Letters to Editor
Horseshoe Valley– Zone1 Water System Task Force
A $4.2 Million Water Bill?
Since the 1970’s families in Horseshoe Valley have been served by a municipal water system, much the same as thousands of families in towns and cities across Ontario.
We pay our water bills to the municipality, we get water. Simple.
Only now the Township of Oro-Medonte is claiming, despite hundreds of pages of public record to the contrary, that the system isn’t public - it’s private. The Township is offering no proof of this claim.
And they want 454 families to come up with $$4,449,200 to connect to the water system.
They one they’re already connected to. The one they’ve been using for five decades. The one that the Municipality already owns.
We have the 268 pages of public record to prove the system is public, much the same as hundreds of similar water systems across Ontario.
The Township is now drafting a new bylaw to drop a massive water bill on these families, with next to zero public consultation, in the middle of summer, and in the middle of a pandemic.
Clearly the Township is hoping people are too distracted to notice or care. But people should. The process is the opposite of transparent, and the opposite of good-faith, honest and fair representation.
At best this is plainly an abuse of political power. At worst, it is profound disregard on the part of the people who are paid to represent the best interests if the hundreds of families who face a crippling new bill – for something they already own!
There’s a lot more to this story, and we welcome the opportunity to share it with your viewers, readers, and listeners.
Contact: John Thornton – Coordinator Horseshoe Valley Zone 1 Task Force
IMPORTANT NEWS FOR Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Owners
On May 15, 2020 BDO was appointed as Administrator of Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts. The Administrator is tasked with determining the viability of the two resorts. If deemed viable a restructuring plan will be created and presented to owners. If not viable then the resorts will sold.
First step is to determine how many owners wish to “exit” their timeshare deeds and how many owners are interested in restructuring the resort. To that end BDO Canada will be emailing a legally binding survey to all members in good standing. There will be two questions asked, do you wish to exit now or do you choose to stay. The first option exit now is a binding choice. The second option stay will allow owners to wait for the restructuring plan, once details are known owners will have a second opportunity to exit.
If you are an owner at Carriage Hills or Carriage Ridge you need to register with BDO https://www.bdo.ca/en-ca/extranets/carriage in order to vote exit or stay. You will have 45 days to make your choice and return the survey to BDO. The survey closes on August 31, 2020. The survey will be sent sometime on or around July 12, 2020. If you are an owner who does not communicate electronically contact BDO Canada to ensure that they have your current mailing address.
For more information regarding the Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Resorts and the current financial situation please go to www.CHCROwners.org.
If you know someone who owns at either resort please pass this information to them as many owners are unaware of the situation at the resorts.
Maggie Jenkins Owner
Environment minister to let municipalities dump raw sewage into waterways until 2040
Since 2013, over 900 billion litres of raw sewage has been dumped into Canadian waterways.
The Trudeau government has given municipalities a free pass to dump raw sewage into waterways for the next 20 years.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson gave notice that his department will be amending the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations, giving municipalities until 2040 to meet current sewage-treatment standards.
“Transitional authorizations allow communities more time to plan and finance upgrades to wastewater treatment plants, recognizing that constructing and upgrading the systems take significant time to plan and finance,” Environment Canada wrote.
“The duration of a transitional authorization is to the end of 2020, 2030 or 2040 based on the level of risk associated with a wastewater system.”
The current sewage regulations have been in place for the past eight years.
In 2012, the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations were introduced to ensure that sewage plants dispose of wastewater and sewage safely.
The regulations determine limits to how many toxic chemicals can be released into the water and requires testing to ensure aquatic life is not being harmed.
The amount of raw sewage dumped into Canadian waterways has been gradually increasing in recent years, with over 900 billion litres going into lakes, rivers and streams since 2013.
The true amount of wastewater dumped is not clear as Environment Canada does not require municipalities to report how much they dump into waterways. In December, Wilkinson had promised to increase efforts to protect Canada’s water systems, announcing the creation of a Canada Water Agency to “find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean and well-managed.”
In the 2019 federal election both the Conservatives and Greens campaigned on ending the practice of dumping untreated sewage. Both parties have been critical of the Liberals for allowing the practice to continue without intervening.
“It’s troubling to think that there are wastewater treatment facilities that are not regulated,” said former-Conservative MP Harold Albrecht.
“Why do we have them if they are not regulated?”
Walking on the beach, along the shoreline, with your feet in the water, is one of the most relaxing activities you can engage in.
In Tiny Township, it appears as if the property owners are being supported in believing they own the beach to the water’s edge. Which is not supported by historical facts. Unfortunately, you cannot walk the length of the shoreline, thanks to some property owners, who are taking the decades old debate back to square one and preventing people from enjoying the shoreline.
Nobody owns the beach. It appears there are real estate agents, developers and politicians who push this narrative. In my experience, Town Councillors tend to avoid the topic, or straddle the fence when in the public spotlight, and then behind the scenes side with the beach front owners, instead of standing up for the public, and non-beach front property owners. The local groups just make generalizations, like: We want everybody to find a way to enjoy the beach. Statements such as this are neither here nor there, and do not get at the heart of the matter.
During this great reckoning, when issues of equality are being brought to the forefront, what could be more unfair, than blocking the general enjoyment, therapeutic benefits, and healing power of walking the shoreline from the public?
During the drought, which lasted for over a decade, many of the beach front properties went up for sale. In my opinion this was a great opportunity, for a forward-thinking township and provincial government, to start purchasing properties closest to the parkettes that serve as public beach front, and reclaiming the shoreline. It is still not too late, for the public to embark on a Reclaim the Shoreline Campaign. Think about the future generations, who will benefit from the erosion of a class system for beach usage.
Nobody has the right to block human beings and animals alike from enjoying their god given right to walk the shoreline.
Washed up SK
A little “Education”
It has been brought to our attention that persons have been using the property around the Arena, for riding motorized vehicles. While we can appreciate that during these past weeks, we are all feeling a little house-bound, the Flos Ag Society would like to remind everyone, that this property (known as 14 George Street) is PRIVATELY owned. It is not municipal property. The Arena, Curling Club & a minimal area around the Arena are owned by others, but any liability for the rest of the property is bore by the volunteers of the Society. We have always allowed the public to use the ball diamond and surrounding area; and lots of people certainly allow their dogs to run free on the grass. We are happy to offer this to the Community who has supported us for over 160 years. It would be a shame, if the property had to be closed, due to the actions of a few disrespectful people. We thank you for your cooperation in using the grounds for the safe activities as mentioned, but not for recreational motorized vehicle riding.
Directors of the Flos Agricultural Society
Air BNB Invasion
In my neighbourhood, our home, and the homes of our neighbours have without our consent become part of the viewing pleasure of tourists seeking entertainment during their stay at over 100 local, and in my opinion illegal AirBNB hotels, which operate without SIGNAGE to announce a commercial business in the area. We provide the backdrop for these tourists, who are allowed to sashay down our street in large packs numbering over 15 people at times, in one group, who slowly and reluctantly disperse to allow cars to pass, at all hours of the day and night, and along with the actual rental come their anonymous guests. These interlopers gawk at us, our home, and our way of life as if we are part of a package they paid for which included entertainment. These people stand out, because they do not belong in our formerly quiet residential neighbourhood, which is zoned residential and not commercial.
We paid a high price to live in our community, left good jobs, in the city, for less than mediocre jobs, and many other sacrifices in order to get away from the very negative effects of the cities, and now the Air BNB system is spreading the negative outcomes of city life, and congestion out here and across the country. Must be the globalists at work, no doubt. We do not support overpopulation, and again we are the victim of those who see nothing wrong with it.
We are sick and tired of the cavalier attitude of By-Law Enforcement Officers, Town Councillors, and elected Politicians who do nothing to learn about the impact of AirBNB on our lives, communities, environment and emotional health and well-being.
In our opinion AirBNB is part of a political strategy that we do not wish to be part of.
Zoning restrictions only apply when elected officials choose to have them enforced by their henchman, the well-paid By-Law Enforcement Officers. Therefore, not sure why homeowners need to pay property tax, as this is only a by-law as well.
My request to these tourists: Keep their G-strings and thongs on the waterfront, as we don’t need to see your bare, saggy, unattractive bum moving down our street and past our dining room window.
And don’t suggest I attend a town council meeting, because in my experience, those meetings are overwhelmingly stacked with incognito agents of politicians who then use tactics to prevent anyone with differing points of view from being heard. I believe this tactic is part of the Delphi Technique identified by anti-globalization advocates as a tool used to silence them at community meetings (across the western world).
Tiny Township Resident.
SAY NO TO POOLS AND HOT TUBS ON THE SHORELINE
Let your readers know what is happening in The Township of Tiny.
The Township of Tiny is approving minor variance applications for personal pools and hot tubs along our freshwater shorelines. In other words no room on the lot.
A Minor Variance is a minor change to performance standard under the Zoning By-Law.
Usually requested when the property is at the zoning maximum or has zoning issues and is granted by the Committee of Adjustment.
For all minor variance applications along the shoreline The Township of Tiny is requesting a Wave Uprush Report prepared by a coastal engineer.
The applicant pays for this Wave Uprush Report and it seems it is always done by the same person and company.
These reports come back usually favourable and then the Township of Tiny approves them saying pools and hot tubs are allowed.. They do not pay attention to neighbour resistance and the Township of Tiny always quote the same paragraphs from the official plan for acceptance..
They are ignoring environmental impact to the shoreline. Pools and hot tubs take a vast amount of water to fill and maintain and they need chemicals to keep them clean and hydro to heat them. Pools in Toronto open June 15 at the earliest and close by Labour Day.
We are all on septic systems and wells. In our area the hydro goes out for hours on a regular basis (rolling brownouts.)
There are people in the Township of Tiny who are paying for water and are on strict watering schedules yet the Township of Tiny is fine with letting people have pools and hot tubs on the shoreline.
I attended a Woodland Beach Property Owners Association meeting where a gentleman stood up and said he has lost 30 feet of shoreline and said the Township of Tiny will not let him put down sandbags and boulders.
There are other people in the Township of Tiny who have done construction work on the shoreline and the Township considered it landscaping.
The only By-law for pools and hot tubs is a four foot fence that must have a locked gate and not be able to be climbed.
There are no By- law's for people being able to swim and soak 24/7 (Noise Issue and lighting issue)..
There are no By-law's for short term rentals.
Please let your association know about this important issue and trend of people applying for minor variances to install pools and hot tubs.
We are fortunate to own waterfront property on the shoreline. Pools and hot tubs do not belong.
New county waste contract trashed by local politicians
Initial estimates from the County of Simcoe indicate the new contract will cost taxpayers nearly double the previous contract
Jul 2, 2020 7:00 PM
Initial estimates from the County of Simcoe indicate the new contract will cost taxpayers nearly double the previous contract
Editor's note: As a separated city, Barrie residents are not affected by County of Simcoe decisions regarding waste collection.
More details are coming to light about the 2021 waste collection contract that was announced last week by the County of Simcoe as a done deal.
However, some county councillors are pointing to the awarding of the contract as an example of what they say is a “problem” at the County of Simcoe, where councillors aren’t always being given all the information they would like to make informed decisions.
“This will never happen again. The county needs to change, big-time,” Bradford West Gwillimbury Deputy Mayor James Leduc told Barrie Today. “This is the really upsetting part. They told us we were going to award a multi-million-dollar contract to somebody, but we can’t know the name of it? If we can’t know the name of it, who should?
"We are the elected people who stand up for the residents of this county and it’s ridiculous for staff to think they can’t tell us the details. That tells me we have a problem up there at the county, and we need to change that,” he said.
On June 23, county councillors were given a staff report for information revealing some details of the 2021 waste collection contract. The contract was awarded to Miller Waste Systems for automated cart collection, to commence in November 2021.
The bids were presented to council in a closed session on April 14 and anonymously so council didn’t know which companies submitted the bids. Council ranked them in closed session, but voted in a public session to award the contract to the highest ranked bidder.
Councillors were not told they had chosen bids for the same company for both the East and West until they saw the report last week and the deal had already been finalized.
Leduc says the contract discussions shouldn’t have happened in closed session back in April.
“I hope the other county councillors can reflect on this, because it’s ridiculous how we do business up there. It needs to be a much more open process,” he said.
On Tuesday, the County of Simcoe provided some overall costing numbers for the 2021 waste contract.
In 2022, the county is estimating waste collection under the new contract with Miller Waste will ring in at approximately $49,450,247, servicing 157,917 homes county-wide.
For comparison, if the current waste contract with Waste Connections would have continued, the county estimates it would have cost $26,100,893 by 2022 for that same year.
To break the cost down for the average taxpayer, Rob McCullough, director of solid waste management, says the county’s current contract for manual collection with Waste Connections costs about $165 per year per serviced home.
The new 2021 collection costs with Miller Waste including the automated cart collection will be $315 per year per serviced home.
“The $315 per year... includes estimated costs for carts, collection service, garbage export/disposal costs, recycling and organics transfer and processing costs, and all administrative costs associated with collections,” said McCullough. “This accounts for the full service cost, not just the curbside pickup.”
Ramara Mayor Basil Clarke says he would have also liked to see more information on the overall costs, but there are other factors that can and will affect the cost.
“Part of this was, we were going to (pay) to build sorting stations, but now we don’t have to, so the cost has changed a few times since we’ve gone down this road,” he said. “Some of us were struggling with the true cost of this right from Day 1.”The new contract with Miller Waste Systems is for seven years starting November 2021, with an option for two additional years.
McCullough said there are still some factors at play that will determine the final cost to residents.
“The new system costs are estimates only at this point since the county is in the process of letting a request for proposals for the provision of the carts and for the purposes of this estimate it has been assumed that the carts will be capitalized over a 10-year term,” said McCullough. “Also included in the new collection estimate is the cost for new bins (due to growth) and repairs to existing bins.”
Last summer, the current contractor, Waste Connections, cited labour shortages and extreme heat for significant collection delays felt county-wide. Since then, the topic has come up often at the council table with staff and councillors working to develop solutions.
“Many people are relieved to see we’re getting a new contract after the troubles we had with the old one,” Clarke told Barrie Today. “There are some concerns in my municipality over the larger containers. When you’re in a rural municipality and you have to drag these things down your driveway, I don’t see how it’s going to be feasible and that’s been my concern all along.”
Clarke said he did raise the issue at council meetings in the past, and other councillors had similar concerns. He also said he voted against the chosen contract.
“I’ve always had an issue with only having one contractor for an area as large as Simcoe County,” said Clarke. “When that one contractor fails, like the trouble we had last summer, what is our fallback solution?”
At past meetings, Clarke requested that the county be split into multiple zones for the contract with different companies responsible for each zone. To read previous coverage on this, click here.
“We approved these contracts without knowing the name,” said Clarke. “I have no trouble with that... but I would have again tried to urge councillors to split the county up into smaller sections. I would have liked to see some small modifications to how it was done.”
“This was a council decision, not a staff decision,” he added.
Leduc also had concerns about the contract, which he says led to him also voting against it.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent in support of it, let’s put it that way,” said Leduc. “It’s a huge cost to change our new contract from the old one.”
Leduc agrees with Clarke concerning having one contractor for the entire county. He also has concerns about the size of the bins for automated cart collection.
“It’s gone through, so I will support the system now, but in the beginning, I didn’t support the automated system, because where are people going to put those three big bins?” said Leduc. “It was something we wanted to talk about a little further.”
“When the big bins come in and people start to see the change, that’s when the complaints are going to come in,” he added.
* According to the County of Simcoe, all provided figures have been increased to 2022 estimates by reasonable consumer price index and growth factors to allow reasonable comparison between figures then are rounded to nearest $5 increment.
Municipal governments are making the economy worse, not better
By Franco Terrazzano - Alberta’s economy won’t start to fire on all cylinders unless municipal councillors are willing to start playing ball and cut taxes.
A key pillar of the province’s economic recovery plan is the reduction of the business tax to eight per cent. Premier Jason Kenney has also made it clear that raising taxes right now would be like shooting a hole in a rowboat then deciding to cross the Pacific.
“I cannot imagine a dumber thing to do in the midst of a time of economic fragility, an oil price collapse and a global recession than to add a multi-billion dollar tax on the Alberta economy and Alberta families,” Kenney said in response to calls for a provincial sales tax.
While Kenney is making Alberta’s business tax system one of the most competitive in North America, municipal councillors have been busy using their collective brain power scheming new ways to squeeze more tax dollars from struggling Albertans.
Even during a downturn that added thousands of workers to the ranks of the unemployed, Alberta’s biggest cities hiked taxes. The city of Edmonton approved a 2.5 per cent residential property tax increase this year. In Calgary, families are opening their mailboxes to a 7.5 per cent tax hike.
Alberta municipalities have ample fat to cut instead of raising taxes.
“In 2017/18, Alberta’s municipal per capita expenses were the second highest among provinces (behind Ontario where municipalities also deliver a range of social services),” explained the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s finances. “Per capita capital spending in Calgary and Edmonton is among the highest for comparable cities across Canada.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s Municipal Spending Report confirms that Alberta’s big cities are big spenders. Calgary and Edmonton spend more per person than major Western Canadian cities, such as Vancouver, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. If Calgary and Edmonton brought spending in line with these Western Canadian cities, their taxpayers would save $656 million and $566 million respectively per year.
Alberta’s municipal governments haven’t exactly been cash-strapped over the last decade.
“Municipalities have experienced significant revenue growth of 48 per cent per person, including 29 per cent per person for Edmonton and 41 per cent per person for Calgary, primarily driven by municipal property tax increases [between 2007 and 2017],” explained the Blue Ribbon Panel.
Instead of trying to make life a little easier, municipal governments are devising new ways to take more tax dollars.
The city of Lethbridge, which is one of Alberta’s biggest spending cities, is now pushing for a sales tax to pay for municipal spending. Fortunately for taxpayers, Kenney confirmed to the CTF that his government would never impose a sales tax without a referendum and it’s unlikely that the many jobless Albertans will favour forking over more money to keep their bloated city councils afloat.
But Lethbridge isn’t the only taxpayer nightmare. As if a 7.5 per cent tax hike during an economic crisis isn’t enough pain, the city of Calgary is searching for new taxes and fees to help extract every penny they can from Calgarians.
Fortunately, at least one councillor is still living on planet Earth.
“Calgarians need these new taxes like they need a hole in the head,” said Coun. Jeromy Farkas.
The cities of Edmonton and Red Deer are urging their municipal lobbying group to push Kenney for new “measures and tools” so they can continue to fund their high-cost budgets. Translation: councillors want Kenney to make it easier for them to put their grubby paws on our pay cheques.
If councillors were half as creative at looking for savings as they are at looking for new ways to squeeze more money out of taxpayers, then many of Albertans’ economic challenges would have been solved by now. Kenney is moving the province in the right direction by lowering business taxes, but our economy won’t hit full stride until municipalities cut taxes for families and businesses.
Franco Terrazzano is the Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Ontario eliminating the practice of birth alerts
Yesterday, Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, announced Ontario Eliminating the Practice of Birth Alerts.
Birth alerts are notifications sent by children’s aid societies to hospitals when they believe a newborn may be in need of protection. The government calls the elimination of birth alerts “an important step in creating a child welfare system focused on prevention and early intervention that will improve pre- and post- natal services.” They say that “Expectant mothers can be deterred from seeking prenatal care or parenting supports while pregnant due to fears of having a birth alert issued.”
It is good to focus on prevention and early intervention and to seek to improve pre- and post- natal services. However, to try to do so by eliminating the alarm about a possible need for protection because the one who may be a possible source of harm may be deterred from seeking help is similar to “throwing the baby out with the bath-water,” so to speak.
The Minister speaks of “prevention services that are ... truly responsive.” If an expectant mother may be in danger of harming her baby, a responsive and preventative approach could be to reach out to that mother with an offer of help - an offer to help her learn coping strategies so that she knows that she has options other than to harm her newborn. And offer her support.
Apparently it has been reported that “the practice of birth alerts disproportionately affects racialized and marginalized mothers and families” and that “Birth alerts ... have been used inconsistently by children’s aid societies across the province.” How about trying to understand why there is disproportionate representation? Could it be due, in part, to the inconsistency of reporting? How can the consistency of reporting be improved? Rather than eliminate the alarm system, let us see how it can be fixed.
Are not the lives of newborns important enough to sound an alarm when their safety may be in jeopardy? Of course they are! This so-called “important step ... in the right direction” is a step backward. Please protect our newborns and support our expectant mothers by allowing the alarm to be sounded when there is danger.
- R. Smith