Twelve septic systems on Upper Paudash Lake deemed ‘very high risk’

The following are brief reports of items discussed at a June 11 meeting of Highlands East council.

By Sue Tiffin

The septic re-inspection program began on May 7 at Upper Paudash Lake according to Jonas Hill and Dylan Smith student septic maintenance inspectors who presented a program update to council.

“A total of 150 properties were inspected on Upper Paudash Lake from May 7 to June 5” reads their report. Of those properties 82 (54.7 per cent) were considered low risk 14 (9.3 per cent) were deemed moderate risk 42 (28 per cent) were high risk and 12 (8 per cent) were very high risk. Septic inspection guidelines suggest a system at very high risk has a steel tank or is older than 40 years old has a damaged cracked or corroded tank or lid or has visibly leaking sewage.

“Out of the 150 properties 82 questionnaires were returned and 49 permits were found” reads the report by Hill and Smith. “There were five properties that had new septic systems installed within the past five years and did not require an inspection. A total of two steel tanks were found. A total of 137 letters were sent out after inspections were completed. Responses are already being received via phone email and in person.”

Properties on Contau Lake are scheduled for inspections next.

Bylaw enforcement officer Wayne Galloway said he had received emails from three people regarding a recreational vehicle bylaw that has been underway since February 2018. Galloway approached council at that time explaining the challenges of having to investigate tents and travel trailers on vacant property with most of the RV owners saying they were parked there to plan builds of homes or hunt camps. The new bylaw requires a licence for tents and trailers to be placed on specifically designated zoned properties under specific conditions.

Galloway met with the three respondents who he said were concerned about permanency.
“They were afraid that once a trailer licence was issued there would be like a cash for life thing” he said. “$300 every year is pretty cheap because you can’t even get into a trailer park for that.”
In Lake of Bays he said you can’t have a trailer on a property until you have a building permit in place and they also require a temporary trailer licence with a limit on the number of years the trailer can be parked.

“I went back and looked at the bylaw” said Galloway. “I’m looking at making it a three-year max so that you can be issued a trailer licence for three consecutive years that’s it. During that three years you’re going to have to show that you’re moving ahead with your building permits or septic permits or hydro or something that you’re moving ahead.”

Galloway said that would give people intending to build the opportunity to learn more about the property before construction began.

“At the end of the three year period that will give people an opportunity to see what they like see where they want to build it and go from there.”

Galloway said he planned to meet again with the respondents.

A survey offering Highlands East residents an opportunity to give feedback on the future of short-term accommodation rentals is ready to go. Council publicly reviewed 26 public responses to a draft questionnaire line-by-line discussing some comments and suggestions and ultimately opting to keep the survey as it was. Though feedback had suggested those responding should be able to do so anonymously councillors agreed that might open the survey up to tampering.

The questionnaire was created instead of a planned short-term accommodation committee to obtain more information from the public about which STA approach best suits the municipality an issue that Mayor Dave Burton said had been contentious and had divided the municipality.

A memo noting that the short term accommodations questionnaire will be available online on the municipality’s web site will be delivered within upcoming tax bills. Residents preferring a paper copy can request to have one mailed.

Environment Haliburton member Terry Moore continued his county-wide awareness campaign for green burial options throughout Haliburton County with a presentation to Highlands East council.

Moore’s mission to request that municipalities remove barriers to green burial practices establish a green burial section in existing cemeteries and contribute to a green burial working group to collectively take a look at options throughout the county began this year after the death of his son Kyle an environmental steward who wished for a green burial but was unable to have one in Haliburton County.

A green burial involves a lack of preserving chemicals and offers a choice of biodegradable caskets while burial grounds have minimal landscaping restoration of grave sites with native plants and alternative means of commemoration rather than tombstones.

Green burials said Moore are “a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impacts while promoting the sustainability and protection of natural resources … The goal is to have human remains absorbed into the soil as quickly as environmentally responsible and possible.”

Moore acknowledged that the municipality had through U-Links Centre for Community-Based Research conducted research on the viability of a green cemetery last year but presented new information he had gathered including the high cremation rate in Haliburton County and options to thaw the ground in winter.

The project is one that has gained interest throughout the municipality with a green burial initiative fund in Kyle Moore’s name receiving donations “virtually every day” according to Terry.
The delegation was received with Councillor Suzanne Partridge requesting to move the item to an agenda for discussion and consideration by council and staff “in the very near future.”