Read our 2015 Winter Newsletter! (A printer-friendly pdf version of our newsletter is also attached)
A Message from the President
Brian Gray, President
The contrasts around our lakes never fail to impress me. Our outdoor thermometer goes offline at -30C, so as I write this one evening in the first week of the year, I know we are colder than that. Yet I know that the birds will make it back to the feeder in the morning, that the land will explode with greenery in four months, and that we will be enjoying a cold beverage on a warm dock in six. In the meantime, there is a lot to keep us busy.
In this Leaflet I urge you to read about the update to our Lake Plan. This affects us all (and our property values), and we want to work closely with the Town to finish this project. If you are local or visiting over the long weekend, why not stop by our Winter Fun Day Social? Details are below. This year we will also try a new springtime event. We hope to see many LWRA regulars, and hopefully inspire a few new ones. Can you help us out? Have a read! We are also looking for a lake steward to volunteer to take water samples from Ripple Lake – please have a look to see if this makes sense for you. Even better, if you can: why not volunteer to run for the LWRA executive for a term? Several of our Board have served for years, and would be happy to pass the torch for a while.
In the meantime, let’s go enjoy our winter!
OMG - Winter Fun Day is on Valentine's Day!
Yes, Winter Fun Day is scheduled for February 14, at the north end of Lake Waseosa (the Verhey cottage, 21 Cottage Lane). Activities are weather dependent, but will include our famous Coffee-Can-Curling. Subject to snowfall, we will also TRY to clear a skating rink for the young (and young-at-heart). Watch our website at LWRA.net for updates and weather confirmations. Stop by and warm-up your sweetheart!
Spring Clean-up Day
This year, the Executive has decided to try a new event. Throughout the winter, garbage and recycling are disturbed by animals and wind, and quickly covered by new snow. Every spring, before leaf-out, our roads and ditches look their worst. So this year we will try a new event, in which we organize a roadside pick-up of small roadside litter along several main roads. We envisage small groups strolling along some of our cottage roads, and depositing in a trailer we drive by. No doubt coffee and donuts could be involved. Note that this is NOT a cottage junk-removal exercise – normal municipal rules apply for this. Details have yet to be finalized. If you are interested in volunteering, please let us know at secretary@LWRA.net.
Should I feed the Deer?
We love to see the deer around the lakes. Yet we know that the long, cold winters are difficult, and that many suffer from acute lead poisoning during hunting season. So should we help them by feeding? No, not really. Here is some information paraphrased from a recent publication from the Town of Huntsville.
The top 5 reasons why deer feeding is harmful:
1) Physiology: deer are built to cope with winter conditions and in most winters simply don’t need to be fed
2) Roads: feeding draws deer across roads, where they risk death from vehicles (and cause danger for drivers)
3) Disease & parasites: artificial foods can cause metabolic changes, leading to feeding diseases associated with a rich diet
4) Conflict: feeding can cause deer to become aggressive towards each other, causing injury or death
5) Dependency & cost: deer become dependent on artificial food, requiring landowners to continue feeding throughout winter at a high cost
In fact, deer are well-adapted to coping with all but the most severe winters. First, they spend the autumn building thick fat reserves. When winter hits, they congregate in coniferous forests, where the tree cover reduces ground snow and makes movement easier, especially with an established network of trails. The cover also insulates the immediate area, making it warmer in these ‘deer yards’. In poor weather, the deer typically bed down to lower their energy demand. Winter food consists mainly of woody stems and twigs. Although these are not high in nutritional value, it is sufficient, together with the deer’s fat stores, to sustain them through the winter.
Lake Plan Update
Huntsville’s Official Plan incorporates several Lake Plans that have been prepared by local lake associations, vetted with the community, and passed by Town Council. These plans provide more detailed land use policy direction for specific lakes, beyond the more general policy framework of the Town and District Official Plans. Lakes Vernon, Mary, Fairy, Peninsula and Menominee all have lake plans approved by Council.
In 2006, the LWRA engaged the residents around our lakes to produce our own lake plan. For a number of reasons, this was never voted on by the Town. In 2011 the LWRA updated our plan, but it was not reviewed by Council. The current LWRA executive wishes to update our Plan, re-validate it with our community (both LWRA members and non-members), and propose it to the Town for a vote. This will take considerable effort and consultation with the Town staff and councillors. If successful, it will help frame policy decisions affecting our lakes, and hopefully reduce some of the uncertainties in zoning and planning discussions.
Our existing (unapproved) lake plan is on the website at LWRA.net. Please stay tuned to our website for updates (and if you are on our mailing list, we will update you directly). If you have any comments, please let us know via secretary@LWRA.net.
Seeking a Lake Steward for Ripple Lake
In our region, lake water is monitored by the District of Muskoka. To support their efforts, volunteer “lake stewards” take water samples each spring and summer, on some lakes, as part of the “Lakes Partners’ Program”. The samples collected by the volunteers are used by the District as an early warning, especially on lakes that they do not test regularly. Currently, there are lake stewards for Waseosa and Palette, and we have a volunteer to begin testing on Jessop. The District and the LWRA executive would welcome a volunteer for Ripple too. The effort involved is (a) to take a water sample from a deep part of the lake with a kit provided in late May or early June (about 1 hour’s effort), and (b) taking water clarity readings every few weeks in summer (about 15 minutes per time). Help monitor the water you swim in! If you are interested, please let us know via secretary@LWRA.net, and we will set you up with the District.
Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations joins call for antibacterial ban
Do you use anti-bacterial soaps, or other products with the chemical Triclosan? In November, FOCA and more than 50 public interest groups in Canada and the US, called on the Canadian Government to prohibit the use of triclosan in consumer and institutional products. Triclosan is often found in antibacterial soaps and other products that are generally labelled as ‘antibacterial,’ ‘fights odours’ or ‘kills germs’.
Triclosan is one of the top 10 contaminants of American rivers and a chemical of concern in the Great Lakes basin. Ninety- five percent of triclosan in consumer products goes down the drain and is highly toxic to aquatic organisms.
In March 2012, the Canadian government released its Preliminary Assessment Report for Triclosan. It proposed that triclosan should be declared ‘toxic’ under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act due to risk posed to wildlife, particularly downstream from wastewater treatment plants.
No action has been taken, but the Canadian government promises a risk management plan in spring 2015.
Product sales continue although both the Public Health Agency of Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration have indicated that soaps with added antibacterial ingredients, such as triclosan, are no more effective than the mechanical action of washing with plain soap and water.
Last May, Minnesota became the first state to ban the retail sale of cleaning and sanitizing products with triclosan, starting January 2017.
See the website at LWRA.net
Is it snowing at the cottage?
This year, it probably is. As always, you can have a look at the north end of Waseosa via Dwayne Verhey’s two video cams, at LWRA.net.
The LWRA Board needs new directors!
Many on the existing board are very long-serving, and would welcome replacements. Please consider the modest time commitment to put your name forward for 1 or 2 years. Directors are elected at our AGM in July.