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A Message from the President
By Tony Doob, President
This has been a busy year for the LWRA. There are three areas, in particular, however, that I would like to comment on. The first relates to preserving our lakes from increased development pressures. There are those who wish to subdivide and create an additional lake front property. The argument is generally that the original and the subdivision is â€˜just one more lot' that will not make a real difference to the lake. The difficulty is that our lakes are over-developed when one considers the area of the lake and the number of dwellings on them. This problem is most acute with Palette and Waseosa Lake. The LWRA has traditionally examined these closely but usually opposes these kinds of â€˜one-off' applications.
The second pressure is for zoning variances that violate current zoning. Some are truly trivial (e.g., substituting one minor variance condition for an existing non-conforming condition). But others challenge the purpose of current zoning (e.g., increasing the size of the building envelope that encroaches on the lake). The LWRA opposes those that will have a negative impact on the lake and has supported those that have no or reduced impact.
The past Town Council has not been supportive in matters that have an implication for the long term health of our lakes. Only a couple of years ago, the Town spent tens of thousands of our money developing a comprehensive zoning bylaw but the ink was not yet dry when they began amending it. Those of us who have watched the process have not been impressed with the Town's commitment to sensible development. Zoning, it would seem, does not mean much in Huntsville. Instead it is simply a low hurdle that a developer needs to step over. We hope the new Council will only support sustainable development.
Blueberry Island Restoration Project
The tireless work of Jim Edwards' volunteer crews has continued to attempt to restore "Blueberry Island" in Lake Waseosa. This is a long term project and, when Blueberry Island is again ready for human use, we will have to develop a new set of sustainable expectations about the use of the island. Those of you who have looked carefully at the island will appreciate the care, thought, work, and money that has been invested in this community resource. This project is well under-budget due to some significant donations. Camp Huronda donated many of the shoreline plants. The Edwards family donated most of the seedlings for the main body of the island. And local quarry operator Tim Green of Greens' Haulage donated all of the river rock used to stabilize the shoreline. Gord Martin, of the MNR has reviewed the work and sends all the volunteers his congratulations for a job well done.
Corn Roast and Fun Day
The West family again hosted a very successful â€˜Corn Roast' at their home this past Labour Day weekend. Despite postponing one day due to weather, we were pleased by the turnout and the feedback we received. These events are important for the association because they provide opportunities for us to get together as a community. The children who attended Fun Day in August obviously had a good time but the turnout was disappointing. The association will need to consider carefully the future of "Fun Day." Among other things we have been unsuccessful in finding a coordinator. The LWRA wishes to thank Diane Howlett for once again doing almost all the work in creating a wonderful day for the children who participated. But we need someone to take over the running of this day from Diane, who would rather just enjoy that day rather than run it.
This year the LWRA is going to add something new to the social roster: a February Social on Saturday, February 19. Featuring a BBQ in the snow and lots of hot chocolate, we also hope to have some fun family activities. "Coffee Can Curling" has been suggested, if ice conditions permit. Based on curling, we would use â€˜Folgers' brand plastic coffee cans filled with ice as stones. These are reputedly light enough that anyone can participate while the concave bottom makes them behave similar to real rocks. A game of shinny might also be a possibility if there is sufficient interest. The event will start at noon and be held in Rhoad's Bay on Waseosa at 21 Cottage Lane. It is open to all area residents, not just LWRA members.
Water Quality - Jessop (Jingo) and Palette Lakes
The District of Muskoka â€˜Lake System Health Program' uses spring phosphorous concentrations as the chief indicator of a lake's recreational health quality. They have established normal background levels for each lake and a rise of 50% above background is considered the acceptable threshold.
The threshold for Jessop Lake was determined to be 14.4 Âµg/L. Measurements by the District reveals the "Long Term Average" ('92 - '01) was 15.0 Âµg/L and the "Interim average" ('98 - â€˜ 07) was 16.4 Âµg/L.
The threshold for Palette was determined to be 5.22 Âµg/L, however, the District has not been testing Palette.
According to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment Lake Partner program results, phosphorous readings in
â€¢ 2003 were 8.5 and 8.7, in
â€¢ 2004 were 7.8 and 8.8; in
â€¢ 2005 were 8.3 and 9.7; in
â€¢ 2006 were 10.0 and 11.1; in
â€¢ 2007 were 7.2 and 9.5; in
â€¢ 2008 were 14.4 and 14.8; and in
â€¢ 2009 were 19.7 and 20.1.
That's 7 years of monitoring. Discarding the highest reading each, the average phosphorous reading is 10.8 Âµg/L - more than twice the threshold. This is not a questionable result skewed by an anomalous reading - the readings are well above the threshold in each and every single sample. We have pointed this out to the Town, but staff are reluctant to consider data that didn't come directly from the District.
Poor water quality is the result of human activity. Residents must respond to this wake-up call, even if the Town doesn't. This means YOU!
The LWRA and the other Huntsville lakes are members of the Huntsville Lake of Bays Lakes Council, an umbrella organization of lake associations in our general area. That Council was effective in the past, supporting the smaller lake associations, but recently has run into problems. The Council now faces some difficult decisions (and work) in determining it's future. The LWRA is participating actively in this process.
Two reminders about dues. First, dues are payable as of January 1st. We do give a grace period to the start of the AGM in July for the convenience of our seasonal residents but all too many people put it off. Some still have not paid their dues for this year. On the brighter side, others have already pre-paid for next year!
The second reminder is that the membership voted to raise dues to $30 per year for 2010 at this past AGM, based on the rate of inflation since the last increase. Rather than go back to people who pre-paid and ask for the difference, the Board of Directors has decided that any pre-payment of $25 towards 2011 dues received by us prior to December 31, 2010 shall be considered payment in full. For all payments received after January 1, 2011, the $30 amount will apply.
We are very saddened to report the passing of founding LWRA member Bill Norton on September 22 at the age of 89. Known by many as the "Mayor of Waseosa", Bill was a fixture around both this immediate area and Huntsville in general. He served this community in so many different ways: Town Clerk, Town Treasurer, Town Councillor, LWRA President and Director, O/O of Norton's Cottages, Scout leader, Red Cross worker, founding member of the Huntsville Ski Club and of course, all round great neighbour. We will all miss you Bill.