09:00-12:00 Saturday May 12, 2012
St. Joseph's Church basement, Kingsbridge
Coffee available 08:30
attending from: Amberley Beach, Ashfield Beach, Brindley Beach, Cedar Grove, Maple Grove, Menesetung Park, Mid-Huron Beach, Port Albert, Shamrock Beach, Lakeland Estates, Huron Sands, Huron Shores, Sunset Beach.
not attending: Birch Beach, Bogie's Beach, Buchanan's Beach, Goat Trail, Green Acres Cove, Horizon View, Huron Sands North, Kingsbridge Shores, Kintail Beach, Lake Huron Resort, Linfield Beach, Martin's Point, Victoria Beach, Vogel's Beach.
ACW Council: Ben Vandiepenbeek (Reeve), Connie Black (Councillor,
Huron County Health Unit: Bob Worsell
Huron Geosciences: Brian Luinstra
Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation: Karen Alexander
Maitland Valley Conservation Authority: Phil Beard
Ministry of the Environment: Ted Briggs
On the file card provided, please identify the most important item that you want to see addressed at this meeting. We will discuss any items not already covered in the "other issues" closing session.
Roger Watt (Huron Sands) and Warren Howard (Cedar Grove) provided an update on the status of experimental ACW-provided services. This is the second year for an ACW-provided recyling bin, and it is working well. This year, we have also asked ACW to take over provision of garbage-bin service instead of its curbside/transfer-point tagged-bag service. The total costs for the season are expected to be the same as the associations have been paying for private-bin services.
Post-meeting update: At its 2012-05-15 meeting, Council gave approval in principle; arrangements for billing are to be completed with the individual associations. Huron Sands has proposed that ACW bill the total cost across all property owners as an add-on to property taxes (as is done with road maintenance costs), and will undertake a petiton to get "66%+1" consent. Maple/Cedar Grove proposes that ACW bill the association this year, and will consider the property-tax billing for 2013.
In response to a question from the floor, the Reeve responded that ACW would be happy to discuss extending either of these experiments to additional lakefront associations, on request.
The 2012 budget is about $5.4 million, with over $1.1 million in capital projects. Operating costs account for $4.3 million, but offsetting revenues leave $2.8 million to be raised through taxation. That is an increase of 3% over 2011. Major expenditures include: completion of London Road ($330K); resurface part of MTO Road ($270K); new tandem truck and plow equipment ($220K); purchase a strip of land to increase the Mackenzie Camp Road allowance to proper width ($45K); new pickup truck ($35K); web-site overhaul ($32K).
This is funded by the County and managed through the Maitland Valley and the Ausable Bayfield conservation authorities. This year, it provides $350,000 for projects to improve and protect water quality. The grants cover up to 50% of the cost. Project proposals from property owners are review and selected by a local committee.
Nigel Bellchamber presented ACLA's proposal at a meeting of Council this past winter. Council discussed the Bluewater Shores municipality's grant-enabling by-law at a recent meeting, and directed staff to prepare an equivalent for its consideration at a subsequent meeting. The by-law will authorize the annual grants and define the "terms and conditions".
The Lake Huron Coastal Centre is producing a "Stewardship Guide" for people living in bluff and gully environments. It will provide information on erosion processes, how we contribute to erosion, and how we can help reduce it. Planting vegetation is an important consideration, and a plant selection guide will be included that can help cottagers select and find suitable species. It will also provide some practical options for managing stormwater runoff. The guide will be in a similar format to the Centre's dune conservation guide, and will be mailed to all lakefront property owners in Huron County sometime this season.
This work is being pursued following discussions at MVCA Shoreline Working Group meetings, and the expressed need for a landowner guide to help people in adapting to changing climate regime in the region. The project is being funded by the Erb Family Foundation (Michigan), HIVA Foundation, Mountain Equipment Coop, Capital Power, and local private donors.
Nigel Bellchamber (Amberley Beach) introduced the two speakers and explained how the work of ACLA, the Bluewater Shores Ratepayers Association, and the Bayfield Ratepayers Association has motivated the creation of this provincial initiative.
A group of environmental professionals with multi-ministry sponsorship has been brought together to coordinate actions that will improve overall water quality along the southeast shores of Lake Huron. The group is leading the Healthy Lake Huron efforts to promote safe and clean beaches and shorelines from Sarnia to Tobermory. $700K has been allocated to the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority to coordinate projects that will serve as a model for rural stormwater management. Five key watersheds have been identified as priorities for immediate action. The group is now working together with local partners to develop and support the implementation of watershed management plans, with specific targeted actions, as well as monitoring and research needs, for each priority area.
This area's project is the Garvey/Glenn Drain, which encompasses 40 farms in a 17 km2 area to the northeast of Port Albert that reaches the lake at Mid-Huron Beach. The landowners are undertaking a variety of projects involving systems of berms and holding ponds to slow down stormwater runoff and thus reduce erosion and pollution, using available funding. However, the total cost for a complete stormwater management system is estimated to be $3M.
Brian outlined how the gully erosion potential limits were developed and the subsequent mapping that has been completed (see the "Documents" section of the MVCA Shoreline Working Group). Phil referenced the policies that MVCA will be using with respect to proposed development.
Brian described the technical investigations that need to be undertaken to provide guidance on what to do for a new or replacement system, both in terms of location and type. Brian and Phil outlined the dilemma that HCHU and MVCA find themselves in with respect to dealing with these issues for properties located on the bluff, many of which do onot have sufficient room for a traditional septic system, and digging to install an alterative system may lead to destablization of the bluff. Making a recommendation on what kind of system and where to place it requires a geotechnical analysis that is likely to cost $8-10K.
The beach-water-sampling monitoring reports for 2011 will soon be available in the Beach Water Quality section of the HCHU website. Sadly, there is no evidence of any trend toward improved water quality, and in some cases, things are getting worse.
In addition to continued testing this season, HCHU will be promoting greater awareness that the beach at the water's edge (the "wave uprush" zone) is an area of concern for pollution. Parents should ensure that their children wash their hands after playing in the sand.
Six of the nine lower-tier municipalities have agreed to participate in HCHU's program (the other three do their own inspections). HCHU hopes to start the testing in 2013.
In 2008, the province made the Health Units responsible for ensuring the safety of private water systems serving more than five properties. Most of these small systems are along the lakefront. HCHU expects to begin inspecting them in parallel with its septic inspection program.
In the meantime, HCHU strongly recommends that more-than-five users should not undertake to split their systems by having additional wells drilled to service individual or smaller numbers of properties. Doing so is not good for the acquifer, and it could also create situations where, due to building-code setback restrictions, a well could block that property or a neighbouring property from having a new septic system if the old one needs to be replaced.
The report for the 2011 season was distributed. 2012 will be the 12th year for this ACLA/MVCA stream-testing program. It is expected to be a dry summer, so there will be some weeks when there will be nothing to test.
The draft proposed plans for the MV and AB watersheds will be released for public comment on May 23; the deadline for comments is June 27. The final proposed plans will be released for public comment on July 11, with deadline August 10. The finalized proposals will be sent to MOE on August 17. The MOE review/approval process is expected to take about six months, since there will be 23 different plans to review. The fact that there are 23 different plans leads to a concern that there may be a lack of consistency in the resulting legislation across the 23 different source-protection regions.
For the last few years, annual operating costs have been averaging around $9,000; most of that is lab fees for stream-testing analyses. There was a net loss of $1431 for 2011/2012, leaving a 2012/2013 starting balance of $12,938. The Steering Committee's recommendation is to leave the request for annual contributions from the member associations at $10 per property.
Warren Howard (Cedar Grove) gave a summary of the expected installations in ACW over the next few years (K2 Wind with 140 1.9mw tubines east of Highway 21, mainly in Ashfield; EDP Renewables with 66 3mw turbines in Ashfield and Colborne, mainly west of Highway 21), and urged concerned property owners to contact the local ACWAIT group. He also commented that the Ontario Real Estate Association requires that people attempting to sell a property must disclose the existence of or plans for wind turbines nearby.