‘Huge value for money’: Former Collingwood CAO says $8 million judicial inquiry gave town a ‘new direction’

Former CAO John Brown, whose efforts to get information on several controversial decisions made in 2012 led to the judicial inquiry, said Collingwood shouldn’t be “embarrassed” over the $8-million cost. “The culture and the system is one that did not serve the interest of this town properly,” he said at a March 9 council meeting. “You got huge value for money. You got a new town, a new direction, a new municipality out of it. That’s what you got and that’s worth the money in my book.” Brown was back in front of council speaking about the inquiry that was recommended months after he retired. He said he made several attempts during his four-year tenure, from 2013-2017, to get answers on the sale of the former utility company and purchase of two recreational facilities. Brown said the lack of records and information left the municipality in a very “precarious situation.” “There were lots of questions being asked and we didn’t have answers,” he said. “I’ve never experienced a shutdown in willingness to provide information.” Deputy mayor Keith Hull and others praised Brown for his work during his tenure and said the inquiry changed the community for the better. “The costs be damned, as a result of this inquiry, we have been able to close a chapter and open a new chapter,” Hull said. The inquiry resulted in 306 recommendations from Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco […]

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Mid-July tornadoes that struck Central Ontario — including Barrie and Innisfil — caused $75M in damage

More than 2,200 insurance claims have been issued for personal and commercial property damage in the wake of the July 15 storm system that spawned an . Initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc., on behalf of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), says the six EF-2-strength tornadoes that hit , , Kawartha Lakes, Little Britain, Manilla, Lindsay and Lake of Bays that day caused $75 million in insured damage. The tornadoes resulted in 10 injuries, 71 uninhabitable homes and more than 2,200 insurance claims for damage to personal and commercial property, an Aug. 18 report from IBC said. “We’re beyond thankful that this storm did not lead to any loss of life, which is the most important thing,” IBC Ontario division vice-president Kim Donaldson said. “Homes, cars and businesses can be replaced and fixed, but the same cannot be said of lives. Insurers have been in the community since day one, working hard to help their clients throughout the entire claims process, and will be there until all policyholders have been looked after.” Damage caused by wind is typically covered by home, commercial property and comprehensive auto insurance policies. The tornadoes that hit the region are a sobering reminder of the increasing risk facing communities across Canada, Donaldson said. IBC continues to advocate to all levels of government regarding the need to do more to . Canada must develop a comprehensive plan to close governance gaps and im […]

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‘You can’t go wrong’ with Greek inspired Poutine on the Ritz Street Grill in Innisfil

When the Leoutsacos family would drive by Fennels Corners in Innisfil, they fantasized about buying the chip truck there.  During the pandemic, a for-sale sign popped up, and they went for it.  The new Greek-inspired food truck, called Poutine on the Ritz Street Grill, is located at “Usually, we will sit and ponder if this is the right thing to do, but this is what we want to do,” Maria Leoutsacos said of the opportunity.  Maria; her husband, William; and their children, Michail, 15, and Helene, 9, opened the location on July 24.  “We’re doing poutine, and we do a little bit of the Greek stuff too, so we combine everything together; you can’t go wrong,” Maria said. “If we’re going to have Greek food, we’ve got to have the Greek poutine.” Menu items include fresh-cut fries, fully loaded poutines, wraps, side snacks and grill items such as chicken, pork, beef and lamb kebabs and souvlaki.  “We love cooking,” she said.  For more information, visit

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St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie reports three COVID-19 cases

Two Simcoe County catholic schools report new cases of COVID-19. And the caseload has increased at St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie. New cases since last reporting: Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Angus has one case. One classroom is closed. The school is open. St. Michael the Archangel Catholic School in Barrie reports two cases. One classroom is closed. The school is open.  The Simcoe County District School Board, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, MonAvenir Catholic School Board French Catholic), and Conseil Scolaire Viamonde (French public) report COVID-19 cases for a combined 179 educational settings in Simcoe County. They are reporting cases in 24 out of 179 locations. There are four active school outbreaks. This school is reporting more cases since lasting reporting: St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie now has three cases. Four classrooms are closed. The school is open. These schools are reporting the same number of cases since last reporting: Andrew Hunter Elementary School in Barrie has three student cases. Two classrooms are closed. The school is open. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit declared an outbreak here on March 9. The outbreak is active. Ardagh Bluffs Public School has one student case of COVID-19. One classroom is closed. The school is open.  Chris Hadfield Public School in Bradford has one student case. One classroom is closed. The school is open. Fieldcrest Elementary School has one staff cas […]

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