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Concerned Motorcycle Riders of Huronia Toy Ride Cancelled

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In a CTV Barrie news report that follows the announcement by the organizers, the annual toy ride has been cancelled.  The biggest factor identified is the price of police escorts for the event, something that the OPP used to provide for free as a community service, is now no longer free.  The costs are well over $5000.00 now.  The event organizer is not happy about the cancellation of the event and expresses wonder at why the OPP is now seeking to charge them for traffic security escorts citing that it should be included in the “community policing” mandate they profess to have and already bill the townships.  Instead of causing kids to miss out on the toys collected by this event, he asks people to consider dropping off the toys they would normally have given to the riders, directly to the local Salvation Army in Midland.

“The event traditionally happens on the third weekend in September but organizers say they’ve been priced out – claiming the OPP want to charge up to $7,000 for police escorts.”

I think the OPP needs to sit back and look at their mandate in terms of their  mission and vision and the true dedication of community policing when you have to charge for community policing it’s not what it’s about it’s a profit thing,” said Paul Howe with  Concerned Motorcycle Riders of Huronia. – CTV NEWS

Councillor Cody Oschefski speaks with CTV News
Councillor Cody Oschefski speaks with CTV News

Councillor Cody Oschefski responded immediately to concerns from the community on his Facebook page (which the writer still cannot access) by offering to help get the project back on track, crowd-fund for the OPP security costs and offer to set up some other event in the meantime, pledging help with next year’s events.  There are many supporters who have already chimed in online willing to donate cash or toys and looking for ways to keep the toy ride dream alive after all these years.

The ride’s spokesperson says it is simply too late this year to pull it off and asks the OPP to reconsider their stance on extra billing for this charitable event.  You can watch the news coverage above.  Kudos go out to Councillor Oschefski for jumping on this cause and helping to raise funds and awareness, and to the many concerned towns folk who have expressed support for the Toy Ride’s future.

Toy collection campaigns are common in the month leading up to Christmas and concerned charitable town folk are encouraged to remember the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign, the local food bank, the toy drives we see yearly from the local Midland Police and the many local organizations who team up to sponsor families each year.  The Toy Ride is one of many such campaigns and while it will be missed yet again this year, it will not dampen the efforts of the community to support those in need.

Let’s hope that there is a way for the Toy Ride to continue next year with the support of the OPP in Tiny, Tay and Penetanguishene.  In our inquiries with sources at the Midland Police, such events are generally covered by the cooperation between the police and public works and don’t generally incur any extra fees unless special resources need to be brought in.

It is a good time to mention that with our Council comparing local policing costs to the OPP quote that should be arriving this fall, that it seems that local community policing is like going to a buffet restaurant where you pay one price and get everything included and that contracting out to the OPP is like going to a regular a-la-carte restaurant where you order off a menu and pay for every item and seemingly get billed for each item you consume.  This extra billing issue with traffic escorts only highlights the future cost uncertainty that Midland will face if we go with an outsourced contracted policing solution.

Read more: http://barrie.ctvnews.ca/concerned-motorcycle-riders-of-huronia-toy-ride-cancelled-1.3054954

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Comment(10)

  1. When I managed and operated Experience House, three decades ago, a wonderful bunch of guys talked about staging a Toy Ride with toys to be used in the Sally Ann’s Christmas Cheer program. About 100 or so bikers showed up at Zeller’s parking lot each motorcycle bearing a toy. At end of the initial ride, they all returned to the Citadel where Jim Armstrong from Pizza Pizza was waiting with boxes of hot pizza and pop. Each September the ride got bigger, gifts in the hundreds, fun couldn’t have been better. Now the Toy Ride has come full circle….no ride this month. Seems to make the ride safe OPP are required to ride along and the invoice isn’t cheap, reportedly well into the thousands of dollars (Shades of OPP costing?). So an event with children in need in mind at Christmas has sadly gone into the history books. To organizers from day one, riders and recipients, kudos all the day ’round. Stand tall people and stay safe.

  2. Seen the coverage on ctv. Seen officer Leon too. No offense to Cody, but 1 of 7 or more will not change a thing. The answer will remain the same. You want action, everyone go to the detachment. There is an inspector after all. He did advertise an open door policy. 300 doubled up bikers would test that theory. Not good enough ? You have Orillia general head quarters. His name is Commissioner Vinnie Hawkes. He has Superintendant Rose DiMarco. The HTA (abbreviated) has been under the gun for many years. It is up to the interpretation of the officer there. My opinion is not being asked for, but I have been battling the OPP and the MTO and their prosecutors for 4 years and we still have not ended. If the cash register is so full to have me in court for all this time, there is money for the Toy Ride. Lets not forget that their Association is not in a good lime light. The image I had as a kid is not that today. The Minister of Transportation and the Registrar of Vehicles have powers. I would like to see those powers put to the test for the greater good. The integrity of the OPP is what we are looking at. Stop using the HTA as a screen. On Canada Day I see go carts on the road perforning stunts, no helmets and beyond the breach of the HTA. Thats ok ? Is there a difference here ? The Scrooge movie had a happy ending. If there is no Toy Ride this year, man up and speak the truth please. Then go explain it to the kids who are going without and tell them there is no Santa.

  3. While I believe Cody has the right idea it occurs to me that everything dollar spent on escorts(policing) will be a toy that doesn’t get to the children. As I saw posted somewhere else the OPP need to show support for the community they are so fond of saying they want to be a part of by providing escorts as members of the community rather than employees of the Ontario government. Step up and show you do care about your community.

  4. Just wonder the 6 OPP PERSONAL sitting at TIM’S ON HWY 12 for over 2hrs are getting paid if there are since they where doing nothing for that time the COMMANDER OF SOUTHERN GEORGIAN BAY DISTRICT should have then ESCORT the motor cycles for THE TOY RUN or dock there pay the 2hrs that they where sitting at TIM’S guess they can’t read the sign 20MINUTES TIME LIMIT

  5. Is Midland town council seeing this? Is this $5000 a preview of “supplementary costs” that OPP policing operates with? Also Gordon Cripps …. The “pooling” of OPP personnel is clearly the integrated model of policing on display (we really do need a sarcasm font!).

  6. makes me wonder what the OPP is going to bill to the town (if they get the job )white Canada day , Santa ,remember day and other events if its not part of there contract and what is cody want to do hold a fundraiser to fund the toy drive

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Concerned Motorcycle Riders of Huronia Toy Ride Cancelled

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