The Mayor’s life is never dull
Springwater News August 13 2015
I will open with, “My life is definitely not dull!”
MFIPPA (Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act)
As mentioned some time ago, there was a Freedom of Information request to have access to my personal email account that contained any communication between me and any member of council or senior staff. Even though I find the request odd, I have complied and a number of emails have been provided to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
Midhurst Secondary Plan
I am not sure how many times I need to repeat this, but I can assure everyone that even though I do not support the mega developments planned for the Midhurst area, we as a Council have not done anything to delay any aspect of the progress of the development itself. As a Council we have made it clear that we have no plans to rescind the plan as it is outside our jurisdiction and is permitted to proceed by the Ministerial “Special Rule”.
If you recall, at my request, shortly after the election, we had a public meeting to bring all stakeholders up to speed so everyone understood where we were at with the developments. Following that meeting, one of the senior representatives of the Landowners Group congratulated me on how well the meeting was conducted and the positive tone of everyone following the meeting. At that meeting I personally initiated a regular meeting schedule for the two committees involved with the Environmental Assessment of the Midhurst developments. It disappoints me that recent events and accusations seem to have taken this growing relationship in an opposite direction.
My position on the MSP has been well known for at least six years. Those that now seem surprised and highly critical of my actions and requests made to the Minister when we met in March, boggles my mind. My position is simple. I will, within the legislation provided and of course with the support of Council, do all in my power to ensure that Springwater has control of its destiny when it comes to planning its future developments. That was the type of leadership I promised during the election and I intend to honour that commitment and will bear the brunt of those that would like to detract me from that vision. I nor Council have no intention of obstructing what has been approved, but if a higher approval authority changes its position, I would not obstruct that either.
Elmvale District High School
Since the additional funding has been addressed by others on Council, I have just a brief comment. Councillors Ritchie and Austin need to be congratulated for their hard work on the initiative to increase township funding for the renovation and expansion projects planned for EDHS. It disappoints me that a local municipality has to provide funding for what is clearly a Provincial responsibility. The reason I supported the motion for the extra funding is that EDHS is an important part and a key driver of the economic wellbeing of Elmvale and we must do all in our power to retain this important institution and see it thrive.
Deputy Mayor Allen and Councillor Hanna need to be commended for this visionary motion to protect agricultural land and operations in Springwater. There was a lot of push back from a few and especially the large development community but those expressing support including about 350 emails overwhelmingly illustrated the need for this Council to ensure that agricultural land is protected in all future planning policies. At the request of one of the councillors, a legal opinion was sought and the motion approved reflects that input.
As we know, the Park re-opened its gates on July 10th for visitors. An official ceremony was conducted on July 31st with a number of dignitaries present. I was proud to be part of that celebration and I look forward to continuing our dialogue and cooperation with both Beausoleil First Nations who have an operating agreement and a co-management agreement in place with the Province of Ontario. To me this is the type of partnership that needs to be developed in other areas of service in the province. Working together I believe we can bring great value to the residents of Ontario and lessen our tax burden. I encourage everyone to take the time and do a day visit to the park this summer and enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of this great jewel we have in Springwater.
On July 20th we featured our first live broadcast of our Council Meeting by way of the internet. It was a great success and about 65 residents followed the action packed 4 hour broadcast. Our next Council Meeting is August 24th, so tune in and see what happens with the governing of your township. The link is www.springwater.ca/live or you can access it through the Governance drop down menu on our website. A special recognition goes to Michael and Joey, our IT specialists, for this initiative. Being a broadcaster at heart, I am pleased that we are now making access to this Council easier. We are now considering using something like Skype so residents can engage Council with live questions during our question period at each Council meeting. Look for that in the Fall. We promised transparency, access and openness and we as a Council are delivering.
Since the request for a compliance audit of my election expenses is a personal matter, check elsewhere in this paper (Springwater News) for my comments.
Keep informed and involved with Springwater by checking out our website www.springwwater.ca and especially our calendar of meetings. Also stay close to the action and read this excellent local paper, the Springwater News, and check out our regular Springwater Link and Council Corner columns. Be part of the solution and have your say.
Contact me at 705-728-4784 ext. 2040 or my cell at 705-718-7031 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on twitter @MayorFrench
A reminder these articles are my thoughts and perspectives on issues and I am but one voice on Council. These opinions may not reflect the position of other Councillors.
Bill French is the Mayor of Springwater.