2003-09 Coordinators Meeting
09:00 Saturday September 6, 2003
St Joseph's Church basement, Kingsbridge
Facilitator: Nigel Bellchamber
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
- Bill 81 (Nutrient Management Act) and the transition of
responsibilities and regulations from municipalities to the Province;
- Trends in agricultural and rural communities related to factory farm
- Myths examined:
- The number of livestock is growing: No. The change is less than
1%; hogs are up and cattle are down.
- Big (farms) is bad: Not necessarily. Larger operations usually meet
higher environmental standards.
- Bill 81 will put the screws to large operations: No; the Bill will
make business more difficult for smaller operations.
- Bill 81 will take-overregulation from municipalities: No, municipal
regulations will apply to a vast majority of farms.
- Bill 81 will reduce conflict in rural communities: No.
- Increased size and scale of agricultural production.
- Increased specialization of agricultural production.
- Increased efficiency of farms.
- 6.5 times increase in chicken production on the same land area.
- Manure production per area of land is down.
- Local farming is now an international business.
- Farms now must accept environmental liability.
- Bill 81, Before and After:
- Mandatory Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs).
- New definitions -- nutrient.
- Broad powers to make regulations.
- Licensing and certificates re application of manure.
- Appropriate geophysical studies of soil and groundwater.
- Registration of NMPs -- Will these remain secret? So far, public
access is restricted.
- Clear authorities for enforcement and fines.
- Role for both OMAF and MOE; there will be a new branch of OMAF and
they are already hiring NM specialists and enforcement teams (25-30
- Local advisory committee for OMAF.
- OMAF vs. Municipalities -- approvals and building permits: if greater
than 5 Nutrient Units, then farms must register a NMP.
- Spills Hotline at MOE: call if you see a spill (environmental
- Application Records must be kept.
- Source water quality standards measurement -- Provincial
- Source Water Protection Act.
- Local Mediation Committees.
- Municipality By-Laws currently in effect will be superceded by Bill
81 (Sect 61 (1)).
- Provincial and Municipal Approvals based on a 300 Nutrient Units
threshold and will be specific to either New Operations or Expansion of
Existing Farm Operations.
- Certain Municipal bylaws will not be superceded by Bill 81.
- Clearly if proposals to build barns are "legal", the Chief Building
Inspectors must issue Building Permits.
- Future By-Laws must be consistent with the Act.
- Dr. Caldwell also took a few questions.
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.
- Bob provided a slide show reviewing the beach water testing program
the Health Unit pursued in 2003.
- Only public beaches with lifeguards or aquatic programs were tested
- Samples taken over last 10 years. Summer students were hired to
assist with testing.
- Samples were taken weekly and high risk conditions were identified 16
- The Health Board advertised the telephone hotline number and
distributed a pamphlet summarizing the program.
- Larger warning signs were posted this year; coloured red if the water
was judged polluted (permanent signs) and coloured blue (where high
bacteria counts were identified).
- 7 locations were posted as high risk: Amberley, Ashfield Beach,
Blacks, Goderich, Exeter Port Albert, and Wingham Dam.
- Website experienced problems due to change in providers; warnings
were not put on site due to a management decision.
- Generally, if you can see your feet in about one metre of water, it
should be considered safe to swim.
- The Health Unit was making following recommendations for 2004.
- Streams and river/creek samples would be taken 5 days a week
- In order to more accurately measure rainfall in various testing
locations, the Unit was considering the purchase and installation of rain
gauges throughout the county.
- The Unit was considering partnering with various private beach
associations to assist with the testing process.
- Sediment sampling would be added to the water testing process based
on the belief that contaminants continue to exist in the sediment for
- Offshore water and sediment samples would also be added to the
testing process (most water samples currently taken are from the immediate
beach area only).
- The 2003 annual report would be available in the near future.
- Camp Kintail was not tested this year; the Camp was doing their own
- Questions included: why was the Hotline and website not making
changes all Summer?
- Bob made the following comments on septic systems and related topics.
- Holding tank pumping was subject to Provincial regulations.
- Future requirements to treat this waste were delayed as facilities
have not as yet been funded or built.
- Huron County had abandoned Reg 170 because new septic tank minimum
size specs exceeded what lot sizes for older properties could accommodate
-- also impossible where there were drilled wells on the same lots.
- Healthy Futures program was a good one but needed new funding; urged
everyone to upgrade septic systems if funding becomes available.
- Mandatory inspection of septic systems appears to be illegal or
there is no legal basis for these inspections under current laws and
- If anyone sees sewage on the ground from a malfunctioning or full
septic system, please call the Health Unit immediately.
- Due to time constraints, Bob was only able to present a part of his
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
ACLA members only attending.
- Details of the 2003 dues paid, association dues not (yet) paid and
expenditures would be provided in the near future by the new Treasurer,
Carolyn Carter, who was unable to attend the meeting.
- A wide-ranging discussion on Mike McElhone's proposal for the ACLA to
pay for DNA testing of stream water testing resulted in a unanimous vote
to pay up to $3,500 for the testing and to proceed with it ASAP; the
Maitland Valley Conservation Authority would assist in the gathering of
samples to be gathered from around the area which would be sent to Atlanta
for the testing.
- Heinz Puhlmann sought support for the hiring of a Summer student in
2004 to assemble and co-ordinate available environmental data relevant to
our area from among the various government websites; a $3,500 grant was
apparently available for this research.
- Warren Harold urged the ACLA to write a press release on the DNA
testing and insure everyone in government and the local press received a
- A discussion proceeded on the best strategies associations used to
get lakeshore associations to pay ACLA dues; some smaller associations
appear to vote for per cottage contributions to be paid out of an annual
fees, while larger areas have voluntary contributions (e.g. 105 of 130
properties in Amberley); the value-add of ACLA to some cottagers remains
unrealized based on the number of unpaid associations; the need to more
widely promote our activities and successes was clear.
- A hand-out summarized details of the Bluewater Township Road
Maintenance Grants implemented last October; the ACLA will press ACW Town
Council for similar grants.
- Brief discussion on Building Permit By-Law infraction penalties re.
cottage construction and renovation or the lack thereof; several attendees
noted that in some cases where building permits were obtained, contractors
proceeded to ignore guidelines and build whatever structures they wanted;
no follow-up by the Township or penalties were imposed apparently;
attendees asked for examples of these situations and for guidance on what
to do about it.
- A handout summarized various proposed Mission Statements for the
ACLA; after some discussion, particularly in an attempt to shorten the
proposed statements, the following received the most support:
The mission of the ACLA is to co-ordinate advocacy on common
concerns of the lakeshore community.
- The next ACLA meeting would be scheduled for the week before the 24
May week-end to enable points raised in discussions to be carried back to
Spring association meetings. The Fall meeting would in turn be scheduled
for the week-end before Labour Day. A Steering Committee meeting would be
scheduled for 2-3 weeks before the annual general meeting to agree on the
agenda and appoint members to prepare materials and presentations; a
target date of August 1 was agreed set for submission of annual dues from
Adjournment at 12:59.