Oro-Medonte Mayor, Harry Hughes appears deeply concerned about AWARE Simcoe’s integrity.

April 28, 2016

Based on what Mayor Hughes disclosed, the majority of Simoce County councillors seem to share that view.

Harry Hughes

An article on AWARE News Network called Simcoe County wants $5,000 from AWARE Simcoe:

Simcoe County Council voted overwhelmingly today to recover $5,000 in court costs from AWARE Simcoe.

The case involved an application by the citizens’ group for a judicial review of a County decision to allow a developer to clearcut a portion of Beeton Woods. A judge awarded the costs after refusing to grant an injunction to prevent the cutting until the judicial review was heard. AWARE Simcoe then withdrew from the judicial review.

New Tecumseth Mayor Rick Milne told council that developer Tecumseth Estates is not planning to pursue the $27,000 in costs it was awarded against AWARE. The group has no money, he said. “Are we going to spend staff time and legal costs? I think we should just write it off.”

Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes disagreed. “AWARE’s integrity is at stake,” he said. “We should not be letting them off the hook.”

Upon receipt, the county plans to donate the funds to the South Simcoe Streams Network for the planting of trees.

AWARE Simcoe spokesperson Sandy Agnew said members are disappointed in the county’s decision.

“AWARE Simcoe is working hard to protect the environment and natural heritage in Simcoe County and the value of that work seems to be lost on most of county council,” he said.

“AWARE Simcoe members spend their own personal money on our work, while the county spends our tax dollars fighting AWARE Simcoe, instead of getting the process right – as pointed out by the judge.”

Allowing the cutting of the Beeton Woods under the false pretence of agriculture was an abdication of political responsibility by county councillors, Agnew said.

“AWARE Simcoe’s cause was just, but we were out-gunned in court by high paid lawyers who bamboozled the judge. The idea of replacing a mature stand of trees with seedlings planted elsewhere is ludicrous.”

Agnew said AWARE Simcoe’s Vision is for a Healthy Environment, Agricultural Prosperity, Development that is a Net Benefit to the Community, Complete Communities, Reliable Sustainable Energy, Awareness of the Need for Sustainability, and Healthy Lifestyles.

“AWARE Simcoe will continue to fight for our Vision,” he said.

Disclosure: My family has been in Midhurst since 1960, been a member of AWARE Simcoe for 4 years and my son currently serves on their board. In my opinion, saving Springwater Park would have been impossible without their active involvement while Mayor Hughes was indifferent at best.

My family or I are NOT involved in any potential or actual legal action with AWARE Simcoe or any of their Board members.

Is it material if Mayor Hughes failed to disclose any past or present litigation he has personally against AWARE Simcoe of their members to his fellow Simcoe County councillors, before they voted?

Was Mayor Hughes in a conflict of interest?

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre governance

February 8, 2012

Healthcare has always been important.


Although a new look, RVH has been an important part of Midhurst and area since Dr. Archibald Pass built the first hospital in the summer of 1856. Here is a photograph of the current Board of Directors.

Back row: Kristen Parker (member), Wayne Hubbard (President, Auxiliary), Barry Green (Member), Brian Bentz (Member), Dr. Jim Shaver (Chair of Medical Advisory Committee), Dr. Sandy McDonald (Vice-President, Medical Staff) Front row: Harry Hughes (Member), Michael Smith (Member), Helen Coutts (Member), Rick Horst (1st Vice Chair), Janice Skot (Secretary), Jon Babulic (Chair), Robert Hall (2nd Vice Chair), Shari Elliot (member), Dr. Rob Ballagh (President Medical Staff), Missing from the photo: Greg Bell (Member), and Sandy McFarlane (Vice President, Patient Programs and Chief Nursing Executive)


Springwater Township: Helen Coutts was first appointed to the RVH Board of Directors in 1998 as the representative from Springwater Township. She was then elected to the Board in 2003 and has been one of our longeststanding current members.

Mrs. Coutts has always demonstrated a passionate devotion to her community, serving on numerous committees, and most notably, as the mayor of Springwater Township for three terms beginning in 1994. Formerly the Warden of Simcoe County, Mrs. Coutts resides in Midhurst (Springwater Township) and remains a wonderful asset to the RVH Board of Directors.


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