This post is in response to all the comments and questions about service fees.
SCOI is not party to the Band’s operating budget but we do know that the following are services provided by the Band and are in part supported by our service fees.
The band for the past two years has hired Cancom to provide front line security on the Reserves. This includes patrols of the beaches, cottage areas and all other areas of the reserves. In the off season the service is reduced to coverage for full time residents.
Currently Cancom is also enforcing the State of Emergency directives including checking vehicles to ensure only those with permission can drive onto Band land and checking cottages primarily to be sure there is no one living there without permission. However this also helps to keep an eye out for illegal activity in addition to the biweekly winter patrol checks.
Cancom staff are sworn Federal By-law Officers and can lay charges related to the Band’s by-laws including the state of emergency directives.
The OPP is involved as a backup to Cancom and are responding to 911 calls and to Cancom calls for back up.
The OPP lays charges for things like the highway traffic act, alcohol and drug offences and criminal offenses. We have noticeably seen improved coverage since Cancom has appeared on the scene.
The Band’s Fire Department has an arrangement with the South Bruce Peninsula Fire Department detachment in Sauble Beach for coverage of parts of the reserve. Saugeen Shores is not involved. The agreement is exactly the same as many municipalities have with one another to ensure coverage that is closer to a neighbour’s fire hall than to their own.
In our case, the SBP Sauble fire hall covers Chief’s Point and all of Block A (South Sauble and French Bay).
Sauble bills the Band for calls responded to in its coverage area.
The SFN’s Fire Department covers Block B and everything east of Bruce Co. Road 13.
The Works Department probably has the biggest draw on our service fees.
Several things have happened in the Works Department in the past couple of years.
The first was the Band’s determination that it wanted to transition to the First Nations Land Management Act.
The Feds are requiring that the Band undertake a series of reviews and upgrades in order to meet standards prescribed by the Ontario Groundwater Protection Act. We are all involved because our septic systems need to be brought up to code. But this initiative includes all Band lands. And for Works this means a review of its landfill site (which is approaching capacity) and of its maintenance facilities and fuel depot. So there are costs associated with these that are also a part of the services used by cottage owners.
Garbage is one of the most contentious services provided to cottagers.
Three years ago the Band caught cottagers bringing large items from home for disposal (for free) as part of the spring big garbage pickup. The Band’s response to this abuse was to cancel spring big garbage pickup the following year. A considerable number of cottage owners disregarded this change and continued to put large items at the road for pick up. The result was Band members and citizens from adjacent communities complaining loudly about the mess.
The landfill was filling up and the Band was very angry with cottage owners. They dropped both spring and fall big garbage pickups the following year.
Individual cottagers can now still dispose of their big items by taking them to the dump for a fee or having Works pick them up for a fee.
Large Item Pickup Service is no longer covered by our service fees – which is how it works at other municipalities.
Recycling is another point of contention. The Band has had trouble finding buyers for its paper and glass recycled materials and so has had to ask cottagers to place these items in the garbage stream or take them home for recycling. Even Tim Horton’s in Southampton and Hepworth no longer have recycle bins. There is no market for them.
Cottagers have been complaining that their garbage is not being picked up on the day advertised. Most of the problem has arisen because cottagers are not sorting their recycles properly as described in the annual brochure sent from the Lands Management office. This means that the guys collecting the garbage have to take the time to sort it themselves which slows everything down, ends up costing more and not everything gets collected when it is supposed to. So our sympathies are more with the Band than with cottagers on this one.
If cottagers would be more diligent and take the time to explain to others using their cottage, what is expected, we would all be much happier with garbage collection.
Cottagers cannot assume that the recycle program at the cottage is the same as at home.
Road Maintenance and Plowing
Works is also responsible for road maintenance and winter plowing. There are a few places needing road work and the Band has these on its to do list. The roads are plowed in the winter, so those cottagers who visit during the off season do benefit from this service. Gravel roads are graded (not often enough for many) and calcium is applied (not soon enough for some).
There are several other departments that provide some services to support cottage owners.
Water management relates to drinking water. There are public taps that are available to anyone living on the reserve who is not directly connected to the municipal water supply. Many cottagers fill their water jugs this way(for free). The Band’s water comes from the Saugeen Shores municipal system and is of excellent quality. The Band’s Water Department takes water samples for testing at these taps every day of the year except Christmas Day. In the summer they also routinely test the quality of the lake water along the shoreline and post warnings if the lake is unsuitable for swimming etc… Tap water pumped from the lake is not considered safe to drink. Have it tested or get your water from a public tap.
Economic Development manages the ‘Beach Crew’ and this has been much reduced since the beaches have been closed. But there is still beach access for cottagers and there is a smaller crew that now still looks after the beaches – especially removing debris in the spring.
Land Management and Administration Offices
Land Management provides considerable services to cottagers but is also a small department.
And, the Administration offices also have a role in servicing cottagers directly and through support (ie. human resources, accounting, communications…) to the line departments mentioned above.