Ontario Bill 66 Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act

The Ontario Provincial Government last December introduced Bill 66 – the proposed Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. Included in the legislation in its Schedule 10, were proposed changes to the Planning Act that would create a new economic development tool, through an open-for-business planning by-law. After much reaction from different individuals and interest groups, the Government listened to the concerns raised by MPP’s, municipalities and stakeholders with regards to Schedule 10 of Bill 66, and when the legislature returns in February, they will not proceed with Schedule 10 of the Bill.

 

Springwater 2019 Draft Budget

Springwater Council continues to review in detail the draft budget in meetings that have been open to the public. It is anticipated that Council will be ready to approve the 2019 budget on February 20, 2019.

 

Off-road vehicles on Municipal Highways

The use of an off-road vehicle is governed by the Highway Traffic Act. Operation of an off-road vehicle is generally prohibited and shall not be driven on any highway except if a municipal by-law establishes where and when they can be driven. Off-road vehicles are currently permitted on certain Springwater municipal highways under an agreement with the Central Ontario ATV Club (COATV). These municipal highways are links that connect County of Simcoe Forest Tracts, North Simcoe Rail Trail and unopened road allowances to create and an off-road vehicle trail system. Springwater highways that are currently approved for off-road vehicles are: Flos Road Three West – North Simcoe Rail Trail west to Phelpston Tract; Flos Road Four West – North Simcoe Rail Trail west to Vigo Road; Vigo Road – Flos Road Four West north to Flos Road Six West; and Flos Road Six West – Vigo Road to Ryther Road (Wasaga Beach).

 

The COATV submitted an application to the Springwater in April 2018 to expand the current motorized trail system in order to make connections with other neighbouring municipalities to Springwater. The current approved COATV trails in Springwater do connect to the east end of the Town of Wasaga Beach where off-road vehicles are permitted on all municipal highways. This application is to create connections to the Township of Oro-Medonte, Township of Clearview, Township of Tiny and a second connection to the Town of Wasaga Beach. The neighbouring municipalities, except Tiny, have by-laws in place that permit the use of off-road vehicles on municipal highways. The Township of Tiny has granted approval for the use of off-road vehicles on certain highways for a COATV trail, subject to obtaining a connection from Springwater along Baseline Road. COATV has also requested consideration to permitting the use of off-road vehicles on all Springwater municipal highways.

 

The use of off-road vehicles continues to rapidly grow, and more municipalities are permitting their use on local highways. Staff recommended to Council this week that a public consultation process be undertaken and that two public open houses be held to obtain input from Springwater Residents as to whether they support or do not support the use of off-road vehicles on Springwater Highways. The proposed dates are March 27th, Elmvale Community Hall and March 28th, Springwater Administration Centre. If these are approved, the dates of the events will be confirmed through various forms of media.

 

Free Edwin Espinal

No doubt the well attended January 27th public meeting marking one year since the unjust imprisonment of Edwin in a Honduras prison will be covered elsewhere in this edition.  I was glad to battle the snow to attend and say a short message, along with the other well-informed speakers at this event. Pressure must be re-doubled on the Canadian Government to act on this, to put pressure on the Honduras Government for Edwin’s release. Please see more at

https://simcoecountyhondurasrightsmonitor.wordpress.com/ and sign the online e-petition before it closes end of day February 7, 2019.

 

Simcoe County Updates

Additional Yard Waste Pick Up

Two extra yard waste collections will occur by the County of Simcoe starting this summer to provide additional levels of service in urban areas and partially address the Invasive Phragmites in shoreline areas. The estimated cost for this is $200,000.

 

Timber sales

Timber sales in Simcoe County forests encompass approximately 600 to 700 hectares annually, which is generally divided into 25 to 40 individual sales. All operations are conducted in accordance with the approved 20-year Forest Management Plan. The competitive bidding process resulted in total revenues for timber sales in 2018 of $2,074,223, exceeding the original budget estimate of $1,500,000. All revenues are applied to the Forestry Reserve which is reinvested into forestry operations and the acquisition of additional forest lands.

 

Provincial Regional Government Review

On January 15, 2019 the Provincial Government announced that it is moving ahead with a review of regional government by appointing two special advisors. The regional government model has been in place for almost 50 years in Ontario and the Province is taking steps to ensure that regional governments are working efficiently and effectively. These advisors will consult broadly over the coming months and provide recommendations to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery. The review will examine Ontario’s eight regional municipalities plus the County of Simcoe (upper-tier) and its lower-tier municipalities, of which Springwater is one.

The advisors will work to explore:

–  Opportunities to make it easier for residents and businesses to access municipal services;

–  Processes to deliver efficient and effective local services that respects taxpayers’ money;

–  Methods to make municipalities open for business; and,

–  Possibilities to cut red tape and duplication and save costs.

To facilitate a productive and open conversation, the Provincial advisors will be coming to Simcoe County on February 19th to have in-person meetings with each of the Mayors individually. They are seeking feedback by posing the following questions:

1.  What reforms would you recommend to promote better representation and decision making? (would it be better to move to a single-tier municipality or amalgamating existing municipalities? If two-tier continues, should number of representatives on the upper-tier municipality be reduced or should they be appointed or elected differently?)

  1. What reforms do you recommend to improve the quality and/or reduce the cost of overlap of lower-tier and upper tier municipal services? For example, should there be greater rationalization and more specific assignments of responsibility in such functional areas as: land-use planning; water, wastewater and storm water; public transit; health, housing and social services (public health, long-term care, hospital capital fundraising, social housing); etc.? Are there municipal special purpose bodies that should be considered as part of the review (e.g., conservation authorities, police service boards, library boards, health units (where separated), etc.)?
    3. Where do you see your upper-tier and lower-tier municipality two years from now?

I am looking for input from Council before my February 19th meeting. If you have any comments, please email me (below) or write me a note regarding your thoughts on this.

Happy Valentine’s Day and have a great Family Day on February 18th. Check out the Springwater Link for winter fun activities occurring in February.

Stay Warm & Healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

Contact me at don.allen@springwater.ca
or 705-728-4784 ext. 2013 to set a time to meet.

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