Minutes of Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization
2011 Annual General Meeting
March 6, 2012
Tantallon Public Library
Present: Richmond Campbell & David Patriquin (Co-Chairs), Barbara Klass (Secretary), Robert McMahon (Treasurer), Daniel Allaire, Hildi Konok, Jim Muir, Tim McGee, Mark Reed, and some 60 others (list available on request).
Regrets: Paul Berry
Guests: Councilor Peter Lund; Peter Labor (Dept of Environment).
1) Welcome and introductions (Richmond Campbell)
2) Approval of Agenda.
3) Approval of March 2, 2011 AGM minutes
4) Approval of Reports (previously circulated):
a. Co-Chairs’ Report – Richmond Campbell
b. Trail Report – Richmond Campbell
c. Treasurer’s Report – Robert McMahon
5) Election of New Board
6) Keynote Address – Bob Bancroft “Interacting with Wildlife in Protected Areas”.
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.
1) Welcome: Co-Chair Richmond Campbell welcomed guests and members.
2) Approval of Agenda: Bob Chambers moved the approval of the agenda, seconded by Jim Muir. CARRIED
3) Approval of 2011 AGM Minutes
Į Dave Patriquin moved that the 2010 AGM Minutes be approved, seconded by Sue Sherwin. CARRIED.
4) Reports (See attachments):
1. Co-Chairs’ Report (Richmond Campbell). Rich highlighted some of the most important events of 2011. The major achievement was the designation by the Province on October 25, 2011 of the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area as a Protected Wilderness Area under the 1998 Wilderness Areas Protection Act. Rich spoke of the remarkable collaboration of government and more than 30 community groups involved in achieving protection of this vast area.
Į Rich asked that the Co-Chairs’ Report be accepted as presented, seconded by Hildi Konok. CARRIED.
2. Trails Report (Richmond Campbell). Rich noted several achievements: the need to brush cut two of the loops per year otherwise the trail would disappear; traffic on the trail causes deterioration and $9,500 worth of stone tread was laid down which seems to be the most durable and cost effective solution; Garnet McLaughlin conducted trail workshops funded by the Dept of Health and Wellness; and, Nanci Lee organized a special day hike “Poetry in the Bluff” – the results can be read on www.wrweo.ca.
Į Rich asked that the report be accepted, seconded by Mark Reed. CARRIED.
3. Treasurer’s Report (Robert McMahon)
Į Rob moved that the Financial Statements be accepted as read, seconded by Natalie Leonard. CARRIED.
5) Election of New Board (chaired by Jim Carwardine).
Rich noted that all nine board members are re-offering and Nanci Lee has offered to join the board. The organization is allowed 15 board members, and nominations are welcome.
Slate of nominations:
Richmond Campbell and David Patriquin – Co-Chairs
Robert Mahon – Treasurer
Barbara Klass – Secretary
Hildi Konok (member)
Tim McGee (member)
Jim Muir (member)
Paul Berry (member)
Mark Reed (member)
Daniel Allaire (member)
Nanci Lee (nominated)
Nominations were closed with no more nominations made after three calls for further nominations.
The above nominees were declared elected by acclamation.
6) Keynote Speaker
Dave Patriquin introduced well-known wildlife expert Bob Bancroft to speak on the topic: “Interacting with Wildlife in Protected Areas”.
7) Any Other Business
Rob McMahon moved the meeting be adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
WOODENS RIVER WATERSHED ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION
Annual General Meeting March 6, 2012
As WRWEO begins its eighteenth year, we celebrate the official designation by the Province on October 25, 2011 of the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area as a designated Protected Wilderness Area under the 1998 Wilderness Areas Protection Act. This achievement was made possible only through the extraordinary collaboration of the Province with some thirty community groups, among which WRWEO played a leading role. It is surely the single most important event in WRWEO’s entire history.
Though WRWEO’s focus, as its name implies, has been the Woodens River Watershed, from the beginning WRWEO has seen the health of the Woodens River Watershed as intimately bound up with the health of neighboring watersheds and in particular the public land on the Chebucto Peninsula. In fact, largely for this reason, the Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust evolved from a subgroup of WRWEO to become a separate organization to focus on the stewardship of the public lands bounded by routes 333 and 103. Thus, shortly after its inception, WRWEO planned the development of a trail system that would enable the public to experience wilderness values in this land and thereby acquire a sense of public ownership and responsibility for the larger wilderness environment around our watershed. The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail, first conceived in 1997 with this aim in view, took eight years of planning and fund raising and the assistance of three levels of government before it was finally completed in 2005. It has achieved its primary purpose, thanks to the sustained efforts of countless volunteers from many organizations, including in the last four years the Chebucto Wilderness Coalition, led by the Trust, the St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association, the Beechville, Lakeside, Timberlea Rails-to-Trails Association, the Safety Minded ATV Association, and WRWEO. We celebrate the protection of our wilderness environment, but also we must celebrate the capacity of diverse community groups to move beyond their differences about how their common goal was to be achieved. In the end WRWEO together with our sister groups were able to act efficiently and effectively in a unified and ultimately persuasive way to protect our heritage. We therefore report in this AGM an historic joint achievement and a deep lesson in community collaboration.
The work of The Bluff Trail Committee led by Paul Berry will be reported separately. Beyond the trail and protection, we have moved forward in three other directions. First and importantly, our website continues to be a source of regular updates about our activities but about our natural environment. Thanks to the skill and knowledge of co-chair David Patriquin our website is a source of important ecological information and an archive of data on the watershed. It has replaced our newsletter as a place to look for information about what is happening in WRWEO and links to related events and information. If you want to know what is latest in WRWEO please visit our website, either at www.wrweo.ca or www.blufftrail.ca .
Our last newsletter from January 2011 summarized in the course of nine pages the main environmental issues and puzzles around fish and fish habitat in our watershed. At the end was a plea to our membership to respond with their ideas and suggestions for how to find solutions. Regrettably none were forthcoming. Obviously we need to pursue a different strategy in developing a successful approach to aquatic studies in the watershed and beyond. After conversations with Jim Carwardine, the Board decided to press for an effort to join again with our sister groups, this time in developing a collaborative strategy for addressing aquatic habitat studies in all the local watersheds, particularly those affecting the St. Margaret’s Bay. Jim proposed this idea in the fall at a meeting of the Council of Community Organizations (COCO) with the suggestion that the St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association (SMBSA) might take the lead in this endeavor. Richmond spoke to Bob Ziegler, who chairs SMBSA, and he organized the first meeting of this experimental group composed of interested parties from several local environmental groups. Alexi Baccardax Westcott of SMBSA has generously agreed to act as the coordinator and after the second meeting four more monthly meetings are already planned into June. So far seven tentative goals have emerged for further discussion: integration of costal watersheds; collaboration between watershed stewards; human respect for water; inventory, measurement, and monitoring (through on-line dashboard) of defined elements of the watersheds; study of migratory fish that breed in Bay and streams; active community engagement in water quality studies through planning, by-laws, and videocams; and community based management that are binding on three levels of government. If you are interested in participating through WRWEO please indicate your interest to Tim McGee, now a board member of WRWEO and offering to serve again.
In keeping with the theme of collaboration across community groups, we would like to report that in the summer WRWEO joined Our HRM Alliance, a large coalition of community groups led by Ecology Action Centre asking Council to endorse and implement seven principles for HRM: establish a greenbelt, invest in downtown and town centres, prioritize transit and active transportation, meet HRM’s own targets for development, ensure that new development is financed by developers, protect water resources, and commit to measuring success. In this report note WRWEO’s concrete contributions to these goals with respect to establishing a greenbelt and protecting water resources. Again please let us know if any you have an interest in helping WRWEO effectively engage in Our HRM Alliance. We need your involvement.
Finally we would like to thank, in particular, two elected representatives who have been through the years steadfast, constructive, and effective in their generous support of our efforts to achieve protection of the local wilderness and maintain our trail work: The Honorable Bill Estabrooks, MLA, Timberlea – Prospect, and Councillor Reg Rankin, District 22. We owe an immense debt of gratitude also to Peter Labor and Oliver Maass of the Protection Branch of Nova Scotia Environment, as well as to successive provincial governments that have put in place the policies to make lasting environmental protection possible. In conclusion we thank our board and members of WRWEO who have been so very generous in their time and effort as volunteers.
Respectfully submitted by Richmond Campbell and David Patriquin
The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail Report
The responsibilities and powers of The Bluff Trail Committee were officially formalized by resolution of WRWEO's board of directors on September 7, 2011 (available on request).
Community Forests Canada (Jeff Schnurr) preformed trail maintenance on the first and second loops. The inspection of the work was completed in November 2011. In addition Community Forest Canada replaced the small boardwalk at the trailhead.
Cobequid Trail Consulting (Garnet McLaughlin) undertook found stone tread work on the third and fourth loops, approximately 300 feet of coverage. Mark Reed inspected the work in November, 2011. Cobequid Trail Consulting also poured concrete for the sign installation (by volunteers) at the intersection of the portage from Hubley Big Lake to the fourth trail loop.
Guided and funded by Nova Scotia
Environment, we designed and Anicom Signs installed new signs for the trailhead
to reflect the new protected status of the Five Bridges Wilderness Area.
There were several other activities on the trail this year: Nanci Lee organized and led “Poetry on The Bluff”, Rich Campbell led a hike where he taught some compass basics, and Daniel Allaire, Jim Muir, Hildi Konok Barbara Klass, and I all assisted at an information desk at the trail head on International Trails Day on June 4, 2011.
There were two volunteer workshops on May 28 and September 17 (supported in part by the Department of Health and Wellness) led by Garnett McLaughlin at which volunteers learned how to use found stone to harden wet spots and laid more than 20 metres of stone tread.
Nanci Lee also undertook a project where a
“Guest Book” has been placed at the first fork on the first loop in order to
garner information about hikers using the trail. The first results are in
showing that 2% of Bluff Trail users are from out of province and 51% hiked
only the first loop.
There has been some parking lot vandalism and some minor vandalism on the trail itself. A new high-resolution camera has been purchased and installed (thanks to Bay Self-Storage and funding from Councillor Rankin) that provides 24/7 video surveillance of the parking lot. Three signs indicating that the parking lot is under video surveillance have been installed. Snow plowing of the lot this winter was done again by Paul Kundzins of Dzeks Ltd.
Next year we are planning work on the long boardwalk and are considering using plastic decking to reconstruct the boardwalk. Regular maintenance of the third and fourth loop will also be done as well as more volunteer sessions to do found stone work on the trail.
Work on the parking lot, in order to deal with the potholes at the entrance, will also be undertaken – grading of the area will be completed before the end of March 2012. We will also examine the possibility of paving the entrance. We also need to install a sign at the end of the illegal ATV trail on west side of Cranberry Lake. We express our thanks to the Halifax Regional Trails Association and HRM for their considerable support, financial, technical, and moral.
Respectfully submitted by Paul Berry, Chair, The Bluff Trail Committee
(Balance Sheet and Statement of Income and Fund Balances are attached in a separate PDF document and available at the meeting in hard copy.)
WRWEO’s expenditures continue to be dominated by re-investment directly into trails, with more then 85% of expenditures being related to trail maintenance, signage, and the associated trial parking lot. This investment ensures a positive and safe experience for all visitors.
A unique approach to maintenance was achieved during 2011 by educational workshops in the art of stone tread construction. This style of construction provides for non-intrusive safe footing along wet areas of the trails, leveraging the abundant resource of local stone. Participants not only gain knowledge and experience in stone landscape techniques, but in the process make a contribution of their labour towards trail improvement. Stone tread portions of the trail require minimal future maintenance, so this work will help keep our trail costs in check for many years to come.
As a result of the workshops, training expenditures rose to become over 4% of WRWEO’s costs, but the benefits gained both in terms of direct maintenance cost reduction, as well as providing a positive outreach program to our community, far outweighed the expense.
Parking lot costs increased by $780 (an increase of 39%). These include the addition of security surveillance to discourage the potential for vandalism and theft from vehicles parked in the area for the extended period of time necessary to fully enjoy the trail system.
Sources of funding for 2011 include the HRM’s Halifax Regional Trails Association (81%), and the Province of Nova Scotia (14%). Membership fees and donations, while still representing a smaller portion of our financial support, doubled in volume to become 5% of funding for 2011.
WRWEO closed the 2011 year with funding received exceeding expenditures incurred by $5,096, bringing the general fund balance to $13,279 which will support future trail operations and maintenance. The closing asset balances were cash of $5,423, and accounts receivable $16,291. Of these balances, $8,435 is committed to the payment of amounts owed to suppliers.
Thank you to the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Province of Nova Scotia, and of course to all WRWEO members for their financial assistance. It allows us to create opportunities to support active lifestyles, and a space for the appreciation of nature.
Respectfully submitted by Robert McMahon, CA