When is Springwater Township planning to demolish or “decommission” the Midhurst Community Centre?

April 8, 2016

Sometimes it helps to ask politicians, in writing, important questions.

Springwater Council Web

(l) Don Allen, Perry Ritchie, Katy Austin, Bill French, Sandy McConkey, Jennifer Coughlin, Jack Hanna

1. Email from author to Midhurst ward councillor (Mr. Jack Hanna), Township of Springwater

FROM: Les Stewart
TO: Jack Hanna <jack.hanna@springwater.ca>
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

Mr. Hanna,

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.

Regards,

Les Stewart

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

Les:
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.

Best Regards

Bill

Bill French
Mayor
Township of Springwater
2231 Nursery Road
Minesing, ON L0L 1Y2
P 705-728-4784 ext. 2040
F 705-728-6957
C 705-718-7031 or
416-587-7030

 

3. Reply by author

FROM:: Les Stewart
TO: Bill French
CC: Jack Hanna, Ron Belcourt, Robert Brindley
DATE: 24 March 2016 at 12:05

Mayor French,

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?

Regards, Les

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.

Regards,
Jack Hanna
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.


Will the City of Barrie sell their water supply and wastewater assets to a private corporation?

October 15, 2014

In January 2009, the city’s electrical utility (Barrie Hydro) merged with PowerStream Inc.

PowerStream-Georgian-College-1304181

Jeff Lehman, PowerStream Board member and Mayor of the City of Barrie, along with Brian Bentz, PowerStream President and CEO, present cheque for $250,000, in support of Georgian College’s solar power-assisted electric vehicle charging station project, to MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian College President and CEO and Gwen Strachan, Georgian College Board Chair.

The current 2 Barrie members of the 13 member board are Mayor Jeff Lehman and Councillor Lynn Strachan. Collingwood was added in August 2012.

Jeff Lehman Sandra Cooper

Done deal: Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper and Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman shake hands to formally announce the creation of Collus Powerstream.

Many Barrie residents have found that their monthly bills have doubled since that time.

  • Will Barrie sell off their water utilities too?

And does this have anything to do with the Midhurst Secondary Plan’s potential to start a trans-watershed, county-wide water supply and wastewater treatment network of pipes?

 


Springwater township’s “No-show candidates”: Let them cry their hot tears of oppression elsewhere.

October 9, 2014

Mayor Linda Collins and Deputy Mayor Dan McLean and former Simcoe County Warden and township Mayor Tony Guergis decide to boycott an all-candidates’ meeting this week.

No showers linda collins tony guergis dan mcleanNoelle takes them to the rhetorical woodshed:

There is more than a drop of irony in the failure of pro-MSP Candidates to appear for the All Candidates Meeting last night

Once again the pro-MSP brigade showed a remarkable capacity to simultaneously display duplicity, self-pity, and more than a little irony at last night’s All Candidates Meeting in Snow Valley. Speaking via a common spokesperson, Brenda Stanley, the candidates, including Linda Collins, Tony Guergis and Dan MacLean, cited concerns about the transparency and neutrality of the organizers, AWARE Simcoe, as reason for withdrawing from the public meeting.

This allegation, and the act of public theatre through which it was delivered, raises an eyebrow for several reasons.

First off, the peculiar timing of Kathleen Wynne’s letter to incumbent Mayor Linda Collins, arriving, as it did on the day of a much-anticipated open public forum, begs the question: if Collins has had access to this back channel, why did she apparently fail to seize this opportunity to ask the Premier the question residents have been loudly demanding – Will you review the MSP? Instead, Wynne’s response that the province “has no plan to review the Midhurst Secondary Plan or Special Rule in the Transition Regulation,” suggests the Premier had not been invited to take, or defend a position on this issue. The only way to find out, of course, is if Collins would release the unedited email correspondence with Wynne. Without doing so, there seems no compelling reason to believe she has shifted her long-standing pattern of seemingly representing developer interests over the concerns of residents.

The irony is stark, coming from the clutch of candidates who now allege preferential treatment of their opponents by the organizers of last night’s meeting. Clearly, this faction not only had prior knowledge of Wynne’s letter, but took it upon itself to plan and coordinate its exemption from the meeting, surprising other candidates as much as it did those residents who came expecting a long-awaited, honest and unfiltered discussion.

Pity the candidates who narrowly escaped being ganged up upon, and torn limb-from-bloody-limb last night, by committed, truth-seeking residents. They have clearly insulated themselves from the democratic process for so long that they no longer recognize it when it comes up to shake them by the hand. More than that, they have come to fear it, and to fear any encounter where they are not able control and limit public participation.

Let’s also address the allegation that the organizers shared questions in advance with its preferred candidates. AWARE Simcoe has unequivocally denied this allegation, and pointed to measures it took to guarantee the neutral facilitation of the meeting. But let’s assume for a moment, they did plant questions. Surely none of the questions would have been unpredictable to incumbents who are presumably, by now, well versed in all the issues? Or were they out of their depth? Perhaps they feared pointed, negative questions by their opponents, in which case, the most suspicious response is silence.

Overall, the sense of entitlement displayed by sitting out this singular opportunity to recharge the local democratic process, is dwarfed only by the repugnant stench of self-pity. The pro-MSP faction would have you believe, after its long unbroken history as apparent mouthpiece to the developer, that it has become the victim of an unfair attack. Let’s get one thing straight – oppression happens when power and authority is exercised unjustly – for instance, in the case where a corporation uses its undue power and influence to affect land use policy, it is the local and adjacent residents and environments that are oppressed. It’s not oppression if the pro-MSP faction suddenly feels the tide of public opinion turning against it – that’s just democracy at work, thanks to power of citizen mobilization.

Let’s not joke. The Midhurst Secondary Plan has become the pivotal and polarizing issue of this election, because it defines two very different visions for this Township; and that is only right, because its vast implications are dead serious for Springwater as well as for neighbouring Townships that benefit from Springwater’s environment, that are tied into its rural economy and food production system, that share its road networks, and that would experience exponential demand on services, were the MSP to go ahead.

And finally, let’s not fuel the ridiculous pretence, that excluding oneself from hard public questioning is anything other than an act of political manipulation. This considered (in)action on the part of the pro-MSP brigade displays an utter lack of regard for the democratic process. Let them cry their hot tears of oppression elsewhere.

These opinions belong to Noelle Rancourt, indignant nearby (and former) Springwater resident, and do not reflect the views of any group or organization.

Related articles:


The greater threat for land loss in Springwater Township is from selling the MNR and Simcoe County forests

August 20, 2014

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are the monopoly seller of all crown and park land in Ontario. Through a wholly-owned subsidiary (Ontario Parks) and their crown holdings, they control 33.9% of the forests in south Springwater Township

Springwater land use map

Simcoe County administrators and politicians can sell 926.6 hectares of forests or 50% of the total 1,854.6 ha.

MSP county mnrf forests 2

Who you elect as Mayor and Deputy Mayor this October 27th will automatically get appointed to sit on county council. This is especially crucial for the Springwater Township electorate.

  • Only 16.2% of the true “enemy” of farmland is the Midhurst Secondary Plan.

The big money real estate action is in in destroying the forests for a 2nd time.

Let’s not forget that the county forests are called: The Lungs of the GTA.


What legal duty of care does Springwater Township CAO Robert Brindley have to the citizens of Springwater Township?

July 6, 2014

Virtually none.

Robert Brindley Springwater Township CAO

His job as Chief Administrative Officer is to implement the will corporation’s Chief Executive Officer, Mayor Linda Collins.

If a breach of duty exists, it rests on the CEO and the elected officials who passed the motion (see Bill French on AWARE Simcoe: A dark day for Springwater). Oddly if they are so sure of themselves, not one of the current elected officials has registered as a candidate in this fall’s municipal election. Mr. French does not overstate the imminent danger to our beautiful rural “community of communities”.

Not Within Mr. Brindley’s Job Description: sky-high future property taxes, continued bullying by developers, unprecedented use of debt financing which will be used to trigger a “useful crisis” (goal: Barrie annexation), and destruction of the Minesing Wetlands. He does the television interviews and makes very, very strong and breathtakingly broad statements because (presumably) he was told to do so the current council leadership.

My Promise (no Golden parachutes): If elected as deputy mayor in the fall, I would not interfere with any senior staff”s decision to leave for greener pastures. Of course if there are contracts in place which pay the exiting executives big $ for little or no value to the Corporation, I may have to write about that so as to assign more accurately everyone’s reputation for accountability, transparency, and “truthiness”.

I support the future provincial investigation (judicial enquiry, ON Ombudsman, etc.) into the events leading up to the Midhurst Secondary Plan.

Posted on voteLesStewart.ca.


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.


The “Geranium Rule” was created by the stroke of an Ontario minister’s pen.

May 21, 2014

Over 200 hectares of farmland and Minesing Wetlands will likely be destroyed.

Protest signs

How vigorously has Springwater Township council protested to their provincial masters?

You decide.

At last night’s council meeting, Council was asked if they had at least sent a letter opposing the “Special Rule” that green lighted the massive Midhurst Secondary Plan.

  • The answer from staff: No.

A follow-up question:

  • Is the Mayor prepared to do so now considering the 2 petitions and Margaret Atwood coming to Midhurst to protect the Minesing Wetlands on June 22nd?

I took from the answer that there will not even a letter of protest from this Council.

What was offered up was a foretaste of a new township Procedural Bylaw that will rule “out of order” any such future questions.


%d bloggers like this: