Council Reports: January 9, 2006

Confidential/Closed Session; Staff Resignation; Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Report About Beach Water Quality in 2005; Severn Sound Environmental Report About Investigations into Sources of Beach Water Pollution in 2005; E-Genda; Changes to the Townships Procedural By-Law; Budget Discussions; Septic Re-Inspection Update; Future Sewage System Inspections in Tiny; Council Supports the Federation’s Letter to the Ombudsman with Regard to the Transparency and Integrity of MPAC; Zoning By-Law PassedREPORT ON COUNCIL
January 9, 2006
Committee of the Whole Meeting: 9:06 a.m. – 6:56 p.m.
Regular Evening Meeting: 7:09 p.m. – 8:18 p.m.
All members of Council present.

CONFIDENTIAL / CLOSED SESSION: 5:37 p.m. – 6:56 p.m.

STAFF RESIGNATION: John Theriault, the Township’s treasurer, has accepted a position as CAO/Clerk of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA DISTRICT HEALTH UNIT REPORT ABOUT BEACH WATER QUALITY IN 2005: Bernard Mayer, Safe Water Manager for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, made a presentation about the Health Unit’s monitoring of water quality at public beaches in Tiny Township. It covered basics – reasons for posting a beach, monitoring period (mid-June to the end of August), conditions noted at the time of sampling (sampling time, wind direction, size of waves, water temperature, water clarity, rainfall, number of bathers and waterfowl). The conclusion was that elevated E. coli counts occurred primarily in July and August when there had been rain in the previous 24 hours, an onshore wind, water temperature above 17 degrees C, muted sunlight, low water clarity, and high wave action.
Mayer noted that a Ryerson graduate student is going to investigate groupings of factors to see which combination better predicts high E. coli counts. He also noted that the Ministry of Health is reviewing the protocol by which a beach is posted when the geometric mean of five beach samples is 100 E. coli or more per 100 ml of sample water. Apparently the U.S. has recently raised the level at which a beach is posted to 126 E. coli. The Health Unit will continue its sampling of public beaches in Tiny Township in 2006.
For the report, click HERE (pdf).

SEVERN SOUND ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT ABOUT INVESTIGATIONS INTO SOURCES OF BEACH WATER POLLUTION IN 2005: Keith Sherman noted that tipping bucket rain gauges had been installed on the roofs of a number of township buildings. As these monitor total rainfall and its intensity at five-minute intervals, it is now possible to assess more carefully the impact of rain on particular beaches.
Sampling was done along the length of the big and small streams at Balm Beach, for nitrate and phosphorous and E. coli levels. Nitrates were higher than they should be, phosphorous was generally within recommended guidelines, while E. coli counts rose to unacceptable levels as the streams passed through the built up area near the beach. Some samples got as high as 4,000 E. coli per 100 ml.
Work on chemistry, temperature, and E. coli and flow was done along the length of Lafontaine Creek, which emerges on the shore south of Concession Road 13. Typically the E. coli load was 300-500 per 100 ml, but one tributary south of the 13th had very elevated counts. More work is to be done on this tributary in the summer of 2006. In the fall of 2005, a water level gauge was installed in the Pennorth area to monitor flow in the creek.
Some investigation was done on green, sponge-like stuff in the water at Lafontaine Beach, where rock groynes have created sheltered areas with little renewal of the water and summer water temperatures of as much as 31 degrees (well above the usual 20-23 degrees). The SSEA is looking into why one group was permitted to remove groynes, while others were not.
A little more work has been done about the impact of the Nottawasaga River on water quality at Woodland Beach. The transport of sediment from the river north into Tiny continues; it settles in sheltered areas, primarily on the south side of points. However, monitoring of E. coli levels in the mouth of the Nottawasaga on July 25 showed only modest counts. For the report, click HERE (pdf).
Allan Crowe, of Environment Canada, and a resident of Woodland Beach, did some work on ground water and on pollution in what he calls the “swash zone” – the area at the edge of the bay where waves wash back and forth. There were high E. coli counts here, but it was not clear whether this had any impact on swimming water quality further out in the Bay.

E-GENDA: A glitch has surfaced in Council’s move to E-gendas for those who lack high speed internet connection. Downloading parts of the agenda (the minutes, for example) takes roughly 30 minutes for those on dial-up. As this affects several members of Council, paper agendas will continue to be provided for them. Nonetheless, a real plus is the wide range of material now available to everyone with internet connections.

CHANGES TO THE TOWNSHIP’S PROCEDURAL BY-LAW: One of these concerns the formal reading of by-laws during the regular evening meetings of Council. A staff report recommended that the reading of by-laws be condensed under one motion for the introduction of the by-laws and one motion for the final passing of the by-laws, unless a by-law were to be given only two readings, or unless a member of Council were to request that a separate vote be taken on a particular by-law. This recommendation received the approval of Council.
The second recommendation was that the audio-taping of Council meetings be discontinued on the ground that taping is not required by the Municipal Act, that the clerk records all resolutions, decisions, and proceedings of Council, that the quality of the tapes is poor, and that there is little demand for the tapes. Various points were raised in a wide-ranging discussion, among them that
– neighbouring municipalities have video-tapes as their meetings are televised
– the existence of tapes encourages civility and discourages libelous statements
– it is the responsibility of the chair to maintain order
– digital recording is cheaper and better
– tapes provide a record should one be required during a legal action
– the province may soon require municipalities to tape Council meetings
– difficulties arise when statements are taken out of context.
Council took no decision and will revisit the issue.

BUDGET DISCUSSIONS: Times scheduled so far are January 23rd, from 11 am to 3 pm, February 6th, and February 20th.

SEPTIC RE-INSPECTION UPDATE: Bill Goodale of C.C. Tatham and Associates reported that 1,058 re-inspections were undertaken in the summer of 2005, along with a large number of follow-ups from 2003 and 2004 re-inspections. Shore area communities have now been re-inspected from the Township line to the 14th Concession Road, and inland communities and farms in the area bounded by the Township line on the south, the Nipissing bluff on the west, Baseline Road on the east, and Balm Beach Road (Concession Road 10) on the north.
Firm measures have been taken with unresolved deficiencies discovered in 2003. Thirty-nine properties were issued Orders Not to Occupy and their septic/holding tanks were pumped. Ten more, with applications on file to put in replacement sewage systems, which had not been installed, were issued Unsafe Orders.

FUTURE SEWAGE SYSTEM INSPECTIONS IN TINY: Staff had been asked to considered whether there might be an advantage to doing sewage system inspections and re-inspections, in house, rather than hiring the necessary expertise. Their recommendation was that the Township continue with Tatham.
Council decided to extend Tatham’s contract for three years at the current rates, and approved plans for this year’s re-inspection program.

COUNCIL SUPPORTS THE FEDERATION’S LETTER TO THE OMBUDSMAN WITH REGARD TO THE TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY OF MPAC: Council decided to send a letter of endorsement of the letter the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations had written to the Ombudsman. Their letter was to be copied to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

ZONING BY-LAW PASSED: The Zoning By-Law, which puts into effect the provisions of Tiny Township’s Official Plan, has finally been passed. There is now an appeal period. If there are appeals, then those have to be dealt with before the By-law becomes fully effective. During the bridging period both old and new By-laws are in force.
Note: although the schedules (maps) and text have been prepared with care and reviewed many times, there are likely to be mistakes in a document that deals with roughly 18,000 properties. There will be mop-up amendments, from time to time, as these are discovered.