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FOCA Elert - February 2021
Skating Banner with FOCA logo

Your invite:

Click for a quick video message containing your invitation to the FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar, from FOCA's Executive Director, from the frosty shores of the Kawarthas: 
Invitation to the 2021 FOCA AGM and Spring Seminar

Upcoming FOCA Events

FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar for Lake Associations
Saturday, March 6, 2021 
by webinar 
9:00am to 11:30am 
(AGM at 9:45am)

$30 for members 
$45 non-members

Online registration will remain open until Wednesday, March 3 at 1:00pm.

Topics include: the Annual General Meeting of members, Lake Partner Program 2021, the new FOCA Phragmites project, important file and policy news, and presentation of the FOCA Achievement Award to a member Association. Review the Agenda here.

What a fellow member had to say, about a recent FOCA webinar:
"I want to say, I have been trying to attend your seminars for several years, can never make it. JUST LOVE THE WEBINAR! And I'm not a kid, I'm 68, it was my first time attending a webinar, and it was so simple and informative. Thank you so much!"

Troubled Waters Forum: five part webinar series
Thursdays, February 4 to March 4, 2021 at 7:00pm  - FOCA is pleased to be a partner with the Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance and the Vale Living with Lakes Centre for this free digital series
  • Feb.4 - Dr. John Gunn, "Imagine Sudbury in 2050: A Global Change Community."
  • Feb.11 - Dr. Norman Yan, "From Fireplace to Pancakes: Solving the Widespread Problem of Calcium Decline in Ontario, Starting in Sugar Bushes."
  • Feb.18 - Dr. Sapna Sharma, "On Thin Ice: Are Lakes Feeling the Heat?"
  • THIS WEEK: Feb.25 - Dr. Andrea Kirkwood, "Using the Community Science Co-Production Model to Inform Lake Management."
  • Mar.4 - Dr. John Smol, "The Power of the Past: Tracking Lake Ecosystem Changes in an Anthropocene World."
Register once to receive access to all five presentations and their recordings. 

Missed a previous episode? FOCA is posting recordings as they become available, here: https://foca.on.ca/troubled-waters-webinar-series/
FOCA's Gold-level Sponsors


CottageLINK Rental Management
FOCA's sponsors support our work; please, support them! 
Advocacy & Policy Updates

Fair Electricity Pricing
Hydro One Networks has written to all 147,649 seasonal class electricity customers to explain how they will be moved to one of the three residential density-based classes. The notice includes Hydro One's estimate of your average monthly electricity use over the past 12 months, in kWh, so you can compare your new estimated rate at the same consumption level. 

It is the approximately 78,000 seasonal customers moving to the Low Density (R2) class that will see the largest bill impacts, with total bill increases of up to 100%. The seasonal rate class may be eliminated as early as January 1, 2022.

1. Check your notice, and if you think your classification is incorrect, call the Hydro One Networks Customer Service line: 1-888-664-9376. Areas with 100 or more customers, and at least 15 customers for every kilometer of power line used to supply energy to the zone, are intended to become "Medium Density" but FOCA has already heard of cases where the designation on the Notice was incorrect.

2. Contact your MPP
Although the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is an independent public agency, FOCA encourages everyone to contact their Ontario Member of Parliament to provide first-hand feedback to our politicians about the negative impact of this change on your household budget. 
More than 1,200 actions have already been undertaken by you and your fellow waterfront property owners, including:
  • emailing the MPP of your seasonal property 
  • calling the MPP of your seasonal property (speaking notes provided) 
  • emailing the MPP of your permanent residence.
It only takes a moment to input your address and use the online software to automatically find your MPP. We have provided a template message to make it quick and easy. (Pro tip: customize the subject line and first paragraphs to ensure your message gets read!) 

Join over 1,200 other concerned citizens and take action, here:

FOCA continues to post background on the subject, here: Electricity webpage
Winter Safety

Bubblers: what you need to know
FOCA was recently asked by a member about the implications of using a "bubbler" to keep winter ice away from docks or in-water boathouses. We referred them to this handy overview (download the PDF, 1 page) from our colleagues at Cade Associates Insurance Brokers, who manage the FOCA Association Liability Program.
Program Updates

Lake Partner Program
Despite the ongoing upheaval of continued pandemic restrictions, the Lake Partner Program (LPP) of water quality monitoring on Ontario's inland lakes is currently gearing up for the 2021 season. Results from 2020 sampling will be available later this Spring. 

Dr. Liz Favot, FOCA's Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator based at the Dorset Environmental Science Centre, will speak about the LPP at FOCA's AGM & Spring Seminar on March 6, 2021. Lake Stewards can register to attend the Spring Seminar.

Lake stewards may be particularly interested in the Troubled Waters Forum Webinar Series mentioned above, whose speakers have been referencing the LPP data, and the important annual work of volunteer citizen scientists across the province. Thank you for your ongoing efforts! 

Find out more about the LPP here: 

Invasive Species Awareness Week
February 22 - 26, 2021 - if your Association has a social media presence, and is involved in efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species, FOCA and our partners encourage you to participate in this year's Invasive Species Awareness Week! Post and share with the hashtag #InvSpWk on your social media platform of choice. FOCA's posts are on Facebook and Twitter.
Recent Events & Partner Updates

ROMA Conference
January 25-26, 2021 - FOCA and municipal partners from across rural Ontario participated in the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference, held digitally this year. ROMA is the rural arm of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). ROMA supports strong and effective rural governments, and brings priority issues affecting rural and northern communities to the attention of the provincial and federal governments. Learn more about the importance of municipal government to our lake communities, here:

Asian carp partners webinar 
February 17, 2021 - FOCA and our partners at the Invasive Species Centre, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters shared information about collaborative efforts to reach key audiences in preventing the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.

Coming up next:

March 1-4, 2021 - Ontario Invasive Species Forum. This forum will feature discussions about best practices in invasive species management and strategies to implement going forward. FOCA will speak about the great work underway by lake and cottage associations during the "Community Action" session from 3:00pm to 4:30pm on Tuesday, March 2nd. Register by end of day on February 26th, by clicking here
($25 or contact events@invasivespeciescentre.ca for a no-charge code)
More Upcoming Events & Regional Notices

Virtual Spring Cottage Life Show 
March 26-28, 2021 - Join us at the Virtual Show. FOCA's Terry Rees will be speaking on the "main stage" with Cottage Life, talking about: 
Top 5 considerations for those thinking about making the jump to spending more time at the cottage this year!
Register to attend for free, by clicking here.

Long Term Management of Nuclear Waste
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) wants Ontario residents' input in a survey to understand current community awareness and thoughts about 
the way NWMO and communities communicate and engage with the siting communities about Canada's plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. Read more online from NWMO, the Township of Ignace, and the Municipality of South Bruce. The survey is open to all Ontario residents until February 26, 2021

NOTE: earlier this month, FOCA was one of over 100 public interest community groups who signed a joint letter setting our expectations for a nuclear waste review that must be transparent, and independent of the nuclear industry. Read the letter, posted here: https://foca.on.ca/nuclear-waste-management/

Polystyrene Dock Foam Bill
FOCA's member group, the Georgian Bay Association, has launched a campaign to support MPP Norman Miller's Private Member's Bill 228, Keeping Polystyrene Out of Ontario's Lakes and Rivers Act, which is being presented for second reading in the Ontario Legislature on February 23, 2021. You can write your local MPP in support of the bill; information is posted here:

Lake of the Woods island preservation announced
image of Town Island_ CBC.ca
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has announced a deal to buy a mostly undeveloped 70 hectare island, instead of having it sold by the City of Kenora to developers, as long as the group can raise $2.85 million by summer 2022. Read the CBC news item here.

Haliburton Animal Tracks
The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust's (HHLT) discovery days "Animal Tracks and Signs" continues through February. Post your pictures and sightings on the HHLT's Facebook page or submit via email to admin@haliburtonlandtrust.ca with the subject line #MyBackyardChallenges.

Kawartha Survey
Do you spend time in the Kawartha Lakes watershed: Balsam, Cameron, Sturgeon, Pigeon or Scugog Lake? If so, Kawartha Conservation's Watershed Management Department wants to hear from you. They are undergoing a review of their current monitoring programs and need your input. Help shape the science that protects your environment. Click here to take the survey by February 28, 2021.
FOCA's Silver-level Sponsors


Lake Environments

Blue Green Algae webinar
February 9, 2021 - enjoy the recording of the Environment Haliburton talk by Dr. Liz Favot, FOCA's Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator, about algae: the good, the bad and the ugly. The 45 minute presentation is followed by a panel Q&A session, with Professor Barb Elliot and Dr Norman Yan. Click here to view the recording on YouTube.

Invasive quagga mussels and phosphorus
Researchers from the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota Duluth have released a study of their analysis of the cycling of phosphorus in lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, showing that the concentrations of phosphorus are now regulated by the population dynamics of the invasive quagga mussel. Read the research brief online here.

Mercury Poisoning among North Ontario Anglers
This recent CBC story is a graphic example of why monitoring and reporting environmental conditions is so critical. A Sault Ste. Marie tournament angler who ate his catch several times a week developed dangerously high mercury levels with serious physical effects. The Province posts a map searchable by waterbody, where you can review sport fish consumption advisories by species and size. Click here to visit the map.
FOCA's Bronze-level Sponsors

Dock in a Box


Canadian Canoe Museum


Statistics Canada is hiring 

The next Census will take place in May 2021.

Statistics Canada is temporarily hiring approximately 9,000 people across Ontario to assist with aspects of the census process. The job start and end dates vary by position and location, but will be part-time between March and July 2021.

Find out more here:
Your Role: FOCA 50K 

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We know there are folks out there who love waterfront Ontario as much as you do. Please encourage your waterfront neighbours and fellow association members to sign up directly for these monthly e-news updates from FOCA. 

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The "Elert" is FOCA's free monthly e-newsletter, filled with cottage country updates on waterfront living, environmental and policy developments, and so much more. Subscribe to the free FOCA Elert, today:  

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, 
the voice of the waterfront for over half a century

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