GRCA February Newsletter: Authority Expects $275,000 Bill For Ice Storm Cleanup - MORE News...

By: Kw Now! Local Community News
| Published 02/09/2014


Ice Storm Bill Expected To Top $275,000 For GRCA

Scholarships And Hertitage Awards Available - Application Details

The GRCA’s costs related to the December ice storm are expected to add up to around $275,000.

Thousands of trees were damaged during the ice storm on the 20,000 hectares of land owned by the GRCA. Dozens of staff, augmented by four private tree firms, have been working steadily since December to clear out hazardous trees and branches. In addition, trained and properly equipped volunteers belonging to
snowmobile clubs have been working on some trails. Some GRCA seasonal staff will be recalled early to assist with the clean up.

The forestry costs of the December ice storm could be as high as $200,000 and the cost to repair hydro is expected to be around $75,000. The GRCA is looking for ways to cover these costs. The damage is so heavy that some popular areas and trails have not yet seen work crews. Grand River Parks were late to open for the winter activities and Pinehurst Lake will remain closed until spring.

The GRCA posted “No Trespassing” signs on trails, parks and natural areas to urge people to stay out while crews continue to clean up. The red and white signs read: “No Trespassing — Dangerous conditions exist beyond this point — Area closed.”

GRCA Parks staff have authority under provincial law to issue trespassing tickets and will do so to those who ignore requests to leave a property or return after having been asked to leave.

Elora’s Drimmie Dam Nearly Complete

Work on the Drimmie Dam in Elora has taken place throughout the winter and the new dam is now nearly complete.

The GRCA budgeted nearly $1.2 million to replace the old dam, which was crumbling. The new dam will allow more water to flow through the town and reduce the potential for flooding during periods of high flow.

It replaces a dam constructed in the 19th century to provide power to a nearby mill. GRCA staff requested that the contract to build the dam be increased by $150,000 based on additional work and modifications to the design in the final approval by the Ministry of Natural Resources. A two week shut down of the project in the fall was also necessary due to heavy river flows. The construction is being carried out by Xterra Construction Inc.

The dam has been owned by the GRCA since 1984. The GRCA carried out improvements to the dam previously, but it has deteriorated significantly and required replacement.

New Heritage Awards - Apply Now

The GRCA is seeking nominations for the 2014 Watershed Awards, including special Heritage River awards.

If you know a company, organization or individual who you think could receive an award, please nominate them by the May 1 deadline. The GRCA is giving out three types of awards:

1. An Honour Roll Award for a sustained record of achievement over an extended period of time

2. Watershed Awards for outstanding examples of conservation and enviromental work.

3. Heritage River Awards to acknowledge work done to enhance the Grand River as a Canadian Heritage River in the areas of Human Heritage and Recreational opportunities.

Nominations are due May 1, and full details and nomination forms are available
online at

Previous Award Winners

One Honour Roll Award and five Grand River Conservation Awards were given out by the GRCA in October 2013. From left are Ron and Nancy Clark, George and Peggy Sarson, Amy Catherwood (for Turtle Island News), Peter Woolstencroft (for Lynne Woolstencroft who passed away in May), Jane Mitchell (GRCA chair), Bernd Brandt, Joe Farwell (GRCA CAO) and Paul Clarke.

GRCA Scholarships Available

The GRCF is accepting applications for three scholarships for students at a watershed institution:

• The Allan Holmes Scholarship for a graduate-level student focused on applied research.

• The SC Johnson Environmental Scholarship for a student in third year or sixth semester.

• The McEwen Clean Water Prize also for an undergrad student.

Scholarship Applications are due in May and can be downloaded from or are available by contacting the Foundation in Cambridge at 1-866-900-4722 or 519- 621- 2763 ext. 2372. The email address is

What To Expect In 2014

After Jane Mitchell was re-elected as chair, she said that 2013 was a year of significant change and the next year promises to be the same.

The draft version of a new Water Management Plan for the Grand River watershed was completed in 2013, and this year it will be circulated to municipalities, provincial and federal ministries and First Nations for their endorsement.

The GRCA faces millions of dollars in costs over coming years to deal with the emerald ash borer. Climate change will also make the water management process more complex in the future if it leads to more floods, ice storms and other significant weather events.

Internally, the GRCA is faced with a large number of retirements so effort will be put into capturing the knowledge of those who are leaving and reviewing operations to make the organization even more efficient.

Jane Mitchell To Serve Fourth Term As Chair

Jane Mitchell has been acclaimed to a fourth one-year term as chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority.

The election took place at a GRCA board meeting on Friday, Jan. 24. Mitchell, who represents the Region of Waterloo on the board, was first elected to the position in

2011. Prior to that, she served as first vice-chair from 2007 to 2010.

Also acclaimed as vice-chair was Vic Prendergast, who represents the City of Brantford. He was been a vice-chair since 2000.

In a change this year, the board elected only one vice-chair compared to two in the past. One position was eliminated as part of a cost-reduction overhaul approved by the board in September. At the same time, the honorarium paid to the chair was reduced to $25,000 from $41,000 a year. The vice-chair receives $2,500 a year.

All board members, including the chair and vice-chair, also receive an additional per diem of $138 to attend a board meeting.

The GRCA board is made up to 26 members appointed by the municipalities of the Grand River watershed. They elect a chair and vice-chair at the first meeting of each year.