Sewage issue may back up Seedrioru's future
Eestlased Kanadas 20 Sep 2013  EWR
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Lugupeetud/honoured Seedrioru sõber/friend,

Another year in the life of Seedrioru is quickly coming to an end. As in the past, much work was done, good times were had, and many were involved. The festivities and singing at Suvihari/Laulupidu have ended, the camp has closed its doors for another year, and soon the grass cutting will end and the water from the pond will be let out. Thank you to the many who went above and beyond once again this year in making sure that everything came together.

The work of this year’s Seedrioru Board of Directors began in November of last year. Alongside working on the major events/activities and dealing with day-to-day operational issues and concerns, there were two very important issues that the board found itself dealing with. The first issue was that of the Seedrioru Drinking Water Systems and the second was that of the Seedrioru Sewage Systems. Both of these issues involve the Ministry of the Environment (MOE)… an organization with a lot of authority and a lot of “clout”. A summary of each issue is provided below for your benefit.

Although the water issue is of concern from an ongoing perspective, at this point in time it has been addressed by the board and is basically under control. Of much more immediate concern and importance is the sewage systems issue. If the sewage systems issue is not dealt with properly and in a timely manner, this issue could have very widespread repercussions for not only Seedrioru as a whole but also for Seedrioru’s individual lot leasers.

At this point, you have a choice… get better informed regarding the two issues by reading Appendix A which is the Water Systems Summary and then read Appendix B which is the Sewage Systems Summary. Or, you can just continue on to the Seedrioru’s Future section below.

Seedrioru’s Future?

If you read the Water Systems and Sewage Systems issues first, then you will have a clearer understanding of why these two issues, and in particular the sewage systems issue is being used as a stimulus for wanting to come together to talk about Seedrioru’s future.

As noted, the current Seedrioru board has been able to proceed with ensuring that Seedrioru complies with the MOE requirements for the water systems, at least for the year in question. How this compliance continues going forward is a matter for some discussion.

Unfortunately the same does not hold true for the handling of sewage on the property. As is pointed out in the MOE sewage report, Seedrioru must take ownership of all sewage management on the entire property. The playing field has now changed and a number of stakeholders are affected and will need to be involved going foward… the four owner Seltsid (including their boards and their active members); those individuals who lease lots that have cottages/buildings on them (with or without water/toilets/showers/etc); and those individuals who lease lots that do not have buildings on their lots; etc. There are also others involved: organizations, groups and people, who may not be stakeholders, but who do use Seedrioru… facility renters, tenters, camp attendees, festival visitors, etc.

As you can appreciate, Seedrioru is currently used in many ways. The original purpose of Seedrioru revolved around a camp and the children of those who had to leave their Estonian homeland. A lot of Seedrioru continues to satisfy the needs associated with that camp. But will and can this camp continue? Will it continue unchanged or will changes be necessary? Or perhaps Seedrioru’s purpose and focus will need to change in the next 10 and 20 years. Those are some of the questions that need answering.

The sewage systems project is a very large project. Probably the largest and most intense that Seedrioru will undertake. It will take a huge amount of work, analysis, planning, direction, engagement, participation… etc. And yes… it will take funding.

The current board is unclear as to what direction Seedrioru should proceed in with the sewage system. The board cannot begin to determine how extensive and encompassing the system should be until it can determine what Seedrioru’s needs and purpose will be in the future… and this, “Lugupeedtud/honoured Seedrioru sober/friend” is why we need your help.

There are many fundamental uncertainties related to the project itself, but these can all be defined and overcome once the scope of the project is known. However, the one uncertainty that the board feels must find its way to the top of the list and be dealt with immediately can be simply stated as… “What is SEEDRIORU’S FUTURE”.

The board feels that it alone cannot determine or confirm Seedrioru’s future. YOU must make your feelings known and you cannot be shy about it or wait to do so. We need your guidance in order to move forward with the sewage systems. Make no mistake… we MUST move forward with the sewage systems… doing nothing or procrastinating are not options. However, we must make sure that we consider everything that needs to be considered before doing so.

Determining Seedrioru’s future may not be easy and it may not be accomplished in one sitting, but the process and the discussions need to be started ASAP. Seedrioru must have a VISION… it must know where it is going so it and its board of directors can take the necessary actions in order to achieve that vision. Without the vision, the purpose, without having some insight into what the future could/will hold, it will be all but impossible to know what to do as it relates to Sewage Management at Seedrioru, let alone anything else that needs to be done at Seedrioru.

The board feels that it is imperative that everyone who is a Seedrioru stakeholder and those who care about Seedrioru and its future, come together to talk about and explore that FUTURE and that TULEVIK together. The results of these discussions and the input from the participants will provide the board with something that it can move forward with in developing proposals and plans for how to proceed with the Sewage Systems. These proposals and options will then be presented to the Seedrioru membership for approval before proceeding.

Next Step… Communication and Visioning Event… September 28:

The board is coordinating a Communication and Visioning Event. It will be held on Saturday, September 28 at Seedrioru.

Anyone who cares about Seedrioru’s future is being invited to attend. This includes: the four owner seltsid, their boards, and their memberships; all of the lot leasers; the current Seedrioru board; all Seedrioru alumni… everyone who cares, everyone who wants to care, everyone who should care. You are encouraged to solicit the participation of as many of Seedrioru alumni or Seedrioru sõbrad as possible. Similar letters were already sent to all of the lot leasers and the seltsi juhatused of the four founding cities (Hamilton, Kitchener, London, St. Catherines). The seltsi juhatused have been contacting their memberships encouraging them to participate.

The activities for the day will be as follows (subject to some minor changes):

10:30 – Gathering of lot leasers, seltside juhatused and Seedrioru board for 11:00 Sewage System MOE briefing meeting. Coffee and tea will be provided.

11:00 -1:00 – Sewage System MOE briefing meeting… for seltside juhatused, the lot leasers and the Seedrioru board.
• Meet with the MOE Sewage Officer (Michael Hindriks).
• The MOE officer will explain the MOE regulations, the MOE report and the expectations of the MOE as it relates to Seedrioru’s sewage management.
• Time will be provided for questions and answers.

1:00 – 1:30/1:45 – Lunch will be provided for the earlier group.

1:30 – Gathering for Seedrioru Visioning

2:00 – 6:00 – Seedrioru Visioning session. EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE during this part of the day.
• The session is being facilitated by Tõnu Tõsine… one of those “Lugupeetud/honored Seedrioru sõbrad/friends”.
• Breaks will be provided.
• PLEASE… No alcohol during the visioning sessions.
• Non- alcoholic refreshments will be provided.
• There will be some initial information shared with you by the board.
• Everyone will then be divided into small groups for break-out meetings. The groups will be asked to discuss and record their responses to a few questions pertaining to Seedrioru and its future.
• Regrouping back into the large group to share experiences and group output.
• The board will try to summarize the day and talk about next steps.

6:00 – Sügispidu Supper will be available, beginning at 6:00
• It will be offered Free to participants of the full Visioning session. Donations will of course be accepted.
• If you do not participate, cost of dinner will be $20.
• Beer and wine sales will be available… but only after the visioning session has concluded.

7:00/7:30 – Sügispidu Dance will begin.
UPDATE – The event/dance will be a BYOB affair… NO beer or wine sales will take place (too difficult to coordinate given the uncertainty related to number of attendees).

The tared will be available for overnight accommodations on a first-come first-serve basis. Please leave the tared clean when you leave in the morning.

There will be some fundraising activities… 50/50 draw and the like.

Donations will be accepted.

There will no doubt be other details to work out. As these are known we will communicate them accordingly.

The Seedrioru website, social media and other associated websites will be used to inform people of this event and to keep them apprised of any changes.

Please share this letter (in whole or in part) with other alumni and others who care. Everyone who cares about Seedrioru and its FUTURE needs to be aware of this meeting and will hopefully attend. Please help to get the word out there.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions please don’t hesitate in contacting myself or anyone else on the current Seedrioru board of directors

Many thanks for your continued support and commitment to Seedrioru and its future.

Jaanus Kimsto
Seedrioru board secretary
519-222-0238 (cell)
519-658-5985 (home)

If you know that Seedrioru does not have your contact information, in particular your email address, could you please forward this to me so that we can keep you informed about Seedrioru. I can assure you that your information will not be sold to any 3rd party agencies.
Aitäh / thank you.

Appendix A: Seedrioru Water Systems Summary and MOE

On March 21, 2013 the board was in receipt of a letter and report from the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) regarding Seedrioru’s water systems. The letter and report were the result of 2012 inspections by the MOE based on non-compliances identified in prior years. The report clearly stated that Seedrioru continued to be in contravention of O.Reg. 170/03, the Safe Drinking Water Act. Additionally, the letter also noted that this matter had been referred to the Investigations and Enforcement Branch of the MOE for investigation. In this regard, the letter went on to note that should the investigations branch confirm legislative non-compliances, the consequences could result in being summoned to a court of law and charges could result.

Clearly there has been a significant amount of work done by previous Seedrioru boards and others to satisfy and comply with the MOE requirements related to Seedrioru’s water systems.

The following identifies the actions that the Seedrioru board has taken and is taking in dealing with the current MOE concerns and the outstanding non-conformance(s):

1. On April 20, 2013 the board met with Carola Serwotka, MOE Provincial Officer, Drinking Water Inspection Program. Her letter and report were reviewed, put into context, and actions that Seedrioru was required to carry out in order to be compliant were clarified. The shortcomings associated with Seedioru’s governance structure, particularly related to the chance of a new board every year, were also pointed out and discussed.
2. The Seedrioru Water Systems project was taken on by board member Toomas Ellerbusch .
3. A Maintenance and Operations Manual was prepared and submitted to the MOE by Toomas Ellerbusch on June 13, 2013, for their review.
4. Duties of Seedioru’s water system operator were confirmed and reviewed. Any work performed on the water systems must be done by the operator and must be appropriately logged.
5. Water sampling procedures were developed and implemented and continue to be carried out in accordance with MOE guidelines. Testing is being performed by a certified external laboratory and the results of the testing is being forwarded to the MOE. Water sampling will continue until the operations for the year end and the water systems are turned off.
6. The Maintenance and Operations Manual requires revisions (recommended by the MOE). This work is being undertaken by Kadri Munro, Robert Kimsto, and Jaanus Kimsto. The revised Manual will be submitted to the MOE by the end of September for their review.
7. An annual end-of-year report must be written and submitted to the MOE for their review. This year’s report will be written by Kadri Munro and Jaanus Kimsto.
8. Board members Kadri Munro and Jaanus Kimsto have met with the MOE Officer, Carola Serwotka, on a number of occasions… inspection of Seedrioru’s water systems, discussions, information sharing, etc. She has been a very helpful and supportive resource.

The references made to Seedrioru’s water systems and Seedrioru’s drinking water apply only to those water systems that are used as part of the operation of the children’s summer camp, namely: the well near the main hall that supplies the Seedrioru buildings with water; the water supply systems in the main hall; the water supply systems in each of the two serviced cabins (Orutare and Koldetare; the water supply systems in the red farm house; and the water supply systems in the sauna building. At this point in time, the discussions have not involved individual lots leasers or any of the wells on those leased lots. The board does feel however that in all likelihood it is only a matter of time until Seedrioru must take full ownership ensuring the quality of all water being supplied on the site.

At this point the board has not been approached by the investigations branch of the Ministry of the Environment. The hope is that our proactive efforts to get back on track and comply with the necessary requirements will help and possibly prevent any further escalation of this mater. The MOE officer, Carola Serwotka is also preparing a final report on her findings. Hopefully her findings will conclude that we are in full compliance. Whether this will ultimately mean anything to the investigations branch is not clear and has not been discussed.

Ensuring that Seedrioru continues to comply with MOE requirements, on an ongoing basis in future years, needs to be an area of concern for the four owner “Seltsid” and future Seedrioru boards. Being compliant is an absolute requirement and the consequences of not being compliant could be very severe.

Appendix B: Seedrioru Sewage Systems Summary and MOE

On July 20, 2013, the board was in receipt of a letter and report from the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) regarding Seedrioru’s on-site sewage disposal systems. Their correspondence is the result of an inspection that was carried out by Michael Hindriks, MOE Senior Environmental Officer, on July 6, 2013. Accompanying Mr. Hindriks on the site visit were Seedrioru board members Erik Hess, Robert Kimsto and Jaanus Kimsto. The most significant conclusion in his report is stated as follows:… “As the owner and operator of the Site, the Client is responsible to ensure that reasonable, appropriate and adequate sewage treatment capacity for the entire Site is in place for all uses including but not limited to camping, cottages, cabins, assembly halls, public washrooms, events and any and all other potential uses…”. The bottom line from the MOE’s perspective is that all effluent is generated on the property must be dealt with on the property and that Seedrioru is responsible for dealing with all effluent produced on the entire property that it owns. The report identifies 5 actions that Seedrioru must take in order to meet MOE requirements. Each action is associated with a date and a defined deliverable.

Although there are a few inaccuracies in the MOE report in describing/defining Seedrioru, these inaccuracies do not change the ultimate tone of the report nor the conclusions or findings of the MOE. Protecting the environment, the quality of the drinking water sources, the health of the occupants and users of the property and its facilities, and protecting the neighboring properties and rivers/streams is at the heart of the MOE’s concerns and recommendations.

As with Seedrioru water systems, there has been a significant amount of work done by previous Seedrioru boards and lot leasers as it relates to dealing with sewage on the property. The report prepared in 1997 by Triton in association with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and Pilkington Township initiated some of the work done to address the sewage handling systems on the property. At that time the MOE was not involved. Most recently (2009) the sewage for the main hall was dealt with by way of a septic field and pumping station. The MOE approved this project. Ontario legislation only considers the entire site, not individual leased lots, and the volume of effluent generated on the entire site. When this is considered, our volumes necessitate MOE’s involvement.

The following identifies the actions that your current Seedrioru board has taken and is taking in trying to deal with the current MOE concerns in meeting their requirements:

1. John Broad (V.A. Woods and Associates - consultant/designer who was used for the 2009 main hall sewage project) was asked to send a letter to the MOE regarding the main hall project stating that the project had complied with one of the MOE’s action items. This has been done.
2. Some preliminary discussion have taken place between John Broad and board chair Erik Hess regarding possible sewage handling options, other design consulting firms that could handle this size and scope of project, possible next steps, etc.
3. Discussions between board chair Erik Hess and Michael Hindriks, MOE officer, have take place regarding the dates associated with action items. Discussion included explaining Seedrioru’s governance structure, Seedrioru’s approval process and approval requirements (AGM), and the need for discussion to determine Seedrioru’s future/direction. He was agreeable to pushing off the dates for action items 2 thru 5, however only within reason. Erik Hess was to issue a letter on behalf of the board asking for extensions. This has been done.
4. A preliminary exploratory meeting was held on August 20, 2013 with representatives from Burnside Consulting and Gamsby &Mannerow Consultants. Present from the board were Erik Hess, Robert Kimsto and Jaanus Kimsto. Also attending was John Broad. Both firms indicated that they will be prepared to quote once we have a clear direction and can identify a scope.
5. Erik Hess was to confirm that MOE officer, Michael Hindriks, would be available on September 28, to come to Seedrioru and outline the MOE sewage requirements to the board of the 4 seltsid, the lot leasers and the Seedioru board. He has confirmed that he will be present on the 28th.
6. An informal meeting is planned for September 11, 2013 between the Seedrioru board (based on time availability of each board member) and a representative from Center Wellington’s building and planning departments. It is important that everyone is on the same planning field and playing the same game. We need to clear the air and do some discovery (both Center Wellington and Seedrioru)… what happened, where are we, where can we go, where do we need to go… etc.
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