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Newsletter August 2023

It seems like we were just cutting the cake to celebrate Canada Day and here we are stepping into September. August has been a busy month as I continued to attend special celebrations and meet with Simcoe-Grey business owners and staff to hear about how our region is doing as we bounce back from the COVID years. Most reports have been very positive. Visitors have returned in large numbers to shop in our stores, sample our products and visit local attractions. We welcome them back and thank them for visiting Simcoe-Grey.


Tourism Industry Association of Ontario

Two Simcoe-Grey Hospitals Receive Funding for Emergency Departments

The Ontario government is investing an additional $44 million this year in 165 high volume and smaller emergency departments to reduce wait times and provide people with faster and easier access to timely care close to home.

Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson confirmed both Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston and the General & Marine Hospital in Collingwood/South Georgian Bay will receive funding.

General & Marine Hospital: $1,210,600.00
Stevenson Memorial Hospital : $961,100.00

MPP Brian Saunderson said he believes the province and Ministry of Health realize both Stevenson Memorial and the General & Marine hospitals are under stress, and while they are both undergoing capital campaigns to be expanded, additional services are needed now.

“This is very good news for the residents of Simcoe-Grey. This will help reduce wait times in both hospitals to make sure our residents can get faster access to the care they need when they need it” Saunderson added.

CLICK HERE to read more


A Visit to Nancy Island in Wasaga Beach

“I was treated to an up-close visit with the salvaged hull of the Nancy. It was quite amazing to see the burned out section of the hull that has survived since sinking in 1814. Standing beside the hull you can actually smell the smoke … truly amazing.”

Nancy Island Education Centre and Theatre
Left-to-right: Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson, Chief Park naturalist Marina Opitz, Friends of Nancy Island member Peter Willmott, Provincial Park Superintendent John Fisher, volunteer Rob Potter.

I had the privilege of having a tour of the historic Nancy Island site in Wasaga Beach recently. I was a guest of the Superintendent at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, John Fisher, Chief Park naturalist Marina Opitz, volunteer Rob Potter and Peter Willmott from the Friends of Nancy Island.

The Nancy Island Historic Site along the Nottawasaga River has served as a historic site since 1928 and remains one of the most photographed landmarks in Wasaga Beach.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE


Rainbow Club of South Georgian Bay Experience Ontario Grant

Left-to-right: Dr. Rehan Lakhani, Dr. John Miller, MPP Brian Saunderson, Michelle Kemper

The Rainbow Club of South Georgian Bay has received an Experience Ontario Grant of $55,939 for the Collingwood Pride Festival.

Ontario is investing $19.5 million to support festival and event organizers with carrying out innovative, in-person experiences that connect people with their communities and increase tourism spending. Experience Ontario 2023 program funding will support events throughout the province and enable recipient organizations to expand programming to draw visitors who will stay longer in local accommodations, eat in restaurants, shop at local retailers, and support local businesses.

“Our government understands the importance of tourism and culture to Ontario’s economic success. These sectors bring our communities to life,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Our government’s support for festivals and events through the Experience Ontario program demonstrates that we are supporting organizations across the province that are creating new and innovative opportunities to bring Ontarians together.”

“The festival and event industry plays a vital role in strengthening local economies in communities throughout the province,” said Brian Saunderson, MPP for Simcoe-Grey. “I am pleased that we are supporting event organizers right here at home who are creating innovative experiences that help people engage with their communities while creating jobs and boosting the local economy.”


Today, the Honourable Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board, and the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, on behalf of the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, together with the Honourable Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, and Donna Skelly, Member of Provincial Parliament for Flamborough—Glanbrook, announced over $219 million in combined federal and provincial funding for Rogers to bring high-speed Internet access to more than 66,000 households in over 300  communities, including over 600 Indigenous households, including the following communities in Simcoe-Grey:

  • Mair Mills
  • Collingwood
  • Lisle
  • New Wasaga Beach
  • Angus
  • Thornton
  • Rosemont
  • Singhampton
  • Avening
  • Duntroon
  • Wasaga Beach
  • Creemore
  • Stayner
  • Nottawa
  • New Lowell

For more details, please visit Ontario.ca/highspeedinternet and use our highspeed internet map to search by community and address. CLICK HERE to read the FULL NEWS RELEASE.


Ontario Preparing Students for Success

Students and parents can expect updated curriculum, more support and staffing for new school year

TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing new student supports and updating curriculum for the 2023-24 school year. These actions will refocus school boards on the development of foundational skills in reading, writing and math, supported by almost $700 million more in base education funding, $109 million in a new strategy to boost literacy rates, and the hiring of 2,000 more educators.

“Our government is delivering on our commitment to continue to raise the bar by boosting student success in the classroom with a focus on reading, writing, math, STEM disciplines, and learning about mental health literacy,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Our students deserve a stable and enjoyable school year with the full school experience of extracurriculars, clubs and more that build real life and job skills that go beyond the classroom.”

CLICK HERE to learn more – FULL NEWS RELEASE


Alliston Mosaic Nights Festival Celebrated Persian Culture

The Persian Mosaic Nights Festival was held in Riverdale Park in Alliston on Saturday Aug. 26th. Vendors were on site and visitors to the festival were treated to cultural dances, delicious Persian food, live music performances and a DJ dance party. It was a night for residents to join together to celebrate Persian culture in the diverse community of New Tecumseth, fostering inclusion and diversity in Simcoe County.

Kate Judge from MPP Brian Saunderson’s office was on hand to present festival organizers with a certificate of appreciation from the Province of Ontario and the riding of Simcoe-Grey. MP Terry Dowdall and New Tecumseth Mayor Richard Norcross also made presentations.


Alliston’s Stevenson Memorial Hospital Fracture Clinic 10th Anniversary

Cathy Laws, Administrative Assistant to Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson

In 2013, the local community in partnership with the SMH Foundation raised $300,000 in support of equipment needed for orthopaedic surgeries and care at SMH. Dr. Syndie Singer, orthopaedic surgeon, was then brought on board and has been facilitating the Clinic and providing orthopaedic consultations and surgeries for the past 10 years, caring for over 10,000 patients and managing over 50,000 patient visits.

The Fracture Clinic runs twice a week at SMH on Tuesdays and Fridays with Wednesdays dedicated to a foot and ankle orthopaedic consultation and surgery practice. Dr. Singer, along with a dedicated team including administrative support, an RPN and an orthopaedic technician, provide high-quality care and efficient service every week. The program continues to thrive and support patients in need of acute orthopaedic care, from fractures and broken bones being splinted and needing a cast, to more complex, chronic injuries requiring surgery and post-op care. Over the past five years, Dr. Singer has also been dedicating time weekly to emergency orthopaedic surgeries.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STEVENSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL NEWS RELEASE


Alliston and Collingwood Roundtable Discussions with Health Care Professionals

I had the privilege to attend two very productive roundtable discussions with frontline Simcoe-Grey Health Care Professionals recently. Because of the size of Simcoe-Grey and the distance between Stevenson Memorial Hospital and the General & Marine Hospital, two meetings were held, one in Collingwood and one in Alliston. Both sessions allowed participants to learn about current pressures and challenges facing health care services and opportunities for improving patient care delivery of primary care in our communities. 

Alliston session
Collingwood session

Working with our healthcare professionals remains a top priority. We are incredibly fortunate here in Simcoe-Grey to have so many outstanding individuals provide medical services to our residents.

MORE PHOTOS in the NEWS SECTION of my website


The Awen’ Waterplay splashpad is now open in Collingwood’s Harbourview Park

 Dr. Duke Redbird speaking at the opening ceremony

Collingwood citizens, Town officials, invited guests and of course, children, attended the highly anticipated official opening ceremony on Thursday August 24th.

Collingwood’s Director, Parks, Recreation & Culture, Dean Collver, was all smiles as he handled the MC duties. Collver acknowledged the critical project work provided by Dr. Duke Redbird who spoke at the ceremony providing an Indigenous perspective on the value of water on our planet, concluding his remarks with a poem he had written for this special occasion. Collver told the audience that the poem will soon find its place on display at the Awen’ Waterplay. Collingwood Mayor Yvonne Hamlin cut the ribbon surrounded by special guests, past and present council members including Simcoe-Grey MPP (former Collingwood Mayor and Deputy Mayor) Brian Saunderson and Town staff.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE and to VIEW MORE PHOTOGRAPHS


Hospice Georgian Triangle

Hospice Georgian Triangle Executive Director Trish Rawn meeting with Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson

VIDEO: Hospice Georgian Triangle is one of many important members of the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team. Hospice Georgian Triangle Executive Director Trish Rawn met with Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson recently to talk about how Hospice continues to work with the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team in an ongoing effort to provide a seamless patient transition from one care provider to another.


Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) Conference

I attended the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) Conference in London and found it to be a very productive event. On day one at AMO #AMO2023 I met with ministries & ridings from Simcoe-Grey and discussed local priorities for municipalities.

As Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General, I joined Minister Doug Downey at the #AMO2023 Conference and discussed the priorities of municipalities surrounding public safety, access to justice and bail reform.

Over the two day AMO Conference in London I had the opportunity to join County of Simcoe, County of Grey, Town of Collingwood, Town of The Blue Mountains, Town of Wasaga Beach, Town of New Tecumseth, Discover Clearview and Township of Essa to discuss many important priorities for our constituents.

Deputy Premier and Ontario Minister of Health Sylvia Jones speaking at the AMO conference in London

LONDON — The Ontario government is taking an important step forward to deliver on Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care by increasing provincial funding for public health agencies to build a robust public health sector that has the support and resources needed to connect people to faster, more convenient care in their communities.

“Building a stronger public health system, with more convenient and consistent access to public health services, is one more way our government is connecting people in Ontario to health care closer to home,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “The pandemic showed that we need a stronger public health system and this increased funding will help to create a more connected public health system that will support Ontario communities for years to come.”

CLICK HERE to read the FULL NEWS RELEASE


VIDEO: Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson recently met with the senior management group of the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team to learn more about how the organization continues to grow to streamline the system to better meet the needs of local residents.

Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson in conversation with Dr. Harry O’Halloran, Co-Chairs\ of the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team

MPP Saunderson said the meeting provided him with an excellent opportunity to hear from board members Dr. Harry O’Halloran, Trish Rawn and Sarah Grace Bebenek about the important developments happening now and planned for the future with the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team. He said the team has taken its place at the forefront of Health Care locally and province-wide.

The South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team (SGB OHT) is a partnership network of health and social service community organizations in South Georgian Bay that work together to improve health and social care for the people of South Georgian Bay. They are comprised of eleven anchor partners and a strong network of supporting community organizations. SGB OHT members collaborate with patients, families, caregivers, and the community to co-design the best possible care for our region.

CLICK HERE to learn more


General & Marine Hospital Funding Announcement

VIDEO: Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson announced additional funding is on the way for the General & Marine Hospital.

“This is a very big announcement.  The one-time funding for additional COVID beds at the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital of 5.1 million dollars has been turned into an operation commitment from the province.  That means that going forward, the CGMH will receive 5.1 million dollars per year to keep the 10 COVID beds open” Saunderson said.

To build on previous investments and ensure Ontarians continue to have access to high-quality care, the Ontario government is investing up to $1.17 billion in 2023-24 to support bedded capacity at hospitals across Ontario.

Since 2021-22, the Ontario government has invested in expanded bedded capacity, amounting to over 3,500 additional beds. This funding is the first step in converting a portion of previously one-time funded beds into permanent base funding, further improving the ability to address acute and post-acute care capacity needs across the hospital sector.

“Our government will continue to invest in our province’s hospitals and connect Ontarians to convenient care closer to home.”


POINT2POINT Podcast Greenbelt Discussion

Professional Public Policy Advisor Trent Gow and Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson talk about the report released by Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk and the province’s plan to develop on the Greenbelt to address the housing crisis.

“We need to be perfectly clear here. The Greenbelt is 2 million acres, created in 2005, and it is all privately owned land. There are no public lands involved in any of these discussions, so the idea that taxpayer money or something that belongs to the taxpayers has been relinquished or given away is absolutely and utterly incorrect” MPP Saunderson said, adding the discussion should focus on the sustainability of communities. “We stand behind Bill 23. We are going to make sure we work with municipalities and developers to get homes built faster, to reduce red tape, to make sure proper processes are in place so checks and balances are there to get approvals faster to get shovels in the ground faster so we can get more housing supply which will stabilize prices and get the housing supply of the type we need.”

CLICK HERE to read the expanded article


Taiwan Business Trip

Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson has just returned from representing Simcoe-Grey and the Province of Ontario at business meetings in Taiwan.  The week long trip featured a packed schedule and was arranged and paid for by the Taipei Economic and Cultural office, with a mandate to promote bilateral trade, investment, culture, science and technology exchanges and cooperation between Canada and Taiwan.  

“They are very actively working with western democracies and in fact this is the second trip with Ontario MPP’s.  On this most recent trip we also had one representative from New Brunswick and another from Prince Edward Island” Saunderson said.

“We met some company officials from the private sector dealing with the electrification of buses.  They have extremely sophisticated fully accessible electric buses in service.  Each bus had room for approximately 40 seated passengers, standing room and space for an additional 5 wheel chair passengers.”

The electric vehicles and the success of the electric vehicle program were of particular interest to MPP Saunderson in light of the growing list of Simcoe-Grey businesses that are presently manufacturing electric vehicles including mining and heavy equipment for world-wide distribution.

CLICK HERE to read more about MPP Saunderson’s visit to Taiwan


POINT2POINT Podcast Taiwan Meetings

Professional Public Policy Advisor Trent Gow talks with Simcoe-Grey MPP Saunderson about his week long business trip to Taiwan in this episode of the POINT2POINT PODCAST. The visiting delegation of Ontario MPP’s worked through a packed meeting and tour schedule, arranged and paid for by the Taipei Economic and Cultural office, with a mandate to promote bilateral trade, investment, culture, science and techonology exchanges and cooperation between Canada and Taiwan.  

TerraGen Solar Tour in Alliston

The founder and President of TerraGen Environmental Group is Doug Jones (above left), with over four decades of North American entrepreneurial experience. Over the years Doug has shown his abilities and expertise in identifying opportunities, creating new businesses, and growing existing companies to provide products and services for meeting expanding and changing market trends. Doug is a graduate of the University of Toronto in Mechanical Engineering and is a Professional Engineer registered in Ontario.

I had the pleasure of meeting owners Doug Jones and his wife, General Manager Darren Jones and Operations Manager Brandon Jones, and touring TerraGen Solar in Alliston on Wednesday August 16th.

TerraGen at 120 Parsons Road in Alliston offers a wide range of racking solutions for all roof types, shipping projects throughout North America and the Caribbean. TerraGen commercial solar racking products ship as a complete packaged solution including engineering and structural layout designs tailored to match roof structures and considering geographical climatic scenarios.
Learn more: Visit terragensolar.ca


Unsmoke Canada Grant for Collingwood Organization

Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson joined a group of Keep Collingwood Clean volunteers in front of the Watts Boathouse on Heritage Drive to celebrate receiving the Unsmoke Canada Grant.

Keep Collingwood Clean has received a 5 thousand dollar Unsmoke Canada grant to assist the organization’s volunteers to continue the great work they do in the community.

At Unsmoke, a big part of their goal revolves around community engagement and tangible action. “We’re determined to play an active role in communities across Canada to take steps towards our goals.” In Collingwood, the Keep Collingwood Clean volunteers have been working tirelessly in parks, along trails, streets and parking lots to pick up cigarette butts and other garbage they find along their way.


National Peacekeepers Day in Angus

Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson attended a special ceremony on National Peacekeepers Day at Peacekeepers Park in Angus to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Peacekeeping in Canada.

I had the honour and privilege of representing the Ontario Government, with my colleague, the Attorney General Doug Downey, at the ceremony at Peace Keepers Park in Angus to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Canada’s involvement in UN peace keeping missions. Retired Major General Lewis MacKenzie was the keynote speaker and delivered a strong message about Canada’s exceptional peace keeping record and the work to be done to continue that legacy.

Retired Major General Lewis Mackenzie served nine years in West Germany with NATO forces and had nine peacekeeping tours of duty with the United Nations in six different mission areas. Mackenzie retired from the Canadian Forces in 1993, having served for 35 years.


Theatre Collingwood Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant

VIDEO: Theatre Collingwood patrons enjoyed some extra good news at a recent Porchside event. Not only did they enjoy the outstanding Quammie Williams & Friends performance but prior to the show the audience learned that Theatre Collingwood had received an Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilient Communities Fund grant of $62,400.00.

Debora Bloom Hall of the Ontario Trillium Foundation was in attendance to make the funding announcement.

Theatre Collingwood introduced the Porchside events as a way to continue to present performances during COVID-19. The events were so popular despite attendance and masking restrictions throughout the difficult COVID times, they have been included in the 2023 Theatre Collingwood calendar as regular programming.

On July 24th, the popular Quammie Williams was welcomed back to Collingwood. This year Quammie performed with Tiki Mercury Clarke (vocals and piano) along with a bassist. 


Patricia Middlebrook
Alliston Senior of the Year

VIDEO: On behalf of Premier Ford, the Province of Ontario and the people of Simcoe-Grey, I’d like to congratulate Patricia Middlebrook on being recognized as the 2023 New Tecumseth Senior of the Year. It was a real pleasure to meet Patricia at my Alliston office to present her with a certificate from the Province to celebrate her award.

Volunteering comes naturally to Patricia. “This is something my mother taught me. She volunteered all of her life. She lived to be 101 years of age. I think if she was still alive she would be volunteering.”

MPP Brian Saunderson said volunteers are the glue that keep society moving forward. “You look at volunteers in youth sports, to service clubs, to helping patients get to meetings and medical appointments and food banks, these are the people who really give meaning to the community.”


S.H.I.F.T Alliston Continues to Grow

S.H.I.F.T. (Support and Hope for Individuals and Families Today) has announced that as of September 1, 2023, they will be moving to a year-round shelter model.

S.H.I.F.T. provides lifesaving supports to youth, adults and families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and food insecurity, including shelter, drop-in, outreach, housing, and social service-related supports, and is the only service of its kind serving the area of South Simcoe.

In a press release, S.H.I.F.T. officials said the year-round shelter will be able to accommodate up to 10 individuals experiencing homelessness, in South Simcoe. Those who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness are currently, and will continue to be, supported by the S.H.I.F.T Street & Community Outreach team that services all of South Simcoe.

CLICK HERE to read the expanded story


Collingwood’s Cenotaph Turns 100 Years Old

The Collingwood Cenotaph is 100 years old. On August 5th, 100 years ago, the Cenotaph was unveiled with a wreath-laying ceremony at what was then, Collingwood’s busy train station. Collingwood citizens and soldiers returning from overseas were in attendance. A special ceremony was held on Saturday August 5th to honour the 100th anniversary.

Years later, In 2007, the Collingwood Cenotaph was restored and rededicated at a well attended ceremony on the same site as the original dedication on August 5th,1923.

Over the past century, this has been a special place to gather, to remember, and to pay respects to the brave men and women who fought for our freedom and built the great town of Collingwood.

To our veterans of today and yesterday, thank you.


Blackdown Cadets Graduation Parade 2023

I was thrilled to be in attendance to witness approximately 350 cadets from across Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States on parade on Friday July 28th at CFB Borden. The parade and graduation ceremony was held in recognition of the hard work and dedication of the cadets that had just completed summer training at the Blackdown Cadet Summer Training Centre at Canadian Forces Base Borden.

The Commanding Officer at the Blackdown Cadet Training Centre is Lieutenant Colonel David Forster. The Deputy Commanding Officer is Major L. Laverriere. The cadets had completed three weeks of training that included survival training, an advanced aviation course and an expedition Team Leader course.

Visit the Blackdown Cadets Facebook page to learn more.

Summer Attractions Returning to the Streets of Simcoe-Grey

As I visit communities throughout Simcoe-Grey this summer I have been encouraged to see the return of summer festivals and attractions following COVID related cancellations over the two previous years. Downtown streets are alive with activity as people enjoy visiting the many shops, restaurants, parks and events. In Collingwood, the sound of piano music once again fills the downtown streets as the BIA’s Street Piano promotion makes a return after a two year absence.

… give us a minute and we’ll provide a snapshot into the daily life activities of the special people and services they offer here in Simcoe-Grey! CLICK HERE to watch and listen!


CLICK HERE to read the lead story … beyond the headlines.


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