2003-09 Coordinators Meeting

09:00 Saturday September 6, 2003
St Joseph's Church basement, Kingsbridge

Facilitator: Nigel Bellchamber

Information session


A total of 27 representatives from 16 lakefront associations and groups (of the 24 on record). The Green Acres association sent regrets. Reeve Ben Van Diepenbeek and Councillors Marilyn Miltenburg, Connie Black, Doug Fines, and Eric Gosse attended.


Representatives attending were provided with a 10-page information package for themselves as well as copies for distribution to their association constituents. This package included a copy of the Meeting Agenda, an ACLA overview, 2003 ACLA Stream Testing program data, including a map of the testing locations, as well as an analysis of real estate tax assessments and details on the forth coming Fall township election. Information was also provided on the Bluewater Township Road Grants program to residents responsible for un assumed roads. A flyer providing details of the Huron County hazardous waste disposal program. Additional copies of this material are available on request from the ACLA.

Nutrient Management Issues (9:08am)

Presentation by Dr. Wayne Caldwell, Associate Professor, University of Guelph and also a staff member of the Huron County Planning Department, who has recently been appointed Chair of the Provincial Advisory Committee on Nutrient Management. A recent report by Dr. Caldwell on implementation of the Nutrient Management Act can also be seen at www.gov.on.ca/omafra/english/nm/municipal/caldwltc.htm. Dr. Caldwell presented an informative slide show, reviewing the following topics:

Beach and Septic Issues (10:05 am)

Bob Worrsell, a staff member from the Huron County Health Unit, updated the group on this year's Lake Water Quality testing, beach sign postings, and septic issues.

Stream testing (10:35 am)

Mike McElhone updated the group on the stream-testing program undertaken in conjunction with the Maitland Valley Conservation authority and supported by the Beach Associations and ACW Township. A detailed 5-page handout was circulated (in addition to the summary included in the general handout materials). These materials provide details of the testing and results of same for 2003. Test results are also posted on the ACLA website.

On testing, the ACLA continues to fund this program with assistance from the Township although we continue to believe testing should be done by the Health Unit, or the Conservation Authority, or the Provincial MOE.

The focus of the presentation was to seek support for DNA testing of water sample sat a facility in the State of Florida to determine their source: animal, human or both. Samples to be tested would be from locations chosen by the HCHU and MVCA. We are also seeking to establish the connection between stream pollution and lake pollution.

ACLA funding for DNA tests of local samples was unanimously approved at the meeting and Mike undertook to collect samples and send them to Florida as soon as possible.

Garbage Collection Review (11:10am)

Rob Stephenson lead a brief discussion of what worked in 2003 and what needs improvement for 2004. Clearly, while weekly garbage collection proceeded without serious difficulties whether at curbside locations or at bins paid for privately by beach associations, pick-up of recycling continued to be an unresolved issue for cottagers who were required to use designated "Transfer Areas" (i.e. beaches with roads too narrow for garbage trucks to enter or turn-around). Several commented that their transfer areas had worked pretty well, while others noted that vermin / wildlife had torn up their unprotected bags laying on the ground while awaiting pick-up on alternate Mondays.

Question raised on whether the Township has any By-laws on littering. Reeve Ben noted we did not. He told of a recent situation where a load of worn-out auto tires were dumped on a roadside, and that the Township had to go out and pick-up the tires. We were asked that if we see people dumping garbage, we should call the Township immediately. Several attendees asked that he raise this issue and get such a by-law in place with fines and other penalties imposed for violations.

Reeve Ben Van Diepenbeek commented that cottagers impacted by the need for transfer sites might install "dog-run" type metal mesh-fencing enclosures for their garbage and/or clear recycling bags (no tags required), which they could purchase and install at their own expense. The fencing would keep wildlife/vermin out. There was less garbage and more recycling this year he said. Generally, the new garbage program was successful. Lakeshore residents and their associations should take responsibility for their areas. If there were problems with Canadian Waste service, we should call them.

Rob indicated the ACLA would continue to support weekly garbage pick-up and bi-weekly recycling pick-up for lakeshore residents during the Summer months.

Taxation 2003 (11:20am)

Nigel Bellchamber led a discussion of the property assessment system in place in Ontario, who does the assessments, what values are based on, how to contest assessments, and how market-valuation will impact on ACW Lakefront property taxes in 2003 and for 2004. The handout materials included 3 pages on assessments and property taxes. The widespread impression among lakeshore residents is that property taxes are increasing because assessments are rising due to recent property sales. Assessments are based on increasing property values.

Residents attending noted a few significant property sales prices in their areas, noting how these were sure to impact their taxes going forward. A few cottagers noted that they had contested assessments without success, although in one case the assessment was found to be incorrect and was changed. An attendee noted that assessment increase caps for various classes of property should be imposed in an attempt to slow down tax increases.

Nigel also added remarks on Township spending, with several other attendees adding their views.

Township Council (11:50am)

Reeve Ben Vandiepenbeek provided an update on Township activities, drawing our attention to local newspaper advertisements on the forthcoming elections as well as Township Budget information. Doug Fines reviewed necessary truck fleet upgrades, recent road paving activities, and standards for un assumed roads. He also added comments on the quality of OPP policing services for the Township.

Election 2003

There were brief comments on the coming November election for Township Council and school trustees. Attendees should check for information on candidates will be posted on the ACLA website and additional information included in the handouts provided at the meeting.


Business Meeting

ACLA members only attending.

Adjournment at 12:59.

Recorded by : Robert Stephensen.