Mayor's Message - November 19, 2017

Posted on Sunday November 19, 2017

Hi all, Bonjour


It is mid-month again and time for another Wardens update on County activities.


We’ve had a few frosty mornings of late, and I see that mother nature gave us a sprinkling of snow this morning.  I am hearing that we’re in for a more moderate winter, and in our area moderate always equals many winter blasts coming our way !!  Similar to when the kids go back to school where we all have to start adjusting our driving to accommodate school busses we need to remind ourselves to use caution in and around our snow plow operators.


November is budget season at the County. Staff have done a great job of developing another responsible budget and implementing direction from our County Council. The draft budget, currently sitting at 1.04% will go to Council for approval on November 28th. Once it is passed I look forward to providing another year of efficient services and programming to all  of you and to implementing some of our new undertakings.


The following is my monthly summary of the past four weeks and a look at some of the activities ahead of us for the next month at the County:


For this month’s did you know (DYK), I thought with winter coming our way that it would be fitting to provide background on our County plow and transportation operations.



We maintain more than 1,800 lane kilometres of County roads to manage and clear on a given day

We have 38 plows as part of our County fleet that operate out of five County transportation garages located in Midhurst, Beeton, Orr Lake, Creemore and Ramara

In 2016, our staff responded to 403 winter events (which involves clearing of snow, salting and sanding), that averages out to 81 events per garage.

In 2016, staff applied 20,856 tonnes of salt and 59,917 tonnes of sand to our roads

Since 2012 we have used more than 113,000 tonnes of salt and almost 365,000 tonnes of sand to keep our roads safe and sound for driving

There is quite a bit of science that goes into road maintenance. Our Transportation Maintenance and IT staff collaborated on a program to install reader technology in each of our plow units. The technology is comprised of a data logger, connecting cords and plow/wing sensors allowing staff to capture actual data from the plow units and use this data to analyse the operations to become more efficient and effective. The data loggers were connected to the electronic spreader controls that control the application of winter solids and liquid de-icers and measured the application rates, speed of the vehicle, type of materials and min and max rates for the run as well as the start and end time of each run. The temperature sensors were connected and measure the road and air temperature to assist us in assessing our work and application of materials


Our plow operators and transportation staff to do a tremendous job of keeping our roads clear, goods and services flowing and all of us as safe as possible on even the most treacherous winter days. They will be out in full force soon and we wish everyone a safe winter season on our roads.


County News:


Promoting Simcoe County in Chicago

Beyond our pursuit of Amazon, members of our Economic Development Office and I recently travelled to Chicago as part of our Investment Attraction efforts.  The outbound activities comprised of meetings with influential site selection firms; qualified international businesses with future expansion plans; and attendance at FABTECH, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event. The goal of the meetings was to show that Simcoe County is investment ready and that we possess a strong value proposition for international companies locating in our area.  In total, 17 official meetings were scheduled with many more occurring on the trade show floor, aiming to attract businesses in the fields of advanced manufacturing and food processing. The activities are an integral component of our economic development strategy - which aims to attract, grow and support businesses and the economy.

Toy Drive
Our Paramedics kicked off the 15th annual Toy Drive this weekend. The Toy Drive benefits local children and families during the holiday season. Donations of new, unwrapped toys will be accepted at various locations and parades across the region until December 18, 2017. During the last 14 years, the Toy Drive has collected 67,000 toys, 20,000 lbs of food, and approximately $126,000 in monetary and gift card donations for local families in need.

Click, Connect Portal for Newcomers
Working with area partners, we recently launched a new video portal that provides support to immigrants called Click, Connect. The portal is developed by the Welcome Centre for Immigrant Services and the County of Simcoe Library Co-operative and provides immediate access to face-to-face services for newcomers to our communities, including information on settlement supports, employment and language services. With placement in community libraries, the goal of the portal is to combine technology, subject matter expertise and social supports to offer immigrants living in more rural communities a solution that supports integration. The first device is currently active at the Stayner library with additional locations being added in 2018.  These types of projects are extremely important as our communities grow in size and diversity. According to the 2016 National Census, Simcoe County is now home to almost 62,000 immigrants, up from 50,000 in 2011. This now represents close to 13 per cent of our region’s population and that percentage is much higher in some of our southern municipalities. We are quickly becoming a popular destination for newcomers and our local immigration partnership and library co-operative are rolling out a number of supports that assist and attract new families to our region.

Our Paramedics are hosted another Save-A-Life CPR day in Bradford West Gwillimbury. I hear it was a full house. We look forward to providing life-saving certification to our residents. This is a very popular program and to date we have trained close to 12,000 residents through this initiative. 

Hospital funding – RVH Cheque Presentation
As part of our hospital funding tour, I joined representatives from RVH to close out our 2016 funding commitment to the hospital. During the last 10 years we have provided RVH with almost $20 million, including $1.75 million for 2016, to support their expansion of services and programs. As I’ve noted in previous communications, we closed out a 10-year, $30 million funding commitment to our area hospitals in 2016 and just recommitted another $45 million from 2017-2031 to support capital projects at all of our area hospitals.


Upcoming Initiatives:


Manufacturers’ Forum

We are working with area partners to host our second annualManufacturers’ Forum on November 30 at Horseshoe Valley Resort. The forum is designed for those working for or operating businesses in the manufacturing sector.  Topics will address and respond directly to input received from representatives of the manufacturing sector who have identified key areas of interest and opportunity for growth and improvement, including labour shortages and business-to-business interactions. Our first instalment of this event was held in 2016 and it was a tremendous success. We look forward to another great day of discussions, and idea sharing as we work to support our businesses and grow this sector in Simcoe County. Registration is still open, please visit:

Volunteer Recruitment at our Long Term Care Homes

We’re hosting volunteer recruitment fairs at all four of our long term care and seniors’ services villages. We already have two in the books, having hosted the events yesterday and we’re gearing up for two more at Georgian Village in Penetanguishene and Sunset Manor in Collingwood on November 25 – each event runs from 9am-1pm that day.  Volunteers are crucial to the programs and supports we offer at our facilities. They enhance and enrich the lives of clients in our long-term care homes and seniors programs through roles including visitation, meal assistance, special events, volunteer co-ordination, and much more. We can’t thank our volunteers enough for all they do to help make Simcoe strong.


Holiday activities and programming at the Simcoe County Museum

We are set to host our popular Christmas, Past and Present event on December 7 and 8 at the Simcoe County Museum. The event runs from 6-9 pm both evenings. We are also excited to unveil our new “All I Wanted for Christmas” exhibit starting November 21st. The exhibit features real-life personal stories, contributed by media personalities, Museum friends, and our residents. The stories combine thoughtful, humorous, and heartwarming tales of past Christmas memories and have been paired with unique objects from the Museum’s collection to illustrate the stories.  At the centre of this exhibition, there is a Giving Tree. Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for the Giving Tree. Donations will support our Paramedic Toy Drive. 


Completed Meetings and Events:

As always, I’ve commented on a few highlights below. A formal list of meetings are presented to Council as part of the Warden’s Communications - available at

I met with Mayors Clarke, Hughes and Burkett for our monthly discussion at the City of Orillia

I attended the RVH Hospital Recognition event to provide our 2016 funding

I was joined by Paramedic Services staff and Mayor Lehman for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Barrie-Simcoe Emergency Services Campus

As mentioned above, I joined staff in Economic Development for a conference in Chicago

I joined Mayor McKay for a walk and talk in Midland with Tourism Minister Eleanor McMahon regarding funding a study for a Great Lakes Cruise line opportunity.

I joined Mayor Bill French and Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma for a pit expansion and water taking public discussion session in Wyebridge.

I joined Mayor Cooper and Deputy Warden Dowdall for a tour of a homeless youth shelter.

I joined Mayors French, Cooper, Vanderkruys , Deputy Mayor Burton and Deputy Warden Dowdall for the launch of the Click Connect Portal.


Media Interviews:

I completed a few media interviews over the past month including a response to the AWARE legal fee matter to the Alliston Herald and Barrie Examiner and I completed an interview about our living wage report with the Orillia Packet and Times.


Things to take note of


Main Street Reconstruction - A public meeting with the contractor is scheduled for Tuesday, November 21st 2017 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Brian Orser Hall. Please see that attached for further details.


Fred Hacker wants to encourage you to join him on Tuesday November 21 where his guest on “A Day in the Life” will be acclaimed Toronto lawyer Tim Danson.  They will discuss some of the highest profile stories in recent Canadian history such as the case that brought Sunday shopping to Ontario …  The arrest and trial of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka and the highly controversial Homolka plea bargain (Tim represents the families of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French) …. Pierre Elliott Trudeau and the Meech Lake Constitutional Accord (Tim did research for Trudeau)….  Steve Moore, the NHL hockey player who was the victim of the horrific attack by Todd Bertuzzi,  ……  Doors open at 7; program at 7:30 pm. Tickets online or at MCC Box Office.


North Simcoe Community Futures speakers series continues on November 23rd. . The topic is Wave Accounting, We certainly feel that this session will be very beneficial for businesses who get bogged down with the paperwork.  Online registration required and there is no fee to attend.  Please see the attached for details.


The Annual First Light event kicks off at Sainte-Marie and the Martyrs’ Shrine. The event runs from 5:30-9:00 p.m. November 23-25, November 30 to December 2 and December 7 to 9. For more information visit their website at


Wye Marsh Annual Fund Raising Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Join them for an evening of fun, food and prizes as they raise funds to PRESERVE OUR POLLINATORS. The evening features live entertainment from Nick Howell, a silent auction and wonderful food. Tickets are $ 85.00 each and can be purchased on line at or by calling 705-526-7809 extension 217.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe is hosting a charity bonspiel Sunday, November 26 at the Midland Curling Club- 474 King St. Midland. 2 open draws- Teams of 4 play two 4 end draws.  Lunch and prizes included.  I have attached their poster for your reference.

Join our Town of Penetanguishene at their Annual Santa Claus Parade, hosted in partnership with the Penetanguishene Lions Club. Saturday, December 2nd. Parade starts at 4:00pm on MAIN STREET from Jeffery Street to the Town Dock.  PARADE ENTRIES ~ VOLUNTEERS Please contact; Marlena Ladouceur, Recreation & Events Coordinator
705-549-7453 x 223  AND  Our FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS will follow immediately after the parade, with the Annual Tree Lighting at the Town Dock, followed by Christmas festivities at the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum. Face Painting, BBQ, Live Music, Crafts, Hot Beverages, Cookies, Horse & Wagon Ride and more!

A startling one third of all deaths, in people over 35, are due to blockage of blood supply to the heart (coronary heart disease). To reduce this mortality, experts are emphasizing prevention and using new protocols to speed intervention, more specific tests for diagnosis and advanced techniques to improve blood supply. The next “OUR HEALTH” event speaks to this issue and is titled  ”Heart Ache”.  They have three very knowledgeable panelists: a cardiologist, a pharmacist, and a heart patient, to bring us up-to-date on the latest and best care for North Simcoe residents with coronary heart disease.  Join in on December 5 at 7:30 PM at the MCC to hear about new directions in cardiac care. Please invite your friends and colleagues. Thanks to their generous sponsors, admission is once again free with registration. Obtain your tickets early to avoid disappointment.  PS this event is the 10th in the “Our Health” series and to date we have heard from over 30 speakers!


December 6th – La Maison Rosewood Shelter will commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women at 6:00 p.m. at Operation Grow located at 436 Bay Street in Midland.


My week ahead,

Monday – sees me at a Physician Recruitment Steering committee meeting, I review this week’s council meeting agenda, I  meet with our county media team and I meet with our SWIFT CAO for an update session.


Tuesday – as part of our County Economic Development efforts I tour manufacturing facilities in Ramara Township,  I have a Team meeting at the County and the evening finds me at our Main Street Reconstruction Public update session.


Wednesday – I meet with Mayor McKay and County staff to discuss the cruise ship opportunity, I meet with Lakehead University for an update on their undertakings and the evening finds me in Council Chambers for a Town Council meeting.  You can review the agenda by clicking on the link below.


Committee of the Whole


Thursday – I attend an emergency management meeting, I get to join in on our annual County of Simcoe employee recognition ceremony and for the first time, at least to my recollection all four area councils are getting together for an update on the Provincial Growth Plan Implementation,  there will be a  Presentation by North Simcoe Planning Directors .  The meeting occurs at 7:00 p.m. at the Midland Library, you’re welcomed to  attend and listen in.


Friday,  I  join Midland Deputy Mayor Mike Ross for our monthly update breakfast and I attend the Bi-Monthly sharing session with our good friends at Waypoint.


Saturday,  T’is the season !  I  join in on the 40th annual Midland Santa Claus Parade, starts at 11:00 a.m. on King Street,

That is it for this week, speak soon,

Mayor Gerry

Gerry Marshall

Warden County of Simcoe,

Mayor Town of Penetanguishene,

County (705) 726-9300 Ext. 1260

Town (705)-549-7453


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