June 1, 2011

Minutes of a Special Meeting held in the Council Chambers, 937907 Marsh Bay Road, Coleman Township, on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.

The purpose of the meeting: The Cobalt and Coleman Draft Assessment Report

– Presentation to Municipalities

There were present:

Ministry of the Environment

Source Protection Programs Branch, Director: Ian Smith

Liaison Officer, Source Protection Implementation: Neil Gervais

Township of Coleman Mayor: D. Cleroux

Councillor: S. Cote C. Marcella

L. Perry P. Tresidder

Clerk-Treasurer: C. Bigelow

Clerk Intern L. Belanger

Town of Cobalt Mayor: Tina Sartoretto

Councillor: Gary Bigelow

George Othmer

Cobalt Water Commission: Jack Church

City of Temiskaming Shores Mayor: Carman Kidd

Councillor: Doug Jelly

Temiskaming Health Unit

Land Control Officer Doug Metson

Land Owners Perry Armstrong

Dean Karn

Karen Laffrenier

Larry Wiwchar

Dennis Hakola

Mayor Cleroux opened the meeting, introduced Mr. Neil Gervais and Mr. Ian Smith and turned the meeting to Mr. Gervais who began the presentation.

Mr. Gervais began his presentation with an outline. He discussed the issue between the Town of Cobalt and the Township of Coleman over the Cobalt Water Supply Act, 1917. Mayor Cleroux insisted that there are no issues between the municipalities.

Mr. Gervais’ next point was to provide a background indicating the Cobalt Water Supply Act, 1917 is still in effect with a purpose to secure a sufficient supply of pure water for the Town of Cobalt. The Act provides that no person, except the Town of Cobalt and the Mines Water Supply Company Limited, shall take water from the defined area without authority of the Cobalt Water Commission and the company. The CWSA extends beyond the jurisdiction of the Town of Cobalt and into the Township of Coleman and the Township of Bucke (now the City of Temiskaming Shores).

He then described the Draft Assessment Report with respect to scope, findings and planning options under the Clean Water Act, 2006.

Mr. Smith then proceeded with suggestions/plans for “going forward”. He reiterated that the Ministry intends to protect the Cobalt’s water supply. The CWSA remains in place. Understanding drinking water protection as it is taking place in other areas under the Clean Water Act is important to all municipalities – understand if necessary update the risk assessment and evaluate current/define local approaches to risk mitigation. A formal plan could ensure science-based locally developed protection of the Cobalt water supply. The Ministry of the Environment is prepared to provide time and resources from key staff to assist with this process. Municipalities could assist with staff time/travel to participate in conversations and evaluate pooling funds to update science/retain specialists.

Numerous questions and concerns were expressed by Cobalt Councillors, Cobalt Water Commission Members and Land Owners. It was Cobalt’s opinion that no action be taken – can’t see how they can get better protection than no use of the water and no development within the affected area. Is there anything better than prohibition?

Mr. Gervais suggested that the agreement could work in conjunction with the Cobalt Water Supply Act and the Clean Water Act.

Mayor Cleroux thanked Mr. Gervais and Mr. Smith for their excellent presentation.

The meeting adjourned. 

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