Based on what Mayor Hughes disclosed, the majority of Simoce County councillors seem to share that view.
An article on AWARE News Network called Simcoe County wants $5,000 from AWARE Simcoe:
Simcoe County Council voted overwhelmingly today to recover $5,000 in court costs from AWARE Simcoe.
The case involved an application by the citizens’ group for a judicial review of a County decision to allow a developer to clearcut a portion of Beeton Woods. A judge awarded the costs after refusing to grant an injunction to prevent the cutting until the judicial review was heard. AWARE Simcoe then withdrew from the judicial review.
New Tecumseth Mayor Rick Milne told council that developer Tecumseth Estates is not planning to pursue the $27,000 in costs it was awarded against AWARE. The group has no money, he said. “Are we going to spend staff time and legal costs? I think we should just write it off.”
Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes disagreed. “AWARE’s integrity is at stake,” he said. “We should not be letting them off the hook.”
Upon receipt, the county plans to donate the funds to the South Simcoe Streams Network for the planting of trees.
AWARE Simcoe spokesperson Sandy Agnew said members are disappointed in the county’s decision.
“AWARE Simcoe is working hard to protect the environment and natural heritage in Simcoe County and the value of that work seems to be lost on most of county council,” he said.
“AWARE Simcoe members spend their own personal money on our work, while the county spends our tax dollars fighting AWARE Simcoe, instead of getting the process right – as pointed out by the judge.”
Allowing the cutting of the Beeton Woods under the false pretence of agriculture was an abdication of political responsibility by county councillors, Agnew said.
“AWARE Simcoe’s cause was just, but we were out-gunned in court by high paid lawyers who bamboozled the judge. The idea of replacing a mature stand of trees with seedlings planted elsewhere is ludicrous.”
Agnew said AWARE Simcoe’s Vision is for a Healthy Environment, Agricultural Prosperity, Development that is a Net Benefit to the Community, Complete Communities, Reliable Sustainable Energy, Awareness of the Need for Sustainability, and Healthy Lifestyles.
“AWARE Simcoe will continue to fight for our Vision,” he said.
Disclosure: My family has been in Midhurst since 1960, been a member of AWARE Simcoe for 4 years and my son currently serves on their board. In my opinion, saving Springwater Park would have been impossible without their active involvement while Mayor Hughes was indifferent at best.
My family or I are NOT involved in any potential or actual legal action with AWARE Simcoe or any of their Board members.
Is it material if Mayor Hughes failed to disclose any past or present litigation he has personally against AWARE Simcoe of their members to his fellow Simcoe County councillors, before they voted?
Was Mayor Hughes in a conflict of interest?
Charlie and Jean Day were my next-door neighbours on Bayfield Street when I was growing up.
From The Barrie Examiner, Thursday February 22, 1951:
Charles E. Day was recently elected president of the Barrie and District Civil Service Association. Previous experience with the association includes two years on the executive and six years with the sub-committee of the Department Council.
He is presently work foreman at the Midhurst Forestry Station, having been with the reforestry since 1928.
Born in Cambridge, England, Mr. Day received his education in that country. Upon finishing continuation school, he came to Canada and took up farming in Flos Township from 1920 to 1922. He farmed in the West the following year, returning east in 1924 to begin four years with the CPR.
Mr. Day left the employ of the CPR in 1928 and joined the staff of the Midhurst Reforestry as accountant.
He married the former L. Anne McGinnis of Midhurst in 1929 and they have one son, William. A member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Midhurst, Mr. Day has been warden of that church since 1929, with the exception of the war years.
He is a past master of Kerr Lodge AF&AM, Barrie, a member of the Lodge of Perfection, Scottish Rite, and Spry Sovereign Rose Croix Lodge, Barrie. A member of the Canadian Legion, Vespra Branch . Mr. Day was president from 1936 to 1945. He saw war service in both World Wars. In the first war he served in the British Army with the 12th division, Kitchener’s Army. He joined the Grey and Simcoe Foresters in 1940 and served with the A&T Staff till his discharge in 1945.
Mr. Day is an ardent hunter, and was connected with the Midhurst Athletic Club as secretary-treasurer from 1929 to 1934.
Mr. Robert Peacock was the only other Midhurst resident to serve in both World Wars.
Good for April 1 to November 30, 2016.
Cost: total of $125.00 for 243 days for your entire family.
Is your family prepared to pay the equivalent of 51.4 cents per day to support this very important land in your community?
Please make your cheque made payable to Minister of Finance.
When Ruth Byers uses words like “demolish”, “stunned”, and “tragedy”, thoughtful people in Springwater Township have listened up for decades.
Her April 7th Heritage Matters column:
April 7, 2016
Memories of the Midhurst Community Centre
The sign that hung for decades within the Midhurst Community Hall.
It is a man’s privilege some good to seek,
To lift up the fallen and to aid the weak.
To create a dwelling for frolic and fun,
That will cheer the aged as well as the young.
Dear Midhursters don’t let the hall go, it would be a mistake.
These words were spoken and recorded in an epic poem nearly 100 years ago when a battle was being waged over the location of the new town hall. The council of the day had decided to build a new town hall and the site had been selected but there was a desire for some to have it located at the reforestation area near the railway station.
Now, 2016, it seems there is a desire to demolish this landmark. The community centre has been serving (and still is serving) the Midhurst community in a variety of ways.
Dear Reader: this column is used to tell of Heritage Matters in an unbiased manner. I hope you will forgive me if I deviate from this format. I was stunned to learn of the plans to demolish the Midhurst Community Centre. To most of us, other than not being handicapped accessible, the building seems to be solid.
My first memory of the hall was attending a family dance as a little kid. The music was played by local musicians, and a local caller if a square dance was in the making. There were wooden benches down the sides of the room, piled coats underneath. When the toddlers got tired, they would crawl under the benches, lay on the coats and sleep. The highlight of the evening would be watching Orv Dash and Mrs. Dash schottische around the floor, their feet never stumbling. Perhaps it was Orv’s boxing experience that accounted for the great footwork!
Time passed: school, marriage, living elsewhere, babies and then building our home in Midhurst. As residents, we became involved with the community, and the Midhurst Community Centre. Before Forest Hill School had a gymnasium, school plays and concerts were held in the hall. Dinners, pancake suppers, baby showers, wedding showers, cared games and more dances filled the community newsletter. Political rallies and elections at all three levels were held in this hall. Free trade was discussed in the 1930s, decades before it became an important issue.
Not all meetings were good. My father attended a council meeting concerning a situation with SS #1 Vespra School known locally as Cundles School. This was where my brothers and I attended. My father was told to go back where he came from if he didn’t like what was offered here. School Inspector P.M. Scott stood up and chastised the Council and demanded an apology, which was given. What a dear man, and courageous! That memory has stuck for a lifetime.
In 1967, the Vespra Township council decided once again to build a new hall. This one on Doran Road became excess property so it was sold to the Midhurst Community for one dollar.
Thus began the job of renovating. Volunteers worked hard to provide a safe and useable space adding washrooms, a decent heating system, a parking lot and a cover over the front door.
A board managed the business of the hall. As a member of the board for a few years, I was intrigued by the fact a fellow board member, Hunter Russell, and been one of the original volunteers building the hall before I was born.
Somehow, the hall became the property of the township again. Now the decision regarding the hall’s future lies with the council. Demolishing our heritage would be a tragedy. A logical solution would be to sell the land and building ‘as is’ and let the new owner do whatever needs to be done with the building. This solution worked well for the old St. Paul’s Church.
The opening two stanzas of the circa 1926 poem, recorded in History of Vespra Township, page 111:
Come friends, gather round and I will tell
Of a wonderful project and what befell.
Our fathers one day thought out and planned
A community hall, a structure grand.
They met the Council for an interview,
Laid before them their plans, faithful and true.
For a thousand dollars, and the old town hall
We’ll build you a new one, in reach of all.
Disclosure: Ruth, Bob and their family have given thousands and thousands and thousands of hours in support of the Springwater Township community. For our family, we received their gifts principally within the scouting movement.
I wrote about this in relation to saving Springwater Park in August 2013.
Sometimes it helps to ask politicians, in writing, important questions.
1. Email from author to Midhurst ward councillor (Mr. Jack Hanna), Township of Springwater
FROM: Les Stewart
TO: Jack Hanna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: Bill French <Bill.French@springwater.ca>
DATE: 24 March 2016 at 11:31
SUBJECT: Midhurst Sports and Wellness Centre proposal
Mr. Jack Hanna
Councillor Ward 5
Township of Springwater
I would appreciate an update on the Township’s evaluation of this proposal.
I would also like to have an opportunity for a meeting so that I can make sure my facts are correct about how this proposal will affect the Midhurst Community Centre at 74 Doran Road, Midhurst.
2. Response from Mayor French
FROM: Bill French
TO: Les Stewart, Jack Hanna
CC: Ron Belcourt <Ron.Belcourt@springwater.ca>, (Director of Recreation, Parks & Properties)
Robert Brindley <Robert.Brindley@springwater.ca> (Chief Administrative Officer)
DATE: 24 March 2016 at 11:51
It was referred to staff for feedback. It will not be reviewed until we finalize our Master Recreation Plan which will not be complete until later this year.
Before the advancement of any idea or concept, it would be subject to rigorous review and public input. But at the same time we commend people that have ideas that try to enhance our various communities.
Appreciate your interest.
Township of Springwater
2231 Nursery Road
Minesing, ON L0L 1Y2
P 705-728-4784 ext. 2040
C 705-718-7031 or
3. Reply by author
FROM:: Les Stewart
TO: Bill French
CC: Jack Hanna, Ron Belcourt, Robert Brindley
DATE: 24 March 2016 at 12:05
Thank you for the update.
I take from this that the proposal, which called for demolishing the Midhurst Community Hall by fall 2016, will not be happening.
I have attached a current Springwater News article by Ruth Byers. She notes Midhurst and many township residents had worked very hard to preserve 164 years of continuous civic building presence. It may be of interest to the Corporation that the Midhurst United, St. Paul’s Anglican and Midhurst Baptist churchs rented the Doran Road facilities while their congregations struggled, successfully, to construct their own buildings in our community.
Considering the season, it’s nice that the current church congregation renting (Old Apostolic Lutheran Church) won’t become homeless by this administration.
At least for now, eh?
4. Mr. Jack Hanna comments.
FROM: Jack Hanna
TO: Bill French, Les Stewart
CC: Ron Belcourt, Robert Brindley
DATE: 24 March 2016 at 16:39
Mr Les Stewart
Further to the response from Mayor French you will note in the Draft Recreation Master Plan a recommendation to “decommission the Midhurst Community Centre” my objection to this is part of the public record.
Councillor Ward 5
Meeting asked for….meeting…
Therefore, the French administration, staff & councillors seems to be pleased with the accuracy of the traditional and social media coverage.
Posted also on SpringwaterParkcc.org.
Who serves the $40-billion Midhurst Secondary Plan developers?
Who are his allies on township council?
A good Springwater News March 24th article by Ruth Byers.
March 24, 2016
Town Hall The Second
Sometime in the 1920s, Vespra Township Council decided there was a need of a new town hall.
Between the decision and the actual building of the new hall, there was some community action. Even within the council there was a back and forth argument. The older residents of Midhurst wanted the new hall built in the village, while another group wanted it built at the reforestry station. The debate was recorded in a poem written by Arthur Garvin.
The hall was built in the village on land purchased from Mrs. Thomas Spence. Volunteer labour played a huge part in the construction of the hall. The names of all those who donated time and/or money were written on a sign that hung in the hall. It is interesting to note that the support came from across the township.
Township council met in this building until 1967. They were called ‘the lunch bag’ council, since they brought their lunch with them. To mark Canada’s centenary, a fire hall come council chamber was built on Finlay Mill Road, Town Hall The Third. Since the hall on Doran Road was no longer needed, the township sold it to the community of Midhurst for one dollar. The township offices were still at 17 Owen Street, Barrie.
Again volunteers played an important part in the hall’s new life. A kitchen was built, the big monster of a furnace was replaced, washrooms were built, cover over the main door was constructed, and a parking lot was created and paved.
Funding was always a big part to the work of the volunteers. A Ladies Auxiliary was formed and their first big endeavor was a cook book. Betty Stewart did most of the work to put all the recipes onto paper; another group printed it on an old gestner machine. The book was a good money maker.
The ladies realized that every group in the village needed to raise funds. Ruth Byers suggested they all work together on one event. So Autumnfest was born.
So many events have taken place in this building: wedding showers, baby showers, dances, elections, church services, suppers and one of the best, the Lilac Tea. Isabel Nash had advocated the lilac as the township flower and the tea celebrated this.
There has been public space in Midhurst for events of all kinds for 164 years.
This article followed another good March 10th article on March 10th called: Town Hall pdf
There were hundreds of people that have worked tirelessly to build Midhurst into the community that it is today. I know for a fact they didn’t take time away from their family and work out of careerism. I was there inhaling the gestener correcting fluid. lol
Demolishing the soul of a community serves big money developers and their toadies.