• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

How do you find the Truth?

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In Agriculture
May 22nd, 2014
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My View – It was great to see the two articles from Mayor Collins in the last edition of Springwater News.

I have no real problem with Mayor Collin’s comments on the former Suncor (Petrocan) property at the main intersection in Elmvale. I only question why Suncor was given a tax break on what is still a long term problem for someone at some point. The main reason the valuable property has not been sold is the fact that there is some question on soil contamination from leaching gasoline over its more than half a century existence. I have not seen the agreement but I am hoping that it includes clauses covering the potential cleanup costs at some point. I am sure Suncor would have also agreed to continue to pay the taxes of just over $2,000 a year if it had been requested. Paying approximately $24,000 of tax over a ten year period would have been an inexpensive deferral cost for such a large company. The obvious question will be, “How do we recover the investment of the park improvements when the agreement expires?” I do appreciate that the Mayor actually responded rather than deferring to an administrative response as she usually does.

Now the Mayor’s comments on Midhurst  are a different story. It was obviously edited by the Administration staff as I know by her usual comments at Council and Planning meetings, the statements are far above her typical vocabulary. I appreciate the detail provided but I encourage you, that care about our wonderful Springwater, to spend some time and dig into her explanations. The reality is that the province in the early 2000’s saw a disturbing trend of sprawl and poor planning especially in Simcoe County and passed two important policies, the Provincial Policy Statement and Places to Grow. It had become obvious that developers preferred flat farmland to develop their large subdivisions, as the costs were less expensive than redevelopment of declining neighborhoods. If you look around Springwater, especially in Hillsdale, Snow Valley, Minesing, Phelpston, Centre Vespra, Apto and Fergusonvale, they were all small developments complementing the existing areas. If you speak to the council members of the late 90’s, the development of Midhurst was expected to follow that trend. The proposed Mega City of Midhurst was a concept driven by developers and supported by this and the previous council. It was not mandated by the province and the province projected a growth in Springwater of 6,500 people from 2006 to 2031, not another 28,000. If this council had informed the Provincial Growth Secretariat and the Facilitator, who met with all stakeholders, that the proposals for Midhurst were not in keeping with the township’s vision for it future, then there would have been no “Special Rule”. Remember the proposed Mega Developments in Midhurst are only permitted because of the Minister’s order approving the Special Midhurst Rule. A future Minister could as easily reverse the decision, it if done before actual development commences. The Mayor seems a little misguided if she thinks this is trying to subvert the law.

You have seen recent articles from our Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Ward 3 Councillor. At least we know where they all sit on Midhurst and effectively it is full speed ahead. They all blame the decisions on higher levels of government. The reality is that our local council could have and should have taken more control to avoid what will be the most negative economic, environmental and social impact on Springwater in its entire history.

The October 27th election is a long way off. You need to understand these important issues. Don’t take my word for it, do you own research and talk to those in the know.

It’s your choice!

Bill French is a candidate for mayor of Springwater Township. Link to his blog. 

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Mayor Bill French
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One Response to “How do you find the Truth?”

  1. Meade Helman - Bradford says:

    Municipal elections are so important but people need the FACTS. Don’t take anything at face value. Nice article.

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