Communications Coordinators meeting, 2013-05-11

09:00-12:00 Saturday May 11, 2013
Christ Church basement, 7 London Road, Port Albert
(intersection of London and Russell, at the top of the bluff)

Coffee available 08:30

Attendees and invited guests

ACLA Communications Coordinators and designated alternates

Attending: Amberley Beach, Cedar Grove, Hunter's Beach, Huron Sands, Huron Shores, Kintail Beach, Lakeland Estates, Maple Grove, Menesetung Park, Mid-Huron Beach, Port Albert, Sunset Beach.

Not attending: Ashfield Beach, Brindley Beach, Birch Beach, Bogie's Beach, Buchanan's Beach, Goat Trail, Green Acres Cove, Horizon View, Huron Sands North, Kingsbridge Shores, Lake Huron Resort, Linfield Beach, Martin's Point, Shamrock Beach, Victoria Beach, Vogel's Beach.

Guests attending

09:00 -- Opening remarks (Roger Watt, Huron Sands)

On the file card provided, please identify any additional item(s) that you want to see addressed at this meeting. In the "Other issues" closing session, we will discuss any items that were not covered in the scheduled presentations.

09:05 -- ACW Township update (Ben Vandiepenbeek)

Overview of 2013 budget

Council has approved a 3% increase in the Municipal component of the monies to be raised from property taxes (the County and Education components are not set by ACW). See Budget Highlights for an overview.

Grants to assist with maintenance of roads not maintained by ACW

Council has passed a By-Law enabling grants to lakefront associations to assist in the maintenance of unassumed roads (up to 30% of the total eligible expenses, to a maxiumum of $800 per kilometer), regardless of the ownership of the road, provided that the road is not closed to the public. See the Roads Grant Policy for details and conditions.

Burning By-Law

Council has passed a By-Law with provisions that affect fires in "settlement" and "natural environment" areas (zoning definitions that encompass most lakefront properties). Small contained fires are permitted in outdoor BBQs and permanent grills for the cooking of food, and in outdoor containers for the cooking of food and/or the burning of yard waste. See the Burning By-Law for details.

Tree-Cutting By-Law

Council is considering drafting a By-Law that will give us the legal ability to take action against the over-aggressive clearing of trees in areas zoned Natural Environment, which includes the lakefront bank. We would like a by-law that is short, easy to read, and conveys the message that "if you do it, we can require you to restore it".

Septic Inspection

The program of septic-system inspections as proposed by the Huron County Health Unit failed to get support from a sufficient number of the nine municipalities. Whether Council might initiate a Township-level program is unclear; the matter is not currently under consideration.

09:30 -- Programs, research, and support for erosion control and runoff (Jacqui Laporte, OMAF/OMRA)

Speaker's presentation materials. (PDF, 240K)

Status of the Environmental Farm Plan

Trends in the agriculture industry that are driving change

A new initiative in drainage

Bi-national research day in June to share information on nutrient loading and stewardship

See Essex Region Conservation Authority website


10:00 -- Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation (Karen Alexander)

Bluff Stewardship Guide

The Guide is now online. Printed copies were at the meeting, and a number of attendees took copies for distribute to the property owners in their lakefront area. Additional copies can be obtained from the Centre's office in Goderich.

Algae in Lake Huron -- current and future expectations

Algae will continue to be a problem, but not to the same extent as in Lake Erie, which has characteristics quite different from Lake Huron. The Centre continues to work on gathering information that will enable it to make predictions about when and where algae blooms might occur. See Coast Watchers for information on how you can help.

10:20 -- break

10:40 -- Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (Phil Beard)

Update on the Garvey Glen Watershed Project

Information is available on the MVCA website.

The economic need for rural stormwater management programs

Scott Municipal Drain, 2013 Tours

Information on the tour schedule for 2013 is on the MVCA website.

11:10 -- Huron County Health Unit (Jean-Guy Albert)

Water quality at the beaches

The full report will be available on the HCHU website.

Drinking-water quality, small-system and private wells

Many people do not seem to be aware that they can obtain "test" kits locally and have the samples analyzed, for free. Details are available on the HCHU website.

11:40 -- Environmental update (Mike McElhone, Port Albert North)

Stream testing

The 2012 results for the 12 streams monitored along Highway 21 show that:

Comments on Beach water quality data

On average over the last few years, the water at the beaches tested by the HCHU was unsafe for swimming on 30-45% of the dates tested. See analysis of 2008-2012 results.

Report on the Great Lakes meeting held August 2012 in Goderich

ACLA succeeeded in having this meeting transferred from Windsor to Goderich. It was very well attended.

11:50 -- Treasurer's report (Jim Baird, Amberley Beach)

Fiscal year ending April 30, 2013

contributions from participating associations: $4,470.00
contribution from ACW Township:                 2,500.00
bank interest:                                     25.53
                                       subtotal ........ $6,995.53
stream-testing lab costs:                      $4,352.96
facility rental for annual meeting:               107.33
website-provider fee:                             148.82
Great Lakes meeting, participant expenses:        286.00
bank charges:                                      23.50
                                       subtotal ........ $4,918.61

The past several seasons have been relatively dry, resulting in about only half of the usual stream-testing samples, so the costs of the lab analyses have been about half of what they normally would have been. Consequently, the ACLA bank account now stands at $14,615. Our objective is to maintain a reserve sufficient to cover the expenses of one normal season (about $9,000) in the absence of any contribution income.

11:55 -- ACLA direction (discussion)

Discussion ensued over whether to halve the contributions requested for 2013 or to pursue new initiatives. Nobody was in favour of decreasing the contribution requests. Everyone agreed that we need to increase our lobbying efforts in pursuit of our objectives in support of the lakefront community.

We anticipate that we will have to contend with the challenge of increasing "turn-over" of people (due to retirement, etc) in the agencies and the provincial ministries with which we collaborate (and possibly in ACLA itself). Every time this happens, it causes a loss of "corporate memory" that requires us to start again, almost from the beginning, to rebuild relationships and trust.

We therefore intend to pursue the creation of some form of professional-calibre materials that we can use for lobbying/promotion, to convey ACLA's objectives on behalf of the lakefront community.

We have formed a small working group that will refine a strategy, develop a plan, and make recommendations to the Steering Committee for approval to proceed, with the objective of having the materials created in time for use during the 2014 season. The members of the working group are:

12:15 -- Other issues (discussion)

Q: Why the new ACW Burning By-Law?
A: ACW's By-Law Enforcement Officer advised Council that the previous by-law was not precise enough to be enforceable.

12:20 -- Adjourn