There has been a lot of activity with both the Township of Springwater and the County of Simcoe in recent weeks.
The Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival had record crowds and excellent weather this year. The Pancake Breakfast had long lineups but was well worth the wait. The log sawing contest had 17 teams competing and was again a must see event. Congratulations go to winners MPP Garfield Dunlop and Jane for winning the Open competition by a wide margin. The Ladies event was won by our own Springwater Fire Services Volunteers Karen Todd and Lesley French. Special recognition also goes out to two more Township representatives as runner-ups in the Ladies division, Councilor Jennifer Coughlin and Community Liaison Janine Peck. I would be remiss if I did not mention the Friday Night Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival Variety Show at Elmvale District High School and the Youth Awards. The talent was of such a caliber that any of these young singers and performers could have competed on some of our top TV talent shows such as the Voice or America’s Got Talent. The Youth Awards were presented to Adrianna McGinnis, Sydney McGee and Brendan Rebidoux of EDHS and Fraser Swan of St. Teresa’s. Congratulations and our special thanks for all that you do.
We at Springwater have undertaken the development of a vision and direction for our own economic development strategy in Springwater and more will come as time progresses. I am also the Western representative for Springwater, Clearview, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach on the County of Simcoe Economic Development sub-committee and we had our first meeting last week. OMAFRA also hosted an excellent municipal workshop last week for the Economic Development Officers and other interested parties at the County Museum. It was very informative and will help all of us develop plans to create job opportunities in our area.
Springwater Park is an important part of Springwater Township’s fabric. The Ministry of Natural Resources has been negotiating with our First Nations people to establish an agreement to reopen the Park. The original plan was targeted for the upcoming Victoria Day Weekend. I spoke to the local Ministry representative and my First Nations contact and there are some delays but both are optimistic that a deal is imminent. I did offer the assistance of Springwater to expedite the opening day and, if necessary, possibly becoming an interim transitional operator, which would be subject to Springwater Council’s approval of course.
The last election spoke loudly to Springwater being in control of future development in the township so we can grow progressively and in an orderly fashion and avoid the problems of uncontrolled growth. For quite some time, planning has been reactionary in that developers table proposals and the township responds. What we as a Township plan to do is develop a new planning document that directs developers to where, when, how and what we want in all areas of Springwater. Step one is to bring everyone up to speed on the process of updating and creating a new Official Plan as the current Springwater OP dates back to 1998 and has been unchanged except for some Official Plan Amendments and Secondary Plans such as Hillsdale and Midhurst. The Province suggests that Official Plans should be updated every 5 years, so our current plan is well past its useful shelf life. We are engaging well respected Planning Consultant Bob Lehman and Associates to lead our workshop.
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Jim Wilson, the Interim Conservative and Opposition Leader, and requested his continued support for improvements and expansion of Elmvale District High School. We discussed residential growth issues and concerns in Springwater and I reported on Deputy Don Allen’s and my excellent meeting with Minister McMeekin in March. I also asked that he consider requesting some provincial funding for a transit study that might see Springwater working with Barrie to expand its bus routes into Springwater, especially in the Midhurst area.
I must congratulate the Midhurst Ratepayers Association for hosting a very informative meeting last week featuring expert speakers on a variety of subjects.
Your councilors are eager to respond to your questions and are always open to suggestions and comments. Do not hesitate to contact them.
Aside from the fact that I invite you to phone and set up a meeting with me at any time, starting May 8th, I am setting aside every Friday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. and inviting you to drop in for a chat with me personally without an appointment. I will treat you to a cup of coffee or a glass of water. You elected me to be your voice, so let me know what is important to you and I will bring that to Council. Let’s talk!