Political Opinions

Ward One Report    Councillor Katy Austin

This will be my last Ward One report this term because of election regulations.  In the lead-up to the 2014 election, many voters were confused by the letters they received from election officials stating that certain individuals who had moved away from a given address or died long ago were still on the voters list.  I later found out that the reason was that the voters list comes from information on MPAC, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.  This information can only be updated by the homeowner contacting MPAC; for example, I need to let them know my son, Simon, no longer lives with me and that my former partner, Stew, has died.  I will do this by calling them this week when I go to www.voterlookup.ca and find their phone number.

George Allen, chair of the EDHS Shared Facility community fundraising committee is pleased to report that we have exceeded our original goal of $200,000 and raised $258,000 for the high school addition.

Kudos this week to the County of Simcoe, who will be building a new facility at 191 Queen St. W. that will house a paramedic services station and the long-term care and seniors’ services adult day program centre for the surrounding area.  Construction is expected to be finished by this time next year. 

Drafts of the Township’s Discussion Paper and Growth Management Strategy, which have been completed as part of the Township’s Official Plan Review/Update process, are ready to be viewed publicly.  This intended to invite comment from the public stakeholders over the next couple of months and throughout the process. WSP, the author of the documents and the consultant working on the behalf of the Township, will provide a public presentation in the fall of 2018 to summarize the documents along with key findings and recommendations. The documents are to be posted this week on the Township’s website and will be circulated to key stakeholders and agencies for review and comment.

The comments made in this article are strictly my own.  I do not speak on behalf of Council.  Contact me any time if you have concerns or suggestions: 705-796-7348,

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July 2018 WARD FIVE COUNCILLOR REPORT

Those who pay attention will know that your Council continues to meet and make decisions through the summer. The following is an update on the more important proceedings that occurred. Given that we have entered election campaigning I will avoid any political comments. Those who care can make their own assessments and get the truth by reading minutes of Council meetings or watching past live broadcasts. http://www.springwater.ca/live. I believe I have a responsibility to continue to assist residents and keep them informed. Consequently, I have been providing monthly reports, etc., for 7½ years which include my personal contact information. It makes me question how many read the updates when those who need my assistance try to contact me through the Township. I am further perplexed when residents are contacted by a former employee of the Township and told I claimed I could stop the mega development. It appears even the former employee gives me too much credit and does not read my submissions or does not comprehend the written word. For clarification as recent as my June update I stated: “My response to those opposed to the MSP is that the Province allowed the development and are in control. Our hope for the future is to elect a Council that can be trusted to protect the interests of all our resident’s going forward.”

MEGA DEVELOPMENT: It would appear that unless the new Provincial Government intervenes or environmental issues are established the MSP will proceed. That does not mean we should acquiesce. This growth will cost millions for infrastructure, services, future operational costs and replacement. Because development will not pay for itself, we need to get as much financial support as legislation will allow from developers, who are the ones that will turn a profit. This does not mean circumventing the process by soliciting money for local sports teams, etc., a practice that has generated concerns of bias or conflict of interest. Some like to describe Springwater as a community of communities. While geographically accurate it is divisive. We are all in this together and will share the costs Township wide! Council needs to focus on the major financial impacts, not gifts for communities or personal agendas.

The results of the environmental assessment completed to identify the impacts of the MSP were made public on June 18th. Residents are encouraged to submit their concerns to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (old title). The deadline is Sept 18th. Part 2 request forms are available at www.springwater.ca/msp_ea   

 COUNCIL COMPENSATION:  On June 20th Council voted to increase the salaries for the next Council. This was as result of changes that eliminated the existing 1/3 salary tax exemption. To offset the impact to taxpayers for the salary increase the following options were presented and to be confirmed at subsequent meetings;  

 Eliminating family medical benefits for Council. The motion was defeated.  Council will now be eligible for $3,000. annually to purchase independent coverage. Total cost 7 x $3,000 = $21,000.  

 Eliminate mileage allowance to attend Council meetings. Approved.

 Capping internet costs at $50.00 a month. Approved.

 Opting out of Omers pension plan saving taxpayer’s $18,000 annually. Defeated. 

The salary increase was approved with an understood agreement that savings would be implemented. The following is a review of the facts. I will leave it to taxpayers to assess the integrity, any sense of privilege and/or entitlement. T

he following are excerpts from reports and minutes of Council meetings. See item 6.1 July 23 Council meeting agreed to facts.  Report - OMERS Termination of Council Members 07 23 2018 “On June 20, 2018, Council reviewed the Council Compensation for 2018- 2022 Term of Council and approved opting out of OMERS for elected officials and directed that the process for opting out be commenced.”

See item 6.1 SPECIAL REPORT:  Mayor French and I as nonmembers of Omers were prohibited from voting.  “Item 6.1 dated July 23, 2018, be received; and that Council terminate participation in the OMERS Primary Pension Plan for the Head of Council and Councillors”; (A taxpayer savings of $18,000). This agreed to savings in support of the salary increase was not honoured. Those who voted to keep the pension were; Councillors Ritchie, Coughlin and Deputy Major Allen. Councillors Austin and McConkey voted to honour this savings.

 SPRINGWATER SWING: This year’s annual fundraising golf tournament was held at Vespra Hills Private Golf Club. Many who attended described the event as spectacular. This venue provided an opportunity to showcase Springwater. Players from as far away as Peterborough, Kitchener and Toronto took advantage of the opportunity to play at this elite private golf club. Some indicated an interest in investing in Springwater.    Thank you to Township staff, management and golf course staff, sponsors and players who’s participation assisted in raising an estimated $25,000. to $ 30,000. 

 MIDHURST PAVILION:  Work to complete this project is under way again. If the pavilion is completed in time, the Midhurst Autumnfest Fall Fair and the official opening will be there this September. 

 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS:   This is your opportunity to exercise your democratic right to vote. You can check to ensure you are on the voter’s list at VoterLookUp.ca  Before you vote do your homework. Don’t just base decisions on self-serving election propaganda. Evaluate the records of incumbents and qualifications of all the candidates. Review the recorded live broadcasts, budget deliberations, etc., where major financial decisions based on substantiated facts or the number of houses with Christmas lights and/or made to gain popularity?

 IMPORTANT DATES:  Regular Council Meetings: Wednesdays, September 5th and 19th at 6:30 pm.  There are always several other special, closed session and planning meetings. 

For other committee meeting times and dates go to: www.springwater.ca   Meetings are held at the Township Administration Centre.   

You can view the live broadcast feed including past Council meetings at http://www.springwater.ca/live                                                                         

MIDHURST AUTUMNFEST FALL FAIR: Saturday September 29, 2018 Free entry and parking. New games, contests and vendors. Fun for the entire family. Everyone is invited. Hope to see you at there.                            

 CONSTITUENT BCC EMAIL LIST:  If you wish to receive my emails and/or important updates or to contact me directly, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    My news articles and emails are part of my commitment to keeping taxpayers informed in a truthful, accurate and timely manner.  I do not speak for the rest of Council.                   

 Jack Hanna   Ward 5 Councillor    

 

Let’s cut the red tape to build more housing

 By Dave Wilkes President and CEO  Building Industry and Land Development Association

 The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is expected to grow fast in the coming decades and we have many reasons to celebrate this population boom. New residents bring their skills and talents and they spur economic growth from which we all benefit.

 We should be building a healthy supply of new homes fast so both newcomers and existing residents can find places to live at prices they can afford. Unfortunately, as things stand, getting new homes to market in the GTA is a process hindered by red tape and lengthy delays.

 In order to get approvals for a new project, developers have to navigate layer upon layer of government regulation. On the municipal level alone, they go through 15 major approval steps to complete a townhouse complex or a single-family home and nine major steps for a high-rise building. To be clear, our industry supports regulation that ensures safe, well-built projects. The problem arises when avoidable delays in the approvals process hold up housing projects.

 As an example, many development applications hit a snag when they are reviewed for compliance with the municipality’s zoning bylaws. Because these are not updated regularly, a development application could be in keeping with provincial intensification targets and even the municipality’s own Official Plan, yet still not comply with outdated zoning bylaws. This means that the developer has to apply for variances or amendments, which often translates into delays. To give a recent example, a condo and townhouse project in a Toronto neighbourhood, representing about 200 units of new housing, had months added to its timeline because the developer had to apply for more than 20 bylaw variances.

 Provincial regulation can also create unnecessary delays in bringing new homes to market. In York Region, for instance, communities have been waiting since 2014 for an environmental assessment approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for a sewage solution project that is intended to service Aurora, Newmarket and East Gwillimbury. Without this crucial piece of infrastructure, new housing development in the area is stalled.What do these delays and red tape mean for you? It means housing is slow to come to market, so if you are looking for a new home to buy, you have fewer options to choose from. Delays also add tens of thousands of dollars to developers’ costs, so your new home will ultimately cost you more. And delaying the building of new housing means that your municipality misses out on the tax revenues that new residents would bring, which translates to less funding for community needs like transit, libraries and emergency services.

It’s time to make housing a priority in the GTA and look for solutions to end unnecessary, costly red tape and bring new homes to market faster. The lead-up to elections is the perfect time to talk about this and other housing issues with your candidate for public office.

 Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA. For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, @bildgta, or visit www.bildgta.ca.

 

Bruce Stanton MP Simcoe North

Some of you may be familiar with the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF), which provides grants to organizations to make community spaces more accessible, so all members of our community can use and enjoy them.

Many local organizations have benefitted from the EAF since it was introduced in 2007, including the St. Paul’s Centre and St. James Church in Orillia, the Port McNicoll Community Centre, the Coldwater Heritage Mill, the Ramara Public Library, and the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum. Over 3,500 projects across the country have benefitted from the EAF.

The EAF previously had two components:

The small projects component, which provides grant funding, up to $100,000 per project, to support small scale construction, renovation or retrofit projects that increase accessibility in communities or workplaces; and

The mid-sized projects component, which provides contributions of up to $3 million to support larger retrofit, renovation or construction projects of facilities or venues that house or will house programs and services geared towards addressing the social and/or labour market integration needs of people with disabilities in a holistic manner.

Following a pilot project in 2017, the EAF has launched a third component, around youth innovation.

The youth innovation component empowers youth between the ages of 15 and 30 to identify accessibility barriers within their communities and work with local organizations to develop solutions to increase accessibility and safety in community spaces and workplaces. Funding of up to $10,000 is available to support capital costs of eligible projects, which may include initiatives like installing automatic door openers, constructing raised garden beds in a community garden, or acquiring specialized wheelchairs to access sandy beaches.

The youth innovation component is open for applications until 11:59pm on September 21, 2018. More information is available on the Employment and Social Development Canada EAF website - https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/enabling-accessibility-fund.html

 

The Tiny Mayor’s Monthly Message – August 2018

Wow where did the month of July go! Hot and Humid, but we finally did get some badly needed rain!

 As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter July was a busy month and August is no different…

 Before I continue, I like to update you on Councillor Richard Hinton’s Cancer journey. After completing his chemotherapy treatments, Richard underwent surgery last Tuesday. Richard’s wife Cathy has informed me that all went well and the surgeon was very pleased. Richard continues to make good progress each day and is anxious to get home! Our thoughts and prayers are with Richard and his family as we support his recovery.

 Wrapping up July…

 We held our 4th annual Mayor’s Charity Golf Tournament on Friday the 13th at Brooklea G&CC. The event was a resounding success, raising $65,000 for 15 local charities; exceeding our fundraising goal of $60,000. Since 2015, the Tournament has raised $189,000 in support of 30 local charities. 

 This year’s recipients were as follows:    

 Angels with Backpacks

 Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe

 Boys and Girls Club of North Simcoe

 Community Reach

 Crime Stoppers of Simcoe-DufferinMuskoka

 Elmvale District High School Shared Facility Project

 Georgian Bay Cancer Support Centre   

 Georgian Bay General Hospital Foundation

 Hospice Huronia

 Huronia Seniors’ Volunteer Care Team

 MTM Conservation Association

 Scientists in School

 Township of Tiny Bursary Program

 We Are The Villagers

 Wendat Community Programs

 A BIG thank you to this year’s tournament title sponsor, Perkinsfield Kitchen and Bath, and the many generous sponsors, participants, volunteers and the organizing committee. See poster attached for more details about the event!

 Later that night, I headed over to LaFontaine for the opening ceremonies of Festival du Loup, our annual celebration of our local French culture and heritage. I was joined by our MP Bruce Stanton and our newly elected MPP Jill Dunlop and we got to watch and listen to Damien Robitaille, the featured entertainment Friday night. On Saturday morning, the Festival included a tractor parade through the village which was admired and enjoyed by all, including myself and other members of Council!. Merci beaucoup et bienvenue a Tiny. 

  Balm Beach Family Fun Day

 On August 12, 2018, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Official opening ceremonies at 1:30 pm. Visit local vendors and artisans, activities, exhibits, live music, arcade games, and much more, including a free lunch for kids up to 12 years of age at Balm Beach! 

 If you would like to make a donation, volunteer to oversee an activity, or help with parking/traffic control, please contact Diane Leblovic (dianeleblovic.com, 905-632-4892 or 905-484-4892). Visit www.facebook.com/BalmBeachSummerEvents/ for more information or see poster attached. 

 Fire & Emergency Services Family Fun Day

 Tiny’s Fire and Emergency Services will be hosting its 5th Annual Family Fun Day on Saturday, August 25th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Wyevale Fire Hall, 817 County Road 6 South. Fun for all ages! 

 Admission and lunch is FREE with a food bank donation. Watch the Jaws of Life Demo at 11:30 a.m., try the fire hose target practice, check out the bouncy castle, magician, balloon twister and don’t forget to get your photo taken with Sparky! See poster attached for more activities and event details. Hope to see you there!

 We are excited to introduce a new service to the residents of Tiny

Tiny Connect - Stay Informed  |  Participate  |  Be Prepared   

Sign up for Tiny Connect – Tiny’s free notification system! 

 Receive alerts about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for Tiny Connect. You choose what categories of notifications you want to receive and how you want to receive them.

 Stay Informed - Learn about road closures, burn bans, water restrictions & more!

 Participate - Hear about community events, recreation programs and public meetings!

 Be Prepared - Receive alerts about pending and existing emergencies!

 Learn more about Tiny Connect by clicking here, or click here to register. Questions? Contact Kristie Czovek, Communications/Committee Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 705 526-4204 ext. 277. 

 County of Simcoe

 Speaking of new services, Tuesday August 7 marks the launch of the County of Simcoe’s new transit service, LINX, running from Penetanguishene to Barrie. Including stops in Midland, Wyebridge, Waverly and Elmvale. Ride for FREE for the first month!

 Upcoming Events in the Month ahead…

 August 11 - Unique Art sale in support of Quest Art School. The Sugar Shack, #286 Concession Rd 14 West, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. A one day sale, over 200 pieces of donated Art… priced aggressively…!! (please note: cash or cheque only)

 August 11 -  Gordon Lightfoot tribute band, featuring our own John Stinson in support of the Georgian Bay Great Lakes Foundation – Stop The Asian Carp Invasion. Tiny Township Community Centre, Conc.8. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets available on line

August 12 - Balm Beach Family Fun Day, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

August 13 -  Tiny Regular Meeting of Council

August 18 - Georgian Bay Pops – in support of the Georgian Bay General Hospital towards the purchase of a new CT Scanner. Contact the Georgian Bay General Hospital Foundation for tickets and more info. 

 August 25 - Fire Family Fun Day, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Wyevale Fire Station. 

 August 25 - Cycle Camelot in support of the Georgian Bay Cancer Support Centre Join me on “Team Tiny Peddlers” to Donate or register go to http://cyclecamelot.com/

August 27 - Tiny Committee of the Whole

Upcoming Events in 2018 – “Save the Date”

 September 13 - Our Health series presents “Living and Healing with Hospice” – at the  MCC. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Program begins at 7:30 p.m. Free with registration at www.midlandculturalcentre.com. Moderator for the evening  is Dr. Keith Rose.

That’s all for this month, talk to you next month!

 Regards,  Mayor George Cornell  Township of Tiny

To contact me via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via phone: 705 526-4204 and leave a message with Laura Russell, Sr. Administrative Coordinator 

 Committee of the Whole and Council Meetings are live streamed and archived on our Township of Tiny YouTube channel. Follow us on Twitter (@tinytownship) or Facebook (Township of Tiny) or visit our website (www.tiny.ca) for more details and information.

Please feel free to share my message and if you know of someone who would like to receive it directly, just have them e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will add them to the list. Any views expressed in my monthly message do not necessarily represent the views of Council. If you wish to be removed from the e-mail list, please send an e- mail requesting removal to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Deputy Don’s Update  by Don Allen

Springwater - I have done some research about current 2018 economic statistics for Springwater compared to all of Simcoe County (Simcoe), including Barrie and Orillia, to best understand the resident segments in the Township. Springwater’s population is 20,124 compared to Simcoe of 508,463. Springwater has 7,112 households compared to 194,750 in Simcoe. For Springwater, the age span of the household maintainer is – 25-34 (9%); 35-44 (18%); 45-54 (23%); 55-64 (25%) and 65-74 (15%). The average household income is $136,080 in Springwater, with the average in Simcoe being $100,378. Households with children at home are 50% for Springwater and 44% for Simcoe.

For Springwater, the top 5 segments of population, representing 83% of the households, consist of:

Country Acres – 1,972 households (27%) representing 4,489 (22%) of Springwater population.  These are middle-aged and older couples and families earning an average income in agriculture or blue-collar professions. They are content with a rural lifestyle rather than city life.

Satellite Burbs – 1,105 households (16%) representing 3,429 (17%) of the people. These are middle-aged families and older couples living in satellite communities in outer-ring subdivisions with wooded tracts and spacious homes. One quarter have university degrees and another quarter have high school diplomas, with average income of $140,000. They enjoy the arts as well as the great outdoors.

Exurban Wonderland - 1,104 households (16%) representing 3,221 (16%) of the people. These are middle-aged families who have settled in the emerging sprawl beyond large cities. With incomes nearing $145,000, residents of these new communities tend to be prosperous professionals who like their toys: boats, RVs, snowmobiles, computers, home theatre systems and impressive collections of sporting equipment. Many enjoy outdoor activities. With a majority still raising children at home—most kids are between 5 and 20 years old—the segment scores high for family-friendly activities. 

Fresh Air Families - 1,060 households (15%) representing 2,574 (13%) of the people. These neighbourhoods feature a mix of middle-aged couples and families with children ages 5 to 24 years old. While most adults have high school, trade school or college educations, these two-income households enjoy solid, upper-middle-income lifestyles with positions in public administration, construction or the trades. They own single-detached homes and 9 out of 10 commute by car to jobs. They enjoy the great outdoors, particularly fishing, boating, snowmobiling and camping.

Exurban Homesteaders - 641 households (9%) representing 2,030 (10%) of the people. These consist of middle-aged families and couples living in near-rural settings. Most of the couples earn average incomes from solid, blue-collar jobs in primary industries, manufacturing, transportation and the trades. With 83 percent owning single-family homes, many have settled in these communities for the affordable housing and laid-back lifestyle. They spend a lot of their leisure time outdoors. In this DIY-friendly segment, residents tend to work on their cars, patronize big-box hardware chains, tend their gardens and enjoy sewing and crafts.

Municipal Elections - Municipal elections happen every 4 years, occurring this October, to determine the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Springwater and in this coming election, for the ward councillors for wards 1,3,4 and 5. Congratulations to Perry Ritchie, who was acclaimed as Ward 2 councillor, for his third term. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor also sit on Simcoe County Council and help make decisions about the running of the County, which affects Springwater residents in significant ways. There are 9 weeks until the advance voting by internet and phone starts and 10 weeks until voting occurs at the polling stations on October 22, 2018.

In the 2014 Springwater election, of the 15,233 qualified Springwater voters, 6,475 or 42.5% actually voted. This was up from 38.8% in 2010. Of those who voted, 63% voted in advance of election day, using the internet or phone voting and 37% voted at the polls on voting day. There will again be voting by internet or the phone, starting October 12th.

I suggest you look thoroughly at the actual accomplishments of each of those who are running again for office. See if they have a website that clearly sets out what they initiated and what they accomplished over the last four years, compared to what they claimed they would accomplish, and evaluate their goals and platform for the next four years if they get elected. Don’t get caught up with rumours and innuendo. Check for the facts. If the candidate has not contacted you, then contact them to have a face-to-face meeting to discuss ideas and positions. For those who are running for office for the first time, research the actual job experience they have had and judge whether you think it will directly and meaningfully contribute to them doing the best job as councillor to represent you.

Edwin Espinal Bail Hearing - We have been supportively following the unjust arrest and incarceration of Edwin Espinal in La Tolva maximum- security prison in Honduras six months ago. The Spring family and supporters have tirelessly travelled to the prison to try to see Edwin and have pleaded the case of Edwin and other political prisoners to many officials and politicians. Janet Spring is again travelling to Honduras this week. Edwin’s family were able to see him last weekend and are very upset at his physical state – he has lost more weight and is very skinny and his spirits and emotions are understandable very challenged. Prison authorities have cut back further on the starchy food portions and the water and sanitation conditions remain incomprehensively deplorable. A bail hearing for Edwin is supposed to happen this week, with a ruling around 10 days thereafter. This remains fluid, as there continues to be a total lack of following due legal process in this case, with no formal charges and a total lack of evidence and communication. The corruption and scandals of the current Hernandez government have reached such an extreme that the United States may step in and become more involved soon. Canada has much less influence in this situation.  I recently telephoned the Honduran ambassador to Canada – Sofia Cerrato Rodriquez to discuss this and demand answers. She indicated she would respond but I have not heard back from her. I will again try to speak with her this week. Please continue to support the Spring family to get Edwin and other political prisoners released. More information and contacts are found on the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor site.

Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC)

The Official Plan Amendment for the garbage and organics facilities is now being considered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. It's important to express your concerns about the issues surrounding this proposed project by an August 31, 2018 deadline. You can write a letter, making sure to reference EBR Registry number 013-3377, and direct your comments to Aldo Ingraldi Senior Planner, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Municipal Services Division, Municipal Services Office - Central Ontario, 777 Bay Street, Floor 13, Toronto ON, M5G 2E5.

Alternatively, you may submit your comments online by visiting the Environment Registry page below, going to the "Contact" section on the right-hand side of the page, and clicking on the link "Submit Comment".

http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTM1NzA0&statusId=MjA2NjE1&language=en

I have submitted my concerns about the proposed location in a forest, including fire concerns, safety issues, traffic, odour, lack of servicing and the costs of this project.

This is the last issue where we can write articles before the election. Further communication in this paper will be by paid advertising. I will continue to inform and express my opinion on matters on my website www.donallen.ca and other social media. I welcome your contacting me at 705-302-4253 or emailing me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

These are my thoughts and interpretations and not necessarily those of Council.

 

The Mayor’s View  By Bill French

Council Compensation

As some people are aware, the Federal Government eliminated the 1/3 tax free income for members of Municipal Councils starting in 2019. This was a big saving to local municipalities as salaries for Council Members were definitely lower than comparable jobs in the marketplace because of the tax savings. It was a huge cash grab for the federal government but offsetting those costs became an additional download to the municipality. Earlier this year, our Director of Finance provided us with a detailed report and some options we could consider. In June, Council agreed to top up the salary component, eliminate the health benefit plan and the Township’s contribution to the OMERS Pension Plan which I fully supported. To opt out of OMERS, it requires a separate resolution and a unanimous vote of Council, presently enrolled in the plan. In June we passed the following resolution: Council Compensation - 2018 - 2022 Term of Council C361-2018 Moved by: Austin Seconded by: Coughlin - That the report from the Director of Finance regarding Council Compensation 2018-2022 Term of Council, dated June 20, 2018, be received; and, That Council approve the “grossing up” of elected officials’ salaries, effective January 1, 2019, upon the elimination of the one third tax free exemption; and, That Council approve an annual reimbursement of up to $3,000 for an elected official’s private healthcare benefit plan effective December 1, 2018; and, That Council approve opting out of OMERS for elected officials effective December 1, 2018 and that the process for opting out be commenced; and, That Council approve a monthly reimbursement in the amount of $50 for internet expenses incurred by elected officials effective December 1, 2018; and, That Council approve an amended monthly mileage reimbursement policy for elected officials, effective December 1, 2018, as provided for in this report. CARRIED. As you can see, it was a focused approach to minimize the impact of the Federal Tax grab. At the special Council meeting on July 23, I was personally disappointed that all members did not continue to support the cancellation of the OMERS plan. This will add to expenditures in future budgets. A NO vote to the OMERS resolution meant a reversal of the Council’s June decision to eliminate the OMERS contribution. The July 23 vote on the resolution to terminate the OMERS Plan was as follows: Councillor Austin – Yes; Councillor Coughlin – No; Councillor McConkey – Yes; Councillor Ritchie – No; Deputy Mayor Allen – No. Councillor Hanna and I had to excuse ourselves from the vote as there is an age limit to be enrolled and we no longer qualify, so we were not allowed to vote. I would have voted Yes for termination, to save tax dollars that can be better spent on other community services. My opinion is that even though, at times a thankless job and very challenging, it is a privilege to be a member of Council and serve the people. However, with that said, I don’t think we should be feeding at the public trough. Many area municipalities do not provide these extra benefits.

Update on Status of Edwin Espinal – Political prisoner in Honduras

As many local residents are aware Edwin Espinal, spouse of Karen Spring, daughter of John and Janet Spring has been held in terrible inhumane conditions in a Honduran prison and has not had access to a reasonable judicial due process. Legal and personal visits have been very restricted and there is a growing concern over the health and safety of Edwin. Springwater Council passed a resolution this spring asking Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ambassador Sofia Cerrato Rodriguez to be more engaged and seek Edwin’s release. Since we have not had a response from either of these two high profile and influential individuals, I have followed up and asked for a written response to the matters raised in our resolution. I know MP’s Stanton and Nuttall continue to dialogue with these offices and I must express disappointment with Minister Freeland and Ambassador Rodriguez as they have the power to request the freedom of Mr. Espinal by making a request to drop all charges. I would ask you to reach out and ask for  assistance by phoning Ms. Freeland at 613-992-5234 and Ms. Rodriguez at 613-233-8900. The more calls the better, as apparently the office is noting the calls and I know some fellow Council members have already made contact. Let’s help our neighbour in need.

County Launches LINX Transit Service this week with Bus Service to Springwater

Springwater has its first transit corridor, thanks to the County of Simcoe’s Community Connection LINX Bus and Transit system. Starting on Wednesday this week, Route 1 launched service to both Midhurst and Elmvale as buses travel from a hub at RVH in North/East Barrie to Midland and Penetanguishene.  You can ride free until September 4th. Depending on distance the fares will be $2.00 to $6.00. A reloadable LINX Card will be available for regular users as well as features such as smart phone tracking app. The route starts at RVH and Georgian College with Midhurst stops on St Vincent Street at Cedar Creek and at the Library on Findlay Mill Road. The route continues up Bayfield/CR27 to Elmvale with a stop at Yonge and Queen Streets. If you have an opportunity, give it a try during the free ride period and you may make it part of your future transportation plans. When travelling to the North part of the County you can visit family or friends or have a nice day and visit the picturesque Georgian Bay area. When travelling South it will be great for students heading to Georgian College or for local residents travelling to Health Care appointments or visits at RVH. Check out this link for more information on the LINX Transit system. http://www.simcoe.ca/Transit/Documents/LINX%20Ride%20Guide.pdf

Springwater Elmvale Farmers’ Market

As everyone knows Agriculture and farming is the main economic driver in Springwater. The weather has been cooperating each week as visitors drop by for a great variety of fresh produce, baked goods and other locally produced goods and crafts. It runs from 9 to 2 each Friday at the Community Centre Parking lot on Queen Street West in Elmvale. This market is truly an example of the wonderful community we all call home. Come for the morning and maybe stay for a while and wander the unique local shops and have a bite of home cooked fare at one of Elmvale’s fine little restaurants.

Phelpston Annual Winger Dinger

It was a great day and all had fun at the annual Phelpston Winger Dinger horseshoe tournament at O’Neill Park in Phelpston on Sunday. Competition was fierce and a few extra local political figures joined the usual’s. This is just another example of how our tireless volunteers host these great events that bring us all together and adds to that fabric that makes Springwater truly a community of communities.

Mayors Open Visiting Hours

If you would like to meet with me on any matter you can always arrange an appointment or if in the neighbourhood of the Administrative Centre you can drop by any Thursday afternoons from 1 to 4:00 p.m. and no appointment is required. I invite you to bring your complaints, concerns or even appreciation for what is happening in Springwater. I have had numerous people come by and in some cases we have resolved some simple issues. If nothing else I promise that you will be heard. The door is open.

Keep informed and involved with Springwater by checking out our website www.springwwater.ca and especially our calendar of meetings. Tune into our live streaming of the Council Meetings at www.springwater.ca/live . Stay close to the action and read this excellent local paper, the Springwater News, and check out our regular Springwater Link and Council Corner columns. Be part of the solution and have your say.

Contact me at 705-728-4784 ext. 2040 or my cell at 705-718-7031 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A reminder these articles are my thoughts and perspectives on issues and I am but one voice on Council. These opinions may not reflect the position of other Councillors.