August 2020
Published monthly
Vol. 2, Edition 2
The Monthly Report

Wasaga the place to be
August was another busy month in Wasaga Beach.

We saw a regular stream of visitors to our community - people seeking beach and water access during these hot summer days. And we know residents enjoyed our beautiful waterfront as well.

Our beachfront pods along the sand-covered portion of Beach Drive have worked well in terms of maintaining social distancing at the beachfront and ensuring everyone has a safe experience.

At the start of the month, we saw the Stonebridge Art Gallery officially open at Stonebridge Town Centre. Another grand opening this month was for Georgian Bay Recreation, which sells e-bikes and mobility scooters, at Mosley and 45th streets. We welcome both of these new additions to our community. Be sure to check out our photos of these two grand openings.

One of our local residents also celebrated a 100th birthday this month. Mayor Nina Bifolchi and Deputy Mayor Sylvia Bray were on hand for this special occasion. We share a photo from the big day in this edition.

Later in August we held the Design Open House for our twin-pad arena and library project. We'll tell you a bit more about the open house later on in The Monthly Report.

We also have a variety of other information to share with you, including details about our upcoming development charges public meeting in October.

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Town receives nearly $900,000 in federal-provincial funding for COVID-19 related costs
On Aug. 14, Mayor Bifolchi received letters from provincial Ministers Clark and Mulroney advising that the town is being provided $883,780 in federal-provincial funding under the Safe Restart Agreement.

The town will receive $806,660 allocated on a per household basis to assist with operating pressures and costs associated with COVID-19 and $77,180 to address operating pressures relating to transit services.

“On behalf of council, I want to express our appreciation to Premier Ford for negotiating on municipalities’ behalf for this funding support. The federal government stepped up as well, which is nice to see. The two letters outline how the money is to be spent and how the town is to make use of it. Since the emergency was declared in March the town has been tracking expenses and lost program revenues related to COVID-19 and will apply the money to these areas. The town took a number of steps to reduce costs, but also addressed needs in the community. For example, we provided free transit service to our residents for several weeks, which had an impact of fare revenues. Staff will be presenting an accounting of the town’s expenditures and projected lost revenues at a future meeting of council. This funding is good news for Wasaga Beach taxpayers,” stated Mayor Bifolchi.

The town will be required to report back to the province on the use of the funds in March 2021.

Any funds not required for 2020 are allowed to be reserved for COVID-19 costs that may be incurred in 2021.

A second phase of funding will be available to municipalities that have experienced greater financial impacts arising from COVID-19 than others.

To be considered for this phase an additional report is required to be submitted by October 30, 2020. The Town will asses its needs in the coming weeks.
Addressing financial misinformation about new twin-pad arena
and library project
On Aug. 10 the town advised the community that it was unsuccessful in obtaining grant funding from senior levels of government for the $59.9-million twin-pad arena and library project.

Although disappointing, the town is still pursuing other grant programs as they are announced.

Since the announcement, misinformation has started to circulate in the community about the potential tax rate impact of the project proceeding without grant funding. Comments of $5,000 per household cost and tax rate increases of up to $1,500 per household are simply not true.

In late 2019, a preliminary financial plan was prepared by the Treasury Department on how to finance the new facility. The plan is now being revisited based on information about the grant.

The following explains how the majority of major capital projects are funded.

The town has been planning for the replacement of the existing arena, new indoor recreation space, and a new larger library to meet the needs of the community for several years.

To help pay for these projects the town has been collecting development charges from new development. Development charges are the fees paid by new residential and commercial development toward various capital projects that benefit new residents.

This money has been placed in reserves and will be used to help fund this project. The town is just completing a new Development Charge study that will be presented to the public in October. All new development that occurs in Wasaga Beach now and in the future pays for a portion of the new facility through development charges.

Another source of revenue is debt. Quite often municipalities incur debt (called debenture) to help finance projects of this size. This is very similar to a mortgage that a homeowner takes out on a home purchase. The use of debt spreads the cost of the asset over several years and enables future property owners to pay for a portion of the debt. The cost of debt is quite cheap these days. Anyone that has remortgaged a house or purchased a new home will tell you it is a good time to take out a mortgage.

Debenture rates are quite low as well and hopefully will stay that way for the next couple of years.

For large community-based projects there is often a fundraising component. Campaigns are organized and residents, organizations, business people and corporations are asked to contribute. The town was very successful in the mid-2000s in fundraising for the RecPlex and the library has already received the benefit of some fundraising initiatives. A fundraising campaign is being planned for this project.

The town spends approximately $2.4-million dollars per year in tax revenue to fund various capital projects (2020 Capital Budget). Council will be reviewing its capital plan for the next few years to determine the priorities for the municipality and make adjustments to help finance the project.

The reallocation of existing tax dollars is also used by municipalities to help finance capital projects.

There is no doubt that a grant would help in the financing of the project. The town will continue to pursue grant opportunities to lower the net cost of the new twin-pad arena and library project.

There are also other funding mechanisms that the town will be exploring.

Please be aware that some of the information currently being circulated in the community is not accurate. It is simply speculative and reflects a lack of understanding how large municipal infrastructure projects are financed.
Twin-pad arena
and library project open house well attended
The Design Open House for the new twin-pad arena and library took place Aug. 20 and was well attended.

Staff and consultants were on hand at the RecPlex to review details of the project budget, scope, and programming.

Visitors were able to ask questions and make comments.
The feedback will help increase the building’s functionality and community appeal.

The project is entering the schematic design phase in which the twin-pad arena and library will be drafted in detail.

Read the related staff report here.

Check out our related project page here.
Local art
REAL WORK OF ART Mayor Nina Bifolchi and members of council were pleased to attend the grand opening of the Wasaga Society for the Arts’ new Stonebridge Art Galley on Saturday, Aug. 1. Pictured with members of council and gallery supporters is Steve Wallace, chair of the Wasaga Society for the Arts. The gallery is in Suite 8, 1 Market Lane, at Stonebridge Town Centre. The gallery features beautiful work. Special thanks to everyone who makes the society and the galley possible. Learn more about the gallery and society here:
New business
NEED A NEW MODE? Congratulations to Georgian Bay Recreation on their grand opening Aug. 7. The e-bike and scooter store is at 1928 Mosley St. On hand for the special occasion were owners Jess Sammons and Mike Wiggins, Mayor Nina Bifolchi, members of council, MP Terry Dowdall, and Marlene Parkins, representing the 2020 Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce. Learn more about the business here:
The century club
TRIPLE DIGITS Happy 100th birthday to Wasaga Beach resident Blanche Ryan. Simcoe-Grey MP Terry Dowdall, Mayor Nina Bifolchi, and Deputy Mayor Sylvia Bray were on hand for the big event on Aug. 7. They brought best wishes.
Golden celebration
HAPPY COUPLE On Aug. 1, on behalf of town council, Mayor Nina Bifolchi brought best wishes to Richard and Shann Leighton on their 50th wedding anniversary. Congratulations on this special milestone.
Working with our
provincial partners
VISITOR INFORMATION On Saturday, Aug. 5, Mayor Nina Bifolchi, members of council, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson, and John Fisher, Wasaga Beach Provincial Park superintendent, gathered to celebrate the opening of the Welcome Centre at Nancy Island Historic Site, 119 Mosley St. The centre is open Thursday to Monday between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. until Labour Day. Staff are available to answer questions and provide tourism information in the form of maps, brochures, and guides. The town would like to acknowledge Ontario Parks and the Friends of Nancy Island for their support with this initiative, as well as MPP Jim Wilson.
Support for business community during
challenging times
The Town of Wasaga Beach has taken several steps this year to support its beachfront business tenants and the broader business community during these challenging times. As the province opened up the economy, the town was there to support local business.
“We know our businesses create employment opportunities and provide valued services for our community and so we are happy to invest in them through a number of appropriate measures,” Mayor Nina Bifolchi said.
Specifically for beachfront business tenants the town has taken the following steps:

  • In May, we implemented a deferred rental payment program for our tenants to support them through the summer months.
  • In July, the town rebated the “Special Events promotion fee” that beachfront business tenants pay annually.
  • In July, council advocated for changes to the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program so that beachfront commercial tenants impacted by the pandemic can apply to the program for rent relief. The regulations do not permit the town to apply on behalf of its tenants.
  • In July, we created four sets of pods along the sand-covered portion of Beach Drive to ensure safe physical distancing at the beachfront during the pandemic and in turn provide a solid customer base for beachfront businesses. The alternative would have been to close off the space, a move that would have hurt the business community by severely limiting visits to the area.
  • Earlier in the summer, the town approached beachfront tenants and made them aware of the opportunity to advertise on the fencing that makes up the pods along the sand-covered portion of Beach Drive. None of our tenants wished to make use of this marketing tool.

In addition, the town has implemented a number of programs to support the entire local business community during the pandemic. This includes the following:
  • Our ‘Support Local’ campaign, which has included messaging through newsprint, display signs, billboards, social media, and radio.
  • The creation of our Wasaga Open for Business recovery portal on the town website. The portal contains a variety of resources for the business community to assist with reopening and ongoing operations during the pandemic.
  • The implementation of our Open Patios program to facilitate the quick opening of patios at local eateries.
  • Established the Open Parks program, allowing recreational-style businesses that typically provide in-door programs to operate in local parks to allow for physical distancing.
  • Launched the Open Builds Development Charge Deferral Program, allowing developers to defer paying development charges for their new builds.
  • Reopened the Visitor Information Centre at Nancy Island Historic Site.
  • Authorized the reopening of the Wasaga Beach Farmers’ Market in August.
  • Provided financial assistance to the South Georgian Bay Regional Resiliency Plan, which provides marketing supports for the tourism economy.
  • Established the Flavours of the Beach contest, encouraging people to support local restaurants and in turn be eligible for gift card prizes.
  • Supported the Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce’s pop-up PPE booth. The town provided a tent for the booth and PPE kit resources, including Support Local messaging, as well as social distancing floor decals.

“We continue to look for ways to support our business community as we know they play a vital role. Our economic development staff are happy to discuss additional ways the town can assist,” Mayor Bifolchi said. “We continue to champion with the federal and provincial governments the position that tenants of municipally-owned buildings should be able to apply directly to these upper-tier levels of government for rent relief. Council is not in a position to provide financial assistance to support rent relief for commercial tenants in town-owned buildings. Doing so would require us to use residential and commercial tax dollars to meet the town’s mortgage obligations on the buildings. This is simply not fair. We continue to work with our MP and MPP to obtain provincial and federal supports for the tenants in our commercial buildings.”
Public meeting for new development charge rates set for Oct. 22
At the August 13 Coordinated Committee meeting, the committee received for information the findings of a Development Charges Study.

The Development Charges Act requires the town to review its rates every five years and adjust them as required.

The town imposes fees on development to finance related capital costs such as roads, water projects, and recreation facilities.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that new development pays for the additional capital costs generated by people moving into the community.

Hemson Consulting, on behalf of the town, prepared the new Development Charges Study, which recommends an increase in rates to support growth in the coming years.

A public meeting will take place at 9 a.m. on Oct. 22 so the community can share its thoughts on the study.

Staff will be reviewing the capital plan and making adjustments prior to the public meeting.

Review the study here and the draft capital plan here.
DINING We're here to help. Thinking of expanding or establishing a patio on a temporary basis now that your business has reopened? Learn more here:
Town in good financial shape: Second quarter report
Town council received the Second Quarter Financial Report for information.

Treasurer Jocelyn Lee says the financial results for the period are within budget expectations with a few minor exceptions, detailed in the report.

The document states the town is in good financial shape as of the end of the second quarter.
OPEN PARKS Our Open Parks program is geared to help recreation-based businesses in the community. Learn more here.
Townhouse developer can proceed with sale of units
Council is allowing a developer of townhomes on Bianca Crescent to divide the lots, allowing the individual sale of the 16 units under construction.  

The units are part of the second phase of the Trillium Forest North Plan of Subdivision, in the west end of town.

Learn more about the project in the staff report here
Access the survey here
Geosands remains a good investment for Wasaga Beach
Geosands Inc., the company operating Wasaga Distribution Inc., and Wasaga Resource Services Inc., held its annual general meeting as part of the Aug. 25 council meeting.

The town is the sole shareholder of the company.

Company CEO Keith McAllister and Trent Gow, board of directors member, presented the company’s annual report to council as well as its financial statements.

Wasaga Distribution looks after electricity distribution in the community.

Wasaga Resource Services handles administrative services for Wasaga Distribution and the construction of hydro infrastructure in town.
A third part of the organization, Wasaga Genco Inc., is an inactive incorporation and has been since its inception.
The companies were incorporated 20 years ago and since then Geosands has paid the town $3.3-million in interest and $3.1-million in dividends.

For 2019, the company returned $500,000 to the municipality.

Geosands said it has, and will maintain, one of the lowest rates in the province to deliver power to its customers.

The company’s capital enhancement programs will maintain and improve system performance while at the same time increasing the net worth of the organization.

The past year was one of change for the organization.

McAllister, a new CEO, was hired, and six new members appointed to the organization’s three boards.

Council heard that an audit of Geosands, performed by Baker Tilly, found the organization in overall good shape. 

Review the presentation to council here.

Watch the full presentation here. (It starts at the 3:30-mark).
Online resources to support you during the COVID-19 pandemic
Government of Ontario COVID-19 updates
Eligible electricity customers may qualify for a one-time COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) credit for half of the electricity charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP, up to a maximum of $115 ($230 for electrically heated homes). The funds are limited and will be allocated to customers on a first come first serve basis. Wasaga Distribution customers can visit the WDI website here to learn more and access the application form.
Wasaga Beach Council Highlights
Wasaga Beach Town Council met on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

For an overview of what took place, see our highlights package: Here

Watch the meeting below:
Find a meeting in our calendar
Looking for information on when town meetings take place?

Check out our website for dates and times. You can see the whole month at a glance.

Learn more here:

Town of Wasaga Beach Quick Fact

Did you know our Special Events team is always busy organizing activities for our community?

They put together events - big, small, and in between - for residents and visitors.

Stay up to date on special events by visiting the webpage or following along on Facebook and Twitter.

Got an idea for a special event? Contact senior special events coordinator Angela Webster at 705-429-3321, ext. 2202 or e-mail.
Waste collection information
The County of Simcoe is responsible for waste collection in the Town of Wasaga Beach.

You can learn more about waste services by visiting the county's website.

The site includes a variety of information, including waste collection schedules and landfill locations. Learn more here:
Learn more here.
Learn more about recreation programs here.
Check out Let's Talk Wasaga Beach here: Click
Pocket dialing can tie up resources
When inadvertently dialing 911 on your cell phone, please remember you are activating an emergency service.

In doing so, emergency personnel are committed to determining the origin and extent of the emergency that may be happening.

This means they have to locate the individual who inadvertently dialed 911.

This response can draw needed resources away from actual emergencies. To prevent this please, when not using your phone, lock it so that unintentional calls do not happen.

If you do dial 911 by mistake, please do not hang up on the operator. Explain the call is in fact not an emergency, tell the operator where you are and stay there. This is because an officer must attend your location to determine an emergency is not taking place.

By hanging up or leaving your current location, you create a situation where emergency services must try to locate you, and in the process tie up precious resources.

Only you can stop 911 misdials.
Medic Alert Connect
Are you familiar with MedicAlert Connect?

MedicAlert Connect provides Ontario Provincial Police with 24/7 direct access to a person's medical information including conditions, anxiety triggers, and de-escalation techniques, to assist with reuniting you and your loved ones.

To learn more about this program, see here:

Did you know the OPP has an online crime reporting site?

The site lets you report a crime without visiting an OPP detachment. Learn more here:
The way we were...
DEVELOPING MEMORIES There were numerous shops located along the Main Street in Wasaga Beach, catering to all the tourists’ needs. One of these shops was the Maple Leaf Film Service where people/tourists could bring their holiday film for developing. An ad in an old flyer called the Wasagan indicated that your film could be developed in four hours. There is an old story that the person doing the developing would take the film down to the beachfront and immerse it in the lake to wash off the developer from the exposed prints. We don’t know if this is true or one of the many tall tales passed down over the years.
From the Historical Advisory Committee
There's always something to do through the Wasaga Beach Public Library

Learn more about library programs here.

Access September adult programs here.

Access September children's programs here.

See the library main website here
Message from Mayor Nina Bifolchi
While we should never let our guard down on the COVID-19 front, it is so nice to see our community continue to reopen.

Our beaches have been busy all summer, but it was not until this month that we were able to launch our annual Jazz in the Park concert series. It has been running on Tuesday nights at the Rotary Bandshell behind the RecPlex.

The Wasaga Beach Farmers' Market launched earlier this month as well. It runs Tuesday nights in the RecPlex parking lot from 4 p.m. to dusk. You can learn more about the market here.

Movie Night at the bandshell is running Wednesday starting at dusk, another nice return to normal for our community.

I want to thank staff and volunteers for getting these events up and running. These activities add greatly to community life.

Some other positive news is the almost $900,000 we received from the federal and provincial governments this month. These funds will offset our pandemic-related costs. On behalf of council, I thank Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Ford for making these dollars available.

It was great to see so many attend our Design Open House for the new twin-pad arena and library. The event took place at the RecPlex on Aug. 20. This was a terrific opportunity to share design information about the project and gather feedback.

People are clearly excited about the new twin-pad arena and library. This addition will mean so much for our community. Still, it was disappointing to hear the town's request for federal and provincial funding to help with the project was denied. But we are not deterred.

As we shared with the community earlier this month, our treasury staff are reconsidering how we will finance this important endeavour. We do have development charges available in reserves and can allocate future development charges for the project.

And we plan to run a fundraising campaign. We can debenture a portion of the project, too. We'll be sharing more financial details with you soon.

I know families throughout our community are excited and at the same time anxious about the start of school in September. Whether you choose to send your children to class or resume online learning, I wish you a great start to the 2020-2021 academic year.

Thank you and stay safe.

Nina Bifolchi is mayor of Wasaga Beach.  
Wasaga Beach Town Council
Mayor Nina Bifolchi
705-429-3844, ext. 2225
Deputy Mayor Sylvia Bray
Councillor Joe Belanger
Councillor David Foster
Councillor Mark Kinney
Councillor George Watson
Councillor Stan Well
Your town council...
Members of Wasaga Beach town council are elected to represent the people of Wasaga Beach.

You can discuss town matters with a member of council by calling or e-mailing them.

If you would like a member of council to attend a special event please contact Pam Kenwell at 705-429-3844, ext. 2246 or e-mail [email protected]
Chief Administrative Officer
705-429-3844, ext. 2222
Town of Wasaga Beach |