So it’s blatant open season on rural Ontario communities then?: Annexation/destruction via Midhurst Secondary Plan.

May 1, 2014

Goodbye to an independent Township of Springwater, Elmvale and the old Vespra and Flos townships. Hello to the latest Barrie land annexation because it is open season on vulnerable Ontario agricultural communities.

Annexation map 2

It’s called the Midhurst Secondary Plan but its very name is a lie.

As all the other Ontario rural municipality staff and leaders know, it’s a precedent-setting, naked shift of power from rural to urban use that makes all provincial institutional stakeholders into lapdogs.

Problems are solved at the price of independence and a rural way of life if The Regional Municipality of Barrie is formed.

Background: The Harris government amalgamated two great agricultural townships to form Springwater: Vespra in the south (Barrie to Horseshoe Valley Road) and Flos (north of Vespra to include Elmvale). These were self-sustainig and prosperous communities.

County in 1954


Barrie was a little village in 1812 when the Penetanguishene Road was surveyed.

Penetanguishene Road

The last significant northern Barrie annexation required a bald-faced, shocking display of raw political power by the Davis government (Barrie-Vespra Annexation Act).

I was wrong in April 2012 when I suggested a war was been declared on Midhurst:

the spoils of this war are 100% of the former Vespra and Flos lands.

Growth is inevitable. We know that better than anyone. But really: listening to the soulless, BMW-heavy OMB and their pharisees you’d be tricked into thinking agriculture is  a coarse, less sophisticated, stupid 2nd rate industry. That the “city mice” have pulled a fast one.

Premier Kathleen Wynne: please, we’re all adults here. I ask you to exercise your authority, stop the behind-closed-door OMB deals,  and keep the dialogue in the public sphere where it belongs. With our First Nations friends, we’ve been at this agri-business and community work for several thousands of years. We’ve not only built a community of communities but in some tough conditions, attracted and nurtured winners in every field: agronomy, law, engineering, medicine, service, etc. Everyone deserves to be respected, to engage in a vigorous, open exchange of ideas about the future of our communities, to know that the fight isn’t fixed.

Wouldn’t you agree, premier?

Dignity and honesty were self-evident at Springwater Township last night.

February 26, 2014

The 2014 budget was passed by an unusual “5 for: 2 against”, recorded vote.

Michael J Fox

Budgets are usually just rubber-stamped.

My notes:

  • respect to those taxpayers who show up,
  • potential federal funding telephone calls left unanswered (x2),
  • make sure $10,000 for Springwater Park was safe (yes it is),
  • don’t like budget process,
  • proposed operating efficiencies (fewer services, lower expenses) were a “full insult”,
  • no attempt at surgical approach to public finances,
  • “my hands were slapped more than one time”,
  • people of Midhurst and Elmvale deserve better,
  • staff delivered exactly what they were instructed to deliver,
  • question whether people and communities are treated fairly and equitably, and
  • finally, “It’s the truth”.

Also: An email that was, but is not now, part of the democratic record?



Will any honest people bother to contest the 2014 Springwater Township election?

December 7, 2013

Or will they simply watch as Midhurst, Elmvale and the rest of the former Flos and Vespra township communities be destroyed?

Ayn Rand destroyer

Why?: The Ontario development industry likes the toothless Ontario Municipal Act too much. They want their interests (acting through a puppet majority) to deliver them the zoning for the land they want in south Simcoe County so they can have Springwater Township ask for a friendly annexation from Barrie.

And the raw land controllers (eg. the endangered forests Ministry of Natural Resources and  County of Simcoe and the blind ambition of the City of Barrie and the Premier’s office) will profit by looking the other way (see some of the institutional land holdings in south Springwater Township). Delivering these forests and green spaces helps top up any serving politician’s RRSPs.

  • See the colourful land areas below that we as citizens own but elected politicians control? When ownership is separated from control and those in control use self-interest and deceit, this defines the word “opportunism“. In a government setting, this is old-fashioned definition of the word “corruption”.

Springwater land use map

Springwater Park: This is how you establish $2-million estates on the park’s ponds and give the township, county, City of Barrie and province a big chunk of land for their administrative mausoleums. See Map 1 as to what our past, current and (likely) future politicians get from re-zoning the former tree seedling compartments south of Highway 26 inside the park to “Administration/Government” (blue areas) 

Map 1

(see the blue areas within the green and tan “Environmental Protection I and II” areas?)

Land use cropped  1

Map 2

(carving up Springwater Park since 2008)

Map 3

(the grey rectangles just above the “A”: lots more building, lots less trees)

Springwater Park and provincial forest lands


No wonder it took some time to validate the clearly illegal Midhurst Secondary Plan: the county needed their vig. Corrupting the Midhurst ratepayers’ leadership would come some time later.

Cross-posted on

Does basic responsible government exist in Springwater Township nowadays?

August 1, 2013

I and others have warned that the suspension of basic democratic rights seems to be escalating.

Springwater MayorAndCouncil

(l to r) Perry Ritchie, Dan Clement, Dan McLean, Linda Collins, Rick Webster, Sandy McConkey, Jack Hanna

In the Editor’s Musings in the August 1, 2013 edition of the Springwater News:

There have been some unexpected fumbling at the Springwater Council meetings. Dan McLean asked for an apology and when he did not get it, the mayor asked one of the councillors to leave.

When one reads the Municipal Act, it would appear that if one member of councillor is upset at another, you go to the Ombudsman for a ruling. Nowhere could I find does it say that the Mayor can eject one councillor at the willingness of another.

The Mayor of Midland suggest that Linda Collins can not demand a councillor leave the chamber. he said that a councillor is elected to duly represent the people so by ejecting a councillor, democracy was not being served.

Another former councillor said he once called the Mayor a piece of –(manure)– knowing full well there is no power with the Mayor to be able to eject him.

If that power did exist within council, think of the scenario. A few members of council want to pass a motion but they know they do not have the support. All one has to do is to complain about 2 or 3 of the council members who possibly opposed the motion. When they would not apologize, the Mayor could boot them from the chambers. The opposition is gone,. The motion is passed.

One wonders why anyone on Council would create such a problem.

One wonders why there has been a breach of quorum that the Township’s hired Ombudsman had to report on.

One wonders if there is a member or two of council who has negated their chances of being re-elected.

One wonders why some members of council do not want other members to communicate (in the paper) with their constituents. Councillors in Barrie do it, members of parliament do it. it is called transparency.

Rick Webster, Perry Richie, Sandy McConkey and Jack Hanna have written articles for the Springwater News.

Assuming the editor knows who writes in his own very important, local news outlet, the following other members of Springwater Township council have not chosen to communicate with their voters via the paper: Mayor Linda Collins, Deputy Mayor Dan McLean and Councillor Ward 1 (Elmvale) Dan Clement.

There seems no end to the school yard drama.

Two questions about this distraction from the catastrophe that the Midhurst Secondary Plan (MSP) represents:

  1. Who are the few that benefit (now and future: $ and non-$ value) and
  2. The many that it costs (same)?

I seem to recall that Mayor Collins’ Council decided that a MSP cost/benefit analysis was not needed to protect the current and future taxpayers.

In 1984, Barrie officially supports the province’s hostile annexation and financially hollowing-out of Vespra township

May 11, 2012

The William Davis government financially cripples the then-named Vespra (now Springwater) township, while giving more land to Barrie than it had asked for in 10 years of negotiations.

The Corporation of the City of Barrie starts off the resolution to the province with:

 The Corporation of the City of Barrie has unanimously endorsed the following resolution with respect to Bill 142 for the annexation of certain lands from the Township of Vespra…

An accompanying letter to the Honourable William G. Davis, Premier of Ontario states: “This was adopted unanimously by Council and it is intended to show the City’s support of the Province for the introduction of this legislation.

Council is aware of the difficult position that the Province had to make with regard to this dispute and would also like to commend them for their initiative to resolve this long standing dispute between two municipalities.”

Barrie had nothing to lose and everything to gain from a Queens Park unilateral law.

10. AND WHEREAS BE IT RESOLVED that the Premier of the Province of Ontario, The Honourable William Davis, be advised of this resolution and that he be made aware that:

(a) The Council of the Corporation of the City of Barrie fully endorses the actions of The Honourable Claude Bennett, Minister of Municipal Affairs, in introducing Bill 142 into the Ontario Legislature.

(b) We commend the General Government Committee, Chaired by Mr. Allan McLean, MPP for Simcoe East, for conducting a fair and impartial hearing on the annexation issue.

(e) We appreciate the efforts of The Honourable George Taylor, MPP for Simcoe Centre and Solicitor General of Ontario, in trying to bring this dispute to an end without further delay or the expenditure of future tax dollars.

(d) We regret that the Liberal and NDP Members of the Ontario Legislature did not support bill 142 at this time but we do encourage them to reconsider their stand on this issue and recognize that it is the only logical solution to a boundary dispute that has gone on for over 10 years.

(e) We request the Members of the Legislature give speedy passage of the third reading of Bill 142 as soon as possible to facilitate the end of the annexation application by the City and allow both Vespra and Barrie to govern their municipalities under the new boundary changes.

Vespra residents and political insiders would bitterly disagree with much of this resolution. Vespra won at the Supreme Court of Canada (twice) but lost +100% with the passage of Bill 142, the Barrie-Vespra Annexation Act, 1984.

If it Doesn’t Jingle, It doesn’t Count: Compensation was paid to Vespra township for 10 years. The amount was unilaterally decided upon by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Hon. Claude Bennett). Vespra lost 35% of their assessment revenue when Bill 142 passed. When Springwater township was formed in 1994, the northern area (former Flos township and Elmvale) have a much lower total assessment base compared to the south (former Vespra township, including Midhurst, Snow Valley, etc.)

The first time Barrie and Springwater township can “legally” talk about annexation is 2013.

Linda Collins council will reign until 2015.

Full excerpts of the complete May 1984 Municipal World article, City of Barrie Resolution re Bill 142: Annexation –  Readers Comment,  are available in Word and pdf at


Barrie’s existing population would contribute 88% toward a Barrie-Springwater annexation

February 23, 2012

There might be a shuffle municipally but Springwater would probably be represented by the 11th Ward of Barrie.

Springwater would contribute 87.4% of the land mass with the revenue value to a municipality increasing the farther south the properties are.

I understand that 80% of the Springwater’s revenue (now, pre-annexation) comes from properties south of Horseshoe Valley Road toward Barrie’s city limits.

Note: Elmvale would represent 1.5% of the population of a Barrie-Springwater annexation and be the farthest away geographically from Barrie’s city hall.

Provincially, a liberal candidate will probably be elected 1/2 the time.

Source: Barrie, Springwater, Elmvale

Will Linda Collins’ administration turn Elmvale into a political and economic ghetto?

January 27, 2012

Yes if she persists in supporting the Midhurst Secondary Plan.

As Dr. Paul Fleming has pointed out, the population growth in Midhurst will mean 7 or 8 of 10 future Wards will be from Midhurst alone.

Fact NOW:

  • 80% of all residential tax assessment for the Township comes from houses south of Horseshoe Valley Road.

It’s certainly not too late to join with your Midhurst neighbours and fight this recklessness.

Otherwise, I hope you’re enjoying your services in Elmvale now because with a 10% voice in future Councils, you’ll only have a few people to blame.

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