Hello everyone and welcome back to cottage season! I’m Graham Warren and I am delighted to have been selected as your new President of the Percy Lake Ratepayers’ Association. For those of you who don’t know me, my cottage is on Percy Lake Road, near the end, and I have been enjoying our lake for 19 years now. I have been the PLRA Treasurer for many years and am now looking forward to representing you as the President of our association.
I have very large shoes to fill in my new role and on behalf of all residents of Percy, I want to express my most sincere thanks to Jack Russel for his tireless work on our behalf. Jack has been our President since late 2009 and has done so much for all of us, working together with our municipal government to ensure our voice is heard in local affairs. He has also increased social and community activities, and was the catalyst behind launching the annual Corn Roast and Fishing Derby. Jack has been supported in all of his efforts by his wife Susan, whose boundless energy and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated by all of us who have the pleasure to work with her. Fortunately, Jack will be remaining on the Board, to provide expertise and support, moving forward. Jack has assumed the role of Director, Government Relations, and will continue to work with local elected officials and public servants to ensure our voice is heard. Susan is stepping down from the Board, but continues to provide support and counsel. Thanks to both Jack and Susan.
New to the Board as Vice-President is Karen Hatch, who is enjoying her fourth season as a cottager and is on Johnson Bay Road. Errol Farr is taking over my previous duties as Treasurer and Susan Wenghofer will be taking over from Susan Russel as Secretary. Rounding out the team, we have Brian Edey, Lou Kiriakou, Jim Richert, Jim Shephard, Dave Smith, Anna Tilman and Bob Wong as independent Directors, providing help in areas such as newsletter production and organizing community events.
Highlights from 2012 and Plans for 2013
PLRA is now incorporated, thanks to the efforts of the Board. This is an important change, as we face more complex issues and address the liability of serving on a Board, no matter how small. In particular, the handover of the land that includes the “spit” (public beach on the lower part of the lake) has been completed and this land is now the responsibility of our organization. During the summer months we saw more usage of the spit. Unfortunately, this included overnight camping which is not permitted, despite signs posted to communicate that information. We therefore added additional signage and alerted local authorities to a particularly flagrant violation, which was handled appropriately. Signs have also been erected on the islands, indicating overnight camping and fires are prohibited. Of course, everyone is welcome to picnic and enjoy themselves, however, all food and garbage must be removed and no one may stay overnight. Jim Richert has more updates for us in his feature, Richert’s Roundup, which captures some of the highlights of 2012.
As for 2013, it will be exciting to finally see the first of the new lots developed and we are looking forward to welcoming new neighbours to our beautiful lake. Once again, we will be hosting our annual Corn Roast and Fishing Derby and we invite everyone to attend. Our Annual General Meeting will occur on Sunday, June 30th at 10:00 a.m. and will again be held outdoors just off Percy Lake Road, past the Johnson Bay Road at Bernie’s Circle. We will be joined by our Reeve Murray Fearrey, Councillor Walt McKechnie, and possibly Paul MacInnes of the CHA (Coalition of Haliburton Property Associations) to do a presentation on lake stressors. I very much hope to see everyone there.
Have a great summer and see you around the lake!
Water Levels: An Important Issue That Impacts Us All by Brian Eddy
Percy Lake residents are well aware that as a headwater lake for the Trent Severn Waterway system (TSW), our lake experiences significant variations in water levels throughout the year. The dam on the Gull River is used to manage the lake levels through a system of removable timbers (logs), managed by the TSW, which is in turn under the auspices of Parks Canada. Concerns raised by residents from a variety of headwater lakes and rivers in Haliburton County led to the formation of the Coalition for Equitable Water Flow (CEWF), a volunteer lobbying group that represents resident concerns relating to issues with both low and fluctuating water levels on member waterways. The CEWF mandate is to have a voice within TSW relating to not only the concern that low water levels negatively impact property values and recreational pursuits, but also that continually changing water levels have a detrimental impact on shoreline ecology.
The CEWF approached all member residents’ associations and asked for input into an official policy statement on preferred water levels. This issue is of heightened concern this spring due to the unprecedented flooding and the washout of the Haliburton Lake Road on April 19th. The position of the PLRA, as voted on at last summer’s Annual General Meeting, is to strive for less volatility by ensuring a more even approach to managing the water flow. Quite simply, this would be accomplished by removing the dam logs on a more gradual basis, decreasing the sharp drop-offs in water levels we have historically experienced in the late summer and fall.
This is a complex question and we therefore recommend you visit the CEWF website at www.cewf.ca to learn more about this important issue. Brian Edey will take some time at this summer’s AGM to explain the issues and present an update on our official position. Should you wish to discuss this directly with Brian prior to the meeting, please feel free to contact him directly at email@example.com.
Tom The Trout
As I was walking along the shoreline the other day, I realized my buddy Tom was under the ice and unable to sun himself as he likes to do in early Spring. Sadly, I returned to our cottage and read some emails – I noticed that one popped up from Tom. Here’s what he had to say:
Thanks so much for not using those yucky high-powered cleaners to wash your toilets (especially that blue stuff). Things are looking up for some of my friends. The other day we were lamenting the fact that we are still under this thick sheet of ice, so we decided to visit the fish nursery along the shoreline. My fishy-daycare worker friends were giving us old trout some good advice about our shorelines on Percy.
“Keep it Natural!” they were telling us.
Here’s some other good advice they gave us:
- Don’t mow your grass down to the water – Maintain a pathway for access to the water but keep development at least 30 metres from the shoreline.
- Maintain a buffer zone of native plants along the shoreline – it will slow erosion, provide food for the little fish, shelter for other animals and wildlife and protect the HUMAN properties. It also means less work for those cottagers – they can get out and enjoy us, and the lake.
- Tell your cottage friends that keeping the shoreline natural will protect their property and investment.
I emailed Tom right back and thanked him for his note – I look forward to seeing him along our NATURAL shorelines come Spring. (Spring will come – I saw the first robin today.)
Oh-Fishily Yours, Susan Russel
Richert’s Roud-Up by Jim Richert
There’s been so much happening on Percy Lake over the past year. We’ve got a lot to be proud of and a great deal to look forward to, as cottage season is now upon us. The new lots are now being actively sold and construction is beginning. It will be interesting to see the development unfold and welcome new cottagers to our lake. Our annual Angling Contest was a great success and we invite new and returning anglers to try their luck this summer. Finally, winter threw us some curves this year; it arrived late, left briefly, and then felt like it would never end!
New Development on Percy and Haliburton Lakes: Greif Shoreline Development Project
Development continues on the new lots and we are seeing progress – in fact, construction has actually begun on two lots. Phase I, which includes 15 lots, starts at the end of Johnson Bay Road. These lots are currently on the market, represented by John and Marj Parish and Lots 3, 4, 8, 11 and 13 have been sold. Site clearing has been undertaken on Lot 13 and a foundation is now in place. It is understood that construction will commence on one of the other lots immediately.
Phase II will start at the end of Percy Lake Road and continue past the dam towards Haliburton Lake. This phase includes lots on both Percy and Haliburton Lakes. It is expected that realtor signs will appear this spring with anticipated Hydro and Bell service completed this fall.
Phase III will be south of the Gull River and accessed by road from Fort Irwin past the public beach. This past winter road construction indicated the first steps in preparing this area for development. This phase includes 8 of 40 lots on the east shore of Haliburton Lake and it is anticipated these will be available for purchase in the fall.
Annual Angling Contest
Once again we had a great turnout for the 2012 Angling Contest. Everyone had a great time and there were definitely some impressive catches! Check out plra.net for pictures and fish length entered for both the youth and adult annual Angling Contest. Winners will be announced and trophies presented at the AGM this summer.
We will be continuing the tradition in 2013, so brush up on the angler eligibility and rules at plra.net and don’t be shy to show off your catch, especially entries and pictures in the youth category. Remember both youth and adult trophies are awarded for bass and lake trout. A 22.5” lake trout caught through the ice in March has already been submitted by an adult.
2013 Bass Tournament
Check the rules at plra.net, as this is a one day tournament usually scheduled on the date of the Annual Lake Corn Roast. The date and time will be announced soon!
Below freezing temperatures and snowflakes generally signify the winter season has arrived. Well, Mother Nature kept us guessing this past season as snow arrived in December, melted in January, followed by steady snow accumulations and cold temperatures resuming mid-February through early March, plus an additional 6.0 inches in April. According to Douglas’s snow meter, a total snow blanket of 126.5 inches landed at Percy Lake this year. This is much less accumulation than previous years according to the score keeper. After the snow arrived in February and March they were active months for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and hiking. Many tracks from these sports were visible on the lake and along the portage from Percy to Haliburton Lakes.
An intriguing mystery this winter was “Who plowed that driveway?” This question traveled around the lake and still remains unanswered. It seems that a ghost vehicle plowed several cottage driveways without being detected. Sincere thanks to the mystery ghost driver, whoever you are!
Ice fishing at Thompson Point was a very popular location as weekend anglers augured many holes through thick ice, making the lake look like Swiss cheese. Several anglers caught their lake trout limit, including huge bass that were quickly returned to the water. This could be the year for record for size trout and bass. Let’s keep it up. Get those rods and reels rigged with fresh line and let’s go fishing this summer!
I’m curious if anyone else has noticed the gradual decline of deer sightings during the winter months over the last few years. One will occasionally see the odd one or two deer, but the small herds that would roam the shoreline and wander among the cottages in the past have all but disappeared. The biologists attribute the decline to the growing and hungry wolf population. We’re told that this is normal and part of the food chain life cycle and over time the local deer population will increase.
Boat Gasoline Prevent Costly Repairs
Just a reminder, regular or 87 octane gasoline contains ethanol. This ingredient has a powerful appetite for moisture and with warm summer days plus cool nights, water condenses inside fuel tanks and is absorbed by the ethanol. Eventually, the gasoline can separate, with a layer that is primarily water in the bottom of the tank. Ouch. Your boat motor is no longer happy.
To prevent engine trouble, simply spend a little more per tank for premium or 91 octane ethanol free gasoline. Fort Irwin’s premium 91 octane gasoline is ethanol free. So that’s it from Jim.
Welcome back to the cottage and see you on the Lake
Dockside Reading: A Book Review by Karen Hatch
Stray Bullets, by Robert Rotenberg, Published by Simon & Schuster, 2012 Trade Paperback $16.99.
Robert Rotenberg is a real-life Toronto-based criminal defense lawyer, who has been called “The John Grisham of Canada”, by international reviewers. His ripped-from-the-headlines legal thrillers are perfect for dockside summer reading. To date, Rob has written four novels, with the most recent Strangle Hold, having just been released on May 6th. His books feature a recurring cast of characters who are members of the Metropolitan Toronto Police homicide squad and the Crown Attorney’s office in Toronto. These characters work together closely, solving crimes and prosecuting the accused. Each of his novels has been reminiscent of a real crime and they are definitely page-turners. The earlier two books, Old City Hall and The Guilty Plea, are both readily available at the public library. It isn’t necessary to read them all in order, however, it does help to better understand some of the character development.
Stray Bullets was his third book and was released in 2012. As the story begins, we are presented with a terrifying, yet eerily believable situation. A gunfight erupts in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons donut shop at College and Bay (yes, he actually refers to the shop by name!) and a small boy is tragically killed by a stray bullet. Our hero homicide cops must solve the murder and the Crown Attorneys must ensure the culprits go to jail. Of course, as Rob is a defense attorney, there is room in his books for Grishamesque wrongly accused and framed defendants and crusading defense lawyers. Although some may write his books off as formulaic, I personally find them to be engaging and engrossing. And given the fact that Stray Bullets was released right before the Eaton Centre shooting last summer, there was a scary timeliness to the book.
I had the pleasure of meeting Rob at an alumni function where he presented a seminar on “Writing for Business Professionals”. He encouraged us to take the extra time and care to simplify our writing and not rely too heavily on jargon. He joked that business managers are the second worst at writing in an overly complex and confusing fashion, and that lawyers are definitely the worst. Rob is a Haliburton cottager who has done readings at our local library and has put a couple of local references into his books. I asked him if he would set one of his novels in Haliburton cottage country and he pointed out that as much as he would love to do precisely that, it is very difficult, given that his main characters wouldn’t have jurisdiction in Haliburton County. Nevertheless, he did tell me there were a few cottage country mentions in his upcoming books. I look forward to reading Strangle Hold, his newly released book, on my deck at Percy this summer and I’ll be looking for those local references.
Four out of five
Shoreline Tree Preservation By-Law: What all Residents Need to Know
Until recently, there were no limitations on tree cutting in Haliburton County. This led to some unfortunate situations where significant numbers of mature trees were completely removed from large areas of shoreline, which is not only unsightly, but also potentially damaging to the ecosystem. The County therefore enacted the Shoreline Tree Preservation By-law No. 3505 to ensure rules and regulations are in place to protect the beauty of our lakes and rivers and maintain a healthy natural environment.
Trees that are Protected
The by-law refers to trees with a diameter of 10 cm or more, with the diameter measured 1.37 metres from the ground, that are within 30 metres of the shoreline. If you are unsure if a tree you want to remove is protected, you can consult a professional Qualified Arborist to confirm that the tree needs to be removed, and it is recommended that you take pictures prior to the removal or pruning of trees. If the tree is more than 30 metres from the shore, you do not need a permit to remove it. This new regulation does not alter the existing one that states that you must obtain permission from the local municipality to remove any trees on shoreline currently owned by the municipality.
Exceptions and Relief
If a tree has a diameter of less than 10 cm, 1.37 metres from ground level, it can be removed, as can trees that are considered hazardous, are dead, diseased or severely injured. Trees or stumps that interfere with emergency work may be removed and pruning or removal of trees in accordance with professional practices or as authorized under a municipal building permit or very close to a cottage, septic system or driveway, can be removed. Please refer to Section 3 of the Shoreline Tree Preservation By-law No. 3505 for the details of these exemptions. One important exception you need to know is that even when it is permitted to remove a tree, you may have to maintain the stump and/or roots on a steep lot, to prevent erosion.
Enforcement of the Regulations
If you suspect someone has removed a tree in violation of the rules, you can contact the County of Haliburton, in writing or by email. If the tree is in the process of removal, County Enforcement staff could order the tree not be removed, and alternatively, if the tree is found to have been removed in violation of the by-law, fines between $500 to $100,000 could be levied and an order issued to re-plant trees to replace the removed trees.
For more information, please refer here.
To speak to someone about this issue, please contact:
The County of Haliburton
11 Newcastle St
Minden Ontario K0M 2K0
and visit www.haliburtoncounty.ca
Contact numbers are phone:
Shoreline Sheds Update
As you may already know, due to the lobbying of Jack Russel and former Percy Lake resident and PLRA President Ken Loney, our lake has a special by-law amendment enabling the installation of conforming sheds near the lakeshore. These two gentlemen did all Percy Lake residents a service by explaining to elected officials and civil servants that the steepness of our shores made this amendment a priority as it will ensure our shoreline is kept tidy, by enabling convenient lakeside storage for seasonal items.
Here is a quick review of the regulations.
Sheds can be constructed within the water setback of 65 feet, if they meet the following criteria:
- The lot in question must have a minimum slope of 15% measured over a horizontal distance inland 30 metres from the high water mark;
- The sheds will be restricted to a maximum ground floor area of 9.3 sq. metres (100 sq. feet) and a maximum height of 3.5 metres (11.5 feet);
- Each shed must be at least 4 metres (13 feet) from the high water mark and 1 metre (3.3 feet) from the side lot line and screened from view from the lake and from neighbouring lots by native vegetation;
- Vehicles and motor vehicles (including boats) may not be stored in the sheds, nor may sheds be used for living accommodations of any nature.
If your lot meets the above criteria and you would like to install a shed within the water setback, please ensure you approach the Township to receive both a zoning by-law amendment and a site plan and agreement and you must purchase your shoreline road allowance, if you have not previously done so.
Should you wish to construct a shed, please refer to Section 5.1.2, the amendment to the by-law that permits Percy Lake residents on appropriate lots to install sheds within the shoreline allowance. Please contact the Township before you start to build your shed to ensure you are properly following these guidelines.
Changes Proposed to Work Permits Issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) by Anna Tilman
Anna Tilman is concerned about proposed changes that would eliminate the need for work permits issued by the MNR pertaining to certain activities around shoreline dredging, filling and the removal of vegetation on Ontario lakes and rivers. Under the proposed provisions, work permits will no longer be required for activities that are considered to have “minimal or no impact to natural resources or public safety”. Previously, these activities required both an application by the homeowner or commercial entity and a subsequent MNR review. The Ministry states that the proposed changes are in pursuit of modernization and designed to eliminate waste and duplication with other ministries and government agencies. Anna is concerned that the reason for the change is primarily economic and that the new approach could result in a degradation of shoreline integrity as well as being potentially harmful to fish and vegetation habitats.
Currently, the issue is in review and closed to public comment, however, Anna directly addressed the Team Lead with her concerns regarding the proposed policy changes during the comment process and is awaiting a response from the MNR. Should you wish to review the proposed “Modernization of Approvals” MNR Initiative, please type “EBR Registry Number: 011-7669” into Google, and you will automatically be directed to the December 12th proposal. Anna would be pleased to circulate the letter to interested fellow residents and discuss the concerns she raised. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.