Kawartha Lakes rolls out new ways to keep cottagers connected

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Dec 142017

Kawartha Lakes rolls out new ways to keep cottagers connected

KAWARTHA LAKES— The City has recently launched a brand new website with features designed to make it easy for cottagers stay connected.

The website allows subscribers to receive weather alerts, news and event information by e-mail. Also available is a brand new mobile app called Pingstreet that people can download onto their mobile phone.

“Pingstreet users will receive weather and emergency notifications directly to their phone,” explained Cheri Davidson, Manager of Communications, Advertising and Marketing. “If the power is out or you’re out of the area, you can still stay informed on your phone.”

Pingstreet also allows users to access the latest news and events as well as waste and recycling information.

“We want our residents to have peace of mind knowing that we can reach them quickly in situations when weather or emergencies may impact their property while they are away,” continued Davidson. “We would like as many people as possible to download the app before flood season arrives.”

The app is free to download and can be found in the app store on any smart phone or at the bottom of the homepage on the City website www.kawarthalakes.ca. Residents are also encouraged to visit www.kawarthalakes.ca/subscribe to sign up to receive City news by e-mail.

FOCA – November/December 2017

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Dec 052017
   FOCA Elert – November/December 2017

FOCA Event Recap
2017 FOCA Fall Seminar: Strong Associations for Future Generations
We had a full day on Saturday, November 4th, 2017 in Toronto, for the latest and greatest edition of the annual FOCA Fall Seminar for Lake Associations! See a brief video overview:
FOCA Members can access an Event Summary and all the session notes, here:
Please share this information with your fellow members!
FOCA’s Gold-level Sponsors
CottageLINK Rental Management
Cottage Life
Sponsors support our work. Please, support them!
Waterfront Living
For the love of Lake Associations: a video worth sharing! 
November 2017 – FOCA is extremely pleased to announce the launch of “Lake Associations,” filmed and produced by Chelsie Xavier-Blower as part of the Environmental Visual Communication program, a joint initiative of Fleming College and Royal Ontario Museum. Why do lake associations matter? What can they do for you? Find out in this beautiful short film:
Please share this video with others on social media! Here’s the handy YouTube link:
Cottage Rentals

FOCA has been following several recent media reports about municipalities debating the regulation of cottage rentals. See links to news items, here: https://foca.on.ca/responsible-cottage-rental/.

Policy & Advocacy Updates
Elections 101

In 2018, Ontarians will have a Provincial election in June, as well as Municipal elections in October, and FOCA will be providing updates throughout the coming year to inform waterfront property owners about the issues that matter. Here’s a recent question we fielded from a member: “If my family owns a cottage, will I be able to vote in that municipality?” FOCA has the answer for you, which differs for Municipaland Provincial elections!

In other election news, Elections Ontario has recently launched an e-registration portal, to “improve the accuracy of the voter list,” and to target the attention of millennials. Use the portal to check, confirm, register or update your information:
image: Friends of the Fraser Wetlan
Land Use & Planning Updates
On October 6th, FOCA received notice that the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) issued its long-awaited decision concerning an application to build on the Fraser property near Burleigh Falls. Result: development application DENIED. Get details, and see more land development news from Muskoka and the Kenora region, here:
New Great Lakes reporting; funding announcements
image from IJC.org – credit: Binational.net

On the heels of a report about the state of the Great Lakes from the International Joint Commission, governments on both sides of the border are contemplating their funding commitments to protect and heal the Great Lakes. Learn more:  https://foca.on.ca/great-lakes-strategy-and-action/

Ontario finalizes Provincial Land Tax (PLT) Reforms

Following up on the changes to the PLT for residents in Ontario’s unorganized areas, which started in 2013, the Province has finalized the annual changes to residential PLT that will be phased in from 2018 to 2021. Get details here: https://foca.on.ca/reforms-to-provincial-land-tax-underway/

Energy East Pipeline Plan Cancelled
In October, TransCanada announced it will not proceed with its pipeline proposal. Read the news posted by the Globe and Mail. A map of the previously proposed route can be found on the National Energy Board posting.
Lake Environments
Changing Waterfronts – new article & new report

October 12, 2017 – While this article is focused on one particular Ontario region, it hits the highlights about what’s happening on our waterfronts as a result of climate change and related developments. Read: “What’s happening in our lakes and rivers?” (Peterborough Examiner).

November 2017 – As members of the Ontario Biodiversity Council (OBC), FOCA has worked with our colleagues on the challenge of effectively communicating biodiversity and climate change. The OBC has released a new report on the subject, that should be useful for everyone working on these important communications. Get a link to the report, here:

Mapping Natural Features – an update for lake associations 

On December 1st, FOCA attended an update meeting about the project, Kawarthas, Naturally Connected (KNC). End-products of this multi-stakeholder multi-year initiative include: detailed maps, a large database, and methods for obtaining or downloading these products, all of which can help stakeholders (including lake associations) interested in lake planning and policy, or to prioritize the implementation of stewardship projects.

Wetlands, forests and riparian features are all elements of the natural heritage system identified in the resources. The maps and figures in the Phase 1 Report could add detail to your local lake plan! We encourage regional lake associations to use this information: click here for details(PDF, 1 page), and then visit http://www.kawarthasnaturally.ca/ to access all the online resources.
Invasive Species Update: Emerald Ash Borer spreading

November 2, 2017 – the Simcoe County forestry department reports that the emerald ash borer has become a “worst case scenario” invasive species in the County, now present in 75 per cent of its municipalities – from Barrie, Innisfil and Bradford to Ramara, Severn and Tay townships. Read more online (Simcoe.com) and get tips to help prevent the spread of invasives across cottage country, here:  https://foca.on.ca/invasive-species-guide/

Upcoming Events & Regional Notices
Invite: Oceans Event at the ROM

Dave Ireland of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) spoke at FOCA’s Fall Seminar earlier this month, and extended an invitation for all FOCA friends to join him at the ROM for the 2-day symposium “Canada’s Oceans: Towards 2020,” on December 4-5, 2017. For tickets and event details, visit:  https://www.rom.on.ca/en/whats-on/canadas-oceans-towards-2020

Naiscoot Lake Bridge – Notice of Study
November, 2017 – FOCA has been notified of a Detail Design and Class Environmental Assessment Study for the replacement of Naiscoot Lake Bridge on Highway 69, north of Pointe au Baril in the Township of The Archipelago. Read the notice by clicking here. (PDF, 1 page) Click the map image to enlarge the study area map.


Highway 400 improvements – Comment Period
November, 2017 – FOCA has been notified of a Transportation Envrionmental Study Report Addendum for improvements to Highway 400 from 1 km south of Highway 89 to the Junction of Highway 11 within Simcoe County, to incorporate future traffic projections. Review the Addendum online here (including a map of the study area), and comment by December 8, 2017.
Highway 400 / 4th Line Update
November 17, 2017 – FOCA has been notified of the extension of a road closure for line bridge removal and replacement at Hwy 400 and 4th Line (Churchill Sideroad). Read the notice. (PDF, 1 page)
Sharing Cottage Dreams
Cottage Dreams

For over 14 years, Cottage Dreams has been helping cancer survivors and their families to share treasured time together. Over 10,000 families have been placed in cottage stays, generously donated by their owners. FOCA recently received the Cottage Dreams November Newsletter, which included a call for volunteer support of this wonderful organization. We encourage you to read the notice! (PDF, 2 pages)

FOCA’s Silver-level Sponsors
Recent Events
Lake Links Workshop
October 21st, 2017 – Perth. FOCA was pleased to sponsor and participate in the annual Lake Links workshop. This year’s theme was, “Beyond the Shoreline: Science to Stewardship.” Find links to download presentations from the event, here:

Lake Pulse

November 7-8th, 2017 – Montreal. FOCA met with science partners at the NSERC Canadian Lake Pulse Network gathering. Together with partners across Canada, Lake Pulse aims to create new tools to deliver information to people who care about lakes (including scientists, managers, policymakers and citizens), and to build the first nationwide database of Canadian lakes. FOCA’s Terry Rees presented about citizen science and the important role of volunteers in the Lake Partner Program and other FOCA projects.
OOWA Regional Meeting

November 9th, 2017 – Peterborough. FOCA attended a regional meeting of the Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association (OOWA) to get updates about best practices related to septic inspections, as well as a technical review of recent, upcoming and proposed changes to the Ontario Building Code (OBC). FOCA will continue to keep members updated, here:  https://foca.on.ca/septic-systems/.

People’s Great Lakes Summit 2.0

November 13, 2017 – Toronto. FOCA joined fellow environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) at this event, hosted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association. The assembled group reviewed the state of Ontario freshwater policy, discussed recent developments, and planned for action on water issues as the 2018 Provincial election approaches.

Ontario Invasives Awareness at Queen’s Park
FOCA’s Deanna Panitz & Terry Rees with Minister McGarry (far right)

November 15th, 2017 – FOCA participated with Minister McGarry (MNRF) and our fellow environmental partners in an information session at the Legislative Building in Toronto, about the ongoing efforts of our organization and others to prevent the spread of invasive species in Ontario. For more on this topic, and links to important resources for waterfront property owners, visit:

Latornell Symposium

November 23, 2017 – Alliston. FOCA participated in the annual Latornell Conservation Symposium with science, government and institutional partners. This year’s theme was, “Succession: The Nature of Change.”

Pictured at right: Water Canada‘s editor, Katherine Balpataky, with FOCA’s Terry Rees at the 2017 Latornell Symposium.
Cade’s Corner
Snowbirds: Winterize your home for the time you are away this winter! Get tips and download a checklist, from our partners at Travelers Canada and Cade Associates Insurance Brokers.

Cottagers and Indians by Drew Hayden Taylor

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Dec 032017

“There are no real heroes or villains in a story like this,
only people trying to look after their families.”

Tarragon Theatre is pleased to announce the addition of award-winning Ojibway playwright Drew Hayden Taylor to the 2017/18 season. His play Cottagers and Indians is a commissioned work that takes a sincere and pragmatic look at conflicts between native traditional water usage and property owners up in cottage country who are looking to enjoy an undisturbed summer getaway.


FOCA Fall Seminar 2017 (Event Summary)

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Nov 262017
2017 FOCA Fall Seminar
Event Summary
Our latest FOCA member event took place on Saturday, November 4th, 2017 at the Boulevard Club in Toronto. With 125 attendees, it was a lively day of discussion and learning about building a sense of community, volunteerism, engagement and ways to connect with younger generations, for the good of our lake associations. Please share the following highlights with your fellow association members!
Introduction by FOCA

FOCA’s Executive Director, Terry Rees, opened the day with an overview about FOCA’s recent work, including invasive species projects undertaken this summer with 26 member Associations across the province, and a rural economic development project underway to clarify and assert the importance of cottage residents’ roles as entrepreneurs in municipal economies.

The theme of the day’s seminar reflects our members’ ongoing interests in membership growth and retention, and finding new & younger volunteers to ensure the vibrancy of lake associations for the future.

In 2018, Terry explained, FOCA will continue to work on asserting the significance of lake associations to decision makers, and will keep members informed about the upcoming Provincial Election (June 7, 2018) and Municipal Election (October 22, 2018).

While acknowledging the essential value of long-term commitment, there is clearly a need to keep filling the ranks of volunteers in our community organizations. Terry quoted the Corporate Knights: “A more sustainable future will only come about through the dedication of an informed and active citizenry.” (www.corporateknights.com/) Our challenges are many, but we have the strength of community to help us tackle them.
Keynote Speakers: The Water Brothers

We were very pleased to welcome Alex Mifflin and Tyler Mifflin, creators and co-hosts of the TVO eco-adventure documentary series, “The Water Brothers.” Since 2012, these Georgian Bay cottagers have travelled the globe, exploring some of the most important water stories of our time. The brothers’ passion for environmental education and conservation has led them to become water ambassadors in Canada and around the world.

They strongly believe in ensuring that audiences, particularly young people, are aware of the challenges we face in relation to our most precious resource: water. They want youth to become part of the emerging solutions that will need to be implemented in the coming years, in order to harmonize our relations with ecosystems that support all life on earth.

To see more about the Water Brothers, stream their Season 4 videos, here: http://thewaterbrothers.ca/. Don’t miss, “On Thin Ice,” the episode about water science and their visit to the IISD Experimental Lakes Area!
Discussion Group Session

We rounded out the morning with a break-out session of table discussions about peer success stories. We asked each group to consider what is working for their lake associations, including: tools or events that help to find and engage NEW MEMBERS as well as YOUNGER VOLUNTEERS, and what GAPS might be preventing Associations from improving membership or volunteer/youth engagement.

Some interesting recurring themes and new ideas bubbled through the discussions. Thank you to all the note-takers! The afternoon session opened with a wrap-up by FOCA about trends noticed in the notes from the morning’s discussions. Here are some highlights:
Top ways to find new members include: dock-to-dock visits, social events that include food and drink, creating a welcome book or welcome wagon to greet newcomers, and leveraging digital tools such as websites, email newsletters and social media to circulate information about the “burning issues” that can galvanize interest in the association.
Younger volunteers may be found by hosting events targeted at youth, by taking advantage of social media, and by offering High School community service hours with your association. Also, it can help to offer younger volunteers specific, finite tasks and short-term commitments for one project or event, instead of a two-year Board stint, for example.
Participants reported some skills gaps to manage social media, websites and digital apps. They also identified that new structural models (such as “youth” or “associate” memberships) might encourage new people to get involved.
Download members-only summaries of all the valuable notes collected during these discussions: (PDFs, each 2 pages)
Panel: Other Voices on Volunteerism and Youth 
The afternoon continued with a panel discussion moderated by FOCA’s Frances Wilbur. Some highlights:
Jacob Rodenburg, Executive Director of Camp Kawartha and co-author of The Big Book of Nature Activities, focused upon the youngest definition of youth: those under 18 years of age. Jacob said: “A child is ‘biofluid’ and benefits from experiences in the same places, repeated over time to foster a life-long relationship with nature. From relationship comes respect, which leads to responsibility, and finally to reciprocity (wanting to give back).” Jacob encouraged associations to connect local nature experts with youngsters, and to consider offering kids’ day camps, as well as opportunities to perform simple acts of naturalization. Find age-appropriate details in his book (see link, above).

     Support material: Stewardship Ideas for Associations (PDF, 2 pages)

Thomas McAuley-Biasi, Chair of the non-profit organization Emerging Leaders for Biodiversity, urged our members to establish one-to-one connections with Millennials (roughly, the 18-to-35 year olds), and to share the passion that fuels your own involvement in the lake association. Remember, Thomas said, those finishing school need volunteer hours and unique internship opportunities that will help them stand out as they look to enter the competitive job market.
     Support material:  Youth Engagement (PDF, 2 pages)
Mike Hendren, Executive Director of the Kawartha Land Trust, echoed the call to “never waste a crisis!” Identify the transformative issue(s) at your own lake that will speak to new members and encourage new volunteers. Mike noted that we often expect volunteers to do too much; try asking for help at a one-time event instead of requiring a Board commitment.

     Support material: Volunteering Opportunities with KLT (PDF, 2 pages)

Watch a condensed video summary (9 minutes) of this 70 minute panel discussion, here:
Video Launch: “Lake Associations”
Our event concluded with the launch of the FOCA 2017 video project: “Lake Associations,” a new short film by videographer Chelsie Xavier-Blower, a graduate student of the Environmental Visual Communication (EVC) Program of Fleming College and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
Chelsie was introduced by Dave Ireland, Managing Director of the ROM Centre of Discovery in Biodiversity. FOCA thanks all the member Associations who assisted with the making of this video, shot in Ontario cottage country this summer.
The video is available for viewing here:

Please share this video with others!

Thank you to our event sponsor Action First Aid:
also to our lunch sponsor Yamaha Canada and refreshments sponsor Cottage Life.
Gift basket was provided by Nature Clean.
Nature Clean New Logo 2013
See you at the NEXT scheduled member event:
the FOCA Annual General Meeting and Spring Seminar,
on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018.

First Drafts of Lake Management Plans for Shadow, Silver, Head & Rush Lake

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Oct 202017

Kawartha Lakes backs plan to regulate rice harvest

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Oct 122017

Pigeon Lake residents among those frustrated with noisy harvesting practice.

rice harvest

Rice fields on Pigeon Lake. – Metroland file photo

KAWARTHA LAKES – Waterfront homeowners on Pigeon, Chemong and Buckhorn Lakes say struggles with navigation, along with the noise coming from airboat rice harvesters, have led to “an ongoing nightmare” for too long now.

They’ve convinced the Township of Selwyn to act. Now Kawartha Lakes is getting in on that too.

Full Story from Kawartha Lakes This Week here.

Letter from COKL Re: FOCA RED Grant for Entrepreneurs working from their cottage/lakefront properties

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Sep 302017
Hi Folks,
            We’ve recently come across an opportunity to support a FOCA RED Grant which is designed to learn more about Entrepreneurs who work from their cottage/lakefront properties. 
            They’re looking to find stats/reports related to this group. Are any of you connected with local Cottage Associations in your community that might be willing to help with this information?
            They’re also looking to find Entrepreneurs who work from their cottage/lakefront properties to interview (even if they reside outside of KL for part of the year).
            If you know anyone who fits this description, please feel free to connect them with me. It may take me some time to reply to this inquiry as we have only submitted an offer to support should they need it.
Thank You.
Bob Minhas
Economic Development – Community
City of Kawartha Lakes
Mobile: 705-340-2276
For business development information, visit https://www.kawarthalakes.ca/en/economic-development.aspx
For tourism information, visit www.ExploreKawarthaLakes.com
For local food information, visit www.KawarthaChoice.com