Living Green Barrie withdraws support for Midhurst Secondary Plan
Living Green Barrie has withdrawn letters of support for massive development in Midhurst.
“We have no position on this development,” board member Erich Jacoby-Hawkins states in an email sent to AWARE Simcoe last week.
The letters were submitted in June 2009 by several members of the Living Green Barrie board – Ruth Blaicher, Peter Bursztyn and Gwen Petreman, along with Jacoby-Hawkins.
“Please consider these letters formally withdrawn and disregard them in any future deliberations on this matter,” Jacoby-Hawkins tells Parks. No explanation is provided for the about-face.
His letter is copied to Springwater Township and the Geranium Corporation, the principal developer in the proposed 10-fold expansion of the village of Midhurst, from 3,500 to 30,000. The withdrawal comes long after key political decisions have been made – but AWARE Simcoe and other citizens’ groups continue the fight to stop sprawl.
The story so far: The Midhurst Secondary Plan was adopted by Springwater Council in 2008 but the County refused to approve it, stating that it would first need to comply with provincial policy. It was suddenly and mysteriously approved by Simcoe County Council in 2011, but appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board two weeks later by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs as it still failed to comply with provincial policy.
Two months later the Minister of Infrastructure mysteriously made a “Special Rule” to permit the first 300 hectares.
Then, in 2012, the municipal affairs ministry withdrew part of its appeal, allowing development of 300 acres to proceed. Another 456 acres remains under appeal.
In June, the Midhurst Ratepayers Association attempted to gain party status at the Ontario Municipal Board hearing into Simcoe County’s Official Plan so that it could challenge the Midhurst plan there. That was rejected by the OMB.
An environmental assessment of the Midhurst plan is now underway.
Writing in 2009, Jacoby-Hawkins argues against Barrie’s annexation of “unserviced greenfield” land in Innisfil and suggests that Midhurst “already has an adopted secondary plan in place which is in accordance with the plans of Springwater and Simcoe.”
The Midhurst plan meets necessary density levels, has had extensive public input and servicing costs will be lower, Jacoby-Hawkins wrote at that time.