Penetanguishene bans sale of bottled water at arena

Visitors to the Penetanguishene Arena looking for an ice-cold bottle of water are going to have to rely on other beverages to quench their thirst. Town council has approved a recreation and cultural services section recommendation for the renewal of a contract with Coca-Cola for a five-year term. Included in the recommendation is a stipulation that the arena’s snack bar be informed that bottled water is to be removed from the items for sale. “We were renewing our contract with either Coke or Pepsi this year, and (that meant) signing up for a five-year deal,” Coun. Dan LaRose told The Mirror. “Knowing what’s coming down from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) … a request to all municipalities to not sell bottled water in municipal facilities … we wanted to include that in our new contract. ” LaRose said although the recommendations from FCM and AMO have yet to come before council for a vote, not modifying the contract now would have made it difficult to ban bottled water for the next five years. LaRose added if council decides to ban the sale of bottled water in all municipally run facilities, it will have to come up with a healthy alternative to soft drinks. “You don’t want to say to a kid … “No, you can’t go have a bottle of water, but you can have a can of pop.’ That’s kind of wrong,” he said, adding a possible solution could be selling inexpensive Town of Penetanguishene water bottles that can be refilled for free at a water fountain. Despite considerable dissent and publicity in Midland regarding the issue, LaRose said Penetanguishene’s decision had nothing to do with its neighbour’s recent discussions to ban bottled water. “(There) was not one mention of it. Not one person even batted an eye,” he said. “(We) just included it in the contract for the sake of it being there because it would be harder to take it out later.” [email protected]


Collingwood airport continues to climb

Nearly a decade ago, the Collingwood Regional Airport was sputtering and about to crash. The provincial and federal governments – which had been funding small airports – had pulled out and the municipalities were left holding the bag. "It left a lot of these airports, standing at the end of a plank," said Charlie Tatham, who serves as chair of the Collingwood Regional Airport services board. The Town of Collingwood was footing the bill for the airport. Former Mayor Terry Geddes said it was Mayor Doug Garbutt and former CAO Jay Courier, who had a vision for the airport. "Mayor Garbutt had a belief in the airport," he recalled. "Our focus was to establish the Collingwood Airport as a strong entity." When he was elected Mayor, Geddes said the first priority was putting together a strong board for the airport – which included representation from other municipalities. Geddes said he gave council an ultimatum. "If the other municipalities didn’t buy into a sense of ownership, we were going to shut it down," he said. Geddes said there were other proposals for the property, which included a golf course, business development and a repair depot for a major airline. "It would have been a tragic loss for Collingwood," he said, if the airport would have been closed. He credited Tatham and then-Counillor Joe Gardhouse with getting the plan back on track. "Other municipalities had citizens who were using the airport," he said.  "Joe Gardhouse did an extremely good job on bringing those municipalities on board." Clearview Township and Wasaga Beach came on board. Each municipality would contribute financially – about $25,000 annually – and would each have a seat on the board. Collingwood has two board members, but only one vote. The board is currently made up of Peter Dunbar, director of leisure services for the Town of Collingwood, Charlie Tatham, Collingwood Councillors Ian Chadwick and Mike Edwards, Clearview Councillor Doug Measures and Wasaga Beach Councillor George Watson. "Clearview’s stance is that it’s a cooperative effort between municipalities," said Measures. "It’s a major economic engine. The trend has been that there has been steady growth." Tatham said around this time, the runway had been expanded to 4,000 feet. "He (Geddes) became a little frustrated with the neighbours. It was recommended that the airport was a regional airport," Tatham said. "I took that as a bit of a challenge." Since 2002, Tatham said more than 120,000 square feet of hangar space has been built at the airport. "In 2001, we’ve put a hangar information package for people who we knew were interested in building hangars," said airport manager Pierre Lajoie. "It’s snowballed since." In 2008, more than 238 corporate aircraft landed at the airport as well as 2,800 local aircraft and 50 military aircraft. The airport also saw a rise in fuel sales to 230,000 litres in 2008, up from 221,000 litres in 2007. Tatham said the airport made a profit of about $70,000 from fuel sales in 2008. He said the next step for the airport is to encourage more corporations to locate planes in Collingwood. He said it’s expensive to house planes at Pearson International Airport and it could save companies a lot of money to locate in Collingwood. "We’ve always looked at getting corporate aircraft located here," he said. "We can take any corporate jet that is likely to come here. It doesn’t take long for it to become really attractive." Tatham says Barrick Gold houses one of its planes in Collingwood. Measures said he would like to see more air freight service coming from the airport. Tatham said the airport was built for companies such as Pilkington and Goodyear to transport goods. Recently, the airport received about $880,000 from the government to re-pave its 5,000-metre runway, which will make it stronger. A challenge still facing the airport is getting customs service in Collingwood. Currently, if a plane is coming to Collingwood it must go to another airport to clear customs. Tatham said if the government would send a customs officer from Barrie to Collingwood to clear planes, it would mean a lot of business for the Collingwood airport. "It’s lost potential for us," he said. "There are customs services at some of the smaller airports that don’t have a fraction of the business that we have. That would be a real asset to have that service here." Lajoie said the airport continues to grow and expects two-three hangars to built in the next year. He said the airport gets a lot of business from military aircraft, Ministry of Natural Resources and local golf tournaments. "We’ve made a name for ourselves," he said.


Students get head start on trade certification

While not a completely new concept for Ontario, the carpentry apprenticeship program offered at Bradford District High School is the first of its kind in Simcoe County, Dan Barrett of the Local 27 Carpenters’ Union said. The apprenticeship program for Grade 12 students is a four-credit co-operative education course. It allows many students seeking to start a career in carpentry a head start on their apprenticeship for certification. “To be certified, it’s a three-part series,” Mr. Barrett said. “The students do their first part here in school and then are required to spend some time out in the field, before moving on to getting their Red Seal certification.” For many of the students in the class of 14 (with seven coming from Nantyr Shores Secondary School in Innisfil), it’s an opportunity to learn something outside the normal classroom structure and start their career goals a year earlier than many others, while still completing their high school education. For the carpenter’s union, it’s another way of ensuring people are using more certified workers in the labour force, Mr. Barrett said. “The students do not come out of this as a member of the union at all,” Mr. Barrett said. “When they are done, we will help them find work, either with a private practice or with union work. It is completely up to them what they want to do.” The course is about ensuring the students are given the proper skills to go out and join the workforce, something the construction business has not always done in the past, Mr. Barrett said. Carpentry is unlike any other skilled profession, as their is no license needed, unlike electrical work and plumbing. “Because we only have certification and are not a licensed trade, anyone can throw on a pouch and call themselves a carpenter,” Mr. Barrett said. “This is a way that we can ensure that those with a pouch are indeed skilled carpenters.” It’s a much different setting for most of the students in the class, who have spent years learning from a desk and reading off a chalkboard, Mr. Barrett said. “For many of these kids, they never would have gone to college or university,” Mr. Barrett said. “This gives them an opportunity to still get their education and start to work on their careers.” The students are essentially isolated from many of their peers in the school, with strict guidelines on how many hours are required throughout the semester. Each student can only miss 24 hours or they will lose out on the apprenticeship program. “I had one student who went away early for March break and now he is already down 11 hours,” Mr. Barrett said. “Not only that, but there is not a lot of time to get the projects done, as the class moves on without him and he is left to try and catch up.” As part of the apprenticeship program, students study the background of the trade, complete a machinery how-to course and safety certifications. They will also build an L-shaped wall. “The most important thing that they must learn is the discipline,” Mr. Barrett said. “If they are late more than six times, they will be removed from the program, much like they would on a site.” Teachers Sean Griffin and Jon Sweeny helped launch the program at the school. Mr. Sweeny is a certified carpenter and has worked hard in partnership with schools in the area to make the program known as one for the whole county, as it will accept students from any of the region’s schools. “A great deal of credit for our success needs to go to Glenda Galliford from Nantyr Shores,” Mr. Sweeny said. “She is a guidance counsellor there and has been a strong advocate for our program and promotes it very effectively.”


Injured soldier returns home to warm welcome

Wayne Burkholder stood curbside early Thursday afternoon, a small Canadian flag gripped in one hand and both eyes fixed on the procession of vehicles that inched past groups of like-minded well wishers. An OPP cruiser led the slow-moving convoy through Orillia’s downtown, followed closely by fire trucks and an ambulance. In the rear of the ambulance, on a bed, was Warrant Officer Tim Aleman – man of the hour. The 43-year-old Joyland Beach resident was returning to his community two weeks after being injured in a bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know him,” remarked Burkholder. “We should stand behind our Canadian Forces.” Yellow ribbons donated by a local flower shop adorned lampposts and store fronts, a symbol of support for Aleman, a member of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment. “We have handed out over 700 (ribbons) already,” shop owner June Morgan told a reporter the previous day. “It is really nice to see the community rally behind this family and all servicemen in Orillia.” Standing next to Burkholder was Rama resident John St. Germain, who wore a camouflage-print ball cap dressed with tiny metal pins, including two bearing red poppies with the words “We remember.” “They are heroes,” St. Germain said moments before the procession arrived at the foot of Mississaga Street. “I have lost family members in (wars).” St. Germain then spoke of his own son, who at 22 is preparing to join the military. “It is his life,” he added. “I can’t change it. But I told him, you belong to them once you join.” Friends Patti Ivey and Carrie Vardy dressed in red and brought three Canadian flags, waving them encouragingly as the procession passed. They had come simply “to thank him,” Ivey said. “To say we appreciate what he is doing for us and our freedom. It makes you proud. “If we can’t take a couple of minutes to do that, then what is wrong with us?” she added. Vardy concurred. “We are here living our lives and enjoying ourselves, and they are not,” she added. Event organizer Barb Shakell-Barkey said she was “overwhelmed” by the turnout.


Vandal menaces Victoria Harbour

Residents of Victoria Harbour appear to have their very own Dennis the Menace. Upwards of half-a-dozen locations were barraged last week with what police suspect to be a slingshot. “Southern Georgian Bay OPP officers have spent a considerable amount of time following a trail of destruction that was left behind by a person who was launching ball bearings at windows, lights and parked cars,” Const. Peter Leon stated in a news release. A large window at the Community Centre on Park Street, three overhead lights at the ice rink and two windows at St. Antoine Daniel School were also damaged, as were a backhoe on a McDermit Trail construction site and a number of parked cars on Robin’s Point Road. Leon said quarter-inch ball bearings were found at several of the scenes, and police suspect there may be other incidents that have yet to be reported.


New leaf/yard waste program for seniors

The town of New Tecumseth is making it easier for seniors and disabled to have their leaves, yard waste and brush picked up. Rather than having to bag leaves like all residents currently have to do for the county pick-up days, disabled people and seniors in New Tecumseth can now apply for a special new town pick-up  program. If approved, they can simply rake the leaves to the boulevard in front of their homes for pickup. The program is for seniors and people with a disability. This is the first time the town assistance program is being offered. This year’s collections will be during the weeks of May 11, Nov. 2 and Nov. 23. There may have been some confusion from a previous article published in the Herald. The town will not rake up the leaves. The leaves and yard waste must be raked up or collected and left on the boulevard. People wanting to sign onto the town’s assistance program must fill out an application before May 4. It is open to people over 65 years with no able bodied person living in the residence. People under 65 are also eligible with a doctor’s note. Note, you must apply and be approved for the program before pick up will take place. Applications are available online at or by calling 905-729-1260.


Dunlop literacy motion garners unanimous support

A motion that could help the Midland Area Reading Council (MARC) keep its doors open past the end of this month received unanimous support in the Ontario legislature last week. Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop introduced a motion Feb. 26 seeking cash for community-based literacy programs. “The Government of Ontario should provide adequate funding to community-based literacy and basic skills programs so that the agencies can properly address the growing enrolment,” Dunlop told fellow MPPs at Queen’s Park. He explained such programs are in greater demand due to higher unemployment, adding more Ontarians are looking to upgrade their skills. “With tens of thousands of Ontarians losing their jobs each and every month, the demands on community agencies are increasing rapidly,” said Dunlop. Sue Bannon, MARC’s executive director, watched from the gallery as Dunlop introduced his motion. She described its all-party support as “really good news,” but added she wants immediate action, not promises or a phased-in funding increase. “We’ve been waiting for money … and listening to their promises for years, but this is the first time we’ve actually made it to Queen’s Park and it was approved unanimously, so we’re really optimistic,” she said. The next step, said Bannon, is for literacy organizations to contact MPPs and put pressure on Finance Minister Dwight Duncan to incorporate this motion in the next provincial budget, due to be presented March 26. Bannon said Dunlop, a Progressive Conservative, vowed he would not hold his tongue if the Liberals’ next budget fails to address these concerns. “He’s not going away, and we’re going to keep pounding on them until they do deal with this,” she said. “They now need to put their words and their promises in action.” MARC’s fiscal year starts April 1. Without an increase of at least $40,000 in the base amount it receives annually from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Bannon said, staff and programs would have to be cut. Despite her stake in the matter being discussed, witnessing the process from the public gallery above the legislative chamber was “fascinating,” said Bannon. “It was a really good learning experience watching them in action, and it was really heartening to see them all on line with the literacy issue,” she said. “I was really proud that they had finally stepped up to the plate and recognized the issue.” Dunlop, in particular, impressed her with his knowledge and passion about literacy, said Bannon. “He knew what he was talking about, he had done his research and he supported us 150 per cent,” she said. “He made our point and he made it in a very good fashion.” MARC, in existence since 1982, is the only organization in Midland that offers one-on-one or small-group literacy instruction all year round. The non-profit organization’s volunteer tutors work with people 16 and older. With two full-time employees and one part-timer, its student intake has doubled in the last year, jumping to 400-500 learning hours per month from just 200-250. [email protected]


Dunlop says Tory faced long odds as ‘outsider’

John Tory’s defeat in an Ontario byelection last week has left the provincial Conservatives the challenge of finding a new leader to guide the party into the 2011 election. Tory announced his resignation on Friday, saying he would stay on for a couple of weeks while an interim leader is picked to serve until a convention can be held, likely in June. “All I know is that I tried my best,” Tory told reporters when asked about losing to Liberal Rick Johnson in the rural riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, northeast of Peterborough. “Whether it was me or the party or some combination thereof will be for (the media) to decide when they write up the history.” Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop told The Mirror he was not surprised by Tory’s defeat. “It was a very difficult job for John to win that riding,” he said. “There was certainly a resentment that he was an outsider coming in to represent a riding that had been represented for decades by people who were born and raised locally, so I think that was against him from Day 1.” Despite that, Dunlop said he knows Tory worked hard in the riding and did the best he could. Dunlop added Rick Johnson is someone he will likely be working with quite a bit due to the two ridings’ shared border. The likely reason Tory failed to win the seat, noted Dunlop, is that people wanted to be represented by someone from the community. “I would assume most people would want (their MPP to be a local). In rural ridings … if you represent a riding, you live there,” he said. “Usually, the voters know what’s right and they’ll make a decision in the best interest of the riding.” – With files from Torstar News Services [email protected]


Drunk involved in Midland Ave. crash

A 35-year-old Midland man will appear in Midland court next month on charges of drinking and driving. On March 10, town police received a call regarding a possible drunk driver on Midland Avenue. Officers responded and saw the accused exhibiting signs of impairment. “A witness came forward who also provided information regarding a motor-vehicle accident that the accused had been involved in just minutes before,” Insp. Mike Osborne stated in a news release. The man was charged and given an April 30 court date.