FOCA Elert - December 2019
Advocacy & Policy Updates

Electricity Pricing
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is still considering their approach to the Seasonal Class of electricity customers, and  is receiving written input until December 19, 2019. As an intervenor, FOCA is arguing against the elimination of the Seasonal Class, because the September 2015 OEB decision to move to an all-fixed delivery rate already accomplishes the stated goal of having low volume seasonal customers pay a fair share of costs. Visit FOCA's webpage for background: 
Lake Partner Program 
As mentioned by FOCA's Executive Director at the Fall Seminar, FOCA continues to work with the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to build on the tremendous success of the Lake Partner Program of long-term monitoring, with the aim to continue the program in 2020 and beyond. Our goal is to continue to engage our hundreds of volunteers, and build our collective knowledge about the province's fabulous aquatic resources.
 Learn more, here:
FOCA weighs in on Bill 132
On December 5, 2019 the provincial government's Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019 (Bill 132) entered debate after third and final reading in the legislature. Amongst many other things, the Act proposes to amend the Public Lands Act, allowing docks or single-storey boathouses located on Crown land without the need for a permit or annual rent. Read FOCA's comments on the proposed bill, here:

Flood Planning / Management in Ontario
image: MNRF 2014
As reported in our last Elert, in early November the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) announced that the final report from their Special Flood Advisor was complete.  The report has now been made available and includes 66 recommendations for the Province, MNRF, Conservation Authorities, and other bodies on issues ranging from updated floodplain mapping to stakeholder communication protocols. FOCA has posted links to the  157-page   report, and  a 3-page executive summary,  here:  

Ontario Budget Cuts: A Cottage Country Perspective 
Our colleagues at Cottage Life Media posted an online article in late November, titled "How are Ontario's budget cuts affecting your cottage?," that summarizes some of the implications of funding changes.  Click to link to the online article.
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Event Summary: 2019  FOCA Fall Seminar 

Thank you to everyone who joined us in person and by webinar for the FOCA Fall Seminar on  Saturday, November 16th .

We had a full house at the Boulevard Club in Toronto with lively discussions on a variety of cottage country hot topics including short term rental,  rural road issues, water quality and quantity, and septic re-inspection programs. 

FOCA members can download the Event Summary, including links to the slide presentations of the day, here:
Don't have your member web login? Send us an email identifying your affiliation with FOCA, and we'll reply during business hours with your login.
Regional Notices & Upcoming Events 

Haliburton Plant Resource
A new shoreline plant search tool is available on the website of the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners' Associations, a regional organization and FOCA Supporting Group. The plant tool has been in development since 2017. Choose the plant type, soil, water conditions, location and other criteria to receive a list of expert recommendations with a picture of the native plant and its information. This is a great planning resource for the winter months! Visit: .

Muskoka Wood Ash Recycling Opinions Survey
As part of the Ontario Trillium foundation wood ash program being undertaken by the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (FMW), Muskoka residents who heat with wood and are over the age of 18  are invited to participate in an online survey to assess your thoughts and experiences about wood ash recycling, and your sense of connection to Muskoka in general. 
The survey is being conducted by the University of Victoria and FMW informs us that survey participants may enter a draw to win one prize of $100 or one of two prizes of maple syrup (1L).  Click here to link to the online survey.

New Fireworks Bylaw
FOCA thanks our members at the Big Bald Lake Cottagers' Association (BBLCA) for bringing to our attention that the Municipality of Trent Lakes is the latest cottage-country municipality to approve an Open-Air Burn & Fireworks By-law 
effective October 15, 2019. Fireworks are now restricted to a handful of specific days and times. Get a link to this, and other municipal fireworks by-laws, here:
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Recent Events & Projects

CELA/FOCA webinar on Septic Re-inspections
One quarter of Ontario's 1.2 million onsite wastewater systems are located directly adjacent to the lakes and rivers of the Great Lakes Basin. A late November webinar, hosted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), provides an overview of the project recently completed by FOCA and partners to explore successes, challenges and lessons learned from existing municipal septic re-inspection programs across Ontario, including a review of the legal context for managing rural wastewater. Learn more and find a link to watch the webinar, here:

Septic Re-inspections: Municipal Responses
FOCA has now been informed of several more municipal partners who have read our report on 
Septic Re-inspection Programs in Ontario , and are considering (or proceeding to implement) local programs, including the City of Temiskaming Shores, the Township of Douro-Dummer, and the County of Hastings Highlands. 

We encourage all our members and municipal partners to review this report, and to engage in local discussions to determine the best route forward in your own region. Download a free copy of the Report and infographic, here: 
Waterfront Living 

Boating Ontario AGM
In late November 2019, FOCA attended the Boating Ontario Annual General Meeting in Niagara Falls to learn about industry trends, challenges and opportunities. One of the featured speakers (pictured in the image at the side) was Pierre B √©land, Canadian Chair & Commissioner of the International Joint Commission (IJC), who presented on flooding and the Great Lakes. 

Boating Notes
Recent Canadian drowning statistics show a modest downward trend, but the data still points to a few key boating safety thoughts, to keep our families and ourselves safe on the water. Learn more here:

Though the lakes may be starting to freeze up across Ontario, FOCA keeps an eye on all things boating through the year. Next on the calendar: the meeting of Ontario's Recreational Boating Advisory Council (RBAC), taking place during January's Toronto International Boat Show. FOCA participates on RBAC which provides Transport Canada with advice on all matters related to the safety of recreational boaters, the safe operation of recreational boats, the safe and environmentally friendly use of recreational waterways, and other issues of related interest.
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E-news Delivery Update

From late October through mid November, FOCA heard from several of our colleagues and Elert subscribers that they had received e-notices from FOCA that were not intended for them.  We recognize that your time is valuable, and FOCA works hard to limit and target the amount of messages we send to you.  We uncovered that a tech problem occurred at the email software end, and have received the following explanation from Constant Contact, the company FOCA uses for our Elerts and e-messaging:

"This organization uses Constant Contact, a company that provides email and other marketing services, to send bulk email. The sender's account has experienced an issue that occasionally causes emails to go to more contacts that were initially targeted. Constant Contact is researching the issue to look into the root cause and prevent it from occurring in the future.  We apologize for any unexpected emails, and the impact that this has had on this organization as well as their contacts. We strive to help our customers succeed and send the right message at the right time, and will work with this sender to address the issue."

FOCA hopes you will continue to elect to receive our messages! We have lots of cottage country information to share with you throughout the year. You can update your consent to receive FOCA e-news, here:
FOCA Member Benefits

In addition to FOCA's ongoing work on behalf of waterfront Ontario, our members gain access to several specific benefits, offers and discounts from our partners and corporate sponsors. Review all the benefits, here:
Member Associations: Do all your members know about their FOCA benefits? Login to the FOCA website to download a copy of the benefits sheet that includes the access codes for all current offers, or contact the FOCA office for a digital copy that you can circulate in your next Newsletter or e-news. 
What others are saying...

FOCA always appreciates your feedback. Here's what one member wrote after we sent our November Elert:

"Just wanted to let you know that your news letters are always very informing and really helps me keep our group up to date. Well done." 
~G.S. of Ivanhoe Lake Cottagers' Association

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! 
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, 
the voice of the waterfront for over half a century     |    705-749-3622    |  
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