service delivery model, as other transit agencies have experienced success with this model as measured through ridership growth.”

Share

{ 0 comments }

YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka CEO Rob Armstrong discuses closure of Ys in Barrie, Orillia and Parry Sound

The YMCA’s footprint in the region is about to get smaller, at least for the time being, as the organization announces it is closing centres in Barrie, Orillia, and Parry Sound.
In a release, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka says that in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it  has been forced to make several difficult decisions related to the reopening of its many  programs and facilities.
“As a charity with limited reserves, we can’t compromise our long-term ability to serve the community by continuing to operate facilities that are no longer viable. As a result, we will not be reopening our health and fitness centres in Barrie, Orillia, and Parry Sound,” CEO Rob Armstrong said in a video statement.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all our valued members, participants, community partners and donors for their support over the years. These are difficult times and these are difficult decisions, but as we look to the future we remain committed to the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve.”
In Parry Sound, the organization intends to continue to operate as a licensed child care centre, while in Barrie and Orillia day camps as well as licensed child care at the Barrie Y will continue to operate through to the end of the summer. Staff will be  contacting families impacted by the closure of the Barrie Y  to find alternative spaces at other YMCA Child Care  Centres. The Y says it is also making every effort to relocate staff to other locations, and/or to support them in finding new employment opportunities. 
The Barrie YMCA is in the midst of a fundraising drive to build a new facility at the site of the former Barrie Central Collegiate, on the corner of Dunlop and Bradford streets. It says the effort to fundraise and work with all levels of government to open a new centre will continue.
The current centre on Grove Street, between Toronto and Bayfield streets, has already been sold to developers with the intent to build apartments.
“In Barrie, we will continue to work with our donors, partners, and all levels of government to open a new Barrie Y to meet the new and evolving needs of this growing community.”
The YMCA anticipates re-opening its health and fitness facilities in Collingwood, Gravenhurst, Innisfil, Midland and Wasaga Beach in the coming months.

Share

{ 0 comments }

“We don’t want people’s $50 and we don’t want to issue a ton of parking tickets or bylaw tickets – we want to reduce the crowds and help make sure people stay safe.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman

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

As you probably already know, Premier Doug and Mayor Jeff got into a little dustup over the City’s recent move to hike the parking rates at waterfront lots, a move, says the mayor, to try and curb out-of-town visitors and give COVID-driven distancing a chance to work.
Here’s a reminder, just in case it’s needed.
A June 22 staff report recommended raising the rates from $3 an hour to $5 an hour, and that the daily maximum by hiked from $20 to $30. When council reviewed the report, the suggested rate increases were found to be on the low side, so an amendment was made, and approved, that set the rate at $10 an hour, and a maximum of $50 for the day.
Set fines and late payment rates were also hiked; the staff report recommended increasing the fine for a parking infraction along the waterfront from $30 to $60, and the early-pay amount for a fine from $20 to $50. However, the City recently received approval from the Province to hike the rates to $100 and $75, respectively.
Responding to the increases, Ford recently called them “disgusting,” saying it was an example of price gouging. Mayor Lehman responded on Twitter, saying that perhaps Ford “is not aware of the overcrowding problem on Barrie and Simcoe County beaches that has resulted partly from the Province’s decision to proceed with a phased reopening.
“We don’t want people’s $50 and we don’t want to issue a ton of parking tickets or bylaw tickets – we want to reduce the crowds and help make sure people stay safe.”
Barrie residents with a parking pass are exempt from parking fees, except in the marina lot where a paid pass is required. Paid parking in the downtown core has also been suspended until Sept. 8 to support the Downtown Economic Recovery Plan. Benefits of this plan, says the report, include:
• Providing incentive for customers to access downtown businesses 
• Providing financial relief for downtown owners, staff, and customers 
• Removing potential barrier from customers visiting the downtown 
The Premier has generally garnered positive marks for his handling of the crisis, working hand-in-hand with other levels of governments and delivering science-based guidance and decisions. His approach has won kudos from people of different political persuasions, but perhaps he misspoke this time out. Barrie beaches and waterfront areas are crowded, with many beachgoers absolutely coming from out of town. A quick perusal of the licence plates on cars, bearing point-of-origin markings, will confirm that.
The City has also banned tents and BBQs at Barrie beaches, trails and parks to try and discourage visitors from lingering. Regular bylaw enforcement has also resumed.
However, while the rate increases may deter visitors from crowding the beaches, the report mostly talks about the financial aspects of raising parking rates, rarely mentioning the need to enforce COVID-19 distancing by making the Barrie waterfront too expensive a destination for visitors. Mostly, it has been left to the politicians, including Lehman, to argue the rate hikes are linked to a strategy to reduce crowding.
According to the report, the rate hikes support two objectives: realizing short-term goals for the 2020 summer season, and supporting the downtown economic recovery plan. The strategy is part of a greater Parking Strategy Update, to be presented to council later in the year.
“To achieve short-term paid parking objectives surrounding the waterfront, staff feel it is important to bring forward these recommendations ahead of the summer season to ensure the immediate benefits can be realized,” says the report. 
It continues: “The increase in transient non-resident parking rates would result in up to $288,390 projected increase in revenue which will offset lost parking revenues within the 2020 parking operating budget and be incorporated into future business plans.” 
Clearly there is a financial aspect to the report. Whether that adds up to gouging, as Ford suggests, is open to interpretation. If you are a Barrie resident and not subject to the fees and fines, you are probably more open to the overcrowding point. If a visitor, however, Ford’s comment may resonate.
One final comment on this. Despite the increased rates, the beaches seem to be as crowded as ever on the weekends, with very little distancing going on. If it really is about COVID-19, it seems the City needs additional measures to thin out the crowds and limit the number of visitors coming to Barrie to enjoy the waterfront.

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

If walking the dog gets the tail wagging, then get ready for some happy pooches when the dog-off-leash recreation area (DOLRA) at Sunnidale Park reopens this Saturday.
The zone has been closed since last September for construction and regeneration projects. Last fall, construction of two permanent bridges was completed to allow access across Kidd’s Creek. The bridges were built to address winter slip and fall concerns in the area and to ensure that City maintenance vehicles can access Sunnidale Park to do work when needed.
Following the bridge construction, the Sunnidale DOLRA remained closed to allow for regeneration and restoration of the site. The popularity of the site has taken a toll on the soil, and the closure allowed vegetation in the dog park to regenerate. The work completed includes the following:
• replacement of 900 feet of fence to make the park more secure
• woodchips added to all trails
• addition of seven new benches and two picnic tables
• removal of dead trees
• creation of a new lookout area with seating
The Sunnidale Park Master Plan recognized the need for the periodic closure of the Sunnidale DOLRA, and rotating closures of the other DOLRA within the City. This was done so that sites can have a restoration and repair period, which is vital to the health of these park areas for optimal future use.
DOLRAs are areas set aside for residents to exercise and socialize their dogs off-leash in a protected environment, without being in contravention of municipal bylaws. Barrie currently has two DOLRAs, one in Sunnidale Park and the Bayview Drive DOLRA.
Rules of the park include picking up after pets and disposing of the waste properly, and ensuring that your dog is wearing current registration tags and has an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Safety precautions for COVID-19 should also be followed while using the DOLRA: don’t gather in groups, stay two metres apart and avoid touching surfaces. 
Visit barrie.ca/DOLRA for more information on Barrie’s off-leash dog parks. 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Three-member commission expected to deliver its report by next April

The Province has initiated an independent commission into COVID-19 and long-term care, specifically how the virus spread within long-term care homes and the subsequent impact on residents, family, and staff.
Three commissioners will also review the adequacy of measures taken by the Province and other parties to prevent, isolate and contain the virus. The commission will also provide the government with guidance on how to better protect long-term care home residents and staff from any future outbreaks.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
“As Premier, I made a commitment to our long-term care residents and their families that there would be accountability and justice in the broken system we inherited,” said Premier Ford. “Today, we are delivering on that promise by moving forward with a transparent, independent review of our long-term care system. We will do whatever it takes to ensure every senior in the province has a safe and comfortable place to call home.”
The commissioners are:
• Associate Chief Justice Frank N. Marrocco (Chair) ― appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 2005, he has a distinguished career practising criminal law and civil litigation law spanning 33 years.
• Angela Coke ― served as a former senior executive of the Ontario Public Service where she spent more than 27 years committed to the transformation of government operations, consumer protection reform, and the development of a strong professional public service.
• Dr. Jack Kitts ― served as President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital from February 2002 until his retirement in June 2020. He is known nationally for his focus and expertise in patient experience, performance measurement and physician engagement.
The commission has the power to conduct an investigation, including compelling persons to give or produce evidence, issuing summons, and holding public meetings. The commission’s findings are to be delivered within the timeframes set out by the Minister of Long-Term Care in the Terms of Reference, allowing investigations to be completed in months, rather than years. The commissioners are expected to deliver their final report by April 2021.
“The people of Ontario deserve a timely, transparent and non-partisan investigation,” said Fullerton.
“That is why our government is launching this independent commission to help us identify ways to prevent the future spread of disease in Ontario’s long-term care homes. I look forward to receiving their report and recommendations to make Ontario’s long-term care homes a better place for our most vulnerable seniors to live and receive the care they deserve.”
Quick Facts:
• While the work of the commissioners is underway, Ontario will continue to move forward with system improvements, including implementing the recommendations of the Public Inquiry into Long-Term Care Homes, acting on essential learnings from COVID-19, and supporting the accelerated development of new, modern long-term care beds.
• The Province has committed to investing $1.75 billion to create new and redevelop existing long-term care beds. The Province is also updating design standards to include air conditioning for any new and renovated homes, beginning immediately.
• The Ontario government recently announced a new funding model, to make it more attractive for operators to build long-term care homes and bring aging homes up to modern design standards — providing seniors with the quality care they deserve.
• Nearly 78,000 Ontario residents currently live in 626 long-term care homes across the province. More than 38,000 people are on the waitlist to access a long-term care bed (as of March 2020).
• Previous public inquiries, such as the Public Inquiry into Long-Term Care Homes, took two years to complete.
• In 2003, the Ontario government appointed an independent commission to investigate the introduction and spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The commission interviewed 600 people and held six days of public hearings.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Artistic rendition of proposed Fisher Auditorium arts and event centre

Devine musings

It’s looking increasingly unlikely that the vision of a 650-seat theatre/400-seat event centre at the old W.A. Fisher Auditorium will be realized any time soon, if ever. Why? Two words: cost and COVID.
Let’s start with the ballooning cost of the project. According to a memo, the price tag for developing the site has nearly doubled.
“Based on reworked layouts, building design and site needs, the minimum financial investment for the combined theatre/conference centre is currently estimated at $50 million and not the $25.6 million previously suggested,” reads the memo prepared by Stephanie Schlichter, director of economic and creative development.
“Given the magnitude of this change options for cost efficiencies are being identified as part of the review process.”
The impact of COVID-19, including social distancing measures, also makes the viability of the project suspect. Assumptions about the project always centred on typical market conditions. But as the director lays out in her report, these are “extremely atypical” times for theatres and conference centres.
“The success of a theatre and conference centre are hinged on the ability to draw large crowds and with the uncertainty of the longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on such gatherings, it is not reasonable to anticipate the feasibility of a new theatre and conference centre at this time. Everyone involved in the work feeding into the Business Plan believes that the assumptions now need to change,” reads the report.
“The organization with whom staff were working … has indicated the need to pause all discussions. This organization is reassessing their needs and focus in a post-COVID world. Details of the partnership concept, including who the organization is, must be kept confidential.”
Council seems to agree with the general tone of the report, handing the matter back to staff until a tourism master plan is delivered later in the year. The option to just walk away from the project is a possibility, as staff have been instructed to come up with an exit plan that could include selling the property.
With the City facing a significant COVID-related economic impact by year’s end, it’s extremely unlikely money will be borrowed or moved from other priorities to get the project back on track. Remember, social distancing and COVID fears continue to have an impact of Barrie’s existing theatre spaces, as well as cinemas, and the cost surge alone may be enough to dampen enthusiasm for the project.
Hard to see the Fisher development return as a serious option until COVID-19 is a distant image in the rear-view mirror.

Share

{ 0 comments }

All riders are required to wear non-medical face masks or face coverings as part of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s requirement to wear a face covering when entering a public indoor space or using Barrie Transit.

It’s back to the fares for Barrie Transit riders come this Saturday as the City reintroduces pay-to-ride for the first time since March 20.
It will a different bus experience from the pre-COVID days. All Barrie Transit buses will have protective, plexiglass shields that provide a safety barrier between riders and bus operators. Fares will be collected again as riders can now safely board the bus from the front doors.
Barrie Transit was free from March 20 as riders boarded the bus from the back doors to allow for minimal contact between riders and drivers. This was done to keep both riders and drivers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To limit the transmission of COVID-19, the use of multi-ride cards will be suspended. The use of a ride card requires the operator and passenger to transfer and touch a paper fare media product. Staff are investigating alternative options to the ride cards. Riders will still be able to pay cash fares at the farebox on the vehicles and purchase monthly passes from the terminal.
The downtown bus terminal (24 Maple Ave.) is open for transit pass sales. The amount of people allowed in the terminal at the same time is controlled to ensure customers can maintain a two-metre distance from each other. Transit passes are also available for sale at Service Barrie on the first floor of City Hall. Appointments to purchase passes must be made in advance by calling Service Barrie at 705-726-4242.
All riders are required to wear non-medical face masks or face coverings as part of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s requirement to wear a face covering when entering a public indoor space or using Barrie Transit. Children under the age of two, or those under five who cannot be persuaded, are not required to wear a face covering, as well as individuals whose health or ability, or cultural or religious reasons would prevent them from doing so. 
Visit MyRideBarrie.ca before departing on your trip to track your bus. Barrie Transit may be experiencing intermittent service issues on some routes. For more information, visit barrie.ca/transit. For the latest updates to City services, visit www.barrie.ca/Services.
The City asks that people who are sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19 refrain from using 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

With the focus on combating the COVID-19 crisis, it’s perhaps easy to forget, or ignore, other potentially deadly bugs out there, including the West Nile virus. Remember that one?
As you may recall, the mosquito-borne virus can cause serious illness in people who are infected, and sometimes death. According to the World Health Organization, it can be traced back to 1937, to a woman living in the West Nile district of Uganda.
A significant outbreak occurred in the United States and elsewhere in the late 90s, and, says the WHO, “highlighted that importation and establishment of vector-borne pathogens outside their current habitat represent a serious danger to the world.”
City council was recently updated on the municipality’s 2020 program to control the virus by larviciding municipally owned catch basins, an effort that began in late June. It’s an annual program that essentially involves using pesticides to control mosquitoes when they are in the larval stage of development.
“Ontario Regulation 199/03, Control of West Nile Virus (WNv) empowers the Medical Officer of Health to determine if there is a need to reduce the risk of exposure to WNv and if so, compel municipalities to take action. The Medical Officer of Health will notify a municipality of any required actions through a ‘Notice to Larvicide’,” writes Sandra Brunet, manager of business performance and environmental sustainability, in a report to council.
“The ‘Notice to Larvicide’ for the City of Barrie was issued on April 15, 2020 requiring that municipally owned catch basins receive larvicide application during the summer months for 2020.”
Municipally owned basins on private property will not be scheduled for larvicide application, and will be managed on a request only basis by the landowner.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) WNv Surveillance Program includes monitoring of, but not limited to, municipal catch basins, stormwater ponds, natural sites, and adult trapping, reads the report.
The program is carried out by SMDHU Staff. Cost of the program is spilt 30/70 between the City and health unit, with the latter picking up the larger share.
“The Culex pipiens/restuans species of mosquitos typically breed in catch basins and are a major contributor to viral infections in birds. The larvicide, when applied to the catch basin sumps, will disrupt the mosquito’s life cycle and adult mosquitos will not emerge. By reducing the adult Culex population, amplification of WNv is reduced and the risk of exposure to WNv in the human population is reduced,” reads the report.

Share

{ 0 comments }

The three Cs are detailed in the City’s recently released COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, the second part of the municipality’s three-prong approach to helping local businesses hammered by the pandemic and the resulting shutdown.

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

As Barrie joins other municipalities across the province and country climbing out of the economic chaos created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City’s response in that effort is being guided by three central themes: Capital, Confidence, Capacity.
The three Cs are detailed in the City’s recently released COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, the second part of the municipality’s three-prong approach to helping local businesses hammered by the pandemic and the resulting shutdown.
The first part was the Barrie Business Response Plan, released in late spring with the aim of providing impacted businesses with immediate relief, says Mayor Jeff Lehman in the introduction of the second report. Key initiatives in that effort included the Going Digital Program designed to help local businesses build an online base.
Expected to be released later in the year, the third part of the program, a Resiliency Plan, is to focus on strategic economic concerns as well as longer-term initiatives. 
“Developed in record time – roughly 4 weeks – the Economic Recovery Plan has been built to address immediate opportunities to provide support to the Barrie economy,” says Lehman.
“Developed through extensive consultation with the business community – more than 150 businesses, thought leaders, and organizations contributed – it lays out actions for six identified priority areas of the economy: Tourism, Service, Construction, Manufacturing, Arts and Culture, and Downtown Barrie.”
Dig a little deeper, and the three Cs look like this:
• Confidence: “The degree which consumers feel optimistic about the overall state of the economy and how their personal financial situation impacts spending activity in the economy. As a result of COVID-19, consumers not only need to feel optimistic about their ability to spend, they need to feel safe to go out to spend,” says the report.
“Confidence building will be a critical driver to economic recovery for the city both for residents, and as more of the economy opens up, attracting tourism and investment to the city.”
• Capacity: “Defined as the process by which businesses and individuals obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, equipment, and other resources needed to do their jobs,” reads the report.
“As such, from an economic recovery perspective, ensuring businesses have access to the labour, resources and knowledge to protect their employees and customers, adapt to new regulations and leverage new opportunities in the marketplace to grow and diversify their markets and revenue, while building our overall economic and community capacity.”
• Capital: “Capital investments for business often mean investment in real estate and equipment. From the municipal perspective capital investment in infrastructure also drives economic benefit to the local economy. Impacts of COVID-19 have resulted in significant capital investment to businesses to support their short-term stability. The City’s role in recovery is focused on capacity and confidence building while the capital investment capacity resides primarily at the provincial and federal levels.”
Key actions of the plan include:
• Entrepreneurship and Innovation 
Digital capacity 
• Supporting the downtown 
• Business Recovery Kit 
• Capital advocacy
“The Economic Recovery Action Plan presents the second part of the overall response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic. The third component of the process is the longer-term lens that will take further consultation and engagement with our community and stakeholders to drive resilience within our businesses and to identify actions and strategies that will position our economy into the future,” reads the report.
An Economic Advisory Council comprised of local business and industry representatives has been created to meet and provide leadership regarding the short- and long-term issues impacting the economy.

Share

{ 0 comments }

The service hopes the questionnaire provides information from residents on what their priorities are for the police service. The information gathered will help the service in developing the 2021 budget.

With planning for the City’s 2021 budget underway, residents are being offered the chance to provide input into the Barrie Police Service’s budget through an online questionnaire.
As a service partner of the City of Barrie, the service has a duty to ensure it is making the best possible use of taxpayers’ dollars every year.
“We continue to focus on community safety and well-being and the role that the Barrie Police Service plays within the broader network of social services.”
The service hopes the questionnaire provides information from residents on what their priorities are for the police service. The information gathered will help the service in developing the 2021 budget.
Members of the service will be consulted to share information with the board related to the 2021 budget priorities. For more information on the Barrie Police Service budget, visit www.BarriePolice.ca/Budget.
The survey involves ten questions, ranging from service priorities to the use of civilian employees and a request for additional feedback or suggestions.
For instance the third question asks:
“The Barrie Police Service has hired civilians to fill several positions over the past few years which allows sworn officers to return to front line duties and has identified some cost savings. Are you supportive of further roles being civilianized, which may mean dealing with a civilian instead of a sworn officer in some instances?”
It then identifies a series of situations that could possibly be handled by civilians, asking if residents would be comfortable with that. The survey doesn’t seem to deal with issues related to defunding certain police services, such as dealing with mental health issues, but does ask if respondents want to maintain budget and services, want to reduce costs and services, or reduce the budget by looking for efficiencies.

Share

{ 0 comments }

The City is preparing to reopen some recreational centres which have been closed due to COVID-19 measures.
Starting Tuesday, Aug. 4, facilities that have been closed since March will reopen with some restrictions related to public health and safety guidelines. arch to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
However, the City currently has no approximate reopening date set for the seniors centres, wanting to be extra vigilant about keeping seniors safe as they are a high-risk group. The City continues to offer ‘Seniors Centre Without Walls’ programming.
Here’s what the reopening schedule looks like:
• Both the Allandale Recreation Centre and the Holly Community Centre are scheduled to reopen for public use of the indoor pool and fitness facilities only. Residents and non-residents must reserve time to use the fitness centre and the pool in advance and follow all stated health and safety protocols while using these facilities. Residents and non-residents can reserve a time at play.barrie.ca starting July 28. An interim drop-in fee of $4/person will apply to pool and fitness activities. A family swim rate will also be available.
• Until recreational facilities are fully reopened, all recreational memberships will be suspended without charge.
Sadlon Arena is scheduled to reopen Aug. 24 for casual ice rentals, including the Barrie Colts. The City continues to work closely with provincial and/or national governing bodies of sport to ensure a safe return to play.
• The East Bayfield Community Centre is scheduled to reopen after Sept. 8.
• The City’s Five Points Theatre and Georgian Theatre will remain closed until January 2021.
On July 17, Simcoe Muskoka moved into Stage 3 of the Province’s reopening plan. In Stage 3, nearly all businesses and workplaces can operate while following proper public health and safety guidelines, and with size limitations, including recreation facilities. The City is currently reviewing capacity limits put forth by the Province in its Stage 3 plan and will provide more information on expanding recreation centre use to the public soon. The City will meet the requirements of Swim Canada, Swim Ontario, and the Lifesaving Society guidelines plus local health unit protocols. 
For more information on the City’s recreation facilities and programs, visit barrie.ca/recreation. Visit barrie.ca/services to confirm the current status of city services.  

Share

{ 0 comments }

Barbecues and tents are creating groups of more than 10 people congregating at times, which is not in line with the provincial guidelines for distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic

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

Residents and visitors who enjoy tenting and grilling at Barrie beaches will be out of luck as the City moves to temporarily ban those activities, effective this Saturday, in a bid to enforce COVID-19 distancing protocols.
The emergency order will be amended to reflect this change for the duration of the current situation. This includes but is not limited to the following areas: Centennial Park and Beach, Dock Road Park, Heritage Park, Johnson’s Beach, Minet’s Point Park and Beach, North Shore Trail, The Gables Park, Tyndale Park & Beach, Waterfront Heritage Trail, Wilkins Park and Trail area.
Barbecues and tents are not permitted anywhere on the beach, trails or in the park areas at the above locations.
The City has put this temporary measure into effect to help address concerns of overcrowding and support beach patron turnover by encouraging shorter visits. Barbecues and tents are creating groups of more than 10 people congregating at times, which is not in line with the provincial guidelines for distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Picnic tables will also be anchored in place at these locations in an attempt to discourage large groups of people from congregating. In addition, tents are obstructing the views of the waterfront thereby making it difficult for the lifeguards and parents to ensure the safety of all swimmers.
A barbecue is defined as any propane (gas-fueled), charcoal or electric cooking appliance. Campfires are prohibited at all Barrie parks, beaches and trails at all times. 
A tent is defined as a shelter with a covered roof and/or walls. Umbrellas or shades supported by a single pole are still permitted for sun protection use. There are future plans to install community-use barbecue pits at some City waterfront park areas, but these plans are on hold during the COVID pandemic. For more information on Barrie beaches and parks, visit barrie.ca/beaches and barrie.ca/parks.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Want a speed bump on your street to slow down traffic? Then check out the City’s online map for residents to suggest locations in Barrie where they would like to see them installed in 2021. 
The City encourages residents to review this easy-to-use map to submit a new location, or ‘like’ a location already submitted.
Speed cushions are one of many tactics used in the City of Barrie’s approach to traffic calming. Traffic-calmed streets are intended to improve residents’ quality of life and increase safety for active transportation users.
The City will collect resident feedback through the map until November 13, 2020. Feedback collected through the new online map will be shared with Barrie city council in early 2021, to help councillors determine where speed cushions should be placed in each ward.
For more information on the City’s traffic calming measures, visit: barrie.ca/traffic

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

Efforts by the Digital Service Squad (DSS) to assist local businesses bolster their online presence also helped them cope with the COVID-19 shutdown, according to a staff report.
“Many participating businesses shared they were better prepared to endure COVID-19 shut-downs because of their work with the squad. In Recovery Plan consultations, one business stated that prior to meeting with the DSS they had zero online presence. Through the squad’s coaching and support, the business built a new website, small e-commerce shop, and active social media channels,” wrote Amanda Kelly, senior business innovation and entrepreneurship officer, in the report.
“These foundational pieces helped them act quickly when closures were mandated: the owner was immediately able to expand their e-commerce shop to sell all products online, and communicate updates with their loyal customer base through social media.”
Last July the City received $40,000 from the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA), in partnership with the Province, to launch a DSS Initiative through the Digital Main Street program. The intent was to have the squad offer free one-on-one online-related coaching to local businesses. Up to 10 hours of coaching on website development, social media usage, e-commerce stores, and other digital technologies, was provided.
“Barrie received four times the standard funding amount offered through this grant, in order to extend business eligibility to four areas: the Downtown Barrie BIA district, Bayfield Street (South of Highway 400), Dunlop Street West (East of Highway 400), or Essa Road (East of Highway 400). Eligible participants were independently owned businesses with physical locations in these jurisdictions,” reads the report.
The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre at Georgian College, the Downtown Barrie BIA, the Sandbox Centre, and the Barrie Public Library each played a role in supporting the initiative. Three Georgian College students were brought on as independent service providers to deliver the services. The three entrepreneurs have since graduated and currently run their own digital media firms.
The squad’s mandate ran out in May, after being launched last October. However, there may be life yet for the project.
“The OBIAA has received new funding from the (federal government) to open a second round of the DSS program. Applications open in July 2020, and service delivery will conclude in February 2021. The Economic & Creative Development Department is preparing to submit a request, and will provide an update to council if funding is successful,” reads the report. 

Share

{ 0 comments }

A sampling of water at two Barrie beaches has cooled off plans to take a plunge in the waters of Kempenfelt Bay.
Based on water sample results from July 20, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has recommended that a Swim Advisory be posted at Centennial Beach and Minet’s Point Beach.
City staff are posting advisory signage and will be re-sampling the beaches. A status update will be provided once a decision is made by the health unit.
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 }

Police continue to investigate bank robbery

Barrie police continue to investigate after a robbery at a bank located at 190 Minet’s Point Road on Friday, July 17.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., the two suspects entered the bank. The first suspect approached the counter and made a demand for cash, while the second suspect stayed by the door.
The two suspects then changed spots, with the second suspect going behind the counter to remove cash and put it in his pockets. Both suspects then left in a white, four-door car. The plates on the car were later determined to be stolen. No weapons were seen, and no one was physically injured.
The suspects are described as:
• Suspect #1: Male, Black, 18-25 years old, slim build, wearing a light camo-style hooded jacket with dark pants, a mask and gloves
• Suspect #2: Male, Black, 18-25 years old, slim build, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with dark pants, a mask and gloves
Investigating officers are asking anyone who may have information to please contact the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025 ext. 2129. 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

“On behalf of Barrie City Council, I congratulate everyone involved on their creativity and ingenuity in developing this virtual marketplace that will help more of our local businesses connect with their customers and fuel Barrie’s economic recovery.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman

In response to requests from the local Barrie business community for a main hub allowing them to sell their products and services online, the presenting partners of theXcelerate Summit, Central Ontario’s annual premier business conference, issued a challenge for someone to create a virtual marketplace.
An impressive pool of applications was received, from which an independent panel of judges selected HeyLocal, an online marketplace focused on providing businesses a simple platform that connects and encourages local consumers to shop consciously and conveniently.
“Ensuring local businesses and startups have the opportunity to incorporate eCommerce into their sales strategy will enable them to reach a wider audience of shoppers and get their products noticed,” said Sara Bentham, Director, Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian College.
“HeyLocal will be the place to find a wide variety of goods and services and encourage spending within the Simcoe County region.”
HeyLocal was borne out of the mission to keep online spending local during the COVID-19 recovery period. They launched an eCommerce marketplace that helps businesses reach more customers while simultaneously helping more Canadians shop locally. There’s a low monthly app charge of $4.99 and HeyLocal has committed to waiving all fees for 2020 as part of an ongoing commitment to support small businesses.
“The HeyLocal model ensures that we’re actually giving to our local businesses rather than taking from them,” said Justin Frenette, co-founder of HeyLocal. “We have a solution that won’t just help Simcoe County, but all communities across Canada.”
He added that HeyLocal is built differently than most marketplaces.
“It’s centred around keeping the customer relationship, purchase data and profits with the small business owners. With no hidden processing fees, checkout happens on the small business’ website so customers get to know the entrepreneurs behind the products and can discover their stories and other products.”
And HeyLocal isn’t just helping out Simcoe County businesses through this eCommerce marketplace, they will be giving back.
“Local businesses and entrepreneurs need us now more than ever,” said Scott Higgins, President of HIP Developments and HeyLocal’s other co-founder.
“The people who run these businesses not only provide products, jobs, and services — they provide the heartbeat of our cities, the energy in downtown cores, and compassion for local charities and social causes. We must start shopping with convenience and with conscience; that means shopping locally.”
Higgins added that HIP Developments is committed to helping build the Barrie community, and they have been working for years with the local YMCA on their new downtown facility.
“I’m pleased to tie these two great initiatives together. We’ll be donating up to $15,000 to the Barrie YMCA fundraising campaign — $10 per local business that signs up to the Barrie HeyLocal movement.”
The implementation of the HeyLocal marketplace will fit seamlessly with the ShopHERE program, recently announced by The City of Barrie and The Sandbox Centre’s partnership with Shopify. Collectively, these three initiatives will support businesses in website creation, and implementing an eCommerce solution. 
“Downtown Barrie businesses are open to all who prefer to shop in person,” said Kelly McKenna, Executive Director, Downtown Barrie BIA.  
“However, more than ever, consumers are seeking convenient and unique shopping experiences online. Downtown Barrie is happy to be a part of this online solution – providing shoppers a new way to shop at their favourite owner-operated downtown Barrie business.”
HeyLocal’s virtual marketplace is an example of the innovative solutions that can emerge out of times of extreme challenge, said Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“On behalf of Barrie City Council, I congratulate everyone involved on their creativity and ingenuity in developing this virtual marketplace that will help more of our local businesses connect with their customers and fuel Barrie’s economic recovery.”

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

As regions of the province move into Stage 3 of the reopening plan, a number of Barrie parks are set to reopen tomorrow (Friday).
Prior to and since the announcement of Stage 3, the City has been working on reopening plans for more of our facilities and amenities. The City is following provincial directives and getting feedback from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) to make sure required health and safety protocols are in place. The City is committed to ensuring services and reopen facilities for residents are done in a safe and responsible way.
Playground structures at City parks will reopen gradually in the coming weeks. There are safety inspections that need to be completed before they can open, so it will be a phased approach. The following major and accessible playgrounds will be open as of Friday 17 at the following city parks:
Centennial Park, Queen’s Park, Lampman Community Park, Sunnidale Park, East Bayfield Community Park, Eastview Community Park, Holly Community Park, Ferndale Community Park, Shear Park, Minet’s Point, Tyndale Park.
The rest of the playground structures will open gradually in the next few weeks, with the goal of having them all open by the end of July. Residents are asked to only use the structures that are marked as ‘open’ and continue to stay off the areas that are still closed/taped off. Once reopened, playground equipment will not be sanitized, and parents are encouraged to wash their children’s hands and use hand sanitizer after play. The outdoor fitness equipment located at Barrie’s waterfront will not reopen until later this month as repairs are required.
There will also be some changes at Barrie’s landfill effective Friday, as part of Phase 3, including the following:
• Landfill operating hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday. The Household Hazardous Waste Facility is open Saturdays only from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Compost will now be available for sale (please remember to bring a shovel and containers for loading your own compost).
• It’s recommended that all customers wear face coverings and continue to practice physical distancing when disposing of materials.
• The longer operating hours and ability to have more people in the landfill at one time should help to make the wait times shorter than they have been over the last few months. The Environmental Centre remains closed. Residents can request home delivery of recycling boxes and green bins by calling 705-739-4219.
The City is working with the SMDHU to review all of the safety guidelines that need to be in place before we can reopen our recreation and cultural facilities as part of Stage 3. There are many tasks to complete before these facilities can reopen, including rehiring and reallocation of staff, ice installation, pool refilling and safety measures to ensure the required physical distancing. More information on the reopening of these facilities will be shared as it becomes available. 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Barrie and Simcoe County will be among the regions moving into the Stage 3 recovery plan this Friday. For regional COVID-19 updates, click here.

Nearly all businesses and public spaces in targeted areas across the province, including Simcoe County, will reopen as Ontario moves into Stage 3 of the pandemic recovery plan.
The reopening, details of which are to be announce Friday, will proceed with public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place. Queen’s Park says decisions on which regions will enter Stage 3 and when will be made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, and based on trends of key public health indicators.
“Our success in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and getting Ontario to a place where we are ready to reopen most of the province is a testament to the hard work of business owners, individuals and families right across the province,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“So many have stepped up and played by the rules, demonstrating that we can restart our economy safely and responsibly. Small actions can make a big difference. Now more than ever, we must continue to follow the public health advice to preserve the progress we have made together.”
Under Stage 3, gatherings will be increased in identified regions; indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people, outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people, gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.
Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two-metre distance must still be maintained at such events.
Regions remaining in Stage 2 will maintain the existing gathering limit of 10. Social circles in all stages at this point will also be kept to a maximum of 10 people province-wide, regardless of stage. The Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the following, high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, even if a region has entered Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID‑19:
• Amusement parks and water parks
• Buffet-style food services
• Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements
• Overnight stays at camps for children
• Private karaoke rooms
• Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports
• Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars
• Table games at casinos and gaming establishments
For more information on the restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, as well as the public health guidance necessary to keep the people of Ontario safe, visit Ontario.ca/reopen.
The following public health unit regions will be allowed to move into Stage 3 on Friday: 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; Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit; Southwestern Public Health; Thunder Bay District Health Unit; Timiskaming Health Unit; Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.
For a list of regions that will remain in Stage 2, visit Ontario.ca/reopen. At the beginning of each week, the Province will reassess local trends in public health indicators, including rates of transmission, hospital capacity, progress on testing and contact tracing, to determine if additional public health unit regions can progress to Stage 3.
Under Stage 3 protocols, child care centres and home child care providers across Ontario will be able to continue to operate with strict safety and operational requirements in place. Beginning July 27, child care centres will be permitted to operate with cohorts of 15 children, which is an increase from the current cap of 10. This change will bring the child care sector to approximately 90 per cent of its operating capacity before the COVID-19 outbreak.
The government, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released over 170 guidance resources at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to help employers in multiple sectors ― including fitness, restaurant and food services, and the performing arts ― keep spaces safe for workers and customers. Guidance will be available for all spaces permitted to open in Stage 3. As they prepare to reopen, employers are strongly advised to review and implement appropriate measures to help protect their communities.
Based on community needs, some municipalities and local medical officers of health have implemented more restrictions or requirements, such as mandatory face coverings in commercial establishments and all indoor public places. Check your local public health unit‘s or local municipality’s website.

Share

{ 0 comments }