Huron-Kinloss council heard good news and bad news about the Saugeen
Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) Monday night (Dec. 21) at the final
council meeting of the year.
Councillor Anne Eadie said the good news is that the agency has
purchased the Trillium Mutual Insurance Company office in Formosa to
serve as the SVCA administrative facility. The old office was built to
accommodate seven staff, but there are about 20 staff now trying to work
in the cramped quarters, she said.
"The new facility is a great building," she said. "It has been checked
out thoroughly and the board is quite pleased with it."
The other good news is that a Children's Safety Village, initiated by
Bruce Power, is to be built on property leased from the SVCA at its
headquarters near Hanover, said Eadie. This is a central location for
Grey and Bruce counties, as well as northern Huron County and parts of
Perth County, she said.
Eadie said the organizing committee is getting set up as a
not-for-profit group and will be doing some fund-raising. "It's quite
exciting," she said, "and it will benefit the whole area."
On the downside, she said that the general manager of the SVCA has
reported that it is too costly to put the agency maps on-line. "It would
cost hundreds of thousands of dollars," she said, "and that's too
restrictive for the current budget."
She said Bruce County planning has all the paper maps available, but
it's not as convenient as being able to call them up on the Internet.
The issue has been deferred to a future strategic planning session, she
Further bad news was the 6.7-per-cent hike in the township's levy for
the SVCA in next year's budget.
Eadie said the draft budget, to be presented to the 15 member
municipalities in January, calls for an overall budget increase of 2.5
per cent, and a general levy increase of only 1.48 per cent. The board
used reserves and worked hard to keep the rate hike to a minimum, she
However, she was upset that Huron-Kinloss' levy had jumped so much - to
the tune of $5,021.28, increasing to $80,132.40 from $75,111.12, based
on a complicated formula hammered out between the Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources and the SVCA back in the 1990s.
"That formula is based on each municipality's assessment,"
said Eadie. "Ours has increased, while
others' assessment has gone down or stayed the same. We need
more discussion about that formula. I thought our levy would
increase less than two per cent but that's not so."
"We're a growing community where others are not," said
councillor Jim Hanna.
Eadie said it is a good budget and the SVCA did not have to
cut any essential programs or services.
According to the draft budget document, Saugeen Shores is
facing a levy increase of nine per cent, while Kincardine is
looking at a 1.2-per-cent increase. Other municipalities,
such as Brockton, Hanover, South Bruce, Southgate, and
Wellington North are looking at decreases of $1,000 or more.
Pertaining to the strategic planning for SVCA, Eadie said if
people want to have input, they should log on to the SVCA
website, at www.svca.on.ca
, and check out the on-line form.