Mayor Don’s Update – Springwater News – April 1, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccines

As the vaccine roll-out in Canada continues, the eligibility and information surrounding them changes constantly. By the time this newsletter is published, the information we are able to provide today will likely be outdated.

Leading the vaccination efforts in our area is the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. For the most up-to-date eligibility and vaccine booking information please visit their website at: www.smdhu.org/COVID19

Cannabis Production Facilities

Council has directed staff to move forward with the process to amend the Township Official Plan, Zoning By-law and Site Plan Control By-law to bring them in line with recommendations contained within the Cannabis Production Review Study.

A Cannabis Production Review Study was completed in January 2021 by consultants WSP Group and provides specific recommendations based on applicable policy, comments received through the process and public engagement.

Key recommendations in the Study include the following:

New definitions related to cannabis processing and cultivation should be added to the Township’s policy documents.
Cannabis cultivation and processing should be permitted as-of-right within the Agricultural Zone.
Indoor cannabis processing and limited cultivation should be permitted in Industrial zones on a case-by-case basis subject to a site-specific Zoning By-law Amendment.
The Township Site Plan Control By-law should be amended to apply to cannabis production facilities within the Agricultural Zone.

A public meeting will be scheduled in the coming months with the intention of having everything wrapped up before the Interim Control By-law expires at the beginning of June. For additional information or to view the report visit springwater.ca/planning.

Street Sweeping

Spring street sweeping is expected to begin at the end of April and be wrapped up by the end of May. A schedule will be put out closer to the end of April to advise residents. Please remember to not rake your sand into piles at the side of the road, since the sweeper is unable to pick-up piles.

Annual Report

The 2020 Annual Report has been released and details the accomplishments, projects and initiatives undertaken throughout the past year. Although COVID-19 created challenges worldwide, Council and staff were able to move the business of the Township forward successfully. The report is available online at www.springwater.ca/AnnualReport2020 or a physical copy can be picked-up from the Township Administration Centre.

Elmvale Blood Donor Clinic

The next Blood Donor Clinic in Elmvale is taking place on April 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Community Hall (33 Queen St. W). Appointments are required. Please book on blood.ca or call 1-888-2DONATE.

Simcoe County Student Bursary

The County of Simcoe is offering education bursaries of up to $3000 to Simcoe County students attending a post-secondary institution in Ontario. Eligible applicants must reside in Simcoe County. Students are encouraged to apply by July 30, 2021. For eligibility criteria or for additional information visit Simcoe.ca/studentbursary

Burn Permits

A reminder to residents that all outdoor burning in the Township requires a burn permit. The owner(s) per the tax roll are authorized to purchase the Recreational Burn Permit online at springwater.ca/burnpermit or at the Township Administration Centre. You are encouraged to make an appointment if you will be purchasing your permit in person as there are a number of COVID restrictions and protocols in place at the Administration Centre. If you require an Open Air Burn Permit please call Springwater Fire & Emergency Services at 705-728-4784 Ext. 2016.

MPAC Assessments Postponed

MPAC has advised that the planned province-wide property assessment update for 2021 has been postponed due to the pandemic. Property assessments for the 2021 property tax year will continue to be based on January 1, 2016 assessed values. The government will hold consultations on the timing and valuation date for the next assessment update and additional information will be communicated this fall.

Simcoe County Engaging Residents on Transportation Needs

The County of Simcoe is holding a virtual Public Information Centre to gather input from residents regarding transportation needs. The PIC will provide direction for the planning, coordination and implementation of a multi-municipal road and transit network, active transportation amenities (including bike lanes and trail networks) and commuter facilities for the next 30 years and beyond.

From March 25 to April 11, 2021, interested parties are invited to visit www.simcoe.ca/TMP to view the virtual Public Information Centre, an interactive engagement space containing project display boards, a public opinion survey and an area to submit feedback and comments.

Simcoe County Governance

Simcoe County Council has been deliberating and debating on the future selection process and term of the County Warden position and the number of members which should comprise County Council. The Governance Committee made two recommendations to County Council which were reviewed and voted upon last meeting.

The first resolution relating to the Warden was approved as follows:

That the Warden be a dedicated full time Appointed Head of Council, subject to a change in legislative framework; and   

That the office of Warden be held by a qualified non-directly elected resident of Simcoe County, appointed by County Council; and    

That the Province of Ontario be requested to respond to the question of whether it would implement a change in legislation to permit the appointment of a non-elected head of council, as is currently available to many regional municipalities.  

The second resolution relating to the size of County Council was as follows:

That County Council be comprised of 17 members, comprised of 16 elected officials, plus one fully dedicated Warden (Head of Council). 

This recommendation was defeated by a headcount vote of 18 against 14 for and a weighted vote of 69 against and 62 for. As a result, Simcoe County Council will remain at its present numbers of 32 members.

These comments reflect my thoughts and not necessarily those of council.

Stay safe.