Letters to Editor

A Simple By- law or ”Special Rule

We can prate on and on about the Midhurst Secondary Plan forever and a day. Unfortunately, past councils have had most council members in great favour of this monstrosity out-or-whack plan. Their blinded view has caused this to bare its head onto Springwater. Their shallow thinking is to blame.

I would very much wish a regulation of “Protection of Lands” could be passed as a law. I want farmlands – agricultural to stay as such. I want county forests not to be altered by the County to industrial or commercial. We must protect these lands. If this does not stop there will be nothing left. A simple By-law (Special Rule) is the only saviour.
Donna Hawthore, Anten Mills

 

Mandatory Septic Pumping

The Ontario Landowners Association (OLA) has been contacted about an amendment to the Building Code - Regulation #332/12 for mandatory septic pumping, every 5 years.  If one does not have the proof that they have had their septic pumped, within the 5 year period, they can be fined up to $10,000 per day.  This is already being implemented in some areas.

The OLA had emailed, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on Feb. 20, 2017, a document showing that this amendment is beyond the legislative authority of the Building Code. We allowed 14 business days for response.  We are past this and are still waiting.

The reason for the change, in amendment “Change#  B-08-09-03” is:

“RATIONALE FOR CHANGE Problem/General Background The proponent requested the change to strengthen the maintenance requirements of septic systems through regular pump outs and to require record keeping thereof to help ensure compliance with the code requirements.”

We asked who or what is the “proponent,” and yet no response.  The Change Number notice continues with:

“Conventional systems need to be maintained regularly. Current Code requirements do not include regular/periodic pump outs of septic tanks. The proposed requirement will make it mandatory to pump out septic tanks on a periodic basis and to keep the maintenance records of the pump out.”

There is nothing, it would seem, in the “Code” specifying this, and when did a private property owner need to maintain records for municipal/provincial administration of their private property?  Or is this merely another revenue stream, for the government because none of them can seem to stop wasting money?

Could this be implementing arbitrary law when demanding that an inspector violate superior laws and is the province creating a regulation which is in conflict with the Municipal Act, the Building Code Act, and the Criminal Code of Canada, the Real Properties Limitations Act, the Limitations Act, the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, etc., to name a few?

With the proposed amendment (Bill 68 not passed yet) of the Municipal Act, bringing in Administrative Penalties, does this mean that the government will be fining people for not pumping their septic tanks and merely adding the amount onto the property owner’s property taxes?  Could be…

This one amendment to the Building Code regulation and a huge amendment to the Municipal Act, etc., that just needs to go. 

Final question – where are the Opposition Parties – why haven’t we heard about any of this? 

Contact the Minister of Municipal Affairs and tell them this O. Reg. 332/12 amendment, and Bill 68 have got to go. 

Ministry of Municipal Affairs

777 Bay Street, 17th Floor

Toronto, ON M5G 2E5

Phone: 416-585-7000

Fax: 416-585-6470

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Elizabeth F. Marshall,

Director of Research Ontario Landowners Association

 

Taxpayers Federation Slams Government Plan to Change How Global Adjustment is Financed

TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is slamming the government’s plan to extend the cost of the global adjustment over 30 years as failing to address the root causes of the province’s electricity crisis.

“The government’s plan to extend the cost of the global adjustment is about politics, not about solving an electricity crisis of their own making,” said CTF Ontario Director, Christine Van Geyn. “Nothing that the government announced today will address the underlying cause of the electricity crisis, and in fact, will have us paying more in the long term.”

The global adjustment is the difference between the market price for electricity, and the rate the government regulated or contracted price for electricity. Last year the global adjustment accounted for 85 per cent of the cost of electricity, and consumers spent $12 billion on it.

“The Premier used the analogy of a mortgage – extending the cost of the global government over a longer term, and she admitted that this means paying more over the longer term. But the problem is the  global adjustment pays for equipment that has a natural lifespan. You can extend the cost of the equipment, but not how is she extending the lifespan of the equipment? We will be paying for expensive refurbishments or we will be paying for equipment that has stopped working. It’s nothing like a mortgage, because you can keep living in your house once you’ve paid it off,” continued Van Geyn.

The changes announced also apply only to residential consumers, and will not give any breaks to small or medium sized businesses.

“This break won’t do anything to help small local businesses, and we will continue to see stories of small business owners closing up shop because they can’t afford this government’s failed policies,” continued Van Geyn.

“What the government needs to do if they’re serous about electricity reform is quit pursuing policies that raise household bills. They should scrap the Green Energy Act, cancel rather than suspend all new procurement, they should stop wasting money on conservation programs that drive rates up, and they should reverse the cap and trade tax that the Auditor General has warned will drive electricity bills up by 23 per cent over the next four years.” concluded Van Geyn.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has launched a campaign aimed at engaging the public and empowering citizens to take action about high hydro rates and the cap and trade tax on home heating fuels and gasoline. More information is available at www.StopHighEnergyBills.ca.  

 

Expert questions plans for Midhurst water

Tim Lotimer is no stranger to water issues. Tim is a senior hydrogeologist and geoscientist and throughout his long career, he has consulted for many municipalities and regions in southern Ontario. He also teaches Earth Sciences at McMaster University. Lotimer was retained by the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association as an independent water expert and this month he was in Midhurst to address the public and council and staff of the Township of Springwater.

Large developments in Ontario require a Class Environment Assessment to determine the potential effects of a development on the environment. The Class EA for the Midhurst Secondary Plan has been underway for several years and has now entered Phase 4, which is the selection of the preferred design. As Lotimer explained, Phase 4 must identify any potential impacts on the environment and must provide a description of mitigation measures to minimize environmental effects.

The preferred design proposes 11 new wells to serve the approximately 24,000 new Midhurst residents with municipal water, two source water treatment plants and one waste water treatment plant which will discharge the treated effluent into Willow Creek.

From Lotimer’s presentation we learned that all wells create a “drawdown” in water level in the groundwater. This drawdown affects other wells in the region to a greater or lesser extent, depending upon distance from the new well. Water well drillers are required to submit records of new wells to the Minister of the Environment and the database is kept on file. From this database we can determine where wells are located and approximately how many wells might be affected by taking a much larger volume of water for the new municipal wells. Existing wells include private wells and municipal wells in both Springwater and Barrie. So how do we know what the effects might be?

Although models have been produced based on pumping four of the new wells and measuring the drawdown, according to Lotimer, the only way to be sure that private wells will be unaffected by the development, is to do a door to door survey of private wells using water level data loggers and then comparing results after pumping all the new wells simultaneously. Although test pumping of all new wells is now becoming quite common, this work is very expensive and has not been done in Midhurst.      

Lotimer explained that the Ministry of the Environment requires anyone who causes an impact to a private well, to restore water to that well user. If there is a problem, the burden would fall on the Township of Springwater to restore water to all affected well users, which would result in significant budget consequences for all Springwater residents.

The impact on Willow Creek must also be considered. Willow Creek is fed from both surface water run-off and groundwater. Lotimer said that any water taken from wells, reduces the groundwater entering Willow Creek (and the Minesing Wetlands) by an equivalent amount. This has two ramifications. The first is a lowering of the levels in Willow Creek upstream of the waste water treatment plant and the second affects water temperature. In summer, the groundwater cools the stream and in winter it keeps the water at a warmer temperature and reduces freezing. This natural occurrence provides a more temperate climate for wild life. In other words the new development poses a serious risk to the brook trout and other wild life found in Willow Creek today.

Source water quality is also a concern, again for two reasons. Firstly the well head protection area (capture zone) is quite extensive, much of it being on farmland, which generates a lot of unfriendly chemicals. In one area, the amount of nitrate in the groundwater is already close to provincial drinking water limits and is likely to rise over time. It is not inconceivable that farms in the well head protection areas could be required to reduce their use of fertilizers. The second point is that, as previously mentioned, two source water treatment plants are proposed; one in the east and one in the west. But they cannot be the same, because the impurities found in the wells are different in both areas. This adds complexity to the management of the plants and hence to the cost of maintenance.    

Lotimer was not critical of the professional consultants who prepared the current hydrogeological studies, but made it clear that insufficient data has so far been provided in order to assess the full potential impacts of the new wells. He did however comment that there seemed to be unexplainable inconsistencies between the data collected in drilling the test wells, the computer modelling of the aquifers and the relatively recent (2011) extensive Ontario Geological Survey.  

The effects of the waste water treatment plant on Willow Creek and the Minesing Wetlands is a separate issue which fell outside the terms of reference for this study.David Strachan Midhurst

 

What Bugs Me

Whether we realize it or not, each one of us use many hats in the matter of 24 hours. For example, we make our trek to the grocery store. We select our needed or not needed purchases. We amble over to the shortest line. We wait, then finally our turn. We place our groceries onto the black conveyor belt. We pay for our purchases. The clerk asks if we want to buy “plastic bags”. That’s the clerk’s final task with this order. He or she continues with the next customer. This leaves me to gather the goods and pack my own. I now qualify as a grocery packer with the difference being I worked for free. Originally, it came into play because we were to get a better bargain in the price. Now, it has become the norm. I have even tested certain stores by placing my cloth bags onto the conveyor belt. It didn’t work. I had to fetch them as they traveled to the bottom. I have even stood in place and smiled – still no reaction. Now there was an exception to the norm - Foodland in Wasaga Beach where the clerk took my bags from my hand and packed.

Well, back to the non-paying jobs we do. Do you remember when recycling started with the County? We were given a plastic bin. We placed all in one bin. Then came the grey bin for paper. Now we are given a clunky green bin to place or wet waste. But, we have to purchase the compost bags. Now another job to qualify on your resume if you want to be a sorter again non-paying.

What has –happened to the round compost, that rolled, that the County sold to residents? We were then asked to compost ourselves. We were to become mini-farmers for the environment. Now, they want our wet waste. If we all go back to our compost bins in our backyards we will have no need to erect this recycle-wet wasted plant in a County Forest. Saves us all money in the end and saves a forest from becoming something nature never intended it to be. Please remember the County has not “Real Monies”. They receive it from all of us. Do we really want our money to destroy a forest? I am positive the Friel Family would not feel OK on its demise as a wasted recycling plant.

I apologize for going off the topic on hand. But, I am sure you readers get the drift of what I am trying to orate.

From Site 41 to this – when is the County going to learn?

Now is the time to voice your disapproval. It’s our money! Let’s spend it sensibly.

Donna Hawthorne, Anten Mills