Bobcaygeon area residents taking last stand against mega quarry

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Mar 192018

By Pamela Vanmeer – March 19, 20180114

KAWARTHA LAKES- “We are in a beautiful area and all of a sudden it will be gone,” Ruth Pillsworth says. “People don’t know unfortunately because we are a seasonal area a lot of people aren’t aware of the issue that when they come to the Bobcaygeon area it’s not going to be the same anymore.”

Pillsworth is one of about 11 residents who are in the middle of a “David and Goliath” battle to stop a mega quarry from coming to the area. The group who call themselves “Citizens for Responsible Aggregate Development” say the Dewdney Mountain Quarry will irrevocably change the Bobcaygeon area and not for the better. “Am I going to be wanting to fight the trucks, am I going to be wanting to go fishing, oh wait there may not be any fish left here.” Pillsworth says. Continue reading »

Flood Watch: City of Kawartha Lakes

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Feb 212018


Flood Watch

For road closures and other flood updates, please visit our Newsroom.

Heavy precipitation, combined with snowmelt and frozen ground conditions are resulting in significant runoff. Water levels in local rivers and streams are currently rapidly increasing and are expected to exceed their bankfull conditions in multiple locations. Smaller steams are responding faster, while it takes longer for larger watercourses to react.

Flooding in low lying areas, areas adjacent to streams and road ditches is anticipated. Roads overtopping have been reported in several locations. Ponding of water on urban surfaces may occur as storm sewer systems can become overwhelmed by high runoff or clogged with snow, ice and debris. Rapid deterioration of the ice cover on local rivers and streams has been observed.

Under these watershed conditions all local watercourses should be considered extremely dangerous. Kawartha Conservation is warning all residents to stay away from all water bodies, as well as water structures such as bridges, culverts, and dams. Riverbanks are slippery and unsafe; ice cover where it exists is unstable and hazardous.  Children should be warned of dangerous conditions and caregivers should maintain a close watch on children who are outside.

Trent-Severn Waterway officials are closely watching this current situation and will be adjusting dam settings throughout the system when the situation warrants. Staff from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are monitoring water levels of the Burnt and Gull rivers.

This Flood Watch will be in effect until Friday February 23, 2018.

Read this news update on our website

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Family FrostFest Feb 18, 2018

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Jan 292018


                                             For Immediate Release 

                                                         Family FrostFest February 18, 2018

                                                                  10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Bobcaygeon’s FrostFest Family Day celebration of winter is the perfect way for families to get outside and spend time together,” says Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan, a founding member of Impact 32, the volunteer group organizing the event. “Building a snow sculpture can be very easy for younger children or as challenging as the older ones and adults want to make it. Plus it’s totally free, and a good chance to meet and chat with other families.”

Blessed with perfect weather, last year’s FrostFest brought large crowds and more than 50 snow sculpture entries. Families and visitors enjoyed gallons of hot chocolate and hundreds of homemade cookies donated by local businesses and volunteers. Impact 32 volunteers had a good time too, running fun games with prizes for every child, and mascot Bobbie Constellation’s visit to FrostFest was a special highlight.

This year FrostFest is again located at the park at Lock 32 beside the swing bridge, and Impact 32 is again offering prizes for your engineering marvel! Enter as a ‘Family/Group’ to win one of two $100 gift certificates, or as a ‘Businesses/Community Organization’ to bag bragging rights and good Family Day karma. Gift certificates are redeemable at the Bobcaygeon retailer of your choice.

You can build your snow sculpture any time you like, and volunteers will be on duty taking pictures of your masterpiece from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 18th. Ballots will be available on site, or you can vote for the photograph of the sculpture you like best on Impact 32’s Facebook page Volunteers will be posting Snow Sculpture Building Tips on their Facebook page and website as we get closer to the celebration.

“We’ll be hanging out our “Flakes Welcome!” sign again this year on February 18th,” adds Marketing Chair Bonnie Harris. “Impact 32 volunteers are your Bobcaygeon friends and neighbours and we all hope everyone drops by to enjoy a hot cup of cocoa while you stroll around admiring the sculptures at FrostFest this Family Day weekend.”

— 30 —

Impact 32 is a volunteer committee made up of local business owners and community organizers. We identify, coordinate and assist with community-based initiatives, funding, and promotional opportunities that foster economic development in Bobcaygeon.

Media contact: Bonnie Harris (705) 738-9949

Turtle Guardians’ Turtle Walk 2018

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Jan 132018

Join Turtle Walk 2018 to Help Save Turtles & Raise Awareness

Turtle Walk 2018

Join our Turtle Walk 2018
Save the dates: Saturday May 26th to Saturday June 2nd.

This is the Strawberry Moon; the most active times for turtle nesting in central Ontario.

We plan to walk the high risk roads of The Land Between to raise awareness and gain pledges and support to save Ontario’s turtles.


Turtle Walk packages will be sent to participants in early February and include pledge sheets and posters.

Turtle Guardians Home Page

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 Residents are also encouraged to visit 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:

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 – credit:

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:

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:

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 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 ( and get tips to help prevent the spread of invasives across cottage country, here:

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:

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:

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.

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.” ( 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: 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.