For the actual wording of the motions indicated, click the links where indicated.

PARTIAL REPORT ON COUNCIL
July 30, 2001

All members of Council Present

FUNDING FOR WATER TESTING PROGRAM CANCELLED: On Monday evening Council voted unanimously to withdraw its offer of $3,000 matching funding (of an estimated total cost of $8000). (Nonetheless, as the project is a good one, it has been decided to continue so that the original objective of a full summer season’s baseline statistics about the quality of the water along Tiny’s shorelines -- Bay, Lake and influent streams -- will be complete.)

Judith Grant (president of the Federation) and John Neil (consulting water expert to the water sampling program) and Eric Watson and Ted Devine of the Simcoe County District Health Unit met on July 25 and decided to request a meeting on Thursday July 26 with the Clerk/CAO and the Mayor to discuss two matters: signage at the few polluted stream outflows along the shore where children play, and the more basic matter of what ought to be done to discover and remediate the sources of pollution in the streams that have high E. coli counts week after week. The meeting was moved to July 30’s Committee of the Whole. It turned into an attack on the water program and the Federation. There was no serious discussion about the health and liability issues surrounding signage. And there was no serious discussion about what ought to be done about the sources of the pollution. Instead councillors simply attacked the program and withdrew their support. The motion cancelling funding for the water program (click here for the full wording) claimed that Council’s support had been contingent on three conditions:

1) "that the program would test primarily shoreline swimming water." There is no reference to this condition in the motion Council passed on June 25 (click here for the full wording). The initial deputation asking for support for the program stated clearly that the testing of streams was involved. It says: "We believe that it is important that a comprehensive evaluation of the shoreline and influent streams and of Farlain Lake should be conducted through one summer season to provide a clear understanding of the safety of the water along Tiny's whole shore and in Farlain Lake." The article in the Spring/Summer Tiny Cottager (which appeared in early June, long before Council got around to its offer of funds) is likewise clear on the subject. In any event, even though this was not a stated condition, the program actually does test "primarily shoreline swimming water". Eighty of the 100 or so sampling sites are at swimming depth in Bay or Lake.

2) "that the Simcoe County District Health Unit would retest if any adverse results were found and advise the township of all results." Neither the Simcoe County District Health Unit nor the Federation understood retesting by the Health Unit to be a condition. The Health Unit told Council that it is already stretched to the limit with the four extra public access points it agreed to monitor this summer. There is no reference to this condition in the motion of June 25.

A week or so after Council passed the June 25 motion offering matching funds, Judith Grant telephoned Earl Evans, CAO/Clerk, to go over the requirements of the motion with him. What sort of financial accounting was required? -- fairly general year-end accounting, no need to list the amounts of individual donations. Was it possible to submit interim accounting, say after a $1000 of donations had been received? That appeared to be fine. (The Federation paid the first invoices from the laboratory last week. Sufficient funds had been raised to cover those invoices. An interim accounting was about to be submitted to the Township.)

The Clerk told Judith Grant that the other three requirements ("that the township be advised by the Simcoe County District Health Unit of all results, posting of signs and investigations that arise from bad results") were between the Health Unit and the Township, and that the Township wanted to deal directly with the Health Unit, not with the Federation. She then called Eric Watson of the Health Unit and read the motion to him. He saw no problem with meeting these requirements. The Federation then thought that the results were being forwarded. Apparently that did not happen. But no one complained to the Federation that results were not being forwarded. In any case, the results are available at http://tinycottager.org, for anyone to see.

With regard to "investigations that arise from bad results," that was one of the things that was to have been discussed at the proposed meeting.

3) "that the Health Unit would be responsible for authorizing and posting any warning signs if deemed necessary." The original June 25 motion asked that the Health Unit advise the Township of "posting of signs." Nothing was said about "authorizing and posting" by the Health Unit.

Unquestionably, communication should have been better between the Federation and the Health Unit and the Township on the matter of signs.

On the weekend of July 14-15, informed of counts greater than 600 E. coli per mL, two weeks in a row, in streams in their area where children play, two associations posted signs in the streams on the beach. One read "Please keep out of this pool as it has tested unsafe for drinking, bathing or swimming" with the beach association's name at the bottom followed by "under advisement from the Simcoe County Health Unit". Two others read "Warning High E. Coli Count" followed by the acronym of the beach association. The Township and the Health Unit received many calls from worried citizens. The Federation discussed the matter with the Health Unit, and asked the first association to remove the reference to the Health Unit, as the latter had not done the sampling; this was done. The second association agreed to make clear that its sign related only to the stream and not to the beach as a whole, by adding the words "in stream", and did so.

Then, without consulting with the Federation, early in the week of July 18th the Township put out a news release and posted its own signs. Both were headed "Safe Swimming Conditions in Tiny Township" and continued "Township of Tiny Council is concerned about private signs on Township beaches indicating high e-coli counts. The water tests appear to relate to drainage ditches and culverts as opposed to beaches normally used for swimming." Click here for the full text of the news release (and signs). The Township's signs were placed next to two of the original signs in the problematic outflows.

At the meeting on July 25 between the Federation and the Health Unit, it was agreed that the Health Unit would suggest wording which could properly be used on signs in such polluted streams on the beach. It was also agreed that decisions about who would take responsibility for authorizing a sign should be worked out on a case by case basis. One of the reasons the Federation and the Health Unit had asked for a meeting with the Township was to discuss the way such signage should be handled.

However, rather than work together with the Federation and the Health Unit to deal with these issues, Council simply peremptorily, without notice or consultation, attacked the water testing program and cancelled its offer of funding.


Motion #: 457/01
June 25, 2001

Moved by R. Buchkowsky, seconded by Gordon Salisbury

THAT the Township of Tiny provide matching funds up to $3000 in support of the Shoreline Water Testing Program to be conducted by volunteers from beach associations with requirements that financial statements for this project be provided to the Township and that the township be advised by the Simcoe County District Health Unit of all results, posting of signs and investigations that arise from bad results.

Motion #: 564/01
July 30, 2001

Moved by R. Buchkowsky, seconded by Gordon Salisbury

WHEREAS Council originally offered to contribute to the cost of the volunteer water testing program proposed by the Federation of Tiny [Township] Shoreline Associations (FOT[T]SA);

WHEREAS Council made this offer based on three conditions:
• that the program would test primarily shoreline swimming water;
• that the Simcoe County District Health Unit would retest if any adverse results were found and advise the township of all results; and
• that the Health Unit would be responsible for authorizing and posting any warning signs if deemed necessary.

AND WHEREAS these conditions were not met and undue public concern was raised about the safety of swimming water in the Township of Tiny;

BE IT RESOLVED that Council hereby cancels its offer to contribute to the cost of the water testing program as proposed by the Federation of Tiny [Township] Shoreline Associations (FOT[T]SA).


NEWS RELEASE [AND SIGNS]

July 18, 2001


Safe Swimming Conditions in Tiny Township

Township of Tiny Council is concerned about private signs on Township beaches indicating e-coli counts. The water tests appear to relate to drainage ditches and culverts as opposed to beaches normally used for swimming.

Township staff have been informed that these tests were not performed by the Simcoe County District Health Unit. Signs were not posted by the Health Unit.

The Township is cooperating with the Health Unit in continuing professional sampling and recording water readings in Georgian Bay. Test results from the Health Unit will be posted on the Township web site when available.

In the interim, the public is assured by the Health Unit that swimming in Georgian Bay remains totally safe.

For more information, contact Mayor Robert Klug or Earl
Evans, CAO/Clerk at 526-4204.