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2021-10-05

Coalition wants second public meeting on quarry

A group called the Clearview Community Coalition (CCC) wants Clearview Township council to hold a second public meeting regarding Walker Industries’ proposal to expand its quarry west of Duntroon. In a March 25 letter to township clerk Bob Campbell, CCC member Janet Gillham says notice of the first public meeting – held Tues., Jan. 27 – wasn’t as well advertised as it could have been. She said while the township followed the minimum notice requirements in the province’s Planning Act by mailing notice to people in the immediate area and by posting notice on the proposed site and on the township’s website, notice should have been placed in the newspaper as well so that residents throughout the municipality would have known of the meeting. People beyond the immediate area of the proposed expansion site will be impacted if the project goes ahead, in particular by truck traffic going to and from the quarry and so they should be given a chance to comment, the CCC says. “Since there was no notification of this meeting in the local newspapers…we believe that the residents of Clearview Township should be given an opportunity to attend a public meeting after notice is given in the local newspaper(s),” Gillham wrote. “By doing so, the residents of Clearview will have an opportunity to hear the issues and give input, and the members of council will have an opportunity to more accurately gage public support.” The CCC – a month-old organization comprised of residents who live near the quarry – would like the meeting to be held before council takes a position on the project. For the project to go ahead the proposed site will require a Clearview Official Plan amendment. About 120 people attended the first public meeting, held at the Stayner Community Centre. People were both for and against the expansion of the quarry – but it appeared as if most who spoke at the meeting supported the project. People against the project cited concerns about noise, traffic and pollution, while those in favour touted the economic benefit – in particular jobs created by the quarry and the support that Walker Industries provides to the community. A spokesperson for the CCC, Neill Lanz, said the organization plans to attend the April 20 meeting of Clearview Township council to ask that a second public meeting be scheduled. The matter was to be dealt with at council’s meeting last Monday night but that meeting was cancelled due to bad weather. Mayor Ken Ferguson said that while he hasn’t spoken to council about whether a second meeting should be scheduled he personally doesn’t think one is needed. “I can’t see the point of it,” he said. “I can’t see what new information they could put before us.” Ferguson said that council is well aware of the concerns residents have regarding the quarry expansion. The CCC canvassed parts of Stayner, Duntroon and Nottawa on Sat., April 4, talking to people about the proposed quarry expansion. Gillham said many people in Stayner were unaware of the project and the fact that Main Street (Highway 26) would see much of the truck traffic going to and from the quarry. Canvassers passed out a flyer outlining what the CCC would like to happen with the proposal. According to the literature, the group wants Walker Industries to “extract gravel at a rate that reduces the potential for negative impacts on the communities of Clearview.” As well, the group wants Walker Industries to adhere to stipulations in the Niagara Escarpment Official Plan that say asphalt plants aren’t allowed on escarpment land. A plant is something the company wants to have at the new site. The group also wants the company to address concerns about truck traffic in and out of the plant and along local roads. The group wants limited hours of operation at the quarry and protection of area wells and air as well. The CCC said that Walker should preserve the aggregate at the quarry for at least 90 years – not deplete it in 29, as the company says could potentially happen. The coalition said local employment at the quarry should be maintained without compromising the environment. “We are not looking to kill employment or business but at the same time we want a situation that’s livable,” Lanz said. “We think we’re being reasonable. We’re not anti-aggregate.” Walker Industries wants to expand its existing 142-acre quarry, located on the south side of County Road 91, west of Duntroon, because it’s running out of aggregate. Brent Clarkson, a planning consultant for Walker Industries, said at the last public meeting that the lifespan of the existing quarry is about three years. The plan is to expand the quarry to the north side of the county road to a 362-acre parcel of land. Company officials have said the want to extract aggregate from 168 acres on the property. They say there is a strong demand for aggregate in Ontario and that as a result the company wants to continue serving its customers. About 82 full-time jobs, the company said, are connected to the operation. Officials with Walker Industries say that if approvals can be obtained the company will mine the site in three phases, going to a depth of 128 feet. They said at the last public meeting the total tonnage the company expects to mine is 43-million tonnes and that depending on demand the life expectancy of the quarry is 14 to 29 years. The company is estimating that during peak operating times there will be 345 trucks going in and out of the quarry each day. Hours of operation at the expanded site would be Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday, except for maintenance work. At the end of the quarry’s lifespan, the company plans to rehabilitate the site, with the dominant feature being a lake. Walker Industries has been working on the expansion of its quarry since 2002, when it began related studies and started purchasing land. In 2005, the company filed an expansion application with the township because the proposed site requires an Official Plan amendment. An application was also filed with the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) because a NEC Plan amendment is needed, as is an NEC development permit. As well, the company filed an application with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for an aggregate extraction licence. Because the process has gone on so long, the company in November 2008 asked the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to rule on its proposal. Since then the applicant requested that the appeal be moved to the province’s Consolidated Hearings Board (CHB). The provincial board conducts hearings when issues pertain to more than one board. The board will hold a preliminary hearing on Thurs., April 30 at 10 a.m. at the Stayner Community Centre. Formal notice of the hearing appeared in an advertisement in last week’s Stayner Sun. The board will be comprised of members from the Environmental Review Tribunal and the OMB. The board says the purpose of the preliminary hearing is to hear submissions “from those who will be seeking status to participate,” plus “identify the issues to be considered at the hearing.” Lanz said the CCC is one of the groups that will ask for status. He noted the coalition has retained a lawyer.

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2021-09-07

Funds for daycare

A daycare being displaced from OPP Headquarters will own the new building that will serve as its home, thanks to a $1.4 million gift from the province. “No landlord will ever be able to shut us down again,” said Lucille Desjardins, director of Treasure Island Daycare. Desjardins has learned the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is committing $1.4 million toward the construction of a new facility in West Ridge. “They are putting up the bricks and mortar,” she said. The announcement followed months of uncertainty, as the non-profit daycare sought to secure funding based on a commitment of support from the Minister of Children and Youth Services. Desjardins persisted with regular e-mails to the government and the media, determined to keep the issue front and centre. This week she learned that another ministry would instead provide the all-important funding. “We are very, very happy,” she said. The $1.4 million grant will be administered through the County of Simcoe, but falls $300,000 short of the total building cost. As a result, the daycare will finish the basement on its own and cover a portion of the start-up costs, Desjardins added. Officials are now working with builder Angelo Orsi to determine a construction timeline, saying the funding delay will push the opening date to November or December. The daycare was to leave OPP Headquarters by the end of June. “We will need an extension, and the ministries are prepared to deal with that without my having to go to the (the province),” Desjardins added. “I am very happy about that.” The daycare serves more than 120 clients and has another 100 families on a waiting list. In September it was ordered to vacate OPP Headquarters by Jan. 31 following a security review, but won an extension after daycare officials made public their concerns. The new, 8,500 square foot facility will be named the West Ridge Early Education Centre. It will sit on a two-acre property west of Highway 11, along Harvie Settlement Road.

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2021-09-02

Boil water orders in 2008 just precautionary

New Soccer Pitches Ready  The soccer fields outside the Adjala-Tosorontio municipal building are ready for use this summer. The park outside the building has been under construction since last year, and is now ready for use. The township said people have been anxious to use them, and there have been a lot of inquiries from various groups. The township is now waiting for the weather to turn nicer before opening them up. Boil Water Orders Just Precautionary The five boil-water advisories in Adjala-Tosorontio in 2008 were all precautionary measures caused by false readings and scheduled system upgrades, said the annual report on the water system. The township received a perfect score from the Ministry of the Environment for its Inspection Report Rating Record, the summary report said. Three boil-water advisories in July – in Everett, Loretto, and Rosement – were issued by false positives in the testing procedure, the report said. Two other advisories in October, one in Loretto and another in Rosemont, were issued during upgrades to water systems in those communities, the report said. The report was provided to council March 2, and is also available to the public. It is available at the township office, and will be on the township’s website, in the public works section.

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2021-02-19

Mail does disappearing act

It’s another weekday morning and business owner Domenic Bianchi once again walks down his driveway to his mailbox. And once again, it’s empty. Bianchi lives on Clifton Boulevard, close to the lake, on a street adorned with neat, upright mailboxes that open out onto the roadway. He says the problem started late last autumn. “I’ve been having trouble getting mail since last November. At first, I thought someone was stealing it.” Bianchi visited the postal outlet at Shopper’s Drug Mart in Alcona to inquire and was directed to the Stroud post office. He telephoned. “I explained the situation to a woman at the Stroud post office. She took my information and called me back five minutes later. She said, ‘I have a pile of mail here for you.’ She also told me our delivery person said there was too much snow in front of my mailbox. I was told the route driver couldn’t access the mailbox and their passenger couldn’t extend their arm far enough to reach the box. “I thought she was kidding, I had taken pictures, showing there was hardly any snow. I asked wouldn’t I get a sticker or some type of notice saying mail delivery had stopped. I explained the grief it caused with late payments and trying to convince other people their mail had not been delivered.” Bianchi reports the postal worker told him, “she would drive past my house that night to check but she never called back.” Snowplows travelling up Clifton Boulevard do deposit snow in front of homeowners’ mail receptacles and they can build up over time, Bianchi admits. “I was telling some of my customers at my business, a couple of weeks ago,” Bianchi says. “ One of them we must be on the same mail route. The same thing had happened to them.” The Journal called Canada Post headquarters in London on Monday, Mar. 9 and explained the situation to media spokesperson Tom Dalby. A couple of hours later, Dalby called back. “It was the impression of the (Stroud) postmaster (Bianchi) was getting his mail,” Dalby reported. “The carrier had reported she was unable to reach the box because of the build up of ice and couldn’t safely deliver the mail. This was explained to him. We’ve had a lot of that this winter, snow build up and ice, even in cities. We’ve even had to cut off whole city blocks because of snow and ice. It’s been one of those years.” Dalby did admit there, “Could have been a little more communication between Canada Post and the customer. He should be getting his mail. As far as we know, mail delivery has resumed.” All this is little consolation to Bianchi who as of March 10 was still waiting for delivery to resume. He checked his box several times Monday afternoon and first thing Tuesday morning. Still no mail. However, a happy Bianchi called the  Innisfil Journal office at 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon to report he just got a large batch of mail delivered. “I hope it continues,” he said. “It looks like I have a stack of bills to look at now.”

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2021-02-05

Collingwood eyes more affordable units on High Street

The Town of Collingwood is now looking to other levels of government for assistance with the High Street affordable housing project. The project, currently being developed, was designed to include 18 affordable housing units and 12 market-rental units. The municipality had received about $1.26 million from the province to develop the project. However, Council voted on Monday to ask the County of Simcoe to lobby the government for an additional $840,000 to make the additional 12 units affordable housing units. Counc. Norman Sandberg was poised to defer the motion until the Affordable Housing Task Force had an opportunity to offer its opinion. However, CAO Gordon Norris said if council didn’t make a decision that night, there would not be enough time to apply for the grant. Sandberg voted in favour, but appeared to be hesitant. "There is always a preference for mixed (residential development) in a development such as this," he said. "I do it with some reluctance." Norris underscored the importance of the development, saying it’s taken more than 20 years to get one affordable housing unit. "These are the first residential units we have constructed in Collingwood in 20 years," he said. Counc. Kathy Jeffery was in favour of the plan. "I think this is a good thing, especially with the economy we are going into," she said. Council passed the motion by a 7-0 vote.

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2021-01-25

Car hits boy in Cookstown

An 11-year-old boy is recovering from minor injuries after being struck by a vehicle while crossing the road at the corner of Church Street and Queen Street in Cookstown on Monday afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. The boy was crossing Queen Street when a northbound vehicle was turning left onto Queen Street. The vehicle hit the boy. Police, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene. The young man was treated at the scene and was taken home by his parents. The driver was charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian. Stepson assaulted A 48-year-old Belle Ewart man is facing assault charges after an altercation with his stepson. Turns out the young man was trying to break up an argument between his mother and his stepfather when he was grabbed by the neck. The suspect was pushed away and out the door. The man re-entered the house and grabbed the youth by the neck again. Police were called and the suspect was found a short distance away from the house. He was taken back to the North Division headquarters where he was charged and told not to communicate with his wife or stepson. He was given a March court date.

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2020-12-28

It’s all about Jesus

According to local religious experts, Easter actually has nothing to do with a certain floppy-eared, chocolate-delivering rabbit. That might be tough to believe for anyone who’s walked down a supermarket candy aisle recently, but Father Alex Kirsten, director of the Martyrs’ Shrine, swears it’s true. “The bunny has no meaning,” he said. “It’s what commercialism is trying to do to Easter, like what (it) did to Christmas with Santa Claus. It’s an attempt to cash in on a religious holiday.” In fact, Kirsten said, one could argue the Easter Bunny angle is more pagan than Christian, given its emphasis on welcoming spring and receiving delicious gifts. Rev. Catherine Barley, minister at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Midland, agrees the bunny detracts from the true meaning of Easter, but is more open to sharing the holiday. “When our kids were little, we coloured Easter eggs and had the little tiny bunnies,” she said with a laugh. “What I wouldn’t want is for people to grow up thinking Easter is about Easter bunnies. “The symbol of the egg, on the other hand, that’s a very ancient symbol, and that’s about new life…. Living as Christians, when we make that commitment, we’re coming into a new life, as well.” For Kirsten, the holiday is packed with meaning and importance. “Others would argue Christmas is as important,” he said, “but even the Christmas event ultimately points to the Easter event. “It’s the event that reveals Jesus not only as man, but as god.” He explained the entire liturgical calendar builds toward Easter, with Holy Thursday today commemorating the last supper, which established the Christian celebration of the eucharist. Good Friday, meanwhile, marks the day Jesus was taken prisoner by the Jewish authorities. “That entire day remembers his capture, ultimately his condemnation by the Jewish authorities, the suffering he went through, the carrying of his cross leading up to Calvary, where he is finally put to death.” Most Christian churches hold late-afternoon masses on Good Friday to remember that specific event. Holy Saturday is a quiet time for Christians to remember Jesus lying in his tomb awaiting resurrection. That, of course, brings the faithful to Easter Sunday. Many churches hold 12 a.m. or sunrise services to mark the arrival of the resurrection day. Kirsten emphasized Easter is about more than just a day or a weekend. “Don’t forget, for the average Christian, they’ve been preparing now for six weeks,” he said, referring to Lent, a period when devout individuals give up some habit or indulgence. “It’s a way of reminding themselves that they’re getting themselves ready for this event.” Barley said it’s that historic event that makes Easter so tremendously meaningful for Christians. “We all go through … something like a Good Friday experience, where the rug’s pulled out from underneath our feet and we’re going through what seems to be like the death of everything we’ve known to be true,” she explained. “What we see in the resurrection is that Jesus has gone through the absolute worst that can befall a human being … and emerged transformed.” Kirsten said Christians approach the holiday from two viewpoints: solemn and joyful. “We know that Jesus is going to go to his death,” he said, “(but) once you hit the resurrection, it’s joy because, in some sense, what is being conquered is not only sin, but death. “(Jesus) is offering us not only forgiveness of our sins, but also eternal life.” Barley agreed, echoing Kirsten’s sentiments by describing Easter as a time to celebrate new life. “It’s about Jesus Christ as the person who reveals God to humankind, the person who gives himself in complete love,” she said. Barley said Christ’s example is still valuable today, especially in difficult times. “Our deepest longing is to belong … and to be loved. It’s to find meaning in our daily life, and we find that in loving service to others,” she said. “The values of the world are not ultimately satisfying, and I think people really are looking for what is true and meaningful.” In addition to church services this weekend, the Huronia and District Ministerial Association is organizing a Walk of the Cross at noon on Good Friday. Participants will walk through town, stopping at various locations for reflection and prayer, before ending at Little Lake Park. The group will also host a sunrise service on Easter Sunday. It will take place at 7:30 a.m. at the flagpole in Little Lake Park. tmealing@simcoe.com

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2020-12-25

Topping the trends

According to Forbes.com, Hyundai was on the February leader board of car manufacturers doing well in an otherwise slow sales month. “Amid news that auto sales in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest annual rate since December 1981 and lag 39.4 per cent behind year-to-date sales at this point last year, some models are bucking the trend,” said the report.  Both the Elantra and the Accent made it into the top five behind Audi’s A5/S5 Coupe and the BMW M3 convertible. But the counter-culture movement isn’t strictly south of the border. “We are certainly seeing that at the local level,” confirms Mike Holgate, sales manager at Barrie’s Baytowne Hyundai. “Our sales are up significantly over the number last year, which is in line with what Hyundai is experiencing across the province and across the country.” Among its competitive segment, Holgate credits a combination of aggressive warranty incentives, low interest rates and the high quality for car buyers “looking at us as a very good value,” he explains. “Of course, we are also the exclusive provider of WALKAWAY financing protection,” he adds.  Introduced in the U.S. in January, the Hyundai Assurance Program originated in Canada in 2000 as the first-ever loss-of-income insurance on new car loans. The sales stimulus has been heavily advertised since it was introduced. “A decade ago Hyundai pioneered America’s Best Warranty to show you the faith we have in our cars,” reads promotional material. “Today, in addition to our warranty, we’re introducing Hyundai Assurance, to show you the faith we have in you. Right now, buy any new Hyundai, and if in the next year you lose your income, we’ll let you return it.” Hyundai is first ever automaker to offer job-loss insurance on new car loans.” In Canada, the WALKAWAY Protection program “lets you seek relief from your payments temporarily, or return your vehicle and walk away from the financial obligation for good. In most cases, the difference between the balance owning and the residual value of your vehicle will be fully covered.” The program is offered on a complimentary basis for one year. “In this uncertain economy, we are looking for ways to reassure shoppers that Hyundai still represents the best value in the auto industry,” announced John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president. The overall strategy for credibility and competitiveness is proving to be sound.  Not only is Baytowne Hyundai the only Hyundai dealership in the region, it has grown to become the largest Hyundai dealer facility in the province since it opened for business in 1991. Larger facilities opened at 191 Mapleview Drive West in Barrie’s south end in 2005, more than tripling the size of the dealership. In addition to a much-larger indoor showroom, the new dealership also offers a local shuttle service, customer lounge and a service drive through. After years in its original bay-side location, “we needed to update and expand our facility to accommodate growth,” according to Holgate. Now the season is here that traditionally boosts auto sales across the board, Holgate invites shoppers to check out what’s making the news. “It’s a fun and easy place to get a new car,” he promises. For more information, visit www.baytownehyundai.com. 

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