Organics facility: traffic, environmental, centrality issues
Materials Management Facility (MMF) and Organics Processing Facility (OPF)
The County of Simcoe announced its preferred location for a new MMF and OPF facility at 2976 Horseshoe Valley Road east of CR27. The facility would become a major transfer of waste and recyclables from the individual garbage/recycling trucks. The idea is to consolidate these smaller loads into larger semi-trucks to transport to a number of processors and landfills outside of the County. This site is not a landfill site such as was the plan for site 41 north of Elmvale. However the organics and food waste would be processed on site in the OPF part of the facility.
My objection for the most part, beyond the location, is the lack of information on what processing technology will be used. An organics processing facility, depending on technology, can range from odor free to quite unpleasant. I do have some major issues with the site on Horseshoe Valley Road based on traffic, environmental impacts and placement relative to the ideal centroid. I will continue to express my views at County Council as the approval process advances. I do agree that we all must accept responsibility and manage our waste and recyclables in a much better way.
There was a unanimous resolution passed at our Council Meeting last week that requested the County provide some additional steps, reports and studies before the Springwater Council will consider supporting the proposed facility. Deputy Mayor Allen and I have met separately with the Warden and senior management and relayed the concerns of residents and will continue to do so. Check Deputy Don’s article for more of the Business Plan concerns.
Ontario Good Roads and Rural Ontario Municipalities (OGRA/ROMA) Conference
This was my second year attending this information filled conference. I want to mention the visits I had with the various Ministries and the concerns we addressed.
We met with the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs emphasizing the need to protect our valuable agricultural lands for future generations. I appreciated his comment that he prefers cash crops other than houses on prime agricultural lands. On behalf of the Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture I requested that telehandlers be classified as farm vehicles when travelling on our roads as currently they are considered construction vehicles and not permitted to use roadways. I also asked that both OMAFRA and Ministry of Transportation discuss and revise half load season regulations and add the transportation of crop inputs as an exempted category.
Councillor Ritchie and I had a pleasant visit with the Minister of Education as we were able to thank her for the ministry’s funding of the expansion and renovation of Elmvale District High School. Ms. Sandals is apparently handy with a crosscut, so Councillor Ritchie invited her to participate in this year’s log sawing at the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival.
Our visit with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change was very fruitful and we asked the ministry to pay close attention to the servicing of large developments that may have a negative impact on our natural heritage and wetlands and in particular Willow Creek, Minesing Wetlands and Nottawasaga River that feeds into Georgian Bay. We also asked them to review regulations and designate more authority to the lower tier municipalities like Springwater when it comes to establishing waste management facilities.
We met with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to discuss the current model of OPP policing for Springwater as our services come from the Wasaga Beach detachment. We suggested a split servicing model with the south part of the Township being serviced from the detachment at 400 and Bayfield.
It was great to meet again with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to discuss growth policies in the township and the importance of adhering to the policies that have been put forward to control urban sprawl. He encouraged us to stay focused on our efforts. We also discussed the importance of more authority for growth and development at the local level to avoid the expensive OMB process. Development charges were also a hot topic and more flexibility must to given to the local municipality to ensure growth pays for growth.
When we met with the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation we emphasized the need for both broadband and three phase hydro and natural gas in our rural areas. In Springwater our largest economic driver is agriculture and we need to ensure they have what they need to prosper.
There were a number of general sessions but a great number of them focused on the protection of our Natural Capital such as wetlands, greenlands and forests as the economic benefits and savings to the operation of our municipalities are in the billions of dollars. We must start appreciating the benefits of protecting our valuable natural resources.
One of the keynote speakers who addressed future economic growth emphasized that one growth area where we have great opportunities is Agriculture. I fully support that view.
Deputy Mayor Allen and I had the pleasure of attending the annual recruitment day for Springwater Firefighters. We have a dedicated team of both fulltime and volunteer firefighters that keep our community safe. You may see a number of photos of both of us participating in some of the exercises. It was great to get a firsthand experience to better appreciate their skills. I donned the full fire suit and 60 pounds of gear that they normally wear and did the hose pull and simulated (fogged visor) smoke filled room rescuing a small enfant exercise. I had a 2 hour nap when I got home. Thanks to the Chief, Deputy Chief and others for the opportunity to get better informed.
Long Term Financial Plan
Over the last month, we have had both a Financial Status Update and the first draft of the Long Range Financial Plan model presented to Council and the public. Currently we are in good fiscal health based on prudent expenditures in recent years. When we look at the long term health based on slow, medium and high growth scenarios the future becomes a little less predictable and we need to do our homework before we venture forward. Deputy Mayor Allen, as our Council financial wizard, will have more to say in his article as he did last month.
Keep informed and involved with Springwater by checking out our website www.springwwater.ca and especially our calendar of meetings.
Tune into our live streaming of the Council Meetings at www.springwater.ca/live. S
tay 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 Township