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'A review of the current system is in order'to the editor,
Posted October 22, 2012
The Angus Ratepayers' Association (ARA) mandate is to work with all levels of government for the betterment of the community of Angus.
We are quite receptive to a constructive dialogue with our elected officials rather than reading their response to very important issues in the local media.
We are not questioning the current Council and its ability to serve, that has nothing to do with our request. We simply feel that after almost 20 years and the unprecedented growth in Angus that a review of the current system is in order.
Ward 1 Angus has almost 9,000 residents with one councillor while Ward 3 Excluding Base Borden has about 1,500 residents with one Councillor. The exclusion of Base Borden is because the Base does not receive services from the Township except canine control and the Township has no jurisdiction on the Base as it is Crown land.
As you know, New Tecumseth did a Ward boundary review, and implemented changes during its last term of Council.
Essa councillors were more concerned about themselves and not about us, the residents. It was disappointing to read the Council comments regarding our membership numbers.
We currently have 36 paid members but after a fantastic meeting last Wednesday we are quite confident that we will have well over a hundred paid members for our next meeting in November.
And Ward 1 Councillor Keith White's comments about ulterior motives is simply baffling. It is not how it works for them but how it best serves the community going forward.
I have received e-mails from members who have read the story and they basically say the same thing and that is, If councillors can not deal in a positive way with a group of what they have called 20 or less ratepayers, what chance does an individual ratepayer have. As ratepayers we were hoping to be part of the "team" Council speaks of.
The ARA has also commented to Council on the proposed Angus to Baxter sanitary sewer expansion. The ARA after much discussion and research feels that the development in Baxter is contrary to the Smart Growth and Places to Grow Provincial legislation.
The Province wants all new development to be in currently serviced settlement areas with water, sewer, jobs, schools, doctors, dentists, shopping, libraries, arenas, etc. These services are available in Angus within walking distance of most residents.
The proposal is for the second Marshall subdivision in Baxter. The first was built in the 1980s and consisted of 52 homes. This development had its own private water system that was assumed by the Township by order of the Province. After the Township was saddled with the system they were slapped with an order to comply by the Ministry of the Environment to improve the quality of water to these 52 homes. The cost for this upgrade was $1.5 million with $500,000 added to the water and sanitary sewer debt and will be paid mostly by the community of Angus. The developer did not pay a penny. This line will surely create pressure on future Councils to approve sprawl development between Angus and Baxter. The development is also proposed on prime agricultural land. The ARA has the support of the Midhurst Ratepayers Association as well as Aware Simcoe in our challenge to 'Stop the Line.'
The ARA wishes to thank David Strachan of the Midhurst Ratepayers Association for his presentation regarding their battle over the Midhurst Secondary Plan. His 30 minute talk truly inspired ARA members to rally against the Angus to Baxter sewer line.
The Midhurst Ratepayers now have 300 members. After David's presentation the ARA formed a fundraising Committee and members dug deep donating $250. A motion requesting the County of Simcoe to install traffic lights at the Mill St and Cty Rd 10 intersection near the new high school was passed.
The ARA will also request the Township install traffic lights at the Centre St and 5th Line intersection. Approval was also given to prepare and distribute a petition for signatures in support of a walk in clinic in the old Angus library building. Approval was also given to develop an ARA website and to enter into an agreement with a server.
As President of the ARA I feel safe in speaking for our
members to say that we respect anyone who runs for office and ask that
the respect be mutual. If Council disagrees with one of our proposals a
properly respectfully prepared explanation from our Council is all we