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.

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Are the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association and Environmental Defence either incompetent or co-opted financially as activists?

December 7, 2013

Was today’s event a bought-and-paid-for publicity stunt to increase the next Conservative candidate’s profile in new Barrie-Oro-Springwater (Midhurst) riding with the first federal election being in Oct 2015?

MRA Nuttall Strachan1

Did money donated to the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, MRA and Environmental Defence Canada, EDC go toward the cost of this event or was the money from another source? Are either or both of them shills for a political party that represents pro-development or can any interest group buy their brand?

I recall the MRA accusing the Township of Springwater for calling  short notice and scheduling information sessions at unbelievably difficult times for citizens to attend. They then said their were “extensive good faith consultations”. I wonder who paid for the show today because my impression from the MRA was that was never enough money to do even a half-assed defence of Midhurst.

1. Extremely Short Notice: I received the bulk email from the MRA last night 11:18 pm (Dec 6th). That would have given me 13 hours to re-arrange my Saturday afternoon. Oddly, the  EDC media advisory also had a very short media fuse as well: out  Dec 6th.

And, to boot, the ED communique mentioned a federal MP (Mr. Patrick Brown Barrie) would be attending although(1) Midhurst is in the Simcoe-Grey riding (Hon. Dr. Kellie Leitch MP) and (2) growth and sprawl are a provincial not a federal jurisdiction. Shouldn’t Jim Wilson MPP Simcoe-Grey who is the 2nd most powerful Conservative in the Hudak caucus (or even Rod Jackson), be explaining growth issues to his own constituents?

I would have gone to it because I would have loved to ask some questions of David Strachan, president of the Midhurst Ratepayers’, Alex Nuttall, City of Barrie Ward 10 councillor (farthest south and east ward in Barrie, rumoured MP hopeful) and EDC. I believe I am a member in good standing and have contributed financially to both the MRA and EDC.

2. Missing Article: In fact, I wrote the only article about the Midhurst Secondary Plan for EDC at the request of their Claire Malcolmson. It was called Midhurst Secondary Plan: Village to grow 10 times? and was published on their weblog on February 13, 2012. When I tried clicking through on the URL that I had listed as a pdf this is the image that came up:

ED Search1

So as an author I no longer have access to the article? I also tried searching ED’s blog with the title and my name, but no luck.

Click here for a pdf copy of the article or here for a post that I wrote called: Land speculation and other confidence games have always relied on human weakness., iLoveMidhurst.ca, February 14, 2012.

David Donnelly

3. ED’s legal counsel is listed as David Donnelly.

He was Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada from 1988 to 1996 in addition to having been  very involved in the Big Bay Point SLAPP situation as well as many ongoing First Nations issues.

The only federal issue that I am aware of that links Mrs. Brown, Strachan and Donnelly are the ladies at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi

Cross-posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.


Is the ON Ministry of Natural Resources capable of getting all the Springwater Park stakeholders at one table, at one time, and in one place?

September 2, 2013

After more than 5 months, how many times has the MNR tried?

White Pine District Office

On December 6, 2012 the SPCC and the MNR met at the White Pine Boardroom (top left) on Nursery Road, Midhurst, just south of the MNR District Office (r).

These are the stakeholders:

  1. Beausoleil First Nation (Indian Act band council),
  2. Ministry of Natural Resources/Ontario Parks,
  3. local governments (Springwater Township, Simcoe County and City of Barrie),
  4. AWARE Simcoe,
  5. Jim Wilson MPP,
  6. Premier Wynne’s office,
  7. community groups (Ian Taylor and Les Stewart),
  8. Midewiwin Lodge (Anishinabe educational and spiritual leaders, see Thoughts from a Born-Again PaganSooToday.com), and
  9. Springwater Park – Camp Nibi grandmothers (Elizabeth Brass Elson).

How sincere is it  for the MNR to claim (1) that they want a partnership and then (2) refuse to meet with everyone, in the same room, at the same time?

The Ministry has met with almost everyone separately. Several times, in fact.

Why not try getting together and problem-solve in good faith?


An Anishinaabe tipi now graces Springwater Park – Camp Nibi in Midhurst.

August 6, 2013

A beautiful addition to the abandoned Ontario Parks lands was built on August 4, 2013.

P1070712

A perfect compliment to the existing spiritual practices dwellings:  (l to r) sweat lodge and teaching lodge.

P1070714

Nestled just past the Vespra Boys cenotaph.

P1070700

Straight through the cathedral of pines, at the bottom of the hill entrance.

Tipi through trees nibi

Come and have your children or grandchildren’s photograph taken at this special place. Lots of families did just that this weekend!

Also, feel free to express your opinion about why aboriginal treaty rights to practice their spiritual practices should not be interfered with or bitched about.

  1. Premier of Ontario,
  2. MNR Minister and staff,
  3. County Provincial Members of Parliament,
  4. Mr. Patrick Brown and Hon. Kellie Leitch, MP, and
  5. Mr. Ian Taylor 

FYI: To see Mr. Ian Taylor‘s response to this post, click here and go to Comment 9 or see below:

“I hope an environmental assesment was made before any of these structures where built! it’s called respect for Mother Earth and is the law!
Thank you.”


Who are the high-profile supporters of Ian Taylor and his Friends of Springwater Park group?

August 2, 2013

Raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in money requires very heavy support from friends in high places.

Ian Brown Nuttall

Patrick Brown, MP Barrie, Mr. Taylor and Alex Nuttall, Barrie Councillor

Ian  Brown Nuttall

Mr. Taylor, Patrick Brown, MP Barrie, Jack Garner and Alex Nuttall, Barrie Councillor

Let Brown FOSP

Patrick Brown, MPP Barrie, Letter of support

Ian Jackson

Rod Jackson, MPP Barrie

Award Jackson FOSP

Rod Jackson, MPP Barrie, Commendation for fundraising excellence

Ian Lehman

Jeff Lehman, Mayor Barrie

Ian Wilson

Jim Wilson, MPP Simcoe-Grey

Jack Garner

Jack Garner, retired businessperson and politician.

Programs

Mr. Taylor’s most recent program to raise money.

Images supplied by Save our Springwater Provincial Park Facebook page.

rcmp-logo

Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Watch out for Charity Scams

This is just the first bit of advice from the RCMP on the white-collar crime subcategory called charity fraud:

  •  Be wary of appeals that tug at your heart strings, especially pleas involving current events.

Experienced public officials are aware their offices can be used to create criminogenic environments.


National headline reads: Ojibway elder Beth Elson Leads in Defending Springwater Provincial Park

July 4, 2013

Springwater Park – Camp Nibi is the current cover story for a national newspaper called First Nations Drum.

Beth Krys les FF

Elizabeth is from Beausoleil First Nations near Midland, ON and a Director of AWARE Simoce. She was instrumental in stopping Dump Site 41 and the Mega Quarry. Author and photographer Danny Beaton has been on the SPCC advisory council from the beginning.

  • First Nations Drum is distributed at no charge into the + 650 bands across Canada each month.

Excerpt:

Beth Elson Speaks out
We are strong minded women who are here to establish a place to come together to make our nations stronger by providing spiritual guidance and traditional role modeling to benefit all nations. The occupation is going great and the Ministry needs to open the gates and allow the disabled and our elders access to this place as well. We have been requesting the gates be opened for ceremonies and they refuse to open them. We are building a lodge later this week and putting a call out for fire keepers and campers.

We call the place-Springwater Park-Camp Nibi. We have taken over the lands of Springwater Provincial Park which was previously cared for by the Ministry of Natural Resources. It was a financial burden to the Provincial Government which no longer could afford to assume the responsibility for the park. Our objectives are to maintain the park and create a business for the First Nations and employment for our people. The First Nations has many unique and diverse programs that will be of benefit to the surrounding communities. Our unique connection to the land leads the way to inventive programs to inform and establish connection to the wildlife, forest, lands, water, and air. Our traditions and culture are to be shared and our knowledge is to be passed on so people can relate to Mother Earth and gain connection and respect. Our education and the education of the communities surrounding our territories will be enhanced by the unique relationship we have to discover in one another.

For a pdf copy of the entire article, click here.

Beth FND

Physical copies available (while they last) at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi or any native band office across Canada.

Copies hand-delivered to the offices of:

  • Mr. Patrick Brown MP Barrie,
  • Mr. Rod Jackson MPP Barrie,
  • Mr. Jeff Lehman Mayor, City of Barrie,
  • Mr. Jim Wilson, MPP Simcoe-Grey,
  • Hon. Dr. Kellie Leitch, MP Simcoe Grey,
  • Mr. Cal Patterson Warden, Simcoe County,
  • Ms. Linda Collins Mayor, Springwater Township,
  • Ms. Sandy McConkey Councillor, Springwater Township,
  • Mr. Jack Hanna Councillor, Springwater Township, and
  • Mr. Alex Nuttall Councillor, City of Barrie

And still not $1.00 of public money budgeted to support the best chance to keep Springwater Park out of the hands of developers.

A situation after 9 months that you would expect if regional politics serves only commercial interests. For details see George Stigler,  Regulatory capture. Crony capitalism, Family Compact.


The MNR moves the Springwater Park animals out of harm’s way.

May 29, 2013

Interestingly, the latest Goldhawk Fights Back interview between Dale Goldhawk, Jim Wilson MPP and Les Stewart was just 2 days ago.

Wanzel Chrissy Stewart

Photo by Mark Wanzel

A welcomed end to the abandoned park’s attraction to soon-to-be out-of-school teenage mischief makers.

From the desk of Hon. David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources: 

Mr. Les Stewart
Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition
Les.j.stewart@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Stewart:

As a follow-up to my earlier correspondence, I am writing to provide you with an update regarding Springwater Provincial Park.

As you are aware, on April 1, 2013, Springwater Provincial Park became a non-operating park and we announced that the ministry would no longer be maintaining the wildlife facility.

The health and well-being of the animals are very important to us and I am pleased to inform you that, by working cooperatively with Zoocheck Canada, we have found new facilities for all of the park’s rescued wildlife.

As promised, we have secured wildlife sanctuaries that are leaders in providing facilities that meet the animal’s specific biological and behavioural needs. The majority of the animals are remaining in Ontario and many will be housed at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Rosseau. A few animals will move to other suitable sanctuaries in Nova Scotia and Quebec.

With the assistance of animal experts and Ministry of Natural Resources staff we have started the relocation process of moving the animals to their new homes today.

We continue to encourage visitors and local residents to use Springwater or to explore other provincial parks nearby that offer vehicle access and day-use opportunities.

Springwater continues to be protected land regulated under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, which will ensure this land is protected for future generations.

We would be pleased to review a business proposal from a potential partner, provided the proposal is consistent with the ministry’s fiscal commitments. For further information, I encourage you to contact Ken Lacroix, Project Manager, at ken.lacroix@ontario.ca.

Again, thank you for your continued interest in Springwater Provincial Park.

Sincerely,

David Orazietti
Minister of Natural Resources

c: Ken Lacroix

Credit is definitely due to the Ministry of Natural Resources for their professionalism, hard work and cultural sensitivity.


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