FOCA Elert ~ December 2021
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for nearly 60 years.
Hang in until the end! You'll know you're there when you see this picture again.
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations
upcoming event: FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar

Saturday February 26, 2022
9:00am - 3:00pm
Note the date: this event is scheduled one week earlier than in past years.
The 2022 Annual General Meeting & Spring Seminar will be a hybrid event: register to participate by Zoom webinar, or in-person at the Bayview Golf & Country Club, Thornhill. (In person attendance limited to the first 100 registrants.) It's time to register! Get health & safety information, and registration details: https://foca.on.ca/2021-fall-seminar/
You're invited! Watch this quick video from Terry Rees:
Corporations: extension for virtual meetings
In light of the ongoing pandemic, the government of Ontario has again extended the deadline for incorporated organizations to meet virtually until September 30, 2022, even if their bylaws do not specify this option. Members can get details on FOCA's Association Toolkit webpage: https://foca.on.ca/toolkit-overview/
FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government
Assessing climate impacts
FOCA is participating in Ontario's Provincial Climate Change Impact Assessment (PCCIA), specifically to help assess future impacts to the People & Communities area of focus.
FOCA is also pleased to be part of the District of Muskoka's New Leaf Community Working Group, that will be identifying local impacts of climate change and outlining steps to ensure appropriate preparation and adaptation, and to increase resilience to these changes into the future.

FOCA posts related information online here:
Property assessments still on hold
In their early November "Fall 2021 economic update" the Province announced that property assessments for the 2022 and 2023 tax years will continue to be based on the same valuation date that was used for 2021. Details and a link to the economic update are on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/focas-property-tax-position-overview/

While you're there, check out FOCA's answer to this question:
You asked, FOCA answers
A member enquired: We recently did some renovations to the cottage which triggered a reassessment notice from MPAC. I know retail sales prices have gone crazy in this area over the past 18 months. My question: is the new assessed value I received from MPAC based on current (2021) sales comparables, or 2016 values?

FOCA members can access our answer, with details from MPAC including a sample Assessment Notice, here: https://foca.on.ca/assessment-after-reno/
FOCA's Gold level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers
Be less salty
With winter weather and ice, comes gravel and salt on our roadways and walkways. However, road salt can get into waterways and our drinking water sources, and the impact is also felt on wildlife, plants, and soils. We can each do our part by following these 8 tips for reducing salt use, from Kawartha Conservation's "Know your signs" source water protection campaign.
image: Dr. Shelley Arnott, FOCA Spring Seminar 2020,
"Over-salting our lakes: Why we need to reduce road salt use"
Great Lakes regional poll results released
The International Joint Commission (IJC) Great Lakes Water Quality Board has released the results of their third annual poll, providing a snapshot of residents' views on the importance of protecting environmental health and water quality for leisure and recreation, fish and wildlife, and the economy. The 2021 results are available online here.
event recap: Shoreland planning
Nov.26, 2021 - As part of FOCA's partnership in the Planning our Shorelands collaborative with Watersheds Canada and others, FOCA's Executive Director recently participated in a "Planners' Forum" for professionals to share and learn about shoreland best practices.
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In related news, earlier in November the Freshwater Stewardship Community webinar featured the Planning Permit System and the work being done in the Lake of Bays to protect their shorelines. Watch the recording of the webinar.
LPP & Citizen Science: blog feature!
November 25, 2021 - the Lake Partner Program (LPP) of water quality monitoring and FOCA's 2021 Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator Liz Favot are featured in this recent blog post by Great Lakes DataStream:

The LPP data is among the 7 million data points collected in the open access hub for water data!
recent event & report: Watershed restoration and protection
In early December, FOCA participated in the annual Lake Association Networking meeting with international colleagues in the Rainy-Lake of the Woods watershed in northwestern Ontario.
At the webinar event, Kelli Saunders of the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation presented the findings of a 2021 interview project titled "Watershed Restoration and Protection - Assessing Community Capacity." If you are looking to increase engagement and uptake of stewardship priorities in your own area, FOCA highly encourages you to read the report (download PDF, 8 pages) which includes excellent reflections and statistics about the importance of water quality, how to address barriers to stewardship uptake, measuring success of community activities, and lessons-learned.
FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living
Hydro One - Storm update

A message from Hydro One, received midday on December 14th, 2021:

On Saturday, we saw an extreme wind storm move across the province with gusts over 100 km/h causing significant damage to our electricity system. Since then, crews have been working around the clock to restore power to over half a million customers. We’ve moved additional crews to the hardest hit areas, using all resources and equipment available. These areas include: Bracebridge, Huntsville, Penetang, Minden, Perth, Tweed, Bancroft and Parry Sound. To date, we’ve reported more than 245 broken poles, 80 cross arms and 70 damaged transformers due to downed power lines and fallen trees. We anticipate these numbers will continue to increase as crews continue to assess damage.

Preparing for outages: Ensure your emergency kit is stocked in the event of an emergency or prolonged power outage. We have a list of items to help with what you may need.


image above: Hydro One Storm Map at 4:45pm on December 14, 2021.
Cottage country passenger rail
In late November 2021, Ontario Northland ran a test train route between Toronto and North Bay. Passenger transport has been unavailable on this rail line for nearly a decade, but a proposed new route to Timmins could eventually serve 13 stops in cottage country. Read more here. (CTV News)

FOCA's Silver level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Partner Updates & Regional Notices
upcoming event:
National Phragmites Conference
January 20, 2022 - You can register now to participate in Canada's first national conference about invasive Phragmites, with the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, the Canadian Council on Invasive Species and the Ontario Phragmites Working Group. Early-bird pricing is in effect until December 31st. Get details and register here.
Municipal responses to short term rentals
Visit FOCA's webpage for several news updates since last month's Elert, including developments in Owen Sound, Gravenhurst, Haliburton County and other municipalities debating the regulation of cottage rentals. For property owners, FOCA supports a philosophy of responsible rental that ensures sustainable use within the limits of the existing septic system, road capacity, and other community considerations. Learn more here: https://foca.on.ca/responsible-cottage-rental/.
North Kawartha proposes funds for boat cleaning solutions in 2022
At their November 30th meeting, the Council of the Municipality of North Kawartha proposed a new municipal grant program in 2022 for boat cleaning solutions on area lakes, in support of one of the Municipality's strategic pillars: "Environment - Protect and Enhance." Watch the Council meeting recording (this topic starts at 48:30 min). FOCA has many member lake associations in the area, and applauds this positive collaboration on behalf of invasive species prevention.

To learn more about boater pathways for the spread of invasive species, visit FOCA's webpage: https://foca.on.ca/invasive-species/
event recap: LDD moth webinar
On December 1st, 2021 the Ontario Woodlot Association held a webinar on the LDD moth, with a look back at 2021 impacts, and an outlook for 2022. Review the video here (YouTube).

FOCA posts related information here: https://foca.on.ca/ldd-moth/
images: Ontario.ca
Safe Quiet Lakes 2021 survey results
FOCA's partners at Safe Quiet Lakes received close to 6,000 responses in their 2021 survey. Read the summary and the full report here.
2022 Ontario fishing regulations
The province has released the 2022 Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary, the annual guide to the rules and regulations for recreational fishing in Ontario, including information about licences, seasons, and catch limits. Access this and additional fishing resources from FOCA webpage.
Christmas Bird Count
The 122nd Christmas Bird Count season started on December 14th and continues to January 5th. Birds Canada thanks all the participants, compilers, and regional editors who keep this fun and important tradition going. Last year's counts reported 284 species, a decrease of five species from last year. Find or organize a count near you: 
A walk in the woods
Nov.25, 2021 - We did some forest bathing with colleagues and partners as we walked part of the Hastings Wildlife Junction landscape south of Bancroft, a series of significant forest and wetland properties targeted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) for a landscape-scale conservation plan.

Landscape-scale conservation projects are uncommon in settled South Central Ontario. While the final fate of the various parcels in Hastings County is yet to be determined, this is a project which should be of great interest to any of our members or other outdoor enthusiasts in the area. Click here for a map and more information.

L to R: Terry Rees of FOCA; Mike Hendren of NCC, Michelle Lewin of FOCA.
FOCA Fosters Community
Association Members: 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 member benefits. Get the details (and login for information about the access codes), here: https://foca.on.ca/member-services/benefits/

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 info@foca.on.ca, and we'll reply during business hours.
Special offer for FOCA Members:
15% off ROM admission
For a limited time, FOCA members can access a special discount when visiting the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). You could catch the final weeks of the exhibit Breaking the Frame until mid-January, Great Whales until March, or enjoy the return of the annual "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" exhibit that continues into April with spectacular photographs from around the world.
(image: Lynx on the threshold © Sergio Marijuán)
How to access this offer:
Buy timed tickets online and enter promo code: FOCA

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On a related note: all residents of Ontario are invited to participate on Twitter or Instagram by March 13, 2022 in ROM's Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest. Amateur photographers welcome! You could win the top prize.
FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Final Thoughts
Happy holidays to you and yours,
from the FOCA staff:
December 3, 2021
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