July 2002 Newsletter

Title Change?

Should we change the name to Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Lakefront Association (ACW LA) to help symbolically demonstrate the lakefront considers itself a part of the total community? Further input/discussion from the membership will be sought before ma king the change.

New Post Office Box

This will be used for a variety of purposes. For example, to collect returns for a short survey (in the works) to understand our members' priorities, and thus better serve their interests.

ACLA, Box 277, Goderich, Ont., N7A 3Z2

A-C-W Official Plan Meetings

Coming up are 3 public meetings to gather community input for 1 integrated A-C-W Official Plan replacing separate Ashfield, Colborne, and West Wawanosh Plans. Lakefront residents' attendance and participation in these meetings will help influence the direction for A-C-W. Meetings will be held as follows:

  1. Environment - Mon July 22, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, Saltford Hall
  2. Agriculture/Economic Development - Wed July 24, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, Kingsbridge Church
  3. Settlement/Lakeshore/Services - Sat July 27, 9:00 to 11:00 am, Kingsbridge Church

Key References

www.northwesthuron.com, the ACLA website, contains a variety of information specific to lakefront area interests, including handy links to related sites such as local newspapers and the new A-C-W Township website. The ACLA website describes and shows testing results for the ACLA's 2001/02 Stream Measurement Program. A map showing test sites for 2002 is also posted. The Township site includes the upcoming Council meeting agenda, minutes of Council meetings, bylaws and other information of interest to all residents.

AlertOntario website sponsored this year by the local PROTECT group. It contains extensive reference background and current news related to concerns with Intensive Livestock Operations.

1-877-837-6143 Huron County Beach Hot Line – provides information on beach closures. Ask for ext 501 or after hours dial * 501. The northwesthuron website provides a link to the Huron County Health website where actual beach water quality reading s are posted.

Outbuildings Change

Note that there has been a change affecting "lakefront" or "Lakeview" owners. Putting up a garage between the residence and the road won't now require a minor zoning variance. A building permit is required as well as meeting several other conditions such as setbacks from the road and property lines. Contact Grant Anger, Chief Building Official, at the Township Office, 519-524-4669 Ext 208 for further information.

Property Taxes 2002 (time to take a stronger interest?)

The A-C-W 2002 budget has been finalized and the combined municipal/county/education increase is 2.3%. The municipal portion of the increase is 3%. While this increase would seem acceptable, consider that Council approved a whopping 45% increase for the municipal portion for 2001 (the first year of amalgamation)! The 3% for 2002 is on top of that 45% 2001 increase!

In effect the municipal portion of your property tax is now almost 50% higher than it was just 2 years ago prior to amalgamation. I leave it to residents to decide whether they have ever been provided with a satisfactory explanation as to why s uch a huge increase is required to operate the post amalgamated municipality. The lakefront area pays over 40% of the property taxes collected. Township roads seem to be a large spending priority.

NOTE: the fact that the county component did not rise as dramatically and the education component stayed essentially flat, masked the huge increase in the municipal component.

Property reassessments will take place, using 2001 values, impacting 2003 taxes. As well, the Province will apparently now allow counties to reduce farm tax rates from the current 25% of residential rates. When combined with fast rising values for lak efront area properties, could lakefront residents end up paying an even larger share of the tax burden?

A-C-W Nutrient Management ByLaw

The new bylaw, based on a common Huron County standard model, replaces the moratorium on the construction of liquid manure operations that has been in effect for the past 18 months.

PROTECT successfully lobbied Council to maintain 50% (vs. County model of 25%) ownership of land on which manure is to be spread, and to reduce maximum hauling distances to 10km (vs. 15 km). The 4 lakeshore ward Councillors (Marilyn Miltenburg, Connie Black, Doug Fines, Eric Gosse) supported these important amendments.

Provinical Bill 81, Nutrient Management Legislation

The Province passed Bill 81 on June 26, 2002. Bill 81 attempts to respond to concerns with Bill 46, the "Right to Farm Act". Bill 81 provides an overall legislative framework to govern all types of field-applied nutrients, and will be implemented t hrough regulations. Some have questioned whether the recent Walkerton II recommendations will be adequately reflected in the regulations.

As well, some doubt whether Bill 81 will provide the environmental protection needed. Recognize "nutrients" is a euphemistic term for untreated farm waste, municipal sewage sludge, and chemical fertilizers. There’s lots of stuff in it besides nut rients, and a large percentage of the nutrients are "lost" to the environment, affecting our air and surface and ground water.

Concerns with the legislation include:

  1. The reliance on Nutrient Management Plans, for which the primary focus is promoting crop growth, not environmental and pathogen protection.
  2. The regulations (specific rules) that agriculture will actually have to follow are still being resolved. A questionnaire seeking public input was due back June 28.
  3. The legislation makes obsolete related municipal bylaw provisions. This means municipalities will NOT be able to pass bylaws to provide stronger environmental protection to meet local community interests.
  4. OMAF (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food), whose primary mission is promoting agricultural expansion, appears to be leading the development of the legislation and regulations. The MOE (Ministry of Environment) role isn’t apparent.
  5. There are numerous other issues such as a long phase-in (3 to 5 years), adequacy of enforcement, funding/resources, transition management, and manure processing technology improvement.

Other items

Quebec Province Moratorium

In June 2002, the Province of Quebec implemented an 18-month moratorium on the expansion of Intensive Livestock Operations.

CCC of H-K versus Geene

The court ruled in favour of the Coalition and awarded them costs. Negotiations on a settlement agreement continue. Will Mr Geene reapply to build an intensive livestock operation on the same site? The MOE hasn't provided a decision to the Coalition's year-ago request for an environmental assessment.

Ontario's Environmental Assessment Program

The program, operated by the MOE, has deteriorated significantly since 1996 according to a recent study by the Canadian Environmental Law Association. To quote the opening line in the article in the St.Catherine's Standard, "What was once among the most advanced environmental planning tools in the world has been reduced to a sham by Ontario's Conservative government".

Huron County Health beach water ecoli monitoring

There were many 2001 beach closings, particularly over the last half of the 2001 summer season. 71% of the 135 readings for Lake Huron Beaches between July 23 and Aug 30 exceeded the Provincial guidelines. The ACLA-sponsored Stream Measurement Program shows significant levels of nutrients (e.g. nitrogen) and pathogens (e.g. e-coli) in A-C-W waterways as they cross under Hwy #21. See the ACLA website for more information.


Chris Stockwell, Minister of Environment and Energy (MOEE). Will the environment get adequate attention? The MOE has suffered significant cutbacks, and yet Mr.Stockwell now has environment, energy (e.g. Hydro), is House Leader, and presumably has some responsibility to represent his constituents.

Helen Johns (Huron-Bruce MPP) is now Minister of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) The "RA" (rural affairs) piece of the former OMAFRA shifted elsewhere.

Issued by ACLA.