• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Disappointment at Springwater council’s lack of interest in MRA input

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In Agriculture
Oct 12th, 2017
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Rod Northey

from the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association

Over the summer, your MRA continued fighting to protect and preserve our beloved village. Right now, the Township is awaiting feedback from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) on the DRAFT Environmental Status Report (ESR), which was submitted in late April. The ESR contains all the developers’ studies, which attempt to prove that the MSP won’t negatively affect Midhurst (or the Township as a whole) regarding water, sewage and transportation. But, throughout the multi-year Environmental Assessment (EA), we could see problems. That’s why it was important to hire our own top-notch hydrogeologist – Tim Lotimer – to conduct an objective review of the consultants’ reports. His analysis uncovered LOTS of omissions and distortions, which he shared with Council and the public in March.

Then in May, our distinguished lawyer, environmental expert Rod Northey, who has officially advised both the provincial and federal governments on EA process and legislation, explained to Council and the public why Council MUST say NO to this EA, and how best to do so via a carefully written bylaw. Of course, a NO to the EA would mean the end of the MSP! As we heard during Council’s questions to Rod, we fully expected Council to consult with him further. The mere 15 minutes allowed was barely sufficient for an outline – with no time to explain how to prevent undue legal jeopardy when doing the right thing.

Inexplicably, Council has not taken this step, just as they didn’t follow up with Mr. Lotimer for further clarification and information. In effect, they’ve stopped themselves from getting the comprehensive expert environmental and legal information they need to make a well-informed decision!

Stymied by Council, we sent both presentations to the “EA adjudicator” at MOECC whose job it is to provide feedback to Council on the Draft ESR. And, we ultimately lobbied Council successfully to directly submit them to the same MOECC official. This was a positive step for the people’s interests!

The developers assumed Council would receive MOECC’s response within 6-8 weeks. Yet more than 5 months later, there is still no word. We’re HOPING this long delay means MOECC is carefully reviewing MRA’s presentations and noting the many discrepancies, omissions and legal issues our experts found.

In mid-summer, Glen Murray, long-time Minister of MOECC, stepped down. We quickly seized the opportunity to acquaint his successor, Chris Ballard, with the many environmental problems with the MSP.

Meanwhile, we‘ve kept in touch with our influential supporters and influencers, Including David Crombie and Margaret Atwood. In fact, we’ll soon be mounting an online matching challenge to Ms. Atwood’s latest donation and offering signed copies of her books to selected donors. Stay tuned for more details!

Check out our website www.friendsofmidhurst.ca if you’d like to view those expert presentations or make a much-needed donation.

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