• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Streamlining the goal at NVCA

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Oct 15th, 2015
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Springwater News October 8 2015

As always, there are many matters to deal with at the Township of Springwater and County of Simcoe. After some summer solace it is full steam ahead with business as usual at both levels of government.

NVCA The board has approved a pilot program to review the operation or governance of the Conservation Authority. Currently it is quite large and has two members from each municipality, which at times is unwieldy and delays decisions unnecessarily. The plan is to work with one member from each municipality as the representative and eliminate the sub-committee structure with the exception of the Agricultural Adhoc Liaison Committee. I do find smaller groups more effective, responsive and efficient. We are also reviewing and clarifying the mandate of the NVCA and trying to eliminate unnecessary overlap with other authorities. Anything we can do the eliminate red tape and duplication I am sure will be appreciated by all those in the watershed effected by the NVCA.

County of Simcoe Governance We had a great session recently where we reviewed the current governance structure and its ability to respond to the needs of the 450,000 residents that are affected by its actions. Currently the local Municipal Mayors and Deputy Mayors are the County Councillors. This makes it a cumbersome 32 person body that at times is challenging. The Warden and Deputy Warden are elected by secret ballot by the other Councillors. There are a number of options and they were all discussed at our session. Possibly we should reduce the Councillors to one from each municipality and many feel that it should not be the Mayor because of the amount of time it takes to deal with local level issues. Another model would see an election of County Councillors, Warden and Deputy Warden as separate candidates on the ballot at the time of the Municipal Election, which is my preferred model. I am sure you will see more discussion and comments on this as we move forward.

Autumnfest The organizing committee from the Midhurst Autumnfest must be congratulated on such a fine event. Great weather, great attractions and fun for the entire family made it a marvelous success. A special thank you goes to our County Paramedics for their excellent display and demonstration of the equipment that saves many lives annually in our County. Put this event on your calendar for next year. It was great that all of our key Federal Election Candidates did some glad handing at the event. Since I manned the BBQ for some time, the appetites were healthy, as we sold out. The attendance this year grew substantially over last year. Just another example of the Midhurst Community many are trying to preserve and protect. I encourage the Midhurst residents to keep this Council’s feet to the fire.

Penetanguishene Road Historic Villages Signage Project Over 4 years of dedicated work by the “Road Gang” brought this important initiative to life. The signs found in Crown Hill, Dalston, Craighurst, Hillsdale/Orr Lake, Waverly and Wyebridge depict times gone by and provides a glimpse at the rich heritage we all, at times, take for granted. I have asked the Springwater Heritage Committee to consider a one month display of these signs at our Administration Building, as part of our celebration of history, culture and natural heritage. If we forget the past, it is difficult to build a solid future.

Simcoe County Waste Management To avoid the development of more landfill sites, the County has been exploring various ways of keeping materials out of the waste stream and at the same time reducing the cost of waste management. They have undertaken studies and have had successful outcomes from recycling and composting activities at some of the existing transfer sites. County Council have approved in Principle the development of a Materials Management Facility (MMF) and a Organics Processing Facility (OPF). A number of County Coucillors wanted to know more about these types of facilities so we can be well versed when the subject comes before Council. With that in mind we travelled to three large facilities last week, in Toronto, Peel and Guelph and saw them in action. All the facilities were close to built-up areas and have worked well with minor improvements since their start-up. Since some people are still reminded of the ill-conceived and fiasco of Site 41, this is not a Land Fill Site nor an Incineration project that is being considered. It is exactly the opposite. The County and its Consulting firm investigated multiple sites and have narrowed the selection down to a list of 7 with 5 of the locations being in Springwater, mainly on County owned land. There will be 3 open houses and information sessions for you to become better informed. Sessions will be held at the Simcoe County Museum on October 6th, Elmvale Arena on October 15th and at the Hillsdale Community Centre on Oct 26th. There will be two sessions each of these days from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Please come out and comment, as I have heard from many that have reservations about a number of things and especially locations.

Elmvale Fall Fair The 155th anniversary of the Fall Fair takes place this weekend and it is a must attend event. Come out and support your neighbors, enjoy the parades Friday and Saturday, have a little cotton candy and a ride on the merry-go-round. The displays of crafts and farm exhibits is a great way to spend time with your friends and visitors. If you see a face you don’t know, say hello with some good old fashioned down home warmth. The Council will be in the parade on Councillor Ritchie’s hay wagon, even though he thought the manure spreader may be a more appropriate means of transportation. I know he was just joking (I think?).

Compliance Audit For those interested, I have provided some update on the requested compliance audit of my election expenses. You will find it elsewhere in this edition.

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 bill.french@springwater.ca 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

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Bill French
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