Letters to Editor

From a Collingwood, Ont., resident

Letter to the Editor, Springwater News.

This is a bit about Apto, the Springwater News and how fortunate Springwater Township residents are to have this community newspaper.

In Elmvale, recently, I stopped at the Elmvale Bakery and joined the queue there to make a purchase. Popular place! Linda’s Eatery, mentioned in a letter to the editor in your July 26th edition is a popular place too and I’ll come back to that eatery.

If I had to create definitions for the word community, I would include two words: Springwater News.

This locally-owned newspaper exudes community!

From various news articles and photographs, to letters to the editor, a story about Indigenous matters and community correspondents, the Springwater News provides the pulse of this community’s happenings to readers’ fingertips.

Full disclosure before I go any further: I don’t know the publisher of this newspaper and have had no previous communication with him, or his wife who was featured in a front-page photograph in Edition 526. Nobody asked me to write this letter, but having picked up the Springwater News in McDonald’s in Elmvale, I offer some comments.

The Springwater News puts function over form. By that, I mean it fills every nook and cranny of every page with information. A design to make it easier to read, would be at the expense of providing less information. It’s old-school, but I like the cram-it-and-read-it aspect.

Readers might not agree with everything that they see in the Springwater News, but that’s the point of a newspaper’s news columns. They bring you the information and you decide whether you like what you read, or not; agree with opinions, or don’t agree.

In the whiz-bang, true-or-not-true electronic age, there’s a refreshing honesty to the Springwater News. As busy as the newspaper’s pages are, there’s a calmness and feeling of belonging when one reads them. Community events and services are in sharp focus, mentioned through advertising (I hope this newspaper’s advertising base grows!) and news items; even letters to the editor.

Yes, one letter from a Wm. Brian MacLean was published twice on the same page in the edition I read. But that shows the human-error touch. Pity, because with space being at a premium, somebody else’s letter could have appeared. But that’s the newspaper business. Sometimes things go wrong.

Letters to the editor. You have to love them because they epitomize free speech. Somebody writes about maple syrup being American in a Canadian restaurant. The restaurant owner, in this case Annette from Linda’s Eating Place and Cafe, writes back. It’s a precious exchange of information, done in a respectful manner. Full disclosure: I have been to Linda’s Eating Place and liked it. Good food. Good value. And good on the Springwater News for publishing opinions!

I recognized some names as I read your newspaper. Katy Austin used to live across the street from me in Barrie when we were young.

Apto. I used to know a Sonny Young from Apto when we were kids and I went to Central collegiate in Barrie and worked in a Texaco station after school. I lost track of him years ago, along with a girl called Diane whom I dated briefly. She lived on a sideroad near Phelpston.

As one reads this newspaper, there’s a feeling of confidence that the person who put his name on this newspaper, as publisher, lives in the community he serves; likely as approachable as can be.

Michael Jacobs is the publisher, from what I read on the masthead in the Springwater News.

But who is the editor? If it says anywhere, I didn’t see it. I think the editor’s name needs to be shown.

But that’s small pancakes in the maple syrup world of central Simcoe County, where it is heartening to see a local newspaper still serving its community and doing it sweetly!

George Czerny-Holownia,  Collingwood, Ontario.

 

A voice for the Church

DEAR PREMIER FORD,

“It is our experience that the weakest of our society are the most vulnerable to any change, even change that is warranted.”

Ontario – August 1, 2018 More than 350 United Church clergy, representing cities, towns and rural communities from across Ontario, have created a video follow up to their July 10th letter, addressed to Premier Ford, outlining their hopes and concerns for the new provincial government. 

 In 48 hours, the video has amassed over 28,000 views on Facebook, as well as 850+ shares.

 The video is a non-partisan and positive response to Premier Ford’s promise of March 7, 2018 at a service at the Toronto Prayer Palace where he stated:

 “And we will make sure —I can guarantee you we’ll make sure—the church has a voice.  All the time.”*

 The video congratulates Premier Ford and raises a number of issues that the speakers believe are of concern to Ontarians of all faiths and political stripes:

  “ We appreciate your desire to unify all Ontarians in a vision of prosperity. We respectfully ask that this vision include care of the vulnerable, affordable housing, support for refugees, quality healthcare, comprehensive sexual education in our schools, climate care, and access to higher education for all.” 

 The United Church is Canada’s largest Protestant denomination and serves over 85,000 households in the province of Ontario.

 The video, and text from the full letter, can be found at: 

OntarioUCCMinisters.org and facebook.com/OntarioUCCMinisters

For further information contact:

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Really • Frustrated

After a huge dump of poop was left at the front corner of these mailboxes for three or four days-----This is what appeared this morning😀.    

 90% of pet owners are aware of their responsibility and pick up after their dogs---- but the others need a Wake-up Call!

  I wish we could deposit these dumps right back on the front porch of the people who do not pick up.

 

The Turtles

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the story of the turtle on the front page of the June 28th edition! With sixty Grade 4 students we witnessed the same event. We stood on the side of a sandy path at Camp Kitchi on Beausoleil Island as mother turtle laid her eggs in the path. We were armed with brooms and branches as we were well aware of the racoon standing by in the bushes. Sadly, we were called to supper and never knew the end of the story. And I  had the nerve to be teaching them of “Turtles”!

Aileen Wallace

 

The Environment Act

Dear Editor,

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) is Canada's primary law on pollution and toxins, yet it is badly outdated, placing lives at risk

The government took one year to respond to important recommendations on how to strengthen CEPA. It has now announced there is not enough time before the next election to introduce legislative changes.

Postponing action comes at a price. According to Health Canada, poor air quality alone causes more than 14,000 premature deaths annually in Canada. Recent studies indicate that pollution costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars per year.

I believe every Canadian has the fundamental right to breathe fresh air, drink clean water and eat safe food. I hope with enough support, politicians will pay closer attention to this law and make the necessary steps to abide by it long term. Lets make Canada a leader in eco-policies and do our best to turn the tides. Thank you for your time,

Ariana Whitman

 

South Springwater Speaks

This Grenfel Community Hall outside siding that has been on the building for 60 years is all faded out along with the rusted steel roof. 

Calls made to the recreation department looking after the upkeep of these buildings, go unanswered, as well as to the Mayor.

For a few cans of paint it could look like the township cares about appearance and not only about collecting rent money.

The traffic along this new county road #40 is climbing into thousands daily, and what exposure the Community Hall has.

A Grenfell Resident

 

Should Doug Ford cut Toronto city council in half?    Yes

By: Christine Van Geyn, CTF Ontario Directo   This article was previously published by the Toronto Star

Hell hath no fury like a politician being told there will be fewer jobs for politicians.

While certain members of Toronto city council are lighting their hair on fire because they may not have a job for life, Toronto taxpayers should be rejoicing.

Doug Ford cutting the size of Toronto’s bloated and dysfunctional city hall will save money, should improve governance, and is more democratic. It’s good news for the city, and taxpayers shouldn’t believe the self-interested voices telling them otherwise.

Reducing Toronto city council from a planned 47 members to 25 members will save taxpayers millions. The province provided a low-ball estimate of $25.5 million in savings. In all likelihood, this number will be much higher. The Toronto Star calculated that it would be closer to $30 million over four years, but even this calculation doesn’t include a number of high priced items, like generous pensions or the start-up costs for three new wards.

And it also doesn’t include the savings associated with having fewer politicians with their own taxpayer-funded pet projects. A 2017 study by the Toronto-based Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance noted that large city councils tend to spend much more per capita than municipalities with small councils, and that this higher spending was a result of greater levels of “pork barrelling.” Just consider the story of the expensive installation and removal of the Jarvis bike lanes, or the odd support of some councillors for the money-vacuums that are municipally owned golf-courses.

And fewer city councillors means City Council should function better.

With its current 44 members, Toronto’s city council can feel as gridlocked as the city’s traffic. Council meetings can last days, and go late into the night. Last week, a single council meeting went on for five days. Councillors will make important cost decisions at 11 pm after a day-long session. Council will spend hours on minor procedural issues, and lack of prioritization means council may spend as much time debating the location of tree or a traffic light as they will a multimillion dollar construction project. Los Angeles manages with a population of 4 million and a city council of 15. Brisbane, Australia, has a population of 2.35 million (similar to Toronto’s 2.73 million) and survives with a city council of 26. 

One of the loudest criticisms against the Ford move is that it is undemocratic. Ford didn’t run on this policy, and it is coming as a “shock” just months out from a municipal election.

But Ford’s move is actually a move towards better democracy. While the timing may not be ideal, waiting four years and letting council expand to 47 is worse. Ford’s announcement should come as a surprise to no one. Not only did Ford commit to reducing the size of government, but as mayor, the Premier’s brother Rob Ford supported a motion to reduce the size of council to 25 members.

The shrinking and re-distribution of the municipal wards also improves democracy by ensuring that there is more even population distribution across the wards With the planned 47 wards, some wards would have had as few as 28,665 voters while others had 70,535, giving far greater weight to some votes. The 25 ward plan has a more even distribution of population, without an enormous increase in ward population. The new wards will have a much tighter population range of 94,579 to 129,081 voters.

Finally, democracy would be improved if the municipal wards mirrored the federal and provincial boundaries. Many Torontonians don’t even know who their local councillor is, let alone which ward they live in. And the proliferation of candidates and wards makes it even harder for voters to make informed decisions. Studies have shown that low information among voters leads to higher incumbency rates and makes it harder for voters to track their councillors’ actions and hold them accountable. Mirroring the federal and provincial boundaries will make following municipal political developments easier and less confusing for voters, improving the democratic process.

The decision to reduce the size of city council is the right one for taxpayers, for the city, and for democracy.