• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

The Mayor’s Life is Always Interesting – and I love it!

In Bill French - The Mayor
Jul 15th, 2015

The last two weeks has been quite busy as we approached the summer season.

We speak of Springwater as a community of communities. Canada Day illustrated the uniqueness of some of those communities.

Canada Day
In Minesing there was a family oriented event with a special competition for those that wanted to dress up their bikes in a Canada Day motif. It was great. Everyone in the community participated with grandparents, parents and children all having a great time. Thanks to Tracy, Wanda and the rest of the local Recreation Board for their efforts.
In Phelpston, their annual fireworks was fantastic. Everyone buys fireworks from the Kinsmen Club and the Kinsmen Club come and facilitate the safe lighting of the fireworks. I would say there were about 200 people in attendance. A few brought their own POP!. Thanks to Danielle, Rick and the rest of the Phelpston Recreation Board.
All of our Boards are becoming quite alive and energetic, which I find encouraging. I have spoken to a few people and possibly, for next year, we can have a special event for each of the major holidays in a different area of the township. Our small communities are simply great!

Farmers Market
The Elmvale Springwater Farmers Market has been open for a few weeks but the official opening was on July 3rd. It was a great day and the market was well attended with a lot of locals and visitors partaking of our excellent locally grown foods and crafts. A number of new participants have signed up and, on speaking to them, are pleased with the attendance and the venue. Come up to Elmvale on Friday mornings from 9:30 to 1 and get your fresh foods. It does taste better!

Official Plan Workshop
As many people know, the Springwater Official Plan dates back to 1998 and has a number of amendments. Parts of the Plan do not appropriately reflect new planning regimes especially the impact of the Provincial Policies and Plans from 2005 and beyond. This makes it challenging, both for landowners and planning staff. We staged our second workshop with Bob Lehman and Associates last week and it was very fruitful. The report to Council will be tabled on July 20th and we will then begin the process of developing a “Made in Springwater” Official Plan. It is our desire to move away from an external driven planning approach, to a township internally controlled planning process. We hope to be proactive rather than reactive. That will assist the township in being able to better project OUR future.

Strategic Planning Session
One of the things that I found very useful in my 40 years of business was developing a direction for the organization that had buy-in from everyone. It’s called a Strategic Plan. The last Council created one in 2010, updated it in 2012 and you see mention of it on staff reports. Times have changed with this council and we want to develop a Strategic Plan in concert with those that elected us. We had our first session last week and we have now set the direction for the development of the plan. In the near future you will be asked to respond to a questionnaire on your vision and needs in Springwater. So please participate. Being a great believer in Branding, I have asked Council, Staff and anyone that is interested to come up with a slogan that we might use as an umbrella for both our Official Plan and Strategic Plan. To show the interest and enthusiasm at the meeting, CAO Robert Brindley provided one that I think shows the direction we as township want to embrace, “Our Springwater, Our Future”. I have already had some other suggestions, some not for the faint of heart.

Springwater Park
We received great news last week with the announcement of the returning of Springwater Provincial Park to operating status. Beausoleil First Nations and the Province of Ontario have entered into a 5 year co-management agreement along with an operating agreement with BFN. The Park opened its gates for visitors last Friday. As a Township, I am pleased that we were able to provide assistance during the last six months and I kept in communication with both parties. The Township provided snow plowing to the gate during the Winter months and our Parks and Recreation Department trimmed the grass in advanve of the recent POW WOW at the Park. Congratulations to all for reaching the agreement. I encourage us all to visit the Park once this Summer. I know in the last term Councillor Hanna and McConkey tabled and passed a resolution to set aside some money for the Park. I think we will hear more on that in months to come and possibly a cooperative initiative.

Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture 75th Anniversary
I sit as the County Council representative on the Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture. This is a wonderful organization that is both protecting the future of farming in the area and at the same time educating all of us about importance of agriculture in a healthy economy and society. This year they celebrated their 75th Anniversary and it was hosted at the Partridge Family Farm in Oro Medonte. Over 380 people were fed. There was a great showing of vintage vehicles and farm tractors that was enjoyed by all. The food was great and the audience had the pleasure of dancing and celebrating to the tunes of the Martels Rock and Roll Show. The People’s Choice Award Trophy for Vintage Vehicles was Ron and Linda French with their beautiful coral coloured ‘56 Mercury Convertible. I hope Mike has a photo in this edition. Special mention should also go to Wayne Hawke of Anten Mills and his really cool 1929 Model A hotrod and Gary Strachan and his pristine 1933 Ford Vicky street rod as both were close runners-up. The next time you see a farmer, say “thank you for feeding us”.  You will get a broad smile back.

Compliance Audit

As some of you are aware, a defeated candidate in the Fall Election has requested a Compliance Audit on my election expenses. Since I am the only candidate in Springwater that, in addition to my financial statement, provided an Independent Auditors Report, I look forward to the meeting on July 20th starting at 9 a.m. If you have time, please come out and witness the exercise. I will definitely be writing about the matter when it is complete.

Contact me at 705-728-4784 ext. 2040 or my cell at 705-718-7031 or email at bill.french@springwater.ca and follow me on twitter @MayorFrench. Link to My View blog.

Bill French is the Mayor of Springwater.

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Mayor Bill French

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