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Springwater blind-sided by county’s population deal

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In Agriculture
Oct 6th, 2016
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Deputy Mayor Don Allen

By Springwater Mayor Deputy Don Allen – Springwater News  October 6, 2016

Here are my thoughts on an important current matter decided by Simcoe County that affects Springwater.

Most of you will have heard of the 180 degree reversal of Simcoe County last week regarding its continued support of the Springwater Council’s unanimous decision not to allow 4 of the 5 applications within Springwater to proceed, as part the 20,000 extra population allocation for Simcoe County. See www.springwater.ca for the press releases by the County and Springwater last week regarding this.

Mayor French has provided, elsewhere in this edition, some background and his views on this development. At the suggestion of both the County and Springwater lawyers, the Mayor and I recused ourselves from being involved in the County sessions and decisions relating to this matter from the beginning. We wanted to avoid any potential allegations of bias and/or influence toward any parties in this process, given the unanimous Springwater Council decision not to approve the Springwater applications for allocation. This proved to be positive when the right decision was made by County supporting the Township decision.

Springwater and its lawyer were working closely with the County lawyer preparing to proceed to the upcoming OMB hearing dealing with this on the basis that we had ongoing County support. Without the courtesy of communication beforehand by the County Warden or representatives, Springwater was blind- sided, learning that meetings with developers had occurred with the Warden and legal counsel, totally excluding Springwater and its lawyer. We learned that County Council had been presented, in closed session, with a motion to reverse its support and settle with the developers.

This was announced on September 28th with the stated justification that the decision to go from 15 to a settlement of 3,000 additional population, over the 12,000 to 15,000 population increase projected in Springwater, was due to a potentially expensive and uncertain legal battle that could ensue at the OMB and possibly in the courts by not settling.

The Warden claims in future that “all density of development will be protected and under the direction and control of Springwater and that County had the best interest of all involved including Springwater” in making this decision. These words appear meaningless, as the key point is that Springwater does not need or want any additional population over the vast increased numbers we are already saddled with over and above the Provincial population guidelines to year 2031.

We have not yet seen the settlement wording and have pushed for an audience with the Warden to learn more details of how this arose and why it had to be decided in such a rush with no communication with Springwater. A meeting is to happen this week. Not a good result and certainly not a professional courteous way of handling communication with Springwater by the Warden and County given what had transpired up to this point. Subsequent to this decision, the rest of the parties wanted to cancel the further OMB hearings and deal with all details by conference calls. Springwater’s lawyer has pushed for at least the initial OMB hearing, to occur on October 7th, at the Township Administration Center, to bring out in an open public forum, the details of the settlement and potential implications.

This is very disheartening and discouraging for all in Springwater. Email me at info@donallen.ca and Twitter @deputydonallen and Facebook Deputy

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