“Mum’s the word” from the Mega developers, OMB and County of Simcoe about expanding Greenbelt environmental protection.

November 20, 2015

So we’re supposed to rest easy with the OMB-approved county Official Plan on the way? Right??

greenbelt-expanded

The Oak Ridges Moraine Partnership and the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance have proposed Ontario’s Greenbelt expand to include almost 300,000 hectares in Simcoe County. The proposed area is shown in dark green and includes Lake Simcoe, the Oro Moraine, the Nottawasaga River Watershed and the Minesing Wetlands. SUBMITTED PHOTO

An interesting Barrie Advance article by Sara Carson called Groups ask province to expand Ontario’s Greenbelt (curiously not online but available in pdf)

When you drink tap water, take a shower and swim in a local lake, you want that water to be clean and safe.

This is why the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition is asking the province to expand Ontario’s Greenbelt in our area.

“People get behind the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. This is just the next logical step,” said coalition co-chair-person Margaret Prophet.

Ontario’s Greenbelt is a 1.8-million-acre parcel of protected farmland, wetland and forest stretching from the Greater Toronto Area north to Tobermory. In Simcoe County, the Greenbelt covers Holland Marsh crop areas in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil as well as portions of Adjala-Tosorontio and New Tecumseth.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing spokesperson Conrad Spezowka said the province is committed to growing the Greenbelt. In the spring, the ministry completed a series of public consultations to review four provincial growth plans and to consider Greenbelt expansion.

“Municipal interest to date has been on adding urban river valleys within existing urban areas. This builds on the Greenbelt Plan amendment, which recognizes urban river valleys as important connections to the Great Lakes and will help municipalities in identifying possible areas for Greenbelt expansion,” Spezowska said

Proposed amendments will come forward in the winter of 2016, he added.

More than 100 community groups, including the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition and Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, have asked the province to nearly double the size of the Greenbelt to add 1.5 million acres of land containing vital water resources. In Simcoe County this includes almost 300,000 hectares of land covering the Lake Simcoe watershed, the Oro Moraine, the Nottawasaga River Wetlands, which supply and purify clean drinking water for most resident of the county, Prophet said.

“We’re hoping at the lest the vulnerable water areas of Simcoe County would be protected,” she added. “Only a portion of the Lake Simcoe watershed is protected.”

Cheryl Shindruk, a member of the Midhurst Landowners Group, declined comment on the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition’s plan to grow the greenbelt. The landowners group is made up of five development companies.

“When the Crombie report is made public, we will consider its recommendations and make comment if necessary, but we will not be commenting on any individual submissions from any group to the Crombie panel,” Shindruk said.

David Crombie chairs the six-member provincial growth plan review panel.

The Barrie Advance requested an interview with a County of Simcoe representative regarding the greenbelt expansion. In a prepared statement, Warden Gerry Marshall said the county does not comment on matters between the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition and the province. He provided a stateme4nt about the county’s planning policies.

Marshall said the county’s updated official plan, under review at the Ontario Municipal Board, would expand the amount of protected green lands, significantly increase protection of wetland areas and protect farmland.

“The county is setting density targets with fixed boundaries for all settlement areas,” he added.

“Once approved, Simcoe County would have some of the most stringent land use protection policies and designations in the province. These are very strong planning policies that provide a responsible balance to protect our lands and resources, while fostering growth by creating new regional transportation options, supporting economic prosperity and encouraging healthy, vibrant communities,” Marshall said.

During the next 26 years, the county’s population will expand by 164,703 residents and the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition questions what this means for our water supply. Prophet said greenbelt protection would ensure the water remains healthy throughout development.

“If we really want Simcoe County to grow in a sensible way, to make sure what we have now is preserved for future generations or even healthier than what we have, then now is the time to stand behind our water because once it’s compromised it’s compromised,” she said.

20151119 Margaret Prophet

Margaret Prophet, co-chair of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition. SUBMITTED PHOTO

It said they would “not be able to handle much more effluent without he water quality being compromised and that was back nine years ago,” she said.

And we already see evidence the county’s water quality and supply is declining with summer water restrictions and beach closures, she added.

“Those things have started to impact our daily life and those are indicators that the water isn’t plentiful, or necessarily healthy in our area.”

Water restrictions have been commonplace in Barrie, Springwater and Orillia. This past summer, Thornton issued a water ban when water supply reached critical levels, Prophet noted.

Note: The public record shows the connections between the Midhurst Secondary Plan, Midhurst Landowners’ Group, Geranium Corporation and Ms. Shindruk. There are some related articles here about these relationships.

Originally published on DemocracyWatchSimcoe.ca.


Margaret Atwood talks about these “sinister” Ontario and local politicians?

August 18, 2014

An important warning about the destruction of Wasaga Beach and Georgian Bay.

Atwood admonishment oh boy

Click here for video  or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUDUKDVN27g.

175 views at 5 pm. 20140820

To Do:

  • Click here for information so you can write a hand-written letter to Premier Wynne complaining about this type of unfair propaganda.
  • And here to find out who are the other +44,600 fools who agree with these types of people.

How many more home addresses will Geranium Corporation publish to defend their development interests in the Midhurst Secondary Plan?

July 23, 2014

The Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, MRA opposes sprawl and has been talking to Premier Kathleen Wynne about it since before the provincial election.

On July 17th, Geranium has the MRA president’s home address  printed in 17,100 hard copies and digitally at the Springwater News newspaper. I covered it up with a post-it note (see below) when I photographed it.

20140704 Geranium MRA letter cropped

Maybe Mr. Marc Denhez of the Ontario Muncipal Board? Or Ms. Cheryl Shindruk VP, Geranium? Or Mr. Earl Rumm president of Geranium?

20140717 Springwater News front

I understand that Mr. Earl Rumm is the president of Geranium Corporation (see Ontario looks to smack down SLAPPs).

20140717 Springwater News bifold

Text of the letter: pdf

At least, two previously-published articles note that Ms. Buxton and the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association continue talking directly to Premier Kathleen Wynne:

1. Midhurst ratepayers not giving up fight after OMB defeat, The Barrie Advance, July 9, 2014, and

Buxton said her group met with Premier Kathleen Wynne during the election campaign and has met with other senior government officials since then.

“(Wynne) promised us she’d order a review and she’d involve us in high-level talks so we could flesh out our concerns and be involved. She’s keeping her word,” Buxton said.

2. Approval for Midhurst housing plan takes one step closer, The Barrie Examiner, July 11, 2014.

Buxton said the association “has the ear” of Premier Kathleen Wynne and that she has spoken with the premier about the Midhurst development.

“She was very receptive and very concerned and she promised the whole thing would be reviewed. I know she is committed to reviewing how this all came about,” Buxton said. “We have already had a meeting with very senior people attached to the premier’s office.”


Should Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne empower an independent, public investigation into the secretive Midhurst Secondary Plan?

July 9, 2014

The intense sprawl pressure in south Simcoe County will not end even when the legal “loophole” is reversed.

Kathleen Wynne2

Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner

Premier Wynne continues to talk to the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, MRA.

Barrie Advance, Midhurst ratepayers not giving up fight after OMB defeat:

Buxton [MRA president] said her group met with Premier Kathleen Wynne during the election campaign and has met with other senior government officials since then.

“(Wynne) promised us she’d order a review and she’d involve us in high-level talks so we could flesh out our concerns and be involved. She’s keeping her word,” Buxton said.

Atwood bear crop

Time: 1:51 to 2:15

This is not the prototypical tree-hugger against the capitalist.

This is the prototypical ratepayer against some people who did some pretty secretive things to them behind their backs.

And it’s no longer the era of “we can do things under the table, in small places and no one will notice”. We live in the age of the internet, so things become public pretty quickly.

Margaret Atwood

Link to full video.


Midhurst sprawl: What is the weakest response a developer could make when Ontario Nature calls about their plan?

June 19, 2014

Why did Geranium Corp. appear to effectively say “no comment” if this scheme is such a done deal?

20140601 Midhurst residents 3

ThreatenedProposed development could adversely affect Minesing Wetlands.

An interesting article in the summer edition of Ontario Nature‘s newsletter, ON Nature, called: Midhurst residents oppose development: pdf

 …In 2012, the Ontario minister of infrastructure granted MLG a “special rule” allowing the developer group to proceed with planning the first 300 hectares of the project.

Geranium Corp., the largest member in the MLG consortium, is no stranger to controversial projects. The developer is also behind the Big Bay Point Marina development on Lake Simcoe, which received approval despite concerns over the environmental impact of adding 1,600 timeshare units and a 1,000-slip marina to the already taxed watershed. “They’re extremely good at marketing their proposals to government and, more often than not, they’re successful,” says Strachan. “It’s amazing to me how gullible the government has been.” (At press time, calls to Geranium Corp. for comment had not been returned.)

While 4/7ths of the current Springwater Township continues to strike a truly ostrich assume-the-position, position, the winds of change are bringing in some very heavy-weight opponents of the Midhurst Secondary Plan.

While Springwater Township has warned that any attempt to stop the development in Midhurst would result in lawsuits, Strachan and others are not willing to give up the fight. A number of high-profile artists and politicians, including Margaret Atwood, Maude Barlow, MPP Jim Wilson and MP Patrick Brown, publicly support the campaign. More information is available on Stop Springwater Sprawl (stopspringwatersprawl.com).

Don’t forget to come to the MRA’s event this Sunday: Celebration of Rural Living with Margaret Atwood.

Margaret Atwood poster

Cross-posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org and voteLesStewart.ca.


Land speculation: there is risk in everything we do but but some games are fixed.

May 3, 2014

The key to all confidence situations is that the those being taken (the “innocents”) believe that there are independent actors at work.

The game is not building houses: the play is flipping title on newly-rezoned land. And buying Barrie’s waste- and supply-water systems.

Stakeholder Analysis

Three Card Monte

  1. Dealer (perceived as the only one who benefits/loses, 1 to 3 are “grifters“),
  2. two “gamblers” (“stupid” players:  really in cahoots),
  3. two look outs: (used to rope in innocents, repel “wise guys”, “Cool out the Mark“, and scan for the police),
  4. you the mark (the only non-accomplice).

Land speculation

  1. landowners/developers (direct and indirect) 1 to 6 versus 7 relies on information asymmetry and credence good service provision, repeat players),
  2. Bay Street lawyer for municipality (legal duty only to Corporation not to individual politicians , The Price of Law: How the Market for Lawyers Distorts the Justice System, Gillian K. Hadfield),
  3. senior administration (has no legal duty to answer questions of public honestly),
  4. township politicians: mayor and majority (1) refuses to get 2nd opinion on #2 advice, (2) refuses to fund separate lawyers to provide independent legal advice for any councillor who wants it and (3) each individual is too cheap/naive/deferential to authority to get their own independent legal advice about the outrageously false threats made by the “bogey man”#1,
  5. Province of Ontario (shifts political heat of breaching their own laws to a non-elected, quasi-judicial body),
  6. Ontario Municipal Board which provides the appearance of access to justice, and
  7. community represented by the monopoly advocacy of an extremely hard working, diligent and well-meaning group of volunteers  many of whom are first-time players.

List of Confidence Tricks


Is it any accident that Springwater Township council is speeding up the sprawl plan approvals process?

April 28, 2014

Their big push raises some disturbing questions.

school-bus-crash22

As was asked at last Council meeting and echoed in last night’s informative Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association information session:

  • Why did the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, NVCA lawyer clearly call any zoning changes before the Environmental Assessment process is completed, premature?
  • Why does a modestly-resourced conservation authority like NVCA unanimously have grave concerns about the sprawl plan is devoting substantial $ at the OMB hearings?
  • Why should anything be approved when a financial outcome study, remains unfinished?
  • Why is AWARE Simcoe making the MSP such a central part of their Annual General Meeting this Saturday?

With a final push of support, the sprawl plan defeat will be #3

  1. Dump Site 41.
  2. Mega Quarry in Melancthon township, and
  3. Midhurst Secondary Plan.

To Help:

StopSpringwaterSprawl.com


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