From: Dave Dingle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Historic Murray Canal District Meeting Minutes from our Jan. 4th meeting @ 2PM
Date: January 5, 2020 at 2:17:39 PM EST
Thanks for attending this hastily-called meeting. By my count from the contact sheet, 21 people attended, with several others sending regrets. I have BCC’d everyone rather than publicizing contact information. If anyone would like to participate in a share-contact mailing list please let me know so I can distribute to those who wish to participate.
Attendees came from many different areas that were severely impacted in 2019 and 2017: Folly Lane, Popham Lane, Harbour Street/Gosport, Presqu’ile Point, Cedardale Rd, & Stony Point Road in Brighton, Carrying Place/Bay of Quinte shore, Roseland Acres, Rednersville Road, Wellers Bay/Barcovan Beach Road, and more in Quinte West.
Each attendee introduced themselves and briefly expressed their concerns about spring ’20 flood and erosion risk given the current lake-levels. Many recounted their experiences with respect to Spring 2017, 2019 and earlier high water episodes.
Clear themes emerged from this discussion:
Emotional impact and extreme stress arising from:
- Anticipating flood/erosion risk;
- Fighting to protect property at the time;
- Repairing flood damage while anticipating it re-occurring;
- Extreme difficulty of navigating the regulations and rules for getting approvals for mitigations and repairs
Preparedness and Emergency Response: Frequent mention of the need for much better high-water emergency response and preparedness while some policy decisions appear headed the other way:
- The municipality of Brighton will supply sand and bag materials, at no charge, but not the manpower to build protective barriers on citizens’ properties as had been the case in recent past flood events. It appears the reasons for this policy are (1.)To avoid depleting the fire department’s ability to respond to life threatening emergencies. And (2.) “..to avoid taking on liability for work on private property that may be beyond the scope of (insurance?) coverage.” These post-meeting notes are from https://www.northumberlandnews.com/news-story/9767211-brighton-won-t-help-with-sandbagging-if-there-s-flooding-next-spring/ This same article states: “These events are becoming a common occurrence and thus should not be considered an emergency. Our Emergency Response Staff should only be utilized in the event of a catastrophic occurrence that is life-threatening. Preparedness is the best mitigation effort we can employ.”
- Flood Mapping Funding from the Federal Government to update floodplain mapping/hazard assessment and create a shoreline management plan. Will this be used to formulate policy to further limit help for property owners on at-risk shoreline?
- Confusion and frustration about International Joint Commission actions, decisions and plans with respect to St. Lawrence River outflows. (See http://unitedshorelineontario.ca)
- What are the shoreline disaster plans? How are they activated? How can we connect with other concerned groups along the shoreline?
Need for trusted/accurate information: Clarity on the risk level and likely lake levels going forward. What is the real story?:
- The need for facts, forecasts and trustworthy information and resources. The US Army Corps of Engineers was mentioned as a possibly objective source. From the chart on their website as of Jan. 5, 2020, Lake Ontario is 9” higher than it was one year ago. The forecast for the level a month from now is for an additional 2”. This is very concerning to say the least. See here for this information: https://www.lre.usace.army.mil/Missions/Great-Lakes-Information/Great-Lakes-Water-Levels/Water-Level-Forecast/Weekly-Great-Lakes-Water-Levels/
- Attendees shared info on a petition on the United Shoreline site and an upcoming Jan. 23 protest meeting in Brighton re the decision to not supply labour to assist homeowner properties in jeopardy. Wasn’t able to find any information on either of these. Please forward if you have this.
Prevention, mitigation, and recovery:
- Attendees shared stories about the difficulty and lengthy lead-time for getting needed engineering reports for Conservation Authority permits.
- (Post meeting note: A list of Engineering firms is attached below.)
- The lack of clarity on what will be done by IJC and government to manage lake levels appropriately lower.
- The unintended environmental consequences of not being able to quickly take mitigation and avoidance action: contamination and effect on wildlife of compromised septic systems, exposed wiring etc.
Actions Arising From the Meeting
- Request emergency meeting with Conservation Authority, Mayors of Brighton and Quinte West, and our two MPP’s – Taken today by virtue of forwarding these minutes with our requests.
- Anyone who is interested is welcome to assist with HMCD committee work/volunteering, please let me know.
- Connect with other shoreline groups by forwarding these minutes, investigate other petitions and actions being taken. Update at next meeting. Call the next meeting: Proposed: January 11th @ 2pm at Timber House Resort?
- All attendees are asked to register on the HMCD website (https://murraycanaldistrict.ca) and get as many friends and neighbours as possible to register there as well. This will assist us to communicate with our elected officials the extremely large number of voters who share our concerns. This will also assist us to engage with the broader public as well about the current high risks to shorelines. Specifically, we need to alert all citizens to the flood mitigation and preparedness roadblocks and delays we face and how this:
- Puts shoreline recreation and enjoyment at risk for everyone; and
- Could negatively affect municipal tax bases in the long run as waterfront property will likely devalue.
Draft a petition for our elected officials to take immediate, emergency action to remove mitigation and preparedness roadblocks in order to help shoreline property owners help themselves. Draft wording (please help improve this!): This petition is from the Historic Murray Canal District Organization. The signatories below have also given their names, addresses and contact information to validate their agreement to this petition.We are requesting immediate action from our elected Municipal and Provincial officials, along with their appropriate staff and agencies, such as the Lower Trent Region Conservation Authority and the Quinte Conservation Authority, to remove as many roadblocks as possible that delay or prevent shoreline property owners from preparing for and mitigating the potential impacts of high water levels in the Great Lakes.
- Specifically we are requesting immediate steps be taken as follows:Elimination of red-tape and un-justifiable delays in getting approvals for mitigation and preparedness work that is urgently needed, as follows:
- Assist with an expedited emergency engineering report process for Conservation Authority shoreline work approvals needed under Ontario Regulation 163/06. Given the urgency, we’re recommending a specific process be considered that allows Coastal Engineers to rapidly issue engineering reports and conduct remote inspections via a templated approach that uses remote technologies such as Google Earth and video conferences with individual property owners, or ideally with groups of adjoining property owners. Any alternative, better approaches as can be offered would be very appreciated.
- The provision of funding to establish an emergency coastal engineering process to rapidly issue engineering reports to satisfy Ontario Regulation 163/06, at low or no-cost to property owners.
- Assist with allowing, under certain conditions, more than 20 cubic metres of fill to be placed on a shoreline without requiring engineering studies. This has been done selectively and after the fact in the case of past emergencies. We respectfully request that the limit should be increased now so property owners can take steps without breaking the law to mitigate risk ahead of the emergency. The amount allowed should vary with the amount of shoreline in question. Other conditions could be placed to maintain the objectives of Ontario Regulation 163/06 in the face of this emergency: Perhaps the material should be the same material as already placed, Or/And if the Conservation Authority had previously approved placement of similar materials on that shoreline/property.
- The immediate suspension of permit fees for placement of materials on at-risk shorelines.
- Provision of funding for neighbours to immediately establish self-help organizations and preparations. This should include funding for Sand Bag filling equipment and other emergency items that will assist homeowners in an area.
Additions/Changes/Edits to the above are very-much appreciated. I will wait until 5PM on January 7th before posting these minutes on the HMCD website and forwarding to our elected officials and the Conservation Authorities.
Thanks again for attending.