People who are against a big development planned for Springwater Township received support from Canadian author Margaret Atwood on Sunday.

“I don’t live in Midhurst but we go way back in Oro-Medonte to the 1950’s. So I’m very familiar with the region,” says Atwood.

The literary legend didn’t come to a farm in Midhurst on Sunday to showcase a book; she came to showcase a cause. She joined hundreds of others at a celebration of rural living to stop a proposed residential development that could see the population of the Midhurst area swell by more than 20,000.

Those against the proposal say it would destroy close to 2,000 acres of prime farmland – an area equivalent to about 1,500 football fields.

“At risk is our precious Minesing wetlands which is internationally recognized and is pivotal feature in our region,” says Sandy Buxton with the Midhurst Ratepayers Association.

The association is concerned with the amount of waste water created by the proposed development.

“It works out to be 10.7 million litres a day, which works out to be seven Olympic sized pools per day,”
says Margaret Prophet.

They are concerned the wastewater would eventually damage the Minesing swamp, the area where some of the treated wastewater would be directed. Atwood says that’s a lot of wastewater.

“The plan that has been proposed is for the effluent from a city the size of Orillia to flow through the Minesing swam and into Georgian Bay.”

And some say that would have a negative effect on fish and wildlife.

“Any changes we do in this are through a water treatment plant is going to have an impact on these fish,” says Gary Christie with the Nottawasaga Steelheaders.

Atwood says it’s time now for Kathleen Wynne’s government to deliver on addressing what they called an environment priority.

“So with this as a priority for your government – why would you let the most important wetland in Ontario be destroyed?”

Midhurst Ratepayers Association says they are not sure what their next step is but they are awaiting the findings of an environmental assessment due out in September or October.