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LV will support Muskrat Watershed Council

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

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Township council will financially support the Muskrat Watershed Council (MWC) this year but they won't meet the organization's funding request.

Council reviewed a financial statement from the MWC that revealled their total expenses to date was $8,561, while their total income was $14,759. The MWC was seeking $2,500 from Laurentian Valley to cover operating costs and support future initiatives to assist in improving water quality.

The Muskrat River Watershed is 500 square kilometres in area and encompasses the Townships of North Algona Wilberforce, Laurentian Valley, Admaston Bromley, Whitewater Region and the City of Pembroke. The watershed council formed in 2014 in response to growing concerns about the state of Muskrat Lake, located within Cobden and area. The lake's poor water quality has been the subject of concern and controversy for decades, and following a series of public meetings and studies on the matter came the will to do something about it.

Reeve Debbie Robinson questioned whether they could afford to allocate such a large amount of money to the organization. She noted that one of the municipalities that make up the watershed has already announced they will not be funding the MWC this year.

“From my perspective, I don't think it is a good use of our money at this time,” she said.

The MWC will be working with the agricultural community to mitigate the sources and pathways of nutrient loading in the watershed. This year the group will focus on the Controlled Tile Drainage projects, one of which is located in Laurentian Valley, according to chief administrative officer Dean Sauriol.

The watershed council plans to consult and educate on initiatives to clean up the watershed and lakes. The council is also seeking $25,000 from the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund and $75,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Mayor Steve Bennett said the group has several major goals that they wish to pursue, however, he could see the township dampening down what they can contribute.
“At the moment I believe we should pull it back,” said Bennett.

Following a suggestion by Councillor Keith Watt, township council voted to give the MWC $1,500 for 2016.





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