Open letter on Huron County beach conditions


The following letter was mailed or hand delivered to all council members of the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh as well as to the Minister of the Environment, the Environmental Commissioneer, the Mayor of Goderich and several others. A color printout of the 2001 beach data accompanied this letter.

Huron County Beach Water Conditions 2001

Date: October 22, 2001

From: Ashfield-Colborne Lakefront Association

The purpose in writing to you is to bring information to your attention that shows the deplorable state of our beaches. Hopefully this will galvanize action at the Township, County, Provincial, or even the Federal level. While there is a need to increase awareness of the problem, it is even more important to aggressively begin implementing solutions.

The attached two charts prepared by the Ashfield Colborne Lakefront Association summarize 2001 beach water testing results done by the Huron County Health Unit. We would like to commend the diligence of the Health Unit who have done this testing for about a dozen years.

Summarizing the individual test results into a spreadsheet offers the opportunity to get a picture over the 2001 summer season. The first chart shows from May 15 through to July 16, and the second chart (in colour) shows the period from July 23 to Aug 30.

On the second chart, the majority of the readings are red, which means they exceeded the Provincial Water Quality Ecoli Guidelines for swimming of 100. In fact, 71% of the 135 readings for Lake Huron beaches on this chart are over the guideline.

The following eight beaches showed consistently high readings on the second chart.

beach average
Port Albert 258
Ashfield 386
Camp Kintail 547
Falls Reserve 342
Amberley 253
Goderich Main Beach 520
Blacks Point 731
Goderich St. Christophers 525

I hope you will agree that this is unacceptable. If it continues it is a significant threat to our health, tourism and property values. Unless action is taken the problem won't go away. The sad reality is we are guessing at the main causal factors (farm runoff, municipal treatment systems, and septic systems) and we donŐt know the relative importance of each. The lack of information results in finger pointing, but perhaps the time is here to take aggressive action on all three.

What action can you take to help turn around this threat to our community?

Heinz Puhlmann
Dave Cooper

Reply from Goderich Town Council

November 23, 2001

To: Heinz Puhlmann

Dear Mr. Puhlmann:

This is to advise that Goderich Town Council at their meeting of November 19th passed the following motion:

MOTION: Moved by Councillor Ellen Connelly, seconded by Councillor David Yates

That the matter from the Ashfield-Colborne Lakefront Association concerning the Huron County Beach Water Conditions 2001 be referred to the Environmental Committee.


If you should have any questions, please contact me.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of Council,

Yours truly,

Larry J. McCabe


A follow-up reply included a copy of the relevant section of the minutes of a subsequent Council meeting. That document is not available.

Reply from the Ministry of the Environment

Document not available.

Prepared by Heinz Puhlmann and Dave Cooper.