Elert - April 2017
Policy Updates from FOCA

New Dock Permit Rules
After more than a year, the MNRF have recently proposed new regulations under the Public Lands Act to enable certain occupations of public land without the need for permits, leases etc. This will essentially be "back to the future," allowing certain activities like docks, through a "free use" approach. Read FOCA's background on this issue, and provide your comments on the proposed regulations by May 18, 2017:    https://foca.on.ca/municipal-authority-over-boathouses-decision/

FOCA speaks out against increasing capital gains taxes
As a solution to a red-hot GTA housing market, Ontario's Finance Minister recently floated the idea of increasing the capital gains tax on real property transfers. FOCA strongly opposes this clumsy, ineffective and short-sighted approach, and has grave concerns about the impacts on families who transfer waterfront property ownership to the next generation in the coming years. Read our letter:   https://foca.on.ca/focas-property-tax-position-overview/ 

Electricity Issues
FOCA has recently written to the Premier about energy price concerns, and the story has since been picked up by Cottage Life Magazine and the CBC News. Link to recent updates on the energy file by clicking here. 

Nuclear Waste 
Get updates on this file, including a link to watch CTV's W5 program on the planned OPG underground nuclear waste repository near the shore of Lake Huron, here:  https://foca.on.ca/radioactive-waste-storage-in-the-great-lakes-basin-overview/ 

In other news, the Ottawa Riverkeeper is watching the plan for a "Near Surface Disposal Facility" proposed by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories for radioactive waste generated at their Chalk River, Ontario, facility. Find out more about the issue and the related federal environmental assessment, by clicking here.
FOCA's Gold-level Sponsors


CottageLINK Rental Management
Cottage Life

Emergency Preparedness
In advance of Emergency Preparedness Week (May 7-13), FOCA reminds you to get yourself, your family, and your waterfront neighborhood prepared for emergencies.  Adapt this handy example sheet from FOCA, and post it prominently at your waterfront property!

As Spring water flows continue, we all need to be mindful of water conditions on and around our lakes, the perils of unpredictable and high water flows, and the dangers of cold water immersion. Please watch this short reminder video from FOCA:

For links to current flood watches and warnings, and tips for waterfront property owners, visit:   https://foca.on.ca/high-water-flood-events-in-cottage-country/  

In Memoriam
FOCA joins in mourning the loss of two hard-working and dedicated community volunteers: Rideau Lakes Township Councillor Doug Good and his friend Mike Carty passed away Friday, March 10, 2017, as the result of a tragic accident on Big Rideau Lake. To honour Doug's life and his longtime commitment to the Big Rideau Lake Association (BRLA) and surrounding community, the BRLA is creating the Good Family Memorial Reserve Fund, in support of the BRLA shoal markers program, something very near and dear to Doug's heart. 

Cade's Corner

Members in over fifty member Associations have already taken advantage of this FOCA benefit: access to the  CottageFirst  group insurance package.  When will you get your quote, to find out if you could be saving too?

Lake Environments

Perfect Plant
invasive Phragmites (Todd Marsee, courtesy Michigan Sea Grant)
Planning some gardening soon? Make sure you are not spreading invasives! Always choose native plants (see this recent Toronto Star article on the topic), and consult the Ontario Invasive Plant Centre's Grow Me Instead guides. 

Handy links and other references about invasives are available, here:  https://foca.on.ca/invasive-species/  


Celebrate Earth Day
This Saturday, April 22nd is Earth Day. Find a friend and get outside!

For tips from FOCA about living lightly at the waterfront, check out our publications, here:  https://foca.on.ca/category/publications/ 

FOCA's Silver-level Sponsors

Municipal Affairs 

FOCA's Challenge to You:
image: Tony Caldwell, Ottawa Sun
Want to make a difference in your rural community? Have leadership skills? Think you have something to contribute to the local community? Consider running for municipal office! 

Local elections are often decided by only dozens or a few hundreds of votes.  The most important quality-of-life decisions happen at the municipal level, including recreation, access, social services, safety and security.  Help to bring the focus onto the issues that matter most to you and to your lake association. We need more lake and river champions in municipal office, where they can stand up for healthy, thriving and sustainable communities. 

Find out everything a waterfront property owner needs to know about the 2018 Ontario Municipal Elections, here:   https://foca.on.ca/municipal-election/  

Study Release:
Annual R.B.C. Canadian Water Attitudes Study 

The latest edition of this annual study reveals that Canadians take water for granted.  Quotable from recent coverage on the study, by Water Canada :
While the survey reflected Canadians belief that the federal government--79 per cent--should be responsible for water-provincial and municipal responsibility following at 64 and 57 per cent--they are muddled as to their own responsibility. "They did a generation breakdown, between Baby Boomers, Gen X'rs, and Generation Y, and each one of them said that their generation was doing a lot for the environment and the other two were wasteful," said Haller. "In reality, we are all doing very poorly." [Robert Haller, executive director of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association]

Recent Events

FOCA at the Spring Cottage Life Show
FOCA's Terry Rees spoke twice on the Main Stage during the Spring Cottage Life Show ( March 31-April 2) about what we can expect to see in cottage country as a result of our changing climate. Member Associations may contact FOCA for a copy of Terry's slides from this event. 

Follow this topic here:   https://foca.on.ca/climate-change-and-waterfront-ontario/ and get tips for your waterfront in FOCA's Climate Guide, here:   https://foca.on.ca/managing-your-waterfront-property-in-a-changing-climate/ 

Trent University Career Centre Talk
FOCA's Terry Rees was a Keynote Speaker at an early April event in Peterborough for a " Campus to Career Bootcamp." His talk was titled, "Closed Doors and Opening Windows: Linear Career Paths Are Overrated."

Upcoming Events

Kawartha Lake Stewards Association
Saturday, May 6 plan to attend the annual Spring Meeting of KLSA at the Bobcaygeon Arena beginning at 10am. Guest presentations by Dr. Eric Sager on "swimming with plants" and Doug Kennedy on the important role of "shorelines and streams."  Click to download the event poster.  (PDF, 1 pg)

Muskoka Stewardship Conference 
Friday, May 12 - Port Carling. FOCA will once again participate in this year's Muskoka Stewardship Conference, titled "50 Shades of Green: all about algae." Click here for info and to register.

Summer Solstice Lakeshore Festival
June 17-18 - plan to attend the Festival at the Gamiing Nature Centre on Pigeon Lake, featuring "Survivorman" Les Stroud! Click here for details and tickets.

Regional Notices & Opportunities

Planning for Health Care in Muskoka
The Muskoka and Area Health System Transformation (MAHST) is working proactively to ensure local health services, programs and care are coordinated, organized and integrated. Today's health care system will not be able to meet local needs in the future, and your input is needed. The MAHST initiative wants to hear about your experiences with health care in Muskoka, as well as your ideas. Find out more, here:   https://www.muskoka.on.ca/en/community-and-social-services/MAHST.aspx 

City of Kawartha Lakes Notice
Our municipal partners at the City of Kawartha Lakes remind seasonal property owners returning to the area that the transition to clear garbage bag collection has occurred (effective January 1, 2017). Clear garbage bags are required for curbside waste collection and at City landfill sites. Find lots of tips in the 2017 Recycling & Waste Calendar, or call 705-324-9411 if you have questions.

Spring Ice Conditions on Lake of the Woods 
If you love aerial pictures of cottage country as much as we do (and that's a LOT), you need to check out the "Ice Patrol" blog, with pictures and running narrative on spring ice conditions around Kenora, Ontario:    https://icepatrol.wordpress.com/
Share the Gift of the Cottage
Cottage Dreams is a registered charity that offers recent cancer survivors a week away at a private, donated cottage to recover and rejuvenate with family and friends after completing cancer treatment. The program was created so cottage owners like you could lend their cottage during the work week, when it might otherwise be empty.  Here's a recent testimonial: "Our Cottage Dreams vacation was wonderful! Our time away afforded our family some time together to heal, relax and spend time with one another. We are so so thankful!"  With your support, Cottage Dreams can do even more!  Find out how to get involved:  http://www.cottagedreams.ca/ 

FOCA's Bronze-level Sponsors


Dock in a Box


Cottage Dreams

Canadian Canoe Museum

Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons
Nature Clean New Logo 2013

Partner Profile

Experimental Lakes Area (ELA)
TVO's the Water Brothers
The IISD-ELA is a unique scientific research organization located in Canada that undertakes whole-ecosystem research on environmental issues. 

Find great video resources about the IISD-ELA, here:   https://foca.on.ca/saving-the-ela/, including a link to the TVO video of the visit to ELA by the Water Brothers, which aired last month.
About FOCA

FOCA's Board of Directors held their Spring meeting in Peterborough last week, to review the 2017 events already under our belts, and discuss plans for the year ahead. 
Welcome to our new FOCA Board members: Wendy Sue Lyttle, Terry Beettam, Daryle Moffatt, Bev Thorpe and Tony Lepine.  Learn more about the cottage stories of your Board of Directors, and the whole FOCA team, here:    https://foca.on.ca/about/team/  

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, 
the voice of the waterfront for over 50 years

 info@foca.on.ca    |    705-749-3622    |    https://foca.on.ca 
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