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Latchford stays on committee – Funding helps landowners protect water sources

Former councillor Sandy Latchford wants to remain on the source water protection committee to finish out the five-year term she was appointed to serve, but some members of council said the position should be held by a member of council on the committee.
After a lengthy discussion at last Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting, it was finally decided that Latchford would remain on the committee.
Latchford explained  she had received the training for the committee and if she was replaced, the new person would not receive training and would be coming into the situation cold. It had been originally decided by council that she be appointed for the five-year term of the committee while she was a member of council.
“I would like to continue to serve on the committee,” Latchford said. “It has been a good experience and I would like to continue.”
A few councillors said the position should be held by a member of council.
“In this instance, I believe continuity is important to us,” said Mayor Peter Mertens. “This is a complicated file and the learning curve is extensive, so for those reasons I will vote to leave Sandy on the committee.”
Councillor Bev Campbell supported Latchford’s committment to keeping council informed.
Latchford added that the meetings are always open to the public, allowing everybody to attend to observe.

* * *

Quinte Conservation will receive funding for a stewardship program that helps landowners, farmers, and businesses to undertake projects to protect municipal drinking water sources.

“We are pleased to be receiving $223,000 from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment over the next two years,” says Project Manager Keith Taylor, Quinte Conservation. “Since 2008, $221,600 has gone toward 45 projects locally and we are excited to be part of this next phase.”

Eligible projects include replacing or repairing septic systems, decommissioning abandoned wells, managing and storage of agricultural and non-agricultural source materials like manure and sewage bio- solids, livestock grazing and handling and storage of dangerous chemicals like solvents and paint strippers.

“This second phase of the program is voluntary, similar to the earlier phase, and will address specific local drinking water threats identified by our Source Protection Committee through the Source Protection Assessment Report completed in 2010,” adds Taylor.

Eligible projects in the vulnerable areas near municipal groundwater wells and surface water intakes can receive up to 80 percent funding.  An application form and more specifics on the program will be available soon.

Previous projects may already be having a positive impact on water quality. Twenty-four stewardship projects undertaken around Roblin Lake in Prince Edward County since 2008 appear to be making a difference. Roblin Lake is the drinking water source for 75 residences in the Hamlet of Ameliasburgh.  Analysis of lake water quality data shows an improving trend since the program began.  Most of the completed projects were septic system replacements.

Taylor says, “Results are not conclusive but it certainly is encouraging to think that the previous projects may already be starting to make a difference. We will continue to analyze data but so far, this is great news.”

The funding received is part of the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program, a $28 Million four-year commitment from the provincial government, to assist landowners, businesses and municipalities to protect municipal drinking water. 2011 marks the introduction of the second phase of the program.

The initiative to protect sources of municipal drinking water is directed and funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Source water protection projects are also being undertaken in other regions across the province. Information about the Quinte Region project is available at .

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