Miller Lake Community Group
AGM - 2011

July 23, 2011

Opening Remarks - Maggie Vaivods, President

Introduction of the executive
Vice President, Treasurer and Web Manager, Randy Gulliver
Water Steward, Barb Chester
Secretary, George Chester
Past President, Barry Walker
Assisting Secretary for today's meeting, Paul Mundy

The agenda for the day's meeting was presented and approved.

Maggie called attention to the brochure published by the Group. She referred members to the list of contacts for information or concerns in the community. The purpose of the listed information is to get members to follow up their concerns with action.

MLCG Brochure Randy gave information about the website and our FOCA (Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations) membership.

The website is a resource for the members with links to provincial agencies, articles, videos from FOCA, a bulletin board for members' discussion. He did caution participants that, when registering for the bulletin board, they provide only their street names but not property number. This is for privacy reasons and defeats netbots that scour the Internet collecting personal data.

FOCA membership is our most expensive item on the treasurer's report. FOCA represents all cottagers and country residential owners not just waterfront property owners. The organization lobbies on behalf of all rural property owners re. water quality, land use reviews, encourages us to form a Lake Plan, offers discounts of Cottage Life magazine and our individual insurance policies as benefits of our membership.

Acceptance of the minutes of last year was moved by Paul Mundy and seconded by Carol Schultz. The motion was carried. There were no questions at this time.

Treasurer's Report - Randy Gulliver

After normal expenses the association has minimal funds left to finance even the smallest project. We would need funds to assist any fish stocking project or other Lake Steward activity. It was pointed out that approval had been given to raise dues to $15 at the last meeting. This was again approved and noted for the coming year.

Discussion ensued regarding fish stocking. A fishermen's group has in the past stocked pickerel in the lake and more recently maintained clean gravel box beds to encourage spawning. Randy reported that, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the conditions in Miller Lake can only support Bass and Wall-eye. Sharon Lombard indicated that Summerhouse would co-operate with any stocking plans or activities. Randy also reported that the MNR would undertake an environmental assessment of the lake before approving fish stocking. The MNR was unable to confirm a cost, if any, for this procedure.


Mayor's Report - Milt McIver

The tar and chipping of Tammy's Cove Rd will be 3 - 4 years before it is included in the municipality's improvement plans. The Road Maintenance department proposes improvements and maintenance as needed and the budget allows.

Tammy's Cove entrance A member observed that Cherry Hill Rd was improved recently when only a few people live on it yet Tammy's Cove Rd has so many residents and yet the road is not receiving the upkeep needed.

The Mayor responded that Cherry Hill Rd is part of an ongoing project that requires 2 - 5 years and multiple layers or levels until it is completed. A 5 year Capital Road's Program is the guideline but sometimes other road improvements or maintenance is required before the schedule calls for it. Due to the rising cost of oil, road improvement costs have increased significantly.

Fine-chip and dust have caused complaints in some areas. A new micro surface on these roads may improve conditions and reduce dust. The Mayor did promise to relay members' concerns to council re safety of the road conditions brought on by the loose gravel safety hazard.

The East Rd will get final coats over the next few years.

Next in development is a Long-Term Waste Management Plan Review in the coming year, searching for greater efficiencies.

Any proposal for local development will appear on the municipal website and the minutes of meetings. Applications must be addressed within 90-120 days of submission by provincial law and guidelines. A quarry application from Sutherland was submitted in May and a public meeting was attended by only a very few. The Mayor recommended requesting the municipal clerk send us notices of public meetings to ensure we could attend if we wished.

The new Visitors' Centre was jointly funded by the municipal, provincial and the federal governments. It was moved from its original location due to concerns re water well and septic system.

Members requested that the abandoned and/or unused Name Information boards on Noble Dr and at the corner of Miller Lake Rd and Hwy 6 be removed.

The Mayor informed us that there is now a second By-Law enforcement officer, Carol Hopkins. He encouraged us to use her services and expects a stronger adherence to municipal by-laws with our input.

A member pointed out that there has been flooding on Tammy's Cove Rd in the spring that has migrated across the road and flooded properties including the septic field of J. Rice's property. The Mayor requested that the road staff be contacted to rectify this problem.

Another member asked whether building permits were required or obtained for buildings being constructed on two separate lots on the south side of Miller Lake, which is accessible only by boat.  There is no road on that section of the lake.  When the owners are staying there, is there a proper septic system in existence?  This raises the concern of waste entering the lake. The Mayor suggested that the member contact Don Johnstone at the Municipal office to find out.

A member objected to the municipality's practice of collecting property taxes using the formula of 50% in the winter, 25% in the spring and 25 % in the summer. It was recommended by another member that equal monthly payments is a formula that many use to avoid the severe costs so closely following Christmas time.

The Tobermory Medical Clinic cost the municipality $250,000 along with provincial and federal funding.

There is a Recreation Master Plan to be developed for the municipality. A consultant is to be hired. Public input is welcome. The kind of recreation activities that may have been proposed was not detailed.


Miller Lake Lake Steward's Report

Paul Mundy read the Water Report as prepared by Barb Chester.

Both e-coli and Secchi Disc (determines water clarity) tests were carried out. Results will be published on the association website.

Domestic septic waste systems are the largest human source of phosphorous lake contamination. Four main points were made:
· that we can all contribute to the quality of the lake by ensuring our septic systems pumped out regularly (every 3 - 5 years minimum),
· reducing the amount of water that is processed through your system
· replacing old failed systems
· leaving shorelines natural and undeveloped to encourage a buffer to control erosion and nutrient runoff. This last one also limits the invasion of geese onto lakeshore properties.


Dark Skies Initiative - Dave Andrews, Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association

Dave explained that there are only three viable dark skies areas left in southern Ontario: Algonquin Park, Manitoulin Island and Northern Bruce Peninsula. Preserving dark skies in our area can be a value-added feature for property values purposes and provides a unique aspect of our cottage experience. To help out we are encouraged to:
· use low wattage bulbs, warm light or yellow bug lights in our outdoor sockets,
· install motion sensors/timers or ,better yet, heat sensors/timers to limit the amount of time our outdoor lights are on,
· install shaded lights that direct light downward and limit the area illuminated ,
· install coloured glass on our exterior lights.

You can get a free light assessment done by calling 519-592-5704 and rebates are available to make the changes affordable.


Other Business

The Adopt a Road project needs volunteers to help take on small responsibilities and organize fall cleanups.

Thanks were extended to all volunteers and organizers for past contributions and new volunteers are being sought for flyer distribution and to participate in the Lake Steward / Lake Planning Initiative.

FOCA and the province are promoting an inventory of lake values. This vital feedback will become a valuable tool for future planning in and around our lake. If we don't speak up now we may be forfeiting future influence over planning and contemplated changes. Some members expressed an interest in helping to develop the Lake Plan for Miller Lake.

Regarding the on-going problem of garbage strewn around the dumpsters on Tammy's Cove Rd, we are encouraged to contact Troy at the municipal office for clean up. One member suggested that a third dumpster be added for the busy vacation season.

Darcy Lombard spoke in promotion of the Peninsula Bruce Trail Club and sold raffle tickets on its behalf.

Loose dogs remain a danger and a source of aggravation around the lake. It is important to note that the municipality does have a leash law and negligent owners can and will be fined.

It was recommended that the Association forward their concerns in the form of a letter to the municipality. This was formally moved by Cathy Crockett and seconded by Phil Coates. The motion was carried.

Maggie recommended we as an association join the newly proposed Northern Bruce Peninsula Coalition but we need a volunteer to act as our representative. Please contact Maggie Vaivods if you are interested.

Motion to Adjourn from Barry Walker, seconded by Bruce Hunter. Carried.

Many members brought food donations for the Lion`s Head Food Bank, and we collected three grocery bags of food for the cause.

Meeting adjourned to picnic, burgers and visiting.

Next meeting to be held Saturday July 28, 2012