Paul Mundy and Janice Cruickshank, Gerry and Marlene Fischer, Bill and Carol Schultz, Peter Braun, George and Barb Chester, Bill and Vicki Gerth, Dave and Rosemary McCrie, Norm and Maureen Paraschuk, Barry and Marsha Walker, Arnold and Marnie Down, Randy Gulliver, Darcy Lombard, Marion Pepper, Tom and Kim Thompson, Jeremy and Teresa Storer, Maggie Vaivods.
Welcome: Gerry Fischer welcomed everyone to this year's annual meeting and introduced members of the executive.
Minutes of 2005: Moved by Barry Walker and seconded by Marnie Down the minutes of last year were accepted as written.
Treasurers Report: Moved by Barry Walker and seconded by Paul Mundy the treasurer's report was accepted as printed.
Darcy Lombard re. Summer House initiative:
Darcy proposed installing a monofilament disposal system for Miller Lake that would involve using a simple sewer pipe construction provided at significant points around the lake where fishermen may dispose of their waste fishing line rather than throwing it into the lake and creating an environmental hazard. The units would include disposal instructions and identifying stickers from our group. She is asking for promotional and financial support. She has volunteered to put them together herself.
Concern about children and small animals having access and the possible dangers were expressed. Darcy said she would look into this on available websites. It was suggested that they could be placed at the 5 access points where the MLCG information signs are situated.
Moved by Barry Walker and seconded by Rosemary McCrie that the Miller Lake Community Group provide funds for the construction of 5 units to a limit of $80.00. Maggie Vaivods suggested an amendment that our association stickers also go on the units. The motion was carried.
Darcy also spoke about cleaning the shoreline of our lake and how she has worked with school groups, the Bruce Peninsula Environmental Group and the Roots and Shoots program. She proposed that MLCG establish a cleanup group of their own and join Darcys initiative. Volunteers were asked to sign a sheet if they were interested or call Darcy at Summerhouse.
Milt McIver discussed some of the financial constraints on the municipality and the reasons the rise in taxation over the past year. He listed long-term health care and staffing requirements, the local museum and tourism staffing requirements and the perennial high assessment from the boards of education. He indicated there might be a need to increase policing to ensure laws are being enforced.
George Chester expressed concern about boating behaviour on the water and Milt said he would relay that message to the police.
Concern was expressed about the rise in taxes for all and especially waterfront residents. Milt explained that seasonal use is not a factor in assessment and all services need to continue year round. The municipality does not assess for value. MPAC does this as a service to all municipalities. Municipalities, Counties and Boards of Education simply assess a mil rate for residents to pay based on their individual needs. The largest percentage of taxes goes to the school boards.
FOCA is supporting a group called WRAFT that is actively making representations to the government and objecting to the current process of assessing waterfront properties. Currently MPAC has a 2-year freeze on new assessments.
The municipality is in the process of purchasing two new pumper trucks for the fire department to replace the old equipment, some of which has been modified from original purposes. There are 50 well-trained volunteer firefighters in the municipality.
Maggie Vaivods expressed concern re. an individuals unlicensed quarrying on private lands. Ministry of Natural Resources handle this but they do not regulate control over surface rock. Only quarrying below the surface requires a permit. Please contact the MNR (Dave Munro) if you have specific concerns. They will investigate.
Carol Schultz asked about the by-law enforcement officer and the time it takes to return calls. Milt indicated that calls are usually returned promptly. He agreed to check that the system of response is working as it should.
In response to a concern about dogs running loose especially on the Tammy's Cove side of the lake, Milt suggested that if dogs are not supposed to be loose. We need to phone in our concerns and that the bylaw officer in charge should respond as soon as he is able.
re. road improvements:
The East Rd. improvements are being supported by funds from the government infrastructure improvement funding. The East Rd. will eventually be “hard topped” from Rd. 5 to the Dyers Bay Rd. Although some people want blacktop on Tammy's Cove Rd. others do not. The first priorities are the main arteries.
re. the Tammy's Cove extension:
It is still a private road built to provide access to a building site. The municipality will eventually assume control when construction is complete. It is being built to current standards.
re. dumpsters on Tammy's Cove Rd.:
There was concern that the current dumpsters are being over used and as a result garbage is being left outside the boxes and being strewn into the bush nearby. Some cottagers are taking their garbage home but members expressed a need to solve this problem. Suggestions included more frequent pickup, an extra dumpster at Tammy's Cove or consider extending the dumpster service to the Barneys Blvd./Miller Lake Rd. area when the contract comes up.
Re. Public Access areas on Miller Lake:
Barry Walker asked Milt if summer students could be assigned to clean up and improve the park areas on the lake. There is a fairly large park/public access on the Tammy's Cove Rd. and a smaller one near the Barney's Blvd/Barnett's Drive intersection which have been especially neglected. It seems that with a little effort, these parks could be maintained in a more appropriate manner for public use. Milt indicated that he could see if the summer students could be assigned this task and get to it this summer.
re. speed limit signs:
Gerry asked about having more consistent signing of the roads around the lake to ensure all motorists are made aware of the need for safer speeds around the lake. The existing signs are a beginning but they are not yet adequate on all roads especially Barneys Blvd. and Tammy's Cove Rd. Milt asked that we mention this in our minutes when we forward them to him.
Appreciation was expressed at the presence of the councillors who were able to attend our meeting, including Milt McIver, Cathleen ___________ , Patricia Creig, John Boyle and Betsy Stewart .
Nominations for the new executive:
Barb Chester volunteered as Vice president. Carol Schultz volunteered to help anyone who took on the treasurers' role. Barry Walker volunteered for the position of Treasurer. Norm Paraschuk volunteered for the position of Secretary. Paul Mundy volunteered to remain on as President again. A motion to accept these volunteers was moved by Gerry Fischer, seconded by Janice Cruickshank and the motion was carried.
Gerry Fischer explained about liability insurance and the lack of risk assumed by our group. The cost of carrying this insurance would mean raising our annual fee to about 40.00 per household. With discussion, it did seem that we gain nothing from such a purchase since at this time our Group does not engage in activities that would incur risk. Each member of our new executive agreed to do without the insurance this year. Barry Walker moved that we not purchase a package this year but continue to review this concern annually. Seconded by Paul Mundy, the motion was carried. The annual membership fee will stand at $10.00 per household for 2006-2007.
Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations (FOCA) Report:
Paul gave a summary of news from FOCA including:
- do not move soil, firewood or other such materials from one area of Ontario to another, as there are concerns about spreading foreign insect and other infestations to our region.
- the property tax group CAPT-R is coordinating with WRAFT to make recommendations to the provincial government to recommend that tax assessments be limited to 5% to avoid the huge tax increases being seen around the province. The government has chosen to put a freeze on any increases for the next two years. (a cynic might infer or until after the next provincial election)
- The OPP have a crime prevention website for cottagers that includes a tip sheet for securing your property.
- he encouraged us all to read about the upcoming municipal elections in the local news services and get out and vote for the candidates we wish to represent us.
- restricting use of personal watercrafts or empowering local governments to create bylaws on our behalf continues to be an issue but repeated bills before the senate have been tabled yet again. The struggle continues.
- the use of PFDs (personal flotation devices) should never be an option. Every year drownings occur because someone thought they wouldn't need one on their last trip. A recent story in the paper illustrated this when two people in a boat that capsized were left with only one between them. Only one survived.
- our own recent concern about the construction of gravel pits and quarries is becoming a province wide problem as companies continue to expand into cottage country in an effort to provide gravel for an ever increasing demand not just in Ontario but from New York and neighbouring states. In some regions there is little regulation or control on the practice and environmental damage is sparking concerns from residents. Our local quarry has limits put on its operation but inspections are not always carried out. Members are advised to report apparent problems to the MNR for investigation.
- lake water testing was done last year but the samples were mishandled at the lab and test results were not available.
- septic tanks and fields need to be maintained and inspected periodically to ensure there is no runoff to the lake or otherwise endanger habitat. Carol Schultz provided some brochures on septic tank and fields and advised that regulations may be changing around disposal resulting in greater costs to pump out a system.
-there have been bear sightings at the dumpsters and residents are advised to be cautious when dropping material off for collection.
Call George and Donna if you would like to participate in the memorial tournament.
The next AGM will be scheduled for July 28, 2007 at 10:00 am.
The meeting was adjourned and members retired to the annual BBQ.