Communications Coordinators meeting, 2015-05-09

09:00-12:00 Saturday May 9, 2015
Christ Church basement, 7 London Road, Port Albert

Attendees and invited guests

ACLA Communications Coordinators and designated alternates

representatives from 11 of ACW's 22 lakefront areas

Invited guests

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

09:10 -- ACW update (Ben VanDiepenbeek)

  1. 2015 budget highlights: The on-going decrease in provincial funding, coupled with the increase caused by the new billing formula for OPP services, would have required an 8% increase in the ACW portion of property taxes. Attempting to fund these shortfalls, plus the asset-management reserves that the province says we should be setting aside for basic infrastructure (road, bridges, culvertst, etc), plus all of the needed road-work projects and equipment replacements would have required an increase of about 27%. However, by drawing from reserves and deferring most road-maintenance projects and equipment replacement, ACW Council was able to keep this year's tax-levy increase to just 6%. The big-ticket costs are $590K to resurface five blocks of Zion Road, $240K for a new tandem truck with plow equipment, and $130K (ACW's half of the cost) for a new fire truck for the Lucknow & District Fire Department. Including the county and education portions yields a 3.8% overall increase.
  2. Recycling: Starting this year, recycling pick-up will be weekly from the beginning of June through the end of September.
  3. Shoreline tree protection: Sometime in the next few months, Council will be considering a draft Shoreline Tree Protection By-Law. Its purpose is to enable legal recourse in the event that a property owner destroys trees and their root systems on the lakefront slope and thereby decreases the stability of the bank in that area.

09:40 -- MVCA update (Steve Jackson, Geoff King, Melisa Lumyes)

  1. Rising lake level: If the rate that Lake Huron has been rising over the past year continues, it will result in increased erosion leading and incidents of bank "slumping".
  2. Garvey/Glenn project: The "rural stormwater management" model has been developed and is being used to determine what measures will have the best impact on decreasing the erosion and pollution caused by runoff. So far, "conservation tilling" and "no-till" practices are showing the most promise.
  3. Huron Clean Water Project: This project is now in its 10th year. Its purpose is to help fund projects that increase the quality of water in the lake and streams. A new project this year is providing a total of $30,000 via grants for 50% of the cost of installing a composing toilet (which costs in the range of $1300 to $2000).

10:20 -- break

10:40 -- Ministry of the Environment (Ted Briggs)

  1. Healthy Lake Huron is a multi-ministry project is the current result of initiatives that started back in 2002 with the "Southeast Shores Working Group". Since this time, a total of 207 individual projects have been provided with funding assistance. There are five "priority watershed" long-term-improvement projects underway in conjunction with the local Conservation Authorities. However, the current $1.5M funding is far short of the estimated $30M that will be required to complete all five projects.

11:10 -- Treasurer's report (Jim Baird, Amberley Beach)

The year started with a bank balance of $15,166 and ended with a balance of $15,066. The major expenses, as always, are the lab costs for the stream-testing program.

11:20 -- ACLA environmental update (Nigel Bellchamber, Amberley Beach)

  1. ACLA stream testing and HCHU beach testing: results to date show no improvements. The Health Unit conducted DNA testing at Goderich's beaches and found that the major cause of pollution is the gull population, which is probably attracted by the nearby grainery.
  2. ACLA stream testing: Mike McElhone has been doing this for 15 years, and there is now a valuable base of data. However, this will be Mike's last year; if the program is to continue, it will require new volunteer(s)
  3. Water-quality strategy: Mike McElhone and Nigel Bellchamber met with the mayors/reeves of the municipalities abutting Lake Huron, some of whom are new, to increase their awareness of the problems caused by runoff. It is time to approach the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change again. Everyone should pursue every opportunity to discuss the problem with their local MPPs.

11:35 -- ACLA discussion

  1. Point-to-Port Trail: the project committee will be making presentations to ACW and Goderich councils to communicate their business case and attempt to obtain "support in principle" so that the project can get underway.
  2. Environmental Stewardship award: It was proposed that ACLA should create some kind of award that it can bestow in on-going honour of the work of Mike McElhone
  3. .

11:45 -- Adjourn

Next meeting will be Saturday May 14, 2016. Location TBD.