ABCA HIGHLIGHTS HOW BLUEWATER PRIORITIZES NATURE
BY MEGHAN TYDD-HRYNYK, PLANNING AND REGULATIONS OFFICER, ABCA
This collage, of four photos, includes main photo (at left) showing the toe of the Lake Huron bluff, near Pioneer Park in Bayfield, in 2021, after the completion of several shoreline projects over the years. The other three photos show this same stretch of Lake Huron, in the Municipality of Bluewater, in previous years (2012; 2018; and 2020). (Submitted photo)
When we think of the Municipality of Bluewater we think of three historic villages (Bayfield, Hensall, and Zurich) and destinations for culinary, shopping and cultural experiences. We think of five beautiful Lake Huron beaches, of countryside and of schools. We think of trails and nature areas including Bannockburn Conservation Area. We also think of all the landowners and residents and volunteers who devote countless hours towards creation of a healthy watershed community.
There is so much we could share about this vibrant community if we had the time. Since we only have so much space in this article, I would like to focus today on a very special place in Bluewater – Pioneer Park. This is a very special place cared for by a very special group of people, the Pioneer Park Association (PPA).
Pioneer Park is a privately-owned park. It is located on the shoreline of Lake Huron in the scenic Village of Bayfield. In 1945, local resident Lucy Woods, with the assistance of Jessie Metcalfe and John Stewart, organized the purchase of the land for a park. The land was incorporated and named Pioneer Park after an application for a charter was granted by the Government of Ontario in 1947.
The mission and purpose of the PPA is to promote the health and enjoyment of the Village of Bayfield and vicinity through owning, preserving, improving and managing a park or parks open to the public without charge and to undertake other projects for the welfare of the community.
In order for residents and vacationers alike to access the beach and maintain the parkland at the top of the slope, it was decided to complete shoreline protection work at the base of the slope along PPA property. In 1984, the Association contacted Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) to install large concrete storm sewer pipes, 4-5 feet in diameter, which would be placed along the toe of the bank and filled with sand/gravel. This method was employed and can still be seen along the beachfront in certain locations today.
In 2011, a project was undertaken in cooperation with ABCA and the Municipality of Bluewater. A geotechnical investigation was completed for the top of the bank near Bayfield Terrace. A coastal engineer was employed to design 100 feet of Pioneer Park’s shoreline protection project. A permit was issued by ABCA in January 2012. The work was completed in May 2012.
In 2018, more work was required along the shoreline of Lake Huron. Due to the high waters, the bank was sustaining ongoing erosion. A collaborative project between the Municipality of Bluewater, the PPA, and a neighboring property owner, was undertaken to help slow down the erosion process. A geotechnical engineer was employed to drill two boreholes. The project was designed by a Coastal Engineer for all three properties. Subsequently, three permits were issued to each party in November 2018.
A species-at-risk investigation was undertaken on the lake bluff at Pioneer Park by ABCA staff in September 2018 to ensure that any disturbance to the bank during construction was not going to have a negative impact on the environment. The work was completed in May 2019.
A large storm on Nov. 1, 2020 caused more erosion and slumps to the bank of Pioneer Park.
Pioneer Park was issued a minor works permit from ABCA to address the further erosion. Detailed drawings were developed by the PPA. The slumps that developed from the November storm could not be fixed at this time because the equipment couldn’t reach the top of the slump areas. Both ABCA and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have given Pioneer Park extensions to fix the bank slumps. The work is scheduled to be completed before the end of 2021 with specialized equipment that will reach the site while maintaining minimal damage to the slope and beach area.
The ongoing collaborative approach with multiple landowners and agencies has allowed Pioneer Park to realize its mission statement. Looking at the tranquil park, people may not know all the dedication and hours that have gone into maintaining this space.
Pioneer Park is one notable example of residents in the Municipality of Bluewater working to the benefit of their community. There are many others. For instance, in 2020, Blue Bayfield won ABCA’s Conservationist of the Year Award: www.abca.ca/post/?ID=1085
In Spring of 2020, the Huron-Perth Boomers magazine published an article, by Ben Forrest, about the work of the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy (HTLTC). The article described how the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA), along with many generous community donors, raised more than $70,000 to acquire the Bayfield River Flats and to donate it to the land trust for permanent preservation as a nature area. To read the article visit: www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/63237481/huronperthboomers-spring2020-final
ABCA’s Healthy Watersheds and Forestry and Stewardship staff have worked closely with the Bluewater community on tree planting and stewardship projects and on rain barrel sales and rain garden establishment, a Stormwater Stroll, and much more. The Main Bayfield and Bayfield North communities have created and implemented community watershed plans to protect and improve water quality, forest and wetland conditions, and soil health. The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, a foundation dedicated to advancing an environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant metropolitan Detroit and a flourishing Great Lakes ecosystem, has generously invested considerable resources to support Great Lakes stewardship in Bayfield and area.
Volunteers from Bluewater Shoreline Residents’ Association (BSRA) have had an integral role, for about 15 years, helping ABCA staff with water sampling and monitoring of Escherichia coli (E. coli) at beaches along Lake Huron. The dedication of these and other citizen scientists from Bluewater helps provide valuable data, to numerous agencies, about our local water quality. We simply could not run the program without their help.
Those are all articles for another day! Today we would like to congratulate the PPA on three quarters of a century of stewardship of Pioneer Park. We would also like to thank all the residents, landowners, and volunteers in the Municipality of Bluewater for many decades of partnership on conservation projects that help to create a healthy watershed community.
In 2021, ABCA is celebrating its 75th anniversary (1946-2021) and 75 Years of Conservation. ABCA is honoring its 12-member municipalities, during this anniversary year, for their partnership, over the past 75 years, which helps to protect life and property, water, soil, and habitat for all living things. To learn more visit abca.ca and this web page: www.abca.ca/about/anniversary
THIRD DOSE ELIGIBILITY EXPANDS TO FIFTY PLUS MID-DECEMBER
To provide extra protection against COVID-19, Ontario is expanding eligibility for booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to adults aged 50 and over and additional high-risk individuals. The announcement was made Thursday, Dec. 2, by the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Beginning Monday, Dec. 13, individuals aged 50 and over will be able to schedule their booster dose appointment through select pharmacies, mass vaccination clinics, and primary care provider offices. At least six months or 168 days must have passed since the second dose.
A high vaccination rate remains the best tool to protect people, reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and fight the significant surge of new cases and the new Omicron variant.
“Vaccination is our best defence against COVID-19, especially as we head into the holiday season” said Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth, Dr. Miriam Klassen. “Expanded eligibility for booster doses is welcome news and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get their third dose when enough time has passed after their second.”
Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) will open its vaccine booking system to those aged 50 and over on Dec. 13.
Due to a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, effective immediately individuals receiving dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) are eligible to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if it has been 56 days since their second dose. Also, effective immediately, the province is recommending re-vaccination with a new COVID-19 vaccine primary series post-transplantation for individuals who receive hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT), hematopoietic cell transplants (HCT) (autologous or allogeneic), and recipients of CAR-T-cell therapy, due to the loss of immunity following therapy or transplant.
People are asked to please make sure they are eligible before attending a clinic. A complete list of eligibility is provided at www.hpph.ca/thirddose. They are asked to use the dose calculator to find out the earliest date they can receive the third dose. Anyone who comes to a clinic and is are not eligible, will be turned away.
Anyone who is eligible, due to being immunocompromised, will be asked for documentation from their healthcare provider or to attest to their medical condition and attest that they have received direction from their healthcare provider to receive a third dose.
Either mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) may be used as a booster dose, regardless of which vaccine was received for the first or second dose. For individuals aged 12 and over, COVID-19 vaccine can be given at the same time, or any time before or after another immunization, such as the influenza immunization (“flu shot”). Children aged five to 11 should not receive another vaccine within 14 days before or after the COVID-19 vaccine.
HPPH clinics are posted at www.hpph.ca/vaccinebooking. They continue to welcome individuals receiving their first and second doses, as well as those eligible for a third dose. Anyone eligible for vaccine can attend any clinic.
• To book an appointment, visit www.hpph.ca/vaccinebooking or call 1-833-753-2098.
• Many local pharmacies are also still offering COVID-19 vaccines. A complete list is available at covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations.
A complete two-dose vaccination series continues to meet all proof of vaccination requirements for those aged 12 and over.
The province also announced that a limited supply of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available to individuals aged 18 and over who have an allergy or contraindication to mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) or at the request of an individual who has not yet been vaccinated. Those wishing to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their health unit.
LABOR FORCE ASKED TO TAKE “BE WELL WORK WELL” SURVEY
The “Be Well Work Well” Survey is what rural residents need for their voice to be heard.
The ongoing transition back to the workplace is one of the many disruptions that workplaces across the world have experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Rural communities and local businesses have been uniquely impacted by pandemic-related disruptions. It is therefore crucial that the response efforts are community driven. However, there is a gap in literature and data collection among the impacts of COVID-19 on rural businesses. Huron and Perth counties are no exception to this.
The “Be Well Work Well” survey is part of a study exploring the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the labor market in Huron and Perth Counties. The goal of the study is to provide rural residents with the opportunity to have their voice heard in order to better understand the impact of the pandemic on the labor force. The short, 10-minute survey, available to all employers and employees (18+), will be used to inform local leaders to support the well-being of local businesses, employers and employees.
Project Lead, Bonnie Baynham, stated, “No one has been untouched, either directly or indirectly, by COVID-19 or by mental health. We need to take ‘the temperature’ of the workforce in Huron and Perth County. I believe it’s crucial to connect with the workforce to ensure that we all have a clear understanding of the present so that we can build for the future.”
Gwen Devereaux, president of Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health (Gateway) said, “Please know your 10 minutes to respond to this questionnaire will be so appreciated in giving Gateway CERH the essential knowledge to understand our community’s future needs.”
The first step starts with you. Sharing your input in the “Be Well Work Well” Huron-Perth Survey will develop the local data that is needed to have an impact throughout the community.
Access the 10-minute survey here: uoguelph.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5mCCMuO3gdzGc4K