1. Deadly year on the roadsThe December 12th death of a 65-year-old Brampton woman, who police concluded stepped into live traffic that night in Loretto, put a tragic exclamation point on what's been the deadliest year in the Nottawasaga OPP detachment area in recent memory. There were five fatalities in 2014, one more than in 2013. Speed, alcohol, lack of seatbelt restraints and inattentiveness, are among the factors OPP listed as causes. Two of the incidents include criminal charges, whose cases are expected to get fully underway in 2015.
2. Tornado Tuesdays
Tuesday, June 17th, late afternoon, Environment Canada
tracking a severe weather system in the region, which at 5:20 pm
touched down as an EF-2 tornado in Angus. By the time it lost its
ferocity about 15 minutes later near Barrie, its path of destruction
would change the lives of hundreds of people, cause varying degrees of
damage to more than 100 properties, estimated at over $30 million.
Mayor Terry Dowdall summed up the only positive aspect by calling it a
"miracle" nobody was killed. Exactly one week and almost to the hour
after the tornado struck in Angus, New Tecumseth would feel its impact
when an EF-1 tornado was confirmed to have touched down east of
Tottenham in the area of the 4th Line and 15 Sideroad. One home
sustained extensive damage, as did some barns and smaller structures
and trees, and no serious injuries were reported. It seemed for a few
weeks after that severe storms were hitting the area on Tuesdays.
Today, Essa continues the rebuilding process, and has struck a
committee to dole out approximately $140,000 in relief funds. The
provincial government recently informed the Township that it would not
be receiving any disaster relief funding, suggesting that insurance
covered most of the damage. Essa council this week made another plea
for reconsideration, seeking at least a matching amount. Residents and
businesses affected by the June 17th tornado have until January 30 to
apply to Essa's relief committee.
On November 6th, Honda announced an $857 million investment, including
an $85 million contribution from the Province, that secures the
Alliston assembly operations as the long term home of its best selling
Civic production, including its "next generation" relaunch. It's the
first time a Honda plant outside Japan has been designated as a 'global
lead plant.' The investment is over a three year period, will include
"leading-edge technologies for vehicle assembly and engine
manufacturing, as well as worker training and research and development
partnerships with Ontario universities and colleges. A Consolidation
Centre to service Plant 1 and the engine plant, similar to the one
nearly completed for Plant 2, is under construction.
5. Province rips up OPP contracts
Its seeds were planted in the fall 2013, but officially announced early in 2014 that the Province was ending and not renewing municipal service contracts for the OPP effective January 1, 2015. In its place, an itemized costing model that moved closer to actual costs and shopping list of policing services to chose from. In August, the Province finally unveiled its potential impacts, and it turns out New Tecumseth will save nearly $900,000 by 2018, while Essa's savings are $435k. Adjala-Tosorontio will experience an increase of nearly $60,000. The three communities have entered into a six month contract extension with the Nottawasaga OPP providing each with the opportunity to determine the long term policing decisions. New Tecumseth's draft 2015 budget is already feeling the positive impacts with a favourable variance - for the first time in memory - of over $500,000 in policing costs.
6. To Stop or not to Stop in Beeton
installation of a stop sign as a traffic calming measure in a
neighbourhood is generally greeted positively. Except the one installed
in Beeton at the intersection of Main Street and Tecumseth, whose
impacts depended on how close one lived near it. Those residents in
close proximity of the four-way stop complained about around the clock
noise created by the constant stop and go of traffic, compounded by
braking transport trucks. Council eventually ordered it removed, to
mixed reviews. The long term plan includes traffic lights, but those
are timed with residential development.
Its been a mostly positive year inside 200 Fletcher Crescent though it's bookended by the high and low of dealing with the Ministry of Health as it relates to its proposed expansion. Last winter, green-lighted by Central LHIN, SMH submitted its Plan B pre capital submission whose approval would trigger the five phases toward construction. In August, the hospital suffered a setback when the MOH replied that SMH would have to assume all the risks of moving forward with a master plan as more questions were raised. SMH's board of directors approved assuming those risks. The hospital's Foundation also announced the successful conclusion of its $2.76 million 'It takes you' fundraising campaign. The obstetrics department took a hit when Dr. Lawson announced she was leaving last summer. Her announced replacement, Dr. Abdulhafid's return remains pending his review by The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. And SMH's foray into the eye surgery health care delivery is entering its curtain call as Central LHIN has directed eye surgeries to be consolidated at Southlake and North York hospitals.
8. Tottenham growth spurt
The largest post-war expansion of residential development in Tottenham
got fully underway in 2014 on its way to doubling the former village's
population to 11,300 people by 2031. The subdivisions are all located
on the east side of the CP tracks, and will fill in the spaces between
north of Mill Street to the 3rd Line. A new multi-million dollar sewage
treatment plant is under construction, and the Town expects the results
of a Master Plan Study update regarding water in the spring. The
preferred solution involves the extension of the Georgian Bay water
pipeline to Tottenham to replace the ground water supply.
The abandoned Zellers store property on Young Street in Alliston, which
stood vacant for nearly two years, found new life this year as it was
chopped up into multiple retail units, whose first tenant, SportChek
opened last month. A new Giant Tiger outlet is scheduled to open in
22,000 sq. ft of the space early in 2015, Anytime Fitness is preparing
to open, and a further 10,000 sq. ft of space is for lease. And as Free
Press Online reported first last month, a Windsor based independent
theatre chain was in negotiations to open a multiplex theatre in the
back end of the property.
The Terri Caron as New Tecumseth's CAO era ended over summer after a
dozen years in the top administrative post. Ms. Caron was succeeded by
Brendan Holly, who followed her over from Vaughan, and served as Deputy
CAO. New to the senior management team include new Director of Parks,
Recreation and Culture; Director of Planning; and Clerk/Manager of
Administration. A new Deputy CAO, is imminent.
"No matter what
people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."
Source of each quote is linked.
- Ward 3 councillor Paul Whiteside
"And I said listen, I have a problem where I've accepted burden of care for all these patients, I continue to get referrals because I'm the only guy doing this in the immediate LHIN and the surrounding LHINs, what do you want me to do with these patients? The Chief of Staff said to me, 'do what everyone else does and send them downtown (Toronto)."
- Dr Baseer Khan
The stop sign itself, as far as I'm concerned, is horse feathers. There's nothing in there to say how many vehicles travel off of Dayfoot onto Main Street, or Centre Street on to Main Street. If there should be any kind of traffic regulation, it should be Centre and Main Street. You have cars parked there, and especially we have our winter hours, and it gets dark early, and people go to the restaurants or whatever, and unfortunately people park right up to the corner, and cars coming up on to Centre Street can't see what's going on."
- Beeton resident Frank Screen
"We didn't want to be too specific about the plans for the space following the completion of the additions to Plant 2. I know SPS will still be working there but I understand some space will be freed up. We just didn't want to launch any speculation that SPS would be moving their entire operation or that the real estate would become available for anyone who might be in the market. This way we make no commitments but we also don't start any rumours that the addition to Plant 2 means that there will be a 'For Sale' sign going up in front of SPS."
- Mike Page, HCM's Communications officer
"The Clean Water Act basically tells us as councillors and staff, we're all responsible personally for the integrity of our water system, and we could not knowingly put anything in the water that can harm people. There is a lot of evidence that fluoride causes harm. All these things I've been saying about fluoride, if you don't agree with what I've said, you should find out for yourself."
- Ward 8 councillor Jim Stone.
"Stop at the 10th Line, and drive your car to the 14th Line, that'll solve everybody's problem."
- Walter Davidson, of WD Potato
"The challenge that we have tonight is that unfortunately, early on in the process we didn't have a great estimate of the total expenditure. But at the end of the day, we still have a facility that's required, we still have an expansion that's required, and we have already invested significantly in designing this facility."
- Now former Mayor Mike MacEachern
"We need students to stand up and say that they're tired of it. We need students to get together and make a stand and say we're not going to take this anymore. We're not graduating from college to go into an entry level position with thousands of dollars worth of debt, and OSAP isn't going to cut, and our loans aren't going to cut it."
- Green Party candidate Jesseca Dundan
"We want to make sure the houses are safe before they come home. ... It's a miracle that no one was seriously injured or killed."
- Essa Mayor Terry Dowdall
"So, I may sound very upset, and I am very upset, as nobody seems to want to do anything here. I've gone and I've asked, and begged and pleaded to get things done, and basically I've been turned around and I'm the problem causer in this township."
- Frank Parulski
"We need to make changes in our caucus. Clearly caucus members want to be included in all major decision-making. It was that way many years ago when I started and we need to get back to that. In running for the interim leadership it was crystal clear from every single member of caucus that they felt disenfranchised."
- Simcoe Grey MPP Jim Wilson
"While the departure of Dr. Lawson is a loss to the Maternal Child Program at Stevenson, providing high quality birthing services remains our priority. We have experienced tremendous upward momentum and impressive progress over the past few years and would like to extend our thanks to Dr. Lawson for her dedication and professionalism. We wish her all the best."
- Dr. Oswaldo Ramirez, SMH Chief of Staff.
"I find it absolutely outrageous that this present administration blacks out details as to what we are spending legal fees on, and then justifies it on some gibberish language asserting a non existent solicitor and client privilege."
- Mayoralty candidate Kemp Kemp
"This is an incredibly important agreement for Stevenson, as Southlake is a major regional centre of excellence that offers comprehensive health programs, and has expertise in providing management services to hospitals. The Agreement will allow us to continue delivering safe, high-quality health care and at the same time, will support the level of service to the residents in our community."
- Jody Levac, SMH CEO
"I don't think it will be a shock to people to learn that I'm
liberal, or certainly would see myself more closely aligned with
Liberals than I am with other parties, but I've always tried to keep
party politics out of municipal governance as it should be.
"The Nottawasaga Detachment and the Ontario Provincial Police are
committed to traffic safety. The fatalities in 2014 are the result of
speed, alcohol and inattentiveness. We continue to be committed to
traffic safety in our communities by taking aggressive enforcement
actions and educating the public about the dangers of speed, alcohol,
lack of seatbelt restraints and inattentive drivers."