Caravan was Wasaga’s first transit system

The Wasaga Beach Caravan was created by Sam and Jack Prezio and operated from 1959 to 1962. Sam and Jack purchased a chassis from McGinnis Trailers in Guelph, then took it to a barn, on Highway 92, owned by Jack MacLean, the original owner of the Dardanella. Through the course of that winter, they built the carriage, complete with a frame for the roof. Barrie Tent and Awning provided the canvas roof and overhangs. The trailer was pulled by an old army jeep that was purchased from Base Borden. The front bumper was a railway “I” beam. Once all the pieces were put together, Wasaga’s first transit system was ready to go! The Grand Opening for the caravan was held at the old jail building, which was located where the turn island at the top of First Street is now, with Reeve Tony Beck presiding. The building was renovated to provide public washrooms and became the bus stop for Grey Coach as well as the caravan. The Wasaga Beach Caravan would provide transportation along Mosley Street with regular stops along the way. A regular trip was made to the Starlight Gardens, an open air theatre, which was located beside Davie’s Dance Club. That property is now a vacant lot just south of the Main Street Bridge on the west side. Patrons would be dropped off to watch the show, then picked up later and returned to their homes along Mosley Street. The caravan would provide tours along the beachfront and to Nancy Island during the day in the summers. A large speaker was set up with a guide providing the commentary as the caravan drove along. Every fall, the caravan would be taken to the Canadian National Exhibition, where it was used as backup for their trolley rides. The canvas would remain on the caravan, which provided free advertising for Wasaga Beach. The caravan was eventually sold to the Woodbine Racetrack, where it was used to carry people from the parking lot to the racetrack. Although it only lasted three years, the Wasaga Beach Caravan was very popular and well-used. Seeing the picture of the caravan brings back fond memories for those who visited Wasaga Beach in their youth. Mary Watson is Archivist for the Wasaga Beach Archives. She is now writing a regular column for the Wasaga Sun. If you would like to contact Mary with any historical information, pictures or questions, you can e-mail her at [email protected]


Onley praises rec centre’s accessibility

It was a homecoming of sorts for Lt.-Gov. David Onley. Born in Midland, the Queen’s provincial representative was the guest of honour at a gala Accessibility Day event held at the Innisfil Recreational Complex Tuesday. Onley, who uses a motorized scooter as result of a childhood illness, was led into the packed gymnasium by an honour guard of South Simcoe Police officers. “It’s a real pleasure to be here,” Onley said to an audience composed of hundreds of both able bodied, and individuals living with a disability. “What a spectacular complex this is,” he said. “You can be proud of this facility that sets a standard across the province for accessibility. I’ve defined accessibility as one that allows people to reach their full potential. One of the things that makes Ontario great is we can help people reach their full potential.” Onley stated, “We now have 1.8 million people, 15 per cent of the population of Ontario, with some type of disability. If you take into account their families, more than 50 per cent of our population is affected.” Providing accessibility means more than “curb cuts and wheelchair parking spots,” Onley added. “Physical activity is a vital part of any lifestyle. For people with disabilities, this can be a real challenge. By ensuring this complex is fully accessible, you have given disabled the opportunity. I applaud everyone in Innisfil for living in such an inclusive community.” Onley’s words resonated with people such as Margaretta Papp-Belayneh, chairperson of the Innisfil Accessibility Advisory Committee, who helped organize the event. “As we are all getting older, we are facing the grey tsunami,” Papp-Belayneh, who is legally blind, said. “We started planning this program seven months ago with our partners including the Barrie, Simcoe Advisory Committees, Simcoe County Accessibility Network, Simcoe County Association for the Physically Disabled, Simcoe County Museum and the YMCA and it blossomed into Accessibility Day. We’re taking baby steps every day to promote accessibility.” Onley’s visit was inspirational for Rick Winson of Innisfil, who lives a very active life in a wheelchair. “Having the Lieutenant Governor join us today is wonderful,” Winson said. “We tried to get him here for the (November 2008) opening of the rec centre, but he wasn’t available. This was our plan number 2. It’s an honour to have him here.” Visitors to the complex could also obtain information and product displays from a variety of social service agencies that work with the disabled, and participate in several physical activities conducted by the YMCA. “It’s my fourth time meeting the Lieutenant Governor this year,” Papp-Belayneh said. “He always makes us aware of the larger world and how people with disabilities can fit in.”


Prize winning fish caught

A 10-inch fish netted a Bradford man a hefty jackpot on Friday afternoon, after he landed a tagged fish worth $2,500 during the Orillia Perch Festival. The Casino Rama-sponsored fish was plucked from the waters of Lake Simcoe near the Narrows by Steve Clark, recently laid off from his job at an auto parts manufacturer. “The money will come in very handy, that’s for sure,” the exuberant 49 year old said.   Clark was fishing with his friend Dave Norgrove when he felt a tug at his line and reeled in the fish with its bright yellow tag. “I flung it in the boat like any little perch,” he recalled. “I might have used a net if I had known it was worth $2,500.” Clark said he planned to take his wife to dinner. “We might go to the casino for a little while, but they’re not getting all (of the winnings) back,” he added jokingly.


Wind energy project proposed

The Municipality of Grey Highlands has its first application for a wind energy project. Council at its regular meeting on April 27 received a lengthy report from municipal planner Lorelie Spencer about the municipality’s first wind energy application. The application is called the Plateau Wind Farm. The proposal would locate a total of ten 1.5 MW large-scale wind turbines at various locations. Nine of the turbines would be in the Municipality of Grey Highlands. The proposal also includes: transmission lines, a meteorological tower and a switching station. The application is the first test of the alternative energy planning policies adopted by Grey Highlands council. Council did not review the actual planning application at the April 27 meeting. Council took a look at Spencer’s formal comments about the project’s draft Environmental Screening Report/Environmental Assessment Report. Spencer’s report was quite lengthy – 12 pages – and pointed a number of areas of the report that were incomplete or insufficient for the project to continue forward. Spencer highlighted a number of deficiencies in the ESR/EIS that need to be addressed before the application can move forward. They include: • Planning Justification Report – scope is inconsistent with local policies • Visual Impact Assessment – not submitted • Ice Throw Report – not submitted • Noise report – scope is inconsistent with local policies • Management Plan – committed to during pre-consultation with the municipality, but not submitted • Site Plan – not considered to be of sufficient detail to fulfill the site plan requirements contained in the local Official Plan • Evidence of no electromagnetic interference – insufficient During her presentation to council, Spencer significantly reduced the size of her report. Several members of council questioned why the municipality is reducing the number of concerns it has about the reports that have been submitted. Spencer explained to members of council that her report was shortened for a number of reasons. She said all of the concerns raised in the initial report would be communicated to the proponents of the application. She said in light of the province’s proposed Green Energy Act (Bill 150) she didn’t want the report to appear to be "onerous" with regards to this initial application. Members of council discussed the report at length. Councillor Paul McQueen said he was concerned the report didn’t include a map showing where the wind towers are being proposed. The reaction of the public to the application was clearly on the minds of councillors. Earlier in the meeting council faced questions from several residents about wind energy projects in the municipality. Council also received a lengthy presentation and report about potential adverse health affects of wind towers from local resident Lorrie Gillis. With the discussion and comments starting to veer off course into the details of the actual planning application – Mayor Brian Mullin had to steer council back on course. "These are comments about a draft ESR/EIS report. These are not comments about the application itself," said Mullin, pointing out that the formal Official Plan and zoning bylaw applications will go through a vigorous public process. Mullin repeatedly warned members of council that they were approving Spencer’s comments about the ESR/EIS report – not the actual planning application. No date has been set when council will hear the formal application for a wind energy project.