Posted By Jordan Baker -for the News-Record on Jan.6, 2009
Bluewater council took the next step to obtaining Blue Flag status for the Bayfield beach and marina.
After council approved the latest bylaw and implementation budget, the application can now go through to Blue Flag, as council has committed $9,000 of its 2009 budget to Blue Flag.
Councillor Bill MacDougall says people need to be aware of the economic spin-off of a designation such as Blue Flag. The status is expected to be a whole new attraction to the beach and marina, which was the first marina in North America to announce candidacy for the award.
Though the proposed budget for the first year of Bayfield’s Blue Flag project is estimated at $13,000, Jim Bryson, general manager of municipal services, explained to council the budget is really only $9,000, as some of the items listed are operational services the municipality is already doing.
Coun. Marg Deichert asked what the Blue Flag project was likely to cost after the first year.
Coun. Tyler Hessel says he spoke recently with the Blue Flag co-ordinator in Goderich, who told him their second-year’s budget was around $2,700.
Bryson explains, “Many [of the 2009 budget items] are one-time costs.”
Bryson told council there needed to be pre-budget approval so the application can be successful.
Coun. Peter Walden asked Bryson for clarification saying, “If the budget is not passed it would jeopardize the application for 2009,” as well as any money put into the project so far?
Bryson confirmed that is true.
Mayor Bill Dowson says if the application fails there would no financial impact in the municipal budget.
Deputy Mayor Dave Johnston asked what kind of funding the municipality was hoping to get for Blue Flag.
Hessel explained, “Whatever we put into it, they will match that with a grant.”
He points out it is not a Trillium Grant they are applying for, but a Rural Economic Development Grant. They hope to have their commitment of $9,000 matched by the province.
Johnston wished to make clear that as the Blue Flag bylaw states, no person shall fish within 100 feet of the swim zone, and the buoyed swim area would be well away from the marina, where he says many people fish.
A fee schedule is still being created to apply to the prohibited activities as laid out by the Blue Flag bylaw.