3 things that happened at Oro-Medonte council

1. Best of the best – Nominations for the Oro-Medonte Citizen of the Year and Senior of the Year awards are available for submission until Friday, March 12. The township is looking for recommendations to include a person who has shown a commitment or made a contribution to community service, shows support and/or leadership, volunteers with associations and charities and is an optimistic and inspiring role model with a desire to make a positive impact. The township is looking for seniors over the age of 65 who have made their communities a better place to live through the arts, volunteerism, environmental services, fitness, recreation, humanitarian activities, or by keeping history alive. Nominations can be dropped off at the Township Administration Office on Line 7 South. 2. COVID-19-based funds allotted — The township will receive more than $370,000 in COVID-19 recovery funding by the province as its share of the $500-million set aside to help municipalities deliver services as they cope with the aftershocks of the second wave of the pandemic. Oro-Medonte will receive two equal payments on May 1 and Nov. 1. As with 2020’s Safe Restart Agreement funding, the funds must be earmarked for priority operating costs and pressures directly related to shortages caused by COVID-19’s effects on the township. 3. Wellness check – A joint partnership between Oro-Medonte, Ramara and Severn townships with the City of Orillia includes a survey for the Couchichin […]

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‘We are very essential:’ Midland safety equipment supplier thriving during pandemic

It has been a crazy 12 months for . The Midland business, which specializes in safety products, janitorial supplies and safety training, has been extremely busy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Without a doubt, it’s been our busiest year ever. It’s been crazy,” said owner Patricia Del Brocco. “We’ve been supporting a lot of businesses. We have all of the PPE (personal protective equipment) they require. We have N95 masks, sanitizer, gowns, gloves … we are a very essential business.” On March 4, First for Safety celebrated its 30th anniversary — which is quite the feat for a business that began in Del Brocco’s home. She started the business on her own in 1991, with an office in an upstairs bedroom and inventory in her garage. “I saw a need for first-aid kits and fire extinguishers in homes,” said Del Brocco. “I started dropping in and seeing small businesses on the main streets of Penetanguishene and Midland.” The business quickly grew from there. She now stocks janitorial supplies, safety equipment such as hard hats and safety harnesses, defibrillators, work boots and gloves, personal-protective equipment, safety signage, fire extinguishers, first-aid kits and more. First for Safety has been an important resource for many over the last year, not only for equipment and supplies, but for knowledge and advice. “We have been supporting businesses and providing advice and helping develop proto […]

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Barrie’s push for more affordable housing clashes with tree protection

If century-old trees are destroyed in a bid to create affordable housing in existing neighbourhoods, should anybody care? The answer is a resounding yes for Barrie residents Arlene McCann and Cathy Colebatch. McCann woke up one morning in early July to find heavy machinery digging a hole for the foundation of a second house in a neighbour’s backyard. The William Street resident had no warning, despite the newly dug pit being within a metre of her property line, severing the roots of a 100-foot Norway spruce that now must be removed before it topples onto her Allandale property. The excavation has also severely damaged the roots of a century-old walnut tree on the grounds of nearby St. George’s Anglican Church. McCann said the work came as a surprise because the City of Barrie has yet to create sufficient regulations under a new provincial rule that allows second units on residential properties in a bid to create more affordable housing. “There was not a thing I could do to stop it,” she told city council Aug. 9. “I’m disappointed in our city’s lack of protection for both its citizens’ property and our tree canopy.” Since there was no protection for what McCann calls “heritage” trees, she and Colebatch, the vice-president of the Allandale Neighbourhood Association, fear for the city’s tree canopy on a much larger scale if builders of second units are not required to protect trees. “It’s like th […]

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Community rallies around family after cottage fire in Tiny Township

A Tiny Township family is grateful for support from the community after . Emergency crews were called to a home on Tiny Beaches Road South near Birchdale Avenue shortly before 5 p.m. The beachfront home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on scene, and community members were already attempting to put out the fire. “There were probably 80 to 100 people on the beach, and many of them came running up to help,” said Janet MacDougall, whose daughter owns the home. “People I have never seen before in my life came up and were hosing down the house and throwing buckets of water.” A large crew of volunteer firefighters arrived and immediately began working on putting the flames out while ensuring the fire didn’t spread to neighbouring cottages. “The firefighters did an amazing job. If they hadn’t been able to contain that fire from spreading, four people would have lost their beach homes,” said MacDougall, who lives next door and was home when the fire broke out. “It was beyond terrifying. I had to evacuate (my home) at one point when the trees in between our homes caught on fire.” The frightening experience was eased by the overwhelming support from neighbours and other beachgoers who stepped up to lend a hand. “People were helping me take stuff out of my place to my car in case (the fire spread). It was unbelievable.” Tiny Township firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze without it […]

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Canada’s emergency wage and rent subsidies for businesses extended to June 5

The federal government has announced it is extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support rates until June 5 to provide support for “workers, businesses and other affected organizations in the face of ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic.” Federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland made the announcement March 3, stating that the current rates will remain in place past the original date of March 13. This means the maximum wage subsidy rate for active employees will stay at 75 per cent, the maximum rent subsidy rate at 65 per cent, and lockdown support at 25 per cent. Lockdown support will continue to be available in addition to rent subsidy. For furloughed employees, the weekly wage subsidy will also remain unchanged and will be aligned with Employment Insurance benefits. “Workers and businesses have showed incredible resilience over the past year, especially through this difficult winter …” Freeland said. “With variants in Canada and many regions still under lockdown, we are giving workers and businesses the certainty they need that strong government support will be there to get them through this crisis and ensure they come out strong.”

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‘Customers are going to be blown away’: Midland Canadian Tire undergoing ‘seven-figure’ renovation

The Midland Canadian Tire is getting a significant upgrade. Owner Mike Ferris is undertaking a massive renovation of the County Road 93 store, which will overhaul every single department. “It’s going to be one of the largest Canadian Tire stores around,” said Ferris. “The total square footage of the warehouse, retail store and garden centre is going to be over 160,000 square feet.” The revamped interior of the store will feature an upgraded automotive department; home decor department; paint and lighting department; and expanded fishing, hunting and camping departments. A marine and recreational vehicle section will be added, along with a Party City boutique and Petco branded store. “Customers are going to be blown away,” said Ferris. “As we have grown over the years, we have compromised space. (With this renovation) customers are going to get wider aisles and a better flow and layout.” When planning for the renovation, Ferris took into account customer feedback he has received over the years. The top complaints involved washrooms, the tight store layout and lack of parking. All of those issues will be addressed. The garden centre will be removed from the parking lot and built onto the northwest side of the store. Combined with the renovated retail space, it will span 110,000 square feet. A 55,000-square-foot warehouse being constructed at the back of the store will allow for more product to be stored on site and will open […]

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Penetanguishene residents invited to help rethink rejected Fox Street subdivision

A residential subdivision proposed for a 30-acre woodland between Fox and Church streets in Penetanguishene is still being debated more than three years after . Public brainstorming sessions are scheduled for 2:30 and 6 p.m. on Aug. 24 at the Penetanguishene Public Library to discuss a new master plan for the Queen’s Court Development Ltd. lands at 221 Fox St. Two identical sessions will be held in order to spread people out and allow for maximum public participation. “Some people think it’d done and over with, but it’s not,” said Graham Coulter, a Penetanguishene resident and member of the Preserve and Protect Penetanguishene Facebook group. “The (developer) wants feedback and this is a chance for people to speak up and become informed with where this is at.” In March 2018, council rejected plans for a 117-unit residential subdivision after a large group of residents came out to oppose the project. In January 2020, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), formerly the Ontario Municipal Board, adjourned the appeal process “to allow the parties further opportunity to explore settlement.” According to Coulter, the developer reached out to the resident-led group about the project and the two sides went back and forth on new designs. Coulter and several other group administrators had several Zoom meetings with the developer, town and conservation authority. The developer came up with a revised plan for the subdivision, but i […]

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If you’re over 80, here’s what you need to know to get vaccinated at the city-run clinics

What you need to know about the mass immunization clinics opening next week in Toronto: Only residents born in 1941 or earlier (people who are turning 80 in 2021 or who are 80 or older now) can attend the three mass vaccination clinics opening Wednesday, March 17. The clinics are located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre at 255 Front St. W., Scarborough Town Centre at 300 Borough Dr., and the Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Rd. The sites will operate 7 days a week between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. You must make an appointment to attend the clinics. Do not line up outside the clinics without an appointment. On-line registration launches Friday, March 12, at . There you will find a dark blue “Register” button that will be in a grey box at the top of the webpage. On Friday, the city will make an announcement when the link is posted and live. The city is asking those who are not eligible to not attempt to access the system. You will not be able to book by phone through the provincial call centre until Monday, March 15. The phone number for that call centre has not been released. The provincial call centre will only operate in French and English. Residents who do not speak French or English will need to have someone they trust provide translation for them if they call the provincial call centre on Monday. There will be 133,000 vaccination appointments available for first doses, to be administered between March 17 and April 11. The city estimates there are 136,000 peop […]

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