Public Boat Launch – ELCA President Update

In our most recent newsletter the ELCA included an information article concerning a public boat launch that Machar Township has planned to construct on municipal property located at 40 Angus Point Road. Subsequent to that, the municipality issued a tender for the project which is subject to approval from the Provincial Government. Since then the issue has become extremely controversial and numerous submissions have been made to Council in support and in opposition to the project.

The chosen site is currently used primarily as a park for people who are attracted by its shallow sandy bottom which is particularly attractive for those who have rocky shorelines and/or small children. It has also been used to launch small boats into the Lake.

There have been many arguments put forward by those concerned with this issue. Those in favour identify the fact that, unlike most other local lakes, Eagle Lake has no properly constructed public boat launch. While there are three available sites at; Mikisew Park, the Narrows, and Rainbow Bay, all of them can be problematic, and the municipality has no direct control of these facilities. In addition, boat owners must pay a fee each time they use these boat launches. While this might be a minor consideration for lakefront property owners who may put their boats in and remove them only once a year, it can become expensive for other Machar residents, as well as those from other local communities, who would like to boat on the lake throughout the summer.

Machar has applied for funding for this project through a program operated by the Federal Government. The grants are restricted to the improvement of existing facilities and are not provided for new infrastructure projects. Because this property has been used to launch boats, the Township is hopeful that much of the project cost will be covered by Federal funding.

This issue has raised many concerns from opponents, particularly those who live in proximity to 40 Angus Bay Point. They argue that the existing launch sites provide adequate access to the lake. In addition, the proposed site is not on, or near, a thoroughfare, and other locations on the lake should be considered before a decision is made by Council. The relative remoteness of the location suggests it will not be widely used, but the construction would permanently alter the nature of this property. If the launch was to attract increased numbers of boaters, this would increase the possibility of the introduction of invasive species.

It should be noted that an invasive vegetation has already established itself at this site and opponents of the project are concerned that the proposed construction would uproot this and further spread it around the Lake. When informed about the project, the ELCA provided the Township with signage warning about the negative impact invasive species have so it can be posted at the site.

A significant amount of time was spent on this issue at our Annual General Meeting in August. Mayor Carleton spoke about Council’s plans and received considerable negative feedback. Subsequent to her presentation, the Almaguin News has carried two articles dealing with the issue and the formal presentations that have been made to Council. At the AGM a number of alternative sites were suggested for a public boat launch.

Currently Council is reviewing the presentations that have been made and a large amount of information that has been provided by proponents and opponents. Nothing can proceed until approval for the project is received from the Province. Representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources visited the site in late August but have not provided a date for their decision.

The Eagle Lake Conservation Association is not opposed to the construction of a public boat launch on Eagle Lake. This is a public water body and all members of the public have a right to enjoy it, particularly those from our community. At the same time, the proposed site has significant problems that have been thoroughly described to Council. It would be far better to identify a more central location that does not create the same level of environmental concerns and would be more accessible to a greater number of boaters.

Michael Mitchell.

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Missed the Annual General Meeting and Picnic? Catch up now!

Celebrating Summer!

Shaded under a massive tent provided by the Rotary Club and erected by the local fire station, the members of the ELCA enjoyed an afternoon at Mikisew Provincial Park with hot dogs, corn, games and lots of company.

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The morning on August 6, 2016 started when over 40 ELCA members crowded into the Friendly Circle Senior Center in South River to hear updates, discuss issues and connect with other members of the Conservation Association.

Town Update and Boat Ramp Discussion

After last year’s AGM minutes were read by Rebecca Hunter, the ELCA welcomed Lynda Carleton, the Mayor of Machar, to provide a township update. After a quick overview of township finances and current projects, the hotly debated public boat ramp initiative was discussed. Members passionately voiced support or concern around the project with many points of discussion around the identified location on Angus Bay, invasive species, lake dredging and volume of boat traffic. To view the public Tender click here.

The discussion led to a motion for the ELCA to formally address Machar Town Council to explore additional locations for the proposed launch. More information to follow in the next newsletter.

To voice your opinion about the project, please reach out to the following contacts.

Federal Grant Department
Attention: Aime Dimatteo
Aime.Dimatteo@Canada.ca 
Theo.NoeldeTilly@Canada.ca
Project # 511146

Fisheries and Oceans
Attention: Gary Cooper
fisheriesprotection@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Reference number #2171

Ministry Natural Resources
Attention: Carolyn Roy and Dean Timson
Carolyn.roy@ontario.ca
705-773-4202

Dean Timson
Dean.timson@ontario.ca
705-773-4206

Local MP
Attention: Tony Clement
Tony.Clement@parl.gc.ca
1-866-375-8669

Local Council
Mayor Lynda Carleton
705 384 5770 Ext 2

City Council
705-386-7741
bpaulmachar@vianet.ca

MPAC Assessments

Following this discussion, the ELCA welcomed Steve McArthur from MPAC to discuss the 2016 property assessment process. Steve provided great detail on how assessed value is calculated, how information is captured for these assessments and how to challenge your assessment.

The presentation from Steve will be available on the website shortly for all members to view.

Other Topics

Additional topics discussed include the marker buoy program, a Treasurer report update, the little pick-up, the Restore Your Shore initiative, and a discussion around the membership fee. Watch for more detailed information in the next newsletter on these topics.

As always, please feel free to use the Contact page to pass on your comments or questions to the ELCA Board of Directors.

Annual General Meeting and Picnic on Saturday, August 6th

Make sure to bookmark the Saturday, August 6th for the ELCA Annual General Meeting followed by an afternoon with neighbours at the Summer Picnic.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Join fellow ELCA members at the South River Seniors Centre at 9am.

We have a full agenda this year including a few guest speakers. Topics discussed with include:

  • MPAC speaker to discuss property assessment and changing tax rates
  • Machar mayor Lynda Carleton discusses the new public boat launch and other municipal topics

Summer Picnic!

IMG_2451Come one and all and join us at Mikisew Provincial Park at 1pm for our annual picnic.

Cottage country in the summer means friends and family are up enjoying the lake, so be sure to extend the invite to your entire group! Enjoy our classic summer menu of hotdogs, corn and cold beverages and join in on some of the games and events by the lake.

Want in on the festivities?

Not a member of the ELCA? Well, for $20 a year you can contribute to the conservation efforts to sustain our lake for generations. Membership fees go towards projects such as the installation and maintenance of the lake markers and the annual water testing. You are welcome to join at any of our events or submit an application form through email. Join today!

 

YOUR INPUT NEEDED: The ELCA Annual Picnic

The ELCA hosts an annual picnic event on the second Saturday in August each summer. This event is a chance for ELCA members to bring family and friends to a family-friendly event and connect with other members from across the lake. Let us know your opinion on how this event should be held below. Comments and suggestions are appreciated.

A FRESH START FOR SUMMER – THE ELCA SPRING LITTER PICK-UP

On May 7th 2016, ELCA board members, members of the community and representatives from the township gathered at the Narrows for the annual spring litter pick up. This event helps to protect our natural environment by removing unnatural debris from the lake and surrounding area.

Thank you to all who participated in 2016 and we are looking forward to seeing additional volunteers at the 2017 event.

 

PROTECT OUR LAKE – PREVENT HYDRO ONE FROM USING PESTICIDE

Many of you may have received a form letter from Hydro One dated November 2015 to Dear Resident, regarding their Vegetation Maintenance Program.

In this letter they inform us that they are planning to complete right-of-way vegetation maintenance in our community in 2016. The use of “Garlon RTU may be selectively applied to control the re-growth of vegetation.” This is a herbicide. There is no guarantee that it will not leach into our lake. Many of us draw water from the lake. Also of concern should be the possible toxic contamination to organisms/ fish, aquatic plants in Eagle Lake.

Machar Township received the same letter from Hydro One to Dear Resident. The Township took action and passed a resolution refusing permission for Hydro One to apply Garlon RTU “as this vegetation killer could be highly toxic to fish and aquatic animals, other animals, birds, water and wetlands.” Also, the Township requested that ” the manual method used to brush be the least destructive to the natural environment and the creatures that inhabit it.”

The ELCA discussed this at our Board of Director’s Meeting on February 20, and we are encouraging all our members and residents to voice their concerns to Hydro One. Other Conservation/Cottage Associations, eg. in Haliburton, have taken similar action. For those that received the letter, there is a cut off portion on the bottom of the letter where you can write comments. A business reply envelope is provided by Hydro One.

For those of you who did not receive this letter, or have misplaced it you can email Patricia Guy , Area Forestry Technician , Hydro One Forestry Services at pat.guy@HydroOne.com with your concerns. The message received from Pat reads “each property owner will be given the opportunity to speak concerning their own property as to herbicide use.” 

Take the time to protect our lake from potentially harmful chemicals and email Pat to request your property be exempt from Garlon RTU application.