Council Term in Review
Looking back on the projects and tasks that have been completed and are being currently worked on since this Council took office a little less than two years ago, I am inspired by all that continues to be accomplished. 2019 was a busy year, with numerous projects and initiatives carried out and although 2020 has presented a unique series of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has not stopped the Township from finding innovative ways to ensure that the business of the municipality proceeds.
Some of the key initiatives that have been undertaken in the past two years include:
Investments in Capital Projects:
Springwater continues to invest in our assets and prepare for the future. The value of the Township’s assets exceeds $150 million and the Asset Management Plan and Policy help us to prepare for the long–term sustainability of these assets.
Some of the work that has been completed over the past two years includes:
• Road Reconstruction / Replacement: Albert Street East, Ronald Road, Vespra Valley Road, Ronald Road, Nursery Road, St. Patrick’s Subdivision, Old Second South, Flos Road 10 W, Flos Road 8 W, Ushers Road, Doran Road, St. Vincent Street and Lorne Street
• New baseball diamonds at Tree Nursery Sports Park
• Stonemanor Woods neighbourhood park
• Upgrades at the Elmvale Wastewater Treatment Plan
• Anten Mills Water Tower
• Water Meter Replacements
Strengthening Economic Development:
Council has made Economic Development a priority within our community. Working with, attracting and retaining businesses are important initiatives of the Township, to contribute to a strong local economy. The results of our efforts can be seen in the expansion and development of numerous businesses within the municipality.
• Community Improvement Plan: The Community Improvement Plan continues to provide excellent opportunities for the Township to partner with local businesses and stimulate investment in the community. You can see the benefits of this grant program in many of the businesses located in Downtown Elmvale, which have improved the façade of the buildings or enhanced signage. Learn more about the grant opportunities available and how it benefits the community at www.springwater.ca/CIP
• Welcoming new businesses: We have beendelighted to welcome a variety of new businesses and congratulate businesses on their expansions inSpringwater over the past two years, including: Madison Taylor, Currie Truck Centre, Elmvale Eye Care, the Naked Cake, Lakeland Irrigation, Red Brick Kitchens, the Original Pieces of Olde, Retro Expresso, The Backyard, Hillsdale Pharmacy and Canopy Coworking.
• Commercial / industrial development: A number of industrial/commercial projects are underway in Springwater including the planned expansion of the Bertram Industrial Park with 8 additional lots; the Hillsdale Secondary Plan and employment lands approval and the commencement of the Bayfield Street Corridor Study.
• Western Mechanical Operation: Western Mechanical purchased 44 hectares of land at Penetanguishene and Flos 4 East in 2019 and has been preparing the site to move its heavy equipment business out of Barrie into a new plant to be built on this site, where it will gradually move its employees to work there. It is in discussions to incorporate another commercial development onto the property as well.
• Residential development: Numerous residential developments across the municipality are in varying stages of the planning process, including: Anten Mills (87), Centre Vespra (379), Elmvale (606), Hillsdale (353), Midhurst (4,600), Snow Valley (100). For a current and potential residential growth map, visit springwater.ca/CurrentDevelopment
Council and staff continue to work on a variety of special projects. Below are some key initiatives currently being undertaken.
• Service Delivery Review: Springwater is undertaking a Service Delivery Review to assess how services are being delivered throughout the township and whether any efficiencies can be found. The review examines levels of services, methods of delivery, administrative processes, as well as organizational structure and staffing. The final report is expected to be presented to Council for consideration on October 7.
• Official Plan: The Township is continuing to plan for the future with an update to the Official Plan. The new plan will guide how the Township grows and changes over the next 20 years and provides guidance on housing, industry, retail and community amenities, as well as protects the natural environment and heritage. Learn more at springwater.ca/officialplan
• Elmvale and District Food Bank: The municipalityhas partnered with the Elmvale & District Food Bank to ensure no one goes hungry in our community. The Township has contributed a one-time capital contribution of $100,000 towards the construction of a new facility. The Food Bank has fundraised $100,000 and the Municipality has agreed to front end any necessary funds in excess of $200,000. The new facility is expected to open this fall!
• ORV By-law Passed: Following extensive public consultation, Springwater Council passed a by-law in March to permit off-road vehicles on most municipal roadways. The Township worked closely with ratepayers and the COATV club to move this by-law forward and provide greater access to the trail system in Springwater for off-road vehicle riders.
• Cannabis Production Interim Control By-law Passed: To allow for the completion of a Cannabis Production Study, Council passed an interim control by-law which put a moratorium on new cannabis producing facilities in Springwater for a one–year period. The Township’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law do not currently speak to the production, processing or cultivation of cannabis or any of its byproducts and this study will help to define a cannabis production facility and provide reasonable regulations for cannabis production in Springwater.
• Community Broadband: Council has authorized staff to proceed with an expression of interest for community broadband services. Community broadband is a public alternative to privately-owned services that may be reluctant to invest in rural areas due to the significant infrastructure requirements and relatively low return on investment. For a community, implementing a municipal broadband service can be cost-effective and promote job creation, efficiency,and greater savings on cost.
In February 2020, Council approved undertaking a limited backyard chicken pilot project through a temporary use zoning by-law. This week Council held a virtual public meeting to review key aspects of a licensing by-law, which were discussed at length, to enable staff to present the draft backyard chickens licensing by-law at the October 21st Council meeting along with the final temporary use by-law. Items reviewed included property size, maximum number of chickens, licensing application and fee, vaccination, coop regulations and yard cleanliness and safety provisions.
Elmvale Virtual Thanksgiving Celebration
The Flos Agricultural Society and the Township of Springwater have teamed up to create the Elmvale Virtual Thanksgving Celebration in lieu of the Fall Fair this year. Similar to the annual tradition of submitting your crafts, baked goods, produce etc. for judging, 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. All entries must be received by October 5. The contest is open to everyone and detailsincluding category information are available online at:springwater.ca/SpringwaterGivesThanks
Fire Prevention Week
October 4-10 is Fire Prevention Week and the theme this year is ‘Serving Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen’! Springwater Fire has come up with a great contest to get your family thinking about how they can be more ‘fire safe’ while cooking. All you have to do is visit springwater.ca/FirePrevention to learn a couple of great tips on kitchen safety, take a picture of you or your family demonstrating one of the tips and then submit your photo online to win a prize pack featuring a new microwave, an air fryer and a fire extinguisher. The contest closes on October 10, so be sure to get your entry in before the deadline.
Springwater Fire is currently recruiting volunteer firefighters! Our Fire Department has four active stations located in Midhurst, Minesing, Hillsdale and Elmvale and is made up of approximately 90 volunteer firefighters. Each of these volunteers contributes to our community by making a significant impact on , the health, wellbeing, and safety of our residents. As a volunteer you will receive training and development and join a team that takes pride in providing exceptional service to our community. If you are interested in learning more, visit www.springwater.ca/careers
These are my thoughts and not necessarily those of Council.
Keep practicing the right COVID measures as the numbers increase. Stay well.