Update: Local NDP choose Matthew McCarthy to run federally; Tom Mulcair comments

(June 7, 2015 HUNTSVILLE) Parry Sound-Muskoka New Democrats today nominated their candidate for the coming federal election. It will be Matthew McCarthy of Bracebridge, a translator who holds a bilingual degree in political science from the University of Ottawa. He was up against Clyde Mobbley, who ran for the NDP in the 2014 provincial election. Dr. Wendy Wilson represented the local NDP in the 2011 federal election.

In a release dated June 9, federal New Democrat leader Tom Mulcair had this to say about McCarthy as candidate:

“Matt has a sincerity in his dedication and humility in his desire to serve his community. He offers a clear alternative to Tony Clement and is an excellent addition to our team.”

A certified translator who works from his home in Bracebridge, McCarthy grew up visiting Quinn Lake, near Dunchurch, every year. For over a year he has served as the Treasurer to the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario.

“This election will not be about Stephen Harper, and it will not be about Tony Clement,” said McCarthy. “This election will be about the solutions we bring to the table so the people of Parry Sound-Muskoka can help replace these tired Conservatives with an NDP government that will fight for the middle class and help us create jobs while still protecting our environment.

May 28, 2015 HUNTSVILLE) New Democrats in Parry Sound-Muskoka will soon choose their candidate for the upcoming federal election. Matt McCarthy of Bracebridge and Clyde Mobbley of Bent River are vying for the nomination June 7 at a nomination meeting in Huntsville.

Nomination Meeting Details:

     When: SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 1:00 p.m.
Where: Canada Summit Centre, Active Living Centre
, 20 Park Drive, Huntsville

“They said we couldn’t win in Quebec. They said the NDP couldn’t win in Alberta. Canada is ready. The NDP in Parry Sound Muskoka is ready,” said James Moffat, Vice President, Parry Sound-Muskoka NDP.

As for the candidate nominees:

Matthew McCarthy
Matthew McCarthy

“We need a strong new voice and a new approach to put forward the NDP’s message of progressive change in Parry Sound-Muskoka,” said McCarthy, who is a Political Science graduate, Certified Translator and long-time political activist.

“We all know the importance of giving the  boot to this riding’s federal MP along with his party and leader. I am asking for your vote to lead the Orange Crush in Parry Sound-Muskoka,“ said Mobbley, who is a Computer Programmer and long-haul truck driver who has been active in promoting social change in the riding for many years.

Clyde Mobbley
Clyde Mobbley, candidate nominee

NDP supporters with an active membership as of May 8, 2015 are eligible to vote. All are welcome to attend. 

To know more, please contact:

James Moffat
Vice President, Parry Sound-Muskoka NDP

Local Green Party gets jump on next provincial election

(May 28, 2015 GRAVENHURST) The next Ontario election may not be until 2018, but local Greens are already planning for their next campaign. On May 26 in Gravenhurst, the Parry Sound-Muskoka Green Party of Ontario voted to choose Matt Richter to run again as the provincial Green party candidate in our riding.

Richter was the single nominee at the Candidate Nomination Meeting held at Sawdust City Brewing Company.

A release from the Green constituency association reminds voters that Richter served as candidate during the 2007, 2011, and 2014 elections. “He ran strong campaigns, travelling throughout the riding of Parry Sound Muskoka to talk to constituents about how the Green Party of Ontario can help to make Ontario – and Parry Sound-Muskoka – a healthier, more economically stable and more environmentally sustainable place to live and grow,” reads the release. In the 2014 campaign Richter achieved the highest percentage of green votes of any riding in the province.

“I’m tremendously excited to have the respect and support of our public to campaign on Green Party solutions that will advocate for a sustainable job growth in the trade sector, a safe and affordable energy plan that reflects the reality of the 21st century, and a healthy future for our kids,” says Richter. He continues to serve as the GPO Education Critic in the Shadow Cabinet, and has appeared on The Agenda with Steve Paikin to share the party’s education platform. Richter and his wife Kailey are

Richter speaks to crowd at Sawdust City May 26
Richter speaks to crowd at Sawdust City May 26

both local teachers and live in Port Sydney with their three children.

While local provincial Greens are giving themselves a big head start, their federal counterparts in the riding have not yet called candidate nomination meeting date. However, Parry Sound’s Glen Hodgson, who has several election campaigns under his belt is expected to seek the candidacy again.

Hospital technology campaign at 86% of fundraising goal

(May 21 MUSKOKA) At the official launch of the Get Better capital campaign at the Kirrie Glen Golf Club on Thursday, May 21, the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation (SMHF) announced that just under $1 million remains to be raised. The campaign goal of $6.5 million is to upgrade technology at the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Site in Bracebridge. To date, $5,598,133 has been raised.

Extraordinary response across all community sectors

“We’ve had an incredible response,” says Paul Hammond, SMHF chair, “from all sectors of our community. The seasonal and permanent residents have both stepped up to the plate as have the business community and service clubs. We’ve achieved so much in so little time – all due to the support of these generous donors and the hard work of our campaign cabinet.”

Components of the $6.5 million ‘Get Better’ campaign include $2.5 million for diagnostic imaging upgrades (digital mammogram, CT and x-ray), $2.5 million to install an electronic health record system, $1 million for automating pharmacy operations and $500,000 to expand video-conferencing so that patients and medical teams can better access specialists.

Taking the lead were 124 individuals, businesses and service clubs who stepped up prior to the official launch of the campaign. Forty-five of these donors provided $25,000 and up, earning them special naming privileges as a member of the Peter Gilgan Circle of Care. The largest individual donors include Peter Gilgan, who donated $1 million, Eileen Sugg and family at $750,000, Brock & Willa Napier at $500,000 and the Hillman family of Beaumaris at $260,000. The top organizational donors include the municipalities of Bracebridge and Gravenhurst and the Auxiliary to the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital.

Due to the unprecedented progress of the campaign through the support of all of the leadership donors, the mammography machine has already been installed and the electronic health record system will be operational in June. Last December, the telemedicine office was relocated and renovated to better accommodate patients and their families while providing access to specialists.

For more information or to make a donation, contact the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation.

“Plant it Forward” for Andy’s House with Port Carling & Bala Garden Centres

(May 19 MUSKOKA LAKES) Rob & Kristan Farlie welcomed 60 Chamber members at their new Port Carling Garden Centre location on May 19. They purchased the new Centre in January 2015. In appreciation of their community, and in celebration of 10 years of successful growth in the area, they launched an innovative community fundraiser in support of “Andy’s House” Hospice, called “Plant it Forward”.

“Plant it Forward” brings customers and the garden centres together to create a Memory Garden at Andy’s House Hospice in Port Carling. A much needed resource in the Muskoka Lakes community, the Memory Garden will be a place where families can spend time finding peace & comfort, surrounded by granite rocks, sumachs, pines, Indian paint brush, and other native plants.

Receive a $5 coupon for every $100 you spend and then choose to use it on a future purchase OR donate it to the Memory Garden “Plant it Forward” project. Port Carling & Bala Garden Centres will donate the equivalent dollar value raised, in labour and materials, toward building the Memory Garden.

Garden centre fundraiser for hospice, classic strings quartet
Classic Strings Quartet

Featured photo: Kristan Farlie, Bob Potts, Rob Farlie: Article by Jane Graham

What a night! Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours

Sixty Muskoka Lake Chamber members joined Rob & Kristan Farlie, Bala Garden Centre, at their new garden centre in Port Carling, before moving to Medora Muskoka to sample fabulous new menu offerings provided by Craig Alvaro, owner, and Chef Melanie Carter.  New member, Jayne McCaw, of Jayne’s Cottage Rentals, spoke about her new luxury cottage rental business, while guests enjoyed the sounds of the Classic Strings Quartet.

Craig Alvaro, Owner, Medora







Fire destroys cottage on Bone Island, Georgian Bay

(May 20, 9.25am GEORGIAN BAY) The owners of a cottage on Bone Island, Georgian Bay are being treated for minor injuries after their cottage caught fire on Bone Island last night.

A neighbour called 911 after seeing the cottage engulfed in flames from across the water. The owners managed to get out of the cottage before it, and a nearby bunkie, were destroyed.

Police report the fire started at the roof level of a wood burning stove, and high winds made it difficult to fight the fire. Georgian Bay Firefighters and South Georgian OPP responded to the blaze at 8:45pm and firefighters stayed there until midnight. They are returning this morning.


MPP Norm Miller wants OPP helicopter to stay close

(May 16 From QUEEN’S PARK) Parry Sound–Muskoka MPP Norm Miller says the OPP’s only helicopter in Sudbury should stay where it belongs: in Sudbury. On Thursday, Miller, who is also the PC Critic for Northern Development and Mines and Aboriginal Affairs, questioned the government on a recent decision to move the single Sudbury-based OPP helicopter to Orillia.

“The emergency response and search and rescue services provided to our Northern communities and First Nations by the OPP helicopter unit is critical,” stated Miller.
“By moving this helicopter permanently to Orillia, flexibility will be lost in responding to calls.”

A case from this past weekend rang alarm bells as weather conditions prevented the Orillia-based helicopter from responding when an emergency call came in.

Miller: “OPP Helicopter Should Remain Based in Sudbury”

“I urge the Minister to do what is in his power to review and hopefully reverse the decision so that an OPP helicopter remains based in Sudbury,” concluded Miller.

A video of Miller raising the question at Queen’s Park can be seen on YouTube: https://youtu.be/p0AuW6kxE3A

Muskoka hospitals may allow round the clock visit times

(May 16 2015 MUSKOKA) Right now you can only visit family in others in care in Muskoka hospitals at certain times. But Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is thinking about changing those rules and wants to hear from hospital users about whether it should allow round the clock visiting hours. The following is a release from MAHC asking for input and explaining how readers can give it. Feedback is requested before June 15, 2015.

(MAHC Release) Building on our new vision to deliver outstanding care that is patient and family centered, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is keen to create and foster a patient- and family-centered environment at both of our hospital sites to improve the patient experience.

As part of that commitment, MAHC is gathering community feedback on a proposal to welcome visits from family members and other partners in care 24 hours a day, according to patient preference and in collaboration with the inter-professional team. This proposal would ultimately replace MAHC’s Visiting Hours Policy and would be known as our Family Presence Policy.

The concept of eliminating visiting hours through a Family Presence Policy is growing in popularity across North America. In Ontario, Kingston General Hospital has been the leader in implementing a patient- and family-centered environment including a Family Presence Policy.

Community Input Requested on Family Presence Policy
“Research shows that the participation of family, friends, and other support members in the patient’s hospital experience improves our patients’ safety and comfort, medical and psychological well being, and enhances the healing process,” says Karen Fleming, Chief Quality & Nursing Executive at MAHC. “Family, friends, and other support members play an important role in our patients’ recovery and well being, and so our flexibility in their presence during a patient’s hospital stay is a change we’re committed to make.”

Internal and community consultation on this change will help MAHC to develop a new policy and will help us better understand the benefits and barriers related to it. To provide your feedback, visit our survey <https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WPNGTFH> . Feedback will be accepted until Monday, June 15, 2015.

Bala Falls Update: Township Council votes in favour of amended deal

(May 15 10pm PORT CARLING) Township of Muskoka Lakes Council today voted to reverse its previous Committee of the Whole decision about mitigating construction impacts of the North Bala Falls small hydro project –and has approved an amended proposed deal.

The exact wording of the amended motion is expected to be available for publication after the long weekend as Council met late into the day today. At the beginning of Council today, Councillors considered whether to accept a motion to ask hydro developer Swift River Energy Limited (SREL) for a lump sum lease payment of $150,000, up from $125,000.

Discussion was halted after Councillor Phil Harding argued the $25,000 increase was a significant difference to the motion and he questioned the process of amending the motion at all. Council decided to seek a legal opinion on the procedure for amending a motion that had been previously defeated at the Committee of the Whole meeting. All decisions reached at Committee of the Whole must be ratified at the following Council meeting, which opens an opportunity for motions to be ratified, reversed or reconsidered.

Councillor Ruth Nishikawa also questioned the transparency of voting on an amended motion at the public Council meeting, however Robert’s Rules of meeting procedures (the Rules the Township employes) allows for such an action. Also, the possibility of a reversal of the Committee of the Whole decision had been reported publicly in the Bracebridge Examiner (See April 29 article by Brent Cooper).

Council resumed discussion on the matter hours later at 2pm after gaining a legal opinion in Closed session on whether an amended motion could proceed. That opinion was repeated again during public session. Lawyer Harold Elston confirmed an amended motion could be voted on at the Council meeting. Councillor Donelda Kruckel requested two more possible amendments, one dealing with the heritage designation of the Township land that would make up part of any lease package and a second one requesting a condition that SREL make it possible for unimpeded viewing of the South Falls during the construction phase. The heritage amendment was defeated but the second was approved unanimously by Council.

Actual copies of the resolution will be published once received by Muskoka News Watch as expected on Tuesday. Note: The lease amount in the final motion reverted back to $125,o00 as some Councillors reportedly pushed for the original amount to stand, despite Councillor’s Baranik’s request to increase the lease amount to $150,000.

Now the amended proposal will need to be accepted by SREL if it is to be enacted. The proposal, which relates to a much earlier offer made over a year ago and then revised by the Bala Falls Working Committee (a committee that included Councillors Sandy Currie, Jean Ann Baranik and Linda Barrick Spearn), involves using some Township lands, including part of the Shield Parking lot and the Township land directly beside the build site in return for a lease payment by SREL and a condition that SREL leave Margaret Burgess Park open to the public during the construction phase. No construction start date has been announced yet as SREL had been awaiting final approvals from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

Today the MNR gave SREL their full occupation lease of the Crown lands connected to the north Bala Falls dam, which means site preparation work, including fencing, can now start on the provincially owned properties, including the build site on the south side of the dam, Margaret Burgess Park, Diver’s Point and a section of land between Purk’s Place and District and Township property across Hwy 169 from the build site.

Bala Falls Update: MNR gives Swift River full control of its North Bala Falls lands

(May 15 2:30pm BALA) The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry today gave another important green light to Swift River Energy Limited (SREL): the hydro development company now has its full licence of occupation for the Crown lands designated for the North Bala Falls hydro project.

In a release today, the company explains that “under this tenure, Swift River will have control of the site to complete all necessary construction activities. These lands include the Project site, Margaret Burgess Park, Diver’s Point and a small piece of land between Highway 169 and Purk’s Place.”

A previously issued Land Use Permit (November 2014) had several conditions associated with it, effectively limiting Swift River’s ability to complete its preparatory and construction activities.  The Licence of Occupation issued today gives the company full use and control of the lands to complete all the construction works.

There has been no expected start date announced by Swift River.

Also in the release today, the company stated “The North Bala Small Hydro Project is expected to cost approximately $25 million to construct, of which an estimated $10.8 million will be spent locally over the 16-18 month construction period.” When contacted, representatives of the company said they were not giving further interviews today.

Meantime, at Township of Muskoka Lakes Council, the public has just been invited back in after a Closed Session to deal with a question of whether an amendment to a resolution coming out of the Bala Falls Working Committee can be handled at Council today. At the previous Committee of the Whole meeting, a vote to accept SREL’s offer of a lease in return for lands that would keep Margaret Burgess Park open during construction was defeated. A motion this morning was discussed about asking for more money ($150K) from SREL but was not tabled after Councillor Phil Harding asked for a legal opinion on whether the motion could be amended as discussed.



Fire department will fine for fires

(May 12 4pm MUSKOKA LAKES) Over the last six weeks the Township of Muskoka Lakes Fire Department has responded to several calls of open air burning and out of control grass/brush fires. A few weeks ago firefighters were called to a property in Torrance on Ridge Road where a small attended brush fire resulted in roughly an acre of bush being burnt, because of high winds carrying burning embers downwind. Fire Chief Richard Hayes wants to remind residents that “there is no day time burning between April 1 and October 31 without a permit.”

Out of control will cost you

The following promise to fine people who break burning rules or let a fire grow out of control was issued today by the fire department:

  • If you are found to be burning during the daytime without a permit you can be fined under the Burning By-law 2009-45, costing you up to $300 plus victim surcharges and court fees.
  • If the fire Department has to respond and extinguish your out of control grass/brush fire, you may be charged a fee for services that can become very costly.

Personal fires without a permit are allowed 2 hours before sunset and must be fully extinguished 2 hours after sunrise.

As the days get hotter and drier the forest fire danger rating can change from day to day, the Fire Department recommends checking the “Danger Rating” before you light your fire. If and when the Danger rating reaches EX-TREEM it becomes a total fire ban, and under no circumstances will open fires be allowed.

The Danger Rating is available on the municipality website at www.Muskokalakes.ca and can be found under Alert Notices.

There is also a Hotline number for the District of Muskoka 1-877-847-1577 and will provide an up to date Danger Rating.

Brandy Lake cottage up in flames

(May 11 10pm MUSKOKA LAKES) Flames were shooting up through the roof of a Brandy Lake cottage when Muskoka Lakes firefighters arrived on the scene just before 7pm tonight. One unidentified Muskoka Lakes firefighter suffered a minor ankle injury fighting the blaze. No one else was hurt and there was no one at the cottage at the time of the blaze.

Muskoka Lakes Fire Chief Richard Hayes estimates loss at $450K to the 2000 square foot cottage at 1048 Phyllimar Lane.

Fire crews from Station 9 (Milford Bay) and Station 6 (Port Carling) with 20 firefighters responded. The fire is still under investigation.

This is the third fire involving a residence in Muskoka Lakes this spring.

Submitted photo.

Related articles:

April 19, 2015, MNW, Fire tears through Utterson cottage

Trisha Cowie to enter federal election race for Liberals

(May 10 BRACEBRIDGE) Over 250 Parry Sound Muskoka federal Liberals turned out Saturday to elect the next person to represent them in the federal election, and they chose Trisha Cowie, a Bala lawyer and Bass Lake resident.

The Bracebridge Sportsplex was packed for final speeches from Cowie and her opponents, Mary Robertson and Eric Gonneau.

Final speeches to win their votes
Crowd listens as candidate contestants make final pitches to win their votes. Crowd photo and photo of Trisha Cowie by Morgan Earl.

After speeches at 2 pm, the Liberals had until 530pm to vote and by 6:30pm the preferential ballots were counted.

Coming up to the days of the vote, Cowie was in regulat contact with Liberal members and several of them endorsed her enthusiastically.

Liberal riding executives at post nomination party at Cabanas, Bracebridge. Photo: Norah Fountain

Said former MPP Ken Black: “The old way of doing politics no longer works; it is time for a new generation of elected representatives. I believe Trisha Cowie offers the combination of youthful enthusiasm, fresh approaches, and new and innovative ideas that will serve the people of Parry Sound-Muskoka and Canada well in the years ahead.”

The next federal election is expected in October of this year.




Moose causes multi-car crash on Hwy 11 in Gravenhurst

(May 8, 120pm GRAVENHURST) A moose on Highway 11 is said to be the cause of a multi car crash last night on Highway 11 North, just south of Mitchell Road in Gravenhurst.
According to the Bracebridge OPP, a moose had wandered onto the highway just after 10pm, and was first hit by a coach bus causing a considerable amount of damage. Two additional vehicles struck the moose after the first collision. The moose was killed upon impact and there were no injuries to any of the people in the vehicles.
This is the second collision involving a moose this week.  The first collision involved a police cruiser that struck a moose on May 3, 2015 at 10:30pm on Highway 11 North just north of Doe Lake Road, Gravenhurst.

Police are reminding motorists to be aware and vigilant of wildlife on the roadways and the hazard that they present.

Bracebridge woman dies in motorcycle accident near Bracebridge, the second death this week

(May 7 11am BRACEBRIDGE) Another motorcycle rider has been killed on Highway 118 east of Bracebridge. The victim was Michelle Dorion-Parliament of Bracebridge.

Just before 7 am, members of the Bracebridge OPP responded to a two vehicle crash involving a motorcycle and a car at the Highway 118 overpass at Highway 11 in Bracebridge. The operator of the motorcycle had been driving eastbound on Highway 118 when the collision occurred. Dorion-Parliament was pronounced dead on scene.

Highway 118 at Highway 11 presently closed (at 11am)

An OPP Technical Traffic Collision Investigation (TTCI) Team is helping with the investigation and Highway 118 at Highway 11 is currently closed as is the Highway 11 off ramp at that location. Police expect to re-open those portions of highway around noon. Police would like to remind motor vehicle operators to be alert to the presence of all types of traffic; smaller vehicles such as motorcycles can be difficult to see and the speed of an approaching motorcycle can be hard to judge.

On Sunday, another motorcyclist was killed on Highway 118 east of Bracebridge and on the same day, a man died in Tiny Township when his motorcycle hit a tree.

This is Motorcycle Awareness Week in Ontario.

Related Articles:

May 3, MNW: Second motorcycle tragedy as Motorcycle Awareness Week starts

Two motorcycle deaths Sunday as Motorcycle Awareness Week starts

(May 4 10am BRACEBRIDGE) Two men died in separate motorcycle accidents yesterday (May 3, 2015) — one in Tiny Township, and another on Highway 118 east of Highway 11.

In the first accident that occurred about 3pm Sunday, police say 73-year-old Andre Dubeau’s bike went off the road and hit a tree. He died later in hospital. In the second crash less than a half hour later, 47-year-old Craig Anderson of Scarborough was pronounced dead on scene after he hit a rock cut. The two accidents happened at the start of the province’s Motorcycle Awareness Week.

From Bracebridge OPP, here are the details of the tragic accident that claimed Anderson’s life:

Members of the Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a single vehicle motorcycle collision on Highway 118 east of Bracebridge on Sunday May 3rd, 2015 just before 3:30 p.m.  The operator of the motorcycle had been driving eastbound on Highway 118 approximately 20 kilometres east of Highway 11 where he lost control negotiating a curve and collided with a rock cut.  Forty-seven year-old Craig Anderson of Scarborough, was pronounced dead on scene.

Police would like to remind operators of all types of vehicles to be cognizant of the hazards present on highways at this time of year such as the presence of sand, gravel or other types of debris on the roadway in addition to the possibility of encountering wild life.

Below are the details of the crash that claimed Dubeau’s life in Tiny Township as provided yesterday by South Georgian Bay OPP:

(May 3, 9:40pm Georgian Bay) The investigation continues into a fatal motorcycle crash this afternoon on the 12th Concession Road in Tiny Township, Georgian Bay.

73-year old Andre Dubeau of Tiny Township died in hospital today after the accident, in which police say his motorcycle struck a tree.

The eastbound lane of the 12 Concession 1km East of County Road 6 was closed for several hours after the 3pm crash.

First week in May is Motorcycle Awareness Week: A second look for a motorcyclist might save a life this spring

The first full week in May has been proclaimed by the Province as Motorcycle Awareness Week. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in our region would like to remind motorists to be extra aware of motorcycles during this time of the year. Motorcycle riders have been waiting all winter to bring out their bikes and the warm weather is here.

Safety tips for both riders and non-riders:
Motorcycle Riders:

  • Dress to be seen and protected. Most riders wear approved helmets, gloves and jackets; consider wearing bright colours that are easily seen by other motorists.
  • Slow Down. Driving at or near the posted speed limit will give the rider extra time to react to a situation on the roadway.
  • Drive Defensively. Assume other motorist don’t see you. Get eye contact with vehicles that might pull out in front of you.
  • Take it to the track. The street is no place to test the limits of your sport bike. Take a lesson at a local race track or sign up for a track day.

Passenger Vehicles:

  • Look twice, at intersections and when changing lanes. Motorcycles are small and easy to lose in a blind spot. It is also easy to misjudge the speed of an approaching motorcycle.
  • Back off. Having a rear end collision with a car is one thing, but having one with a motorcycle could have fatal consequences.
  • Give them room. Leave yourself time to react when motorcycles are around. If a rider were to fall off, could you avoid the downed rider?
  • Let them swerve. Motorcyclists will often be active in their own lane. Many times moving, to avoid pot holes or roadkill. Hitting any of these could cause an issue for the rider.