Mayor Don’s Update – September 2020

Cannabis Production Review Study
The Township of Springwater is currently undergoing a Cannabis Production Review Study to look at tools available to the municipality to guide policies, regulations and zoning recommendations related to these facilities.

An Interim Control By-law was enacted by Council on June 3 to place a one-year moratorium on the establishment of new cannabis facilities for lands in Springwater zoned Industrial and Agricultural. This ‘freeze’ allows the consultants, WSP, the time to complete the Cannabis Production Review Study. On August 24, WSP provided an update to Council on the current regulations for licensed cannabis facilities at the federal, provincial and municipal levels and an overview of possible options for the municipality to regulate such facilities. Options identified include: site plan control, licensing and property standards. These options may assist the municipality in mitigating some of the concerns related to these facilities, including: air quality, noise, lighting, setbacks, security, fencing, waste management, traffic and outdoor storage.

A survey requesting feedback on regulating these facilities in Springwater will be made available on the Township website and be open until the end of September. All residents are encouraged to take the time to fill it out and share their thoughts. For a paper copy of the survey please email planning@springwater.ca or call 705-728-4784 Ext. 2019.

If you missed the meeting and would like to learn more, you can view a playback of the presentation on the Township’s YouTube channel.

Broadband Review
Concerns regarding the lack of high-speed internet access is something Council and Township staff hears about on a regular basis. This issue has been further exacerbated due to the number of people attempting to work or run their business from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council has directed staff to proceed with issuing a request for expression of interest for community broadband services. Community broadband is a public alternative to the privately-owned services such as Bell, Rogers or Telus. These larger internet services providers are reluctant to invest in rural areas, due to the significant infrastructure required with a relatively low return on investment. Municipalities may be better positioned to able to provide less expensive, more reliable and more community-tailored options, as they are best equipped to address their own local needs.

For a community, implementing a municipal broadband service can be cost-effective and promote job creation, efficiency and greater savings on cost. It also introduces additional competition and alternatives to the current market, providing additional options for current users.

The request for expression of interest, is the first step in the municipality exploring the potential for broadband internet improvement.

Service Delivery Review
The Township is currently undertaking a Service Delivery Review to determine how services are delivered throughout the Township and whether any efficiencies can be found. The review examines levels of services, methods of delivery and administrative processes, as well as assessing organizational structure. A Special Council Meeting has been scheduled for September 16 at 5:00 pm to receive an update on the study from the consultants. The meeting will be live streamed online at www.springwater.ca/live

ERRC MZO Request
The Provincial Government has indicated the Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC) being proposed in the Freele Tract of the Simcoe County Forest (Horseshoe Valley Road west) has been denied a minister’s zoning order (MZO). An MZO would have fast tracked the process and restricted concerns being expressed by residents and the Township in the decision review before the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal. Three appeals were submitted to the board in January 2019 by resident groups and those appeals will be addressed through the ongoing LPAT process. The Township will also make representations during this process.

For additional information on the ERRC please visit www.springwater.ca/en/business-and-development/current-development.aspx or www.simcoe.ca/errc  

Waste Collections Contract

The County of Simcoe and Waste Connections Canada have worked together to ensure curbside collections will continue for residents without changes or impacts to service levels until the next contract takes effect in November 2021. This was necessary to deal with increased costs related to the pandemic, monthly net losses due to increases in industry/service related costs and ongoing labour challenges.

Additional costs will be covered by a combination of reserves and/or recently available COVID-19 funding opportunities. It is projected that these costs will not be directed passed on to residents through new taxes.

Elmvale Blood Drive

Sign up to save a life on the Thanksgiving long weekend by donating blood. Canadian Blood Services will be in Elmvale at the Community Hall on October 10 from 9am to 2 pm. Appointments are required and can be booked online at blood.ca or by calling 1-888-2DONATE.

This article expresses my thoughts and not those of Council.