Message from the President - Upper Rideau Lake Association

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Message from the President - Upper Rideau Lake Association Powered By Docstoc
					    November 2004                       URLA NEWS
                      Upper Rideau Lake Association
                      Box 67, Westport, Ontario,
Inside this 

                      Message from the President

                                                          of a comprehensive report.
     Message          As another perfect autumn          Directors continue to liaise with
      From the         draws to a close on Upper          representatives from Parks
      President        Rideau Lake, the scene from        Canada, Rideau Lakes Township,
     Township of
                       my cottage on Big Island is        the Rideau Valley Conservation
      Rideau Lakes     subtly changing. Nights now        Authority, the Ontario Ministry of
      Official Plan    resonate with the quacks and       Natural Resources, and other
                       honks of migrating waterfowl,      agencies and organizations to
     Parks Canada
      Policies for
                       and the occasional wolf howls      represent your interests. Your
      Shoreline        from high on Foley Mountain.       Executive has met regularly since
      Works            The Northern Lights pulse to       the July AGM to discuss and work
                       their ancient rhythm. I have       on issues that were raised by
     Grants to
      Private Roads
                       counted more than 80 loons         members at that forum. This
                       herded together off the High       newsletter contains updates on
     ATVs on          Rocks awaiting clearance for
      Public Roads
                                                          several of these concerns, for
                       their long journey south. The      your information.
     Invasive         water level has been dropped to
      Species          its winter low and the exposed     Interest has also been expressed
      Program          rocks are beginning to sparkle     in getting our Lake Association
                       with morning ice. Each             involved in the exciting Loon
     Commercial                                          Watch Program in the coming
      Fishing on       weekend, more and more lights
      Upper Rideau     wink out along the shoreline as    year. This is the ideal activity for
                       seasonal residents close up for    shoreline residents who want to
     Out of Site      another year.                      make a meaningful contribution…
      Out of Mind                                         from the front deck. If you have
                       URLA’s work continues,             an interest in our loon community
     FOCA Update
                       however. Submissions have          and its future health and might
     URLA             been prepared on the new           want to become involved, please
      Executive        zoning by-law (local) and draft    give me a call at 613-224-7558 or
      Members          policies for in-water and          e-mail me at
     The Heron
                       shoreline works (federal). Our
      Says…            hazard buoys have been
                       collected and safely stowed        Wishing all a safe and healthy
                       until next spring. Water-testing   winter, and an early spring,
                       carried out all through the
                       summer is being analyzed by
                       experts prior to the preparation   Wendy Stewart
  URLA NEWS                                                            Page 2
 Township of Rideau Lakes Official Plan
 The URLA executive has participated         A revised draft has been prepared by
 actively in all stages of the               planning staff working with the
 development of the Official Plan for        Township’s Planning Advisory
 the Township of Rideau Lakes. The           Committee. Effective 4 November it is
 final stage in the planning process has     available for viewing on the Township
 been the development of a                   web site ( .
 Comprehensive Zoning By-Law which           A public meeting to present the new
 will provide a basis for the consistent     (and probably final) draft is scheduled
 application of the Official Plan policies   for 7:30 pm 29 November at the
 throughout the Township. In August,         Newboro Community Hall. With this
 representatives of the executive            piece in place the Township will have
 participated in Open Houses which           developed instruments which provide
 were held at various locations in the       a uniform approach to planning
 Township to present the first draft of      throughout the Township.
 the By-Law and following the
 meetings submitted written comments
 on behalf of URLA, suggesting
 improvements to the By-law.

Parks Canada Policies for Shoreline Works
 Parks Canada has             The policies are
published a draft paper       comprehensive and         work on it either directly
                                                        or through a contractor,
titled “Policies for In-      discuss Parks Canada’s
                                                        you will require
Water and Shoreline           position with respect to
                                                        approval from Parks
Works and Related             when (by time of year),
                                                        Canada to ensure the
Activities” for public        how, and where shoreline
comment. The document         works are allowed for     work is in adherence to
describes the guidelines                                the policy. If you don’t
                              residential properties with
that Parks Canada will        shoreline on the Rideau   own shoreline, the
use when considering          and Trent canal systems.  policy is there to protect
applications for approval     The policy also describes the public’s interest in
of “Shoreline Works”. In      acceptable materials,     the Rideau waterway.
                                                        The policy document is
addition to general           design, and building
policies, specific detailed   practices for shoreline   currently in a draft form.
policies applicable to;       works. All of these       The URLA Executive
Docks and Boatlifts,          policies are intended to  Board has reviewed the
Boathouses/Boatports,         preserve the historic and policy paper and
                                                        provided feedback to
Dredging, Shoreline           environmental value of
Stabilization, Beach          the water ways as well as Parks Canada on
Creation, Inland Boatslips    ensuring that shoreline   behalf of its members. If
and Mooring Basins,           works do not interfere    you would like to learn
Launch Ramps, Marine          with navigation or presentmore, a soft copy of the
Railways, Heat Pump           public safety issues.     draft policy document
Loops, Waterlines,                                      as well as details on
                              Why should we care        how to contact Parks
Buoys, Swimming Rafts,
                              about Parks Canada’s      Canada are published
Water Ski Courses and
                              Policy for In-Water and   on the Internet at
Ramps are included in
                              Shoreline Works? If you
the document.
                              own shoreline and plan to trent .
Page 2                                                                                               URLA News

Grants to Private Roads?
Earlier this year the URLA executive learned through the
FOCA newsletter that Cramahe Township in                       Why consider a granting program? Private roads
Northumberland County had implemented a program                represent the major form of access to waterfront
which offered grants for maintenance of private assumed        properties within the Township of Rideau Lakes (at 450
roads. Grants were provided in the amount of $1,000            kilometres they are equal in length to the public roads
per kilometre of road and an amount of $50.00 per              maintained by the Township). Extensive development
household. There was also provision for a possible             has taken place on the roads and with the rapid increase
sharing of some costs of capital improvements. A               in assessed values of waterfront properties, they form a
number of conditions were set out in a protocol which          major element of the assessment base of the Township
tied the grants to those roads which had an organized          and therefore represent a significant percentage of the
road association representing two-thirds of households         Township revenue. A form of granting program tailored
on the road and had in place a slate of officers, a budget     to the needs and circumstances of the Township of
and the capacity to oversee annual work programs. It           Rideau Lakes would provide some support to upgrade
was noted that further conditions may be established at        the maintenance of private roads. It would present an
a future date and it was specified that the grants were        additional alternative but would not replace the option
not guaranteed, were subject to availability of funds in       noted above of converting the private road to a public
annual Township budgets and could be curtailed at any          road maintained by the municipality. Furthermore,
time by resolution of council. The protocol specifically
stated that “the township will have no responsibility,
obligation or exercise any degree of operational control            the granting program would address the unequal
with respect to maintenance of the affected roads”.                  level of service experienced by waterfront
                                                                     properties in comparison to other properties
After learning of the program, URLA approached the                   located in the Township;
Township of Rideau Lakes to determine whether it would              the grants would provide a means of improving
be feasible and desirable to implement a similar program             the quality of private roads and therefore lead to
in this Township. Two meetings have been held with                   better access for emergency purposes and public
Mayor Holman which have looked at the situation in                   safety;
Cramahe Township and examined the implications of                   the granting program leaves responsibility for
implementing a similar approach locally. To date                     private roads and their maintenance in the hands
Township officials have expressed some reservations                  of the property owners on the road and absolves
about adopting a similar approach here. There are major              the township of any responsibility, and obligations
cost implications: the Township of Rideau Lakes has a                as well as liability;
network of approximately 450 kilometres of private roads            by limiting the grant to those road groups which
(in contrast with Cramahe which has only 5.2                         are organized into associations representing two
kilometres). If a number of road associations met the                thirds of the households and with good
conditions and applied for grants, it would be costly if the         maintenance plans, the program would serve as a
same levels of funding applied here as in Cramahe                    catalyst to have organizations established for the
                                                                     proper management of the private roads located
Township. There was a question of equity: would this be
                                                                     in the Township.
construed as an unfair subsidy to one sector of the
Township population? It was even suggested that
Cramahe Township may be acting illegally in spending           The URLA executive will continue to explore the initiative
public funds on private roads which are in fact private        with the Township to determine whether an acceptable
property; such an expenditure may fall outside municipal       program can be developed for Rideau Lakes.
authorities under provincial legislation. Finally it has
been pointed out that Section 4.5 of the official plan for
the Township of Rideau Lakes contains a mechanism for
converting a private road to an assumed public road if it
is upgraded to a standard acceptable to the Township at
the expense of landowners located on the road.
URLA News                                                                 Page 2

ATVs on Public Roads
The Township of Rideau        access to their highways.     favour are seeking greater
Lakes is currently                                          range of use for their ATVs.
considering a petition        The County of Leeds-
                                                            If you have views it is
requesting that ATVs be       Grenville has conditionally
                                                            important to make them
allowed to travel on public   approved access to roads
                                                            known now to Council.
roads under the               under its jurisdiction on a
administration of the         site specific basis. The      There are other broad
Municipality. There is        Township of Rideau Lakes issues relating to the use of
considerable pressure on      is reviewing its options      ATVs and snowmobiles on
all levels of government      with regard to ATVs on        private roads. Because they
from ATV owners and           Municipal roads under its     are not “public roads”,
users to gain access to all   authority and the subject     private roads fall outside
public roads. The             is presently with their       the jurisdiction of the
province has already          solicitor for comments.       Municipality. They are in
provided a form of access     There has not been a          fact private property and in
to provincial highways        great deal of public          accordance with the
                              discussion on the issue in regulations which govern
(See Ontario Regulations      our Township but              the use of snowmobiles and
316/03 made under the         elsewhere, in South           ATVs in the Province of
Highway Traffic Act which     Frontenac, the question       Ontario permission of
provide for the Operation     has been quite                owners of private property is
of Off-Road Vehicles on       controversial and has         required before use by
Highways). As of July         sparked considerable          recreational ORVs and
2003, municipalities were     public debate. Those          snowmobiles. The Spring
given the authority to        opposed to providing          newsletter will explore these
determine whether or not      access have been              issues and their implications
off-road vehicles (ORVs)      concerned about safety,       in greater detail.
should be allowed access      liability, potential costs of
to highways under their       road upgrading (township
authority. Municipalities     roads have very narrow
must put a by-law in place    shoulders). Those in
for ORVs to be allowed

Invasive Species Program
URLA has answered the         took samples of water         June through September.
call of the Ontario           near the lake bottom at
Federation of Anglers and     four different locations to   If you find the Spiny Water
Hunters to participate in a   test for the presence of      Flea in our lake, please
new program to monitor        the Spiny Water Flea.         note the exact location;
aquatic invasive species      This small predacious         put the specimen in a
on our lake. Zebra            crustacean threatens the      sealed container with
Mussels and Purple            ecosystem by competing        rubbing alcohol; and call
Loosestrife are our best-     with native fish for food.    the Invading Species
known invaders, but other     Mature colonies also foul     Hotline at 1-800-563-
aliens have the potential     fishing gear by collecting    7711. You can get more
to do enormous damage         in masses on fishing lines.   information from the
to the quality of our         Clumps look and feel like     website at
environment as well.          gelatin or cotton batting
This summer, a biologist      with tiny black spots, and
                              are most abundant from
Page 5                                                     URLA News

Commercial Fishery on Upper Rideau Lake

                                       pressure, habitat destruction, and
In October of 2003, URLA formally      invasion of exotics. Any of these
expressed concern to the Ministry      factors could be limiting walleye
of Natural Resources about the         productivity on the Upper Rideau.”
onset of commercial fishing            As most residents know, ALL of the
operations on the Upper Rideau         above are challenges facing our
Lake. Local sport fishermen            lake. The Report further states that
reported that walleye have been        yellow perch stocks are significantly
harder to catch on our lake since      low on Upper Rideau – a key factor
the onset of the netting operation     since yellow perch are a very
in the fall of 2002.                   important prey species for walleye.
The MNR District Manager               “Walleye can be highly cannibalistic
assured us that monitoring of both     if yellow perch and other small
the fish populations and               forage fish are not present in
commercial operation were being        abundance”. Yet yellow perch is one
carried out. Subsequent                of the species being harvested in the
investigation and review of            commercial operation. With
supporting documentation,              expansion of the business to include
however, has deepened concerns         a second annual netting in the spring
and raised more questions.             of this year, residents were more
                                       concerned than ever. The operator
Unfortunately, it appears that the     did not include the Upper Rideau in
numerous surveys of fish               his fall operation.
populations used to support the
Ministry’s position (that the          Recent conversations with Ministry
commercial fishery does not have       officials have been encouraging.
a negative impact on our sport         There is recognition that the
fish) all predate the onset of the     commercial fishing operation does
commercial operation. A Ministry       have the potential to adversely affect
biologist has also advised that no     fish communities. URLA maintains
monitoring of catches has ever         that until we have the science to
taken place – the operator is          assure us that no harm is being
permitted to report at point of        done to the sport fishery or the
processing. Quotas are set             general biodiversity of our lake,
provincially, and may have no          operations should cease. To this
relation to the state of our lake or   end, the Ministry has drafted a new
condition of our local fish            protocol for our consideration, and
population.                            the Rideau Valley Conservation
                                       Authority has included the matter as
For instance, in the most recent       a priority issue in its upcoming
MNR study entitled “A Report on        Watershed Plan for the Rideau
the 2002 Early Summer Trap             Lakes. URLA will keep you apprised
Netting For Walleye in Upper           of further developments.
Rideau Lake”, it is written that
“Collapse of walleye stocks has
been suggested to be the result of
a variety of factors such as lake
eutrophication, increased fishing
 URLA News                                                                   Page 6

Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Lurking underground near our homes in a location sometimes known, sometimes not is
that most basic of facilities: OUR SEPTIC SYSTEM. Properly cared for, the “septic”
will quietly perform its essential functions, attending to our daily needs; if not properly
cared for though, the system will eventually destroy itself and in the process will pose
tremendous problems for the home or cottage owner, for our neighbours immediately
adjacent and for the environment at large.
From the outset it is important to recognize that each of us individually is responsible
for the maintenance of our septic system. Unlike the city or other urban setting where
the waste disappears down the drain and goes to some far off place to be conveniently
forgotten, our waste ends up in our own backyard and if our system is not working
properly we soon know. Our nest is fouled so to speak: drains back up, the lawn
becomes intensely green and somewhat soggy and in extreme situations there can be
evidence of oozing substances. And all this can be avoided by some careful but simple
management. By and large it involves being cautious about what goes into the system
(remember what it is there for) and by having it regularly inspected and pumped out
(every 3 to 5 years).
There are a number of publications available which provide good guidance: “ A Guide
to Operating and Maintaining your Septic System” ( available from the Housing and
Building Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs - 416-585-6666); “On-site Sewage
Systems Do’s and Don’ts Guide” available from the Ontario Onsite Wastewater
Association -; “Your Septic System” #62795 and “Buying a House with a
Well and Septic System” available from Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation or 1-800-668-2642. The Landowner Resource Centre associated with
the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is a good resource (1-800-267-3504).
In the Township of Rideau Lakes responsibility for septic systems rests with the
Township (unlike a number of other Townships where this responsibility rests with the
County Health units). This means that if you wish to undertake any development work
on your property which has implications for your septic system you must obtain
approvals from the Township building department. The Township would also be the
point of contact if you had concerns about the functioning of a system on a
neighbouring property or elsewhere. This is obviously a sensitive area. From time to
time we may become aware of a “suspect” septic system, one which through proximity
may form a hazard to our own well-being or more generally to the environment. One
would hope that a quiet discussion with the owner would lead to an investigation of the
situation and a correction. If this fails or if we are reluctant to approach the owner, the
formal process would involve the lodging of a signed complaint with the Township.
For a number of years now URLA has urged the Township of Rideau Lakes to adopt a
re-inspection program. Such a program would lead to a routine survey of septic
systems in sensitive areas and would avoid the “finger pointing” which pits one
neighbour against another. In this regard our Township is falling behind its neighbours.
Tay Valley Township has had a re-inspection program in place for three years and in
this last year, having engaged the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority to undertake
its inspections, has increased the scope of the inspections. South Frontenac Township
has been conducting its re-inspection program for a year now and North Frontenac has
established a task force to guide implementation of a program. These programs are
voluntary in nature and intended to highlight potential problems for solution. Along
these lines, a number of years ago the Upper Rideau Lake Association undertook a
voluntary survey of the septic systems on properties adjacent to the Upper Rideau
Lake. This survey forms an important data base, which with some updating could serve
as an important resource. URLA will continue to urge the Township to be more
proactive in looking at adoption of a re-inspection program.
Page 7                                                             URLA News

FOCA Update
URLA is a member of the Federation of                 is recommended that firewood
Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA).               not be transported between
FOCA as an umbrella group of over 600                 home and cottage. To learn
Cottage and Lake Associations is uniquely             more about the ALB please
positioned to represent the common                    refer to;
interests of Associations at the provincial 
level.                                                viroandcons/issues/alb.html
                                                     Look in future Newsletters for
At a recent FOCA meeting, the following                information on a new initiative
points were noted for the benefit of the               called Cottage Choice. Cottage
URLA membership;                                       Choice offers unique products
                                                       and services to members of
       FOCA is contributing money and time
                                                       Associations which are FOCA
        to the recently formed organization
                                                       members. In addition to
        Waterfront Ratepayers After Fair
                                                       providing members with
        Taxation (WRAFT). WRAFT seeks
                                                       products and services, Cottage
        equality in waterfront property
                                                       Choice has potential to assist
        taxation. To learn more visit
                                                       in providing funds to URLA and
       The Asian Long Horn Beetle (ALB) is
                                                     To learn more about FOCA
        an invasive species threatening
                                                       please refer to the recently
        Ontario’s hardwood forests. To assist
                                                       updated FOCA web site at;
        in controlling the spread of this pest it

    URLA Executive Members
    The URLA Executive Board is comprised of volunteers elected by the membership.
    Board members along with their email addresses are provided below for your
    convenience. If you have an issue of interest to URLA please do not hesitate to
    contact a board member.
         Executive                    Position                       Email
     Wendy Stewart          President          
     George Ingram          Past President     
     Cathy Rollo            Vice-President     
     Matt Muzyka            Treasurer          
     Jennifer Davis         Secretary          
     Jayne MacDonald        Water Quality      
     Mary Chaikowsky        Community Affairs  
     Keith Davis            Membership         
     Colleen Lahey          Lakeshore          
     Randy Jones            Public Relations   
Page 8                                                                                    URLA News

                      The Heron Says…
                           URLA is growing! Membership has increased 13% over last year. People are
 Upper Rideau lake          recognizing the benefits of having a say in their local environment through
   Association              URLA. An increase in membership means a stronger community voice as well
                            as more resources to carry out our work. Approximately 1 in 4 properties
                            fronting on Upper Rideau Lake is home to a member. We would like to continue
      Box 67
                            to grow URLA’s membership so please help by spreading the word on what
  Westport, Ontario         URLA is doing to improve our lake to your neighbors.
     K0G 1X0
                           The Rideau Lakes Environmental Foundation (RLEF) provides funding to
                            URLA for its work in promoting a clean and safe lake environment. As
                            examples, URLA has used RLEF funds in the past to help execute its water
                            monitoring program and shoal marker activities. You may have recently received
                            the RLEF’s fund raiser pamphlet. Please consider making a tax deductible
                            donation to RLEF to help URLA work for you. For more information on the
                            RLEF, please visit the web site at
                           Boating Near Shore? Shore line speed restrictions exist in Ontario for personal
                            safety reasons and for minimizing wave induced property damage (e.g. erosion).
                            Power boats are restricted to 10 km/h (6.2 mph) or less within 30 meters (100 ft)
                            of shore. Most small boats do not have speedometers (or really long tape
                            measures permanently attached) so consider the following rule of thumb: If you
                            find yourself thinking “am I too close to shore for my speed?” you likely are.
                            Also, the next time you feel uncomfortable about a fast boat close to your shore,
                            make a mental note to check your own speed next time you are out in the boat
                            and getting close to shore.
                           Concerned About Ground and Surface Water Quality? The Rural Clean
                            Water Program encourages work which results in improvement to ground and/or
                            surface water quality. Based upon availability of funding, the program provides
                            grants to eligible projects for rural properties in the Rideau valley on a first come
                            first serve, cost-shared basis. For example, up to $500 is available to upgrade a
                            Well Head or up to $1,000 could be available to assist in repairing a Septic
                            System. To qualify for a grant you must submit a written application to the Land
                            Owner Resource Centre in Manotick. The Land Owner Resource Centre can
                            discuss your proposal and if it is eligible, refer your application to Program staff.
                            Grants (where applicable) are paid upon final inspection of the work. To learn
                            more about the Rural Clean Water Program please visit
                   or call 1-800-387-
                          About URLA
 We’re on the Web!
                          The Upper Rideau Lake         consisting of seasonal and     the natural environment of
      Visit us at:
                          Association (URLA) is an      permanent residents of         the Upper Rideau Lake.            incorporated non-profit       the Upper Rideau Lake,
                          organization. The             holiday lake users, and
                          organization, headed by a     residents of the village of
                          Board of Directors, is a      Westport, interested in
                          volunteer association         promoting and protecting

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