What percentage of lawyers’ fees are paid by developers and their friends?

September 24, 2016

If municipal law is like franchise law, 90 % of legal fees are paid by the big corporations.

rod-northey1. How likely is it that Mr. Rod Northey of Gowling WLG is going to stop a $40 – 50 billion development when he represents the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association (once, funded from a door-to-door campaign)?

  • If by some chance he did win and defeat Goliath, would that impress Geranium Homes and their peers, municipalities and Mr. Northey’s new fellow partners?

2. How likely is it that his job is to provide the pretense of a fair fight which assists in On Cooling the Mark Out, as Dr. Goffman defined it.


I wonder where the Hunter Russell trail sign at Finlay Mill Road is?

June 28, 2016

Lots of new signs all over Springwater Township.

Sign H Russell Trail

A shame if the old is discarded.

Hunter Russell

A little background on Hunter Russell.

Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius

April 28, 2016


Oro-Medonte Mayor, Harry Hughes appears deeply concerned about AWARE Simcoe’s integrity.

April 28, 2016

Based on what Mayor Hughes disclosed, the majority of Simoce County councillors seem to share that view.

Harry Hughes

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 Day was a model Midhurst resident.

April 26, 2016

Charlie and Jean Day were my next-door neighbours on Bayfield Street when I was growing up.

19510222 Charles Day photo

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 [149]. 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.

Summer passes available now: A chance for your family to show they care about Springwater Park.

April 12, 2016

Good for April 1 to November 30, 2016.


Cost: total of $125.00 for 243 days for your entire family.

51 cents

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.

Dear Midhursters, I say, for goodness’ sake, Don’t let the hall go, it would be a mistake.

April 8, 2016

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:

Springwater News
April 7, 2016

Memories of the Midhurst Community Centre
Heritage Matters
Ruth Byers

Sign MCC donors
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.

Cubs mcc 001

Midhurst 1 Cub Scouts in the Midhurst Community Centre basement, circa mid 1960s: (l) Wayne, Gary, ? and me.


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