FOCA Elert ~ May 2022
It's a long weekend, and it's a long Elert. Hang in until the end! You'll know you're there when you see this banner image again.
Lead up to the Long Weekend
Cottage Opening Time!
Will you remember everything essential, and - most importantly - will it all fit in the car? Then, will you be able to afford the gas to get there?

In addition to all the packing and planning, print out and bring along FOCA's cottage opening tips sheet, with a dozen important reminders for this time of year:
Long Weekend Updates from the Executive Director

Spend a minute with Terry Rees, FOCA's Executive Director, in a video blog about what's topical as we head into the first official long weekend of summer:
FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living
Be #WakeAware and welcome Marine Ambassadors
FOCA encourages you to join the campaign to Be #WakeAware this May long weekend, and throughout the boating season. We're also pleased to welcome Marine Ambassadors - marinas located from Lake Erie to Sudbury to the Thousand Islands, that have pledged to help spread the word this season about the impacts of wake (hint: it is loon nesting time right now), and how to manage wake.
Your roles:
  1. read and share wake information with neighbours and friends, using the hashtag #WakeAware on social media posts;
  2. check to see if YOUR local marina has signed on as a Marine Ambassador yet; if not, please speak with them about why they should!

Get links to the campaign, and related wake and boating information, from our webpage:
FOCA Cottage Succession Seminars
We've launched the 2022 seminar series with estate lawyer Peter Lillico! Attend a session to learn how to keep your family cottage in the family for the next generation(s).

Upcoming seminars are on our webpage: While registration for most of these events is limited to the host member association, we do have a general introductory session scheduled for mid-August which all FOCA Association members and annual Supporters can register to attend at no cost. Videos covering many of the most popular topics are also available to purchase on the FOCA website at the link above.

Contact FOCA if your FOCA Member Association is interested in hosting a virtual Cottage Succession Webinar this year; we still have space for a couple of additional events! Choose the introductory talk or a "deep dive" into taxes, trusts, cottage sharing agreements, and more.
Safe Boating Awareness Week
May 21-27, 2022 - The organizers of this annual boat safety campaign want to remind everyone of their five key messages for boating safety:
  1. wear your lifejacket
  2. boat sober
  3. take a boating course
  4. be prepared - you and your vessel
  5. be cold water safe.
Get information on each of these priorities, plus lots of video resources, here:
Broadband Developments
In April, the Ontario Legislature passed the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act 2021, committing nearly $4 billion to connect every region in Ontario to reliable, high-speed internet by the end of 2025.

In related regional news, the governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $1.7 million to bring fast, reliable high-speed internet to hundreds of homes, farms and businesses in Huron County by July 2022. Get a link to the full media release, and related news in other areas of cottage country, on our webpage:
Follow Fire Ratings and Burn Bans
Many areas of Ontario have already been under high fire ratings or burn bans for periods of time this season. Get fire safety information and useful links - such as the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System map of fire danger (pictured at the side) - on our webpage:
Wildfire Community Preparedness
May 7th was Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Your lake or road association can still make plans to hold a community event to improve your community’s fire preparedness! Get tips in the excerpts from the Wildfire Community Toolkit from FireSmart. Find the link and related resources on our website:
FOCA's Gold level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government
Provincial Election: June 2, 2022
The provincial election in Ontario will take place on Thursday, June 2, 2022. For waterfront property owners, many important issues are managed at the Provincial level including health care, education, property taxation, tourism, natural resources management and energy policy, through Provincial statute and the accompanying regulations.

  1. determine if you are eligible to vote and if so where (Question: can you vote at the cottage as well as your home riding? Answer: no - not in a provincial election)
  2. ensure you are on the voting list
  3. check out FOCA's sample questions to ask your provincial candidates prior to casting your vote.
Get details, links and more on our webpage:
event recap: All Candidates Environmental Debate in Peterborough
May 12, 2022 - FOCA teamed up with partners to organize an environmental debate with the provincial party candidates in the riding of Peterborough-Kawartha. Questions were provided to the candidates in advance, and the event was live-streamed to YouTube. You can read coverage of the event by KawarthaNOW.
Algonquin Land Claim update
April 2022 – The Algonquin Land Claim Ontario negotiation team recently reported to FOCA and other stakeholders. They have been reviewing input received through the 2020-2021 public consultations, and have developed proposals for local solutions to many of the outstanding concerns, which will now be discussed with the Algonquins of Ontario. Read more on our webpage:
Municipal Grants: Boat Cleaning Stations
The Township of North Kawartha has launched a municipal one-time grant program to support local lake associations in the pursuit of boat cleaning station solutions for their lakes. This falls under the Township's strategic direction for "Environment - Protect and Enhance". The Township will reimburse qualified local associations for 50% of the costs to a maximum of $10,000 upon approval. Get the details on our webpage, and consider how your municipality might bring a similar idea to Council for consideration:
Reliable and Fast Internet now in Cottage Country
Enjoy your time at the cottage without worrying about reliable connectivity!

Whether you’re unwinding or working at the cottage, you can stay connected with Rogers wireless home internet so you can stream and surf to your heart’s content. Rogers also offers seasonal suspend to give you the flexibility to pause your service in the off-season and reactivate when you need it.

Limited time offer with special savings for FOCA members. Get pricing information here: Call your local dedicated Rogers specialist at 647-274-5035 to learn more and check eligibility.
FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers
Lake Partner Program
It's time for spring water sampling!
For Lake Partner Program (LPP) volunteers who do a single yearly sample, you are reminded that you should plan to take your samples during the month of May.

If you changed your address over the past year, or you haven't received your sampling kit, be sure to contact the LPP for assistance:

Thank you to all our volunteers across the province who help make this long-standing water sampling program such an ongoing success! Learn more about the program here:

Remember that springtime means getting back on the water after being out of the boat for many months, after your boat and motor and equipment have not been in use. Please take the time to review safety information and links to pre-departure checklists and cold water safety tips, here: Safety is #1!
upcoming webinar: Healthy Shorelines, Healthy Lakes
Tuesday, June 14, 2022 from 9:00-12:00pm - FOCA and our partners encourage you to join us for a free online workshop showcasing municipal planning tools to protect freshwater. If you are a municipal councillor, planner, or waterfront association member, register to join us to learn what tools are available, and what other municipalities are doing to keep their shorelines healthy. Register here and share this information with your friends, colleagues and neighbours.
upcoming webinar: Zebra Mussels 101
Wednesday, June 15, 2022 @ 7:00pm - Want to learn all about Zebra Mussels in Ontario? Join FOCA and Renata Claudi, M.Sc. from RNT Consulting Inc. for a 1 hour webinar. Learn about the history of Zebra Mussels in Ontario, where and how they are spreading, and how they are impacting our waterways. Everyone is invited to register for the free public webinar here. Feel free to share this invitation with others.
Clean + Drain + Dry!
As of January 1st, 2022 the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry have regulated watercraft (boats, canoes, kayaks, etc.) as a potential carrier of invasive species, under the Invasive Species Act. Boaters need to take action to look for and remove plant or other invasive 'hitchhikers' from boats before moving between waterbodies.

Members can contact the FOCA office to get signage for your local boat launch to remind people: "It's the Law". Learn more about the new regulations, and how they will help us prevent and slow the spread of invasives:
Ontario Biodiversity Summit Report
The Ontario Biodiversity Council, on which FOCA serves, has issued a summary report with “Key Takeaways and Priority Actions” following the 2021 Ontario Biodiversity Summit (held virtually from May to October 2021). A main message from the report: “Healthy ecosystems sustain healthy people and a healthy economy.” Get a link to the report and related news on our webpage:
Lyme Disease & Ticks
Public Health Ontario has released the 2022 revised Lyme Disease risk area map for Ontario, which continues to expand year-over-year. Public Health Units are no longer accepting tick submissions from the public; instead, the public is being directed to citizen science-based initiatives such as to submit tick images for identification, instead of specimens. The risks to humans and pets is significant. Learn more, and get a link to enlarge the risk map on our webpage:
Managing the Spongy Moth
For those who are in areas affected last year by the Spongy Moth (LDD moth), it's time to wrap trees and start disposing of egg masses and larvae before they can defoliate your trees. The province posts information about the life cycle of the caterpillar/moth, and tips to manage the pests. Get links and related information on FOCA's webpage:
Blue-green Algae & Climate Change
A disturbing trend is emerging where pristine lakes with no human habitation and low phosphorus levels are experiencing blue-green algal blooms, challenging some of the assumptions about the cause of these blooms. Get a link to an April 18 article, and related links, on our webpage:
Great Lakes Nuclear Facilities
A new report from the International Joint Commission (IJC) Great Lakes Water Quality Board recommends special precautions that governments should take to better protect Great Lakes water quality when it comes time to retire nuclear plants. There are currently 18 nuclear plants located on the shores of the Great Lakes in Canada and the United States. Get a link to the story, and the map of existing and closed nuclear facilities, on our webpage:
webinar re-cap: Source Water Protection
April 20, 2022 - FOCA's Terry Rees was a featured speaker on a panel talking about "Protecting our Source Water" in the Blue Economy Webinar Series presented by the Canadian Water Summit and Water Canada. Get a link to the recording, and learn more about why source water protection is critical, on our webpage:
FOCA's Silver level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Partner Updates & Regional Notices
Flood Warnings in Northwestern Ontario
Over the past week record flow level conditions have been occurring in the Winnipeg River drainage basin in northwestern Ontario. Evacuations have been ordered for cottage areas north of Kenora, in the Black Sturgeon Lake area. Get links to the flood preparedness tips, updates, and a recent presentation by the Lake of the Woods Control Board on the high flow conditions (image at side), on our webpage:
Trent-Severn Waterway opening
For the first time since 2019, the Trent-Severn Waterway will open for navigation in time for the Victoria Day long weekend this year! Get details online from Parks Canada here. The Rideau Canal system will also be open for the long weekend.
image: Trent Severn Waterway National Historic Site webpage
New Fireworks By-law passed
In mid-March 2022, the Township of Muskoka Lakes updated their Fireworks By-law, permitting fireworks only on certain holiday weekends between dusk and 11:00pm. Find out more on FOCA's webpage:
image: Kay Soares
Haliburton County Shoreline By-law
County councillors in Haliburton met in March and April to discuss the proposed shoreline preservation bylaw, searching for clarity and consensus on tree-cutting, setback distances from the water's edge (which remain contentious), buffer zones, public education plans, and ways forward. Read the news in the digital Haliburton Echo.
Short-term Rental: municipal updates
May 2, 2022 - the Municipality of Bluewater in Huron County has a proposed Short Term Rental (STR) By-law that includes licencing fees and demerit points for infractions. Meanwhile, the Town of Bracebridge has reversed its decision to place an interim control By-law on STRs. Get details and links to these updates and related news, on our webpage:
upcoming digital event: What's Happening to our Weather?
Thursday, June 16, 2022 @7:00pm - As part of the Georgian Bay Land Trust LANDMARK speaker series, David Phillips (senior Climatologist for Environment Canada) will share insights from his 50 year career, how Canada's climate is changing, and what impacts can be expected in local weather. Register for this webinar.
Cataraqui Conservation: Lake Reporting
Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority has launched a new lake reporting digital dashboard with information and resources to learn about the character of the lakes in their region (Napanee to Brockville and north to Bedford Mills), and actions that can be taken to combat cumulative impacts that compromise lake health. Learn more, and investigate the Dashboard.
Council approves year-round load restrictions on some cottage roads
At the May 3, 2022 meeting of Council for the City of Timmins, a bylaw was passed to restrict the weight of traffic on certain seasonal or year-round cottage roads in the area that are maintained by the City. The move was in response to an increase of traffic including forestry or property rebuilding operations. There is a permitting option for emergency access or special situations which may require a security deposit from the user. Get details in the article in the North Bay Nugget.
video series: Climate Change in our Backyards
Severn Sound Environmental Association and Experience Simcoe have created a 4-part video series of climate change in the Simcoe watershed, and what actions municipalities are taking to adapt to and mitigate related changes. Get the link to the video series on our webpage:
Turtle Time
It's the time of year when turtles are on the move, and drivers need to be vigilant. If you come across an injured turtle on the road, contact the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, among other groups across the province dedicated to their care. With World Turtle Day coming up on Monday, May 23rd, review this video from the Toronto Zoo's Adopt-a-Pond program about how to move a turtle safely across the road:
Trent Severn Waterway Management Plan & public meetings
Interested parties are reminded to comment by June 30th on the Trent Severn Waterways (TSW) Management Plan. Five online public information sessions are being held by Parks Canada, starting next Tuesday, May 24 and ending June 7. Get details and links on our webpage:
FOCA is Building Community in Rural Ontario
event recap: Celebrate Havelock
May 7, 2022 - FOCA had a display booth at this eastern Ontario cottage country event, along with dozens of vendors, information booths, food, and entertainment. We brought "clean + drain + dry" messaging, along with free copies of the Shoreline Owner's Guide to Healthy Waterfronts.
event recap: 2022 Haliburton Lake Stewards Meeting
FOCA was pleased to join the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners Associations (CHA) at their annual lake stewards meeting May 14th in Haliburton. In addition to a great slate of lake experts, CHA revealed a number of exciting new initiatives. Learn more about CHA at:

A shout-out to the following partners and collegial organizations that were at the event:
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations
Association Members: Do we have addresses for your current executive on file?
All executive (titled) members of our Member Associations can receive a print copy of our annual FOCA Lake Stewards Newsletter. The 2022 edition will be mailed out in late June.

Please ensure we have your current executive list with email and mailing addresses for your President, Treasurer, Newsletter contact and so forth. Send updates a.s.a.p. to or reach out by phone (705-749-3622) to check if our records need updating since your last association meeting.
pictured: last year's edition - read it online here
Do your members know about ALL their FOCA benefits?
All members of our Member Associations are entitled to access a series of discounts, special offers, and other benefits. Get an overview (and login for information about the member access codes), here:

You'll need your FOCA Member login for this and other member materials on the website. Don't have, or can't recall, the login? Email, and we'll reply during business hours.
Member Success Story
The Big Basswood Lake Association (BBLA) has partnered with The Kensington Conservancy - their local land trust - to track flora and fauna within the Big Basswood Lake Watershed area, using iNaturalist Canada. iNaturalist is a place to record and share what you see in nature, meet other nature watchers, and learn about Big Basswood Lake's wildlife.

Learn more about the project here: and then think how you could adapt this idea for your own waterfront community!
FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Final Thoughts

The FOCA office will be closed on Monday, May 23, 2022.

We wish you and your families well on this Victoria Day long weekend!
Be safe and enjoy the outdoors.
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for the past 60 years.
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