Dealing with misinformation in a recent social media post

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Brian Smith, former mayor of Wasaga Beach, took to social media March 10 to share his views on the community’s long-standing quest for a high school.

Mr. Smith’s view on the subject contained a number of inaccuracies and attacks on different people. It is important to ensure that the public knows the facts.

For more information on the city’s efforts to get a high school for the community, people are encouraged to check out the Q&A on this topic.

Read our questions and answers about high school.

For the latest developments, see the February 23, 2022 update in the questions and answers, as well as the February 24, 2022 update.

February 23, 2022 Updated high school questions and answers.

February 24, 2022 Updated high school questions and answers.

The Simcoe County District School Board is another great source for accurate information about public education in Wasaga Beach.

Learn more about the Simcoe County District School Board.

As the Chairman of the Board noted in late February, the Board is very aware of Wasaga Beach’s interest in a secondary school. Very early in this term of council, Mayor Bifolchi met with the chairman of council, the local administrator and senior staff to repair the relationship with council that had been damaged during Mr. Smith’s tenure on council. Since then, employee meetings have taken place and council representatives have kept the city informed.

Successive councils have indicated the city’s interest in a secondary school, but the expected number of students must meet the parameters of the council’s business case. We are getting closer. The council plans to open a new elementary school in the Sunnidale Trails development off Sunnidale Road in 2023, which will attract families to the area. It’s later than the council wanted, but it took until approval for the development to be complete. The council has indicated that it plans to open a secondary school in the community for the 2029-2030 school year. We now have a goal that we can plan for. Read the questions and answers for more details.

There is no prejudice against Wasaga Beach. The board focuses on the number of students. As the town grows at a rapid pace, with a record number of building permits, it is the number of public council pupils in these new homes that the council uses. This methodology has been used by the board for many years and is well known.

Also in his message, Mr. Smith speculates on the cost of the municipality’s new two-story arena and library and the state of the city’s finances.

The total cost is $59 million and the facility is being built under a fixed price contract using various sources of financing. The financial situation of the municipality remains healthy.

For specific details on the Two-Skid Arena and Library project, see the city’s website.

Two-skate arena and library webpage.

Mr. Smith, in his message, also makes vague statements about the investigations involving the city and their costs, without providing details. It is therefore difficult for the city to react.

Information about the Integrity Commissioner’s investigations of this term is public knowledge and available on the city’s website.

Integrity Commissioner’s Reports.

Mr. Smith also makes a comment about staff being used to campaign, which is completely untrue.

Press releases and public notices about city issues contain facts. The notice prepared by staff after the council meeting and presentation to council announced that the city’s questions and answers on planning a secondary school in Wasaga Beach had been updated. Video clips of the Chairman’s presentation to the Board as well as the Board meeting are included in the update. People were asked to scroll to 1:23 of the council meeting to listen to trustee North explain the efforts he had made to educate Mr Smith and others on how the council develops analyzes business case for new schools.

Mr. Smith also makes statements about staff departures without providing details. On that topic – although the city does not discuss personnel matters – most staff departures are related to people taking on new career opportunities elsewhere. We hire great people and are proud of their accomplishments. Unfortunately, some hires don’t work out for various reasons and we need to move on. What Wasaga is experiencing is common throughout the municipal sector. In February, Simcoe.com explored the variety of municipal sector jobs available in the area.

Want to work for Barrie, Orillia or a municipality in Simcoe County? Career and student positions available

Finally, we remind the public that the best source of information about the Town of Wasaga Beach is not social media posts by individuals, but rather the town’s website.

www.wasagabeach.com.

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