In March of this year restrictions of the movement and gathering of people due to COVID-19 were put in place on PEI. These restrictions resulted in the Board of Directors for the Winter River – Tracadie Bay Watershed Association deciding that the annual general meeting (AGM) would be postponed until the fall when hopefully COVID-19 restrictions will allow a face-to-face meeting. As they become available, preliminary annual reports as would normally be shared at the AGM will be posted to the WRTBWA’s website with the full reports presented at the AGM in the fall.
Preliminary 2020 AGM Chair Report submitted by Clare Martin
Board of Directors
At the May 2019 AGM a Board of 11 Directors was formed comprising of three new Directors and eight returning Directors. As per the By-Laws, there shall be not less than six and not more than 12 Directors. At the Executive Meeting held May 29, 2019 it was unanimously decided that the executive for 2019 would consist of Chair – Clare Martin, Vice Chair – George Coade, Secretary – Ryan Winters, and Treasurer – Lowell Vessey.
As a non-profit organization we rely on funding from government (federal, provincial, and municipal), non-government organizations, and donations. Each funder grants money to the Association with conditions of how their grant is to be used. For examples, some funders provide money for salaries, some provide funds to support a specific project, while a few funds are more flexible and can be used for overhead such as office expenses. Well into the 2019 summer season, the Association learned that some funders’ grants would be significantly reduced compared to previous years. This resulted in using some of the Association’s reserve fund to complete the projects in progress and commitments to staff salaries. Inconsistent funding makes budgeting for staff and projects a constant challenge for the Association. This is one reason we maintain a reserve fund.
Environmental Educational Opportunities Provided by the Watershed
During 2019, high school and post-secondary students were employed to complete the Association’s projects under the direction of the Watershed Coordinator. The Association emphasizes providing interested students with environmental work experience. The PEI Watershed Alliance also supports the learning of the Association’s staff by providing workshops on specific topics such as fish passage. The Alliance either conducts the workshop itself or arranges for various experts to deliver a workshop to staff from interested watershed groups around PEI.
The Association also provided our own environmental learning opportunities to school groups ranging from elementary to the post- secondary level. As well, in September a corporate group was hosted by the Association for their annual community volunteering event.
Learning opportunities for the general public included organizing a snowshoe hike and later a Lady Slipper hike using the Winter River Trail. Additionally, a booth staffed by the Association was set up at the Canada Day Celebration held at the North Shore Community Centre. Presently, a trail is being constructed through the Association’s Suffolk property. The trail will allow for self-guiding educational opportunities for the general public through what will become a demonstration area for our group.
This past year the Association hosted a series of meetings with farmers in the area. The meetings highlighted the work of the Watershed Association and helped us gain a better understanding of how the Watershed Association can work with the farmers to maintain or improve the quality of the land and water resources within our watershed. The Association felt that these meetings were very productive due to the exchange of information and concerns.
During 2019, the City of Charlottetown’s Miltonvale Park wellfield (located outside our watershed) became operational. The Miltonvale Park wellfield now supplies 25% of Charlottetown’s water supply, to be used by residents, visitors, industry, and businesses. Therefore, less water is needed from the City’s wells located in Brackley and Union Road. The Association continues to meet with officials from the City of Charlottetown and the Provincial government to share information on watershed management and concerns related to water extraction from our watershed for use by the City of Charlottetown.
In the fall of 2019, the Association responded to the Province’s invitation to provide feedback to the proposed Water Extraction Regulations. Five Board members attended the October 30th public meeting in Charlottetown. The Board also met privately with Deputy Minister of Environment and provincial staff on November 7th to present the Association’s particular concerns with the proposed water extraction regulations.
In September, MLAs from all parties were invited to meet with the Association to highlight concerns over land use and water extraction within the watershed. The Mayor from the City of Charlottetown also joined this meeting. The Association considered the meeting to be quite successful as there was a high level of engagement and interest from the attending politicians and government officials.
As always, the Board of Directors for the Winter River – Tracadie Bay Watershed Association encourages the residents of our watershed to bring to the attention of the Board any concerns or questions they have about what is happening in the watershed.Share on Facebook