Geranium Homes/Midhurst Secondary Plan cuts a big cheque for Elmvale minor hockey: Anonymous association executive calls it a “charitable donation”.

April 9, 2017

It is hard to imagine that the Elmvale Minor Hockey Association, EMHA has EVER received any bigger, single cheque than $10,000 from a sponsor in their history.

Curiously, the news lies buried on page 23 of the Springwater News: no photograph with donater/donatee, no photograph with local politicians, and no attribution for who wrote the article on behalf of the EMHA.

I’ve added an image from a 2008 Barrie Advance article.

Donation to TIFT honours Browns Geranium Corporation President Earl Rumm, right, holds at $20,000 donation from Talk is Free Theatre sponsors. Rumm also presented TiFT’s Arkady Spivak with a $10,000 cheque from Geranium. The company then gave an additional contribution to the sustaining fund, made in support of Barrie philanthropists Arch and Helen Brown. Sharon Bamford photo


Springwater News article:

Springwater News
April 6, 2017

Geranium Homes generously donates $10,000

This past month, Elmvale Minor Hockey Association received a very generous donation from Geranium Homes of $10,000 Geranium Homes is a developer who has projects coming up in Springwater Township. They have presented us these funds to help assist with local player development and are committed to helping grow an active community.

This charitable donation will be put to good use by helping with the ongoing financial constraints the organization has. The majority of the money will be put towards updating and purchasing new equipment as well as help finance some of the various skill development clinics that are offered to the members of EMHA. Both of these initiatives are very valuable to the organization and will help assist in the progress of the organization and more importantly the players of the Elmvale Minor Hockey.

Organizations like the EMHA rely heavily on the generosity of the businesses that operate in the surrounding community. Without these contributions we would not be able to provide the opportunity we do for the close to 300 young players that are currently enrolled here. EMHA would like to thank all team sponsors on top of Geranium Homes for their support as they are helping keep kids active and enjoy the sport they love to play.

I can hardly wait to find out how much the next donation will influence the demolition of the Midhurst Community Hall.


If there aren’t any “strings attached” why aren’t Springwater Township Mayor Bill French, Deputy Mayor Don Allen, and Councillors Katy Austin and Perry Ritchie, MP Alex Nuttall and MPP Jim Wilson in this picture, taking credit for a “job well done”?

With a municipal election coming up soon and Elmvale being a crucial vote-heavy area, you’d think this annoucement would be crawling with serving politicians. Assuming everything’s on the “up-and- up”, of course.


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 (

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 and

Where should I cast my ballot on Thursday to stop the Midhurst Secondary Plan?

June 10, 2014

The Midhurst Rate Payers’Association asked all the Simcoe-Grey candidates.

Provincial Election MRA

And Food & Water First asked all the parties.

Food Water First finished

You decide.

Which of the three mainstream Ontario political parties should I vote for to stop the Midhurst Secondary Plan?

April 16, 2014

As far as destruction of farmland because of sprawl, none of them.

Ontario political leadersAccording to the the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association’s Ms. Sandy Buxton, only Mike Schreinder of the Green Party has even said they oppose it.


Subject: Provincial political partys’ positions on Midhurst Secondary Plan, MSP

Date: April 15, 2014

Ms. Sandy Buxton
Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association

Ms. Buxton,

I was wondering if the MRA has asked Tim Hudak, Andrea Horwath and Kathleen Wynne if they would reverse the Special Rule and stop the MSP if elected/re-elected as the next Ontario premier?

I think Springwater Township residents might want to know as we maybe facing a provincial election very soon.

Regards, Les


HI Les,

The MRA has approached all party leaders, including Mike Schreiner of the Green Party. Except for the latter, none has revealed their position on the MSP, nor have they committed to rescinding the special rule. To date, of all the local incumbents and potential candidates for Simcoe-Grey and Simcoe-North we’ve contacted, only MPPs Jim Wilson and Garfield Dunlop have publicly come forward to support our efforts. We still hope the other leaders and candidates will recognize the importance of this cause and join us. We are continuing to lobby them.

Sandy Buxton
President, MRA

The “Special Rule” (informally known, I am told, as the “Geranium Rule”) was brought in in June 2012 and it is explained here by AWARE Simcoe. pdf  

An exemption to provincial law created by the stroke of a minister’s pen can be reversed likewise

Words of support:


Are the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association and Environmental Defence either incompetent or co-opted financially as activists?

December 7, 2013

Was today’s event a bought-and-paid-for publicity stunt to increase the next Conservative candidate’s profile in new Barrie-Oro-Springwater (Midhurst) riding with the first federal election being in Oct 2015? MRA Nuttall Strachan1 Did money donated to the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, MRA and Environmental Defence Canada, EDC go toward the cost of this event or was the money from another source? Are either or both of them shills for a political party that represents pro-development or can any interest group buy their brand? I recall the MRA accusing the Township of Springwater for calling  short notice and scheduling information sessions at unbelievably difficult times for citizens to attend. They then said there were “extensive good faith consultations”. Who paid for the show today?

1. Extremely Short Notice: I received the bulk email from the MRA last night 11:18 pm (Dec 6th). That would have given me 13 hours to re-arrange my Saturday afternoon. Oddly, the  EDC media advisory also had a very short media fuse as well: out  Dec 6th.

And, to boot, the ED communique mentioned a federal MP (Mr. Patrick Brown Barrie) would be attending although (1) Midhurst is in the Simcoe-Grey riding (Hon. Dr. Kellie Leitch MP) and (2) growth and sprawl are a provincial not a federal jurisdiction. Shouldn’t Jim Wilson MPP Simcoe-Grey who is the 2nd most powerful Conservative in the Hudak caucus (or even Rod Jackson), be explaining growth issues to his own constituents?

I would have gone to it because I would have loved to ask some questions of David Strachan, president of the Midhurst Ratepayers’, Alex Nuttall, City of Barrie Ward 10 councillor (farthest south and east ward in Barrie, rumoured MP hopeful) and EDC. I believe I am a member in good standing and have contributed financially to both the MRA and EDC. 2. Missing Article: In fact, I wrote the only article about the Midhurst Secondary Plan for EDC at the request of their Claire Malcolmson. It was called Midhurst Secondary Plan: Village to grow 10 times? and was published on their weblog on February 13, 2012. When I tried clicking through on the URL that I had listed as a pdf this is the image that came up:

ED Search1

So as an author I no longer have access to the article? I also tried searching ED’s blog with the title and my name, but no luck. Click here for a pdf copy of the article or here for a post that I wrote called: Land speculation and other confidence games have always relied on human, February 14, 2012. David Donnelly 3. ED’s legal counsel is listed as David Donnelly.

He was Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada from 1988 to 1996 in addition to having been  very involved in the Big Bay Point SLAPP situation as well as many ongoing First Nations issues.

The only federal issue that I am aware of that links Mrs. Brown, Strachan and Donnelly are the ladies at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi Cross-posted on

Les Stewart Gets Results!!

Dec 11, 2013 Update: To give credit where credit is due, Mr. Aidan Grove-White, Environmental Defence Canada, EDC contacted me directly and we had a very productive conversation. He promised to look into the misplaced weblog article and we discussed the lessons I’ve learned about being the subject of two SLAPPs (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)and the reason I resigned as president of the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association (before Dr. Paul Fleming and the current Mr. David Strachan), and other local matters. Full marks for transparency and accountability to EDC and internet monitoring.

This is the only response to this specific post or these two related ones:

Residents fight for Springwater Park

October 9, 2012

So says the Barrie Advance

Today’s article. Word pdf

The hope offered from a 22-year serving provincial member of parliament?

Simcoe Grey MPP Jim Wilson said he doubts the government will consider public appeals to keep the park open.

“I don’t think the government will change its mind. Cabinet made the decision with no consultation,” he said.

He added the closure – “an absolute surprise” to him – doesn’t make sense as the area continues to grow and the province is promoting tourism.

“I hope the government lives up to its word that it will remain crown land. Springwater’s growing. Barrie’s growing. The goal right now is to make sure that land is preserved.”

And from Springwater Mayor Linda Collins:

“It will always be a landmark for us. We’ll keep a watch on how this transpires.”

Save Springwater Park! petition goes viral.

October 6, 2012

Already 61.8 % to their goal of 2,000 since October 4th (less than 48 hours).

Wrong: now at 194.5 % above goal after 2 weeks.

The nearest communities to the park are Midhurst, population of 3,500 with Springwater listed as 18,223.

If you like, take a look at the petition here.

The Midhurst Community Hall can be booked for public meetings, on very short notice by:

  1. Simcoe County Warden Cal Patterson,
  2. Springwater Township Mayor Linda Collins,
  3. Springwater Councillor Ward 4 (park lands) Sandy McConkey,
  4. Springwater Councillor Ward 5 (Midhurst) Jack Hanna,
  5. Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson, or
  6. any concerned county resident keen on organizing themselves.

Background: The province of Ontario has three different types of census divisions: single-tier municipalities, upper-tier municipalities (which can be regional municipalities or counties) and districts. They all want something for themselves and they are extremely attentive to any perceived “special treatment” for each other.

Complex? You bet:

Belligerence?: Two of the +500 (Simcoe County and Springwater Township) are forcing the province to defend their province-wide planning process in front of the Ontario Municipal Board regarding the Midhurst Secondary Plan. The province must defend it in front of an independent agency and risk losing control of the rest of the +500 stakeholders (+500 – 2).

If you were a provincial politician (especially in a minority government situation), Would you like/dislike being seen to being intimidated by less than 0.5% of lower tier municipalities?

Don’t blame the province for your own politicians’ myopia and hubris.

Want to embarrass your boss around and expect no push back?

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