Environment, economy, housing: New Tecumseth residents talk election priorities

New Tecumseth residents may have different priorities heading into the Sept. 20 federal election, but they can all agree that the next government has a lot of work to do. While the pandemic continues to dominate the news and impact people’s lives on a daily basis, there are many other issues that Canadians want the federal government to focus on. Simcoe.com asked New Tecumseth residents to tell us what they think the next federal government needs to prioritize over the next term in office. Tottenham resident Laurie Neville, 66, said there are “so many important” issues impacting Canadians, from the environment, support for seniors, children and family, health care, and the economy. Neville has long advocated for better drinking water for her community, so it comes as no surprise when she says the environment should be the dominant issue. “We need clean air and water along with abundant farms and green spaces,” she said. “This election, I’m voting for the candidate who commits to clean water and a healthy environment — now and after the election — whether that candidate is elected or not.” Carol Parks has called Beeton home for the past decade, and prior to this she lived in Adjala for nine years. Affordable housing is at the top of her list. “I own my house, so this is not about me,” she said. “My concern is for young people who want to strike out on their own and simply can’t do it. I have a family member who is working two jobs and still can’t afford to even rent an apartment on her own. I really think this needs to be addressed.” She said one of the ways to address this is to make it easier for property owners to build alternative types of housing, like granny suites. “Of course everything would have to be built to code, but cut a lot of the red tape involved,” she said. Tottenham resident Nick Dougherty, 76, is a small-business owner who runs an automated window shading company. He doesn’t think there is any way to justify an election right now. “Trudeau seems to think that he can convince the voting public that his government’s handling of the pandemic needs to be rewarded by a majority. There are so many flaws in that premise, it’s mind boggling.” Dougherty wants the next government to focus its attention on the economic recovery. “I worry that millions of dollars are promised by all parties which would increase the debt and the deficit well beyond the current unprecedented level.” He also wants to see Canada improve its relationship with China, and he thinks pension reform is long overdue. “The elderly on fixed incomes are falling behind and it’s become intolerable,” he said. “It’s time to give reasonable increases to pensioners.” STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Simcoe.com wanted to find out what is motivating New Tecumseth residents to head to the polls for the Sept. 20 federal election.

What do Ontario’s breakthrough infections teach us about the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Ontario government has recently been reporting the number of breakthrough COVID-19 infections in fully vaccinated people, as part of its daily data collection — and the percentage has been sitting around 20 per cent. On Aug. 26, 678 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the province and among those infected individuals, 141 were fully vaccinated. Out of that data, 395 were unvaccinated, 82 were partially vaccinated and 60 have an unknown status.  As well, Ontario reported that out of all the people who are currently in hospital due to COVID-19, but not in ICU, 137 are unvaccinated, 14 are partially vaccinated and 31 are fully vaccinated.  Of those in ICU, 89 are unvaccinated, nine are partially vaccinated and 10 are fully vaccinated.  Tania Watts, a professor of immunology at University of Toronto, who is also a member of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, said these breakthrough rates are “not unexpected.” In an email to Metroland, Watts said the rates actually show the high degree of protection that vaccinated Ontarians are getting, when taking into consideration that 75 per cent of eligible individuals have received both jabs. She explained that unvaccinated people make up only one-quarter of the population but 82 per cent of the people in ICU, which shows that “the vaccinated are getting a very high level of protection.” When asked about breakthrough infections at his weekly news conference on Aug. 24, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore had something similar to say.  “As more and more Ontarians are immunized, over 10 million of us, the unvaccinated are a much smaller number — around 2.2 million that are eligible to be immunized,” he said. “So when you look at overall infection rates, you’ll see that sometimes a significant number of vaccinated people will get the illness, but they will have less severe symptoms, less risk of hospitalization, less risk of being admitted to the ICU and less risk of death.” Reggie Lo, professor emeritus in the department of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Guelph, said the recent breakthrough infection rates Ontario has been reporting are quite high, compared to rates that have been previously recorded in several other countries. For example, an Israeli study from late July by the found a 2.6 per cent COVID-19 breakthrough rate among health-care workers. As well, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from reported a 0.01 per cent breakthrough rate in the U.S. However, this week, showed that 25.3 per cent of people in Los Angeles County who contracted COVID-19 from May to July were fully vaccinated — a rate closer to Ontario’s. Lo said there are a number of factors that could be contributing to the high breakthrough infection rate in Ontario, such as immune response levels and infection dose. “One should also look into the severity of illness in these individuals. If they have mild or no symptoms, the vaccination is protecting them,” he added. “The PCR test is amplifying the viral RNA, it could be detecting remnants of the virus, not entire infectious particles, which also mean the vaccination is working.” He said, however, that the manner in which Ontario has been collecting the data may be creating some inaccuracies. For example, it is possible that the “status unknown” cases reported are from individuals who are unvaccinated but are unwilling to reveal this information. Regarding third doses, Watts said there is evidence that many seniors in long-term care and people who are immunocompromised have a weaker response to vaccines and for that reason, a third dose is beneficial and should be done as soon as possible. However, she said, that may not necessarily be the case for all Ontarians in the future. “I am of the view that we can still wait for the healthy population. There isn’t much evidence yet of declining immunity in this population or whether a third dose would make a difference,” Watts said. “I think we will be watching the data emerging elsewhere.”

Tokyo Today: Check out what time local athletes are competing at the Paralympics

Ontario once again contributed a strong contingent of athletes to Canada’s Paralympic team, but the 13-hour time difference to Tokyo can make it tough to follow when your local favourites are competing. We’ve got you covered with this guide, which we’ll update every Monday through Thursday during the games at noon so you can plan your viewing for the week. Looking to catch local athletes in action on weekends? , which is updated each Friday at noon during the games. All times listed are Eastern Daylight Time. Check below to see if an athlete from your area is competing today, and click on their names for more information. Athletics Men’s 800m — T34 round 1 — heat 1 Sept. 2, 10:29 p.m. Athletes involved: 4x100m universal relay — round 1 — heat 3 Sept. 2, 11:36 p.m. Athletes involved: Women’s 100m — T64 — final Sept. 3, 6:14 a.m. Athletes involved: *4x100m universal relay — final Sept. 3, 8:17 a.m. Athletes involved: Sitting volleyball China vs. Canada women — semifinal Sept. 3, 7:30 a.m. Athletes involved: Swimming Men’s 100m butterfly — S11 — heat 2 Sept. 2, 9:52 p.m. Athletes involved: *Men’s 100m butterfly — S11 — final Sept. 3, 6:41 a.m. Athletes involved: Wheelchair basketball Germany vs. Canada men — classification playoff 7/8 Sept. 2, 11:30 p.m. Athletes involved: Canada women vs. Japan — classification playoff 5/6 Aug. 30, 11:30 p.m. Athletes involved: *if necessary

‘We take this directive very seriously’: Will vaccines be made mandatory for staff at Stevenson Memorial Hospital?

Vaccination policies will soon come into effect at hospitals across Ontario, and the key decision will be whether vaccines will become mandatory for health-care workers. Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) in Alliston has been working on its policy since the province’s chief medial officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, issued a directive Aug. 17 requiring all hospitals, home- and community-care service providers, and ambulance services to have a COVID-19 vaccination policy in place by Sept. 7. Moore said this directive is the bare minimum, and organizations may go beyond this measure by making vaccines mandatory. The Toronto University Health Network and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario have already stated vaccines will be mandatory for staff unless a person is medically exempt from receiving one. It remains to be seen if vaccines will become mandatory for staff at SMH. “We take this directive very seriously and have been providing educational resources, regular updates on local vaccination clinics, and encouraging staff to provide their vaccination status to our Occupational Health Department since vaccines have come available to health-care workers early this year,” SMH president and CEO Jody Levac said in a written statement provided to Simcoe.com. Levac said the health and safety of staff, patients and members of the community is “paramount” and the hospital will “fully comply with the directive” for vaccine mandates and regular testing for those who are not vaccinated or fully vaccinated. “Our goal is 100 per cent compliance,” he said. The hospital declined to tell Simcoe.com what percentage of its staff has been vaccinated at this stage. “We are regularly updating our staff vaccination status through Occupational Health, and are concerned with releasing it at this time due to accuracy as it changes daily,” Levac said. “It is possible that some of our staff have not provided us with their vaccine confirmation. This is a high priority as we look to implement our COVID-19 vaccination policy in the coming weeks.” The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association are just some of the groups that have called on the province to make vaccines mandatory for health-care workers. Vaccines are strongly encouraged at local long-term-care homes and retirement homes, but they have not yet been made mandatory for existing staff. According to the latest figures provided by the County of Simcoe, 96 per cent of the 1,000 employees who work in senior services received their first dose, and about 90 per cent are fully vaccinated. At Simcoe Manor in Beeton, about 93 per cent of Simcoe Manor staff have received one dose, and about 88 per cent are fully vaccinated. The county updated its hiring policies earlier this year, making it mandatory for every new employee to be fully vaccinated. All volunteers and students are also required to have both shots. At Kingsmere Retirement Residence in Alliston, more than 70 per cent of staff have received at least one dose, according to Sienna Senior Living spokesperson Nadia Daniell-Colarossi. She said the company’s overall staff vaccination rate is close to 90 per cent. “Sienna Senior Living supports the Ontario Long-Term Care Association’s advocacy on mandatory vaccines for all health-care workers while we continue with our robust vaccine campaign for team members,” Daniell-Colarossi said in a statement. The company announced Aug. 26 that vaccinations for staff members would be mandatory. As of July 1 of this year, she said, any team member who has not received at least one dose of the vaccine is required to provided a doctor’s note explaining their medical exemption, as well as participate in an educational program, and to be tested for COVID-19 at the start of every shift.

Bruce Arthur: Alberta’s meltdown finally made the pandemic an election issue. It should have been the focus from the start

Alberta is burning, and it is one of the worst kinds of tragedy. On Wednesday, Premier Jason Kenney said ICUs could be as few as , and so, he had to act. Saskatchewan, next door, is not far behind. It will still get worse. Like Ontario’s , the worst tragedies are the ones that could have been avoided. Alberta’s fourth wave has been a deliberate dereliction of governance, but it comes after three waves’ worth of lessons and in the era of abundant vaccines; it is the least forgivable failure of Canada’s . And because there is an on, it became an election issue. But this should have been an election about the pandemic all along, and maybe it finally is. Forget the one-day back and forth. Yes, the Liberals and NDP Conservative leader Erin O’Toole. Yes, O’Toole did his best, amid repeated questions, to avoid acknowledging that Alberta specifically existed at all. The pandemic, though, should have been the defining issue of the campaign. There are so many problems in this country that need fixing, from our shameful treatment of the Indigenous population to an aging population to unaffordable housing to whatever the hell happens if the United States fails as a democracy. Canada has been sheltered by a stable partner for a long time, and those days could be numbered. The pandemic, though, has been a fundamental test of how a government should work, and how well it does. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone messes up. You can argue the Liberals have been too timid in managing the pandemic, maybe too deferential to the provinces, too shoddy on borders. Jamming 500 people into a room in Brampton the other night — which was technically in keeping with capacity, though distancing is a problem everywhere these days — looked desperate. This election could have waited, too. But the Liberals also ran an immensely successful vaccine procurement program, and without actually being in charge of health care, the Safe Restart Agreement attempted to tie the every province needed to actual pandemic response. The Liberals are in favour of vaccine mandates; they have not pushed provinces to reopen too soon. In Canada we often measure by a mediocre bar, and all you can hope is that sometimes the bar is cleared. That’s the Liberals, for the most part. The alternative is far worse, though, and the fact that this election was not about the defining catastrophe of our lifetime is baffling. Canada’s political media often treats Liberals and Conservatives like Coke and Pepsi — the NDP is Orange Crush, clearly, and British Columbia has its own pandemic peculiarities — and collapses the difference into scoreboard-watching talk about wedge issues. The Liberals have played their part in this election with talk of guns, or abortion. Which, to be clear, are actual issues. But on the pandemic, it shouldn’t take Kenney’s Alberta meltdown to point out that certain Conservative politicians have been the biggest pandemic problem in the country, and that the federal Conservatives aren’t equipped to deal with any of it. It’s not just that Erin O’Toole endorsed Alberta’s road to ruin. It’s not just that he showed up at the Alberta Masque of the Red Death Stampede as Kenney flipped pancakes, declared it the best summer ever, and proclaimed restrictions were gone for good. It’s not just that he tacitly endorsed it as Kenney’s team sold Best Summer Ever merch and fundraised off opposition to vaccine passports, and snidely derided the doctors and journalists who disagreed as fear-mongering. It turns out the . And it’s not just that O’Toole refuses to acknowledge Alberta’s current tragedy. The notion that there might have been a tacit understanding between the federal CPC and the provincial United Conservative Party that restrictions could be delayed until next week is disturbingly plausible. But too often the federal Conservatives don’t seem to understand what’s happening, or to be playing to the worst of their audience. On March 29 of this year, Conservative shadow health critic Michelle Rempel Garner published an in the Toronto Sun urging the federal government to chart a path out of lockdowns. Within two weeks, Ontario was in its own of Alberta’s , and in utter crisis. They may just be reading the wrong newspapers. The differences matter, because the differences tell. Alberta and Saskatchewan have finally given in to vaccine passports, despite being the two most vaccine-hesitant provinces, but faced with the People’s Party of Canada as a potential lunatic threat on its far-right edge, O’Toole is still opposed to vaccine mandates, and declares vaccination to be a . It was five days ago that O’Toole said partially vaccinated candidates could campaign in long-term care homes. When you’re beholden to the wrong base, things can become a . All these are defining ways to view not just a pandemic, but a country. Do we have responsibility towards a shared society? With climate change arriving, do we want a government that at the least understands how a crisis works? Instead, Canada held a normal election, if with an extra to it, and either one of the two main parties could still win. Alberta is a warning, as Ontario was, and as Saskatchewan is, too. Kenney ascribed some of his inaction to the notion that not enough Albertans — his base, specifically — would comply with a renewal of restrictions. He probably could have said the same for caucus and cabinet members. When you have to negotiate with a lunatic fringe suddenly you’re closing the playgrounds or removing masks. Doug Ford isn’t the only premier who has avoided leading until he had to. And so Alberta watched the fire sweep in from the horizon, and Kenney’s government was too stupid or arrogant or afraid of its own constituents to do anything but let it burn. At some point bad enough governance can cross the line to something monstrous, and it’s not a game. This was an election in a pandemic. It should have been an election about the pandemic, too. Bruce Arthur is a Toronto-based columnist for the Star. Follow him on Twitter:

‘This is terrifying’: New Tecumseth councillors react to proposed long-term growth targets

New Tecumseth councillors had a lot to say about the preliminary population and housing targets the County of Simcoe is proposing to assign the town as part of the . The town’s population is proposed to grow to 86,100 people by 2051, which is double the current population of 43,450. The town is also proposed to add a significant number of housing units and jobs over this same period. New Tecumseth currently has 15,600 housing units and about 20,570 jobs, but the target calls for 35,320 housing units and 31,650 jobs. The county has asked the town to provide input on these numbers as it continues to conduct the review. Here’s what council members had to say about these figures during the : Alliston Coun. Paul Foster said if you look at the 31 landowner requests to expand the existing settlement boundaries, totalling 8,700 hectares, and multiply it by the 50 persons per hectare target, you come up with a “whopping” number much higher than the 2051 target. “When I look at the three maps ….it’s not going to be three distinct communities,” he said. “It’s going to be one skateboard road from Beeton through to Tottenham, and all the way up to Alliston.” Foster wants development to stay off prime agricultural lands, and for the town’s three distinct downtowns to be preserved. Beeton Coun. Stephanie MacLellan didn’t hold back her feelings. “This is terrifying for me in a few different ways, because we have our water solution being Collingwood, who up until this point, , because we got surprised with that,” she said. MacLellan also wants to ensure prime farmland is not lost, and she is also questioning how all of this new development would be serviced, noting it would require “billions” in new infrastructure. “We don’t even have enough water to fulfil the settlement boundaries we have today,” she said. “, and unless some seriously huge big important decisions are made, we are not in a position to accept this growth.” Alliston Coun. Fran Sainsbury, who is a former mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville, talked about the possibility of the county taking over responsibility for water and wastewater services, like other regional governments. “We are just like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike holding back the tide, and that’s what happened when metro came up to the boundary of Durham Region, York Region, Peel Region and so on,” she said. “And they were all farms, too, at one point in time.” Tottenham Coun. Shira Harrison McIntyre wants to make sure development doesn’t take place in environmentally sensitive areas or on prime farmland. “I think if we want to create walkable communities, healthy communities, then we have to try and build around existing infrastructure so that everybody can participate in services, and everybody can access services and amenities.” She also wants to see a mix of housing types, and a transportation system that connects all communities. Council passed a motion to come up with a list of priorities and forward the responses to the county as it continues to work on the review. Once the county makes a final decision on the growth targets, which may not be until next year, it will be forwarded to the province for approval.

The future meets the past as Orillia Opera House goes digital

Updates underway at the Orillia Opera House blend a dash of the old with the new as the local landmark goes digital while seeking to retain its original charm. Work is beginning on the outside of the historic building as crews install slate roof tiles and added structural support. The project is designed to enhance the theatre’s presence and make it more reminiscent of the original style, mirrored in the two turrets repaired in 2014. In addition to exterior improvements, council through its 2021 budget process invested in video-streaming technology to support the delivery of virtual programming. “’We don’t think livestreaming of theatre is going anywhere after the pandemic is over and are now able to offer our clients an alternative to in-person events, or a hybrid event where people can view online or in person,” said general manager Wendy Fairbairn. The roof renovations, meanwhile, are part of the ongoing Orillia Opera House Conservation Plan to maintain the historic presence of the red-brick building that has played host to a who’s who of world-class performers over the years, among them hometown troubadour Gordon Lightfoot. Scaffolding has been installed and will remain in place during construction, but access to the box office and visitor information services and entrance will not be impacted, the city said. It is anticipated the work will take two months to complete. Mayor Steve Clarke described the downtown theatre as one of Orillia’s “greatest historical landmarks,” adding it remains a source of pride for residents and a destination for visitors. “Equipping the theatre with video-streaming technology and updates to the exterior of the opera house will help keep this premiere facility current while maintaining its historic integrity as we continue to work towards post-pandemic recovery efforts for our community,” Clarke said. The public response to the return of live events “has been resounding,” said Fairbairn. “We look forward to continuing to offer both types of events at the quality that has come to be expected at the Orillia Opera House.” Information about the fall lineup is available at .

At least 20% of Ontario PPC candidates have participated in hostile anti-vaccine protests. Why some say their attendance legitimizes dangerous beliefs

People’s Party of Canada candidates are participating in and organizing increasingly rancorous protests targeting hospitals and politicians, a strategy that coincides with the once-fringe party’s rapid rise in public support. At least 20 per cent of Ontario PPC candidates have attended the often vitriolic protests where attendees push a kaleidoscope of conspiracies and vaccine misinformation, Torstar has found. A review of local news stories and the social media accounts of all 116 Ontario PPC candidates found 25 made posts about taking part in the protests, which have drawn the ire of hospital officials and politicians. Torstar’s review shows the candidates are helping to fuel the protests, which have at times turned violent. After one in London, a now-expelled PPC riding president was criminally charged for allegedly throwing gravel at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, and another in Cambridge featured calls for his execution. Candidates’ attendance also helps legitimize the conspiratorial beliefs of some of the protesters and entrench them into Canadian political culture, said Alison Meek, a historian at King’s University College, at the University of Western Ontario. “We ignore it at our peril,” said Meek, who studies the rise and evolution of conspiracy theories and political extremism. “If people think with this election that this is all just going to go away, history has shown that, no, it won’t. And we need to be vigilant. We need to be aware.” When Torstar reached out to PPC leader Maxime Bernier regarding his candidates’ presence at the protests, a senior party spokesperson replied: “Get lost, f—ing idiot.” The PPC’s support nationwide reached 7.3 per cent as of Thursday, eclipsing both the Green party and the Bloc Québécois, according to Vox Pop Labs polling for the Star. That could put the party within reach of claiming at least one seat in the House of Commons. At a protest in Burlington, with the Joseph Brant Hospital visible in the background, PPC candidate Michael Bator used the event to galvanize support for his campaign. “We’re going to go purple but we gotta get the word out,” he said in a video recording, posted online Sept. 3. “I need troops to help me.” The tone of the protests, which commonly feature vulgar “f— Trudeau” flags, is echoed in the social media posts by Bernier, who has labelled Trudeau a “fascist psychopath” on Twitter. In addition to the candidates who have attended protests in Ontario, more than a dozen others have promoted the events on their social media channels, urging followers to take part. More than half of all Ontario PPC candidates have shared vaccine disinformation and opposition to vaccine mandates and passports. Torstar also confirmed PPC candidates in other provinces, including B.C., Alberta and Quebec, participated in protests. Like Bator, many candidates post photos and videos of protests on their social media accounts. Anthony Zambito of the Dufferin-Caledon riding posted a live Instagram video of an anti-vaccine protest outside a Toronto restaurant, featuring a woman holding a sign that compared vaccine mandates to the plight of Jews in Nazi Germany, complete with a yellow Star of David patch. Chelsea Hillier, daughter of independent MPP Randy Hillier and candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London, tweeted a photo of herself at a hospital protest holding her clenched fist in the air. “We are NEVER GOING TO STOP standing up for our freedoms. I promise my constituents I will resist, at all costs, the authoritarian mandates,” she wrote. Meanwhile, Windsor-Tecumseh candidate Victor Green has turned his presence at a hospital protest into a promotional video for his campaign modelled after a television news segment. The Star reached out to every Ontario PPC candidate that attended protests. Most of those requests went unanswered. Three declined to answer questions. “When our current government provides the scientific data that warrants COVID-19 a pandemic, I would be more than willing to speak with you,” wrote Corrado Brancato, the PPC candidate for Barrie-Innisfil. London-West candidate Mike McMullen — who attended two hospital protests in London — rejected any notion the events were negative or divisive. “There was several thousand people outside of the (London Health Sciences Centre) hospital. So I attended that, it’s in my riding, to support the people there and what they believe because nobody’s speaking for them,” McMullen said in an interview. “The idea of a politician is to bring people together on both sides of the argument and stop the division.” McMullen said he opposed any kind of political violence, but wou

Loaded firearm and suspected drugs allegedly seized in Barrie traffic stop

A loaded semi-automatic firearm and drugs were allegedly seized when Barrie Police stopped a vehicle Saturday, Aug. 28, police said. According to police, at 1:44 p.m., an officer stopped a driver on Bryne Drive in Barrie after learning the registered owner was driving under suspension.  Along with the driver, there were two passengers inside the vehicle; a man in the front seat and a woman in a back seat, police said.  Police said they found what is believed to be cocaine and fentanyl and a loaded semi-automatic firearm in the car. The three people were arrested and taken to Barrie Police Headquarters for further investigation. The driver, a 24-year-old man of no fixed address from Barrie, was charged with: drive under suspension, possession property obtained by crime. The front seat passenger, 22-year-old resident of Guelph, was charged with: obstruct peace officer, fail to comply undertaking, and two counts of fail to comply with release order. The back seat passenger was a 30-year-old female of no fixed address from Barrie. All three were charged with: possession of controlled substance- cocaine, possession of controlled substance-fentanyl, possession property obtained by crime, possession for the purpose of trafficking-cocaine, possession for the purpose of trafficking-fentanyl, unauthorized possession of firearm, possession of firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized, unauthorized possession of a firearm in motor vehicle, possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition. All three were held for a bail hearing on Aug. 29.

New Creemore project could create parking crunch, Clearview council told

A new building fronting Mill Street would be a welcome addition to downtown Creemore — but it shouldn’t come at the cost of fewer parking spaces, Clearview Township council was told. Council held a public meeting on the new development at , Aug. 23, for a project that would replace two existing buildings and a small storage shed, and feature ground-floor retail, four second-floor apartments, and a rooftop terrace for tenants. The building, being developed by Mannington Investments, would also be constructed at an acute angle to the main street sidewalk. The zoning amendment requested would take the property from general commercial to a commercial zoning with exceptions for front yard setbacks, parking, landscaping requirements, and off-site snow storage. A site plan approval application is also being reviewed concurrently with the rezoning application. Under the township’s bylaws governing parking, the building should have 30 spaces; there are plans for 10. However, noted the applicant’s planner, Marissa Handley and Skelton Brumwell and Associates, the property would only be deficient by seven spots because of a credit on the existing parking area. While several commenters on the project complimented the design and welcomed the investment, they also had concerns about the impact on parking, as a reduction in the commercial parking space requirements was requested, and the impact on the area during construction. “Downtown Creemore presently suffers from an acute shortage of parking, and this needs to be addressed,” wrote Keith Boulter. “To lower the minimum requirements for this proposed development … is contrary to the best interests of the village.” Old Mill House Pub owner Carol Sperandeo raised several points, including access to the rear delivery lane, garbage pickup, and the potential for disruption to tenants, employees and customers during the demolition and construction. Creemore BIA president Laurie Severn said she had spoken to a number of her members, and heard concerns about parking, disruption during construction, and the potential design of the building. “The BIA is quite pleased to see the investment and new development; it will expand our retail capacity, expand our local economy, and provide much-needed additional housing,” she said. However, she noted, the reduction in the required number of spaces is a chief concern, and “not to be considered lightly. “Parking on Mill Street has been an issue for several years, for tenants, business owners, staff, and customers all vying for parking spots,” she said. “The reduction in parking sets a precedent for future development on Mill Street and it should be incumbent on the developer to ensure there is adequate parking.” The parking issues have been particularly pronounced during the pandemic, Severn added, as tenants working from home have taken up spots on the main street — sometimes for days on end. Council will make a decision on the application at a later date.