EcoAction Funding Proposal

Realizing that we need to be doing more than just monitoring and additional research, the Sunfish Lake Association has applied for a $47,400 grant from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to help with the testing and implementation of possible remediation solutions to deal with the increasing levels of nutrients (mainly phosphorus) in our lake that is causing the cyanobacteria and algae outbreaks.  We have proposed a three year program including:

– Year One – monitoring, research, implementation of bales of natural barley straw in rafts and nets around the lake (a traditional control for cyanobacteria), further septic testing and initial deployment of 2 or 3 septic phosphorous filters,

– Year Two – monitoring, research, additional barley rafts/nets, construction of bioswales to improve tributary stream water quality, construction of a man-made wetland to improve stream water quality, further installation of septic phosphorous filters,

– Year Three – monitoring, research, additional barely rafts/nets, additional man-made wetlands or bioswales to improve stream water quality, further installation of septic phosphorus filters.

The total value of the proposal is almost $250,000 counting all of our volunteer time, contributions, the almost $50,000 grant we are seeking, and the cost of privately funded improvements such as the septic upgrades.  Our proposal was almost 50 pages in length and took considerable time to prepare.  Thanks to Bob Hudgins and Sue Hart for all their help with this application.  We will learn in June if we have been successful.  If we are not successful with this community grant then we are going to have to find other ways to fund and accomplish this required work.

Provincial Greenbelt Expansion

After years of efforts the province has finally announced a proposal to begin the process to expand the Provincial Greenbelt to the Waterloo Moraine, the Paris-Galt Moraine, and other essential hydrological resources facing development pressures around the Greater Toronto Area including Waterloo Region, Wellington County, Dufferin County, Simcoe County, Dufferin County, etc. This could provide an important second-layer of environmental protection to our Regional environmental protections such as the Laurel Creek Headwaters Environmentally Sensitive Landscape (ESL), Protected Countryside, and Countryside Line concept.

There is a March 7th deadline for public comment and it is so important that the government hears from the citizens of Ontario that they want more action on the environment, climate change, local food, urban sprawl, farmland protection, greenspace preservation, source water protection and all the other advantages that this permanent Greenbelt protection brings.

Please be sure to send your comments and support for Greenbelt expansion to help better protect Sunfish Lake to the province as soon as possible at:

www.ontario.ca/greenbelt

You can also automatically send an e-mail to the Premier and Cabinet Ministers at:

www.protectourwaters.ca

Cross Boundary Fire Servicing Agreement

For years we have been working to get fire department coverage for our Sunfish Lake area from the new City of Waterloo full-time fire hall on Columbia Street in addition to the Wilmot Township volunteer fire halls in Baden and New Hamburg. It has been a brutally rough process and taken a dismal amount of time however, thanks to the City of Waterloo and significant efforts from Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky along with Waterloo Fire Chief Richard Hepditch we now have the cross boundary agreement in place and if your primary residence or any significant structure on your property is on fire the 911 operators are to dispatch both the City of Waterloo Fire Department along with the Wilmot Fire Services. You can read the attached newspaper article below for more information.

If you are part of the northern portion of Sunfish Lake who also pay $150/year in extra property taxes to Wellesley Township for cross boundary response services you will apparently also have Wellesley fire trucks dispatched from St. Clements and Wellesley too. Wellesley Township Fire Departments will respond to any sort of emergency whereas the City of Waterloo Fire Department will only respond to structural fires – not car accidents, nor heart attacks, strokes, brush fires, nor any other sort of emergency most likely to happen so it is still worth us continuing to pay the $150/year premium.

While we have yet to even meet with the new Wilmot Fire Chief despite significant ongoing efforts, Waterloo Chief Hepdtich and his crews have been spending considerable time on ensuring they know our area and can respond as quickly as possible. They have prepared run cards, detailed maps, GPS co-ordinates, photo files, and a very detailed database of our area. The Chief hopes to have every single Waterloo fireman out to our area to see it firsthand in daylight hours and you may have already encountered Waterloo fire crews and trucks in the area.

We have also been testing with real fire trucks to ensure that they can get down our laneways and to our properties (see photos below). While the north laneway into Sunfish Lake currently has the required clearances with the exception of the final 100m to the Guy’s and Lackner’s, the two Southern Laneways have some issues and the Fire Department is asking that we clear them to a minimum clearance of 3.6 m (12 feet) wide and 5.5 m (18 feet) tall to avoid damaging their fire trucks and equipment. Perhaps the residents of each laneway can work amongst themselves to figure out how to ensure their laneways meet these requirements. Any grading improvements, turn around areas, pot hole filling, etc. would also be appreciated by the fire crews.

Overall, it is fantastic to finally be receiving this improved fire coverage. It may even result in a discount on your property insurance. While not perfect – too many of our neighbours still aren’t covered, it doesn’t apply to most of the types of emergencies that we are most likely to have, etc. – it is still a considerable improvement.

We will continue to work with the fire departments on the implementation and rollout. I have meetings in the coming weeks scheduled with Chief Hepditch again and there are things such as dry hydrants that they are going to provide us with their specifications for so that we can construct some in the optimal locations around Sunfish Lake (where their trucks can access them) to help provide easy access to water sources in emergencies.

Read this related news from the New Hamburg Press