By Michael Gennings Staff The higher than normal groundwater level in the area this spring has caught the attention of Clearview Township officials. At council last Monday night, elected officials passed a resolution, moved by Ward 4 councillor Thom Paterson and seconded by Ward 6 councillor Roger McGillvray, instructing public works staff to prepare a report on the situation. Council wants the report to note the situation at some newer homes in the east end of Creemore, where water coming into basements has been a problem. The report is also to outline similar wet basement problems at some homes on Michael Street, off the Clearview-Tosorontio Townline and on 9/10 Sideroad. And officials want the report to include any possible solutions. Council passed the resolution after Paterson sparked a discussion on the topic at the end of last Monday night’s meeting. “I think what we’re looking for [from staff] is a statement of cause,” McGillvray said. By having staff prepare the report, McGillvray added officials can show residents they are aware of the high groundwater level and that they are trying to do something about it. “It shows we’re being diligent,” he said. Michael Wynia, Clearview’s director of public works, cautioned council though, saying there’s really nothing Clearview can do. That said, he noted one solution would be to demand that all new construction be built on concrete slabs – thus eliminating basements and the possibility they will flood. “I haven’t seen anything like this in 20 years in New Lowell,” Wynia said, referring to groundwater levels where he lives. Ward 7 councillor Shawn Davidson said the high groundwater problem can be found beyond Clearview. He homes in the Bay Colony residential development in Wasaga Beach have experienced basement flooding this spring. Steve Sage, the township’s deputy director of public works, said he’s fielded more telephone calls this year from people complaining about the high groundwater level than ever before in his 19-year career. Staff was instructed to submit its report on the high water level by May 25.
Barrie MPP Aileen Carroll was happy to hand over funding to the Catholic and public school boards for replacing infrastructure. The Simcoe County District School Board gets $9,611,181 for items such as replacing boilers and installing energy-efficient light bulbs for its 91 elementary and 16 secondary schools. The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board is receiving $4,406,243 to make its 43 elementary and nine secondary schools more energy efficient.
Ed Houghton, president of Collus, said a loose wire has been identified as the cause of power outages that have occurred since Feb. 10. In a statement, Houghton said Hydro One said the problem occurred four kilometres north of the Stayner transfer station. Crews found what is known as a "floating phase." This occurs when one the hydro wires break away from the insulator clamp and starts to sway in the wind making contact with either the other wires of the pole itself. "Hydro One crews have secured it temporarily until next week when they will be able to get their track equipment through the farmer’s fields," he said. Houghton said the First Street corridor has been moved to a different line, which has limited outages in that area and all Collus customers have been moved off the Stayner power line to two other lines. "We will not put it back into normal operating mode until after the issue has been permanently repaired by Hydro One," he said.
More Seniors Wait Longer For Housing As of Dec. 31, 2008, the County of Simcoe had 3,224 families on the waiting list for assisted housing, which is down slightly from 2007’s 3,317 families. However, although applications fell last year, the number of seniors rose; the older residents made up 25 per cent of the waitlist. Their number has grown to 787, up from 566 in 2005. Seniors waited on average 3.2 years, while singles waited 2.3 years and families 1.5 years. Demand for housing rose in Elmvale, Stayner and Wasaga Beach. WiFi Traffic Up At Libraries Almost 600 people accessed wireless internet at Simcoe County libraries in December. The highest usage was recorded in libraries in Tay Township, where 159 people logged onto the service. County Museum Cashes In The Simcoe County Museum saw its donations rise almost $104,000 in 2008; donations totaled $161,775. The museum’s strategy features more grassroots public relations and appearances at lower-tier municipal events to raise awareness and donations.
Nominees for the 19th annual Nelle Carter Woman of the Year Award will be celebrated during a May 13 dinner at Hawk Ridge Golf and Country Club. Presented annually by the Orillia Business Women’s Association, the award acknowledges individuals respected for their outstanding work in the community and workplace, and who demonstrate leadership and volunteer to enhance the lives of others. It was named for Nelle Carter. In addition to a successful business career, Carter was also the first woman elected to city council. This year’s nominees are: Karen O’Coin, of BMO Nesbitt Burns; Heather Breckles, of Coldriver Manufacturing; and Debbie Sammit, of Pretty Woman Fitness Centre. Nominated for the Lisa Brooking Young Woman of the Year are: Hannah Lafayette-Brooks; Becky Healy; Lucy Hennessy; and Rhonda Rumsey. Tickets for the dinner are $40, and are available at Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop’s office, Northern Business Equipment, Advantage in Travel, or by calling Betsy Gross at 835-3725.
A 35-year-old Innisfil man is facing two counts of breach of recognizance and a single charge of obstructing justice after a woman appearing in Bradford court on April 2 told police the man had tried to prevent her from testifying. The man had come to her home on Feb. 21 while intoxicated. This was in breach of his conditions of release from custody. Police located the man and he was held overnight for a bail hearing on April 3. Tree basher charged with impaired Police were called to Ewart Street the evening of April 2 in response to a vehicle that had crashed into a clump of trees. A group of concerned citizens directed officers to the area where the driver had fled. Police quickly found the man and charged him with leaving the scene of an accident. He also showed signs of being drunk. He was taken back to the Bradford station where a breath test confirmed he was intoxicated. Charges of impaired driving, excess alcohol, failing to remain and not having car insurance were laid. While his vehicle suffered severe damage, the driver was unharmed. He was released from custody with an early May court date. Woman slapped with assault charge South Simcoe Police charged a 27-year-old Cookstown woman with assault after a man complained he had been struck in the face. The man had been asked to leave her place and an argument ensued. The woman then slapped the man with her hand. She was released from custody with a promise to appear in court to answer to the charge.
Four-year-old Josh Gorecki, a junior kindergarten student at Monsignor Castex School, walks using snowshoes during Aboriginal Games Day on Feb. 26. The event, a partnership between the school and the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, was led by Grade 8 students as part of a larger initiative promoting awareness of the aboriginal community.
A 40-year-old Collingwood man entered a guilty plea Apr. 14 to the offence of theft under $5,000, receiving a suspended sentence as 12 months on probation. Craig Fawcett was also ordered to pay $200 restitution to the victim within seven days. Crown attorney Paul Billington told the court that on Dec. 22, 2008, Collingwood officers were called by the Meridian Credit Union on Ste. Marie Street about a customer’s stolen wallet. The complainant allegedly "set the wallet down while doing business" before Fawcett snatched and and concealed it . Examination of the bank’s video surveillance ultimately showed the accused wearing a blue ski jacket as he committed the crime. "Did he get away with the wallet?" asked Mr. Justice Roland Harris. "Yes", replied the Crown. "Did the victim get any of it back?" "Not yet," said the prosecutor. Fawcett can’t be near the Credit Union or the victim, and he was ordered to write a letter of apology to the latter within the week.
New Tecumseth council passed the 2009 budget at 1.49 per cent Monday night and it includes a basic field house for the Mel Mitchell field in Beeton. With the budget passed, it means people with an average home, assessed at $255,159, will see an increase of $27.66 on the municipal portion of their taxes this year. Throughout this year’s budget talks there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the Mel Mitchell field house. When council agreed to sign onto the project last year it had a $100,000 price tag; half coming from the town and half from fundraising and in-kind donations. Subsequent meetings saw the cost for the field house escalate. At a January budget meeting, the project cost was $200,000. When the designs were brought forward in February, a new cost estimate of $331,250 was attached for the two-phase project. Coun. Barbara Huson doesn’t support funding for the field house above what council originally agreed to. She has talked to Modular Homes in Innisfil, which rents and sells trailers, and suggested a unit from there would be a cheaper and more viable option for the Mel Mitchell Field facilities. She said it would eliminate the cost to raise the site above the flood plain. Beeton Coun. Richard Norcross said he’s frustrated with setbacks in getting the field house built. "If people aren’t happy with the design, fine we can change that," he said. "It’s hurdle after hurdle after hurdle." From the get-go Norcross had been pushing a full scale field house that included a change rooms, washrooms, a meeting room, storage space, concession and concrete overhang so that people could watch the action on all fields underneath it. When field house plans were tabled this week, however, Norcross was asking for a building with storage space, washrooms and change rooms, which requires an additional $50,000 from the town. The town already has $50,000 in a reserve account for the field house, but council approved an additional $50,000 coming from the Parkland Reserve Fund for the project. The building will be 1,320 square feet, with estimated construction costs being $111 per square foot. The total cost for the project is $177,500, with construction starting this year. Other last-minute additions to the budget are $195,140 to repair the abandoned CN Rail bridge on the 13th Line, with the money coming from reserves, and $66,000 for Dayfoot Street in Beeton, which will be paid for with a debenture. The majority, 1.06 per cent, of the increase comes from the OPP contract, which council agreed to last year. It includes hiring three new officers this year. To save money, full-time town staff also opted not to accept their cost of living increase this year. A transfer for $831,077 has also been made from the tax rate stabilization fund to reduce the impact on taxpayers this year. Town staff assured council that the town’s debt capacity is stable. "We’re still within our prescribed ministry limit," said manager of finance Mark Sirr.
A Meaford man faces several charges after a tirade at an area hospital on Saturday afternoon. The incident occurred at about 2 p.m. after a man, who had fallen off his bicycle, was transported by ambulance to the Grey Bruce Health Services-Meaford. While being assessed and treated he became agitated and aggressive. Threats were directed at one of the nursing staff and he was asked to leave the facility. He went into a room in the emergency department and came out with a metal chain belt in hand. The belt was swung around in a threatening manner toward staff and slammed into the counter at nurse’s station. The man refused to leave and continued to shout obscenities before Grey County OPP officers attended. During his arrest he was non-compliant and combative and a struggle with police ensued before he was brought under control. Karl Wegner,52, of Meaford was charged with the Criminal Code offences of Utter Threats, Possession of a Weapon Dangerous, Assault with a Weapon, Two Counts of Cause Disturbance and Resisting Arrest. He is in custody and scheduled to appear for a bail hearing in the Ontario Court of Justice-Owen Sound.