Lots of great things happening in Springwater, and several updates to report on this week!
Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival
It was cold but as much fun as always being part of the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival last weekend!
On Saturday, Wanda and I enjoyed helping at the Pancake House breakfast. I was pouring pancake batter for all the hard-working cooking and serving volunteers and Wanda was in the hall helping with clean up. So much great teamwork by loyal volunteers.
Onto the log sawing contest with my brother-in-law Rob Ross – we almost got the win but missed by a couple of seconds and settled for second place. Great support from a cheering crowd, including some of our kids and grand kids, helped us on.
Then we walked main street and chatted to the different vendors and bought some treats. Finally, it was fun working at the maple taffy ice block turning taffy sticks for patient people lining up, anxiously waiting for these sweet treats.
Thanks to all staff and volunteers who make this event run like a well-oiled engine. And of course, thank you to all who came out.
Homer Barrett Park Splash Pad
This week Council is receiving a Staff report, proposing hiring a company to complete the approved splash pad for Homer Barrett Park in Elmvale. The request for approval process resulted in 5 submissions, evaluated by staff, who recommended hiring Diamond Head Irrigation Inc., who have completed many similar installations. Some of the features of the splash pad will include:
- a 3,050 square foot splash pad with the design focusing around a water tower;
- 2 designated play zones;
- Individual activation bollards for each play zone;
- 3 drains with anti-slip surface;
- 20 spray features;
- programmable flow rates for each feature;
- recirculation pumps and filtration system complete with chemical controller, acid feed pump, chlorine feed pump, cartridge filter and UV system; and,
- 16’x16’ aluminum shade shelter with 2 accessible tables.
Should fouling of the water or the water chemistry require adjustment, the system will automatically shut down and staff will be notified via the monitoring system.
The 2018 approved capital budget includes funds in the amount of $350,000 for this project, which includes $300,000 for the splash pad and $50,000 for housing the recirculation system and utility connections. The price proposed by Diamond Head Irrigation Inc. in the amount of $298,800 plus taxes is within budget. This is exciting and will be operational by the summer.
New Community Hub
Springwater has negotiated with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests (MNRF) to purchase approximately 50 acres of land, subject to an Environmental Assessment Process (EA) being completed over the next four months. The Hasty Tract, as it is called, is on the north west corner of Bayfield Street and Snow Valley Road. We have been in discussion with MNRF about all aspects of this over the last year, including consulting with First Nations. This land will have the potential to consolidate a variety of municipal and community services, including a fire station, recreation centre and the potential for a library, community centre and lands for future Springwater needs.
Once this purchase is finalized, the first priority will be to construct a new fire station on the most logical portion of the property. Early in this term, I approached Simcoe County about its future potential interest in co-locating paramedic services with Springwater fire services and interest was established, if the location was right. This location is ideally located and discussions regarding this aspect are continuing. It is hoped that if the EA results are satisfactory and we can close the purchase by the end of this summer, then building of the new station will begin in the Spring of 2019.
Meanwhile, the improvements in the Fire Station 2 / Public Works Building on Snow Valley Road are progressing well and should be finished by this spring.
I am very supportive of this development and believe it will create significant economic opportunities for the Township moving forward.
Simcoe County Museum Fire
Much was reported on the Simcoe County Museum fire on April 21st. In discussion with firefighters involved in the event, it is clear that this fire was very close to getting much worse than it was. It was the quick calls from staff and the resulting quick response and decisions by the firefighters that caught this fire before it accelerated and did much more damage. The quick assessments by the Springwater firefighters and the decision to engage other neighbouring fire services and the communication of strategy while they raced to the scene enabled a strong, co-ordinated, immediate attack on this fire as it was steadily increasing. The use of heat and fire sensors to track the movement of the fire also helped to develop a strategy quickly to deal with it. Much credit is due to all firefighters involved for the quick and decisive actions they took which prevented a much worse outcome.
Simcoe County Financial Report
The Simcoe County continues to be in a very healthy financial position, as evidenced by the 2017 Year End Financial Report of operations which was reviewed at County Council last week. Total operating revenue of the County was $417.3 million, which was $4 million greater than budget. Recall that this was after a reduction I proposed and got passed from 2% to 1% in the County portion of property tax increase charged to municipalities in 2018. Remember also that the total County operating plus capital budget expenditures for 2018 are $510 million.
The Year end surplus from operations was $3.183 million and after using $404,000 for the Simcoe Road Bridge capital project, the net surplus is $2.780 million. By comparison, the surplus for 2016 was $4 million and this surplus was allocated to Social Housing and Paramedic reserves. Determination of the use of the 2017 surplus will be made by County at its strategic planning session in June.
The 2017 Development Charge receipts were $33.4million (up from $23.2 million in 2016) and they were used to fund development charge eligible expenses.
Total debt was $146.8 million, with external debt being $38.2 million compared to $40.8 million in 2016.