Nina Bifolchi

Election Platform 2022 to 2026

2022-2026 … My commitment to you! 

I have been a proud member of the Town of Wasaga Beach Council since first being elected in 2006. Please visit this link to learn a bit more about my track record.  

/my-track-record

The 2018-2022 term of council was productive. Council and staff worked together to meet all of the priorities that council set at the beginning of the term.  

I am extremely proud of these accomplishments.  There were significant projects on the list that were done during the COVID years which created added challenges. I believe my years of council experience, dedication to being at the office every day, along with a team of experienced members of council and staff, contributed to allowing us to deliver on our commitments made to you.

Experienced leadership matters! 

I encourage you to follow this link which will take you to a page that clearly defines the priorities set in 2018 and how they have been met.  

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/town-and-government/goals-and-objectives.aspx

Looking ahead! 

Residents will have recently received a brochure from me in their mailbox. Below is a copy of what was included in the brochure. This is a list of commitments I make to you for the 2022-2026 term of council. I don’t make promises I can’t keep and my track record is proof of this. 

Twin Pad Arena and Library 

This exciting project was long overdue for our community. The original Wasaga Stars Arena was in desperate need of replacing and I am thrilled that council chose to move forward with this needed infrastructure. 

The new facility will boast a twin pad arena with 2 NHL sized ice surfaces, a walking track and a modernized library that will meet the needs of our community well into the future. Outdoor basketball courts will also be located on the site and will allow for tournaments, something we have been unable to accommodate previously.  

With an 800 seat arena and added floor space for seating, an exciting and new opportunity in the arena will be the ability to host indoor music concerts and other events to be enjoyed by residents and visitors. This added attraction along with the ability to host hockey tournaments and skating competitions in our community will support our local businesses 12 months of the year.  

I look forward to hearing from residents as to what kind of events you want to see in your new facility. While there is already discussion around the construction of hotel facilities in our community, the arena and the people to be drawn to its uses will serve to enhance the business case for some new hotels to be constructed in our community. The need for updated accommodation is something I have heard from many.  

Also on the site will be a new County of Simcoe Paramedic Station that will serve the needs of the community.  

Sustainability measures and energy efficiency design measures were considered during this build. Please see this link to the staff report. 

https://wasagabeach.civicweb.net/document/45994/TPL%20energy%20efficiency%2021_07_22.doc?handle=2B4DA3D2CD0A4E81A3668B4C7CE7B425

It is expected that the arena will open in 2023. For more information about the process and the progress to date please visit this link.  

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/business-and-development/twin-pad-arena-and-library.aspx#Construction-video-updates

I am committed to ensuring the new twin pad arena and library opens on time and on budget. 

Casino 

This exciting addition to our community has been a decade in the making. 

In 2012 the council of the day of which myself, and current Councillors Wells, Watson and Foster were a part of, agreed to have Wasaga Beach be a host community. 

In 2018 the Provincial Government/OLG awarded the opportunity to Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd.  

In July of this year Gateway Casinos hosted a well attended job fair in Wasaga Beach to recruit new employees. The casino will create 140 new jobs in the community. 

The facility is almost 25,000 square feet, houses a MATCH Eatery as well as a large outdoor patio and arcade bar on the gaming floor. Gaming enthusiasts can enjoy 250 slots and electronic table games. 

In addition to the employment and entertainment opportunities, the town will see yearly revenue from the facility based on the casino’s revenue.  

I look forward to hearing from residents as to what projects you think this yearly revenue should be put towards to enhance our community.  

Town Council and staff have continued to work with Gateway and are pleased to see the progress made on the casino. During a presentation in August of this year, Casino representatives confirmed it is their intention to be open this fall. 

For more information about the casino please visit this link: 

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/business-and-development/casino.aspx

Simcoe County District School Board 

Exciting things are also happening in partnership with the Simcoe County District School Board.  

A new elementary school is going to be constructed in the Sunnidale Trails Subdivision. The town has partnered with the SCDSB to provide a purpose built recreation space for community use during evenings, weekends and summer holidays. User groups and town programs will be able to utilize this space. 

Also, adjacent to the elementary school will be town operated park facilities, including a covered rink/summer pavilion, sports fields and playgrounds. 

I pledge to work with community groups, including arts and culture organizations, to identify opportunities to use this space.  

In 2005, before I was elected to council, I joined forces with a couple of other women who started a petition to have a secondary school built in Wasaga Beach. In a short time frame 5,300 signatures were presented to the school board.  

Following this, I learned a lot more about the process. I realized it was not as simple as just wanting the school but that there are a number of criteria that are followed to assist the SCDSB when determining when and where new schools will be built. 

From the time I was elected in 2006 until present, the town has taken every opportunity to make our case for a secondary school to be built in Wasaga Beach. A business plan was presented, offers of financial partnerships and continuous advocacy efforts to the Provincial government. We always were told that when our student numbers warranted it, a new secondary school would be built. 

Unfortunately during the 2014-2018 term of council the relationship between the town and SCDSB took a downward turn. A task force committee had been formed by the previous council that took the stand of feet stomping, bullying and shouting demands. These actions hurt our community and the previous positive relationship with the school board. Thankfully following the 2018 election we were able to get back on track.  

Finally, we were thrilled to hear that Wasaga Beach had been included in the 2021-2022 SCDSB Capital Plan that was submitted to the Province. To finally be on the list recognized that our community had grown and our needs were being acknowledged. 

The SCDSB Board Chair presented to council and indicated that the expectation is to see a secondary school built and open by 2029/2030. The property is located in the Sunnidale Trails Subdivision. I am committed to keeping a great working relationship with the school board and will continue to advocate to keep that date a reality.  

I have heard a candidate suggest that they will reinstate the high school task force if elected. This is concerning as it was under the same leadership that ruined the relationship between the town and school board last term.  

The decision of when and where schools are built are in the hands of the Simcoe County District School Board, not the town. 

To view the School Board Chair’s presentation earlier this year and for more information about the history to have a secondary school built in Wasaga Beach please follow this link:

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/news/q-a-planning-for-a-high-school-in-wasaga-beach.aspx#Feb-24-2022

I am committed to continuing the respectful relationship with the SCDSB ensuring a secondary school build continues to stay on track to be built no later than 2029/2030. 

Beachfront Redevelopment and Beach Area 2 

This is a very exciting time for our community. For years there have been several attempts, but mostly just talk, about redevelopment of the town’s beachfront area. 

First and foremost I want to gain your input as to how you want to preserve and enhance the town owned portion of Beach Area 2 as a space for residents to enjoy. The town owned land at Beach Area 2 is not included in the current redevelopment plans at the beachfront, owned by the town with no debt attached to it.  

Despite misinformation being shared in the community, the negotiations to sell and have the derelict buildings at the beachfront redeveloped into something we can enjoy and be proud of has been dealt with the highest of ethical standards.  

A team of professionals assisted the town. Here is a release that includes quotes from the team:

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/news/town-bayloc-and-zancor-reach-deal-for-purchase-and-sale-of-municipal-beachfront-property.aspx

For the record, we are not building “on the beach” and there will not be “a wall of condos.” These are two statements being made in the public that are not true. 

The beach is owned and operated by the Provincial Government for everyone to enjoy. The redevelopment plans for the beachfront ensures ample public access to the area and provides great enhancements. 

Please review the concept drawings and other links below. If you have questions, please reach out to me and I would be happy to explain further. 

In addition to this redevelopment, Beach Drive will be transformed into an area we can all enjoy. I understand that some people would like to see Beach Drive continue to be open for vehicle traffic but we need to move forward with a responsible, safe and environmentally sound plan when redeveloping the area. 

Here is a link explaining why Beach Drive was closed as well as information about the Environmental Assessment which is in support of keeping the road closed:

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/news/sand-remaining-on-beach-drive-as-town-moves-ahead-with-redevelopment-plans.aspx

Here is a link to what the area will look like in the future. Can you picture future events held on this area with our local car clubs showing off their prized possessions or a line up of beautiful shiny motorcycles? Please follow this link to see what this area will look like that is currently known as Beach Drive:

https://wasagabeach.civicweb.net/document/43217/P%20_Beach%20Area%20One_2022.05.05.pdf?handle=73245E90B2A24F89938616D62F4C32AD

This link will take you to the redevelopment concept drawings. This is what will replace the properties that currently have older and derelict buildings located on them.  

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/news/beachfront-redevelopment-concept-drawings-available-for-review.aspx

Below are some additional links to posts I have written about the beachfront. I hope it clarifies some of the misinformation being circulated in the community. 

There seems to be some rewriting of history by some non-supporters of mine and what I said with regard to redevelopment of our beachfront during the last election. This link will take you to an article I wrote just before the 2018 October municipal election. I think you will see the similarities in what we are moving forward with today. Please share with those who need a refresher as well as new residents to the area who don’t know the history. 

Posted September 2018 – NEWS – Develop Our Beachfront
/develop-our-beachfront/

Posted May 17, 2022 – NEWS – Beachfront Purchase and Redevelopment
/news-beachfront-purchase-and-redevelopment/

Posted July 25, 2022 – NEWS – Beachfront Negotiations
/news-beachfront-negotiations/

A media release the town put out with regard to a former Mayor’s inaccurate statements. 

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/news/brian-smith-statements-regarding-town-business-inaccurate.aspx

Please follow this link to learn more about public engagement and beachfront redevelopment. 

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/news/public-engagement-and-beachfront-redevelopment.aspx

I am committed to ensuring the beachfront redevelopment continues to move forward, revitalizing the area, while providing new commercial and outdoor spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy. 

Economic Development 

New data released from Statistics Canada earlier this year shows that Wasaga Beach is one of the fastest growing communities in the Country. This is not surprising. Wasaga Beach is considered a desirable and affordable community and provides a lifestyle many desire. 

We have a growing number of housing choices, schools, access to health care, public transit, beautiful waterfront, hiking trails, recreation facilities, good water and sewer infrastructure, close to larger urban centres and our overall cost of living, including property taxes and water rates, is low compared to comparator communities. 

The town has invested in our community’s future through projects such as our new twin pad arena and library, redevelopment of town owned land at the beachfront and a number of other projects in the planning stages. 

I am committed to ensuring responsible yearly budgets resulting in Wasaga Beach continuing to be an affordable and desirable place to live.  

There is an election candidate promising a tax rebate. A Town wide tax rebate is not permitted under the Municipal Act. Tax rebates can only be given in certain circumstances. Here are the rules: 

Section 354 – Write-off of taxes – indicates that tax write-offs are NOT permitted except in a very narrowly defined set of circumstances. 

Section 357 – Cancellation, reduction, refund of taxes – specifies certain circumstances for which an application can be made by the tax payer to the Treasurer with respect to a change event, such as a fire, or repairs/renovations to the land preventing the normal use of the land for a period of at least 3 months during the year, and there are a few other narrowly defined circumstances.

Section 361 – Provides tax rebates for charities subject to specific requirements. 

Other than these sections, there are no rebate options available.  

Despite the pandemic we continued to see new businesses open here including Gateway Casinos which is resulting in approximately 140 new jobs and a dedicated revenue stream for our community. 

During the pandemic an Economic Development Task Force was created that included staff, Councillor George Watson and myself. Staff did an excellent job of ensuring that local businesses were contacted and received updates regarding the programs available to them during this difficult time. 

With the growth we have realized, there is a need to continue to ensure economic development initiatives continue. The town’s economic development office continues to visit local businesses and look for other investment opportunities to be brought to our community. Here is a link to the town’s 2022 Economic Development Work Plan:

https://wasagabeach.civicweb.net/document/38568/5.5.6%20-%20Economic%20Development%20Work%20Plan%20-%202022.docx?handle=06C0E28C700C44CABDC09B224777F50F

At one time, not long ago, it was difficult to purchase socks and underwear in our community. Summertime was busy but in winter our community became a ghost town. It has been the chicken and egg. We needed full time residents to support businesses in order that they could survive those winters. I believe we have that population now to do just that. 

Moving forward I see the need to ensure the town’s Economic Development Office continues to engage the existing business community as well as engage in new opportunities to ensure strong vibrant businesses serving the needs and desires of our community and providing employment opportunities.  

Climate Change and Environmental Matters 

The town has a “climate action” page on its website. Town staff have also been sharing reports on council’s agendas to inform the public of what initiatives the town is doing. Unfortunately there are some people in the community telling others that the town is two years behind. This is not accurate. I encourage you to visit the link below to access the town’s website and learn more about the initiatives already being done. 

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/town-and-government/climate-action.aspx

In addition to the link above, and the initiatives already being undertaken by town staff, I brought forward the following motion that was supported by the majority of council. This motion will prepare the incoming council to make decisions based on current information, facts and give some guidance to an appropriate way to address climate change and environmental matters. 

I support climate policies based on sound science and realistic economics.  

The motion: 

Whereas Council declared a climate emergency on May 13, 2021; 

And Whereas the Wasaga Beach Climate Action Team made a deputation to council, followed by a meeting with the Mayor and key staff members requesting that the Town adopt a Climate Action Plan; 

And Whereas Council requested staff to share information about the various actions the Town is taking to mitigate the negative effects of climate change; 

And Whereas Town Departments have reported to Council on their various initiatives to address the impacts of climate change; 

And Whereas the Planning Department is incorporating Climate Change policies in the proposed new Official Plan; 

And Whereas the Town has established a Climate Action page on its web site; 

And Whereas a staff member has become a member of the Climate Change Exchange and been assigned the responsibility to research and bring forward recommendations for Council’s consideration on the best approach to creating and implementing a Climate Action Framework; 

And Whereas some municipalities in Simcoe County have moved forward with a stand-alone plan and others have not or are reviewing their options; 

And Whereas some municipalities have established Climate Change Advisory Committees to advise Council on matters pertaining to Climate Change; 

And Whereas this term of Council has almost ended; 

Be it resolved that the Council of the Town of Wasaga Beach requests that staff bring forward the concept of establishing Climate Change Advisory Committee to the next Council for consideration. 

Police Services/Public Safety 

The Town of Wasaga Beach along with Springwater Township and Clearview Township are serviced by the Huronia West OPP Detachment located in Wasaga Beach. 

Currently there is a Community Policing Advisory Committee (CPAC) that meets quarterly with the Commander and Municipal Mayors and CAOs of the three communities. 

This will be changing. All three communities have approved the creation of a single police services board. This will be a 12 member board, two municipal representatives from each municipality (mayor and CAO), one community representative from each municipality and one provincial representative from each municipality.  

The new board stems from the introduction of the Community Safety and Policing Act which replaces the Police Services Act. 

For more information please visit this link to a town staff report. 

https://wasagabeach.civicweb.net/document/29509/4.3%20Reports%20-%20OPP%20Pollice%20Services%20Board%2013_05_21.doc?handle=1B3A610D37974EF8B5D77B2525847CCF

The current CPAC structure is an advisory body to the OPP. It does not have the authority to direct the OPP on priority policing areas, it can only advise.  

The new board as described above will change that. This new board will have the authority to direct the Detachment Commander on policing matters of importance to the community, is eligible to apply for grants and can request and pay for specialty services in the community. 

I have heard many positive comments about our local officers and appreciate the efforts made over the past couple of years when dealing with extra large crowds at the beach during the pandemic as well their community presence.   

It is important that we as a community support our local detachment and its officers. In return we look for them to serve and protect.  

There have definitely been some challenges. In particular the disrespectful and destructive nature from some of the H20i car rally attendees. The OPP detachment takes the lead with these rallies.  

It is unfortunate that an election candidate has previously encouraged attendees in this event. Another candidate blames the town for how the rally was dealt with. Their lack of understanding of the situation is clear in this recent article. The Town has been working with the OPP who take the lead on community safety matters and the organizers of these events stay anonymous. 

https://www.simcoe.com/news-story/10707490-vote-2022-wasaga-beach-mayoral-candidates-weigh-in-on-h2oi-car-rally/

We all can appreciate a good show and shine, but that is not what these events are about. These events cost the tax payers of Ontario hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Speed and unsafe usage of watercraft on our river has been a continued concern over the years. Enforcement on the water is a matter that needs to be reviewed and infractions enforced. 

Threats to our community and our residents need to be taken seriously. As a municipality, with the support of our residents we need to stand behind our local officers and advocate on their behalf to ensure appropriate resources are in place as well as legislation to properly deal with offenders.  

I am committed to raising your concerns with our local OPP detachment to ensure community safety matters are addressed. 

Infrastructure, transit, parks, roads and bridges 

It is essential that a community invest in their infrastructure. Roads, bridges, water and waste water, drainage, along with vehicle fleet, transit, parks and playgrounds are essential components to a community. 

Municipalities have a responsibility to ensure asset management plans are in place to ensure renewal and growth of their infrastructure is considered in their short and long term financial planning. The town of Wasaga Beach has over $309 million dollars invested in infrastructure. To review the asset management plan please visit this link:

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/resources/Documents/-%20Studies/Asset%20Management%20Plan.pdf

The town also completed a detailed west end study drainage master plan. This report identifies the flooding areas, potential solutions and costing to address the flooding concerns in the area. The report still needs to be reviewed by the Ministry of Transportation as potential solutions involve Beachwood Road which is under MTO authority. To review this plan please visit this link. 

https://wasagabeach.civicweb.net/document/46733/2-DMP%20-%20West%20End%20Drainage%20Assessment.pdf?handle=18CCD2DB37EA489088E225F858F1AF29

The town’s water and waste water infrastructure is in great shape. The town currently can accommodate a population of 35,000 residents and with minor upgrades to these facilities the town can service a population of between 40,000 and 50,000. Due to decades of responsible investment Wasaga Beach is the envy of many communities for our servicing abilities. 

The town has been diligent to ensure we have shovel ready projects in the event there are senior level government grants available. Shovel ready means things such as studies, engineering and plans are completed or close to.  

As an example you will notice the hydro poles are being relocated along River Road West. The purpose of doing this work now, is to be shovel ready when a funding opportunity presents itself so the town can apply for funding to further expand and improve River Road West. 

Sidewalks will also be considered when moving forward with projects to ensure safe pedestrian travel throughout our community especially on our main roads and near schools. While it would be wonderful to have these built immediately from one end of town to the other it is not financially feasible. Planning in phases must occur.  

Parks and playgrounds and outdoor spaces for all ages are important spaces in our community. The town’s gardener and staff do an excellent job of beautifying the community and keeping our parks neat and tidy.  

Playgrounds are located throughout the community but do require upgrading after a certain number of years. This year the town moved forward with the revitalization of the Mills Park playground. As of writing this, its still under construction but starting to look great! 

The far east and west ends of our community are in need of parks. Staff have considered a couple of potential east end locations that could come to fruition in the coming term. This is something I will look to move forward. An investment in new parks/playgrounds and outdoor areas throughout our community promote outdoor and healthy living. 

The town always has a number of capital works projects underway. You can keep up to date on their status by viewing the monthly report that goes to council’s coordinated committee meetings. Here is a link to the August update:

https://wasagabeach.civicweb.net/document/46711/2022-08-11-PW%20Project%20Status%20Report%20-%20JJU-MJP.pdf?handle=496569B3CB2749DC9FDF536323257FC5

Now that you have an understanding of the community’s ongoing infrastructure needs and the costs associated with them, let’s talk about some candidates promises to clear your snow windrow.  

This issue was raised a few years ago. The public works department provided a report to council so we had a clear understanding what the cost of this would be to the taxpayers. Staff estimated that the cost to provide such a service on a town-wide basis would require the municipality to purchase 12 graders. That, along with the additional staffing would be more than $6.5 million dollars in capital expense and add $665,000 to the town’s operating budget.  

In a survey completed by the town’s Age Friendly Committee in response to the question “Is your current system working well?” 75.41% of respondents indicated yes. It was recognized that some residents who can’t afford a contractor, physically could not do it themselves or did not already having someone assist them, could use some help. 

This is when the Snow Angels program was rolled out locally to assist those in need. Here is a link to that program: 

https://snowangelscanada.ca/

Travelling throughout the County of Simcoe has become much easier over the past couple of years. Simcoe County LINX is a public transit system connecting municipalities and cities throughout our region. To learn more please visit this link: 

https://www.simcoe.ca/Transit/Pages/About.aspx

The town of Wasaga Beach also has our own transit system to move residents from one end of our community to the other 7 days a week. This link will provide more information: 

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/home-and-property/transit.aspx

Despite the services offered from both the County of Simcoe and the Town of Wasaga Beach, our community is in desperate need of Taxi and Uber services.  

I am committed to working this term to ensure these are offered in our community so everyone at all hours of the day has access to a reliable transportation service. 

I am committed to consultation with residents as to how we can enhance public transit to better serve residents and visitors. 

I am committed to continuing to look for grant opportunities to assist with infrastructure projects and enhancements throughout our community. 

Arts, Culture, Events and our History  

Wasaga Beach certainly has some interesting history. Thelma Morrison and Mary Watson both who have served as the town’s archivist, have done a great job of sharing Wasaga Beach’s history. Both Thelma and Mary have written books.  

The town recently moved the town archives from a small room in the library to a building the town owns at 140 Main Street. The many volunteers and archives coordinator have done a great job of displaying artifacts and providing a history lesson to us all. I encourage you to take the time to visit the archives and appreciate the town’s history. 

We must never forget our history but we also need to move forward and look to the future.  

At one time Wasaga Beach was considered a tourist destination and not a fulsome community. On May 2-4 the community would be ambushed with visitors and after labour day weekend it would be boarded up like a ghost town. While we still have a tourist component we are now the home to a full time population of 25,000 people. 

With this change, I believe we need to look at our events and determine who we are serving. Residents fund events in our community with a financial contribution, through in kind grants and staffing costs.   

I believe it is important to hear from residents and what types of events you are interested in seeing in our community. 

The new arena and library facility will provide many more options for events. With a spacious library, large foyer area and two arenas, one with 200 seats and another with 800 seats, along with the ice surface(s) that can be utilized, we can most definitely start enjoying indoor music concerts, art shows, sporting events, dance performances, poetry, movies, home shows and more.  

The new elementary school being constructed in the Sunnidale Trails Subdivision and the town’s partnership agreement with the school board will also allow this purpose built recreation space for community use to be used for events such as theatre productions and sporting events during evenings, weekends and summer holidays.  

I look forward to gaining public consultation on the types of events you want to see in our community. 

Doctor Recruitment Program 

From 2005-2015 the Town of Wasaga Beach had an active and successful Doctor Recruitment program. This program was initiated to address the lack of family physicians in the community. During this time period the town was able to attract eight family physicians. 

The town’s program offered up to $65,000 to a new physician who established a full time family practice, subject to entering into a memorandum of understand that outlined certain conditions. 

During the previous term (2014-2018) of council this program was not supported and ended. The council abandoned finding residents full time doctors and instead chose to use tax payers dollar to fund a Provincial responsibility of an after hours clinic. The cost to the tax payers for operating the clinic for 15 months was approximately $250,000 plus start up costs. 

At the end of the trial a review was completed. It was determined that while there was some support for the clinic it was operating well below the number of patients to make it financially viable for the doctors without outside support. The Ministry of Health declined providing support for this.  

The experts in the medical care field indicated that the real need in Wasaga Beach is for additional family doctors that can provide continuity of care for patients. 

The advantage to the town attracting new family physicians is that they take complex as well as regular patients. Continuity of care is so important to ensure a proper diagnosis and understanding of a patients needs. 

With the growth that Wasaga Beach and surrounding municipalities are seeing there is a need to continue to recruit doctors to the area. Earlier this year I was pleased to be able to welcome some local resident doctors that are part of the Rural Ontario Medical Program. They will be training locally in our medical community over the next two years. I gave my sales pitch and I’m hoping I convinced a few that Wasaga Beach will be a great community to open a practice when they are done training. 

I see the doctor recruitment program as something the next council must continue with. Financial assistance of up to $65,000 is provided to a new doctor who must establish a full time family practice in Wasaga Beach for minimum 5 years, must roster predominantly Wasaga Beach residents and be a member in good standing of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. 

If you compare the benefits and financial contribution, full time family physician vs after hours clinic, you can see what benefits the community, its residents and the yearly town budget best. 

Wasaga Distribution 

The Town of Wasaga Beach is proud to be the sole shareholder of our local electric utility. Our community is protective of the utility and are thankful to staff who provide excellent service to our residents. 

Investment in poles, wires and transformers are essential in meeting the town’s growth and maintaining safety and reliability of our system. 

In 2022 the utility completed an asset condition assessment which was necessary for long term planning to ensure that the assets that deliver power to our customers are in good condition to avoid failures. 

Since incorporation in the year 2000, the utility has paid $3.63 million dollars in interest and $4.04 million in dividends to the Town of Wasaga Beach. The company maintains one of the lowest costs in the province in delivering power to its customers. 

In 2022, the Utility declared the largest dividend ever of $480,000 and provided an interest payment of $135,000 on the outstanding promissory note to the Town of Wasaga Beach. 

As Mayor I have a seat at the board table on behalf of the shareholder (the Town). I take great pride in our utility and as you can see above we are in great financial shape at the utility, providing interest and dividends to the town as well as yearly donations to local community groups and initiatives.  

However, some don’t feel the same. During the last term of council (2014-2018) there was a threat put upon our utility and a real fear of it being sold. Thankfully residents stood up and defended our local utility, its staff and the residents of this community. 

photo courtesy Simcoe.com

You may hear certain candidates denying that there was the potential of a sale on the table but I disagree. I believe the threat is just as real today if certain people are allowed another chance to sell it.  

In fact I was contacted in February of this year by an individual looking to take over our utility. It became clear during the conversation that our utility may still be part of some people’s discussions. I encourage this community and its residents to stay vigilant. 

Misinformation on social media prompted the utility’s CEO to make some public corrections. I encourage you to visit this link for accurate information: 

https://wasagadist.ca/news/

During the last term of council I asked the board chair of that time if council could see the minutes of the board meetings. Their reaction was to ask a solicitor and my request was denied. The Smith council, as the shareholder, would not support providing direction to the board(s) to provide the minutes. I found it bizarre that the shareholders would not want to see those minutes.  

This term of council as the shareholder representative on the board(s) I have ensured that board meeting minutes are shared with the shareholders who work on your behalf. 

I will never turn my back on this community and I will never sell you or our local utility out. I am committed to ensuring our local utility stays in town ownership, providing excellent service, reasonable rates and a dividend to the town each year. 

Federal and Provincial Matters 

It is always important that the town continue to look for grant funding for infrastructure and projects going on in our community. The Federal and Provincial governments offer opportunities to apply for grants. The town has a grant writer on staff who actively seeks out these opportunities.  

In the past the town has been quite successful in receiving grants from various sources for a variety of projects. There are other times that our financially good position is a detriment as funds are given to communities who have perhaps been less responsible in their planning and finances and they receive grant dollars instead. Not fair but it is the reality. 

The Province of Ontario is a large stakeholder in the Town of Wasaga Beach. The Province owns the sand beach, trails and other properties throughout the community. 

I will continue to advocate to and work with the Provincial Government to enhance their property holdings in Wasaga Beach.  

The Province owns the beach/park and needs to provide adequate parking for their guests. They have a shortfall and a parking strategy is needed to ensure visitors can be accommodated within the park and not on our roads and side streets.  

The Province also needs to ensure that accessibility needs are being met at all of their beaches. Mobi mats are located in some areas but improvements are required.  

Responsible oversight of operations and maintenance of the provincial beach/park is a must. Appropriate funding and staffing levels need to increase. We need to ensure there is proper garbage pick up, washrooms and cleaning of them, maintenance on both the beach and in the park and that those disrespecting the area and our community are met with enforcement and penalties.  

Blueberry Trails could be so much more. It is under-utilized and needs to be properly staffed and promoted for use. It is a beautiful area that people should be enjoying to its fullest all year long. It is a great way to bring visitors to our community all year to support our local businesses. 

Advocacy to the Province also needs to continue with regard to housing shortfalls. The Province owns land throughout the Province and is in a position to work with the development community to get the housing built that is required.  

Advocacy to the Province to ensure our local OPP have resources and manpower do deal with the influx of visitors and situations we have been witnessing. 

I am committed to advocating to and working with the Provincial Government to enhance their property holdings in Wasaga Beach. 

Attainable and Workforce Housing 

It has become extremely difficult for people to enter into the home ownership market. There are also some who don’t wish to own and prefer to rent/lease. Either way attainable housing and workforce housing is needed in our community and region as a whole. 

The County of Simcoe is the lead in our area for providing Affordable Housing. As former Chair of this committee and current member it is recognized that there is a great need by many.  

The County of Simcoe shared its annual report card on the 10 year affordable housing and homelessness prevention strategy. The strategy set a minimum goal of 2,685 new affordable housing units between 2014 and 2024. By December 21, 2021, the County reported that 2,531 new units had been created since 2014 and was at 94% of the way to its overall target. Please visit this link for more information: 

https://www.simcoe.ca/SocialHousing/Documents/Housing%20Our%20Future_Annual%20Report%202021_Final.pdf

The County of Simcoe has a program that provides forgivable loans to homeowners who wish to create affordable rental secondary suites in their homes or garden suites. Visit this link to find out more: 

https://www.simcoe.ca/secondarysuites

Secondary suites are permitted in the town of Wasaga Beach. More information can be found by following this link:

https://www.wasagabeach.com/en/home-and-property/housing-and-shelter.aspx

Earlier this year, town council supported a motion recognizing that the provision of affordable/attainable housing is a senior level of government responsibility, but the town could assist in some way. The motion recognized that town’s official plan was near completion and that certain policies to facility the development of affordable/attainable housing would be included.  

An update to the town’s 2012 housing strategy was also proposed to occur in 2022. The town is also commencing the process to create a new comprehensive zoning by-law this year, which will update zoning provisions in keeping with provincial direction to allow for the creation of more of this housing type.  

Under my signature a letter was also sent to the Premier requesting that the Province examine everything it can to facilitate the creation of more affordable/attainable housing for workers, including releasing un-used provincial land, encouraging people to enter skilled trades programs and the elimination of barriers to development within provincial ministries and agencies. 

In April of this year council supported hiring a consultant to create its new comprehensive zoning by-law. Work on the project will start in 2022 with completion in 2023. This new by-law will provide a long-term strategy, focusing on creating zoning categories that foster growth, while preserving characteristics of the unique areas in town. 

I am committed to working with the development community and province for opportunities to create new attainable housing and workforce housing needed in our community. 

County of Simcoe Responsibilities 

Mayors and Deputy Mayors throughout Simcoe County also sit as County of Simcoe Councillors. I have had the pleasure of sitting as a County Councillor for 8 years. 

The County of Simcoe on behalf of its 16 member municipalities provide a number of services to residents. Mandated County Services are Ontario Works, Social Housing, Children Services and Community Services, Long Term Care and Seniors Services, Paramedic Services, Solid Waste Management, Planning and Emergency Management. 

County Directed Services are roads, forestry, tourism, museum, archives, by-law (for county matters), economic development and Lake Simcoe Regional Airport. 

During my time as a County Councillor I have had the pleasure of being part of several committees. I have also been Chair of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee as well as the Regional Government Review Committee.  

The Regional Government Review Committee was created in response to the Province directing a number of counties/regions to look for cost savings and efficiencies.  

Our committee reviewed a number of services including Library Services, Water and Wastewater and Fire Services. 

County Council supported the establishment of an Information Library Service (ILS) under the Municipal Act, reporting to the County’s IT Department, which will continue to offer services to municipal libraries with a number of significant digital enhancements and cost savings. 

County Council supported lobbying for Provincial support in assisting area municipalities with water and wastewater servicing solutions. While Wasaga Beach is in excellent condition, not all Simcoe County municipalities are. Further opportunities will also be explored for potential municipal partnerships and opportunities within the County.  

It was determined from this review that the municipalities and the county should work together to determine if the county can provide a data resource service to obtain data from each of the fire departments to look for efficiencies. The County also formally requested the Province review the interest arbitration system.  

Working with our municipal partners throughout the County of Simcoe is very important. It is a great network of people that I have had the pleasure of working with along with some incredible County of Simcoe staff.  

Conclusion 

I am extremely happy that I have had the opportunity to live in and raise my family in the community of Wasaga Beach. It has been an honour to serve on town council and particularly as your Mayor.  

When you vote in this year’s election, I ask that you don’t base your decision on the never ending whisper campaigns and what seems to be unlimited misleading and untruthful stories told at your door by canvassers. I ask that you base your decision on truths, facts, and ethical actions. Please do your own due diligence. 

I ask that you vote for proven, trusted leadership and re-elect me, Nina Bifolchi as your Mayor.