FOCA Elert ~ March 2021
FOCA's Strategic Plan 2020-2023
As presented by the Board of Directors at the FOCA Annual General Meeting earlier in March, a refreshed Strategic Plan will guide our organization through the coming years.

Please download and share FOCA's new Strategic Plan:
The Elert sub-headings below have been updated to reflect the
6 priority areas of FOCA's new Strategic Plan:
  • promoting healthy lands, lakes and rivers
  • advocating for responsive government
  • serving local lake and road associations
  • championing affordable and safe rural living
  • fostering community, and
  • building FOCA's capacity.
We hope you see your concerns addressed in these priorities.
Find out more about FOCA's work, here:
FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers
Welcoming new waterfront owners!
As discussed at FOCA's AGM & Spring Seminar earlier this month (more on that, below), Ontario cottage country was hugely popular in 2020 as the pandemic and travel restrictions led people to isolate at their waterfront properties. We know there will be new owners and visitors this year as well, and many may be having their first cottage country experience. What might they not know about the special considerations of living at the waterfront? How will you welcome then, and shepherd them into the community of lake stewards and waterfront enthusiasts?
FOCA has great publications like A Shoreline Owner's Guide to Healthy Waterfronts that we encourage you to share.

Also, see the Event Summary from the Spring Seminar (below) for a "Welcome Binder" or "Welcome Sheet" template your association can adapt.
recent event: Ontario Invasive Species Forum
March 1-4, 2021 (virtual) - FOCA participated in the Forum, and presented during the "Community Action" session on March 2nd about the great work being done on-the-ground across the province, by lake and cottage associations to prevent the spread, and mitigate the effect, of invasive species. 

upcoming event: Abandoned Boats webinar
Wed., April 7, 2021 from 4-6pm (virtual) - our partners at Boating Ontario are hosting a webinar about abandoned boats, including Transport Canada speaking about the 'Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act'. No registration is necessary for this free event.

FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government
Dock Foam Bill moving forward
March 22, 2021 - FOCA spoke to the Ontario Legislative Committee in support of the Private Member's Bill 228, 'Keeping Polystyrene Out of Ontario's Lakes and Rivers'. This would apply to new docks, not existing structures. Learn more about the Bill, and the plastic problems it seeks to address, here:
upcoming event: Drinking Water Source Protection
March 24, 2021 (10am-noon) - Join legal counsel from the Canadian Environmental Law Association and FOCA's Terry Rees, for the launch of CELA's quarterly "Water Conversations." In the March edition they will discuss the state of legal protections for our drinking water, and the steps required to make the Clean Water Act more effective to serve the needs of First Nations and rural residents.
FOCA's Gold level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations
event recap: 2021 FOCA AGM &
Spring Seminar for Lake Associations
We went virtual on March 6th, and had our largest FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar of the past decade, with over 140 of you in attendance!

Instead of a full day of seminars, we enjoyed a whirlwind 2.5 hours of updates on FOCA's files, programs and Strategic Plan, Lake Partner Program, Phragmites update, and a presentation about pandemic volunteer considerations (including liability issues) for lake associations in 2021.

All FOCA members are welcome to download the extensive Event Summary which includes links to the slides:

NOTE: You'll need your Member Login for this. Don't have, or can't recall the Login? Contact us for assistance.

Members who did not register to attend the 2021 AGM & Spring Seminar, but want to watch the full webinar recording, can still purchase digital access here.
2020 FOCA Achievement Award
Congratulations to the Long Point Ratepayers' Association (LPRA) on Lake Erie, the recipients of the 2020 FOCA Achievement Award, which was presented at the 2021 AGM & Spring Seminar event on March 6th.

LPRA was nominated under the category "political involvement" - read all the details in the Event Summary (see the link in the item above), or an overview on the FOCA Achievement Award webpage.

image: John Henderson of LPRA receives the Award from Tony Lepine, Chair of FOCA's Member Services & Benefits Committee
FOCA Champions Affordable & Safe Rural Living
Seasonal Rate reclassification: Got questions?
If you received a letter from Hydro One over the past month, indicating you will be one of the 147,000 families moved out of the collapsing 'Seasonal Rate' class and into one of three existing density classes, you may have questions.

Whether you think you should be moved to an alternate rate classification, or you've changed your usage and need to update Hydro One that you're living there year-round (and therefore eligible for the RRRF subsidy that is NOT available to seasonal residents), call the Hydro One Contact Centre to discuss your concerns: 1-888-664-9376.
FOCA has submitted to be an intervenor at the next Ontario Energy Board hearing about the implementation of the elimination of the Seasonal Rate Class. Get background on this file here:
Fire & carbon monoxide safety reminder
"When 2 of my smoke/carbon monoxide alarms started to 'chirp' within hours of each other this past week, I realized I had forgotten the rule to replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, each time the clocks change!", says Michelle L, FOCA's Communications Coordinator.

Have you changed your batteries yet? Please, do it today.
EORN Announcement: Better cellular services coming to
Eastern Ontario residents & businesses
FOCA was pleased to be part of a press conference held by the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) on March 19, 2021 to announce a significant investment in cellular coverage in Eastern Ontario. Improvement will begin immediately, with a full roll-out by 2025. Read more from EORN here.
Watching for high water this Spring
Ontario cottage country communities must be especially vigilant in Spring as melting snow and ice, heavy rainfalls, and high water flows on lakes and rivers can make for rapidly changing conditions. Preventative action can minimize loss to buildings, docks and boathouses, but overland flooding remains a real risk for those located in or near a flood plain.
FOCA posts related info, including links to emergency messaging and regular water bulletins for the Great Lakes, Trent Severn & Rideau waterways, and from the Ontario Surface Water Monitoring Centre, here:
FOCA's Silver level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA Fosters Community
upcoming event: Creating a Cardiac Safe Cottage Community
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Register to join us for a one-hour "lunch and learn" with FOCA and our partners at Action First Aid, about the importance of 24/7 access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and how to create a cardiac safe cottage community.
Highlights of the agenda:
  • hear a story from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) survivor
  • understand the difference between SCA and Heart Attack, and when to use an AED
  • learn how to use crowdfunding to place 24/7 accessible AEDs in your cottage community!
Registration is open to all FOCA Association Members, and Individual/Family Supporters. There is no charge to attend, as the event is sponsored by Action First Aid.

BONUS: Everyone who attends the April 21st event will be entered into a draw to win one of 3 seats in Action First Aid's new on-line training program: CPR/AED & Basic First Aid Awareness.
FOCA at the Virtual Cottage Life Show
FOCA's Terry Rees is speaking THIS WEEKEND at the Virtual Cottage Life & Outdoor Living Show (March 26-28). This year, you can attend for free to hear expert speakers, view DIY presentations, and connect with cottage country product and service providers, all from the comfort of your own home. Register for all the fun, and start planning for brighter days, here:

Terry will present "Top Tips for extending your time at the lake this year." Ready to 'make the jump'? Here's what you need to know. Plan your virtual visit to the show to coincide with one of Terry's talk times:
Friday, March 26th at 11:00am EDT
Saturday, March 27th at 11:00am EDT
Sunday, March 28th at 11:00am EDT
FOCA is Building our Capacity
Welcome, Kirk!
With FOCA's Membership & Programs Coordinator Deanna Forgie away on maternity leave, FOCA is pleased to welcome Kirk Kuipers as our Membership Coordinator.

Kirk is a graduate of McMaster University with a degree in History, and in 2019 he complete the accelerated Paralegal degree program at Seneca College. Kirk has worked in inventory management and in immigration law before he moved to Peterborough and began his new role with FOCA.

Kirk has enjoyed many summers at his family's cottage at Crow Lake in South Frontenac. Kirk can be reached at the main FOCA email address:
Partner Updates & Regional Notices
Ontario Waterpower
Coincident with the Ontario Waterpower Association's (OWA) annual Queen's Park Day on March 24, MPP Mike Mantha (Algoma - Manitoulin) is introducing a private member's bill that would see June 20th in Ontario declared as "Waterpower Day". Fully one quarter of the province's electricity comes from this renewable source.
FOCA recently wrote about waterpower and our data sharing partnership with OWA, to map where waterfront property owners and the waterpower industry overlap on the landscape. Read the article in the 2020 Lake Stewards Newsletter (page 15), or contact the office if you have local questions, as the map is not posted publicly, but is accessible by FOCA.
Kawartha Conservation Mapping Tool
Members in the Kawartha Conservation (KC) region can now consult an online mapping tool to see if your property is in a regulated area or impacted by source water protection considerations. If so, you will need to apply for the appropriate permit or Source Protection Notice before any development, construction or site alteration such as grading, fill placement or excavation. Visit the online map.
Short Term Rental Survey: Tiny Twp.
The Township of Tiny is in the process of developing a licensing framework for Short Term Rental (STR) properties in Tiny, and is seeking feedback from residents to guide the process. Click here for information and a link and remember to take the survey by 4:30pm on April 2, 2021.
Lake of the Woods water quality
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - You are invited to have your say about the future of Lake of the Woods water quality! Take part in an online webinar meeting and town hall discussion, organized by the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation in partnership with the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association, to connect you directly to the Lake of the Woods policy team at Environment and Climate Change Canada. Click the appropriate link to register for your preferred time:
or evening: March 30/21 at 7pm (CT)
Unavailable to attend either webinar?
Visit the website launched by Environment and Climate Change Canada, instead:
to join active discussions, get notifications, and share relevant materials
Waste Bin Site Transition ongoing
The District Municipality of Muskoka released its 2020 annual report on the status of the removal of all unlicensed waste bin sites by 2023, as mandated by the Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP). FOCA has several member associations affected by the removal of these waste bins, which have especially served island cottages at landing points. The plan was modified in mid-2020 due to the pandemic and "on-going waste operations challenges" and is now a multi-year effort of transition planning for each community. Read the full 2020 Report online, or jump to the community-by-community summary from the Appendix.
Tackling climate change in eastern Georgian Bay
ICECAP (the Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans) reached a milestone in its first year, recently releasing a model to help participating Georgian Bay municipalities inventory carbon emissions. To assist in the calculations, the Georgian Bay Biosphere (GBB) developed a 'Carbon Calculator' online tool which can be used by anyone.
Among other things, the results underscore how important boating transportation is to the region. The next steps involve working with each community to set targets to model achievable greenhouse gas emissions and consulting with councils and community members of Local Climate Action Plans. Learn more from GBB here.
FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Final Thoughts
Enjoy every season!
Thanks to Jennifer K. who shared these spectacular pictures of her family's lake ice curling rink on Round Lake in Havelock, from earlier this season. She wrote: "I used flour and food colouring for the rings and a cement mold with epoxy for my rocks."
We love it! Thanks for sending us the pictures.
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for over 55 years.
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