• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Midhurst plan will change the lives of all Springwater residents

In Springwater
Oct 24th, 2013

Letter to the Springwater News from Donna and John Hawthorne October 24 2013
A lot has been stated about the proposed Midhurst Secondary Plan. We feel strongly that it should be renamed the Springwater Secondary Plan as it will change the lives of all Springwater residents.
As Springwater residents and ones who attend most council meetings, it has been an eye opening experience to see how some members on council have put forth so much effort to support a Toronto style subdivision in a rural setting.
The history of the Midhurst/Springwater Secondary Plan seems to have been on the books since 1993. As Mayor Collins stated at a recent planning meeting, “that the line was drawn in the sand in 1993 for this housing development.”
Then according to Mayor Collins there were 10 years of public meetings informing residents about the size and benefits of the Midhurst Secondary Plan. With so much public information some on the previous council were left wondering why there is so much opposition today.
The previous council felt issues re environmental concerns, roads, traffic, trails, woodlands, water services, present homes with septic systems, possible future jobs were all addressed. Council then voted to allow the Midhurst Development to proceed. Mayor Collins and Councilor Dan Clement were on that council and continue to support their decision on present council.
Now all Springwater residents are left to deal with this decision. We are just two residents living in Springwater that don’t want to live next to a Toronto style subdivision.
The Midhurst Secondary Plan should be a concern for all residents. We obtained the Orillia budget for a comparable sized city and comparable sized population. We noted large increases in taxation in many areas.
Tax implications for Springwater residents;
1.      increased policing costs
2.      increased fire protection, full time fire fighter will be needed
3.      increased staff at the municipal level
4.      increasing size of present municipal office
5.      new recreation centre and costs to run centre
6.      new roads to plow and maintain
7.      new equipment, firetrucks, snow plows
8.      new infrastructures to be maintained i.e. traffic lights
9.      public transit to Barrie
10.    new parks to maintain
11.     new schools
12.     related costs to maintaining water and sewage systems
There will be further tax increases to all Springwater residents. New residents will not be able to carry all costs related to this massive development.
A further concern relates to potable water, water source protection and depletion of aquifers. Potable water, drinking water will come from wells. Water used will be pumped from underground aquifers. Aquifers are slow to replenish and it is possible to remove water at a higher rate than nature is able to replenish the water. This could lead to water shortages and increased costs to locate new sources of water.
Water source protection is an important issue. Farmers shouldn’t have to worry about drainage from their farms that may affect water quality at a well location.
We have a further concern related to a large increase in population in one area of the township. More council members will be required to represent the increased population. This will impact all decision making in Springwater. Possible expenditures for the Midhurst area may be passed by council because there would be a larger majority on council. Then council may vote against expenditures in another area of Springwater. There will be a municipal government based on population. The Midhurst area will have the most control in Springwater.
Another important issue is the loss of class one farm land. This loss is occurring throughout Ontario. Land continues to be lost at an alarming rate. Developers seem to have power to overrule common sense. Once land is built upon, it is lost forever. It will be difficult to deal with the loss of farmland in Midhurst. Driving along Anne Street to Carson or along Wilson is such a scenic route, especially with all the fall colours. In a few years we will see massive Toronto style subdivisions instead of productive farmland. Development on farmland must stop. Springwater doesn’t have a large supply of class one farmland. The Midhurst Secondary Plan just doesn’t make any sense. Please become active and question council about their continued support re development at the lass of farmland.
A further concern and possibly the most important issue relates to the environment. The sewage treatment facility is to be located near the Snow Valley, Wilson Road intersection. The effluent will be pumped up Wilson Drive along Highway 26 to Golf Club Road and finally out letting into Willow Creek. The effluent will be treated for bacteria but many manmade chemicals can’t be removed from the water. Pharmaceuticals and phosphate from soap will also flow into Willow Creek ending up in the Minesing Wetlands. Most cities throughout the world are located on large bodies of water or rivers. Large water systems are better able to handle effluent from treatment plants. By example, Barrie’s treatment plant located near Centennial Park flows into Lake Simcoe. The Minesing Wetlands is less capable of handling effluent from the Midhurst Secondary Plan development. Effluent may alter all organisms and plants living in the wetlands . Algae plumes could develop robbing the water of oxygen and killing many living organisms in the wetlands. Water in the wetlands moves at a very slow rate and is less capable of moving the effluent throughout the wetlands.
We have stated some of our concerns relating to the Midhurst Secondary Plan. There are many other issues that are also important to residents of Springwater.
To summarize: as residents of Springwater, we feel that the previous council did a great injustice by allowing the Midhurst Secondary Plan to proceed. Two councilors on our present council do have concerns re this development. Councillors Jack Hanna and Perry Ritchie did not support the motion to allow the Midhurst Secondary Plan to proceed.
We are just two residents in Springwater who are very interested in how development will affect the lives of residents in Springwater. We assisted others in stopping Dump Site 41. We clearly did not agree with former Mayor Tony Guerges’ strong support of Site 41. At election time we fully supported the election attempt of Linda Collins. We had planning meetings at our home; we knocked on many doors asking residents to elect Linda Collins for the position of mayor. Little did we know that Linda Collins had such a strong interest in the Midhurst Secondary Plan. We were new to the scene and missed an opportunity to question the reason for the Midhurst Development.
We feel the Midhurst Secondary Plan will destroy the rural nature of Springwater Township. We question how this development will improve our life in Springwater. We left Toronto and Barrie to live in a more relaxed and rural area. There could be another 30,000 residents in Springwater. There will be increased noise, traffic, crime, more dirt bikes on Springwater trails. Our council will leave a legacy of putting a city landscape in a rural setting. Remember there will be an election next year. Please remove some members on this council. We need council members who will protect the environment and rural nature of Springwater.

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