KLCOA thanks Reeve Fearrey & Councillor Norcross for speaking at Spring Meeting – References Septics, Kennisis Landfill
KLCOA sent a letter thanking Reeve Fearrey & Councillor Norcross for speaking at the 2017 Spring Meeting. During the meeting, Councillor Norcross indicated that Dysart has decided to transition the Kennisis Landfill Site to a transfer station. KLCOA appreciates that Dysart has responded to our input that we need continued access to waste disposal in our area and this approach will minimize future environmental risks. Reeve Fearrey indicated his support for a 5 year “pass” for property owners who voluntarily undertake an inspection of their septic systems and complete whatever work is indicated.
KLCOA asks Dysart to Implement Mandatory Septic Re-Inspection Program
Properly maintained and functioning septic systems are critical to maintaining good water quality on our lakes. Even a properly functioning system has some impact on the lake, and a single system which is malfunctioning can have a very harmful impact on a nearby lake. Failed systems pose a serious public health risk and can contaminate the surrounding ground and water, and enter drinking water systems far beyond the property boundaries. For this reason, the KLCOA has been educating its members on proper septic system care and maintenance for many years.
It is now over 50 years since substantial development began on the Kennisis Lakes. Some properties on our lakes may still have the steel drum type sewage disposal systems that were often used before septic tanks were required. While many of these may have been replaced with proper septic systems, without a re-inspection program there is no obligation on the property owner to do the right thing. A large number of the septic systems on our lakes are older than twenty years old – and some may now be beyond their functional life.
The KLCOA believes that we need to act now to ensure that the Kennisis Lakes continue to enjoy the excellent water quality that we all enjoy. The Love Your Lake Shoreline Assessment results which you will be receiving this Spring will help property owners identify where you might re-naturalize your shorelines to put in more of a buffer zone to protect the lake. The KLCOA will be running a septic inspection “open house” this Spring to encourage property owners to voluntarily have their septic system examined by a licensed inspector. These inspections will help owners address small problems before they become big and costly issues, and will identify failing systems that need to be replaced. More details will be shared in upcoming e-Blasts and at our Spring Meeting.
We have also met with and written to Dysart et al to ask them to put in place a mandatory septic re-inspection program. While we continue to strongly encourage voluntary efforts by all property owners to regularly pump out their septics and to voluntarily have them inspected, we believe that we have now reached the point where periodic mandatory inspection is necessary. The cost for an inspection is very minor compared to the financial impact of deteriorating lake water quality!
In 2011, the Ontario Government changed the Ontario Building Code to give municipalities the authority to implement mandatory septic re-inspections and provided guidelines for such programs. Since then, several municipalities have implemented mandatory inspection requirements. There are a number of issues to address and we are encouraged that Dysart et al is currently working on some of these elements. We have offered to assist them in implementing a mandatory septic re-inspection program, including possibly doing some kind of pilot program. We will keep our members informed as this issue progresses. In the end, we think it’s the right step to take to protect our lakes.
Dysart Review of Landfill Options
As a matter of prudent planning, the municipality of Dysart et al is reviewing its landfill sites to address environmental and financial issues. They have engaged consultants who are working with staff to do an assessment of options for each location, including the Kennisis Lake dump. While this work is in its initial stages, we understand that one option that might be put forward is closure of the Kennisis Lake dump, requiring property owners on the Kennisis and Redstone Lakes and surrounding areas to take their household garbage and recyclables to the West Guilford location.
We sent a letter to Dysart Reeve Murray Fearrey expressing our view that we need to continue to have a waste disposal approach in our immediate area, and asking for the opportunity to review documents as they become available publicly and to provide our input before any decisions are made. We also referenced the survey of members’ preferences for dump hours that we are now doing and our interest in meeting with Dysart if there is significant interest in a change of hours.
We will keep members apprised of developments on this issue through our e-blasts.
KLCOA asks Dysart to Implement Balanced Fireworks Law
Many neighbouring municipalities have put in place by-laws to impose some restrictions on the use of fireworks to address environmental, safety and noise concerns. The Canada Day Fireworks Display sponsored by the KLCOA for the community and the privately-sponsored fireworks display on the August weekend at the Marina are long-standing Kennisis traditions and are among the Association’s best-attended events. They are set up by trained pyro-technicians with safety as the first priority and to minimize impact on the lake.
On the other hand, we frequently hear complaints from members who are disturbed by fireworks late at night and who believe that safety, fire risk and environmental impact may not have been fully considered.
After some research and discussion, the KLCOA Board sent a letter to Dysart et al to ask them to consider implementing a by-law that would provide a framework for safe, environmentally-responsible and considerate fireworks displays. We indicated that we would welcome the opportunity to participate in any public consultations that Dysart might undertake in developing a by-law.
Our letter was discussed briefly at the April 25, 2016 Dysart Council meeting. There was some question as to whether another by-law was required since there already is a noise by-law, but our Councillor Susan Norcross noted the additional fire risk and Reeve Murray Fearrey noted that many other municipalities have moved forward with regulations providing a framework for safer, environmentally friendlier fireworks.
On July 25, 2016, Dysart Council passed a new noise by-law with the following clause: 2.3) No person shall discharge or cause the discharge of Fireworks between the hours of 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM.
We welcome any comments on this issue to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KLCOA Communication to Bell Mobility and Rogers Wireless re: Cell Coverage
KLCOA sent an email in Spring 2016 to Bell Mobility and to Rogers Wireless expressing our interest in seeing further enhancements to cell coverage on the lakes.
KLCOA followed up with a letter in late August, 2016 to BCE CEO George Cope asking to work with Bell in understanding where we have wireline and wireless services around the Kennisis Lakes and identifying strategies to address gaps in service. Bell Canada has contacted KLCOA and indicated that they are now doing the analytics and will be in contact with us with respect to opportunities.
KLCOA Letter to Ontario Minister of Natural Resources Bill Mauro re: New Dock Permit Requirements
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will now require property owners to obtain authorization for construction, replacement or structural repair of docks/decks/ramps over 15 m. sq cumulatively that are supported by posts, stilts, poles or floats.
Ministry Staff in Minden advise that the requirement to apply for a permit for “replacement” applies to structural elements such as joists and cribs; however, cosmetic replacement, for example of a few rotting deck boards, will not require a permit. The 15 sq.m. limit is cumulative – that is, any combination of shoreline deck, ramp and/or dock that together exceeds 15 sq. m. will require a permit going forward. (Existing structures are grandfathered at least until structural replacement is required or expansion is desired). This includes floating docks and ramps that are entirely in the air (between a floating dock and a shoreline deck, for example).
Permit applications and a guide are available at the Minden MNRF office (12698 Hwy 35 Minden, Phone: 705-286-1521). The staff is hopeful that they will be posted online shortly. We encourage you to check with us for the most recent version when you need to apply for a permit.
While the Minden office appreciates that there will likely be a fair volume of applications for permits, at this time they are unable to estimate how long it may take for a permit to be reviewed and approved.
Please note that while this is a new requirement at the provincial level, existing municipal (and in some cases, federal) requirements still apply.
KLCOA (along with FOCA and many other stakeholders) have written to express concern to the Minister that there has not been a clear statement as to why this new requirement has been established – it is duplicative and conflicts with municipal setback requirements. We understand that criteria have not been fully established; the forms and documents are not yet available online; no process has been established to handle the expected volume of applications and the Ministry is not staffed to handle the applications.
While KLCOA recognizes that regulation of shoreline structures is necessary to protect lake habitat, we have asked the Minister to indicate why this new authorization is required. If in fact it is required, we ask the government to clearly state where permits will be required and what the criteria for authorization will be, to post the documents on-line, and ensure that they have the trained staff available to handle the applications.
KLCOA Input to Dysart Official Plan
Dysart is undertaking a review of its Official Plan – the framework document that sets broad policy direction for issues within Dysart’s jurisdiction. In August 2016, KLCOA submitted a letter with our input on the key issues.