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

Have your say onthe future ii for Foley Mountain

Oct. 10, 2019 – We’re updating Foley Mountain Conservation Area’s management plan, and we want your input on the future of Westport’s favourite outdoor oasis. The updated plan will guide the next 10 years of resource management, habitat enhancement, programming, infrastructure upgrades and other developments at Foley Mountain to best meet the needs and desires of visitors, donors, nearby businesses and other stakeholders. “We welcome public input, especially from our regular visitors and supporters who spend a lot of time in the park,” said Rebecca Whitman, site supervisor at Foley Mountain. “This is your chance to tell us what you love… 

Electors may be able to vote in their cottage riding.

An elector can only vote once. You may be able designate your cottage as your “ordinary residence” and vote in this riding.

In a federal election, even if you own property in more than one place, you may vote only once, in the riding of your “ordinary residence.” If you intend to designate your cottage riding as your ordinary residence for the purpose of voting in the federal election, FOCA recommends that you start the process early, to ensure everything goes smoothly when you go to vote.

FOCA asksFOCA asked Elections Canada to confirm how a voter can designate their cottage riding as the place where they intend to vote in the federal election. Click here to read the full response from Elections Canada, which involves designating your place of “ordinary residence.” Here’s an excerpt:

An elector can change their place of ordinary residence at the Voter Registration page of [Elections Canada’s] website, by contacting the local returning office during an election, with appropriate identification and proof of address. This can also be done at the polls, but it can take additional time. MORE

Conservation 2020: Fundraising campaign to protect local natural spaces

The Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation is excited to launch Conservation 2020: a major campaign to raise $125,000 toward keeping our natural areas in public hands forever.

Donors of large investments (between $10,000 and $25,000+ over five years) will be recognized in our media outreach and on the Foundation’s donor board. They’ll also receive some fun extras for the office, like complementary annual passes to our conservation areas, free facility rentals and even a staff retreat.

To invest in the region’s natural lands, contact Foundation executive director Diane Downey at 613-692-3571 ext. 1126 or diane.downey@rvcf.ca.

For more information about how the endowment works or to donate online, visit www.rvcf.ca.

URLA water quality

Watershed canada logoWatershed Watch

URLA have contracted the services of the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds to monitor the health of Upper Rideau Lake, 2002-2004. Water samples are taken at each of 12 established sites around the Lake. URLA volunteers have also aided the RVCA in their testing for the Watershed Watch Program, 2005-2010. Data taken from the samples is archived for long term trend analysis.

Click here for more information on water quality of the Upper Rideau Lake