Barrie Central

Tomorrow night the Simcoe District School Board will vote on the Barrie highschool ARC, bringing to an end years of uncertainty about the future of Barrie Central Collegiate.  There is an opportunity for the Board, the City, and the rest of the community to rebuild or renovate that school while at the same dramatically improving the west end of Downtown.  We need to be able to look at all options for that site, but ultimately the most important thing is that highschool students in Barrie, whether at Central or the other four public schools, have the best educational facilities that can be provided to them. 

I have been very impressed with the way the Trustees have researched this issue, followed the ARC, and asked good and tough questions.  I wish them luck in their deliberations tomorrow.

Transit

Tonight at our early meeting (5pm) we will be debating a new PPP model for our transit contract.  It will allow us to grow the system and address some of the issues surrounding service that riders have been telling me about for years.  Should also lay some of the groundwork for the Mayor’s Plan for Transit, which I’ve blogged about before.  

In the meantime we continue to consult with the public about ways to improve the system.   Here’s a link to our online survey, please let us know what you think needs to happen.  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/barrietransit.

Economic News

Couple of pieces of good economic news this morning. 

First, StatsCan is reporting that 6,100 more people in the Barrie area have a job in April 2011 compared to April 2010 – employment in the Barrie CMA is up from 98,200 in April 2010 to 104,300 in April 2011, dropping the unemployment rate by 2.2% to 8.9%.   But to my mind, 8.9% is still too high.  Although this is right on the provincial rate for Ontario, we still have a ways to go.  But moving in the right direction.

Second bit of news is BMO’s Sherry Cooper is forecasting 3% growth for Barrie this year – click here to go to the article.