Ontario announces EA exemption for Bell Boulevard widening, commits ICIP funding for project



Belleville – The Ontario government is allowing the City of Belleville to expedite the widening of Bell Boulevard between Sidney Street and Wallbridge Loyalist Road from two lanes to four lanes in order to improve public safety along the busy corridor, Todd Smith, the MPP for Bay of Quinte announced today.

“We recognize the importance of this project to the City of Belleville, both as an economic driver and a safety consideration,” said Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte. “The Shorelines Casino, the planned Costco store, and related development are bringing good jobs to the city. They also bring increased traffic flow to this Hwy 401 detour route, so it’s important this road widening proceed to accommodate this growth effectively.”

Traffic volumes on Bell Boulevard are expected to exceed the road’s current capacity by the end of 2020. To ensure timely completion of the widening project, the City of Belleville requested exemption from the class environmental assessment process as potential environmental effects are expected to be minimal, given the existence of the current road and other commercial developments.

After careful review, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek granted the exemption and imposed seven conditions on the project, including requirements to...

• mitigate potential effects associated with the project in accordance with their environmental studies, including creating an environmental protection plan which incorporates these mitigation measures,
• consult with the local conservation authority regarding stormwater management planning
• report to the ministry on how it has complied with these conditions within 12 months of the project implementation.

Smith commended Yurek for allowing the project to proceed, while noting the City held public consultation sessions earlier this year and found general support for the project.

The MPP also confirmed that in July, the Province endorsed the Bell Boulevard expansion under the Rural and Northern stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan. Pending a federal contribution, Ontario will provide $1,666,500 toward the total project cost.

“We’re eager to see shovels in the ground as soon as possible,” Smith said. “This is an important project for residents and businesses in my Bay of Quinte riding.


Ontario announces over $15 million in one-year transition funding for wineries, cideries, and distilleries



Prince Edward County –Wineries, cideries and distilleries in the Quinte region will benefit from Ontario’s investment in a one-year transition fund of over $15 million to support its beverage alcohol sector.

Today, Todd Smith, the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and MPP for Bay of Quinte, welcomed Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman to Sophiasburgh’s Three Dog Winery to announce the funding.  It will allow wineries, cideries, and distilleries to continue to grow and meet consumer demand while the government reviews programs supporting the sector.

“Prince Edward County’s burgeoning wine industry and craft beverage producers across the Quinte region have become tremendous drivers of economic development and tourism for this part of Ontario,” said Smith. “I’m pleased that Minister Hardeman has come through with this vital transitional funding while our government reviews additional measures to help this sector grow and thrive.”

Hardeman indicated the transition funding would also extend support to the following initiatives:

  • The Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Wine Support Program to help Ontario wineries increase competitiveness and innovation. The program supports wineries investing in growing their VQA wine business, including tourism development activities.
  • The Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program to help eligible businesses grow and scale up their operations.
  • Marketing, tourism and export development; performance measurement and research and development initiatives.

In addition to the funding, Hardeman noted the government is proposing further changes to cut red tape for the sector, making it easier for businesses to market their products by:

  • Giving wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries with a “By the Glass” licence the flexibility to extend their service hours from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. seven days a week.
  • Allowing authorized wineries to sell their wine at farmers’ markets and return unsold products to their on-site retail store within a 72-hour period. The previous 24-hour period forced wineries to bring products back and forth over the course of the weekend, which made retailing at farmers’ markets not economically viable.

“Our government’s priority is to make Ontario more competitive, and this includes strengthening the craft producers’ sector,” said Hardeman.

“By delivering these transition programs, we are recognizing the urgent needs of the industry and helping small- and medium-sized wineries, cideries, and distilleries scale up, drive tourism, and increase demand for quality Ontario grapes, apples and grains.”

These changes reflect the government’s commitment to improving choice and convenience for consumers, creating more opportunities for businesses, and reducing regulatory burden on alcohol producers in the province.

Additionally, these improvements are part of Ontario’s Open for Business approach that focus on support to help grow the industry, including the wine and grape sector and the fast-growing craft beer, cider and distillery sectors.


  • The wine and grape sector contributes $515 million to Ontario’s GDP and supports more than 9,000 direct jobs.
  • Grape production from almost 500 Ontario growers is used to make award-winning Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines, which had $374 million in sales in 2018-19.
  • Recently, Ken Hughes, Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance for the Beverage Alcohol Review, released a report detailing the inconvenience and unfairness of the current beverage alcohol system for everyday Ontario consumers. A key recommendation was to promote competition, establish fairness for everyone and provide new economic opportunities for businesses across the province.

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Ontario to hold public consultation Oct. 4 on proposed revisions to Building Code services


TUESDAY, SEPT. 24, 2019

Bay of Quinte – Ontario is modernizing services related to the Building Code to help speed up the construction of new housing and building projects, while maintaining the same high standards for public safety. New and enhanced services could include:


  • Developing digital tools to support municipal e-permitting and make the Building Code easier to use and understand
  • Providing supports to help municipal governments increase the number of building inspectors in Ontario
  • Providing supports to small, rural and northern municipalities to help them deliver local building services
  • Introducing continuing professional development to make sure registered building code professionals remain up-to-date on Building Code requirements

If you have ever used building code services, or applied for a building permit, we want to hear from you.  Bay of Quinte residents are invited to share their Building Code experiences and provide ideas on how to improve services at an information session being held from 5:30-7 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the Belleville Lions Club, 119 Station St.

“In 2018, there were over 131,000 building permits issued in Ontario with a total estimated construction value of $38 billion, said Todd Smith,  Bay of Quinte MPP. “Some of those permits are issued to people building an addition on their home, adding a backyard deck, or creating a basement apartment. We want to hear their experience, so we can work to modernize and improve service.”

Residents can also provide feedback online at Ontario.ca/buildingtransformation until Nov.  25, 2019. For more information, see ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-0422.