Mayor's Message - April 22, 2018

Posted on Sunday April 22, 2018

Good morning , Bonjour


As the week comes to an end so does National Volunteer Week. To all our volunteers out there I hope you got to share some special moments with the individuals that you assist and with the organizations that could not accomplish what they do without your efforts.  They say that those who can , do, those who can do more, volunteer.  Thanks to all the volunteers for all  you do for all of us !


One of the topics in front of council that seems to be garnering a fair bit of attention this past week is the affordable housing proposal for 161 Church Street. I have answered a few queries personally, and found myself clearing up some misconceptions.  With this in mind I wanted to take a moment to shed some clarity.

By way of background, the County of Simcoe called for property proposals in 2016 for the purpose of partnering with the County to develop affordable housing, and received 11 submissions in total. The eleven properties were ranked from 1 to 11. I should note that there was/is no guarantee that all eleven sites will be constructed, each property is funding dependant and each property requires a review and approval by the county council of the day.


Two properties that were approved by Town council for county consideration were ranked as follows:


161 Church Street ranked 4th

159 Church Street ranked 9th


A recent report to County Council showed that the proposal for 161 Church Street is to construct a low rise 4 story, 50 unit building with community amenities both within and outside at an approximate County investment of $16 million.  The proposed county building would be the inverse of the existing Churchill Mews Apartment complex, which is to say, the building would be situated at the front of the property (keeping the roof line low) with parking being located behind the facility. The proposed building would be located on the south/west corner of the lot (i.e. nearer to the Churchill Mews Apts.) and would be constructed to fit with the type of building style in Penetanguishene.


The site is currently designated  ‘Neighbourhood Residential’ and zoned ‘Open Space’.  While the proposed County use conforms to the Town’s Official Plan a zoning by-law amendment is required to permit a residential use and will also set the property standards for property, which include height, setbacks and parking requirements.

This by-law amendment was on our last Town Council Agenda.


The 161 Church Street location is at the bottom of the hill that runs along Church Street and is parallel to Payette Street which is located on top of the hill.  

A deputation was made to Council by neighbouring, on top of the hill, property owners, whose back yards would overlook the proposed facility and were opposed to the re-zoning. Concerns raised via the deputation included:

A historic review of how the rolling sands subdivision came to be

The bay view that exists today and that a building may possibly obstruct.

A legacy subdivision covenant that was to protect the top of the hill bay view and hillside open space.

If he construction could possibly impact drinking water, storm water flows, soil conditions , soil removal.

A suggestion that a swap of  161 Church Street with 159 Church Street would satisfy the hill top property owners opposed to the re-zoning.  (which is to say move the building from the North side of the Churchill Mews Apts. and place it on the south side of the Churchill Mews Apts.).   I should note that the rankings from 1 to 11 were by property, not municipality.  If we were to turn down the 161 Church Street opportunity, there is no guarantee that 159 Church Street would be constructed. What would occur is that the property ranked 5th - which is in the City of Barrie – would be next up for consideration by county council. 

Why the need for this building ? In our area the low-income threshold for a one-person household is $22,133, while the threshold for a four-person household is $44,266.  The recent census showed that  as much as 18.6 per cent of local area residents fall under these thresholds.

In terms of whom will reside in the facility, it will be home to hard working families whose household incomes fall in the lower end of the income spectrum and to seniors predominantly on fixed incomes.  Typically county buildings such as the one being proposed see 70% of the units being occupied by our fixed income seniors (35 of the 50 units would be one bedroom) 

In terms of assisting with rent affordability the rents would be set at approximately 80% of the Average Market Rent (AMR) found in our Town.  The current AMR for a 1-bedroom unit in Penetanguishene is slightly under $1,000/month so the 80% rental rate would see rent being paid around the $800/month mark. (in some cases, depending on the financial circumstances the rent could be offset by as low as 60% of AMR, and a few rents might be slightly higher than the AMR). 

I can share that the County of Simcoe has built many of these facilities and that our County staff always consult the neighbours in developing the design elements of the building, in the look and feel of the property, roof colours, brick colours, how the building will be located/angled on the property, trees, berms, walking trails, play grounds, and many other elements. In addition, there are opportunities to revitalize this parcel of land for the broader benefit to the community. Some matters that could be considered include pedestrian linkages from the “top of the hill” to Church Street, recreational amenities and community facilities.  

The recommendation coming to Town Council for ratification on April 25th  is to direct staff to host a public planning meeting to discuss the re-zoning of the property. Personally, I am supportive of the recommendation to host a public planning meeting for the following reasons;

A public planning meeting does not commit the Town to re-zoning the property,

A public planning meeting does not commit the town to allow the County construct the building,

A public planning meeting will allow the entire Town (i.e. all of you) to ask questions and to weigh in either for or against.

A public planning meeting will allow for County of Simcoe Staff to articulate their vision and respond to clarification questions from Council.



The Main Street Reconstruction Project is coming along and despite the cold weather, snow and ice JB Enterprises Ltd. has completed the following work this past week:

Installation of a Fire Hydrant Assembly and Gate Valve at the intersection of Main Street and Water Street;
A Water Main Gate Valve was installed at the intersection of Wolfe Street and Beck Boulevard;
Temporary Water Main has been placed on the Main Street from Wolfe Street to just South of Brock Street;
Installation of a sanitary sewer has been completed from the Pollution Control Plant to the Main Street.

Coming up for the week

Testing and commissioning of the Temporary Water System from Wolfe Street to Water Street;
Installation of the new sanitary sewer from the Philip H. Jones PCP laneway to Beck Boulevard;
 Commence installation of the new sanitary sewer from Philip H. Jones PCP laneway to Tessier Drive
Removal of the existing concrete road base from Wolfe Street to just South of Tessier Drive

I was chatting with one of our Downtown Merchants, who shared with me that she was so very pleased with the contractors, their demeanor and their efforts to assist the merchants. She shared we could not have picked a better contracting crew and oh by the way Mr. Mayor she said, “all of the construction workers are so cute ! “  I have to admit that I am not sure about the added value of cuteness on a construction project, that said, the merchants I have spoken to so far are for the most part quite pleased.



This Wednesday evening the Penetanguishene Lion’s Club and Diabetes Canada will be hosting a presentation by Dr. Dan Scanlan. The topic is Diabetes and your eye. The meeting will be held at the Penetanguishene Legion. Doors open at 6:30 with the presentation at 7:30.


Legion Giant Garage Sale on Sunday April 29, 2018 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and you can kick it off with a Pancake Breakfast for only $5.00 , plus there will be live music in the Normandy Room starting at 2:00 p.m.  Join in on a fun-filled Sunday !! Please call Pat 705-549-4126 for more information.


Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton and his wife Heather will host their annual Feast for Learning in support of the Gateway Centre for Learning Friday May 4th at 5:30 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion 196 Queen Street in Midland. If you would like to attend I have attached the details.


The Our Health series continues Tuesday May 8th with Medical Cannabis: Weeding Through the Issues at the Midland Cultural Centre at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free with advanced

registration at Doors open at 7:00 p.m.


On May 10, the Ontario Arts Council will be discussing granting opportunities that are available to individuals working in all arts disciplines, including dance, literature, multi and inter-arts, music, theatre and the visual arts.  Their priority groups include Francophone artists, Indigenous artists and artists living in regions outside of Toronto.  Additional priority groups include artists of colour, New Generation artists and deaf artists and artists with disabilities.  The free information session will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Midland Public Library and has been made available in partnership with the Town of Midland and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP to Karen Mealing, Cultural Development Coordinator with the Town of Midland, at or 705-526-4275 ext. 2200.


The 3rd Annual Tay Township Fundraising Dinner in support of Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre is set for Friday May 11th at Oakwood Community Centre in Victoria Harbour. Details are included.


My week to be



A weekly update meeting with CAO Jeff and Anita, I review both the Town and County Council agendas.



Anita and I can be found at a County Council meeting, I attend a County team meeting .



Anita and I meet with the provincial facilitator to discuss water and water-water opportunities.  Our Heritage Committee meets at three thirty and the public portion of Town Council commences at 7 p.m.  The agendas can be reviewed at the links below.


Regular Council – 7:00pm


Committee of the Whole – Immediately following Council



I join the Mayors of Orillia, Severn, Ramara, Oro-Medontie and Rama Chief Noganosh for our monthly update session.  Our Museum Committee meets in the evening.



I have a monthly update session with Midland Deputy Mayor Mike Ross



Sees me in the log sawing contest at the Elmvale for the  Maple Syrup Festival, please come cheer me on !


At the risk if jinxing it, I think Spring is here, enjoy the warmth and the sunshine,


Mayor Gerry


Gerry Marshall

Warden County of Simcoe,

Mayor Town of Penetanguishene,

County (705) 726-9300 Ext. 1260

Town (705)-549-7453


This e-mail is sent to citizens of Penetanguishene for their information on my personal thoughts, upcoming meetings and activities in Town.  The views expressed in the Mayor's Message do not necessarily represent the views of Council.    Agendas and minutes for Council and Committee meetings can be found in the Digital Library on the Town's website at  If you wish to be removed from the mailing list, please send an e-mail requesting removal to  and I will be happy to do so.