If this was such “A Done Deal”, why does this email have such a desperate feel?
Development: I have been asked by a few to take an aggressive role in opposing the size of the planed development in Midhurst. As your elected Ward 5 Councillor I have made a commitment to represent everyone with the same dedication and to be a strong voice in advancing all issues and concerns at Council. Please remember, I am also a resident of Midhurst and have concerns about the impacts of any large development. This continues to be one of the major concerns for our residents.
The farmers that owned and worked the lands that are designated for development have the legal right to retire and sell their property. The investors who have spent millions of dollars buying the lands were given assurances that they could build subdivisions. There has been considerable debate as to whether this Council can legally reverse prior Council approved agreements. To attempt to do so would undoubtedly result in lawsuits that would likely be settled in favour of the plaintiff and, the development would still proceed. Such action would have a major financial impact on Taxpayers.
The Provincial government has appealed the County of Simcoe’s approval of the Midhurst Secondary Plan to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). I have no idea when this will be resolved or what the outcome will be.
It is important to remember that previous Council(s) approved the Midhurst development, in compliance with the Province’s Places to Grow Act. It has been stated that Township residents were kept apprised of the planned development. While the information was communicated, it did not reach the majority of Taxpayers. Almost every resident I have spoken to knew little, if anything, of the planed development and were surprised to learn of the magnitude.
The Midhurst Ratepayers group have been working hard researching the history and questioning the previous Council(s) decisions and approvals. They are also providing an additional forum for residents to express their views. The group are trying to increase community spirit. Regardless of the OMB decision, residents should continue to support the Ratepayers and their efforts to unite the community.
Ratepayers have discussed developing liaison with the Midhurst Land Owners Group (Investors). A working relationship would provide an opportunity to monitor what is planned and have input during the initial stages. The developers and/or their representatives have expressed a willingness to attend Ratepayers meetings. It has also been suggested that an agreement may be reachable, to proceed in a build out of homes at a slow, progressive, manageable number per year.
We need fewer behind-closed-doors not more. Suggesting citizens enter into confidential “deals” with developers is repugnant and deeply offensive to democratic principles. They would open themselves up to almost unlimited legal liability because no citizen group has the authority to bind its neighbours: only a municipality can do that because the powers are given to it by provincial statute.
Taxpayers Participation: I have stated in the past that the Taxpayers should not take it for granted that their views and concerns are known or understood. I am pleased to say that there has been an increase in residents’ attendance at the Council meetings and the quantity of correspondence received. When someone questions how past approvals or policies were allowed to occur, we need only to look at the number of people who voted in the last election. In Ward 5 in 2010 there were 3,095 eligible voters, yet only 1,300 people actually voted. I believe this was a significant increase from the previous election. The previous Ward 5 Councillor, in the election prior to the one held in 2010, ran unopposed. My point is that in the passed some of us may have been too apathetic and/or failed to hold our elected officials and staff accountable. Site 41 should have been a wake-up call to all of us of the need to monitor what is being planned in our Township and, get involved before crucial decisions are made. It is your democratic right to provide comments and hold employees and elected officials accountable. Establish and maintain liaison with them. [The italics are mine.]
In the Family Compact, the peasants served their betters.
- The current Springwater council continues to refuse to amend their official plan which would stop the Midhurst Secondary Plan in its tracks.
- Councillors may also be named individually in civil litigation. Current Council members may be in a conflict of interest because they are benefiting by their own decisions to support the Midhurst Secondary Plan. (The benefit is an avoidance of a loss: don’t have to pay to defend themselves in a lawsuit.)
- Executive insurance would cover only current politicians who have acted within their mandate (intra vires) but not if they have acted in a improper or corrupt manner (ultra vires).