Thursday, November 23, 2017

Upper Rideau Lake boat house destroyed by fire

Firefighters from stations in Westport, Portland and Elgin attended a fire at a boathouse on Sunnyside Road around noon last Saturday morning.
The owner of the boathouse reported to firefighters that before he was called for lunch he was cutting rope with a torch. 
After returning to the cottage he looked outside and saw smoke.  He could not make entrance to the boathouse via the side door.
When he opened the front doors the wind from the lake fanned the fire which was being drawn to the side door which had been open.
“The crews did a good job actioning the fire. It didn’t destroy any of the trees around it. It didn’t extend to any other buildings or the guest cottage and it didn’t affect the cottage next door. The crew was able to contain it and keep it under control,” he said.
Close to 30 fire fighters attended the scene with a pumper, tanker and rescue from stations in Westport and Portland and a tanker from Elgin Station 3.
Crews drew water from the boat ramp at Forester’s landing, the next side road over.
The fire proved stubborn to extinguish because the roof of the flat topped building consisted of multi-layers of roofing material which had to be cut apart.
The crew made a boom in the lake to contain any debris from the fire. The Ministry of the Environment was notified and attended the scene, said DeBernardi.
Crews left the scene in stages with the final crew members departing the scene around  3 p.m.

Final open house set for Delta Community Improvement Plan

 Delta Jubilee Block
The Jubilee Block is a key part of Delta's commercial core but has been mostly vacant for some time now.
The Delta Community Improvement Plan (CIP) will have a final open house on June 24 at the Old Town Hall and a public meeting on June 25 in Chantry.
The document should pass the approval of council at the first meeting of council on July 7.
The draft document went to the Planning Advisory Committee earlier this month and has been seen by key members of the Delta community who have been involved in the process. 
The CIP will allow the township to offer incentives to support new development as well as the rehabilitation of existing residential properties and commercial businesses. 
The program is only for properties in Delta which are within the defined boundaries of the CIP.
A grant of up to $1000 or 50 per cent of eligible costs will be available for commercial facade and sign improvements.
A program of built heritage improvement  can help to reduce costs for developing for reuse or improving buildings with a maximum grant of up to $5,000.
Money for accessibility improvements can also be provided under the plan with grants up to 50 per cent of the cost to a maximum of $5,000.
Other benefits of the CIP include planning and development fee rebates as well as a grant to increase the stock of commercial business with a grant of up to a maximum of 50 per cent or a maximum of $5,000.
More information about the CIP will become available including promotion of the village, home-based business development as well as servicing options for the Jubilee block.
The Delta CIP open house will take place on June 24, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Old Town Hall in Delta. 
 The Delta CIP public meeting required under the Planning Act will take place at the Township’s municipal offices on June 25 at 2 p.m. in Chantry.

All lock stations on the canal re-opened

Boat at Jones Falls 17
Locks in the southern half of the canal, including Jones Falls, were generally unaffected by high water levels.
Parks Canada re-opened all canal locks last Friday, May 30 at noon after high water flows forced the closure of many locks, on the northern half  of the system on May 26.
Anyone using the Rideau Canal this early in the season should be aware  floating debris may cause potential hazards. As well, navigation aids may be missing, displaced or partially submerged.

2009 study questioning Portland water quality is news to residents


By Margaret Brand
The Review-Mirror
Portland residents just learned recently of a five-year-old Ministy of the Environment funded study on their groundwater that suggested fecal pollution could be everywhere in the village. 
The results of the study were news to local people until Otty Lake resident Derek Smith, a hydrogeologist, read the article in a technical journal and recognized the ‘anonymous’ village by its topography. The article’s mention of a health centre and a subdivision along with the locations of the monitoring wells in the charts offered plenty of clues.
After Rideau Lakes Township was alerted to the article, which included authors from Queen’s University, the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark health unit was called to take the lead on the findings.
A flyer published this week by the Public Health Unit will seek to assure village residents there is no widespread water quality concern in their community.
Of almost 200 recent water samples submitted for testing to the Lanark Leeds Grenville Public Health Unit only three had poor tests which were of any significance stated the health unit to Rideau Lakes personnel in a conference call on Tuesday.
The study’s conclusions also suggested that the potability of groundwater resources on a larger scale is unlikely to be determined solely by infrequent domestic well sampling.
The study examined samples over a two-year time period from February 2007 and May 2009.
The Portland case study was published in the National Groundwater Association Journal, and is titled Anthropogenic Impacts on a Bedrock Aquifer at the Village Scale.
At the time, wells were installed on some township properties with the permission of the municipality. 
“I’m sure people over the years have had their water tested. This is the first time I’ve heard about problems of quality of water.
“I’m flabbergasted an organization like Queen’s would do a study, find out there were concerns, and not pass that on in a timely manner.
“You can well imagine people are going to be concerned and I want to allay their concerns as soon as possible,” said Mayor Ron Holman.
The results of the study  and the dissemination of the results also concerns Smith, who as a hydrogeologist with decades of experience, can’t understand why the information gleaned from the monitoring wells wasn’t released.
“There’s something here which doesn’t make sense. If the people did not know that sporadically their groundwater was contaminated, it’s very serious,” he said. 
The article states the study was funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s Best in Science program.
The conclusion of the study states the source of the contaminants is likely sourced from septic systems and agriculture located in the upland areas where the overburden cover is thin.
“There are low levels of things in the groundwater that are worrisome. In my professional career I have never seen those elements reported. It takes a university laboratory with some high priced equipment to analyze for those things,” said Smith noting the testing for pharmaceuticals and personal care products.
Samples were tested for some parameters at the Environment Canada laboratory in Burlington, Ontario and identified residues of antibiotics only used with animals.
The township’s contact with the public health unit after being made aware of the data prove should  reassuring for local residents.
“Before anyone gets panicked-In our discussions it was agreed the data was probably outdated. The main thing is It wasn’t a health study,  it was a study to study rock fractures,” said Holman.
“The current data that the Heath Unit has on local samples does not indicate a widespread water quality concern. The Health Unit has reviewed records and found no incidence of higher localized waterborne diseases. The Health Unit will work with the Ministry of the Environment to review and verify the researcher’s data,” stated Township acting CAO Mike Dwyer after a conference call with the health unit of Tuesday. 
No boil water advisory or other measures were recommended by the Medical Officer of Health at this time.
Holman is upset the township was left out of the loop if a problem was indicated and is not pleased with a statement in the article which indicates the township did not want the location of the village identified.
“If we were against them why would we be letting them drill wells on our property?” 
The township recently dug a well for the use of the Portland Hall after the casing of the old well was collapsing. 
“The well was tested. We aren’t getting any false readings at Portland hall. When we drilled a new well they obviously checked groundwater there were no problems,” he said.

Water and sewer operator fined $35,000 Final bill to haul and treat lagoon waste adds up to $186,908

 Snowlfuent blowing 2

 Westport's Snowfluent system was operating on this day in December 2013 but it seems that was one of the few days it actually ran this past winter.
By Howie Crichton
The Review-Mirror
Westport’s water and sewer operator and the Justice of the Peace hearing his case in Brockville court last week ended up with a difference of opinion on how serious his offences were.
John Doran fined Tony Coccimiglio and his one-man numbered company 7064152 Canada Ltd. a total of $35,000 after finding him guilty of all 13 charges laid against him by the Ministry of the Environment.
Coccimiglio, whose company was paid close to $100,000 a year to operate the system, was let go early this year after operating the system for most or all of its 20-year existence.
The Ottawa man was facing as much as $2 million in fines for the 13 charges that included, on the water side, failure to have an accredited operator, a failure to have proper logs and the failure to have an alarm should minimum chlorine levels not be sustained. Issues around the waste water system included failures during different periods to monitor chlorides, total ammonia nitrogen and nitrates nitrogen, all parameters which are required to be tested under the system’s Certificate of Approval.
The non-compliance issues, alleged to have taken place dating back to 2009, came to a head in July 29, 2013.
The Village of Westport pled guilty to two charges in January 2014 in a deal with the Ministry of the Environment that saw them drop other charges against the village involving the water and sewer system.
The court fined the village $3500 on each of the two counts.
The two charges involved letting an operator licensing requirement to lapse and not having enough hours of training in another area.
The neglect of the Snowfluent System and this winter’s large snowfall and runoff, forced the village to discharge their secondary lagoon into the Upper Rideau twice – roughly 12,000,000 litres each time. The village had permission to do it the second time, in the middle of May, after satisfying eight MOE conditions.
However, they didn’t have permission to do it the first time, in mid-April. The village did inform MOE of the first discharge but had to proceed, before MOE had time to act, to keep the lower lagoon from breaching its berm.
“Your certificate of approval does allow you to perform a bypass in an emergency,” Westport Clerk-Treasurer told council at their May meeting.
“But that doesn’t preclude MOE enforcement from coming back to us,” he said.
MOE still hasn’t decided whether to bring charges against the village for the first discharge.
One of the few final costs the village does know is the bill for trucking and treating the wastewater hauled to Smiths Falls for a month. The final invoice from the Town of Smiths Falls for treating the trucked effluent was $26,773 and the combined trucking bill from Bartels and Tomlinson Environmental was $160,135 for a total of $186,908.
The trucking ended about May 16 and the second discharge ended the next day. The system should have enough capacity to last until they can start land application some time this month. It will be the third summer land application has taken place after insufficient snowmaking over the winter. 
The village also has to develop an operational plan for the wastewater treatment system and an MOE-ordered environmental assessment, with a public feedback component, some time in the coming months.
Banner Space 2

Click on image below to view the electronic version of this week's Review-Mirror.

For a free trial, email

newspaper read



FOR $29.95 including tax