• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Simcoe County wants $5,000 from AWARE Simcoe

In Council Watch
Apr 26th, 2016
Beeton Woods in undated photo

Beeton Woods in undated photo






Beeton Woods, in undated photo

UPDATED with correction

By Kate Harries AWARE News Network

Simcoe County Council voted overwhelmingly today to recover $5,000 in court costs from AWARE Simcoe.

The case involved an application by the citizens’ group for a judicial review of a County decision to allow a developer to clearcut a portion of Beeton Woods. A judge awarded the costs after refusing to grant an injunction to prevent the cutting until the judicial review was heard. AWARE Simcoe then withdrew from the judicial review.

New Tecumseth Mayor Rick Milne told council that developer Tecumseth Estates is not planning to pursue the $27,000 in costs it was awarded against AWARE. The group has no money, he said. “Are we going to spend staff time and legal costs? I think we should just write it off.”

Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes disagreed. “AWARE’s integrity is at stake,” he said. “We should not be letting them off the hook.”

Upon receipt, the county plans to donate the funds to the South Simcoe Streams Network for the planting of trees.

AWARE Simcoe spokesperson Sandy Agnew said members are disappointed in the county’s decision.

“AWARE Simcoe is working hard to protect the environment and natural heritage in Simcoe County and the value of that work seems to be lost on most of county council,” he said.

“AWARE Simcoe members spend their own personal money on our work, while the county spends our tax dollars fighting AWARE Simcoe, instead of getting the process right – as pointed out by the judge.”

Allowing the cutting of the Beeton Woods under the false pretence of agriculture was an abdication of political responsibility by county councillors, Agnew said.

“AWARE Simcoe’s cause was just, but we were out-gunned in court by high paid lawyers who bamboozled the judge. The idea of replacing a mature stand of trees with seedlings planted elsewhere is ludicrous.”

Agnew said AWARE Simcoe’s Vision is for a Healthy Environment, Agricultural Prosperity, Development that is a Net Benefit to the Community, Complete Communities, Reliable Sustainable Energy, Awareness of the Need for Sustainability, and Healthy Lifestyles.

“AWARE Simcoe will continue to fight for our Vision,” he said.

HOW THEY VOTED (Correction: Tay Deputy Mayor Bill Rawson was absent. An earlier version included his name in the vote. AWARE Simcoe regrets the error.)
Motion: THAT Item CCW 15-401, regarding the award of costs to the County of Simcoe in the matter between Aware-Simcoe, the County of Simcoe, and Tecumseth Estates Inc., be received; AND THAT the County of Simcoe proceed with cost recovery;AND THAT upon receipt, the award of costs be donated to the South Simcoe Streams Network.
Leduc (Bradford-West-Gwillimbury), McKay (Midland), Milne (New Tecumseth), Allen (Springwater), Keffer (Bradford-West-Gwillimbury).
Little (Adjala-Tosorontio), Macdonald (Essa), Marshall (Penetanguishene), O’Donnell (Ramara), Ross (Midland), Saunderson (Collingwood), Small Brett (Adjala-Tosorontio), Brian Smith (Wasaga Beach), Jamie Smith (New Tecumseth), Walma (Tiny), Wauchope (Innisfil), Bifolchi (Wasaga Beach), Burkett (Severn), Burton (Clearview), Clarke (Ramara), Cooper (Collingwood), Cox (Severn), Dollin (Innisfil), Dowdall (Essa), Dubeau (Midland), Hough (Oro-Medonte), Hughes (Oro-Medonte).
Absent: Vanderkruys (Clearview), Warnock (Tay), Rawson (Tay), Cornell (Tiny).
Conflict: French (Springwater).

LINK to AWARE Simcoe Vision
January news release

6 Responses to “Simcoe County wants $5,000 from AWARE Simcoe”

  1. Allan Baker says:

    Integrity is indeed at stake here, as well as ethics and respect; but the lack thereof may rest elsewhere than with AWARE. “For the greater good” eh.

  2. […] An article on AWARE News Network called Simcoe County wants $5,000 from AWARE Simcoe: […]

    • Harry Hughes says:

      The records confirm that I voted against the cutting of the trees in Beeton. However, the majority of County Council voted otherwise. In accordance with democracy I accept the will of the majority. Living up to one’s responsibilities when it has to the paying of money owed to others, especially when ordered to do so by the court is a matter of INTEGRITY.
      It appears that Aware incorporated prior to launching legal action with the intent of preventing those owed money to collect in the event the court would assess costs.
      In doing so AWARE is passing on its responsibilities to County Taxpayers who include the working poor that are struggling to provide food and shelter to their families.
      When one spends money on other things while refusing to voluntarily pay their debts it is a matter of Integrity that should be personally felt by each and every member of AWARE.
      AWARE has posted the names of County Councillor and how they voted on this matter. In accordance with AWARE’s thirst for transparency it would be appropriate for AWARE to post the names of their executive members and how they voted when in regards to whether they should pay the money ordered by the court. At present thereis the appearance that the executive vote was unanimous in this regard.

  3. Sandy Agnew says:

    Harry Hughes’ comments here continue his pattern of confusing the facts and providing misinformation to County Council whenever it comes to AWARE Simcoe.
    To suggest that AWARE incorporated because of the Beeton Woods issue is simply stupid. The decision to incorporate was made months earlier. It was a coincidence that the Beeton residents approached us soon after incorporation was finalized.
    AWARE does publish the names of its board of directors. Here’s the link http://aware-simcoe.ca/2015/06/aware-simcoe-2015-2016-board-of-directors/
    AWARE board members give hundreds of hours of their own time participating in the public process – monitoring the actions of government, getting information out about issues of concern, providing support or criticism to ensure our political system works in the interests of all, including future generations. We are volunteers, and often pay necessary costs out of our own pockets. Hughes collects his mayor and county councillor pay along with expenses.
    I think Hughes should worry about his own integrity since he has the biggest municipal debacle in recent memory happening in Oro-Medonte – Burl’s Creek Event Park.
    And then there’s the issue of the Township excavating a parking lot in a Provincially Significant Wetland and being forced to remove it by LSRCA. Now there’s a waste of taxpayers’ money. Will Hughes repay that money out of his own pocket?

    • Harry Hughes says:

      |After existing for many years AWARE incorporated only “months” before launching a lawsuit against a dedsion made by the vast majority of democractically elected members of Simcoe County where each member casts votes in a transparent manner.
      This timing, combined with the refusal of AWARE to pay approximately 20% of the costs ordered by the courts, while leaving taxpayers on the hook for the remaining $17,000 contributes to public perception being beyond one of mere conincidence.
      The link provided does not show how members of the AWARE executive voted on this matter as requested. Is this information forthcoming? If not, please let us know the reason for not providing it.

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