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Split Decision

by Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik

Ministry requirements for cottagers

Cash grab

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is asking non-permanent residents of Belwood and Contestogo lakes to pay $800 each for an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA), based on its determination that the cottages at each lake are on one lot.

The ECA is required for properties with a wastewater treatment capacity over 10,000 litres per day.

This determination defies logic. The MOECC wants each of the 735 cottages to pay up for their septic system, but the individual septics do not exceed 10,000 litres a day.

According to the Belwood Lake Cottagers Association, the MOECC is the only government department that views the properties as one lot.

The ECA is there to protect the environment from large emissions and noise, waste and sewage discharge users, like wastewater treatment, landfill sites and large manufacturers. The approval price does not include the costs of an engineer or inspection, so the seemingly meaningless fee adds fuel to the cottagers’ campfire.

 It’s no wonder the associations are seeing this as a cash grab and are filing for a court ruling on the matter.

Sure, the lake is an environmentally sensitive area, but those who fish there and leave behind garbage or the boats that leak gasoline into the lake should be of more concern than non-permanent residents who call the lake their home.

– Olivia


Fair is fair

Recently 735 cottages at Belwood and Conestogo lakes were told they’d have to dole out $800 each simply to apply for an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

The reasoning? High waste volumes being treated by septic systems. But wait, there’s a catch.

The cottages weren’t evaluated individually, owners were told that because they lease their land from the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), all the cottages are considered to be on one lot.

The 10,000 litres of wastewater a day produced by 735 cottages, the MOECC argues, is far too much for just one parcel.

So let’s recap. The reason the cottages are required to pay for an ECA is because there is too much waste output for one lot, yet each cottage is considered to be individual when paying  for the approval application.

The math just doesn’t add up.

The government shouldn’t be able to bend the rules at its convenience.

There are two options.

Either the cottages should be looked at individually for septic waste output, which would likely yield far fewer systems as out of compliance.

Or, the MOECC should require just one $800 application for all the properties on each parcel of land rather than $800 for every single cottage.

Fair is fair, MOECC.  

– Jaime

Vol 50 Issue 29


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Community Guide Spring 2018


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