Thursday, September 17, 2009

Try something different-TELL THE TRUTH-UPDATED

I snickered last week when I was watching A-Channel News. The bottom news ticker mentioned the County of Simcoe may hire a Toronto PR firm to undo some of the bad publicity and fallout from Site 41. While I was at the Springwater Township Council meeting on September 21, two of the Site 41 committee mentioned this is old news. The decision to spend another $250,000 with a PR firm was apparently passed in closed session on August 25th.
I have a better idea and it would save the County and me a lot of money. Just do what Maple Leaf Foods did with the listeria contamination. The Chairman went on the media and said they did not follow procedure and apologized for the terrible consequences of that action and promised to fix it. Most people believed him. It is a new concept in today's world. It used to be common practice. It is called telling the TRUTH!!!
Instead of wasting money on attempting to put a spin on a bad situation, Warden Guergis could do the following. First he could apologize for the actions of the CAO, Manager of Environmental Services and himself for undertaking an injunction, laying charges against some senior citizens and threatening a lawsuit on two of the protesters if in fact this was done without direction from County Council as most people suspect. He could then apologize for procrastinating on the release of the modflow reports and admit that yes there is a downward gradient at certain times of the year at the site that has been denied for three years. He could admit that senior staff had been negligent by not informing council of other means of disposal using shared resources such as incineration technology in neighboring counties that would negate the need for site 41. He could also admit, based on the success of the organics and recycling programs, that the life span of the existing County landfill sites had been extended many years negating the need for site 41. Of course that would require courage, credibility and honesty.
It is not the County that is being held in contempt Mr. Guergis, it is you and some of your out of control senior bureaucrats. You have embarrassed the County, some of the Councillors and dedicated staff who are all trying to do their job to the best of their ability.
It is time to stand up and take responsibility for an ill conceived project that started 20 years ago and one you could stop. If you did that you could be a man that people would respect.
There, I saved the County $250,000 and gave the Warden a plan that would be effective.
Keep informed by reading Springwater News

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Council and Citizens Working Together

The Springwater Council meeting on Sept 8th was one of those that makes you proud of how the local government can work effectively at times, especially for one group. I wrote about Splash Canyon Water Park some time ago ( and the concern raised by the local neighbors about noise. Splash Canyon applied for a temporary use by-law amendment back in July for an August event. Many local residents attended the public meeting and expressed their views and concerns. Councillors and staff were surprised at the complaints as there was nothing on file. Instead of granting a one year term the by-law allowed for the one concert. The residents were unhappy about this as they had thought after leaving the public meeting on July 13 that the Council would deny the application at the July 20th Planning and Special Council meeting. At the two meetings the management of SC said that if they were allowed the one time concert all other concerts would be cancelled for the rest of the summer.
Guess what? About three weeks ago, someone from Mills Circle, which is close to the park, found an advertising brochure promoting a three day concert on Sept 18th at Splash Canyon. On checking with councillors and staff at the township, no one was aware of this concert. To the township's credit, staff informed Splash Canyon that they must apply for a Special Events Permit, which they did. The Clerk reported to council that concerts are not a permitted use in the zoning of the property and the special events permit should not be allowed as a condition of a permit is that the event must be a permitted use in the zoning by-law.
The residents gathered at the Midhurst Community Centre to discuss the matter the week before the council meeting and requested a delegation to forward their frustration and express concern about the lack of clarity on the matter.
Terry Cheaney a local resident and Angela Baldwin a land use planner addressed council and reiterated with specific detail the position that the clerk had taken. Their conclusion was that concerts are not permitted on the property under the Campground Commercial zoning designation. The only exception to camping use on the property is the Waterpark.
It shows that when residents take the time to be involved in matters that affect them, council will listen if you have your facts and can present them in a well informed manner.
At the Sept 8 meeting, the special event permit for the three day concert on Sept 18th was denied.
There are many things going on in the township and residents need to stay informed. Check the township website for both planning meetings and council meetings as they are the ones that can impact you for the long term In the Midhurst area, people need to stay close to what is happening. There are huge plots of land designated for future residential growth. If some developers have their way, you would find about 5,000 new homes surrounding the existing Midhurst area. Because of provincial policies, these developments for the most part must be on municipal services. Numbers like sixty million dollars for new municipal infrastructure are being tossed around and that is an estimate. If we don't pay attention we may face uncontrolled development that could impact us on our tax bills but more importantly ruin the rural and peaceful nature of Springwater. Stay informed. Anotherway of keeping abreast of council activities is to read our local newspaper Springwater News