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Archive for: 8月, 2020


The City of Barrie grew by a staggering 556 per cent in 40 years, according to a new Statistics Canada study. The report is the first of its kind by the national research organization to examine census metropolitan areas between 1971 and 2011. During that time, Barrie also lost 154 square kilometres — equal to about 26,000 football fields — of natural and semi-natural land, such as forests and pastures to mostly suburban settlement. “This is an interesting study of the period during which Barrie went through super-rapid — some would say largely uncontrolled — growth,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “A 40-year period is a long time, but it shows how, in the space of two generations or so, Barrie has gone from a small town to a medium-size city.” Barrie’s built-up area went from 24 square-kilometres in 1971, to 155 sq.-km in 2011, read the report. Of the natural and semi-natural land that was lost to settlement during this period, about 64 per cent was forest, 15 per cent was pasture and 21 per cent was categorized as “other.” “Barrie should not go back to growing as fast as it did during this period or how it grew during this period,” Lehman said. “That’s changed a huge amount already. Today we’re growing much, much smarter, with growth on vacant and underutilized sites and through intensification, rather than just new suburbs.” Between 2010 to 2014, for example, 71 per cent of new homes and apartments in Barrie were built in an urban area and 29 per cent were constructed in greenfield suburbs, he said. “We’ve also set a course for growth for the annexed lands that will see suburbs develop quite differently than they did in the past, with a greater mix of uses and much more within walking distance.” Although a big chunk of forested land was removed to allow for growth since the 1970s, Lehman said the city requires tree planting as new areas are developed and it has two huge natural parks, Sunnidale and Ardagh Bluffs. As well, Barrie has the highest percentage in the entire Statistics Canada study of people with a park or green space close to their homes. Lehman said he would be interested in getting more detail on densities, such as where they are increasing most, to help the city determine if its planning objectives are headed in the right direction. Francois Soulard, who co-wrote the study, The changing landscape of Canadian metropolitan areas, 1971-2011, said Statistics Canada plans to get more specific in future research. For example, it will refine the categories of natural land and also include smaller municipalities, he said. “The increase of the buildup in Barrie was significant. It was comparable to the overall national ratio,” he said. However, Barrie lost more natural land to settlement compared to other parts of Ontario, which lost more arable land, he said. “Any variation of arable or natural land has an impact. That alone helps explain why we measure these numbers across Canada,” Soulard said. “The changes in these areas is one way to understand the relationship of the environment and the economy.”


PENETANGUISHENE – Energized by a mixed martial arts (MMA) victory April 1, Eric Sandy is eagerly planning for future fights. A former Christian Island resident who now lives in Penetang-     uishene and trains in Midland, Sandy improved his MMA record to 4-3 with a dramatic win in Georgetown last Friday. Fighting Toronto’s Chris Goodbrand, the 22-year-old registered a technical knockout at the 1:45 mark of the first round. “It feels amazing to get that win, my first finish with the strike,” said Sandy. “I’d never heard of (Goodbrand) before the fight on Friday, but he was 3-0 coming into the fight, so I handed him his first loss.” The preparation for the bout was intense. Sandy noted he weighed 204 pounds before he began the 10 weeks of training needed to lose 34 pounds and reach his fighting weight. “(It was) the toughest training I have ever done in my life,” said the Midland Secondary School graduate. Working with coaches Daniel Bouchard and Nick Hammond, Sandy has been training out of the School of Hard Knocks Gym, operated by Hammond in Midland. He said his boxing skills and fighting at ground level have improved dramatically. “I’m a lot more focused and also taking (MMA) a lot more seriously than I ever did before,” he noted. “The training I put in for this fight was harder than anything I have ever done.” The win over Goodbrand helped take some of the sting out of Sandy’s previous match, when he lost his SuperFight welterweight championship in 2015 to Kyle Custer-Jones. Sandy won the belt in 2014. While details are still being finalized, Sandy said he anticipates his next fight will take place in June. Sandy made his MMA debut in 2011 in Michigan. In his opening four fights, he compiled a 2-2 record. “My first two fights I won were both over very quickly, whereas the last two fights that I lost … were ones where I gained a lot more, in terms of experience,” he said. “I was feeling pretty high coming off my first two wins, and so losing the last two fights taught me that I had to learn to train harder to get ready.”

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BRADFORD – A locked black tackle box containing prescription medication is being sought by South Simcoe police. Police say the box fell out of a vehicle on County Road 88 between Bradford and Highway 400.   The medication is essential to its owner. Anyone with information about this missing medication is asked to call police at 905-775-3311 or 705-436-2141. 


Pharmacists are curious what a used, hairy fentanyl patch is supposed to look like. And that question should be answered next week as they learn about a fentanyl patch exchange program Barrie Police and health professionals hope to launch this summer. READ MORE: “The chief of Barrie Police approached us to work with them on implementing the Patch-4-Patch program in Barrie,” Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit public health nurse Mia Brown said. Through such a program, patients are given a special sheet of paper at the pharmacy to stick their used fentanyl patches to. They must bring that full sheet with them each month before they are given a new box of patches. “The hair and the skin will all be on there. They will be obviously used,” Brown said. Fentanyl is an opioid drug, prescribe to treat pain. However, some users sell patches on the street for illicit drug use. In Barrie, one patch can sell for as much as $200. The patch exchange program is one way to help ensure the patches are only used by the those to whom they are prescribed. The idea for a local program came together after the Barrie Drug Safety Strategy Committee formed late last year. It includes representatives from the health unit, police, pharmacists, the Canadian Mental Health Association, doctors and RVH’s addictions services unit. The idea is to get a program here before Bill 33, Safeguarding our Communities Act, rolls out. The province approved the bill last year as a patch-for-patch return policy, which applies to fentanyl and any other prescription drug patches. But Brown said local pharmacists are concerned how to tell if a fentanyl patch has been altered. “Pharmacists are dispensing them in the package and they don’t receive used patches. They want to know the difference between a used patch and a bandage,” she said. Communities such as Muskoka and North Bay already have a fentanyl patch exchange program and they will be discussed during Tuesday’s session here. In North Bay, some people have used plastic business-card-sized stickers and cut them down to mimic a patch, Brown said. “They’ve gotten good at manipulating it. But for the most part, the people using the patches will return them.” A few years ago, North Bay saw a spike in illicit fentanyl drug use, with patches selling on the street for as much as $500. And there was a Barrie connection to that. At least nine residents were charged in 2014 after an elaborate scam was uncovered where a local health clinic receptionist created fake patients in order to get $300,000 in fraudulent fentanyl prescriptions. Some of those patches were taken to the streets of North Bay. The receptionist pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and falsifying documents last year and was given a six-year jail sentence. Another man was given eight months in jail while a second man is still before the courts and his trial is set to begin April 4. With Barrie still seeing fentanyl patches sold on the street, officers and health professionals hope the program will help curb that issue. PRESCRIPTION DRUG DROP OFF: • The annual Prescription Drug Drop-off day is May 21 as a collaboration between the Barrie Police and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Old or unused prescription medication can be disposed of anonymously.


Jessica Turza was named provincial champion after competing in the Ontario Gymnastic Championships in Mississauga last weekend. A member of Shenderey Gymnastics Institute in Newmarket, Turza came first in bars and floor, second in beam and third in vault in the Level 7 16+ category. Her score put her in position to qualify and represent Team Ontario at the Eastern Canadian Championships in Quebec City next month.


ONTARIO – Premier Kathleen Wynne is ready to close a fundraising loophole that enabled the governing Liberals to rake in nearly $2.4 million during last September’s byelection in Simcoe North. Elections Ontario data reveal the Liberals reaped $2,360,796, compared with $1,418,177 for the Progressive Conservatives and $187,633 for the New Democrats. The spending limit was $124,423. “That byelection rule needs to change,” Wynne said April 8 in Barrie. “You raise the amount you need for the byelection.” Ontario’s lax political fundraising rules, however, allow parties to use byelections as cash cows to collect donations far in excess of what’s needed to bankroll local campaigns. Donors are able to exceed the annual $9,975 contribution cap to a political party by matching that amount during byelection periods – even though it’s ostensibly to fund activities in one riding out of the 107. “It’s not just our party,” said Wynne. “That rule was put in place to allow all political parties to raise more money.” Wynne has promised legislation to clean up the system by outlawing corporate and union donations. The measure will be introduced next month. But the premier is willing to move even sooner on byelection reforms, given that a vote must be called in Scarborough-Rouge River by Sept. 22 following the recent resignation of Liberal Bas Balkisoon. Simcoe North MPP and PC Leader Patrick Brown, meanwhile, is calling for a public inquiry into political fundraising over concerns cabinet ministers have been targeting stakeholders and lobby groups for donations. “The lines of government and the Liberal party seem to have been blurred beyond all recognition,” he said. – The Toronto Star


Halton police are cautioning youths about playing what’s been dubbed ‘the assassin game’ after ski mask-clad teens on Gooseberry Way provoked a police response to the area, earlier this week. The so-called game, that is apparently popular among local high school students, sees ‘players’ try to eliminate each other using mock weapons in an effort to become the last surviving player. Game play occurs at all hours and in all places unless otherwise specified in the rules — all of which created a police commotion in the are of Bronte Road and Westoak Trails Boulevard Tuesday afternoon when, police say, some participants took the game a step too far. Around 3:40 p.m., residents on Calloway Drive and Gooseberry Way contacted police to report three people wearing ski masks in an SUV, who were pointing, what turned out to be water guns, at students as they walked home from school. One ski mask-clad individual did this while standing up through the vehicle’s sunroof while the SUV was in motion. “When the people on my street saw this they thought this was something really bad that was happening. They thought something was going on that really wasn’t good,” one Gooseberry Way resident, who asked not to be identified, told the Oakville Beaver. “They made all kinds of calls to the police. The police came and they didn’t know what this was so they blocked off one end of our street and then blocked another part and trapped these people in between and had them get out of the car.” Police soon learned the ski mask wearing occupants of the vehicle were actually teenage girls who quickly told them they were just playing the assassin game and the guns were fake. Halton Police Public Relations Officer Sgt. Chantal Corner said the youths were warned about the potential dangers of the activity and released. Corner is calling on the parents of high school-aged children to talk to their kids about the assassin game and how it could go really wrong, such as in the incident on Gooseberry Way. She pointed out that not only do calls like these draw police resources away from places they may be needed, but participants who take the game too far are putting themselves in a situation where they could potentially be shot by police. “It’s fine if it is a florescent orange-and-yellow Nerf gun, but if it is a water gun that looks very similar to a black gun…That’s taking it to a dangerous level,” said Corner. “Someone who has a replica handgun, whether it is a water gun or whatever, runs the risk of getting into some trouble with the police. We respond to calls from the public and if we get a call about a person with a gun in the area we act as though that gun is real until it is proven otherwise. If a gun looks like a gun, it is going to be treated like a gun.” Corner said a Halton police high school liaison officer has begun talking to students and parents about keeping the assassin game from going terribly wrong. Back on Gooseberry Way, one resident said the assassin game appears to be getting into full swing in the area. “My daughter saw another person with a Nerf gun yesterday. I saw a teenage boy boarding a bus with a huge water gun the other day,” she said. “I thought, ‘OK, it’s really on.’”


A multi-vehicle pileup closed the northbound lanes of Highway 400 for six hours Sunday night. Ice and snow played a factor in the dinner-hour collision that sent 13 people to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. “There was at least one transport trailer involved and about 20 cars and SUVs,” said OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt. The initial collision occurred north of Lloydtown Aurora Road exit and emergency crews closed Highway 400 northbound lanes to the King Road exit until midnight, he said. “The weather got it started and then there was a combination of issues. The roads were slippery, so we had a hard time getting to the scene,” he said. Schmidt said the roads were closed as cars and trucks were removed. Further clean-up of spilled oil and debris on the road further necessitated the longer closure, he said. LIVE on #Periscope: Toronto traffic after the snow! Over 650 collisions since 5pm yesterday in the GTA — Sgt Kerry Schmidt (@OPP_HSD) April 4, 2016 Collision Hwy 400 NB north of Aurora Road. Approx 20 vehicles, 2 transport trucks, 13 people injured, all NB lanes blocked. OPP at scene — Sgt Kerry Schmidt (@OPP_HSD) April 3, 2016 LIVE on #Periscope: OPP responding to over a hundred collisions right now — Sgt Kerry Schmidt (@OPP_HSD) April 3, 2016


Mike Symes, fire prevention officer with Innisfil Fire and Rescue, was on the scene Thursday investigating a fire on Benson Street in Alcona. The fire started at approximately 7:40 p.m. on Wednesday. All the occupants of the house escaped safely, and the smoke alarms were properly functioning, Symces said.. Firefighters, who happened to be training at a nearby fire hall, arrived within minutes and quickly contained the blaze and avoiding damage to nearby homes, which were as close at two feet away. An initial investigation suggests the fire started in the garage, which sustained the most damage,. Tthere was minimal damage to the rest of the home. The cause is still being investigated.  Kudos 2 @Innisfil_FIRE Quick actions saved neighbouring homes 2nite – no injuries & the family’s kitty was saved — Town of Innisfil (@townofinnisfil) April 7, 2016


MIDLAND – The 2016 graduates of St. Theresa’s Catholic High School defeated the staff team 7-4 in the annual Staff vs. Grads hockey game Wednesday. The student population was bused to the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre to witness the fun event.