Busy summer… now full steam ahead!

Screen Shot 2019-09-02 at 10.40.53Message from the President

I hope that all of you have had a wonderful summer and fall, out “at the lake”.  I always find this a very busy – and poignant – period, as we store away our summer furniture, winterize equipment, and otherwise get ready for the coming frost!

It is a busy period as well for the URLA.

The canal navigation season ended shortly after Thanksgiving.  So, once again, our lake Association volunteers removed the 11 white shoal marker buoys, to store them until next spring.  Placing and maintaining the shoal markers (which can sometimes blow off in high winds, and then need to be replaced in their proper spots), all through volunteer efforts and personal boats, is one of the key contributions our Association makes to the safety of our lake.

We have also launched a new tree sapling program.  The URLA has for many years provided indigenous “bare root” seedlings – free of charge – to our members.  And over the years, the bare root program has resulted in many trees being planted on properties around the lake.

The new “sapling” program adds to the choices available to Members.  It is an excellent program   – two gallon potted saplings of indigenous trees and shrub species will be available for pick up in the spring, at a very competitive price of $3 each.  Orders must be placed by November 15th.  This is the first year of this “experiment”- so there is a real opportunity to order great trees now, to be picked up in the spring.

Additional information can be found at the following link.

We are also continuing to work with the Township of Rideau Lakes and other area lake associations to input into the new Township Official Plan.  Overall, we are advocating that EXISTING protections for the waterfront and lake environments be retained, and that, if at all possible, there be ADDITIONAL protections for waterfront vegetation in the development process.  Many of you will have already provided your input directly to the Township through its consultative processes.

The Township will issue a complete draft of the new Official Plan in mid November.  Please continue to stay in touch with our Board, and/or the Township itself, if you wish to share any concerns or comments.

The Association is also very pleased with the decision taken by the Township to “register site plan conditions on Title”.  This means that once a site plan is approved, it will be part of the title to the property.  Not only will this process be more transparent, it should result in more lasting protections for our lake water quality, particularly that arising from shoreline vegetation.  The efforts to persuade Council to modernize its development policies were the result of hard work by many committed people, not only on our lake, but throughout the watershed.  And, we should also recognize the support of our Ward Councillors and our Mayor.

Earlier this year, Mayor Hoogenboom and Council established a Committee of Council, called the “Rideau Lakes Lake Associations Committee”.  This group draws together volunteers from the various lakes across the Township, to share information, and  voice concerns directly to the Council.  The meetings are public, and the next meeting is November 14th.  This initiative has already proven to be very valuable – as it creates a network of lake associations that we can work with, and learn from, as well as direct access to Council.  So, I am grateful to the Township for its support in this regard, too.

As we look ahead to the URLA Board over the winter, I expect that we will be doing some homework on sound administration – planning ahead, renewing our contact with you, our Members, setting our budget for next year, etc.  We always appreciate receiving any comments that you have.

Finally, I would like to recognize the support of two people leaving our Board.

David McKinney resigned from our Board a few weeks ago.  Many of you will have seen David at our AGM.  David was much of the “magic” behind our modernized website, and our social media presence.  During his two plus years as a Board member, David McKinney – largely singlehandedly-  modernized the IT of our Association.

John Cottril only joined the Board last summer.  However, his wise presence, too, was immediately valuable, given his background as a retired senior planner with many years working for conservation authorities.  John and his wife, Colleen Walker are moving away from our lake.

We owe each of these people our thanks, and we wish them well for the future!

In closing, I hope that all of you have a fulfilling and safe winter season.  As I suspect you all are, I too, am already looking forward to the spring! Take care, and please contact us if you have questions or concerns.

John McDowell

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