Mayor Don’s Update – September 2020
Cannabis Production Review Study
The Township of Springwater is currently undergoing a Cannabis Production Review Study to look at tools available to the municipality to guide policies, regulations and zoning recommendations related to these facilities.
An Interim Control By-law was enacted by Council on June 3 to place a one-year moratorium on the establishment of new cannabis facilities for lands in Springwater zoned Industrial and Agricultural. This ‘freeze’ allows the consultants, WSP, the time to complete the Cannabis Production Review Study. On August 24, WSP provided an update to Council on the current regulations for licensed cannabis facilities at the federal, provincial and municipal levels and an overview of possible options for the municipality to regulate such facilities. Options identified include: site plan control, licensing and property standards. These options may assist the municipality in mitigating some of the concerns related to these facilities, including: air quality, noise, lighting, setbacks, security, fencing, waste management, traffic and outdoor storage.
A survey requesting feedback on regulating these facilities in Springwater is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/CannabisProductionStudy. All residents are encouraged to take the time to fill it out and share their thoughts. For a paper copy of the survey please email email@example.com or call 705-728-4784 Ext. 2019.
If you missed the meeting and would like to learn more, you can view a playback of the presentation on the Township’s YouTube channel.
Concerns regarding the lack of high-speed internet access is something Council and Township staff hears about on a regular basis. This issue has been further exacerbated due to the number of people attempting to work or run their business from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council has directed staff to proceed with issuing a request for expression of interest for community broadband services. Community broadband is a public alternative to the privately-owned services such as Bell, Rogers or Telus. These larger internet service providers are reluctant to invest in rural areas, due to the significant infrastructure required with a relatively low return on investment. Municipalities may be better positioned to able to provide less expensive, more reliable and more community-tailored options, as they are best equipped to address their own local needs.
For a community, implementing a municipal broadband service can be cost-effective and promote job creation, efficiency and greater savings on cost. It also introduces additional competition and alternatives to the current market, providing additional options for current users.
The request for expression of interest, is the first step in the municipality exploring the potential for broadband internet improvement.
Service Delivery Review
The Township is currently undertaking a Service Delivery Review to determine how services are delivered throughout the Township and whether any efficiencies can be found. The review examines levels of services, methods of delivery and administrative processes, as well as assessing organizational structure. A Special Council Meeting has been scheduled for September 16 at 5:00 pm to receive an update on the study from the consultants. The meeting will be live streamed online at www.springwater.ca/live
ERRC MZO Request
The Provincial Government has indicated the Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC) being proposed in the Freele Tract of the Simcoe County Forest (Horseshoe Valley Road west) has been denied a minister’s zoning order (MZO). An MZO would have fast tracked the process and restricted concerns being expressed by residents and the Township in the decision review before the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal. Three appeals were submitted to the board in January 2019 by resident groups and those appeals will be addressed through the ongoing LPAT process. The Township will also make representations during this process.
For additional information on the ERRC please visit www.springwater.ca/en/business-and-development/current-development.aspx or www.simcoe.ca/errc
Waste Collections Contract
The County of Simcoe and Waste Connections Canada have worked together to ensure curbside collections will continue for residents without changes or impacts to service levels until the next contract takes effect in November 2021. This was necessary to deal with increased costs related to the pandemic, monthly net losses due to increases in industry/service related costs and ongoing labour challenges.
Additional costs will be covered by a combination of reserves and/or recently available COVID-19 funding opportunities. It is projected that these costs will not be directed passed on to residents through new taxes.
Elmvale Blood Drive
Sign up to save a life on the Thanksgiving long weekend by donating blood. Canadian Blood Services will be in Elmvale at the Community Hall on October 10 from 9am to 2 pm. Appointments are required and can be booked online at blood.ca or by calling 1-888-2DONATE.
Helen Coutts Memorial Park Dedication
It was my pleasure to join Snow Valley Developments(Brian Smith and Ron Sheardown), members of the Coutts Family, Councillor Moore, past Mayor Linda Collins and Deputy Mayor Dan McLean and other friends for the official dedication of the Helen Coutts Memorial Park. Helen Coutts was the first Mayor when Springwater was newly amalgamated in 1994 and served Springwater for an additional 9 years. Prior to that she served as Reeve and Councillor of the Township of Vespra. She also served as Warden of the County of Simcoe in 1999. In addition to her political life, Ms. Coutts was active in the community and served as a volunteer for the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Women’s Institute and the Midhurst United Church. The park naming is a fitting dedication to a woman who made such strong and important contributions to our community.
The park is located on Walter James Parkway in the Cameron Estates subdivision off of Seadon Road.
Canopy Coworking Grand Opening
Congratulations to Chad Ballantyne and Brandon Day on the opening of Canopy Coworking on Snow Valley Road. I was pleased to attend the opening and view the new space which is providing coworking office space.
Coworking spaces provide excellent opportunities for networking and collaboration and will assist many entrepreneurs with the opportunity to realize their dreams. The new space features extra high speed (for our area) internet, boardrooms and individual office space and is adjacent to beautiful trails through the forest to help with stress relief.
I look forward to seeing this business grow in Springwater.
Springwater Fire – Stuff the Truck for the Elmvale & District Food Bank
The Springwater Firefighters will be out collecting donations for the Elmvale & District Food Bank on Wednesday, September 30 beginning at 6 p.m. The firefighters will drive through Anten Mills, Elmvale, Hillsdale, Midhurst, Minesing, Phelpston and Orr Lake and collect and donations left at the end of driveways. Route maps are available on the Township website at www.springwater.ca/calendar Thank you to our firefighters who are volunteering their time to help stock up our Food Bank for the busy fall months.
Farmers’ Market Extended until October 9
The Springwater-Elmvale Farmers’ Market has extended the season this year. The Farmers’ Market will continue to operate on Friday’s from 9 am – 2 pm until October 9. Make sure you get out and support our local farmers, producers and artisans.
This year we are unable to gather together for the many events that typically take place each autumn. As a result, some community groups have come up with creative ways to celebrate virtually.
The Midhurst Scarecrow Contest is taking place throughout September. Residents are encouraged to build a scarecrow to display on their front lawn or porch and submit a photo of it to MidhurstScarecrowContest@gmail.com until Friday, September 25. From September 26 to October 2 you will have the opportunity to vote on your favourite scarecrow at www.midhurston.ca and the top three scarecrows will win a prize. Full details are available at www.midhurston.ca/scarecrows
The Elmvale Virtual Thanksgving Celebration was created in lieu of the Fall Fair this year. The Flos Agricultural
Society and the Township of Springwater have teamed up to create a contest whereby residents are encouraged to create a craft or complete an activity based on predetermined categories and submit a photo online for a chance to win a great local prize. Each submission is equal to one ballot entry. The contest is open to all residents and details, including category information, areavailable online at www.springwater.ca/SpringwaterGivesThanks
This article expresses my thoughts and not those of Council. With the recent slight increase in COVID cases, please maintain strict adherence to the rules we have heard since March, to reverse this trend and stay healthy. We owe it to ourselves and to others. Enjoy the rest of summer.