This is Part 2 of a multi part series that will appear every two weeks until I have addressed all the answers to the many questions from the public on the Midhurst mega developments.
In this article we will look at more of the questions and then the somewhat distorted and at times misleading answers.
Question 9: Is the 2004 Growth Management Study the foundation of the Midhurst Secondary Plan?
Township answer: Yes the 2004 Report is the foundation of the Midhurst Secondary Plan (MSP)
Question 11: What were the population forecasts for Springwater and endorsed by Council
Township Answer: They refer to page 40 of the council endorsed report and then mention the Places to Grow and associated regulations
My Opinion: the intent in 2004 was to plan for another 3049 units and about 6,000 to 8,000 new residents to 2031. Page 40 of the report is clear that the number of new residential units would be 3049 (not 10,000). It was only through the lobbying efforts of the heads of both this council and the previous council with pressure from influential landowners that the concept of up to 30,000 more people came into play. They simply took the large amount of land that was in the study area, made it a settlement area and maximized the number of homes per hectare. It was never the intent of the 2004 plan nor was it the intent of the Province to build new cities in rural Ontario. If not for the “special rule” of 2012, the MSP could not continue. That “special rule” only occurred because of the lobbying of our current heads of council. Growth was not mandated by the Province but was to be better planned than in the past 50 years.
Question 12: What are the current taxpayers gaining from the MSP?
Township answer: More of a complete community, broader types of housing and so on. They speak of imaginary jobs but no explanation of where they will come from.
My Opinion: The existing taxpayer will pay more for everything as currently we lack services to address the needs of a small city. We will pay for full time contract policing (not the drive through policing we have today), more full time firefighters, added township staff, higher water and sewage rates just like happens in Barrie, Mississauga and Vaughan. As far as jobs, little will come to Springwater in jobs as we are located next to two designated primary settlement areas; Barrie and Wasaga Beach. Currently our Development Charges are high for the services we provide so why would business come to Springwater? The long answer that the township provides to the question is a work of fiction.
Question 18: Why would businesses locate to Springwater instead of Barrie?
Township answer: The answer includes the normal reasons for considering a location, services, land costs proximity to markets etc. No specific USP (unique selling proposition) is mentioned. They also mention their Economic Development Working Group.
My Opinion: If I were locating a business, Barrie would make more sense as it has transportation, access to main corridors and provides all the amenities anyone needs. It also has a large condensed market for goods and services. Don’t get me wrong there are many types of businesses that could be brought to Springwater but as long as you have a council that thinks in terms of urban and not rural we will never attract new businesses. Their working group and the budgeted expenditure of $82,000 for a development officer has borne very little fruit that I can see.
I am of the opinion that there needs to be more diligence as the township proceeds with the most unwanted and most costly venture it has ever encountered. The Midhurst mega developments have the potential of saddling the next few generations of Springwater-ites with the highest taxes imaginable. As the County CAO stated at their Spring Strategy Review, “Growth doesn’t pay for itself”. I guess McLean and Collins our County Councillors missed this point and they were both there.
These articles will also appear in the Springwater News.