President------------------- Anna Pellizzari
Vice President--------- Daryl Emilio (not present)
Treasurer-------------- Randy Gulliver
Secretary ------------- Keith McKee (not present)
Water Steward------- Dave Dolson
Members at Large - Paul Mundy, Maggie Vaivods
Web Site---------- Randy Gulliver
Our AGM for 2021 was held virtually for the first time in our history. This was due to the pandemic.
We had a surprisingly good turn-out with 42 members logged in online. Those included the Executive: Anna Pellizzari, President; Daryl Emilio, Vice-President; Randy Gulliver, Treasurer; and Dave Dolson, Lake Steward. In addition, the Mayor of Northern Bruce Peninsula, Milt McIver, joined us.
Anna welcomed members and the Mayor. She explained the format and indicated the procedure for asking questions or making comments.
LAKE STEWARD REPORT
Due to the pandemic, there was no E.coli testing completed in 2020. In August 2021, Wayne Bland kindly volunteered to gather samples for this year. For the most part, E.coli levels were down from the previous results in 2019. See the chart below. There's a MAP of the locations on our Lake Health page.
Dave Dolson presented his findings regarding phosphate and calcium levels, done in cooperation with the FOCA Lake Partners program. The trends are worrisome, in particular the rising phosphate levels and decreasing calcium. His report:
- when phosphate nutrients are high, the danger of algae bloom increases
- 2020 results show higher than usual total-phosphate (TP)
- we need to be mindful of fertilizer use
- calcium is important for the growth of microscopic life, the plankton at the bottom of the food chain.
- calcium comes with the spring water passing over rocks
- 2020 results are lower than average
He also warned of the spread of invasive species in the area, particularly zebra mussels and spiny water fleas. He stressed the importance of boat owners cleaning their vessels when they come from another body of water.
Dave has diligently carried out the duties of Lake Steward for many years now, to the benefit of all owners around Miller Lake. He is now moving on to focus on invasive species, and has resigned his post. Miller Lake Community Group thanks him for all his hard work, collecting samples every year and delivering them to labs for testing. We are all in his debt.
We voted online for a new Lake Steward, and Greg Keane of London was chosen for the post. He will coordinate with Dave for a smooth transition of duties.
Treasurer Randy Gulliver reported that the opening balance for September 2020 was $2017, and the closing balance for Sept. 1, 2021 was $891. Major expenses for the year were water-testing lab analysis and FOCA dues. He encouraged members to pay their dues if they had not done so.
MILLER LAKE WALKING TRAIL
Dianne Thomson described progress on the project, which would establish a walking trail through the marsh and forest at the south end of the lake. It would run from the end of Tammy's Cove Rd. to Maple Ridge Campground. The route has been designed professionally and landowner permissions have been received from all but one owner of a property that recently changed hands.
Her group has worked with local environmental groups, has organized volunteers, and obtained insurance quotes. Wood has been donated for possible construction of bridges and boardwalks. There is no budget yet for the entire project. A member suggested that the MLCG contribute to the costs involved. More discussion in future.
(As of Jan. 25, 2022, no permission has been received yet from the new owners of the one property.)
POTENTIAL DREDGING APPLICATION
Scott Gillies, whose family own a place at the north end of the lake, explained this situation.
The Gillies were informed of a plan by their immediate neighbour and the owner of the adjacent property. The plan involves dredging at the edge of the marsh to provide boat access through to the lake. The Gillies were invited to submit their comments to the MNRF, which they did.
Scott showed drawings of the proposal to create a channel 15' wide and 120' into the middle of the inlet, 6' deep. In addition, his neighbour on the adjacent southern property is also seeking to dredge around his dock and 90' out to connect to this other proposed channel.
The Gillies have sent letters of concern to MNRF and the plan's consultant. They want an environmental study because of impact on local species. It's a fish spawning area as well as a haven for endangered rattlesnakes. There is also concern about possible effects on the Britain Lake watershed. This is a major source of flow into Miller Lake. They are also concerned about re-dredging because a permit has no expiry date.
A major discussion followed re: the shallow water depth of the general area. Randy displayed a map from the government's own website that shows that the area is designated Provincially Significant Wetland almost - but not quite - to the water's edge.
A member asked Mayor McIver about this project. He said it had not come to Council so he was unaware of it. Further, this is not a Council matter. Council would simply pass it along to the MNRF.
Group members indicated that they are ready to support the Gillies family if an organized community objection is required. (As of Jan, 25, 2022, the MNRF has not received an official request for a permit for this project.)
Vice-president Daryl Emilio addressed this issue. Wake-boats are specialized boats that create massive waves for skiing and water-boarding. There are only a few on the lake now, but their popularity is growing.
Daryl explained the impact of huge wakes on the destruction of waterfowl nests and the safety of swimmers. They increase erosion on the shoreline and can cause damage to docked boats.
Other lake associations are trying to get regulations passed for these boats to operate 100 metres from shore. A Member related a bad experience with wake-boats near his dock, which was swamped by wakes. Children swimming next door were endangered. He spoke to Summerhouse where the boats are docked, and their admin spoke with the owners re: staying out from shore. Should association draft a letter and who to send it to? Can wake-boats be banned from lake?
Another Member with a wake-boat pointed out that it's a user issue, not an equipment issue. Another Member comments that some lake associations set rules for their lakes, such as time of day when boating has to stop. Daryl suggests getting the police out on the lake. Anna says we will look into this matter.
Daryl also addressed the issue of lake levels. Sources of water for Miller Lake are: outflow from Britain Lake, precipitation, and natural springs. The main factor in recent lower levels has been lack of precipitation. He also noted that he had seen trucks removing water from the lake. Upon checking with the Municipality, he discovered that NO permit is required for taking a volume of water under 40,000 L.
Mayor McIver stated that Council had passed the Short-Term Accommodations by-law. The full text is on the NBP Municipal website. Operators of STA's now need a license. The Municipality is also doing a facilities assessment for budgeting and long-term replacement. This involves a revitalization of the Lion's Head waterfront and campground. There will also be an upgrade to the arena. Paid parking in LH is also being assessed.
QUESTIONS FOR MAYOR:
● Will Municipality upgrade boat launches on the lake and add parking areas? The Mayor says that the Works Dept. needs to know which launches in particular. Parking depends on location.
● Paving on Tammy's Cove Rd.? The Road Needs Study will determine this. Presently, the priority is paving East Rd. with tar and chip. This was supposed to be done in 2021, but the contractor has pushed it to 2022.
● Problems with STA's? There will be a 24/7 complaint line set up, and owners or managers have to be within a one-hour drive of the property. This is in the by-law.
● Large property on Barney's Blvd. was sold. 166 acres. Has Council received any plans for subdivision? The Mayor is not aware of any plans, and will report to Anna if a plan is submitted.
NATE FEHRMAN - Northern Bruce Peninsula Cottage Assoc.
Nate explained the objections that owners have to the STA by-law. He explained the classifications for STA licensing, and noted that it unfairly penalizes small operators. There is an annual licensing fee and an inspection fee. The full list of objections can be found at Northern Bruce Peninsula STA Bylaw Fight (nbpca.ca).
A Member asked the Mayor why a septic inspection and fire inspection only applies to STA's. The Mayor stated that this is only a starting point, and that septic inspections will be expanded to other properties.
Anna thanked everyone for the tremendous turn-out, and closed the meeting.