The first traffic roundabout in Grey County will be built in The Blue Mountains in the coming months. Grey County council at its regular meeting last Tuesday morning approved its Transportation and Public Safety committee’s (TAPS) recommendation to award the roundabout project to E.C. King Contracting for a total of $1,287,268.10. The Blue Mountains council approved the tender at its regular meeting on March 2. The roundabout is being installed in an effort to alleviate traffic concerns in and around the Blue Mountain skiing/village area. It will be installed beginning this spring at the corner of Scenic Caves Road and County Road 19. Grey County and The Blue Mountains are partnering on the installation of the project. Construction is expected to begin in early April. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held to mark the beginning of the construction. "We’re looking forward to this and we look forward to working with our partner on the project," said TAPS committee Chair and Chatsworth Mayor Howard Greig at the meeting. Grey County Warden Kevin Eccles said the roundabout would be a big help in controlling traffic in a busy area. "It will be great for moving traffic in and out of the eastern quadrant of the county," he said. This will be the first roundabout in Grey County. The traffic control system is common in other areas and replaces traffic lights.
Another one of Innisfil’s old farmsteads has fallen to the wrecker’s ball. A two-storey house at 1438 6th Line, just east of the 20th Sideroad came down in a matter of hours last Thursday. The structure had not been designated as a heritage property but did appear on the “Potential Inventory List of Heritage Sites” prepared by the Innisfil Historical Society last April. The Town of Innisfil issued a demolition permit for the house on Oct. 15, 2008. When contacted by the Innisfil Journal, Heritage Committee chairperson Andrew Cowan was unaware the home had been destroyed. “We had some pictures of it from the outside,” Cowan said. “I asked for permission to go inside but had not heard back from the owners. We were hoping to capture at least some of the architectural features.” Cowan said he had heard rumours that the interior of the property was not in the greatest of shape. Apparently, a previous tenant had kept a variety of exotic animals in the house. “We weren’t sure of the condition of the house, but we would have liked the opportunity to have seen it,” he said. “If it was not in salvageable condition, that’s one thing but we wanted to have a closer look. It’s unfortunate (the demolition) has happened.” Innisfil resident David Steele, whose house is one of four properties now on the town’s heritage registry list, said he was saddened by the destruction of the house. “The owner has the right to demolish the house,” Steele said, “but it’s horrifying to see another part of Innisfil’s history destroyed.” He, like Cowan, had heard the building’s interior was in a state of disrepair. However, contrary to popular opinion, Steele says, “Building a new building would cost more than bringing an old one up to snuff. People think it’s cheaper to demolish than rebuild.” Steele believes more could be done locally to preserve older structures. “Unfortunately, council hasn’t seen fit to have more than a few houses on the registry list,” he says. “East Gwillimbury (council) has passed a bylaw to make the town a ‘No demolition’ zone and their council has accepted a list with more than 400 buildings on it. Even Bradford West Gwillimbury has 30 properties on the registry, even though they dismantled their heritage committee. Springwater has bylaws for older properties and whether they should be designated. They are way ahead of us.” On a positive note, Steele attended a meeting last weekend of the Ontario Architectural Conservancy, where the Simcoe County chapter was formally chartered. “The chapter is now official,” Steele says. “We learned a lot about what we could be doing to protect old houses and buildings. You can’t make a fuss about every old house but there’s a long way to go up here.”
The Town of Collingwood is asking residents to turn off their lights on March 28. The municipality, along with Collus Power, is once again supporting Earth Hour – a worldwide initiative that asks citizens to turn off their lights for one hour to show support in the fight against climate change. Earth Hour goes from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. In 2008, it was estimated that 50 million people in 35 countries participated in Earth Hour – including 10 million Canadians. Collus president and CEO Ed Houghton said they are trying to make Earth Hour, the world’s first global election: the earth versus climate change. "We want people to get on board and vote in favour of earth," he said. Houghton said there are a number of things that people can do to make Earth Hour more exciting. "We’d encourage you to go out and look at the stars," he said. Houghton encouraged residents to turn down their thermostat by one degree and leave it there. Darius Vaiciunas, load management coordinator for Collus, said in 2008, because of the participation in Earth Hour 129,022 was saved – which is enough energy to power 160 homes for a month. He said that 200,000 pounds of green house gases were saved, which is the equivalent of taking 24 cars off the road for a year.
Snowmobilers are being warned by Southern Georgian Bay OPP about a large pressure crack in Midland Bay. The detachment’s snowmobile patrol unit ventured out onto the ice on Thursday. Officers have confirmed the crack runs northeast from the Midland water filtration plant for a distance of 6.5 kilometres to Quarry Island. The crack in this area measures close to a metre in height. Police note the overall height could fluctuate significantly if the wind shifts out of the south as expected. The crack also branches northwest from a point midway between Snake and Present islands toward the southern tip of Beausoleil Island. The OPP is warning snowmobilers in this area to exercise extreme caution. With milder weather making a return, ice conditions will continue to change, and may even deteriorate rapidly.
Beverly’s On Main Grill House owner Beverly Wood is celebrating an extended Earth Hour on March 28 with a candle-lit dinner. The restaurant will be serving a special menu from 5-10 p.m., and keeping with the tradition of Earth Hour all lighting will be extinguished. The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) held its first Earth Hour in Sydney in 2007. The organization asked all individuals and businesses to turn off their lights for one hour in a united protest against global warming. At last count, 1,429 cities and towns, including Wasaga Beach, in 80 countries have signed up to participate. Wood held a similar event last year and it was a sell-out. This year, she is offering a special menu, including steak and lobster, linguini with seafood marinara and a special version of her famous schnitzel. The evening will feature live entertainment by a local jazz guitarist. The restaurant seats 90 people. Call 429-0179 for a reservation. Earth Hour officially takes place between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Sat., Mar. 28. To sign up and get more information visit www.earthhour.org.