Mayor Don’s Update

COVID-19

The Province has made a number of announcements regarding the easing of restrictions, however in order to see additional restrictions lifted, officials must see a gradual and steady decline in the number of cases. The trend in recent days has been the opposite, with an increase in numbers. The best way to ensure we slow the spread of COVID-19 is by limiting outings, practicing strict physical distancing and following all public health guidelines.

The Province has announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year. Overnight camps will remain closed until 2021, however daycamps will be permitted to open during July and August.  Child care centres will remain closed, however they are expected to gradually reopen during phase 2 of the Province’s reopening plan. Very strict guidelines will be in place, similar to what is currently being done for emergency child care centres. The reopening of daycamps and child care centres will be at the discretion of the local health unit.

Springwater staff will be reviewing public health guidelines regarding daycamps and providing a report to Council at the June 3 meeting to determine whether or not summer camps will run in Springwater. There are a number of considerations including locations, staffing availability and the health and safety of our campers and staff.

The Province also announced that as of last Tuesday, sports fields, courts and parks were able to reopen. Staff have been working diligently to reopen these outdoor amenities by cutting grass, completing safety inspections, putting up nets and removing barricades. Please remember to practice safe physical distancing and public health guidelines when using these outdoor amenities. Playgrounds, outdoor fitness equipment and the Elmvale splash pad remain closed for the time being.

Our community control group continues to meet and develop a recovery plan as additional restrictions are listed. As always, check springwater.ca/covid19 for the latest updates. 

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

The County of Simcoe and the Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) have partnered to help local businesses that were unable to access existing federal COVID-19 relief measures. They can now apply for funding under a new Government of Canada initiative called the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). 

With $962 million announced nationally and $252 million marked for Southern Ontario, the RRRF will support Simcoe County small and medium sized businesses that do not qualify for or have not been able to receive funding from current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures. 

CFDCs will administer the funding and focus on assisting “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants, corner stores, and businesses of strategic importance to the communities, with interest-free loans up to $40,000. Support is available to businesses operated by sole-proprietors, corporations and partnerships. Visit https://edo.simcoe.ca/Pages/COVID-19-Government-Supports.aspx for more information on eligibility and application. 

Springwater Public Library Reopening Plan

The Springwater Library is preparing to open for curbside service in early June. Staff are busy behind the scenes and are waiting for PPE and cleaning supplies to ensure everyone’s safety. The book drops are now open at each branch and all materials are being quarantined for 3 days. The due date for all materials has been extended until June 30, and no late fees will be charged. The library will be announcing the beginning of curbside service on their website and Facebook page.

Community Gardens

At the Council meeting last Wednesday, Council received a report providing options for a community garden. The report was generated in response to an item for future consideration brought forward in April. 

Two potential locations for the Community Garden would be Bishop Park or Robinson Park, both located in Elmvale. The report also outlines a variety of considerations regarding types of gardens, initial construction and operation costs, community group involvement, design and insurance considerations.

Council voted in favor of gathering resident feedback to determine community interest in renting or utilizing the garden, potential location of the garden, as well as the community’s interest in assisting with the management of the garden.

A survey is available on the Township website at www.springwater.ca/communitygarden. You’re encouraged to fill out the survey and share your thoughts and ideas.

Burn Permits

So far this year, we have been very fortunate to not have a fire ban in place in Springwater. However, residents are reminded that any outdoor burning in Springwater requires a burn permit. A residential burn permit can be purchased online at springwater.ca/burnpermit. The cost is $15. If you require an Open Air Burn Permit please contact Springwater Fire & Emergency Services during regular business hours at 705-728-4784 Ext. 2016.

Springwater 2020 Budget & Business Plan – Results as at March 31, 2020

The Springwater 2020 Budget & Business Plan was approved by Council on December 18, 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted operations since mid-March. On May 6, Council received a report on the preliminary financial impacts of COVID-19 based on three scenarios to the end of 2020. On May 20, staff reported to Council on the first quarter results to March 31, 2020. Overall, the operating budget was $432,000 better than budgeted as at March 31, due mainly to careful managing of revenue and expenses. Capital projects continue to proceed where possible.

Simcoe County COVID-19 2020 Financial Impacts

Simcoe County staff presented a report with a preliminary financial assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the County of Simcoe. Based on the current financial analysis, the forecasted impact for 2020 is as follows

  • Shortfall of approximately $2.2M in user fees and miscellaneous income from areas such as transit fares removed until further notice, Lake Simcoe Airport revenue reduction, museum and interest revenue reductions.
  • Increase of Provincial and Federal subsidies of $2.1M
  • Increase in expenditures totaling $6.0M. Main areas for this are social and community services, paramedics staffing, increased PPE and cleaning costs.

It is currently difficult to quantify the impact of individual items as well as the overall impact to the County. However, staff are of the view that ultimately the pandemic will result in a 2020 operating shortfall at year-end of an estimated $6.1M. County Council will continue to receive updates and decide upon courses of action. 

Simcoe County Timber Sales

Approximately 1,000 hectares of the Simcoe County Forests are inventoried annually. Each forest is assessed by Forestry staff to determine the manner in which it is to be treated. If harvesting is appropriate, trees are marked and volume is estimated in order to provide detailed information to prospective buyers. The standing timber is then sold to the highest bidder. Much of the timber is processed locally which contributes to the local economy. The Ontario list of essential workplaces in response to COVID-19 has included forestry. As such, tenders proceeded and contracts totaling $441,038 were tendered and awarded on April 24th, 2020. Prior to commencement of harvesting, notification is sent to adjoining landowners and detailed maps are provided to local municipal staff. Revenues result in a net operating balance surplus which is applied to the Forestry Reserve to be reinvested into forestry operations and the acquisition of additional forest lands.

Prevent retracement – please continue to follow the physical distancing and other rules and practices we know we should. Stay well and safe.