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 (

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

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.


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:

Ontario elites silence their opponents via real or imagined SLAPP lawsuits

April 16, 2014

Ontario has no anti-SLAPP legislation which favours those most able to access and influence the legislative process.

SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation) are the powerful’s very useful weapon in managing change in environmental, political, business, and municipal boundary controversies.


A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

The typical SLAPP plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. Wikipedia excerpt

Originally posted on Feb 22, 2012.


1. Reality of Litigation UPDATE: No anti-SLAPP law yet and no citizen-directed litigation against Midhurst residents (not like Big Bay Point). But, Springwater Township hauled before quasi-judicial Ontario Municipal Board. Their offence?: not rubber-stamping zoning bylaws fast enough before the Environmental-Assessments 3 and 4 are completed.

2. Illusion/Fear of Litigation UPDATE: Councillor Rick Webster says he believes stopping the Midhurst Secondary Plan would cost +$100-million. In 2008, Maple Leaf Foods was linked to the deaths of 29 people. Their estates received $27-million in awards  after the Merchant Law Group filed class-actions worth $350-million.

That’s make that a 7.7% ratio of cash paid-out by defendant to claim filed by plaintiff.

The land speculation business is (by its very nature) very high risk, high return.

I believe any ON Superior or Appeal Court Justice knows an attempt to wring private gain from public loss.

Mr. Rick Webster, current Councillor Springwater Township, goes on the record about the Midhurst Secondary Plan.

April 11, 2014

Mr. Barnet Kussner of Bay Street firm WeirFouls LLP provided advice to Springwater Council last fall.

Rick Webster

In a Letter to the Editor in April 10th edition of the Springwater News, entitled My Position on the Midhurst Secondary Plan (link, page 17 or pdf) Mr. Webster suggests that it would cost +$100-million to stop the MSP:

To summarize my understanding of the final opinion of our legal counsel, should the results of rescinding the MSP turn out as above, the costs of such a lawsuit would be in the neighbourhood of $100,000,000 plus substantial legal fees, all of which would have to be paid by the taxpayers of Springwater Township. Based on this, in my view, and the view of other 5 out of 7 of the Councillors, a vote to stop the MSP would be too risky and irresponsible on my part, and definitely not in the best interest of all of the residents of Springwater. My feelings on spending this money have not changed since our recorded vote on this matter in September, when I voted to NOT stop the MSP for the reasons noted above.

Further, he believes it is impossible to influence the provincial government in reversing their exemption to their own planning laws.

Moreover, I see no possibility that any new Provincial Government will listen to any amount of public outcry and thus it will, and should be, Council’s objective to focus on the possibilities and not the problem. This will be the key to supporting new growth all over Springwater which is inevitable due to Provincial Policies.

The Ontario Municipal Board came into Springwater Township today.

April 9, 2014

There was a Pre-Hearing about the Midhurst Secondary Plan today.


It took about 2 hours for about 9 lawyers to decide on the following:

  • agreement on a request for consolidation of zoning approvals (16 in total: 8 subdivisions and 8 zoning).
  • the groups with party status would be the Midhurst Landowners Group, Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, the 2 school boards and the Frankcom family,
  • the participants will be the City of Barrie, a citizen, and the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association,
  • the Township of Springwater will be having an Open House for the public,
  • the Environmental Assessments 1 and 2 were completed in 2009 (Stages 3 and 4 are ongoing),
  • the next Pre-Hearing will be July 3rd and perhaps 4th, and
  • the probably full week of Hearings will be August 25th.

The following township politicians were in attendance: Jack Hanna, Sandy McConkey, Perry Ritchie, and Rick Webster.

My interpretation was that counsel from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority considered the scheduling of a summer Hearing to be inappropriate because the Stage 3 and 4 Environmental Assessments, EAs will not be finished by then. The debate on whether the developers will be given their zoning orders before the EAs will be complete is to be dealt with at the July 3 and 4th pre-hearing.

Ms. Susan Rosenthal, Davies Howe Partners LLP who represents the Midhurst Landowners Group, MLG et al., asked the chairperson to remind those in the audience not to audio record the proceedings. The chair was unable to determine if or who was doing that.

Ms. Rosenthal stated that there was a good deal of work accomplished between this and the last OMB meetings between the MLG, Springwater Township and Simcoe County staff.


Dignity and honesty were self-evident at Springwater Township last night.

February 26, 2014

The 2014 budget was passed by an unusual “5 for: 2 against”, recorded vote.

Michael J Fox

Budgets are usually just rubber-stamped.

My notes:

  • respect to those taxpayers who show up,
  • potential federal funding telephone calls left unanswered (x2),
  • make sure $10,000 for Springwater Park was safe (yes it is),
  • don’t like budget process,
  • proposed operating efficiencies (fewer services, lower expenses) were a “full insult”,
  • no attempt at surgical approach to public finances,
  • “my hands were slapped more than one time”,
  • people of Midhurst and Elmvale deserve better,
  • staff delivered exactly what they were instructed to deliver,
  • question whether people and communities are treated fairly and equitably, and
  • finally, “It’s the truth”.

Also: An email that was, but is not now, part of the democratic record?



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