By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Hearing that the town has no meaningful bylaw to address the hazards posed by standing, Cobourg council this week directed staff to begin looking into a bylaw for this purpose.
The move was spurred by a letter from Dr. Matthew Vaughan reminding council that this is a health hazard.
“Standing stagnant water is a health hazard,” Dr. Vaughan wrote.
“West Nile Virus is now endemic in Southern Ontario. Quality of life from May through August is significantly impacted by excess mosquito and blackfly activity. Standing water presents further additional health risks to our pets, including giardia and cyptosporidium.”
Dr. Vaughan mentioned standing water on the property adjacent to his, where an extensive landscaping project disrupted the natural drainage. As a result, they have dealt with five years of excessive mosquito activity due to standing water.
He closed his letter with a list of bylaws currently in force in other municipalities.
“I know there have been some complaints from Dr, Vaughan, as well as many other different complaints I have received, whether it be pools or any other various things,” Councillor Adam Bureau said in making the motion.
“I am curious – in the absence of a standing-water bylaw, what do residents currently have to follow through on concerns around standing water,” Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty wondered.
“I visited Dr. Vaughan and can see his concern, and know of a few other properties where standing water has become quite a barrier or concern. What opportunities have residents to explore concerns in the absence of a bylaw of this nature?”
“Nothing really specific to the situation – we do have a property-standards bylaw with some concerns but not specifically related to standing water,” Municipal Clerk Brent Larmer said.
Councillor Miriam Mutton, who is on the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority board, encouraged staff to reach out to this agency in their efforts.