SRA President brings issues to newly elected Council

February 11, 2015

Town Council

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Jim Henning, President of Southampton Residents Association (SRA), presented a deputation to Saugeen Shores Town Council covering several subjects of concern to the SRA.

Henning touched on the history of the SRA explaining to new Council members that the group was an amalgamation of the Southampton Beach Association and Southampton Property Owners Association. 

Henning said that the merger "... was in response to a need to create a larger critical mass organization that could more effectively act as a collective voice representing residents of Southampton Ward."

According to Henning the membership of the SRA consists of 420 households with 70 per cent being seasonal residents and 30 per cent full-time.

Henning also raised the issue again of the proposed deep geologic repository (DGR) and said that the majority of SRA members disagreed with it and will continue to "express opposition to DGR1 in Kincardine."

He also said that, in agreement with previous deputations given by John Mann, the SRA agreed that the last council, prior to election, appeared to "... develop a culture of silence and that motions were passed without debate, deputations were endured and often ignored ... we are encouraged by statements made during the election period by some candidates, now elected or acclaimed, that appeared to favour more discussion, debate and transparency.  We hope you follow through."

Henning went on to say that following a recently completed survey, there are two concerns of the SRA.  First is Water Quality and Water Levels and secondly, is the preservation and enhancement of the unique character of Southampton as it grows and develops.

Regarding water quality, he said that the SRA is concerned about the "amount of fecal matter coming down the Saugeen River ... and whether environmental regulations to control and reduce it are being effective." Apparently, the group has a director gathering information from the Province on the subject and the SRA is also planning a Children's Water Festival

Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau, who also chairs the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA), said that the SVCA has Watershed Reports that regularly monitors the quality of surface water down the Saugeen River.  He also reminded Henning that the SVCA holds an annual Water Festival for Children in Chesley that school students attend.

With respect to the group's second concern, preserving the unique character of Southampton, he said that the group wants to see guidelines followed that were set out in the 2009 Saugeen Shores Design Guidelines .

"Developers may initially balk,' said Henning, "but experience in many other North American communities tells us that such initiatives can strengthen local businesses throughout the town .... there is no legitimate reason to disregard the good work and effort put into this plan ... we would like to see these guidelines debated and, hopefully, implemented."

Click the orange arrow to read the second column

Among other issues raised by the SRA and  presented by Henning were:

  • Storm water outlets on the beach and that warning signs should be posted against playing in the waters which may be contaminated.  He also raised the Island Street Drain and how it was contributing to the build up of dunes at Harmer and Island Streets

  • Municipal recreational complex and swimming pool - "my belief is that the majority of our full-time residents and a substantial number of seasonal residents feel a Town of this size and prosperity should have such a facility..."

  • Dogs on the beach and/ or boardwalk and cyclists on the boardwalk - SRA would like to see the By-laws amended that redefines the boardwalk as a 'sidewalk' to prohibit cyclists riding and also to determine if leashed dogs are allowed and, if so, proper signage should be installed along with baggy dispensers

"Is it the position then of the SRA that leashed dogs be allowed on the boardwalk and that cyclists should not be allowed? asked Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau.

Henning said that it was the position of the SRA board although he admitted that some members may not agree.

Vice Deputy Mayor, Diane Huber, said she would like to see more signage that would clarify both situations regarding dogs and bikes well in advance of the summer season.

Councilor Neil Menage said that he would like to see the Waterfront Master Plan brought forward for approval as it addressed many of the issues raised by Henning.

To read the entire deputation complete with photos of drains and storm water outlets   Click Here (allow time to load).

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015