Friday, November 12, 2021

Simcoe County Waste Management Collection- Another ill conceived and planned Debacle


Why does the County of Simcoe seem to always miss the target with its Waste Management system. First it was Site 41 the ill-fated landfill that was planned to be placed on some of most pristine water aquifers in the world in Tiny Township. The next will be the bad planning and location of their Environmental Resource Recovery Centre, and to be clear, is an organics processing plant along with a sorting and transfer station on the Freele Tract Forest lands on Horseshoe Valley Road with wetlands and steep slopes along with a traffic safety issue that will cost millions to correct. By their own admission, the best location would have been on Snow Valley Road west of Bayfield on Ministry Lands called the Hasty Tract behind the museum that are already controlled because of soil contamination from chemical leakage and a major fire years ago. That would have been a better location instead of in the middle of a forest in an agricultural area. Now as of last week, we have launched a very expensive collection system that will cost us all at least 50% more by their own admission and no guarantee that will be the end of the costs for this new adventure into the unknown. If it’s such a great solution as touted by the Warden and County staff, why is Barrie and Orillia not following suit?

The big problem is that as soon as we get a new Warden and Council they seem to have a frontal lobotomy causing them to always revert to staff instead of providing good leadership. I witnessed that during my 4 years on County Council and found out quickly that, I along with a few, were even willing to question anything coming from staff. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are some excellent staff at the County, but they are there to provide the needs of the people as proposed and tabled by the local Mayors and Deputy Mayors and to be frank your elected members are coming up short. They seem to twiddle with some minor adjustments of proposals and then rubber stamp the next thing put on their tables.

I sent this to Mayor Allen and Deputy Mayor Coughlin. I heard nothing from Allen, which I expected. At least Coughlin responded that she directed my comments and questions to staff at the County. They both ignored the fact that the questions were directed to them.

"County Councillors Allen and Coughlin:

I am curious how deep the research went into the development of the new robotic container and waste management system for the County that is supposed to launch Nov 1. As one that managed and taught Lean and JIT management for 40 years, there appears to be some huge gaps.

The one consideration that seems lacking was engagement of the public (the actual user) or launching a real world pilot program in one small area with a mix of residential and rural homes. This new system may be as misguided as was Site 41 was 10 years ago that finally died a very expensive death. I hope Rick Milne’s plea to delay the program did not fall on deaf ears at the County. (I now find out that plea fell on deaf ears)

Some questions and observations:

1. The intent of all Waste systems is to reduce volumes and direct waste to the proper streams. How will garbage containers that will hold about 4 standard bags of garbage reduce waste, as I expect it will increase the volume?

2. Simple question, “why are all the containers so large?”

3. I timed the current truck that travels my 1.6 km of road and makes 8 stops on one side and it takes him less than 10 minutes from Sunnidale to CR90. The travel time of the truck is about 4 minutes with stops and starts. Using the robotic arm, the driver will spend at least 90 seconds to 2 minutes at each stop or about 12 to 16 minutes with a total time of 16 to 20 minutes or about 60 to 100% increase in time required or stated another way a reduction of 40 to 50% efficiency. Does the new contract include doubling the number of trucks and drivers? Did you not know that in the world of truck driving in Canada at the present time the void is about 15,000 shy of what is needed? This alone will cause a total collapse with the new system, aside from the normal start-up headaches. The poor performance of Progressive will pale in comparison to this start-up.

4. With the humungous size of the new containers, did anyone even consider the difficulty of getting these monstrosities to the road side? Currently, I use a small children’s wagon in summer and a small sleigh in winter to transport everything to the roadside. How am I expected to get it there now, pull out my farm tractor and loader? I also expect being close to the roadside that my usual 8 a.m. snow plow will push it back into my driveway much further than the arm could ever reach.

As my County representative, use your voice and put a pause on this ill conceived solution to waste management. This is not sunny flat Florida where it might work well in densely populated areas with no snow." That ends the email to Mayor Allen and Deputy Mayor Coughlin.

Some further thoughts.

My daughter in Midland lives on a narrow lot and has a short driveway and will have to leave these unsightly monsters at the edge of the sidewalk as she has no other place for them unless she moves the two cars out of the driveway when they are moved. I saw an illustration by the County suggesting they be left near the edge of the road behind a hedge or fence. Who will pay for that addition if you don't currently have those amenities, such as myself? I think even Warden Cornell suggested that idea as a solution. I like Cornell and am quite surprised that he allowed himself to be the puppet for this ill conceived plan. So the County elected officials are suggesting that you put on your parker and make multiple trips during the week and travel to the end of your driveway to deposit each small collection of your garbage, recycling and compost, instead at depositing it at your back door as I do? Bizarre! And by the way Warden Cornell on CTV News commented this new approach is only costing you 50% more than the old contract. Didn't seem to phase or concern him one bit. I guess he forgets he is also a taxpayer.

Usually solutions are to resolve problems. The problem was a scarcity of good drivers and missed pickups. I will even agree with a small part of the problem being back strains, not because of garbage or recycling handling but the weight of the compost bucket, which after having hauled it to the curb many times, is heavy. Those are the only things that needed addressed, not the entire waste transportation system. A hybrid system of the current manual load with a small arm to help lift Compost would have been a better transition.

We now have a solution that is solving problems we never had and it will definitely not be a smooth transition and is quite expensive and they are adding costs ever day, such as over a million the first year to allow a limited exchange in size of containers plus adding more staff to an already bloated County operation.

It is unfortunate that this is just the next faux pas in the County waste management journey and it won't be the last unless we have some elected County Councillors step up and take charge instead of simply delegating to staff, which seems to be the norm at the Municipal level, as we see in Springwater happening all the time. Our Mayor and Deputy Mayor are coated with Teflon and nothing sticks to them.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Municipal Drains-Local Initiatives-Codes of Conduct


Springwater Township – Municipal Drains and NVCA

There are multiple municipal drains throughout the township and many date back well over a century. They are intended to prevent flooding on some of the richest farmland in the Township especially in what I call the Minesing flatlands. The Township recently updated the municipal drain list and provided a report to Council. There is one major drain in the south of the Township called the Swaley which relieves flooding on farmland from about Horseshoe Valley Road on the west end of Anten Mills and drains various farms all the way southwest across Highway 26 to the Minesing Wetlands. The approved 1917 (Over 100 years ago) outlet in the Minesing Swamp is the Nottawasaga River. Over the years through build up of silt and fallen trees, the Swaley outlet is plugged, causing flooding and backup on farmland eastward as far as Vespra Valley Road and beyond. When I was on Council, I wanted this addressed as it has been lingering for about 20 years and one farmer on George Johnston Road was in regular contact with me (and knocked on my door this week) about Spring flooding impact on his 50 acres. When he complained, apparently someone at the County told him to think about growing rice! The Township engaged a specialist who came up with a solution and the Township wants to move forward. However the NVCA doesn’t want to allow any disturbance of the wetlands even though they are ultimately responsible to provide the outlet according to the original agreement. They are now the barrier in the Township’s initiative. Ironically the NVCA’s mandate is to prevent flooding and natural disasters but in this case the NVCA are part of the problem and a hindrance.  The Township and the Expert are appearing at the next NVCA Board Meeting to plead their case. Let’s see if the inconsistent decisions of the NVCA will continue or will they do the right thing and get this resolved once and for all.

Carson Ridge – AED – Automatic External Defibrillator

I was quite impressed with the presentation by the resident for the community group who are raising funds for a local AED in the Carson Ridge neighbourhood. They were simply asking that the Township to provide a location and permission in the local Park. These types of initiatives make our communities safer, especially as we age and might overexert ourselves and be the subject of a sudden cardiac arrest. I don’t particularly understand why some on Council wanted to jump in and pay the full cost even though the residents have agreed to fund the capital cost. I fully support the Township providing a location and even the power source, but let’s allow neighbours to fund worthwhile projects such as this and not be coughing up taxpayer money when not asked. Over my 25 years back in Springwater, I have seen many initiatives, especially our community pavilions, built as partners with the Township rather than just expecting a handout from the Township.  That is how we can have amenities in our local areas and not burden the general taxpayer with added debt.

Codes of Conduct – A Blessing or a Curse?

The township is working on an update of its Code of Conduct for Council Members. This was mandated by the Province, even though the MPP’s don’t have one. All you have to do is read the various reports, after complaints are filed, and see that they are a waste of time and tax dollars. What I find troublesome is the fact that the Codes themselves are being written by the Integrity Commissioner that is hired by the Township. (Springwater has already fired its first IC because of poor and inconsistent performance). I find it unusual that the law is effectively written by the Judge and their opinion is not subject to any appeal process, if the report is approved and acted on by the local Council, except for possibly a Judicial Review which is very expensive. The Codes are being used more for “Gotcha” moments rather than improving our local governance. To illustrate my point, read up on some of the reports for Barrie complaints. Municipal residents are well protected by the existing Municipal Act, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and all the Anti Bullying and Harassment legislation that are on the books. To be frank, even though I had no problem having a code during my 4 years, Codes always are and will be a waste of time, money and will resolve nothing. I would be asking the Province to repeal that requirement instead of trying to improve it.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Springwater Second Units and Extreme Off Road Machines


Springwater Secondary Residential units – Approved!

I congratulate Council on the approval of secondary residential units on most properties. With the high cost of housing today, this is an opportunity for new or retiring families to remain on properties that have been owned by families for many years. Each lot, assuming it can meet the conditions, such as servicing and setbacks, can have two additional residential units. One has to be part of the main residential unit and the other in an accessory building. In either case the secondary units cannot be more than 40% of floor space of the primary residential unit. If you have a larger home on a large lot, you can effectively have two units if I stayed under the 1200 square foot limit in each. However, before getting too excited, if you live in one of the new subdivisions, there is a 90% chance this new bylaw won’t apply as many new residential units, being larger in size in new developments, are at the lot coverage limit. For those that can accommodate these units, remember, down the road you cannot sever the extra unit at some time and cash in. I have fully supported this concept and it will provide some much needed housing.

Extreme Off-Road Vehicles on Roads?

Just over a year ago Council approved a pilot program to allow Side by Side UTV’s and ATV’s on Township Roads. When I was on Council there was a request to do that and we had a number of open houses on the subject as it is both a blessing for the riders and a curse for those that live close by well travelled roads near trail heads. I had suggested a “toe in the water” approach which was to allow riders to travel from their homes to the closest trail head, travel to restaurants and gas stations close to trails, but this Council decided to open it up. I am not sure how it has worked out but I know there are a lot more ATV’s and dirt bikes on my road than ever before and most have no plates, travel well over the speed limit and are definitely not sporting stock muffler systems. What complicated the matter more is there are very few police patrols in the Township as Policing, except for some speed monitoring from time to time, is non existence. I know the bylaw amendment is meant to grant dirt bikes and 6 and 8 wheel Argo type vehicles with the same privileges as ATV’s, UTV’s and Side by Sides. I think the definition opens a can of worms. (“Extreme terrain vehicle” means an off-road vehicle, that, (a) Has six or eight wheels, the tires of which are all in contact with the ground, (b) Has no tracks that are in contact with the ground, (c) Has seats that are not designed to be straddled, and (d) Has a minimum cargo capacity of 159 kilograms). Is not a dually pickup or an old army vehicle with 6 or more wheels an extreme vehicle by the bylaw’s definition? This bylaw needs a maximum weight, width and length definition or it will be a nightmare. The local clubs do a great job at monitoring and policing their members, but the influx of GTA riders is becoming its own pandemic when it comes to riding these vehicles on our roads and trails. I guess we will see what happens.

Federal Budget-Where is the Budget Fairy?

As I predicted a year ago, by the end of this year we will have in fact almost doubled the National Debt in a short time period to just shy of $1.5 Trillion dollars. We have also went from a “Debt to GDP” ratio of around 45% in a slow growing economy to over 100% in a recessed economy. Canada now rivals the USA in debt ratios. Discussing concern about debts seems to fall on deaf ears regardless of political stripes. In two years we will have accumulated what took us 154 years to create in the past. In modern terms we are taking on roughly 100 years of a typical annual operating deficit in two fiscal years. I have found no one to explain how this will all work out in the end and how we can recover. I am shocked at the short sightedness of all of us in these times of COVID-19. It appears that we are all waiting for the budget fairy to solve our monetary crisis, because our Federal and Provincial Leaders seem to have no idea how to do it. I have an idea that stems from the good old days, before the budget fairy, when you ran out of money. Tighten your belt, cut your spending, don’t commit to any new spending you can’t afford (paid sick days, paid babysitting and environmental programs such as a carbon tax), and then see what happens. I guess that is too complicated!

 COVID - Question

I have a lot more to say with the changing status of COVID-19, but will save it for another article. However, I have a question. Why has New Zealand and Australia been able to control COVID-19 so well? Do some reading and you will be shocked at the simple approach they took from the beginning. In the meantime, lets do what we can by Wearing a Mask, Keeping Physical Distance and Sanitizing and consider seriously taking the vaccine if you are able.  I have followed the Barrie Meridian Place lockdown protests. I fully support their right to protest and the peaceful nature in which they have conducted themselves so far. However, if you want to be credible, at least follow the three aforementioned COVID health safety practices and more people will support you. By not doing so you become part of a problem rather than part of a solution.

What Can we do with COVID-19?


The Passing of Prince Philip – What can I do?

I was intrigued with some of the news reporting on Prince Philip after his passing. The one thing that struck me was a speech I believe he made in 1957 on one of his trips. He stated that as citizens let’s not depend on government for everything, let’s do our part individually to help the common good. His words were about three years prior to John F Kennedy becoming President of the United States. The words were not as eloquent as John F Kennedy’s famous phase, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”, but both hit on a point that we all should be reflecting on now as we fight this pandemic of COVID-19. We all seem to want the government to take care of everything and almost from a sense of, “It is their duty.” We as citizens make up Canada and elect leaders to represent us, not control us. We must challenge ourselves in this most difficult time of our history and ask, “What can I do as an individual to get through this and help my neighbour”. There are some tell tale signs that people will help. I am a member of St Mary’s Parish in Barrie and Family Director with the Knights of Columbus Council. Each year we do food drives for the Foodbank and have collected close to 7,000 pounds of food in the past. Of course, in the last year, because of COVID-19 we cannot do that. So instead of gathering actual food, on Palm Sunday Weekend at all the masses and on Holy Thursday celebrations we collected donations of cash, cheques and gift cards. The total contributions were $9,500 which equates to close to 20,000 pounds of food since $1 buys on average 2 pounds of food. So instead of joining the mobs attacking our governments, ask yourself, as prompted by both Prince Philip and John F Kennedy, “What can you do?”


COVID Control Restrictions - Confusing?

Now that we have entered a “stay at home” order and the restriction levels keep changing, I understand the frustration of our small retail businesses as they try to survive and cope with the impact on their business, while large retail and big box stores profit during this crisis. When you think about it, we have 7 levels of restriction under Ontario COVID restriction rules. They are Green which is meant to prevent; Yellow which is meant to protect; Orange which is meant to restrict; Red which is meant to control; Grey which is lockdown and of course, Stay at Home. Is that not a little confusing? There seems to be a lot of overlap. Green at a stoplight means you can go, so as a starter that is very confusing. So normal behaviour is not even classified except for the fact that at some point the government will be a lifting all restrictions. Let’s simplify it. The first level should be Yellow as we all understand that as a warning that there is danger ahead and to be cautious. If things are getting worse then yes, Red makes sense as it is asking us all to stop and take more control of our situations. When it becomes out of control as it is now, then let’s have Black which signifies things are in dire trouble and significant lives are being lost. If we attached appropriate controls to each of these classifications, and now with over a year of information, could we not put appropriate levels of restrictions attached to each? If we did our controls in a less confusing manner, we can and will get ahead of this terrible pandemic. But changing the rules and the sub-categories constantly is obviously meeting with frustration, resistance and a loss of confidence in our government at all levels. That will not help us overcome this crisis. In the meantime, lets do what we can by Wearing a Mask, Keeping Physical Distance and Sanitizing and consider seriously taking the vaccine if you are able.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Springwater News Support - Support Local Business


Springwater News – We support you!

It was great to see the many letters of support for our fine local community paper in the last edition of Springwater News. It is nice that letters were sent to the paper, but I encourage those that wrote the letters to also send them or email them to the Township and address them to Council. I say that as our two current heads of council have a knack at reaching out to there supporters soliciting letters supporting their position and they may become the only reference for some future motion. As you know the Mayor and Deputy Mayor did not support retaining the status quo and were in favour of cutting the Springwater News portion of the budget in half. If you do not send your letters to Council supporting Springwater News, there will not be an official record of support, and in the next term someone could argue that they only have opposition to supporting our local paper, so why not cut off advertising.

Supporting Township Business During COVID

It was good to see the province adjust their restrictions on our local eateries under the Red designation. I encourage you to get out and support our restaurants in Midhurst, Elmvale and Hillsdale and don’t forget the Fry Guy in Anten Mills. They can use the business and they employ many local people. My wife and I specifically frequent a local restaurant once a week and do so in a low volume time. I feel very safe doing so as the precautions they have taken are above and beyond in my view. It would be good if possibly the Township could develop an Eat Local and promote our local eating establishments. Now that we are in a Stay at Home order try to help our businesses by take out or curb side pickup.

COVID Spread

As mentioned before, I believe research will confirm most of the spread is coming from the large retailers and pharmacies. They are permitted up to 75% capacity. Did you know that most retail and big box stores never achieve more than 25 to 30% of their actual safe occupancy capacity even during Christmas in non-COVID times? In other words, with big retail there are no restrictions! When this started, there were lineups, the counting of people as they entered and control, and now nothing. There should be hard and fast restrictions in these stores of no more than 50 people at a time and that would reduce the spread. In the meantime, lets do what we can by Wearing a Mask, Keeping Physical Distance and Sanitizing and consider seriously taking the vaccine if you are able.


Again, please remember these are my thoughts and I am not asking you to agree. I respect your freedom of expression and encourage you to SPEAK UP, before that freedom is taken from us!! This is already happening in Social Media and is worsening each day!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Deputy Mayor Rant - Support Local Business

Springwater News – Deputy Mayor Facebook Rant – Yikes!

My lead in on this one is “Holy Crap!” This is what Jennifer Coughlin Deputy Mayor published on her Facebook Page a few weeks back. Her words are in italics my comments in parenthesis and bold print. You decide if she really is supporting local business.

Coughlin Writes:


In today’s edition of the Springwater News, (referring to the March 4th edition) owner/editor Michael Jacobs states that I was one of three members of Council who “voted not to support local businesses in their municipality.”

This entirely false statement pertains to a vote of Council regarding a print media report on February 17th. ….. Jacobs, in his self proclaimed bias musing, does elaborate on comments made by other members of Council, however failed to mention the following.

….. I affirm that I would not support an increase to the print media budget and indicate that we could redistribute the existing budget to include communication in the Barrie Advance (Doesn’t that take away half of the Springwater News Revenue, a Springwater business and give it to a Barrie Business?) I suggest that we reach out to our residents to determine how they would prefer to receive municipal updates. (Idea has merit but that was not the subject matter of the Report. The Report specifically was on the use of Print Media, nothing else.) I state that “under no circumstance am I suggesting that we pull out of print media” and subsequently indicate my support for option three in the report (Option 3- That the Township advertises on a weekly basis shared between the Barrie Advance and the Springwater News.) with no budget increase. (How can you do that unless you cut the Springwater News budget in half?) Again … I say that the township needs to “remain present in every issue of the Springwater News”, and yet again two minutes later reiterate that “we remain visual in the Springwater News”. (How do you do that with no budget increase and be in two Print Media at the same time? I guess she thinks Springwater News will merrily still provide all the free space that they have for years for the Mayor’s column, Library and other announcements, even though the Township would have turned their backs on them. I wish I lived in her fantasy world along with her mentor?)

I voted against option one, the status quo “that the Township continue with the ongoing services of the Springwater News on a bi-weekly basis and does not engage the regular services of the Barrie Advance”. (I don’t think that is a vote of support.)

Just as there are some residents who either can not get or choose not to receive the Advance, there are residents who choose not to open the Springwater News (Well we know by her post that our Deputy Mayor reads it.). Just as there are residents who rely fully on electronic news sites and social media to keep up with what’s happening locally. (This was not the subject of the Report. Possibly an attempt to distract the audience I guess)

Jacobs also states that “to lose the income from the township would shutter the Springwater News”. The Beer Store just announced it is closing. Should the township start bulk orders in an attempt to subsidise this local business too? (I don’t think we use the Beer Store for Print Communications and since when did advertising in a local newspaper become a subsidy?)

I personally and professionally support our local businesses. (Not doing a good job with Springwater News!) What I do not support is a less efficient, less effective use of taxpayer dollars in order to maintain a status quo. If we can reach more residents for the same money, why wouldn’t we? (Sounds logical but the Report was only on the use of Print Media? If the Report had been a review of communication media in general, then her comments would have made sense.)

I also take exception that her Facebook heading states Deputy Mayor. Doesn’t that make her caustic comments an official position of Springwater Council?

Township Support for Business

When the Council was discussing broadband over a month ago, there was some suggestion of possibly dipping into the Community Improvement Program (CIP) funding. In these times of COVID maybe we can learn something from our friends in Barrie. One thing they did at the beginning of the COVID crisis was to provide a COVID kit. It included, floor stickers for physical distancing, samples of signage, “shop local” stickers for doors, face shields and even some small containers of hand sanitizer. I know this as I volunteer and manage an organization’s hall in Barrie and I touched base with the City and the next day they delivered my COVID package FREE. As far as Springwater and the use of the CIP funding over the past year, I didn’t see a lot of applications for the type of improvements funded under the CIP, so why not take some of that money and develop a special temporary COVID relief program for local business? I know of some local businesses that have spent thousands of dollars on glass and plexiglass barriers, special sanitizing and fogging equipment and other PPE’s. With a motion from Council some of this funding could go to help our businesses as they struggle through this pandemic. Maybe grants of 50% of their costs up to a $1,000 might be an idea. I would even suggest using some of the funds to launch a media campaign on radio, TV and yes local print to encourage all of us to shop local. If we are in it together, which seems to be the elected official catch phrase these days, shouldn’t the Township belly up to the bar and not just hide out with Zoom meetings until COVID passes?

A special note to the Coughlin Posse. Again, please remember these are my thoughts and I am not asking you to agree. I respect your freedom of expression and encourage you to SPEAK UP, before that freedom is taken from us!! One of our previous Councillors (Coughlin’s self proclaimed mentor) tried to do that about 7 years back and tabled an unsuccessful gag bylaw resolution, just so you know.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Springwater News Community Builder - COVID Lockdown Insanity

 Springwater News – A true community builder

I was surprised at the last  Springwater Council meeting when there was a report and discussion on print communication. Council was presented with various options with the main focus on either retaining the status quo with Springwater News, or splitting print advertising between the Springwater News and the Barrie Advance. What surprised me more was that the motion to retain the status quo was only supported by Councillors Cabral, Hanna, Ritchie and Ma-Chapman. Of course it would have helped if the chair of the meeting (Mayor Allen) would have kept the discussion on track, rather than allowing it to run off in tangents with broad discussions on communications and social media which was not the subject of the report. The communications person tried to mention a couple of times that this was a discussion only on the use of print media but that seemed to get missed in the confusing dialogue. What should have taken 10 minutes took about an hour. That is why you need strong leadership at these meetings, so Council members have clarity on the matter before them.

I took recent copies of the Advance and Springwater News and did a comparison. Both editions were 24 pages. The Springwater News pages are 50% larger to start with. About 20% of the Springwater News was advertising while 80% of Advance was advertising and virtually no news except for a few Barrie related matters. What keeps the Advance alive is the paid distribution of flyers which is the main reason for their existence. The Springwater News is received in your mailbox while, in my case and two snowblower shear pins later, the Advance is thrown in my driveway and becomes a brick in cold weather.

I grew up in the north part of Springwater, then known as Flos and, as the old timers know, Flos and Vespra became Springwater in 1994. It has developed into a true community of communities and I do attribute much of the glue holding it together to the Springwater News Community Newspaper. By simply reading an edition you do know what is happening in our roughly 525 square kilometer township. Each community is welcome to share their news and you see community articles from Midhurst, Hillsdale, Anten Mill, Grenfel and others, so we become connected. We also get regular updates from our MP and MPP which is quite helpful. It boggles my mind why our Mayor, who gets free space for a column, opposed it along with our Deputy Mayor. The reason the Springwater News is effective is because it is locally owned by Michael Jacobs and is not under the corporate thumb of someone analysing spread sheets in an office tower in Toronto or Montreal, dictating how it will be run. It would be nice to see readers compliment the work that has been done by the Springwater News to hold and unify our beloved Springwater over the last quarter of a century.

COVID19 – Another Lockdown – Does it even work?

We are back in the Grey zone but with many stores open at 50% capacity which, if nothing else, only adds to the confusion as that is a change from the lockdown at Christmas. So we, Toronto and Peel are in the Lockdown while York Region, which is about 5 times our Simcoe Muskoka population is in Red with virtually everything open with some restrictions. Considering we have many commuters to the Toronto and York Region areas, how will that stop the spread? The only losers again are those that are shutdown such as our restaurants and small retailers. I believe most of our community spread is from our larger big box stores and the careless behaviour of some individuals who gather indiscriminately. I do question the safety of the large retailers as I frequent them. I went to Shoppers Drug Mart twice in one day. There was no one monitoring people arriving, there was no sanitizer in the sanitizing station on either occasion, no one is disinfecting the self check outs and this is a business in the health care field! I went to Canadian Tire and again virtually no control or monitoring of any note. The spread I really do believe is from the crowds at these large retailers and not from your local restaurant or small business that has spent thousands on plexiglass seating and workspace separation. These smaller businesses have clear protocols and constant monitoring. I question, and would love to see any statistics that merited them being closed after the first lockdown. What is worse is that if you are a person of faith you cannot gather in a congregation in your Church with more than 10 people to worship. The statistics do show that few if any infection spread occurred in our churches, as most churches implemented some of the most restrictive protocols right from the start. Why are they not being allowed gatherings if sanitizing, mask wearing and physically distancing requirements are met? We are now a year into COVID and for some reason, the medical experts are running the ship and they keep changing the rules. We didn’t elect them either. I believe in science but when someone is making a decision that impacts so many and they as professionals have nothing to lose, I do expect our elected officials at times to question them and be the final sanity check. That happened in the beginning with Ford but now he seems to be gun shy which is disappointing. The only good news is that vaccinations, and some natural herd immunity is building as reported by John Hopkins University Health Centre and we will be out of this badly organized and executed Pandemic Plan. I fear the aftermath of the unbridled sovereign debts we have created will haunt us for three generations economically because of COVID being so badly managed by elected officials at all levels of government.