I love this time of year and attending the various community tree lighting ceremonies and parades. They are heart-warming demonstrations of close community spirit and friendliness and it makes me thankful to live in Canada, Ontario and Springwater.
I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas and a healthy, fulfilling year in 2017.
Traffic Calming Policy
Staff updated the proposed Traffic Calming Policy after input from Council and the OPP. Council passed it as a pilot project, to be reviewed at the earliest of one year from now or three occurrences of incidents brought forward under the Policy. In the near future, there will be an informational page regarding the new Traffic Calming Policy on the Springwater website, outlining how it will be implemented and how it works. The basic steps will start with initiating a Traffic Calming Request to the Township for initial review. If the matter proceeds under the Policy, a petition showing neighbourhood support will be requested. Next will be the collection of data using traffic studies and the assessment of these and then communication back to residents of the area. Recommendations of the best proposed Traffic Calming Measure will be reviewed with Township services and community consultation will occur and be surveyed. The finalized Traffic Calming Measure for the specific situation will be presented to Council for approval and after that, be implemented. There will be monitoring and evaluation of how the Measure is working. There is also provision for removal of a Traffic Calming Measure if it does not produce sufficient desired results. I think this is a positive step to attempt to better control some of the speeding which occurs in certain areas in the Township. We will see.
Springwater Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Phase 3 & 4
In my writing in the November 17th issue, I reviewed the Council motion approved that Staff prepare a report to consider engaging consulting firm(s) to conduct peer review(s) of Phases 3 and 4 of the Class Environmental Assessment (EA), The Staff report produced for Council reviewed reasons why the consideration of any peer review should be deferred until the Draft Environmental Study Report (ESR) is completed by Ainley, the engineering consultants. Council approved a motion that this deferral occurs until the draft ESR is reviewed (expected in February/March 2017), at which time, Council shall further consider whether a peer review is necessary and the particular scope. I supported this, as it is a logical sequence of events.
Springwater Parkland Inventory
At Council’s request, Staff presented a report outlining all parkland in each ward, to potentially identify any portions which may be considered surplus and possibly offered for sale in future. Council received the report and referred this back to Staff to provide a list of lands for consideration for potential sale, including the business case for each of the identified lands. Council also reviewed and determined that Sherwood Hill be excluded from any list of lands for consideration for potential sale.
Cameron Estates Subdivision – Snow Valley
Council approved that a public meeting will be held, according to the Planning Act, to gain public input on this proposed subdivision of 87 single detached residential units on approximately 67 acres north of Seadon Road between Barrie Hill Road and Wilson Drive in the Snow Valley Settlement Area. The date will be published in future.
Council had 2 good working sessions on December 6 and 7 reviewing the draft operating budget. Some residents attended and it is available to review, streamed on the Springwater website. There were good questions and discussion. We regroup on December 15 to further review the draft capital budgets for the next 6 years, with a view to approving the 2017 capital budget as part of the budget process. The target date for final total budget approval for 2017 is January 25, 2017. Council is very aware of balancing the desire for more services and facilities with associated capital and operating costs and the result on property taxes and debt levels. More on this as the process continues.
Council Meeting Times
Council reviewed a requested Staff report considering options for start times for Council meetings, including comparing to other townships. After deliberations, and taking into account the much appreciated increased interest of the residents in attending and participating in Council meetings, it was unanimously decided to leave the start time at 6:30pm, to make it easier for more people to attend.
Draft Procedure By-Law
The Municipal Act requires every municipality to pass a procedure by-law governing the calling, place and proceedings of Council meetings. Since February 2016, Council has conducted working sessions, providing comments to all aspects of the by-law. Notice of Intent to pass the Procedural By-law, along with a final draft of the document will be placed on the Township website for public review and comment for at least 30 days prior to the January 18, 2017 Council meeting, where it is intended to pass the final by-law. Please review it on the website and provide comment if you wish..
Fire & Emergency Services
Congratulations to Jeff French in his new position of Deputy Fire Chief. Jeff has been a firefighter with Springwater Fire & Emergency Services since 1997 and has worked his way up through the ranks as Lieutenant, Captain and eventually as Training Officer. Additionally, he has served as Acting Deputy Fire Chief since June 2016.
Springwater Fire & Emergency Services has taken delivery of its new 2016 pumper/rescue fire truck to enhance fire protection services. It has a Freightliner cab and chassis and it can pump 1,050 gallons of water per minute. It carries an on-board foam system, state-of-the-art extrication equipment, thermal imaging camera, self-contained breathing apparatus and a light tower for increased on-scene safety. The new truck carries 5 firefighters and will be assigned to Station 2 in Midhurst. The existing pumper at Station 2 will be re-assigned to Station 4 in Hillsdale. The older pumper at Station 4 will then be reassigned to Station 2, as a backup Pumper. As an aside, between price increases and the U.S. dollar compared to the Canadian dollar, the cost of this truck if it was bought today would be higher by about $150,000.
This month, Springwater paramedic Steven Prophet and Julia Young-Williams were selected to participate in an international paramedic competition in Turkey, along with Chief Robert. Congratulations to them for achieving 2nd place overall, 1st in trauma, 2nd in triage and 3rd in environmental exposures. Great work and we are proud.