I must apologize for the lack of postings this summer. My summer has been very hectic and when the good weather finally came in mid-July, it was important to absorb every minute.

First of all, I would like to thank Deputy Reeve Bauer Hyde for chairing the July information meeting in my absence. Cheryl, John Ondrusek, John Stauffer and Dave Dmytruk did a great job of sharing the highlights of last year as well as information of upcoming strategies for the balance of the year.

The lakes have been very busy this summer. Emma and Christopher lake levels have been very high and this will likely continue on into the fall and freeze up period. Excess spring runoff and rains have combined to create an overabundance of water. We have distributed sand and sandbags in strategic locations for ratepayers to use to protect shorelines. We have been urging boaters to stay well away from the shoreline to try to minimize wake damage.

Water quality testing has continued this year with extra sampling being done at several locations between Tuttle and Emma Lake. Levels of nitrogen and phosphorus were higher than the samples analyzed from South Emma over the last few years which can be attributed to storage not being able to retain and naturally clean these waters. As well, these samples did not contain pesticides, herbicides.

You may have noticed a reddish colouration to your lake or even your rain water storage this summer. This was due to a disease called “Pine Needle Rust”. The needles on the end of spruce boughs will likely fall off, but regrow next spring with no lasting adverse effects.

The Environmental Advisory Committee has worked diligently over last winter and spring with Kyle Young, a master’s student from the University of Saskatchewan, to produce an “Environmental Management Plan” for the District. Administration will be in charge of some editing and corrections, then the plan will be given to Council for their review. Administration has also submitted a new application to the University of Saskatchewan requesting that further work on several sections of this plan by another student starting this fall is required. We are hopeful that this relationship with the University can be continued and strengthened by future studies. Council would like to thank Kyle Young, Councillor Stauffer, Bruce Reeder, Wayne Hyde, and the entire committee for the time and energy devoted to this work.

It has been a trying year for Administration, Greenland Waste, Conservation Officers, and ratepayers with respect to bears and garbage collection. Several ratepayers have contacted us and expressed the view that the new plastic garbage receptacles have attracted bears to our sub-divisions. This is simply NOT true. In conversations with our Conservation Officers several things have to be considered. When the bears finished with hibernation, they encountered a very late spring with very little food supply. Bears normally avoid our sub-divisions, but when they have very few options to find food, they do go after garbage stored in the containers. This would have been equally true with our old steel or plastic containers on stands. The new containers may have offered less resistance to bears, but certainly did not attract them. Now that Mother Nature is supplying bears with their normal diet the problem has disappeared. Councillors have driven through most of the sub-divisions in the District this week and did not find any containers with refuse spread. There are still some problems at Bells Beach and Sunset Bay, but hopefully that will end soon as well. Greenland Waste has proved one experimental “bear resistant” container which is being tested this fall. The District will review results as soon as the experiment is complete.