Residents cite privacy, habitat issues with proposed Wasaga development

Privacy and a loss of habitat are the chief concerns of neighbours of a proposed residential development in Wasaga Beach’s east end. Sunnyvale Estates is proposing to build more than 60 single detached homes on 5.5 hectares of land off Golf Course Road. Sunnyvale has made several requests for amendments to the town’s zoning bylaw, including a reduction in side and rear yard setbacks, increases in maximum lot coverage, and an increase in maximum building height from 10 metres to 11.5 metres. A draft plan of subdivision application is still in process, and the developer is working on a number of reports and studies that it needs to provide to the town’s planning department. Neighbours, however, raised a number of concerns, not the least of which was a loss of privacy through the cutting of trees. “It’s unfortunate (trees on this) this property will be destroyed,” Wendy Walker told the committee. “Having bigger houses on small lots is not conducive for any of us.” She asked that some trees that would border the new development and existing residences remain as a buffer, or, at least, that new trees be planted — along with a fence — to obstruct the view. Andre Aberdeen expressed a concern for the existing wildlife that currently inhabits the property. “I understand that the town is growing and there’s always going to be a need for growth,” said Andre Aberdeen. “(But) what exactly is going to be done in order to mitigate the impacts on wildlife?” Jamie-Lynn Babin said she expects to see six or seven homes backing onto the side yard of her Golf Course Road residence. “We’re all for change and growth, (but) ideally we’d like to see a green space in between, some trees kept,” she said. “The privacy we once had, we won’t have anymore.” She added the space is heavily used by the community for cycling and walking. Michelle Bravakis raised a concern about the reduced setbacks, pointing to a recent fire in the west end that consumed two homes, after the blaze leapt from one home to another. A recommendation will come to committee at a later date. The developer’s representative, Jack Krubnik, expected there would be no development on the site until at least the end of 2022.

Barrie-Innisfil federal election candidates talk about COVID-19 recovery at CARP forum

CARP Barrie hosted a forum for the Barrie-Innisfil federal election candidates on Sept. 7 and asked questions about COVID-19, seniors, economic recovery and the environment.  The forum was attended by Liberal candidate Lisa-Marie Wilson, Conservative candidate John Brassard and New Democratic Party candidate Aleesha Gostkowski.  Here is what the candidates had to say:  Aleesha Gostkowski, NDP “The cost of COVID-19 recovery needs to be shared by the government, large corporations, banks and the super wealthy. In terms of a time frame, we must accomplish this as soon as possible; the cost of not doing so is too great. As of right now, we do very little to tax the ultra-wealthy or large corporations, but we tax the middle class harshly. “If we begin to tax large corporations that use our resources for pennies on the dollar, at bare minimum we can pay for the changes that the middle-class Canadians need to recover from COVID-19. “To put this into perspective, the parliamentary budget officer, Yves Giroux, crunched the numbers on the NDP’s original wealth-tax pitch last year, and he found that even a wealth tax on families with a net worth of over $20 million would rake in $5.6 billion annually.” Lisa-Marie Wilson, Liberal “As we finish the fight against COVID, we need a federal government that has a plan to grow the economy, create jobs and fight climate change. I believe that the Liberal plan is the best plan to keep us moving forward. “We need a government that is willing to take the steps necessary to finish the fight against COVID-19. This includes hiring 7,500 new doctors and nurses and introducing mandatory vaccination for federally regulated workplaces and introducing national standards for long-term care. “We’re moving forward with a plan that will continue to support Canadians and keep them safe.” John Brassard, Conservative “Conservatives will increase the health transfers to the provinces to the tune of $60 billion so that we can deal with not just the physical health, but also the mental health of Canadians going forward. “It’s about securing our country both from a personal protective equipment, from a biopharma standpoint so that we never get caught in the situation that we were in with no vaccines, making sure that our food and agriculture and our energy sector, that we have those types of securities in our country, because the world is becoming increasingly polarized. “Dependence will rely on Canada and our ability to produce not just PPE, but food and agri-stability, as well as energy stability and security. That’s what we need to move forward. We need to do it together.” To watch the full forum, visit . The federal election takes place on Sept. 20.  For more information about the Barrie-Innisfil riding and candidates, visit .

Slow and safe return to activities planned for SMCDSB’s reopening

Students within the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) can look forward to pizza days, sports, and playgrounds when schools resume Sept. 7. The board released its  to families late afternoon on Aug. 27.  “We are hopeful that as we move through 2021-2022 we will be able to slowly and safely return to some of the activities and practices you would find in a more typical school year,” said Frances Bagley, SMCDSB’s director of education.   POP-UP CLINICS As mandated by the Ministry of Health, the board will be hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics run by the . Youth 12 and up can be immunized without parental consent.  Vaccination clinics are planned at six schools in September. These locations have less than 50 per cent of the student population fully vaccinated, the plans states. These secondary schools include: St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School in Bracebridge, Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School in Orillia, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in Tottenham, St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Midland, St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie, and Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Bradford. VENTILATION The SMCDSB said it has invested $14.7 million in COVID-19-related maintenance and infrastructure renewal projects with $8.1 million for ventilation improvements. All projects are well underway and are targeted for completion by Dec. 31. There are 16 investment projects in schools and two at board office locations.  All schools have mechanical ventilation systems. Here’s what you need to know: • Students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will be required to wear cloth masks while in school, but not outside.  • There will be no student contact limits. (Last year it was 50 elementary and 100 secondary) • Secondary schools will use a quad-mester model, but with two classes per day instead of one. • Cafeterias, libraries and learning commons will be open, but food services will not be operating. • Field trips, assemblies and masses are on pause at this time. • Lockers will not be used at the secondary level. • All students and staff must complete and submit a daily online COVID-19 screening assessment. • It is not mandatory that students ages 12 to 17 be vaccinated to attend school in-person. • Hands-on programming such as physical education, music, and cooperative education will resume with health and safety restrictions in place. • Outdoor sports begin Sept. 20 and indoor sports will begin Sept. 27. • Common touch points will all be cleaned using disinfectant at least twice during the school day and once in the evening.  • Playground will be open, but not cleaned and disinfected between cohort use. Students will sanitize their hands before and after use. • Elementary families will receive an email prior to Sept. 7 regarding classroom and teacher placement including those participating in virtual learning.

Family searching for answers after mother dies at Midland long-term care home

Donna Saunders, 74, was healthy when she entered Hillcrest Village in Midland, according to her family. She died two months later due to complications from an infection. Her son Jamie Baxter is devastated and searching for answers. “None of it makes sense to us,” said Jamie. “Our mother went there healthy and died of a bedsore a month later.” Investigations, completed internally and by the Ministry of Long-Term Care, found no wrongdoing on the part of Hillcrest Village. “I believe that we looked into their concerns as fully as we could. I am very sorry that they don’t seem happy with those results from ourselves and our medical director,” said Jonathan Ens, assistant administrator at Hillcrest Village. In January 2020, Saunders and her daughter, Tammie Baxter, moved from London to Barrie. That April, Saunders had her kidney removed and ended up having a bad reaction to painkillers, was bedridden for months and lost her ability to walk. Due to fear of COVID-19, the family decided Tammie would care for Saunders at home. She looked after Saunders, with the help of a nurse, from June 2020 to February 2021 before the family decided to place her in Hillcrest. “We applied to put her in long-term care with the goal of getting her help with rehabilitation, so she could get back on her feet again,” said Jamie. Saunders entered Hillcrest on Feb. 12, 2021. On March 6, Saunders was sent to Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) to get treatment for a urinary tract infection (UTI). While in hospital, a doctor notified the family of a concerning bedsore. “We were shocked,” said Jamie, who noted that there was “no significant sign of bedsores when she entered Hillcrest.” According to Jamie, Saunders was sent back to Hillcrest on March 10 with “complete instructions on how to properly care for the bedsores,” according to Jamie. Two weeks later, on March 24, Tammie went to Hillcrest to visit her mother. “(She) immediately called me on FaceTime and said things didn’t look right. She was very concerned,” said Jamie. Later that night, the family got a call notifying them that Saunders was going to be sent to GBGH. The family soon learned the bedsore had progressed to approximately 10 millimetres deep, and Saunders was septic. She was placed in palliative care and died April 10. Jamie immediately filed a complaint with the Ministry of Long-Term Care, which prompted an investigation. An inspection report, dated July 9 and sent to the family, found two minor unrelated infractions. Jamie said he isn’t satisfied with this report and the fact the investigation took place June 21–25, more than two months after his mother’s death. “I fully understand that the ministry can only investigate whether the home was in compliance with legislation, but if legislation isn’t strong enough to prevent a healthy woman dying from a bedsore a month later, then there’s something wrong with the legislation,” said Jamie. Ens confirmed investigations into Saunders’ death did take place. “The findings were that there was not any negligent care,” said Ens. “With everybody, we do our best to care for them, (but) a lot of our residents that come in are very compromised in their health status.” From 2019 to 2021, the ministry conducted eight investigations at Hillcrest Village related to critical incidents and complaints, including one involving Saunders. These investigations resulted in seven written notifications for noncompliance; six were related to resident care plans, and one involved infection-prevention protocols. Three investigations found no infractions. The family told the Mirror they have reached out to Ontario’s Ombudsman for assistance.

Police investigate threat at Bear Creek Secondary School in Barrie

Bear Creek Secondary School students are back in class after a brief incident Sept. 14. As students arrived at the property, they were asked to assemble on a football field, instead of going to class. “A threat was reported this morning at Bear Creek,” Simcoe County District School Board communications manager Sarah Kekewich said. “The school was evacuated and police were called.” She said Barrie police investigated and determined the school was safe. Barrie Police said the threat was unfounded.  Students and staff returned to class shortly after 8 a.m.

MAP: Simcoe County fire danger ratings

Planning a bonfire this weekend? There are no fire bans in Simcoe County, but Severn municipality has a ‘High’ fire rating as of Friday, Sept. 3.  Every other location has a ‘moderate’ rating.    ADJALA-TOSORONTIO: The fire danger rating is set to moderate. Burn permits are required. Information is available here: BARRIE: The fire danger rating is low. Burn permits are required. For more information, visit  BRADFORD: The fire danger rating is low. Burn permits are required. Details are available at CLEARVIEW TOWNSHIP: The fire rating is moderate. All property owners, interested in having an outdoor fire in Clearview Township are required to purchase a Burn Permit: . COLLINGWOOD: The fire rating is moderate. Fire Chief Ross Parr reminds everyone that fire permits are required and if you do have a fire, continue to ensure you are using extreme caution and have water nearby. Information at  ESSA TOWNSHIP: The fire rating is moderate. We remind you that a Burn Permit is required. For more information, visit INNISFIL: The fire danger rating is moderate. The Innisfil Fire and Rescue Service asks those that have an approved burn permit to be more cautious than usual. Information available here: MIDLAND: The fire rating is low. Visit for more information. NEW TECUMSETH: The fire rating is moderate. Residents can apply for a fire permit to have a campfire or controlled burn within the town. Details available here:  ORILLIA: The fire danger rating is moderate. Burning materials like leaves, brush, garbage or excess building materials is not allowed. For more information, visit . ORO-MEDONTE: The fire danger rating is moderate. You must have an open-air burn permit to have a fire. For more information, visit PENETANGUISHENE: The fire rating is low. For information visit . RAMA FIRST NATION: The fire rating is low. RAMARA: The fire rating is moderate. Details available here:  SEVERN: The fire danger rating is low. In response to COVID-19, the township has suspended all fire permits until further notice. You can have a campfire without a permit. Details available here: SPRINGWATER: The fire danger rating is moderate. Follow the instructions on the back of your permit.  Permits are $15 and sold online here: TAY TOWNSHIP: The fire danger rating is low. Approved permits are required for open-air fire (bonfire, fire pit etc.) Details are available here:  TINY TOWNSHIP: The fire danger rating is moderate. All open-air burning in the township requires a fire permit. For more information visit . WASAGA BEACH: The fire danger rating is moderate. Further details are available here: