Summary of October 9, 2010 Public Meeting Comment Sheets
Water and Sewage Works Study
Addendum Process No.3

All persons submitting comment sheets, as published to date, have been only entitled one count per property, even if the author of the comment sheets submitted multiple comment sheets for a single property.

Comment sheets for multiple properties have been included provided the author submitted a separate comment sheet for each property. The addresses on the published comment sheets were redacted making the analysis somewhat difficult; there will inevitably be some margin of error.

A total of 386 comment sheets have been published to date and contribute to the following summary. Comment sheets were categorized as either:

  • For
  • Against
  • Undecided

Undecided comment sheets include those comment sheets that did not clearly express support for or against the installation of sewers in Sauble Beach. The results, after multiple comment sheets were deducted, are as follows:

For: 40 11%
Against: 300 82%
Undecided: 26 7%

Download: Microsoft Excel spreadsheet used for comment analysis
contains comment author and categorization

Although the comment sheets are not a referendum on the issue, this summary shows that 82% of those that submitted comments are not in favour of the proposed Sauble Beach Sewer Project.

When considered in the light of the voting results for Ward 3 in the recent municipal election there appears to be widespread opposition to this project.

Genivar's summary of the Comment Sheets presents similar results and concludes:

"If additional funding were obtained to reduce the connection costs, it is likely that more of the public would be supportive of proceeding with a sanitary servicing option."

Just how likely remains to be seen.


Summary of July 10, 2010 Public Meeting Comment Sheets
Water and Sewage Works Study
Addendum Process No.3

The following is a summary review, by civic address, of comment sheets received by the Town of South Bruce Peninsula in response to the July 10, 2010 public meeting regarding the Water and Sewage Works Study.

In order to provide a fair evaluation (one opinion per household), the analysis attempts to exclude multiple comment sheets from singular addresses. The addresses of the respondents were redacted from the published comment sheets making the analysis somewhat difficult; there will inevitably be some margin of error.

Number of Comments Received

  • 1     Ministry (Attorney General)
  • 1     First Nations (Historic Saugeen Métis)
  • 1     Local Organization (Friends of Sauble Beach)
  • 288 Public/Individual Businesses
218 Civic Addresses (estimated)
93 No Responses
103 Yes Responses
22 Ambiguous Responses

Splitting the ambiguous responses between Yes and No gives the following survey results:

No 47.71% (93+11)/218
Yes 52.29% (103+11)/218

The analysis results suggest that the community is relatively evenly split on the proposal to construct a wastewater treatment facility for Sauble Beach.


Observation #1

There seems to be an overwhelming lack of knowledge, particularly in the Yes camp, of the problem identification statement for the EA. Many of the Yes responses were predicated with statements like "I want sewers and water for Sauble to prevent further pollution of the lake", "we need to protect our lake", and "we don’t want another Walkerton". The problem identification statement makes no reference to pollution of Lake Huron or the public beach area. Walkerton was caused by operational errors in the municipal water system, not improper septic systems.

In the No camp there are concerns that there is no 'hard' data to support the claims that a sewage treatment facility is actually warranted and suspicion that the real motivation is to support development and urbanization of Sauble Beach. These fears are somewhat borne out by this statement from the R.V Anderson June 2001 Environmental Study Report:

"Overall, there is a need to consider long-term water supply and sewage collection/treatment for existing and growth related development within the study area."

And this one from the South Bruce Peninsula Draft Downtown Community Improvement Plan:

"Any revitalization efforts should consider the provision of full services to support increased development pressures."

With respect to the problem identification statement:

  • If the objective is to protect sand point wells in the DCA from microbiological risk from septic systems (the current problem statement) then this needs to be plainly stated, testing results that scientifically prove the "apparent" risk need to be made public, and the public should be told that the solution to this problem will do nothing to protect the public beach area and Lake Huron from pollution.

  • If the objective is to protect the public beach area and Lake Huron from pollution then this needs to be plainly stated and backed by analysis of beach sand core samples along the entire beach.

    The June 2001 RV Anderson report states:
    "The E. coli loading rate for the Sauble River is over 10 times higher than the total loading produced by the entire 26 drains along the lakeshore. This would indicate that the river is a contributing factor in terms of adversely affecting recreational water quality."
    Two common themes in the responses were that any proposal to protect the beach and lake from pollution must include a plan to clean up the Sauble River and should also include the southerly, First Nations, part of the beach.

  • If the objective is to create infrastructure to support increased development pressures and urbanization of Sauble Beach, then this needs to be plainly stated with an explanation of the costs and benefits to those who will have to pay for it.

The Town needs to clearly state the problem that it is trying to solve, provide 'hard data' that supports the stated problem, and explain to residents how the proposed solution will solve the problem. Sauble Beach has many seasonal residents; better communication with rate payers is essential; the Town should go 'above and beyond' what is required by law (e.g. send public notices by regular mail to all Ward 3 ratepayers).

Observation #2

Costs for any proposed system need to be reasonable. The majority of comments, both pro and con, included some discussion of costs. Many residents are on fixed incomes and simply cannot afford the systems that have been proposed.

A lot of residents do not understand the 3:1 ratio for trailer parks and wonder why a similar allowance is not available for seasonal residents. There were many requests to have the full costs for both water and sewer, including hook-up and operational costs, clearly defined.

With regards to the 3:1 ratio, most people don't realize that it is for the operational cost only!

For the first 75% of the Capital cost a trailer park will pay the same flat rate as a single lot in Sauble. The remaining 25% of the Capital cost is based on the property's square footage. This calculation is the same for everyone and has nothing to do with their useage.

Any plan for full servicing will require an amortization plan that will allow the annual cost to be affordable. There were a lot of comments indicating that more funding be sought. Many feel it is important to involve the First Nations because a system to protect only the north part of the beach will not work without the south part of the beach included and also because the First Nations seem to have more clout when it comes to securing funding from the federal and provincial governments.

Observation #3

If sufficient 'hard data' were provided that clearly demonstrated a problem, many of the 'No' votes would be 'Yes' votes. Everyone wants to keep our community safe. Most of those in favour of the system preferred option #3 at a minimum with many wanting option #5. Site 3 was the overwhelming choice for location from the 'Yes' group.

Conclusions

  1. Without 'hard' data to clearly demonstrate a problem, the motives will be in question and the community will remain fairly evenly split on the need for water and sewers for Sauble Beach.
  2. With a well defined problem, backed by scientific data, most residents would support a solution to that well defined problem.
  3. Communication and notification to affected ratepayers, both seasonal and permanent, needs to be more than what is required by law.
  4. If a well defined problem does in fact exist, the solution will need to be affordable.
  5. The costs to individual ratepayers need to be shared fairly and explained in detail.
  6. Sufficient amortization of costs is required for those on fixed incomes.
  7. More funding should be sought from the upper tier governments.
  8. The First Nations need to be on board in order to protect the entire beach, share costs, and assist in securing additional funding.
  9. Residents want a proposal that includes both water and sewers.
  10. If the problem solution is similar to any of the existing proposals, then a staged implementation of both water and sewer servicing for the option #3 catchment areas, with clearly defined dates for stages leading to the option #5 catchment areas, should be presented.
  11. Septic inspection and enforcement needs to be stepped up.
  12. Efforts should be made to clean up the Sauble River.

October 9, 2010 Public Meeting Published Summary and Comment Sheets

July 10, 2010 Public Meeting Published Summary and Comment Sheets

Document pulled from Comment Sheets as published on August 9, 2010 showing attempt to skew results.

Revised Comment Sheets as published on August 12, 2010

Revised Comment Sheets as published on August 11, 2010

Revised Comment Sheets as published on August 10, 2010

Comment Sheets as published on August 9, 2010