January 2022
Published monthly
Vol. 3, Edition 6
The Monthly Report
January update
Welcome to our latest edition of The Monthly Report.

Happy New Year from all of us at the Town of Wasaga Beach.

We wish you the very best throughout 2022.

In this edition, we share with you some sad news: the passing of former mayor Walter Borthwick. Walter was our town's longest serving mayor - 25 years, which is an incredible accomplishment. Our condolences go to his family and friends.

Also in this edition, we bring you up to speed on what happened at the latest council meeting.

We also take a look at the record-setting building activity in Wasaga Beach last year, and we share an update on beachfront redevelopment plans.

As well, we have details on Snowman Mania, which is happening in February, and we have information on other programs and services coming down the pipe.

Be sure to check out our 'Looking Back' photo as it always provides a fun look at the way we once were.

The Monthly Report is a great way to stay in touch with the town. Please feel free to share our e-newsletter with your neighbours.

Again, thanks for reading and if you haven't subscribed you can do so by visiting here:
Remembering former mayor Walter Borthwick
Walter Borthwick, mayor of Wasaga Beach from 1978 to 2003, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 23.
“On behalf of council and town staff, I extend sincere condolences to Walter’s wife, Elaine, and the rest of the Borthwick family,” Mayor Nina Bifolchi said. “Walter was our town’s longest serving mayor and fulfilled his duties during a period of significant growth and evolution of the town. Walter’s vision and dedication played a tremendous role in building the community we know today.”

Borthwick’s interest in politics started in school.

Later, in 1969, the Village of Wasaga Beach appointed him to the local planning board.

On behalf of the village, he worked with the province to help create the new Town of Wasaga Beach, established through provincial legislation in 1973 and coming into effect in 1974.

Borthwick served two terms as a councillor on Wasaga Beach council and then successfully ran for mayor, a job he held for the next quarter century.
“This was a very busy time as our population grew from 4,000 to 16,000; we saw the completion of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, the only provincial park in Canada completely within the boundaries of a municipality, and we moved from septic tanks and wells to full municipal services for 90 percent of our residents. It was really quite a fascinating period in our history,” Borthwick recalled in a 2011 Rotary Club newsletter.

While serving as mayor, Borthwick also served as a County of Simcoe councillor.
Borthwick was active in a number of other ways over the years, too.

While it was open, he helped run the family business, Borthwick’s Carload Food Market, on Mosley Street, between 30th Street and 31st Street.

Borthwick was also part of a group that founded 93.1 CHAY FM, a Barrie-based radio station, now part of Corus Entertainment, and broadcasting as Fresh Radio. 

He also spent 12 years on the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Board and later served on the hospital’s foundation board.

In 1998, the province appointed Borthwick to the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System board and in 2001 Borthwick served as board chair.

Borthwick excelled at many athletic pursuits over his life too, including football, hockey, baseball, and golf.
A charter member of the Rotary Club of Wasaga Beach, established in 1984, Borthwick served as club president for 2007-2008.

In 2011, he was named to the Order of Wasaga Beach.
In 2013, at its 17th annual business awards ceremony, the Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce named Borthwick Citizen of the Year, recognizing his longstanding commitment to the community.

“Walter has touched the lives of so many people in our community over the years and he will be greatly missed,” Mayor Bifolchi said.

A Book of Condolences is in the lobby at town hall, 30 Lewis St., for people wishing to express their sympathy to the family.
AERIAL NOW IN SERVICE Mayor Nina Bifolchi and members of council with the town's new aerial truck.
Fire department welcomes new aerial truck
The Wasaga Beach Fire Department has taken possession of its new aerial truck.
“This vehicle replaces a 25-year-old aerial truck at the end of its lifespan and ensures we have the proper resources when providing fire protection for our residents and businesses,” fire chief and director of emergency management Mike McWilliam said.
Mayor Nina Bifolchi said the $1.4-million truck represents an important investment in equipment for the department.
“Having a well-equipped fire department that can protect our community is a priority for council,” Bifolchi said. “We are pleased to welcome this new truck into the department’s fleet.”
A Pierce Manufacturing truck, made at the company’s Appleton, Wisconsin facility, the vehicle is a demo model the department learned about last year.
“Because it is a demo, and because council allowed us to sole-source the purchase, we have saved approximately $300,000 and almost a two-year build time,” the chief said.
The truck should have a quarter-century operation period, McWilliam said.
Aerial trucks serve an important function, he noted.
“Obviously, you need them to fight fires in higher buildings, which are anticipated in the next few years, but aerials are also used to reach out over large diameter buildings, such as the big box-type stores we have,” McWilliam said. “They allow us to apply a large volume of water down onto a fire. And they also give us that bird’s eye view providing a better view of what is going on with a large structure fire.”
The new aerial has a reach of 110 feet, compared to the 65 feet on the older aerial truck going out of service. The new aerial also has a platform at the end of it, something the older truck does not.
“That platform is a great feature for us,” the fire chief said. “We can place up to three people on the platform, which is helpful if we have to rescue someone from upper levels of a building. A control panel in the platform basket allows firefighters to control the water stream from an elevated position, making water application more accurate. Working from a platform, versus a ladder, greatly increases safety for the firefighters”.
Fire Department staff have spent the last few days learning about the new truck and training will continue in the days and weeks ahead.

2021 a record-breaking year for building activity in town
The 2021 year was a banner one for building and development in the Town of Wasaga Beach, with the municipality setting various new records and continuing a period of strong growth.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, builder confidence in Wasaga Beach remained high last year and that is evident through the building activity numbers that we recorded,” Mayor Nina Bifolchi said. “Our builders tell us that they see Wasaga Beach as a great place to live, work, and invest, and that is a sentiment we also hear from people settling in our community.”
Danny Rodgers, director of building and development standards, said the town expects the building trend to continue throughout 2022.
“Based on everything we are hearing from builders we will see another good year,” Rodgers said. “And this is in keeping with what we have seen over the last few years.”
Doug Herron, director of planning and economic initiatives, said the activity reflects long-term planning efforts.
“People see the construction taking place and sometimes forget that our Official Plan, which includes community consultation, helped determine the type of growth that is happening and where. Some of that planning work and public consultation took place years ago and we are just now seeing the implementation,” Herron said. “In addition, we have the review process for each specific building project and that too has involved a consultation period. The entire process is important because it ensures we get a high-quality product that fits and enhances the existing community.”
George Vadeboncoeur, chief administrative officer, said growth contributes to a larger tax base to support municipal programs and services – he said these are good things – but there is more to the story.
“Growth means that new businesses are attracted to the community and existing businesses can count on a larger customer base, that our skilled labour pool grows and diversifies, that there are more students for our current schools and the new schools being planned, that our clubs and sporting organizations succeed, and that we remain an overall vibrant community,” Vadeboncoeur said. “These are all wins for Wasaga Beach. Work continues on capital projects to support growth such as the widening of River Road West and the urbanization of Mosley Street from 45th Street to Beachwood Road.”
Numbers at a glance…
For 2021, the town issued 871 building permits, including 267 for single-detached homes and 236 for townhomes. The total number of permits issued in 2021 far surpassed the 553 issued in 2020. The last time the town saw overall building permit numbers as high as 2021 was in 2004 when the town issued 870 permits.
The total number of new homes for 2021 was 530, a record setting figure that beats out the 493 units built in 2004.
Residential construction values for 2021 reached $184-million, surpassing a 2017 record of $106-million.
Non-residential construction values reached $88-million, which includes the town’s twin-pad arena and library project. The 2021 figures also set a new record, surpassing the 2019 record of $17.8-million.
The total value of all construction for 2021 reached $272-million, beating the 2019 record of $123-million.
“The town surpassed all of its key performance indicators, making 2021 an extremely notable year,” Rodgers said. “The issuance of a building permit is a result of a collaborative effort across our engineering, planning, and building departments, and sets in motion a workflow that touches most departments within our municipal organization. The level of teamwork and expertise to successfully manage this level of development is reflective of the professionalism and commitment of the entire town team.”
Mayor Bifolchi said the strong building numbers are a reflection of the goals council established at the start of the 2018-2022 term.
“Three of our goals directly related to development,” she said. “One was to promote and facilitate the construction of affordable, attainable and safe housing and we have done that. The other was to support the private sector in growing and diversifying the tax base and we have done that, too. And thirdly, we set out to build a safer, healthier community that is mindful of the neighbourhoods in town and we are doing that too.”
To guide growth in the west end, the town has launched the West Wasaga Secondary Plan Study that will seek input from residents in the area. 
Watch our video update on the twin-pad arena and library building project
In January, we released our first in what will be an ongoing series of monthly updates on the twin-pad arena and library building project.

You can watch the update here.
Learn more about donation opportunities to the twin-pad arena and library project by visiting our website.
Project background information
In January 2019, town council identified the twin-pad arena and library project as a priority for this term. The Wasaga Stars Arena, built nearly 50 years ago, is at the end of its lifespan. The library, which opened in 1994, is too small to meet the needs of our growing community. A review, including a community consultation process, determined 544 River Rd. W. as the best site for a new 117,669-square-foot joint-use facility. When the new complex opens in the summer of 2023, it will include two NHL-size ice surfaces, an indoor walking track, a modern library with proper program space and meeting rooms. The town is funding the $59-million investment through reserves, long-term financing, and community donations.
Negotiations conclude with Slate, town now starting talks with Bayloc
Purchase and sale negotiations with Slate Asset Management L.P. for the redevelopment of town-owned land at the beachfront have concluded.

“Unfortunately, the town and Slate are unable to reach an agreement on the final purchase price of these lands and our negotiations are at an end,” chief administrative officer George Vadeboncoeur said. “We thank Slate for their interest in the project, the professionalism they displayed, and the good faith in which they negotiated.”

“In addition to seeing a development that is in keeping with the principles of the Downtown Master Plan, negotiating a sale price that recognizes the taxpayer investment to acquire these lands is important to members of council,” Mayor Nina Bifolchi said. 

Vadeboncoeur, the municipality’s negotiation team leader, said talks will now start with Bayloc Developments Inc., the town’s second preferred developer, identified through the request for proposals process last year.

“We look forward to meeting with Bayloc and discussing how we can reach an agreement that is beneficial to both parties,” Vadeboncoeur said.

The five parcels of land that make up the town’s beachfront properties are between Spruce and Third streets and north of Mosley Street. Redevelopment of the area is a priority for council. Mixed-use buildings and outdoor community space will rejuvenate the neighbourhood, making it more of a year-round destination.

Background information

Additional background information
For a detailed look at the municipality’s efforts to redevelop town-owned land at the main beachfront, see our project page.
Monthly fire department statistics
The Wasaga Beach Fire Department responded to 149 incidents in December.

Structure fires comprised two of the calls and 118 others were medical related.

The department, which consists of two stations, responded to 1,852 calls in total for 2021, compared to 1,470 in 2020.

Library strategic plan charts course for 2022-2026
At the Jan. 13 Coordinated Committee meeting, committee members received the library’s 2022-2026 strategic plan for information.

The library board develops a new plan every five years to address the changing needs of the community.

The plan includes a new mission statement, new vision statement, and a series of new goals.

Transit system continues to see strong use: report
The Wasaga Beach Transit Ridership Report for December notes people took 5,221 rides on town buses for the month, compared to 4,876 rides for the same period a year ago.

For 2021, people took 53,693 rides on town buses.

The system remains an affordable way to get around our community.

Provincial funding supports public transit in Wasaga Beach
The Town of Wasaga Beach has received $226,205 through the Government of Ontario’s 2021-2022 Gas Tax Program.
The funding, awarded annually, will go towards Wasaga Beach Transit operations.
“The town is grateful for this assistance from the Government of Ontario. Our transit system continues to provide people with an affordable way to get around our community,” Mayor Nina Bifolchi said.
Wasaga Beach Transit operates two routes, seven days per week, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.
The transit service also provides connecting links through the County of Simcoe transit service to Collingwood, Stayner, and Barrie.
Learn more about Wasaga Beach Transit on our website.
Town supports General and Marine Hospital bid for MRI unit
At the Jan. 13 Coordinated Committee meeting, the General Government section of committee authorized a letter supporting G&M Hospital’s bid for an MRI unit.

Mayor Nina Bifolchi provided the letter following the meeting.

Currently, residents must travel outside the Georgian Triangle to access MRI services.
Announcing the opening of the 2022 Façade Improvement Application Period! Are you a business looking to update your sign, hard landscaping, lighting or another improvement to the frontage of your business? If so, this program is for you!

The program is a first come, first serve basis and is accepting applications until funds have been fully allocated. Apply today!

The program will provide a grant up to 50% of the eligible costs up to $2,000 per project.

The Façade Improvement Program is a FREE municipal Grant Program Package that assists property owners looking to revitalize and/or restore the frontage of their existing commercial, institutional and mixed-use buildings in town. Projects can include side and rear facing facades that have high public visibility.

The following are eligible building façade projects that deal in the rehabilitation, restoration and improvement of existing commercial, institutional and mixed-use buildings.
  • Repair or restoration of masonry, brickwork, or wood;
  • Repair, replacement or restoration of exterior architectural features;
  • Repair or replacement of windows or doors;
  • Re-painting, cleaning, or re-facing of façades;
  • Improvements to the appearance or access to entrances of commercial units (including hard landscaping improvements such as fencing and stonework);
  • Installation of appropriate new signage or improvements to existing signage;
  • Installation of appropriate new canopies and awnings or improvements to existing canopies and awnings; and
  • Installation of appropriate new exterior lighting or improvements to existing exteriors.

For more information please view the Façade Improvement Grant Webpage or contact Economic Development staff.

For more information please contact:

Kaitlyn Monsma
Economic Development Officer
(705) 429-3847 ext. 2284
Online resources to support you during the COVID-19 pandemic
Government of Ontario COVID-19 updates
Wasaga Beach Council Highlights
Wasaga Beach Town Council met on Thursday, Jan. 27.

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 we offer a number of online payment options for your convenience?

Visit our website to learn more about these services.

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.
Water conservation rebates are available!
The Town of Wasaga Beach has a water conservation rebate program.
When you install a low flow or dual flush toilet you are eligible for a $70 rebate.
Residents who install a rain barrel can get a $30 rebate.
Please note that only property owners on municipal water are eligible for the rebate.
You can find rebate forms at here or pick one up at town hall, 30 Lewis St. Applicants must include copies of receipts indicating that they purchased the particular item.
Completed forms and supporting documentation can be presented at town hall. The rebate will be applied to your next water bill.
You've got payment options
through Plastiq
Through the town's website using Plastiq (third party), you can pay your property tax and/or water/wastewater bill by Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.
There will be a service fee of 2.5 percent applied by the service provider, Plastiq.
Please note that there are several low or no-cost means of paying your bill with the town. These include equal payment plan, telephone banking, mailing a cheque, or placing a payment in our drop box.
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.

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.
The way we were...
LEO'S TEXACO From the Historical Advisory Committee. Leo’s Texaco was located at 896 Mosley St., which was on the corner of what is now Mosley Street and 20th Street. Leo Sillaots was a Class A mechanic who owned and operated the garage from 1968 forward. Leo’s was a full-service station providing gasoline, repairs, and tune-ups to all makes/models of vehicles. He carried a full stock of spark plugs, car belts, oil, batteries, and tires, and if memory serves correctly, a key cutting service. The garage was open daily, except for Sundays. My dad, Ted Bowles, gave his 1963 Chevy Biscayne station wagon to my brother, my sister and I in 1976 and my first experience with auto repairs was at Leo’s Texaco. Leo kept that old car, affectionately known as the clunker, road worthy for a number of years. – Story told by Karen Bowles
There's always something to do through the Wasaga Beach Public Library

Message from Mayor Nina Bifolchi
Let me start by wishing everyone in our community a very Happy New Year!

We have a lot on the go in Wasaga Beach this year.

Gateway Casinos continues to build its new facility and construction of the town's new twin-pad arena and library is ongoing.

This spring, when the warmer weather arrives, the town will start a number of other infrastructure projects. Watch for details.

We expect building and development activity throughout town to continue at a strong pace in 2022, in keeping with what we saw last year. As you will have read in The Monthly Report, 2021 was a record-breaking year for us with development. Builders know Wasaga Beach is a great place to live and invest, and so do the people moving to our community. We offer a great quality of life and an affordable place to live. To all residents who have moved here recently, welcome.

A few days ago, we provided an update on the town's plans to redevelop town-owned land at the beachfront. Purchase and sale negotiations have concluded with Slate Asset Management and unfortunately we could not reach an agreement on the value of these lands. Negotiating a sale price that recognizes the taxpayer investment to acquire these lands is important to members of council. Therefore, we will soon start talks with Bayloc Developments Inc., the town's second preferred developer, identified through the request for proposals process last year. I look forward to updating you further at the appropriate time.

Sadly, former mayor Walter Borthwick passed away recently. Walter was mayor of our community for 25 years. Walter's vision and dedication played a tremendous role in building the community we know today. On behalf of council, I extend deepest condolences to Walter's family at this difficult time. He will be greatly missed by so many people.

As we have noted in this edition, Snowman Mania is coming up. I hope you will join us for some winter fun Feb. 18-21. Visit our website in the weeks ahead to learn full details.

Stay safe and I look forward to updating you again soon.
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 Wells
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 | www.wasagabeach.com