By Mac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
VARNA – Bluewater municipal council discussed several drainage projects at its regular July 3 meeting.
Council held a court of revision for a proposed drainage project, the so-called VanderLoo drainage works. The project is estimated to cost $51,500 and will be financed by the municipality.
After completion of the project the municipality will apply for a one-third grant on agricultural assessments and it is estimated $24,541 will be billed out to the assessed landowners.
Council also discussed the reworking of the maintenance schedules for the Datars-Miller municipal drain.
Engineer Tom Pridham of R.J. Burnside said the schedules were reworked to make them more fair. Previously concern had been expressed that the existing schedules were extremely unfair to some of the owners on the drain.
Both drainage projects were discussed at council in early June and the proposed changes were circulated to affected owners.
Following the court of revision in both cases, Pridham said the provisional bylaws are subject to a final appeal period, which can be filed within two weeks. If no appeals are registered, the bylaws can be given third and final reading.
Other council notes:
Bayfield tower drain
Council gave first and second reading to a bylaw which would construct a drain in Bayfield near the water tower.
Engineer John Spriet from Spriet Associates said sometimes flooding occurs in the area when the water tower is emptied, notingit also floods because it is low-lying.
The total estimated cost of the drain is $102,700 and it is expected about $100,000 will be billed out to assessed land owners.
Area resident Steve Jenkins asked council why there was no contingency put in for water tower drainage when it was constructed.
“How could they spend $13 million to put in a water tower and have no way to discharge it when it obviously requires discharge?” he asked.
While Jenkins didn’t receive an answer, Deputy Mayor Paul Klopp asked what was done about drainage when the tower was built.
“What was done about the drainage?” he asked. “It should be noted what happened and what the process was.”
Spriet noted that there is a drain already in the area, but it isn’t large enough.
“This new drain is proposed to solve the flooding problem in the area,” he explained.
Council passed a motion in a 9-1 vote to give the bylaw first and second reading, with Hay West Coun. John Gillespie opposed. The Court of Revision for the project has been set for Aug. 7 at 8 p.m.
Sign to advertise Zurich
Members of the Zurich Chamber of Commerce appeared before council to receive approval for a new sign advertising Zurich on Highway 21.
The sign will be part of the Canadian Tourism-Oriented Directional Signing (TODS) company, through their “rural downtown” advertising program.
The program is in place to support communities not directly located on a Kings Highway.
As a result, two-foot by eight-foot signs will be posted at the intersection of Highway 21 and County Road 84 in St. Joseph.
Doug McBeath of the Chamber of Commerce appeared before council and noted the Chamber has withdrawn its request for similar signage at the intersection of Highway 4 and County Road 84.
Several councillors had previously expressed opposition to posting the signs in Hensall, including Hensall Coun. Kay Wise, who argued it would negatively impact Hensall.
REA Consultation Form
Council has finalized the municipality’s comments regarding the proposed Bluewater Wind Energy Centre as part of the Renewable Energy Approval consultation form.
As part of the comments, the municipality lists its general comments about the project, including expressing unanimous opposition to the installation of wind turbines in the Municipality of Bluewater.
Bluewater CAO Steve McAuley noted the document includes a disclaimer that the comments aren’t meant to show support for the project, but are a requirement and an effort to point out the shortfalls in study work.
He also noted council is opposed to the parts of the Green Energy Act which remove council’s ability to deny the turbines.
Among the concerns listed are project location, road use and disturbances related to project construction.
As well as council’s comments and resolutions, the package includes correspondence and email from concerned residents.
The full list of council’s comments can be viewed on the Municipality of Bluewater’s website.
Stanley West Coun. George Irvin referenced a quote given by Premier Dalton McGuinty about not placing wind turbines in communities that don’t want them.
Irvin made a motion to draft a separate letter to be sent to the premier noting the the Municipality of Bluewater does not want industrial wind turbines.
“I think it’s a good idea to send this letter to the premier,” agreed Gillespie. “I think we’re in the perfect position to call him on his statement and see how he responds.”
Burning ban in place
The municipality has instituted burning bylaw for the wards of Hay Easy and Hay West as of June 10.
The ban prohibits all outside fires, including normally permitted open air burning. Anyone failing to comply with the conditions can be fined under the Ontario Fire Code and the Municipality of Bluewater has set a $350 recovery charge when the department responds to an incident.
The burning ban will remain in effect until significant rainfall has occurred