Four of 7 at Springwater Township council are pro anything-the-mega-developers want.

August 15, 2014

They vote in lock-step, as if they’re being disciplined or “whipped by some force.

Springwater township council 4 1

(l. to r.) Mayor Linda Collins, D Mayor Dan McLean, Councillors Dan Clement and Rick Webster

Needing/wanting to be have their “party” re-elected, the knives are coming out in articles in the Springwater News.

I suggest reading the last three of their articles to determine how sincere and trustworthy they are based on their choice of words.

  • Elmvale – from a 3rd Generation Resident, Councillor Dan Clement, August 14, 2014. pdf
  • CORRECT INFORMATION OR UNSUBSTATIATED OPINION, Deputy Mayor Dan McLean, July 31, 2014. pdf
  • My Position on the Midhurst Secondary Plan, Councillor Rick Webster, April 10, 2014. pdf

Will the community send them packing, just as they did to their mentors at Dump Site 41?


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.


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


Are Springwater Township Council members & staff competently managing their own developer-originated, litigation-derived contingent liabilities?

March 18, 2014

Every corporation must disclose and protect against material risks and executives must manage and disclose something called contingent liability.

SLAPPs ON

From their initial response, this does not appear to be happening by the Corporation of the Township of Springwater

Request for Information
from: Les Stewart les.j.stewart@gmail.com

to: Mayor Linda Collins <linda.collins@springwater.ca>
cc: Deputy Mayor Dan McLean <dan.mclean@springwater.ca>,
Jack Hanna <jack.hanna@springwater.ca>,
Perry Ritchie <perry.ritchie@springwater.ca>,
Dan Clement <dan.clement@springwater.ca>,
Sandy McConkey <sandy.mcconkey@springwater.ca>,
John Daly <John.Daly@springwater.ca>
date: 18 March 2014 09:10
subject: Contingent Liability provision: Litigation risk to Corporatino involving in the Midhurst Secondary Plan

Without Prejudice but Not Confidential

Mayor Linda Collins
Corporation of the Township of Springwater
Minesing, Ontario

Mayor Collins,

This is a follow-up from my verbal question at the March 17, 2014 general council meeting.

From their response, it is my conclusion that your senior staff will not be booking any financial liability whatsoever on their 2013 or 2014 audited financial statements having to do with this controversial, unprecedented activity by corporations that are on the public record as being extremely litigation-prone to those that do not yield unconditionally to their will.

Q1: Will you be instructing your senior staff to investigate and report back to Council in open session the range of potential financial loss(es) that may accrue to the Corporation of the Township of Springwater having to do with the initial cost of defence and potential final claim (trial and appeal) of a lawsuit(s) by a single or multiple parties?

A yes or no answer would be be appreciated, please. Other questions may arise from your answer or non-answer.

It is my understanding, that you, Council members, and senior staff have a professional and personal fiduciary duty to protect the Corporation from harm by acting in a commercially reasonably, fiscally prudent manner to protect future taxpayers’ interests.

I reserve distribution and publication rights to this document and unreservedly offer the same to the Corporation and individual members of Council. Clerk Daly; please formally record this correspondence and acknowledge such to me.

Regards,

Mr. Les Stewart MBA
1201 Bayfield Street North
Midhurst ON L0L 1X1
705 737-4635 Tel
705 627-2242 Cell


Springwater Township’s Budget 2014: On auto pilot for passing on Feb 25th or a sprawling disaster?

February 13, 2014

Who the current administration serves (elected and senior staff) is on clear display during Springwater Township’s annual budget process.

budget 2014 strategic3

Linda Collins Robert Brindley Brent Spagnol

Brent Spagnol, Mayor Linda Collins and CAO Robert Brindley

The CAO senior staff recommend a budget. They serve at the pleasure of the CEO (mayor) as defined by provincial law.

The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and councillors create a strategic plan that is the dominates everyone’s actions to all legitimate stakeholders. Since the control of $ by elected officials is a fundamental democratic function, each passing council must ask the tough questions to ensure our $ are spent wisely and not squandered in these most of uncertain times.  The minimum they can do is to do no harm: don’t poison the fiscal well for the next legislators (huge debt, no reserves, etc) mandate. (Municipal election in 10 months. Disclosure.) Springwater Township is a creature of the provincial government.

A Top/Down Hierarchy:  Province of Ontario (Premier and Ministries)– Mayor and Council — Citizens/Voters/Taxpayers — Senior Staff  — Employees  (l to r)

In senior staff’s most recent 183 of 458 pages (so far) of document, February 10th – Draft 2014 Consolidated Budget, page 7 it states:

Council’s Strategic Plan (2012 – 2014)
Vision: To actively promote Springwater Township as a municipality of unique communities with opportunities to
cultivate, grow and prosper.
Mission: To provide accountable representation and maximize efficiencies.
Values: Accountability, Approachability, Integrity, Respect and Responsiveness

While it maybe difficult for you to know, I would encourage you to attend the budget the meetings. The next one is February 18th at 1 pm on Nursery Road. I assume it is open but I haven’t heard back from my request for information from Mayor Collins. again, lol

If you can’t make it, ask the following people that have been their in your place:

  • Katy Austin,
  • Sandy Buxton, President, Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, MRA
  • Bill French,
  • Barb Kutcher, Community Organizer, MRA,
  • Kevin Newman, Logistics Chair, MRA,
  • Ann Spence, and
  • others I missed (sorry…will edit).

These are the ones that I knew in the crowd but please, identify yourselves the next time you see me at Council. I’m the one with the white bear pin. 😉

Without great information sharing, How can we assign an appropriate reputation to our elected and non-elected officials? Remember: Sunlight is the best Disinfectant.

Accountability, Approachability, Integrity, Respect and Responsiveness

Very transparent.

Posted on voteLesStewart.ca and iLoveMidhurst.ca.


Springwater Township budget: Appropriate debt in municipal financing is wise. Falling into a Debt Trap is not.

February 11, 2014

Does massive new debt, help or hurt the new 2015-2019 Springwater Township Council  stop the Midhurst Secondary Plan?

98 Debt trap

The answer is pretty clear, even on a household level.

I pulled my last visa bill and noted that my credit limit is $15,500. If my balance were at 92% ( ie. $14,260) AND I was making the minimum payments each month AND I was going to do that for the next 20 years,  Would you consider that prudent financial management?

Incredibly, that’s what Senior staff recommended last night.

And Mayor Collins, Deputy Mayor Dan McLean, Councillors Dan Clement and Rick Webster were going to rubber stamp this scheme. Councillors Sandy McConkey, Perry Ritchie and Jack Hanna fought for a new meeting on February 18th because they heard residents’ concerns about recklessness.

Conspiracy Alert: There is an election this year on October 27th and I am a registered candidate. The newly-elected 2015-19 Council may decide to spend $ to legally defend against the sprawl plan. They may judge, in consultation, that a few dollars now could save thousands and thousands of dollars down the road for township property tax payers.  It is wrong for this exiting Council to handcuff the next one, especially when the current council chose not to commission any Economic Feasibility Study AND chose not to sign a single infrastructure agreement.

SummaryA modestly-sized, rural municipality with:

  • sky-high debt,
  • depleted reserves, and
  • stagnating revenue…

squared-off against an internationally-financed financial speculator.

What do you think?

Posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca and voteLesStewart.ca.


On Jan 21, 2013, the current Springwater Township council met secretly to stop Jack Hanna, Midhurst councillor from communicating with his constituents.

December 27, 2013

It resulted in a complaint.  The Council then chose to (and forced us pay extra taxpayers, btw)  for their self-chosen investigator rather than use the no charge services of the Ontario Ombudsman.

Springwater Township

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

This is called “oversight shopping” and Globe and Mail thinks it must stop…immediately See: Municipal government: Why so many hush-hush meetings?:

Full Excerpt:

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin’s report into secrecy in municipal government contains good news and bad news. The good news? Citizens across the province are increasingly upset about local governments that conduct democratic business behind closed doors, and they are complaining in growing numbers. The bad news? Many municipal governments are still flouting the province’s open meeting law – without penalty.

In 2008, Ontario’s Municipal Act was amended, to give the ombudsman power to investigate complaints of unnecessary and undemocratic secrecy on the part of the province’s municipal governments. The new rules on openness are known as the Sunshine Law. This past year, Mr. Marin’s team investigated 96 council meetings, finding that 19 of them were illegal. That figure likely underestimates the problem, since municipalities can pick a body other than the ombudsman to oversee their Sunshine Law obligations – a practice known as oversight shopping. Mr. Marin also found some meetings that appeared to violate the spirit of the law, such as the time city councillors in London, Ont., met in private at a local restaurant just before a budget vote. Sixty citizens complained.

Mr. Marin recommends that the province take four steps to ensure that the sun really does shine in. First, end oversight shopping. This year, Sudbury council voted to fire the ombudsman after he was critical of their behaviour. Fewer than half of the province’s municipalities have chosen to be overseen by the ombudsman. Since when do we allow an accused to fire the judge?

Mr. Marin also recommends that lawbreakers be punished – the law currently contains no sanctions – that all meetings be recorded, and that any meeting found to have been conducted illegally have its proceedings invalidated. All excellent ideas. And we can’t imagine why any of the three parties at Queen’s Park wouldn’t agree. Pass these reforms, pronto.

To Do in 2014:

  1. Contact your MPP and tell him you agree oversight shopping must end. Now.
  2. Find out who voted for gagging Mr. Hanna and throw them out at the fall 2014 election.
  3. Vote for candidates promising to use the Ontario Ombudsman’s services only.

PS: The investigation found that trying to gag Mr. Hanna was a violation of provincial law.

Also posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org.

NOTE: A very similar article appeared in the Springwater News on January 2, 2014. pdf


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