My first full year as President of the Percy Lake Ratepayers’ Association was a busy one and I can only say it made me even more appreciative of the work done by Jack Russel and his predecessors who have taken on the role in the past and served for several seasons. Our team accomplished a great deal in 2013 and we look forward to a great summer season in 2014.
Last year we saw major weather changes, beginning with the late and sudden thaw and extensive rainfall of April 2013, resulting in a wash out on Haliburton Lake Road, devastating floods in Minden and for Percy Lake, historically high water levels. The boating season was late to begin, with many residents unable to get docks and boats into the water until late in May and as late as June for some. Brian Edey has provided some details on water levels and our lake’s role in the Trent-Severn Waterway in his article on page 5. A pleasant summer followed, with intense heat in June, then seasonal temperatures into the fall. Winter was one of the most severe in decades and I invite you to read Jim Richert’s Round-Up on page 3 where he shares some statistics relating to the snow and cold temperatures we both endured and embraced.
This year ice out was on May 2nd, the latest in years, but summer quickly arrived following a very short spring. Summer is always an exciting time and this year will be no exception, with the new development on the lake proceeding and looking forward to welcoming new neighbours. Jim Richert has provided more details on next steps for the development on page 7.
Our Corn Roast and Fishing Derby proved to be a great success once again in 2013 and thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it a success. Please see Karen Hatch’s article on the Corn Roast on page 6 and Jim Richert’s update on last year’s Fishing Derby and how to get involved this year in his Round-Up.
Thanks to everyone on the PLRA Executive who work together to make our days on Percy more fun and engaging. Our current Executive consists of:
- Graham Warren; President
- Karen Hatch; Vice-President and Newsletter Editor
- Errol Farr; Treasurer
- Susan Wenghofer; Secretary
- Jack Russel; Government Relations Director
- Lou Kiriakiou; Director-at-Large and Newsletter Publishing
- Bob Wong; Director-at-Large and Newsletter Art Director
- Brian Edey; Director-at-Large, Water Flow Issues
- Dave Smith; Director-at-Large, Youth Programs
- Anna Tilman; Director-at-Large
- Jim Sheppard; Director-at-Large
This year, we’ve decided to shake things up a bit and we will be holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) immediately following our fishing derby on Saturday, August 16. We will elect our Executive Board members at the AGM, so if you are interested in joining this great team, I invite you to contact me directly and I would be happy to outline the duties involved. We will also have Murray Fearrey our Reeve in attendance and other interesting guests.
Immediately following the AGM, we invite you to once again partake in the hospitality so kindly provided by the Winder family and get together for our annual community celebration where we hold a Corn Roast and barbecue on the beach at their cottage. The Corn Roast is complimentary for all current Percy Lake Ratepayers Association members.
That naturally leads me to remind everyone to renew your membership in the Percy Lake Ratepayers’ Association (PLRA) and if you haven’t joined in the past, invite all seasonal and permanent residents to become new members. This year our membership fees will be $30 per family, following many years of no increases, despite steeply rising Association costs. Following our incorporation we have secured appropriate insurance coverage, with the result that the associated premiums have significantly increased our annual expenditures. Holding liability insurance is critical to enable activities like the Corn Roast. Additionally, a major expense is our annual membership fee paid to the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association (FOCA) and other associations, including the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners’ Associations (CHA) and the Coalition for Equitable Water Flow (CEWF). These organizations lobby on our behalf on important issues such as water flow and water quality, land use as well as overall environmental, wildlife and safety concerns, to name but a few, and keep us apprised on developments across Haliburton county and Ontario.
If our membership in these associations hasn’t fully convinced you to join, here are the key reasons why joining the PLRA benefits us all:
- Attend PLRA sponsored events such as the AGM, Corn Roast and Fishing Derby and meet your neighbours and discuss issues of importance.
- Receive the PLRA newsletter.
- Inclusion in our PLRA email distribution for updates throughout the year.
- Receive valuable discounts through our membership in FOCA
- Discounted cottage and watercraft insurance through Cade Associates, our insurance partner.
- Complimentary access to FOCA events on important topics such as Cottage Succession Planning
- Discounted subscription rates for Cottage Life Magazine
Regarding payment, we’ve heard it’s a little inconvenient for some people to remember to have cash or a cheque with them at PLRA events, so we’ve got a great new solution to make it easy to pay your annual dues. Use Interac e-transfer and send $30 to the PLRA. It will just take a few moments and the fee is generally $1.00 or less, depending on your banking plan at your financial institution. Please send your e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org and Errol Farr our Treasurer will ensure your fees are deposited to the PLRA account. If you’d prefer to send your cheque by mail, please complete the attached form and send your $30 cheque payable to Percy Lake Ratepayers’ Association, following the directions on the form.
It’s wonderful it’s finally warm and sunny after such a long winter. Have a great time on the lake this summer and I look forward to seeing all of you on Saturday, August 16 for a great day at our fishing derby, AGM and Corn Roast.
See you on the lake!
Tom The Trout
As I was stumbling over the snowy patches along the shoreline back in April when we first returned from Arizona, I noticed my buddy Tom the Trout slipping around on top of an ice flow – I was worried he might be in trouble so I asked him how his winter was going.
“Well, .. I’ve got some good news and bad news. I’m so darn lucky to be alive – with all the threats to my existence on this planet. Did you know that only 1% of the lakes in Ontario are lake trout lakes and these lakes represent 1/4 of the world’s lake trout lakes? I only know that because I’ve got a super smart fishy friend called Dr. Casselman who has studied me and my buddies here in Haliburton.
Now, here’s the bad news!! My little cousin Thomasina lives 4 reeds down from me and is facing a very scary future. She will probably lose her thousands of babies and could lose her own life as well in August or September. She’ll be weaker than a piece of cooked spaghetti after saving up her energy for all those wee little babies and won’t be able to save herself from the anglers. Maybe if you humans stopped fishing mid-August for lake trout our numbers might increase and you’d have more fish to catch next summer. I’ve noticed when you have your fishing derby, you take a picture, then put the trout back in the lake; that’s great for our family and we really appreciate it!“
I like your idea Tom! This little fish is one smart swimmer. I hope he has a great summer!
as told to his Friend,
Richert’s Roud-Up by Jim Richert
As spring has quickly come and gone and summer is here, it’s time to take both a look back and a glimpse forward. We saw some great spirit and lots of participants in activities here at Percy Lake and look forward to more fun and fellowship in 2014!
One-day Fishing Derby and Summer Angling Contest
Each year we have two contests to celebrate the angling skills of Percy Lake families. There is an ongoing contest that encompasses the entire season and a one-day fishing derby.
For our Summer Angling contest, we had some impressive entries and we will be presenting trophies to deserving anglers, both young and young-at-heart, at our upcoming Annual General Meeting. We had more adults participate in 2013 than in 2012 when we re-established the adult contest and I’d love to see more kids participate this year, as our youth participation was down somewhat in 2013.
For our one-day Fishing Derby, Lou Kiriakou is the organizer and this is a wonderful, fun event. It will be held on the morning of Saturday, August 16, followed by our AGM and then the annual Corn Roast and Barbecue. This Derby includes a big trophy presentation; lots of fish stories and plenty of fun are guaranteed from this event.
Rules and regulations for both contests are available in the appendix to this Newsletter. If you have any questions, you can email email@example.com for details.
This is certainly a winter that anyone who spent time in Haliburton will not forget! Conditions for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and for both cross country and downhill skiing were superb. In fact, avid snowmobilers say we had the best conditions in over 20 years!
Ice covered Percy Lake starting before Christmas, growing to over 30” (76.2cm) thick in February. Pickup trucks were spotted on Haliburton Lake to access ice huts for what proved to be a very long ice fishing season.
Looking back, the early snow in November was a clue to get ready, as it snowed nearly every day in December through early January, with nightly temperatures at minus 25-35°C degrees for nearly three consecutive weeks. Furnaces and wood stoves burned full tilt to minimize goose bumps and make cottages cozy, as propane and fuel oil trucks were spotted making frequent deliveries.
The snow continued all winter, with a total winter accumulation of 150” (381cm) as recorded by the Douglas family, who are Percy Lake’s own version of Environment Canada, measuring and recording snowfall rates for many years.
Winter Wildlife and Fishing
Last year we commented about the apparent decline of the deer population during the winter months and unfortunately the trend appears to be continuing based on even fewer observation reports this past winter. The high snow depth hindered deer standing on their hind legs reaching for cedar as winter food. There was an increase in wolf spotting on the roadways and on the lakes and on very clear nights, Percy Lake was the scene of a serenade as wolves could be heard calling to each other in their distinctive and soulful voices. Tracks were often spotted from lake access trails and driveways to roads as the wolves were scouting for their next meal. Is the increase in wolf sightings potentially a sign that wolves are becoming less fearful of man?
Percy was a popular spot for ice fishing this year as holes were drilled at favorite locations and several Lake Trout in the 3-6 pound range were caught on our lake.
Helpful Hint: Ensure you have the right fuel for your boat!
Don’t forget to purchase premium 91 octane for your marine motors, as it has less ethanol and keeps the motor repair doctor away.
Have a great summer and enjoy our beautiful lake!
Dockside Reading: A Book Review by Karen Hatch
When Fenelon Falls, by Dorothy Ellen Parker, Coach House Books, October 2010, 300 pages, Trade Paperback; $21.95, ebook; $9.99.
For fun and inspiration I Googled “Canadian cottage novel” and the first hit I got was a blog post featuring Dorothy Ellen Parker’s debut, When Fenelon Falls, set at the fictitious March family compound near Rosedale village on Balsam Lake in the summer of 1969. I anticipated a gentle, nostalgic stroll down memory lane, but instead Parker looks at the darker side of the “Summer of Love” when being just a little bit different was unacceptable in an Ontario that was relentlessly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, able-bodied and straight and when vicious bullying was characterized as just a little good-natured teasing. The protagonist is a 14-year-old brainy girl named Jordan, a trendy, popular girl’s name today, but very unusual then, who has a slight disability for which she is forced to wear ugly orthopedic shoes. She is the adopted daughter of one of the March brothers and his wife, and the story is narrated by her older non-adopted brother, who makes it clear this is her story, not his. Jordan has done the math and counts back nine months from her date of birth, imagining her October 1954 conception occurred on the exact day when Hurricane Hazel devastated Toronto. Her 1955 birth long pre-dates open adoption and her funny and poignant vignettes where she fantasizes about potential birth parents are sprinkled throughout the novel, as she imagines John F. Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth, (not as a couple, by any means) amongst other famous and not-so-famous individuals as candidates.
A famous quote attributed to various 60s icons, “If you remember the 60s you weren’t really there,” suggests an era of revolution and drug use, but for younger Boomers and older Gen X-ers, the 60s were quite simply the decade of our childhood. Parker is note perfect on the pop cultural references and summoned memories of great music, goofy clothes and bad food, as well as the mere six TV channels we had in Toronto when I was a child. Extraordinary to me was the fact that so much happened in the broader world in the less than two-month period when the novel is set; Ted Kennedy’s ill-fated Chappaquiddick drive and Neil Armstrong’s moon walk actually occurred on the same July weekend, with the Manson murders and Woodstock each following within weeks. Imagine the coverage in the current era of 24/7 cable news, Twitter and the blogosphere. But as the novel suggests, to a kid in Ontario in 1969 those events were secondary to what pop song was moving up the CHUM chart. Parallel to Jordan’s story is that of a bear named Yogi, pitifully kept in a cage in Rosedale for the entertainment of locals and people passing through on Highway 35 and remarkably, according to Parker, based on a real caged black bear. Overall, the book is intriguing and well paced, but in my opinion the characters of the nasty March relatives, including Jordan’s parents, could have been more nuanced, the analogy of the adolescent girl to the caged bear was somewhat heavy-handed and the book’s ending a tad contrived. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the novel and found it to be reminiscent of Douglas Coupland’s style, with its spot-on cultural references and upbeat pop music soundtrack, coupled with its cast of idiosyncratic characters, insider family jokes and commentary of the punning March clan. If you do remember the 60s, or if you weren’t even born then but are looking for something just a little bit different, give When Fenelon Falls a try. It’s available at both the Toronto and Haliburton Public Libraries, or for online purchase as an eBook.
Four out of five
Lake Levels Update and Report by Brian Eddy
The Coalition for Equitable Water Flow (CEWF) Annual General Meeting was held during September at the Haliburton Fish Hatchery and I was the PLRA’s representative. The floods from the Spring of 2013 were a painful and recent memory, so the meeting was well-attended and lively. Key topics included:
- Review of the flood response detailed report. The report developed by engineering consultant AECOM, included data on historic rainfall patterns, snow pack and lake levels, including those recorded just before the April 18, 2013 flood. The key takeaways from the session were;
- The authorities have a less than desirable capability to manage floodwater.
- Flood response capability decreases as the freshet (spring thaw resulting from snow and ice melt) continues and the lakes fill.
- The Trent Severn Waterway (TSW) does not have a constraint-based model for the reservoir lakes, of which Percy is one.
The 2011 AECOM report on Water Management to the TSW was discussed and subsequent to the meeting was posted. This study is really heavy reading, however, the top takeaway, buried on page 42 in the Water Management Manual, is a really interesting graph of the nominal dates for dam operations.
An issue raised at the meeting was the out-dated information on the TSW lake level web site, particularly the historic high/low numbers, which has been addressed with the inclusion of updated data from 2008-2013. Parks Canada through its agency, the TSW, manages our lake level using removable timbers (logs) on our dam leading into the Gull River. This past winter, Percy had one log in place, compared to two in the past. As a result, the winter minimum level decreased by the height of one log, or 0.3m.
- For 2014, the CEWF priority remains an Integrated Approach to Water Management at the Watershed Level. One of the 17 conclusions from the flood response was that the TSW doesn’t focus on minimizing ice damage. In March Parks Canada announced Federal investment in the TSW of $58 million. Interestingly, they didn’t release a report on dam safety that suggests the need for further spending.
- Fall lake ‘bounce’. This will be a topic at our AGM. (Editor’s note; I don’t think this has anything to do with installing a trampoline on the spit, but who knows? Come to the AGM and find out.)
Forecast 2014 Lake Level for Percy
The winter of 2013/14 saw a more sustained snow pack and lower temperatures than in past 5-8 years. The sustained cold delayed the spring melt and the traditional addition of logs to the dam by nearly a month. Despite these issues, 2014 flooding was well downstream in the Kawartha Lakes, on Chemong and Scugog, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources.It appears that Percy returned to a level that was somewhat higher than we have experienced in recent years in the spring, however, not as high as the record level of 2013.
Sources: Coalition for Equitable Water Flow: www.cewf.ca (Various Documents)
Parks Canada; Trent Severn Waterway Plan; www.pc.gc.ca (Various Documents)
Corn Roast and Hot Dog BBQ; It’s not at all corny! By Karen Hatch
The annual Percy Lake Corn Roast and Community BBQ was held at the Winder’s cottage in August and once again was a great success. First of all, thanks to Harry and Sylvia Winder for their kindness and hospitality! Your consideration and generosity have enabled us to have this fun, family get-together for three years in a row and all Percy Lake residents really appreciate your thoughtfulness.
This event just keeps getting better and better. The PLRA executive, the Winder family and volunteers generously give both time and energy, preparing delicious corn (both roasted and boiled) and yummy hot dogs for all members free of charge, with our neighbours bringing fabulous salads and desserts to round out the buffet for a scrumptious summer feast. The mid-August timing couldn’t be better! The bugs aren’t bugging us too much, the late afternoon skies are clear and warm, back-to-school is still a few weeks away and I can assure you if you haven’t attended, it’s a wonderful way to re-acquaint yourself with old friends and to meet new neighbours, as everyone is relaxed and having a wonderful time.
One of the highlights of the event is the announcement of the winners of the Fishing Derby and the presentation of the trophy to the winning team. And at our 2013 event, the young people on the lake added a sandcastle building contest and there were some pretty impressive results, I must say!
Please join us on Saturday, August 16 for our 4th annual Corn Roast and Barbecue at approximately 4:00 pm, immediately following the AGM. We will be holding the event at the Winder’s beach once again and all PLRA members are invited to attend. Delicious corn will be served, accompanied by barbecued hot dogs, all provided by the PLRA. Each family is asked to bring either a salad or dessert. All PLRA members, families and their weekend houseguests are welcome to attend and I guarantee you will have a great time!
New Developments on the New Development by Jim Richert with information from John Parish
Throughout 2013, we saw significant progress on the new Percy and Haliburton Lake lots from Greif developments. Phase 1 on Percy Lake saw the most activity with Hydro and Bell infrastructure complete, enabling construction to begin on two lots. There are plans in place for a cottage on an additional lot this summer and of the 15 lots, seven are now sold.
Last summer we also saw the release of a total of 13 new lots; nine of the lots are on Percy Lake and four are on Haliburton Lake, but all are accessed via Percy Lake Road. Four lots sold quickly, with construction planned for one lot this summer. Look forward to Hydro and Bell installation for these lots soon.
This summer we will also see the development of 18 lots on Haliburton Lake, accessed via Hodgson Road south of Fort Irwin. Road construction is now complete and the developer is awaiting final sub-division approval, anticipating sales commencing in mid-summer 2014. We will also see the commencement of Phase III of the Percy Lake development, with approximately 36 lots, along with a further 22 lots on Haliburton Lake. Roads are currently under construction for both of these developments, but it is unknown when the lots will be available for purchase.
If you or someone you know is interested, lot prices start at $185,000. Please contact John and Marj Parish at Re/Max North Country Realty, Haliburton at 705-457-1011 for details, or visit their website at www.johnparish.net.