King Township Council Meetings - October 16, 2023
This report includes an update on the phosphorus levels in Lake Simcoe as well as an update on the Nobleton Lions Community Park Re-Development Strategy. You can also click here to read my special report on the Holland Marsh.
You can watch the video for the October 16th meeting here but remember it will only be live for two weeks.
• Sip & Savour is a fundraiser for the Food Bank which has increased demand on its services. Tickets are on sale for the annual Sip & Savour event which will be on Thursday October 26th from 6pm to 9pm. This year the event will be hosted at Magna Hall at Seneca and the theme is Casablanca
• Last Friday was the Spooktacular Halloween at Cold Creek – a sold out event! If you missed it there is another opportunity on Friday October 26th from 5-8:30. The Haunting on King Rd will be at the King Heritage and Cultural Centre and will feature spooky stories, performances, treats and more. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Register here (under Holiday Events).
• King Township Official Bird – after five months of voting and 230 entries, King Township has declared its official bird to be the Black Capped Chickadee. King Township got its Bird Friendly certification from Nature Canada in March 2023.
• Update on urgent mechanical repairs at the Nobleton Arena. In June the chiller needed urgent repairs and though there were delays in getting parts delivered they have all arrived and have been installed. The ice is in the process of being built and will be ready October 23rd.
• October is Canadian Library Month – to celebrate the library has planned a series of fun activities and programs throughout October. Highlights include crafts, bingo challenge, horror story contests, haunted house events, and Halloween costume exchange.
• To better serve the community, King City Library is now open on Saturdays from 10am – 2pm.
• King is co-hosting a Rabies vaccine clinic and Micro-chip event in Vaughan. Residents can book an appointment to bring their pet on Sunday October 22 at the Vaughan Animal Shelter from 9am to 4pm. Click here for more information.
Phosphorus in Lake Simcoe
I seconded a motion brought forward by Councillor Eek to request that the province update its Phosphorus Reduction Strategy. The motion also included a request that the province develop and fund a time-bound action plan to achieve the revised Strategy by 2030. The current Phosphorus Reduction Strategy was done 14 years ago, but significant changes have occurred in the watershed since. A review of the type and extent of invasive species needs to be done as well as determining the impact of climatic changes in precipitation, streamflow and ice cover.
Phosphorus occurs naturally in the environment and is an essential nutrient that plants and animals need. Natural heritage features, represented by the forests, wetlands, lakes, rivers, and grasslands that cover our landscape, are vital components of the ecosystem that naturally help to regulate the entry of phosphorus into the watershed by preventing soil erosion, stabilizing shorelines, filtering and retaining phosphorus and other nutrients in plant tissue. Scientists estimate that, prior to the major settlement and land clearing that took place in the watershed in the 1800s, the annual phosphorus load going into the Lake was about 32 tonnes/year. That figure has more than doubled to 72 tonnes/year now as the watershed has continued to face increasing pressures from a growing human population.
Phosphorus levels are significant because they indirectly affect the fish population in the lake. Phosphorus is a nutrient and high levels in the Lake encourage the growth of plants and algae. When the plants and algae die in the fall, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that uses up oxygen. When the plant life is abundant, as it is now because of the additional phosphorus, the decomposition creates an oxygen shortage in the deeper areas of the Lake—areas that provide vital habitat for the coldwater fish species that live there, such as lake trout. The goal is to decrease the amount of phosphorus to 44 tonnes/year, a level which scientists have determined makes cold-water fish sustainable and prevent excessive plant and algae growth.
In 2009, the province received unanimous all-party support for the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, the cornerstone of which was the reduction of phosphorus pollution to 44 tonnes/year. In 2022, the province announced this it was allocating $24 million to design, build and operate a phosphorus reductions project which will be combined with $16 million in federal funding for a total of $40 million. Unfortunately, the province has still not developed a plan or a budget to achieve the goal. Recently, the towns of Bradford West Gwillimbury and Georgina unanimously passed resolutions demanding the province address this oversight. Councillor Eek’s motion adds King to that list.
Council heard a presentation from Don Goodyear, a Professional Geoscientist with two decades of leadership experience between the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and York Region. He explained that the new studies need to be done as the phosphorus and oxygen levels are no longer behaving according to the predictive models. More research is needed to understand why that is and adjust the Strategy accordingly.
1) Nobleton Lions Community Park Re-Development Strategy
At the March 20th meeting, Council endorsed staff’s plan to re-develop the Nobleton Lions Community Park. At last night’s meeting, Council approved the start of Phase I of the plan which includes the design of park amenities and elements including wading pool, outdoor rink, pickleball court, Amphitheatre, pathways, access roads, and soccer field reconstruction. Phase II and III will be approved by council at a later date and will include the construction of the elements and design and construction of the new Library facility.
There has been some discussion from residents about the relocation of the Nobleton library to this new location. I spoke to the library CEO, Adele Reid, who noted that while there has been a nice increased in attendance at the current Nobleton library, though most of the traffic came from drivers rather than walk-ins. The benefit of the relocation is having the library facilities so close to the ice rink offering different recreation options at one location. There are also efficiencies in having town staff servicing one location.
There was some discussion about what to do with the Women’s Institute (Section B in the blue box on the site plan above). While not well used at the moment, the building was given a historical designation in 2007. Two options were discussed including demolishing it or moving it at a cost of $500,000. The building has frontage on Old King Rd. which may impede the re-development of Old King Rd if it is to stay in place. Council asked staff to conduct a survey of residents about the future of the building and to report their findings back to Council along with some more information about the significance of building.
Ward 2 – Councillor Boyd – Thanked Chief Wall for hosting fire open house in Nobleton. As a firefighter, he finds that every years lives would have been saved had they had a functioning fire alarm. Residents are encouraged to call King's Fire Department (905-833-2800) who will come and inspect your house and even bring ladders if need be to help replace detectors.
Ward 3 – Councillor Anstey – I also thanked the Chief Wall for hosting the open house. I attended with my son and we went home to test our emergency exit plan and created a rendezvous point. The King website has many great tools and tips on how you can ensure your family is prepared.
Retirement Residence Fair – Note that this isn’t part of the official record as I only just noticed the event - On Friday October 27th from 10am to 4pm you can meet the many residences available in our area at the King Township Municipal Centre. Representatives from various residences will be available to discuss what their respective homes have to offer future residents. Attendees will have an opportunity to speak one-on-one with retirement home representatives to discuss specific needs and concerns. No registration required, this is a drop in event.
Ward 4 – Councillor Asselstine – The Region of York giving out Emergency Preparedness Guides which offers details about what to do in case of flooding or tornados. Click here for more. Schomberg Scarecrows is on now but you can still register your scarecrow here until October 22nd. Judging is on October 28th and the winner is announced on October 30th. The Schomberg Agricultural Society invites everyone to join them at the Annual Community Spirit and Bonfire Night on October 21st. There's food and entertainment. Dancing, singing and a lot of laughter are par for the course.
Mayor - Leaf collection is happening until the end of November
Ward 6 - Councillor Eek – The Holland Marsh District Christian School in Ansnorveldt was recently demolished. In its place, residents are wondering if the town can install pickleball courts and a second baseball diamond since it is the most used baseball diamond in the township. Councillor Eek will be registering Team King for the Run Walk for South Lake on April 28th, 2024. A link will be available soon so that anybody who would like to join can.
1) Dry Hydrants - King’s Fire department has installed two dry hydrants in Ward 3 (14600 12th concession and the south-east corner of highway 9 and 11th concession). Property owners have kindly allowed the hydrants to be hooked into their ponds so the fire department can draw that water and save precious re-fill time in an emergency.
2) Holland Marsh – As part of my work on Council, I sit on the Holland Marsh Drainage Systems Joint Municipal Services Board which is responsible for maintaining and managing the Holland Marsh drainage system, to plan any future development for the Holland Marsh and tackle any possible environmental issues.
I was delighted to get a boat tour of the canal and learn some of the history involved in its creation. I was particularly impressed with the significant environmental improvements that were made. You can read my full report here.