St. Joseph's Church basement
10:00 April 2, 2002
Facilitator: Nigel Bellchamber
Mike McElhone reviewed the reasons for the implementation of the stream testing programme -- high beach e-coli counts, consistent beach closures, finger-pointing between cottagers and rural residents and farmers.
A joint programme was begun with the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority with MVCA selecting the sites, choosing the labs, training the volunteers and publishing the results. ACLA raised the funds and collected the samples. MDS and Phillips Environmental Services conducted the analysis. A copy of the MVCA report is located on the ACLA web-site. The highlights and conclusions of the 2001 stream testing from an ACLA view are also on the website.
Rick Steele of MVCA outlined the 2001 goals of determining which of the 12 streams were creating the greatest pollution impact and load on the lake. Once done it would be possible to select the most significant streams for further study in 2002. Testing was done for phosphate, nitrates and e-coli.
Rainfalls and stream levels were recorded as a means of assessing load as all three sources of pollution are generally washed into the streams as the result of rain. If high levels continue to occur in dry periods, there may be other sources of pollution.
Spring and early summer of 2001 were unusually dry with minimal rainfall. Despite the fact that we recorded high levels of pollution, it was difficult to assess load due to low stream flows on several streams.
McNain Drain, Kerry's Creek and Boundary Creek were identified as being serious contributors of various types of pollution and good candidates for future testing. This testing would be done by collecting samples at several upstream points in an attempt to locate the source(s) of the pollution. Nine Mile River is also a significant load contributor but more difficult to test due to the number of upstream tributaries.
There was a discussion as to the plan of action if point sources of pollution are located. Possible notification agencies could be MVCA, ACW Township and the Ministry of the Environment.
Mike indicated that it had cost approximately $4,000 for the 2001 testing and that the cost for 2002 would be approximately $5,000. He thanked the ACLA members for their generosity in 2001 and the ACW Township council for its $1,500 contribution. Special mention was made of councillor Marilyn Miltenberg's contribution of $80, her council meeting night pay.
Mike indicated that the Association would be requesting the Township to begin a mandatory septic system pumping and inspection programme. He reviewed the results in other Ontario and North American communities where 30% of all systems were found to be gross polluters and 40% to require repairs of less than $100 to be returned to good operating order.
Dave Cooper pointed out that the Association supports this programme despite the fact that the septic output for the entire Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh cottage community would be the equivalent of a 115 finishing hog barn -- a very small finishing hog barn (typical size for a new barn is 2000 finishing hogs).
Mike volunteered to gather information on programmes in other communities and submit to council.
Nigel Bellchamber informed the group that the province has delayed implementation of the new legislation from December 2002 to mid-2003. He also indicated that there might be a chance that the legislation would be amended to produced a risk-based component whereby wells that consistently showed excellent results would be put on a reduced testing programme. Risk-based could also be based on number of users, distance from pollution sources.
Nigel warned that water costs per residence will increase from an average of $350 to $1,000. The response to the new laws has been more wells…..creating more possible sources of pollution entering the water table.
The township will operate community wells if they are brought up to provincial standards with the users paying all operating costs. Average annual cost per well will be approximately $20,000.
Options to the legislation were discussed:
Each association must decide.
Nigel conducted a review of property taxes as assessed in ACW. He showed the group that the ACW tax rate increased by 45% in 2001, the Huron County portion by 12% and the Provincial education component dropped by 10%.
The huge increase in township taxes was mainly the result of amalgamation with the original townships entering the new community with no reserves, old equipment forcing large expenditures for reserves and new road equipment. Over $500,000 was spent on new road equipment.
It was indicated that ACW receives less transfer funds from the provincial government than some surrounding townships. There was no commitment from council or township staff that taxes would go down but there was general agreement that there would be no increases. New assessments will be in place this year.
ACW is currently conducting a study of all public roads in the township. This study does not include private or unassumed roads.
Kevin Cook (ACW Road Superintendent) explained that there is a process by which unassumed roads can be brought up to standard on a shared cost basis and then be maintained by the township at township cost. Contact Kevin for information.
The township will maintain unassumed roads on a cost recovery basis if the service is requested annually and the township equipment is able to operate safely on the roads.
At this point ACW council and staff brought several items to the meeting's attention.
The township web-site will be up and running by the end of May. It will contain the budget, plans, specific information etc. At that time our ACLA web-site will remove township information and have links to the ACW site.
Recycling bins continue to be contaminated with garbage. When this happens the entire bin must go to the landfill site. ACW is considering eliminating the recycling bins and replacing them with garbage bins. All cottagers are asked to use the bins properly and report anyone misusing them.
Twice a week pickup will be eliminated and more bins provided to provide similar capacity.
Huron County is beginning a ground water study at a cost of approximately $500,000 ($400,000 provided by the province).
Dave Cooper provided a comprehensive update on the status of Manure Management legislation in ACW, Huron County and the province.
Bill 81 was not passed as promised over the last two years with the latest date to be fall ? 2002. The bill is enabling legislation only…the regulations are to follow.
There are ongoing concerns:
The community of West Perth successfully defended challenges to its size cap bylaws (600 cows, 2400 hogs).
The Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Huron-Kinloss won its court case vs. Huron-Kinloss Township and Geene.
Geene poultry barn South of Amberley, lake side of #21 was approved.
Kincardine has an active community group concerned with ILO growth.
Kincardine issued 90-day moratorium on liquid manure farm construction Review in 90 days, set up study committee.
Ontario Minister of Agriculture issued directive in February supporting municipalities' right to regulate new and expanded poultry and livestock operations; more authority or not?
Using the Freedom of Information Act the Ottawa Citizen recently secured Agriculture Canada reports indicating significant concerns about the effects of ILOs on the environment. AgCan still publicly promotes ILOs despite these concerns.
Helen Johns (MPP-Huron) is the new Minister of Agriculture for Ontario.
Ashfield Ward cottage community generates body waste equivalent to a 115 hog barn. This compares to more than 600,000 pigs and 130,000 cattle in Huron County in 2000. Comparable livestock numbers for ACW are not immediately available.
The ACW council passed a Nutrient Management Bylaw closely based on the Huron County model with two improvements. Council raised the percentage of land ownership required for intensive livestock operations from 25% to 50% and reduced the allowable liquid manure haulage distance from 15 km to 10 km. This was a compromise to the PROTECT request for 60% land ownership and 8-km hauling distance. The county model was closely copied from the original ACW bylaw.
There are ongoing concerns that manure spreading is allowed on the west side of highway 21, lack of enforcement procedures.
It is estimated that the 2002 stream-testing programme will cost $5,000 for three streams and $7,000 if Nine-Mile River is included.
It was moved, seconded and carried that the treasurer's report be accepted.
Heinz Puhlmann announced that our web-site sponsor will continue to provide this service free of charge.
There was considerable discussion concerning the adequate level of dues payable by member beach associations. It was moved, seconded and carried that all beach associations pay $10 per paid member to ACLA as its portion of ACLA's stream testing, administrative and other programme costs. Individuals donating $100 or more directly to the Maitland Valley Foundation will receive tax receipts.
It was brought to our attention that legal challenges could be extremely costly. Three residents of Huron-Kinloss became personally responsible for legal bills in excess of $100,000 while representing the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Huron-Kinloss. They could have been liable for the defendant's costs if the case were to be decided against CCCHK. Luckily the fund-raising was successful and the judge ruled for CCCHK. Many ACLA members gave significant contributions to this cause recognizing that the decision would affect us as well. Please note that the matter of costs still has to be decided by the court. Further the Township of Huron-Kinloss has filed notice of their intention to appeal the court decision.
It is important to consider incorporation of our association in order to protect the individual members in the event of legal action. The ongoing legal and accounting costs will be minimal compared to the benefits and peace of mind. As evidenced by the CCCHK anti-factory farm campaign, the economic and legal risks to those brave enough to take a stand could be devastating.
At this time it was decided not to build a large legal reserve fund but to remain aware that one could be necessary in the future.
Dave Cooper announced his intention to step back into a less-involved role with ACLA. In recent years Dave has been responsible for membership, newsletter, e-mail distribution list, meeting planning, council monitoring, manure bylaw monitoring and a variety of other issues.
Thank you Dave for your long hours and concerned diligence.
Volunteers are needed to fill these roles. Done separately…none of these roles will involve a large number of hours. If they are all loaded on one person, the job is overwhelming. If no one volunteers, they won't get done. Contact Dave, Nigel or Mike for details.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:20.