• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

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Dec 5th, 2013
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Technician John White at the Angus Tree Seed Facility in 2013, explaining the operation to AWARE Simcoe members

We’ve been busy

By Kate Harries AWARE News Network

It’s been a month almost to the day since the AWARE website was hacked and taken off-line – and we know how much you’ve missed it. Now we’re back, with a new design, better security and many updated features we hope you will find useful in helping our communities stay in touch.

Because – however far apart Lafontaine and Everett, or Duntroon and Brechin, may be – we’re all part of one big county. That includes Barrie and Orillia, even though they are separated cities. Decisions made by our Simcoe County representatives affect us all.

But our political structures do not provide for real public participation in such a large municipality. There has to be major change to take decision-making away from Ottawa, Toronto and Midhurst – where lobbyists have an inside track and the politicians (literally, in Midhurst) turn their backs to the people. Communities need a real voice in determining their future. AWARE Simcoe stands for meaningful public consultation on all issues that will change our landscape and add to our tax bill.

In the past month, AWARE Simcoe has been busy:

-Ann Truyens of AWARE Oro-Medonte and Meade Helman of AWARE Bradford-West Gwillimbury attended a get-together in Bradford with Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Ann asked the Premier to intervene in support of the native women at Camp Nibi in Springwater Park.SAMSUNG

-Dave Collacutt of the Innisfil District Association made a presentation on the AWARE Simcoe Vision to the annual general meeting of Everett Ratepayers Association (formerly known as PURE). If you know of a group  (club, residents association, church group, union or any other) that would be interested in having an AWARE member explain what we see as Vision for Simcoe County, email aware.simcoe@gmail.com.

-AWARE Simcoe members participated in the Ontario Municipal Board pre-hearing on the revised Simcoe County Official Plan. This week, our legal advisor Alexa Mingo forwarded our list of issues to the board and we will be posting that information soon.

-AWARE Essa organized a visit to the Angus Tree Seed Facility which is celebrating its 90th anniversary (that’s technician John White in the middle of the photo, beside some of the giant seed-drying kilns). Congratulations to all facility staff – it’s vital work, but sadly no longer regarded as a high priority by government. We need another Edmund Zavitz – and another E.C. Drury!

-AWARE Simcoe members Sandy Agnew, Kate Harries, Tom Kurtz and Anne Learn Sharpe, along with Bernard Pope of Ontario Farmland Preservation, attended a workshop in Kitchener-Waterloo on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s review of Land Use Planning and Appeal and Development Charges.

-Kate Harries of AWARE Springwater and Anne Learn Sharpe of AWARE Essa made a deputation to Essa Township Council regarding AWARE Simcoe’s plan to get the Nottawasaga River listed under the new Navigation Waters Act, introduced last year as part of a Conservative omnibus bill. This week, Essa Council passed a resolution in support of the plan. Kate and Anne will be making the same presentation on December 13, to the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. Watch this site, we will bring you more information on this – meanwhile, please sign the petition (see link at left).

We decided to go live with the website now even though we haven’t done a seamless job in bringing the old content into the new format. We will be working on that – but this site is an important element of all the activities our members are engaged in, so we felt we had to bring it back ASAP.

Our old site was free – everything was done by volunteer amateurs or pro-bono professionals. However, now we have to pay for a full-time service. So we need funding for this – $1,200 to get started and then we will have ongoing costs. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining now – and if you are, please donate to help us pay for this new and improved website. Pay by PayPal, or by cheque (Mail to AWARE Simcoe, 319 King St. North, Alliston, ON L9R 1L3).

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