Province approached on Special Rule, growth
The Mayor’s view
We have completed two months as the new council for the 2014-2018 term. Everyone on council is working hard to meet the needs of our residents and at the same time provide guidance and leadership as we move Springwater Township into the future.
The 2015 budget has been a focus. With the hard work of staff and some change of direction from council, we have created a budget that focuses on controlling costs in an effective manner yet at the same time ensuring that we are building for the future. A number of people took advantage of the on-line utility that showed the impact of various initiatives and how they could impact your tax rate. Our finance committee is working hard establishing policies that will guide the township and its fiscal policies in the future. There needs to be a balance of how to manage reserves and at the same time utilize the low interest rates for needed infrastructure but with a caution of moving too fast based on artificially low borrowing rates. In the end, I think you will find that the tax rate increase will be quite minimal with no impact on the services we provide.
Council in December passed a resolution to allow the Deputy Mayor and I to approach the Ministry that invoked the “Midhurst Special Rule” which has allowed the large development proposals to advance to the zoning and EA study stages. The resolution will allow us to question both the methodology and population allocations that far exceed the Provincial Policy guidelines. We are hoping that the Ministry will allow the township to take charge of long-term planning and plan growth it feels is appropriate. I also took my concerns to the County Council last week and voiced the concerns of many that the Simcoe County Modified Official Plan which impacts our planning is a new plan but has not been transparent with the public it impacts. Staff at the County will review with their legal counsel the possibility of a public open house and update session.
We are in the midst of a Recreation Review Study and your input is needed. There are two upcoming meetings where public input is welcomed. A clear message that was given to most of us when on the campaign trail last Fall was the desire to enhance local recreation and library services and steer away from the concept of centralized urban style complexes that you would find in large cities like Barrie. That is a departure from what recent consultant reports have suggested. We need you to speak loud and clear on these issues, so please engage with your local councilor.
Starting in February we have moved to a regular meeting schedule on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month. We have shifted the time to 6:30 to allow our many commuters an opportunity to come to the meetings and ask questions.
A special congratulations and thank you to Mike Guilbault with the opening of his new Artisan Gallery and Photographic Studio on Queen Street Elmvale. I had the pleasure of being part of the ribbon cutting and official opening. A special thanks to councilors Hanna, McConkey and Austin for their participation.
In closing, there is a very positive and engaging attitude with all of this council and all are comfortable with tabling their issues in an open and encouraging atmosphere. We are here for you and proof of that is the number of minor but irritating small issues that have been dealt with by simply sitting with people and discussing the issues.
As a council we are only as good as you make us. Keep informed and email or phone us regularly.
Contact me at 705-728-4784 ext. 2040 or my cell at 705-718-7031 or email at email@example.com and follow me on twitter @MayorFrench
Bill French is the Mayor of Springwater Township
AWARE Simcoe note: Text of January 13, 2015 MMAH re Growth letter to province.