URLA 2020 AGM

This year’s Annual General Meeting of the Upper Rideau Lakes Association was held on Saturday, July 11 from 9:30 am – Noon.

Highlights and notes.

OPENING REMARKS.  John McDowell welcomed everyone to the 31st Annual General Meeting.  John provided background information on our lake water quality.  Our first presentation is by Queen’s University Professor Dr. John Smol on “Algae on the Lake”, followed by updates from the Mayor of the Township of Rideau Lakes, Arie Hoogenboom, and Mayor of the Village of Westport, Robin Jones.

  • Dr. John P. Smol – Distinguished Biology Professor, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada Research Chair, Environmental Change.  Dr Smol founded and co-directs the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), a group of students and scientists dedicated to the study of long-term global environmental change especially as it relates to lake ecosystems.  Details of Dr. Smol’s presentation “Algae on the Lake: How lake ecosystems change over time in response to environmental stressors” can be viewed at https://youtu.be/QnJU56PZ90 .

Remainder of Meeting: https://youtu.be/3QnJU56PZ90

Arie Hoogenboom, Mayor, Township of Rideau Lakes

Mayor Hoogenboom thanked URLA for the opportunity to speak at the AGM.  He thanked the Executive and volunteers of URLA for their hard work and dedication.  He spoke about the formation of the Rideau Lakes Lake Association Committee (RLLAC) which started in 2019.  The total amount of grant money devoted to Lake Associations is $21,000.  URLA received a $2306 grant from the RLLAC.  He spoke about COVID 19 issues, reopening the Border to American cottage owners, opening of our 15 boat launches, and the Township COVID 19 e-Newsletter providing updates on the COVID 19 situation.   He does a monthly video presentation to talk about other issues going on in the Township;  There are 300 Septic inspections conducted annually.  In  2016-18, 233 inspections were conducted on Upper Rideau and 54 on Sand Lake.

This year, inspections will be conducted on Bass Lake and the Hamlet of Portland. The Building department issues orders for repairs.   The implementation of a “Lake Health” policy in the official plan is an on-going issue.  The Township is very supportive and will continue to work with lake associations to improve water quality, through such programs as septic re-inspections, education, vegetative buffers, and registration on title of site plans (90% have complied since 2016).  There was no tax increase this year.  There were 60 new building permits issued last year and it is expected that this year will be the same.  The Newboro bridge will be replaced this year, and the rehabilitation of Mountain Road to Westport will also take place this year.

The Township supports an aggressive roadside mowing program and does not support roadside spraying.  Mayor Hoogenboom agreed that the Township will make their website available to the Upper Rideau Lake Association to post information on water quality and projects that we are involved with.  Mayor Hoogenboom indicated that the Township is working on a Climate Change policy.  Dr. Smol indicated that we need to address the issue of more science into policy.  John thanked Mayor Hogenboom for speaking and for the grant which we are using wisely.  Dr. Smol’s presentation is posted on u-tube and the Mayor indicated he would share this with Council and other lake associations.

Robin Jones, Mayor of the Village of Westport

Mayor Jones thanked Dr. Smol and Mayor Hoogenboom for their informative presentations.  This is the 6th AGM that she has had the opportunity to speak at.  She talked about the pandemic and the efforts of local businesses to remain open to ensure supplies were made available during that time.  Other businesses began to re-open in June.

A plan to re-open marinas and a hospitality plan proposal was put in place.  Medical Officers of Health from four health units including Leeds, Greenville and Lanark have announced that masks are now mandatory at indoor public spaces until at least Sept 30th.  The contract for the Bedford St. rehabilitation plan will be awarded on Tuesday.  Construction is expected to take 5 ½ months to complete.  URLA met with Village CAO and Engineers to discuss a proposed swayle which will mitigate water run-off and remove nutrients when it rains to prevent them from going into the lake.  The cost to the Village is very low.  The Village agreed to implement this.  Foley Mountain County Rd 10 to Westport rehabilitation is underway.

The Mayor indicated social justice issues, racism, discrimination and harassment, are being addressed.  Strategies are being worked on and the public needs to be involved.   A MOU with Landark Homes was discussed. A review of the waste water system was conducted to determine capacity was available to support this new development.   John McDowell thanked Mayor Jones and indicated that URLA looks forward to working with the Village in the future.

BUSINESS MEETING 11:00 a.m. to NOON

 

  1. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF THE 2019 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The minutes were posted on our website for the past year.  MOTION: That the Minutes of the July 6th 2019 Annual General Meeting be approved.  Moved by Anne Carter, seconded by John McDowell.

All in favor:  100%     Motion Accepted.

 

  1. PRESIDENT’S REPORT – John McDowell

This was a good year for the Upper Rideau Lake, and a busy year for the Upper Rideau Lake Association.

Our lake is beautiful – and yet, its water quality remains quite fragile.  In its last public “sub-watershed” report (2014), the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) determined our lake water quality is “poor”.  This means that even though it can look pristine, all residents and visitors need to continue to be vigilant — and to minimize our collective impacts of enjoying our lake.

Each and every year, URLA has obligations and roles, all of which require significant volunteer effort.

Every fall two teams of volunteers retrieve our 9 shoal markers, and carefully put them away for the winter.  They are always re-placed on their respective shoals by the following May.  Last October, one buoy was torn away from its moorings in rough water.  It was recovered from a local resident, who had read about our missing buoy in the Review Mirror.

On financial matters – we established capacity to accept e-transfers for payments, we established an annual budget and we review our financial position as a standing item at each Board meeting.

For the first time, we received a grant of about $2300 from the Township of Rideau Lakes.  This is a most important source of additional funding – which we put to work maintaining our buoys, and on supporting a school visit by local school children to Foley Mountain Park (postponed due to COVID-19).  We also used grant funding to invest in enhanced water sampling at Adrain’s Creek with RVCA and the Township of Rideau Lakes.

The Township of Rideau Lakes also established a formal committee of Council, to consult all major lake and property-owner associations.  This group, chaired by the Mayor, collects input on developmental policy, plays an educational role, and has fostered the beginnings of a robust network for advocating on common issues.  I would also like to thank Council for passing a By-Law registering “site plan conditions on title”.  This is a significant step for Council and a real investment in future lake health, because development conditions established by Council to protect the lake will remain in force, even if the property is sold.

A significant grant from the Rideau Lakes Environmental Foundation (RLEF), helped launch our first “sapling” program, run by Steve Moretti, Lakeshore Director.  A tree program aimed at restoring natural shorelines, around our lake.  This new program complemented the hundreds of tree and shrub seedlings we provide, every spring, to our membership at their request.  Our lake has benefited over the years from the efforts of our members to plant and maintain these trees and shrubs.  What an investment in the future!

Rideau Lakes Environmental Foundation (RLEF) is a registered Canadian charity that supports projects that safeguard and enhance our lake environment in collaboration with the Big Rideau Lake Association (BRLA) and the Upper Rideau Lake Association (URLA).   Tax receipts are issued.  Please consider donating.  Your donation goes directly towards supporting environmental work on the lake you love.  To donate, either mail a cheque to RLEF, PO Box 93, Portland, ON, K0G 1V0, made payable to the Foundation or visit the website www.rlef.ca

Water sampling continued, under the Lake Partners Program under the direction of Jayne MacDonald.  Volunteers sample data on about a dozen sites on the lake, and have done so for many years.  These data are used by Conservation Authorities and others, to monitor the natural health of our lake – and the challenges that it continues to face.

This year, however, there are two new developments on water quality testing.  First, we agreed to co-fund a specific 2-year water sampling analysis on Adrain’s Creek, led by the RVCA, and commissioned by Rideau Lakes Township.  And yes, a new volunteer stepped up to help collect water from the creek.

Secondly, we purchased a kit which allows for water testing in real time – collect the water, insert the tab, and results are immediately available online.  Both measures add to our scientific understanding.

One of our new Board members led efforts to modernize our Board position descriptions and our By-laws.  Our By-laws are well-drafted, but after 30+ years, are somewhat dated.  We hope to bring forward a package of amendments to our first “in person” AGM, for consideration by our membership.

Over the past year, our Board has also reached out to the Township, to input into its new “Official Plan”.  Once approved, this Plan, last updated 10+ years ago, will guide development, including on our lake, years into the future.  Overall, our objective has been to urge our leaders to “improve” lake water quality – and I hope that we see this occur.

We have also met with Westport officials, who are also open to progressing on water quality- and we look forward to working with the Village, as well.

Of course, like each Canadian, we have had to adapt to the reality imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Most significantly, for the first time ever, our July AGM will be “virtual”.  We all will miss the morning coffee and treats, as well as the BBQ – the hotdogs and the visits with our friends and neighbours.  So, next year’s BBQ will be that much more special!

Our AGM has always served as a convenient way for people to renew their membership.  This year is no different – “Your lake Association needs you!” – please – to renew your membership on line visit our website www.urla.ca.  There are real benefits to joining our Association AND we, too, on the Board, need your ongoing support and views.

If people have questions, comments, or suggestions on any of these items or on the coming year, please contact me or any other member of your Board.

I’m already looking forward to our next year. We already have a list of some important new initiatives – so stay tuned!

On behalf of myself and the Board, I would like to thank our Membership Director, Anne Carter, who will be stepping down this year.  Anne has served on the Board for the past 10 years and was instrumental in developing and maintaining a membership database as well as recruiting and training new Board members and volunteers.  Thank you Anne for your many years of dedicated volunteer service to URLA and we wish you well in your future endeavours.  A more formal presentation will be forthcoming, possibly in the spring.
Finally, I would like to thank each person who worked on behalf of the association, and on behalf of our lake, over this past year.  As I wrote this report, you each came to mind, as I reflected on all of your efforts and the various activities that occurred this past year.

 

  1. FINANCIAL REPORT – Michael Hogan, Treasurer, reported the following:

Members were advised to take note of the “Notice to Readers” and reminded that the statements presented are unaudited.

The first statement shows current assets, as of financial year end we had $4,300 in cash and $5,967 in a GIC, for a total of $10,267, an increase of $2,009 from the previous year.

The second statement shows the change in assets of the $2,009 mentioned earlier, versus a deficiency of ($894) in the previous year.

The third statement is a summary of our revenue and operating expenses. Please note two significant changes from the previous years results included the following:

  • Under the revenue section, the grant revenue represents; The Rideau Lakes Township grant of $2,266, and Rideau Lakes Environmental Foundation grant of $2,504 to assist in covering the costs of our tree and shrub program.
  • Under the expense section, under programs, the largest expense was $3,030 for the purchase of trees for the tree and shrub program from the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.

 

In summary revenue over expenses resulted in a positive gain of $2,009.

The final and fourth statement is a summary of our cash position, at the end of the fiscal year we had $4,300 in our account, an increase of $1,931 from the previous year.

The Financial Statements (Unaudited) for the year ended April 30, 2020 prepared by the Chartered Accounting Firm Nephin, Winter, Bingley are posted on the Association Website.

Motion 1:  That the Financial Statements (Unaudited) for the year ended April 30, 2020 be adopted.  Moved by Michael Hogan and seconded by Terry Frostad.  All in favor:   100%   Motion Accepted.

Motion 2:  That the Firm of Nephin, Winter, Bingley, Chartered Professional Accountants be appointed to prepare the Financial Statements for the financial year 2020-2021.  Moved by Michael Hogan and seconded by Terry Frostad.  All in favor:   100%   Motion Accepted.

  1. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

 

Jayne MacDonald, Past President, presented the following proposed Slate of Officers/Directors for the year 2020-2021 as follows:

President – John McDowell

Vice-President – vacant

Secretary – Terry Frostad

Membership/Community Liaison – Peggy Thompson

Treasurer – Michael Hogan

Member at Large (Governance) – Karyn Standen

Lakeshore – Tom Donnelly

Public Relations/Communications (website) – Steve Moretti

Water Quality/Hazard Marking Program – Dave Counter

 

Jayne called for nominations for the floor.  There were no nominations.

 

MOTION:  That the proposed slate of officers for the Board of Directors for the year 2020-2021 be accepted as presented:  Moved by Jayne MacDonald, seconded by Anne Carter.  All in favor:  100%        Motion Accepted.

 

Jayne thanked Anne Carter for her many years of dedicated volunteer service to the URLA Board.

 

  1. CLOSING REMARKS AND ADJOURNMENT

 

John McDowell welcomed two new Board members, Peggy Thompson, who will be replacing Anne Carter as Membership Director and Tom Donnelly, our new Lakeshore Director, replacing Steve Moretti.  Our next Board meeting will be held in August.

 

The floor was opened to a question and answer period. Following this, a motion was put forth by Jayne MacDonald and seconded by Anne Carter that the meeting be adjourned.  The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

 

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