Midhurst sprawl: What is the weakest response a developer could make when Ontario Nature calls about their plan?

June 19, 2014

Why did Geranium Corp. appear to effectively say “no comment” if this scheme is such a done deal?

20140601 Midhurst residents 3

Threatened: Proposed development could adversely affect Minesing Wetlands.

 An interesting article in the summer edition of Ontario Nature‘s newsletter, ON Nature, called: Midhurst residents oppose development: pdf

 …In 2012, the Ontario minister of infrastructure granted MLG a “special rule” allowing the developer group to proceed with planning the first 300 hectares of the project.

Geranium Corp., the largest member in the MLG consortium, is no stranger to controversial projects. The developer is also behind the Big Bay Point Marina development on Lake Simcoe, which received approval despite concerns over the environmental impact of adding 1,600 timeshare units and a 1,000-slip marina to the already taxed watershed. “They’re extremely good at marketing their proposals to government and, more often than not, they’re successful,” says Strachan. “It’s amazing to me how gullible the government has been.” (At press time, calls to Geranium Corp. for comment had not been returned.)

While 4/7ths of the current Springwater Township continues to strike a truly ostrich assume-the-position, position, the winds of change are bringing in some very heavy-weight opponents of the Midhurst Secondary Plan.

While Springwater Township has warned that any attempt to stop the development in Midhurst would result in lawsuits, Strachan and others are not willing to give up the fight. A number of high-profile artists and politicians, including Margaret Atwood, Maude Barlow, MPP Jim Wilson and MP Patrick Brown, publicly support the campaign. More information is available on Stop Springwater Sprawl (stopspringwatersprawl.com).

Don’t forget to come to the MRA’s event this Sunday: Celebration of Rural Living with Margaret Atwood.

Margaret Atwood poster

Cross-posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca and voteLesStewart.ca.

Advertisements

Who will speak for the Vespra & Flos men and women?

February 21, 2014

When their voices have been silenced?

1. Marlene Dietrich, 1901 – 1992

Toshi and Pete Seeger

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014

Scan-140221-0002

2. Pete

Disclosure


Springwater Township’s Budget 2014: On auto pilot for passing on Feb 25th or a sprawling disaster?

February 13, 2014

Who the current administration serves (elected and senior staff) is on clear display during Springwater Township’s annual budget process.

budget 2014 strategic3

Linda Collins Robert Brindley Brent Spagnol

Brent Spagnol, Mayor Linda Collins and CAO Robert Brindley (l to r)

The CAO and senior staff recommend a budget. They serve at the pleasure of the CEO (mayor) as defined by provincial law.

The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and councillors create a strategic plan that is the dominates everyone’s actions to all legitimate stakeholders. Since the control of $ by elected officials is a fundamental democratic function, each passing council must ask the tough questions to ensure our $ are spent wisely and not squandered in these most of uncertain times.  The minimum they can do is  to do no harm and especially don’t poison the fiscal well for the next legislators (huge debt, no reserves, etc) mandate. (Municipal election in 10 months. Disclosure.) Springwater Township is a creature of the provincial government.

A Top/Down Hierarchy:  Province of Ontario (Premier and Ministries)– Mayor and Council — Citizens/Voters/Taxpayers — Senior Staff  — Employees  (l to r)

In senior staff’s most recent 183 of 458 pages (so far) of document, February 10th – Draft 2014 Consolidated Budget, page 7 it states:

Council’s Strategic Plan (2012 – 2014)
Vision: To actively promote Springwater Township as a municipality of unique communities with opportunities to
cultivate, grow and prosper.
Mission: To provide accountable representation and maximize efficiencies.
Values: Accountability, Approachability, Integrity, Respect and Responsiveness

While it maybe difficult for you to know, I would encourage you to attend the budget the meetings. The next one is February 18th at 1 pm on Nursery Road. I assume it is open but I haven’t heard back from my request for information from Mayor Collins. again, lol

If you can’t make it, ask the following people that have been their in your place:

  • Katy Austin, registered candidate
  • Sandy Buxton, President, Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, MRA
  • Bill French, gadfly,
  • Barb Kutcher, Community Organizer, MRA,
  • Kevin Newman, Logistics Chair, MRA,
  • Ann Spence, and
  • others I missed (sorry…will edit).

These are the ones that I knew in the crowd but please, identify yourselves the next time you see me at Council. I’m the one with the white bear pin. 😉

Without great information sharing, How can we assign an appropriate reputation to our elected and non-elected officials? Remember: Sunlight is the best Disinfectant.

Accountability, Approachability, Integrity, Respect and Responsiveness

Very transparent.

Posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca and voteLesStewart.ca.

 

Springwater Township budget: Appropriate debt in municipal financing is wise. Falling into a Debt Trap is not.

February 11, 2014

Does massive new debt, help or hurt the new 2015-2019 Springwater Township Council  stop the Midhurst Secondary Plan?

98 Debt trap

The answer is pretty clear, even on a household level.

I pulled my last visa bill and noted that my credit limit is $15,500. If my balance were at 92% ( ie. $14,260) AND I was making the minimum payments each month AND I was going to do that for the next 20 years,  Would you consider that prudent financial management?

Incredibly, that’s what Senior staff recommended last night.

And Mayor Collins, Deputy Mayor Dan McLean, Councillors Dan Clement and Rick Webster were going to rubber stamp this scheme. Councillors Sandy McConkey, Perry Ritchie and Jack Hanna fought for a new meeting on February 18th because they heard residents’ concerns about recklessness.

Conspiracy Alert: There is an election this year on October 27th and I am a registered candidate. The newly-elected 2015-19 Council may decide to spend $ to legally defend against the sprawl plan. They may judge, in consultation, that a few dollars now could save thousands and thousands of dollars down the road for township property tax payers.  It is wrong for this exiting Council to handcuff the next one, especially when the current council chose not to commission any Economic Feasibility Study AND chose not to sign a single infrastructure agreement.

SummaryA modestly-sized, rural municipality with:

  • sky-high debt,
  • depleted reserves, and
  • stagnating revenue…

squared-off against an internationally-financed financial speculator.

What do you think?

Posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca and voteLesStewart.ca.


On January 21, 2013, the current Springwater Township council met secretly to stop Jack Hanna, Midhurst councillor from communicating with his constituents.

December 27, 2013

It resulted in a complaint.  The Council then chose to (and forced us pay extra taxpayers, btw)  for their self-chosen investigator rather than use the no charge services of the Ontario Ombudsman.

Springwater Township

Perry Ritchie, Dan Clement, Dan McLean, Linda Collins, Rick Webster, Sandy McConkey, Jack Hanna (l to r)

This is called “oversight shopping” and Globe and Mail thinks it must stop…immediately See: Municipal government: Why so many hush-hush meetings?:

Full Excerpt:

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin’s report into secrecy in municipal government contains good news and bad news. The good news? Citizens across the province are increasingly upset about local governments that conduct democratic business behind closed doors, and they are complaining in growing numbers. The bad news? Many municipal governments are still flouting the province’s open meeting law – without penalty.

In 2008, Ontario’s Municipal Act was amended, to give the ombudsman power to investigate complaints of unnecessary and undemocratic secrecy on the part of the province’s municipal governments. The new rules on openness are known as the Sunshine Law. This past year, Mr. Marin’s team investigated 96 council meetings, finding that 19 of them were illegal. That figure likely underestimates the problem, since municipalities can pick a body other than the ombudsman to oversee their Sunshine Law obligations – a practice known as oversight shopping. Mr. Marin also found some meetings that appeared to violate the spirit of the law, such as the time city councillors in London, Ont., met in private at a local restaurant just before a budget vote. Sixty citizens complained.

Mr. Marin recommends that the province take four steps to ensure that the sun really does shine in. First, end oversight shopping. This year, Sudbury council voted to fire the ombudsman after he was critical of their behaviour. Fewer than half of the province’s municipalities have chosen to be overseen by the ombudsman. Since when do we allow an accused to fire the judge?

Mr. Marin also recommends that lawbreakers be punished – the law currently contains no sanctions – that all meetings be recorded, and that any meeting found to have been conducted illegally have its proceedings invalidated. All excellent ideas. And we can’t imagine why any of the three parties at Queen’s Park wouldn’t agree. Pass these reforms, pronto.

To Do in 2014:

  1. Contact your MPP and tell him you agree oversight shopping must end. Now.
  2. Find out who voted for gagging Mr. Hanna and throw them out at the fall 2014 election.
  3. Vote for candidates promising to use the Ontario Ombudsman’s services only.

PS: The investigation found that trying to gag Mr. Hanna was a violation of provincial law.

Posted originally on iLoveMidhurst.ca. Reposted on voteLesStewart.ca.

NOTE: A very similar article appeared in the Springwater News on January 2, 2014. pdf


Is Linda Collins’s Springwater Township administration any less toxic to us than Mayor Rob Ford is to Toronto?

November 16, 2013

No: what she is doing is worse, if the first imperative of any government is its (1) continued survival as a legal entity and (2) delivering responsible government.

Rob Ford Toronto

Despite Mayor Ford’s shortcomings, no one had dreamed that he could destroy The Corporation of the City of Toronto. This is precisely what Mayor Linda Collins is doing; either intentionally or unintentionally. Destroying via bankruptcy or annexation an independent legal entity called “The Township of Springwater”.

If the current administration continues to refuse to cancel the Midhurst Secondary Plan and related sprawl which will result in the township’s death by annexation to Barrie/imminent bankruptcy, then Premier Kathleen Wynne should immediately place Springwater Township under 3rd party management as a first step toward investigating the events that have lead us to this fundamental failure of representative government.

If Mayor Collins and Deputy Mayor McLean refuse to invite the Province of Ontario to assume administrative control of Springwater Township, each councillor should resign and re-run in the next municipal election if they want to. Currently the five councillors are enabling what may prove to be a corrupted municipal institution and may be judged in the future of knowing or having reasonable grounds to know of this breach of democracy.

The five councillors should contact the Premier’s office, ask her to give them the powers to stop all development and provide testimony to an inquiry.

Cross-posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.


%d bloggers like this: