Inadequate Information for Informed Decision Making in 7th Draft of Official Plan


 

To:        Clerk, Mayor and Council
From:   Ontario West Coast Landowners Association
Re:        Inadequate Information for Informed Decision Making in 7th Draft of Official Plan
Date:    May 18, 2016

The following is a summary of concerns and applicable questions related to the decisions made regarding the 7 th Draft of the municipal Official Plan on the documents caused to be released to the taxpayers by the Lambton Shores council.

A. The minutes of the May 11, 2015 meeting, submitted to council for approval at the June 16, 2015 council meeting, clearly states the council’s intentions with regards to wastewater management for the lakefront areas;

“Council discussed sanitary servicing policies and directed staff to amend the policies to include a statement that it is the Municipality (sic) intention to service the lakefront areas in Lambton Shores, currently on private septic systems, with municipal sanitary sewers.

15-0511-03     Moved by: Councillor Goodhand

Seconded by: Deputy Mayor Cook

That the recommendations discussed at the May 11, 2015 Special Council — Official Plan meeting be accepted; and

That these changes be incorporated into Draft 7 of the Lambton Shores Official Plan for Council consideration and the public meeting process.

Carried”

 A video recording of this meeting is available on-line at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8hkwCngY3s motion starting at 48:30 min.

B. At the June 16, 2015 regular Lambton Shores council meeting under Item 11.2, Minutes of the Lambton Shores Official Plan Meeting held May 11, 2015 states

“In business arising from the Lambton Shores Official Plan meeting minutes, Councillor Maguire asked that the rationale for lake front sewer servicing for future long range planning be included in the proposed plan.

15-0516-11 Moved by: Councillor Maguire

Seconded by: Deputy Mayor Cook

That the minutes of the Lambton Shores Official Plan meeting held May 11, 2015 be amended to include the rationale for lake front sewer servicing for future long range planning.

Carried

15-0616-12 Moved by: Councillor Rupke

Seconded by: Deputy Mayor Cook

That the minutes of the Lambton Shores Official plan meeting held May 11, 2015 be accepted as presented.

Carried”

C. On or about June 22, 2015, under the ‘minutes’ section of the municipal website, the minutes for the May 11, 2015 Special council meeting states:

“Council discussed sanitary servicing policies and directed staff to amend the policies to include a statement that it is the Municipality’s (sic) intention to service the lakefront areas in Lambton Shores, currently on private septic systems, with municipal sanitary sewers for future long range planning and when there is proof that the sewer extension is warranted.

15-0511-03 Moved by: Councillor Goodhand

Seconded by: Deputy Mayor Cook

`That the recommendations discussed at the May 11, 2015 Special Council – Official Plan meeting be accepted; and

That these changes be incorporated into Draft 7 of the Lambton Shores Official Plan for Council consideration and the public meeting process.

Carried”

D. On the posted minutes for the regularly scheduled council meeting of September 1, 2015, under agenda Item 14.1, Notices of Motion, it is stated:

“14.1 Notice of Motion from Councillor Sageman – Re: Request for Staff to Provide a Draft of Proposed Revisions to Water and Sewer Servicing Section 13.3, 13.3.1 and 13.3.2 of the Draft OP

15-0901-19 Moved by: Councillor Sageman

Seconded by: Councillor Rupke

Whereas there is continuing public uncertainty with respect to Council’s direction relative to sewer servicing in Zones 3 and 4; and

Whereas it would be beneficial for Council to confirm its intended direction on sewer servicing as reflected in the Official Plan as soon as possible; and

Whereas these sections need to be as concise as possible;

Therefore Council directs:

That staff be requested to provide a draft of proposed revisions to the water and sewer servicing sections 13.3, 13.3.1 and 12.3.3 of the Draft OP reflecting the discussions and direction of Council on this matter since May 2015; and

That these proposed revisions be presented in a report to Council at its meeting of September 22, 2015.

Carried”

E. The September 22, 2015 council meeting minutes under Item 11.3, Report PL 34-2015 – Re: Proposed Revision to the Draft Official Plan Servicing Policies states;

“15-0922- 11 Moved by: Councillor Maguire

Seconded by: Councillor Sageman

That Report PL 34-2015 regarding proposed revisions to the Draft Official Plan Servicing Sections be received.

Carried

15-0922- 12 Moved by: Deputy Mayor Cook

Seconded by: Councillor Dodge

That Council directs staff to incorporate the proposed revisions as written in Report PL 34-2015 dated September 22, 2015 into Draft 7 of the Lambton Shores Official Plan.

Carried

There appears to be a great deal of pertinent information concerning the matter of sewer installation along the lakefront as well as the Zones 3 and 4 areas of the municipality missing in council discussions when video recordings of meetings are reviewed. This information is also not apparent in council meeting agendas or minutes dealing with this topic, in contradiction to Resolution 15-0516- 11.

We offer a list of this information below:

A. Carried Resolution 12-0319- 03 which received and approved The Ad hoc Sewage Advisory Committee Final Report 2012 and directed that its contents be referred to any future EA process.

B. Carried Resolution 12-0612- 01 which approved the six recommendations by the Ad hoc Sewage Advisory Committee relating to wastewater management for Zones 3 and 4.

C. DCS Report No. 53-2012 – Re: Draft Letters – Re: Grand Bend Area Sewage Treatment Facility Project

Carried Resolution 12-0709- 22 that directed staff to send the draft letters included in the above named report regarding council’s concerns with “Staff to Staff” correspondence for response to the Building Canada Fund.

D. The letter dated September 28, 2012 from Ross Lashbrook, Manager, Environmental Assessment Services Section, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, to Carol McKenzie, Lambton Shores Clerk, received by the municipality, October 9, 2012, acknowledging and accepting the change by the municipality to the Grand Bend and Area Sewage Servicing Master Plan.

E. Carried Resolution 13-0408- 10 approved council support for a Southcott Pines Park Association grant application to the province, in cooperation with the University of Waterloo, for a water quality study to measure the potential impacts that may be related to septic systems in the area.

F. DCS Report No. 81-2013 – Re: Future Sewer Expansion Area Update Carried Resolution 13-0620- 13 received the report and provided direction to staff for future sewer servicing strategies for the municipality, including amending the Grand Bend Sanitary Servicing Master Plan (2006) to incorporate the six recommendations of the final report of the Ad hoc Sewage Advisory Committee.

G. DCS Report No. 90-2013 – Re: MOE Groundwater Monitoring Research Program – Request for Access

Carried Resolution 13-0704- 13 approved the request as presented in the report and directed staff to maintain involvement with the proposed monitoring work at municipal groundwater monitoring wells.

H. DCS Report No. 122-2013 – Re: Grand Bend and Area Sewage Treatment Facility Building Canada Fund (BCF) Contribution Agreement Addendum

Carried Resolution 13-0919- 04 approved that the council agenda for September 19, 2013 be amended to include the minutes of the September 16, 2013 Grand Bend and Area Sewage Treatment Facility Board meeting minutes.

We cannot locate any record of those minutes either on the September 19, 2013 council meeting agenda or the minutes. Could you tell us where we could locate those minutes?

Included in DCS Report No. 122-2013 is a letter, identified as ENV1283MC-2013- 1467, from the Ontario Minister of the Environment, Jim Bradley, stamped received by Lambton Shores on September 12, 2013. This letter informed the municipality that the Minister was allowing the sewage treatment facility project in Grand Bend to proceed without any individual Environmental Assessments as had previously been requested by fourteen residents who opposed the approved smaller version of the original sewer plant expansion design.

Carried Resolution 13-0919- 05 received DCS Report No. 122-2013 and made a number of recommendations for staff to follow with regards to the Grand Bend and Area Sewage Treatment facility mechanical upgrade project.

What is puzzling is that a separate letter from the Ontario Minister of the Environment, also identified as ENV1283MC-2013- 1467, and included in the same package received by the municipality on September 12, 2013, was not included in DCS Report No. 122-2013. This letter is a copy of the ones sent by the Minister to the fourteen persons who had filed Part II Order requests with the Ministry of the Environment to inform them that he was denying their appeal for individual Environmental Assessments. Attached to this letter is a Summary of Key Issues by the Minister which clearly stated his position that there was no need for a sewer system expansion in the Zones 3 and 4 areas of the municipality and that septic systems were not impairing the environment, including Lake Huron. Why the second letter and its accompanying Summary of Key Issues were not part of DCS Report No.122-2013 needs answering.

Carried Resolution 13-0919- 06 directed staff to post the Summary of Key Issues and responses provided September 11, 2013 to the municipality from the Minister to the website.

Why was this information not considered to be critical to any discussion by council before it engaged in the prospect of implementing a multi-million dollar capital infrastructure project deemed unnecessary by the Ministry of the Environment?

We cannot locate where this important letter and its attached summary of key issues has been received and filed by council. Could the municipality please advise us which council resolution directed staff to receive and file these documents?

I. DCS Report No. 128-2013 – Re: Letter of Update for the Grand Bend Sewer Master Plan File

Carried Resolution 13-1003- 12 directed staff to update the Grand Bend Sewer Master Plan (2006) file by way of written notification to both the Ontario Minister of the Environment as well as the Ministry of the Environment.

Could you tell us where the public could obtain a copy of the updated 2006 Grand Bend Sewer Master Plan as directed by way of Resolution 13-1003- 12 and when the update was brought to council’s attention?

J. The letter dated October 18, 2013, identified as ENV1283MC-2013- 2591, from Ross Lashbrook, Manager, Environmental Approvals Branch, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, to Carol McKenzie, Lambton Shores Clerk, received by the municipality, October 28, 2013, acknowledging and accepting the change by the municipality to the Grand Bend and Area Sewage Servicing Master Plan with particular reference to the change of wastewater management strategies for Zones 3 and 4.

K. CAO Report No. 02-2014 Re: STF Related Input for Newsletter with Interim tax Billing Carried Resolution 14-0116- 07 received the report with direction to staff that the draft statement prepared by the CAO to be inserted in the newsletter accompanying the January interim tax billing be revised to include comments from Minister Bradley.

Where could we obtain a copy of that newsletter as directed by way of Resolution 14-0116-07?

L. October 16, 2014 council meeting Agenda Item 8.3 – Re: Presentation by Richard Webb – Re: Septic Requirements and Regulations for Lambton Shores and Special Requirements Set Out by the County Regarding Nitrate Geotechnical Reporting.

Mr. Webb presented information to council on concerns with respect to the policies and practices of the County of Lambton and the municipality with respect to the issuance of permits for the installation of septic systems on lots of less than 1 acre in size.

Carried Resolution 14-1016- 06 directed that the letter from Jim Kutyba, County of Lambton, relating to the installation of septic systems be received. As well, council directed that Lambton Shores’ County councillors were to meet as soon as possible with County of Lambton officials to request empirical data to support the current position of septic system requirements for building on infill lots of less than 1 acre in size.

We are unable to locate any council records that indicate that any meeting occurred between Lambton Shores’ County councillors and County officials as stipulated by way of Resolution 14-1016- 06. Could you tell us where we could obtain a copy of the recorded results of any such meeting (s) and which council resolution received same?

M. DCS Report No. 74-2015 – Re: Funding Request from the University of Waterloo for Groundwater Monitoring

This report contains two very relevant documents pertaining to any consideration of sanitary sewer system implementation within the lakeshore areas of the municipality, including Zones 3 and 4. One was a proposal from the University of Waterloo dated May 6, 2015 to assess nutrient loading to Lake Huron from groundwater at Grand Bend as part of an ongoing project that the university had undertaken in partnership with the Southcott Pines Park Association and the municipality. The other was a groundwater impact study on residential septic systems in Grand Bend dated May 21, 2015 conducted by the University of Waterloo in accordance with the Southcott Park Pines Association and the municipality that was submitted to the municipality in May, 2015. Both of these documents have critical information to any discussion on a consideration for the application of a sewer system along the lakeshore areas of the municipality.

Why did staff not submit these documents, as individual pieces, given the significant nature of their content, for council review and consideration during the course of discussions on the draft Official Plan, well before the report presentation date of September 22, 2015? The May 21, 2015 report, in particular, contained empirical data that refutes the need for a sanitary sewer system along the lakefront areas as well as Zones 3 and 4.

Why was it included in a report that was dealing with a funding request?

Did all members of Lambton Shores council have any of the information described in the body of this letter, in whole or in part, in advance of the May 11, 2015 Special Meeting to discuss Draft 6 of the Official Plan for the municipality? If not, why not?

Have all members of Lambton Shores council been provided with any of the information described in the body of this letter, in whole or in part, since the May 11, 2015 Special Meeting up to and including today’s date? If not, why not?

We are asking that Lambton Shores’ council adhere to sections 224 (a), (d), (d.1) and (e) of the Ontario Municipal Act and in the spirit of that Act respond to our concerns in a transparent and expeditious manner.

We also ask council if it is their considered opinion that members of council can make informed decisions, in the best interests of the municipality, when important information critical to the decision making process is not forthcoming? Does the concealment of information, for whatever reason, comply with the intent of the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, the Municipal Act or the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?

We can be contacted through our mailing address: Box 345, Thedford PO, Thedford, ON N0M 2N0 or via email: owcla@hay.net.

Respectfully submitted,

Jordy Speake,
Ontario West Coast Landowners Association