Suspicious motorists approaches youth

Police say a woman driving a late-model gold coloured van offered to give a Wasaga Beach child a ride to school on Thurs., April 30. The child did not know the woman, police say. Const. Mark Kinney of the Huronia West OPP detachment says the incident happened around 9 a.m. "This gold van stopped beside the youth who at the time was in the area of the pathway that connects Caribou Trail with Birchview Dunes Elementary School," Kinney said. He said that thankfully the youth ran away and once at school, reported the incident. "The members of the Huronia West detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police remind all parents to speak to your children about being safe while walking along our roadways," Kinney said. He said that under no circumstances should youth ever enter someone’s home or vehicle if they don’t have parental permission to do so. He added that youth should also travel with a buddy and avoid isolated routes. Parents should also make sure they know the route their child is taking, Kinney said. Anyone with information about the above incident is asked to call the detachment at 429-3575.


Charity planning ‘Amazing’ fundraiser

Midland is going to get scavenged next weekend. Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe will be hosting “The Amazing Rally,” a scavenger-type hunt based on one of television’s most popular reality shows. Up to 120 participants will tour the area May 2, participating in mental, physical and silly tasks at 14 checkpoints around town. Upon completing each task, rally racers will receive an envelope with a clue to get to the next checkpoint. France St. Amour, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe, said time will be a factor, but the goal is to be safe and to have a lot of fun. Therefore, anyone who finishes in less than four hours will lose points. “I wish I could participate,” she said. “It bugs me I am creating the thing with other people, because it’s going to be fantastic. It’s going to be an awesome, awesome day.” The race will be followed by a dinner and dance at Café St. Marie. The winners will receive prizes, including the grand prize of a weekend for two at The Inn at Christie’s Mill. The event, St. Amour noted, will help raise money for the organization’s mentoring program. “We’re hoping to raise $10,000 from the (inaugural) event,” she said, adding she anticipates the rally will become an annual affair. “It’s for charity, but it’s also going to be a blast. It’s going to be a fun day (and) it’s helping the children in our community.” The race will begin at General Mills (111 Pillsbury Dr., Midland) at 11 a.m., with the last racer expected to cross the finish line around 5 p.m. The cost is $100 for a team of two. For more information, call 526-5051 or visit . [email protected]


Break-in and theft at Hornets’ Nest

The Hornets’ Nest restaurant was broken into sometime overnight Sunday. Police said someone broke into the restaurant, which is in the New Tecumseth Recreation Complex, and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. The break-in happened sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning. There are no suspects. The restaurant is operated by New Tecumseth Councillor Richard Norcross, who represents the Beeton area. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


Wakestock to ride into Collingwood this August

Wakestock has found a new home in Collingwood. "We hope to be here as long as Elvis," said operations manager Todd Elsley. By a unanimous vote, Collingwood Council approved the application of Wakestock on Monday. The event will take place from 6-9 at Millennium Park on Heritage Drive. Council discussed the event with Collingwood OPP Insp. John Trude. Counc. Tim McNabb had concerns over parking and traffic. Trude said he wasn’t aware of the final parking plan, but he spoke to the security adviser from the company and felt comfortable with the events overall security. Elsley said they have several potential parking sites including across from Blue Mountain Chrysler, the former Backyard Products site, and on Poplar Sideroad. Trude said the issues that Wasaga Beach had likely won’t impact the Collingwood event. Trude said the Spit is a controlled site, with only one way to access it. He said this would give Collingwood an advantage over Wasaga Beach. "It really wouldn’t behoove them to have a bad showing the first year. It’s a completely different site," he said. "I support what the proponents are doing and it will probably be a reasonably decent event." Peter Dunbar, director of leisure services, said staff still reserve the right to shut down the event if organizers don’t follow their application. "We have a lot of control over the event, once it starts," said Dunbar. Elsley said the area is known for its "action sports," including snowboarding and skiing and is one of the major reasons why Collingwood was chosen as the event site. There will be more than 60 professional wakeboarders and 250 amateurs competing at the event. The event is one of five in the world series of wakeboarding. "This is a great chance to showcase wakeboarding," Elsley said. The event will also feature live bands and a skateboard event. Elsley said they have been in discussions with some bands, but will be announcing the lineup in the coming weeks. In the past, the festival has attracted groups such as the Deftones, members of the Wu Tang Clan, Metric and De La Soul. This will be the third major event that Collingwood is hosting in 2009, with the Ride for Sight taking place in June and the Collingwood Elvis Festival taking place in July.


Natives turn to Ottawa to halt landfill

A group of native protesters is vowing to remain camped out near the gates of the proposed Site 41 landfill until plans for the controversial dump are cancelled. About 30 native and Métis people staged a weekend vigil at the Tiny Township site, lighting a "sacred fire," singing songs and banging ceremonial drums. The protest was supposed to end Sunday, but, according to native representative Vicki Monague, the decision was made to continue to press their case. "It seems very clear to us that our work is not done," Monague, a Christian Island resident, stated in a press release. "We are going to continue to hold vigil over Site 41 until the federal government stands up for the rights of First Nations people and overturns the Province of Ontario’s decision of approval for Site 41." Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton agreed the county’s landfill plans represent "the wrong approach" to waste management, but noted Ottawa has no jurisdiction over the matter. "There is really no ability in federal law to intervene or prevent this project from proceeding," he said. "The county has frontline responsibility for waste management and … the enforcement or approval authority is really the Ministry of Environment for Ontario." The Concerned Citizens of Christian Island Against Site 41 argue the County of Simcoe’s planned landfill is in the middle of farm lands that provide fresh produce, meats and dairy products. They contend the Alliston aquifer located beneath the site will be contaminated by leachate from the dump, spreading pollution throughout the watershed. County officials have stated the landfill site "is designed and will be constructed to protect the natural resources, including the ground water." In a press release last week, CAO Mark Aitken accused dump opponents of spreading "misinformation, non-factual statements and sensationalism." The native group has called on First Nations communities throughout Canada – including Rama, Georgina Island and Beausoleil in Simcoe County – to join the protest. Already, native elders from Utah and California have lent their support. In addition, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and noted activist Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians and special water adviser to the United Nations, have spoken against Site 41. Barlow, in fact, participated in a protest march on May 4 that attracted approximately 600 people. "As First Nations people, it is our duty to protect the land," said Monague. "Site 41 not only raping Mother Earth, it will also give her the disease called leachate, for which the affects could be felt for many, many generations to come. "Our sacred fire has been lit and will continue to burn until our demands are met."


New era at BCA

As the Barrie Construction Association (BCA) ushers in a new era, it promises a future of fun and gains. “This is a very exciting time here at the BCA,” says new administrative director Alison Smith. “We have two new staff members and, as of last week, a new board of directors.” Although Smith started with the BCA more than a year ago, she took over the top staff position eight months ago after Barb Rousseau vacated the position. Rousseau, who saw the organization through its start-up and expansion, was the BCA executive director for 17 years. Now settled into her new position, Smith’s mandate is to re-evaluate the varying functions of the association and position it for future growth. Smith says her goal is to run the office professionally and make sure “we fulfill the members’ needs,” says Smith. A primary focus is the plans room. It’s to everyone’s benefit to have the drawings of as many projects as possible available to BCA members, Smith explains. She and her staff seek project plans out from architects, they check relevant websites, and read the Daily Commercial News to find out about upcoming projects. Then they bring the plans in and put then on display. Scanned versions are added to the electric database, which members can have access to. “Architects want us to have the drawings,” says Smith. “Then their clients have more people looking at them and offering more competitive pricing. “We send out an email bulletin every Wednesday detailing what plans we have on display, who the architect is and when the tender’s closing.” Once plans are in the office, another main BCA service provided to members is printing off copies using the high-tech large-format printers on site. This is an ongoing project that has working well. “The first thing I changed (as we were approaching the membership campaign) was to talk to those members who could offer discounts to other members,” she recalls, reporting about a 30 per cent participation rate. “I didn’t want to just send out the invoice. Instead, they were sent an incentive package as well.” Member retention has been identified as a priority, as has new memberships. There are currently 370 BCA members. “The board, the staff and I are eager to implement changes that will streamline the way members do business here every day,” Smith says. “We will be introducing new and innovative networking opportunities and we will continue to focus our concentrated efforts on issues that affect the construction industry as a whole.” Another new initiative she is implementing is taking a look at the event schedule and re-examined each entry based on its past success. “Curling is gone,” Smith says as an example. “Every year it was harder and harder to get full sets of teams.” The Valentine Gala was also cancelled due to poor ticket sales. But the monthly dinner meetings have been re-instated, and the two highly successful annual golf tournaments are back. “We’re also keeping the Christmas gala,” she says of the popular Tangle Creek festivities. “This time we joined in with the home-builders’ association and it was met with overwhelming approval.” And while the Dragon Boat team has been scrapped, the hockey tournament remains popular. A new motorcycle fundraising ride is scheduled for May, as a result of past-president Scott Ward’s suggestion. Smith also garnered sponsorship for this year’s annual members’ appreciation barbeque and, for the first time, the event didn’t hit the bottom line in a significant manner. Doug Calow of Robitaille & Calow Financial generously sponsored the food, she said. The BCA is also a lobby group that works at all levels of government on behalf of its membership. Last year, Scott and then-vice president Anita Stacey worked directly with the City of Barrie to streamline the site-plan process that previously took months to complete. “We met once a week for 12 weeks and mapped out a whole process,” recalls Stacey of the successful collaboration. “Everyone really enjoyed the process.” The lobbying doesn’t just stop at city hall. Courtesy of the BCA’s membership in the Council of Ontario Construction Association (COCA), and the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), local members get a team of experts supporting them at the provincial and national level as well. This is especially important when there are issues in front of legislators that can have a significant impact on the industry. Bill 119, for example, is a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)-inspired legislation that will prove expensive to construction companies if implemented (please see sidebar). “As an association, we really have to talk to the members to see what we can do to help them,” says Stacey. For more information, visit www.barrieca.com.


MPP weighs in on border battle

Having the province mandate a solution to the Innisfil-Barrie should be “the last resort,” according to York-Simcoe MPP Julia Munro. “My first choice would be a negotiated solution between the two municipalities,” she says. “Number one, it has to be fair. In this situation, fair is an agreement that leaves Innisfil with the appropriate balance between residential and industrial and commercial assessment. You need that sound financial base. Anything less than that it’s more than not fair – it dooms the residents of Innisfil. It’s a very serious issue. There has to be a win-win between Barrie and Innisfil.” What’s on the table now, “doesn’t meet the fairness test,” she says. Innisfil believes it will lose 2,600 hectares of developable land to Barrie if the province steps in. Munro says she has been very involved in discussions with both Innisfil and provincial representatives. “I have had a number of informal discussions with minister (Jim) Watson, Mayor Brian Jackson and Simcoe County Warden Tony Guergis,” she says. “Any boundary decision impacts on Simcoe County. It’s not just Barrie’s gain – it takes a whack out of Simcoe County. I’ve tried to ensure all decision makers will be in synch and do what would be fair to Innisfil.” There’s the larger picture for residents residing outside of the two communities to examine as well, Munro adds. “It’s important for other municipalities in Simcoe County to understand the ramifications. These boundaries should be there for the efficient collection of monies for services. You can’t have one (municipality) bankrupting the other.”


Collingwood not on the map

Collingwood isn’t on the map, at least not according to members of Collingwood council. Jane Sinclair, manager of health and cultural services and Bob Ruttan, manager of Tourism Simcoe County – formerly the Huronia Tourism Association, spoke to council on Monday evening. The pair were looking to get feedback and opinion on the Simcoe County guide map, golf brochure and the discover Simcoe County website. Sinclair said the County is looking to do a better job at promoting tourism in the county. She said about 10,000 copies of the golf brochure are available and 100,000 copies of the guide map. Sinclair said the area attracts about six million people tourists annually and is the fourth largest tourist area in the province. "We have a lot of great assets in Simcoe County," she said. However, members of council weren’t pleased with how the town was perceived in the guide map. The map lists two locations in Collingwood, the Collingwood Public Library and the Days Inn. "How do we get our tourist attractions on the map?" asked Counc. Mike Edwards. Counc. Norman Sandberg said there is also no mention of The Blue Mountains. He said even though they are not in the county, Blue Mountain resort does have a major impact on Collingwood tourism. "What are you going to do about that political line?" he said. "We have nothing according to what you have given us." Counc. Dave Labelle asked how much does Collingwood pay to the program and the answer was between $12,000-$14,000. Labelle said he has had a "bee in his bonnet," about the program since it was called Huronia Tourism. Labelle is concerned that Orillia and Barrie are reaping the rewards from municipalities like Collingwood. "It’s going to take a lot of convincing… that we are getting value," he said. "If all the small municipalities have been paying for the big cities to benefit, that’s disappointing. Myrtle Beach north is what we’ve been called and you wouldn’t know it by looking at this." Mayor Chris Carrier said it’s important the Tourism Simcoe County works with the Georgian Triangle Tourist Association. Sinclair said thanked council for the feedback. "That’s why we’re here," she said. "That (feedback) was excellent."


M&M grand re-opening benefits Alliston firefighters

Alliston’s M&M Meat Shops held a grand re-opening Saturday complete with a barbecue and a group of local firefighters to help keep the flames under control. Proceeds from the barbecue will be going to the Alliston Firefighters’ Association. New M&M owners Trevor and Mary Ann Holmes, and sons Jacob and Nate hold the official ribbon while members of the New Tecumseth Fire Department, Alliston Station, take a seat on their vintage fire truck.