Sirch Community Services

There is a charitable organization in Haliburton County that you may not have heard of, but that impacts hundreds of residents every day. SIRCH Community Services is an innovative and fluid organization that focuses on reducing poverty, creating resilience and encouraging connection.

Starting in 1989, SIRCH incubated and divested several services that county residents now take for
granted, (such as adult mental health services and community hospice). Then it turned its attention to how it could level the playing field for residents who were struggling with food security, unemployment, isolation, and other factors that influence general health and wellbeing.

Today, SIRCH provides free nutritious meals (47,000 portions just since the pandemic) through its
Community Kitchen program. It offers training, also free, in basic carpentry, food service and other skills that are needed by employers in Haliburton County. It provides low cost furniture, clothing, electronics and more through the Thrift Warehouses in Haliburton and Bancroft, and also donates household items to families who have been homeless, burned out or have fled an abusive relationship and are starting over.

This summer, SIRCH created resilience in over 80 children who were entering or were in junior
kindergarten. School’s Cool, a program created by SIRCH, increases critical developmental skills that aid in the chances of those children being successful in school.

SIRCH encourages moms who are feeling the pressure of raising young children to join their peer
support and parenting groups. Seniors feel less isolated through SIRCH programs like Memories to Life and The Community Table. The Bistro and Bakery offer affordable food and a welcoming place to connect, with any profits going back into SIRCH programs.

You can help SIRCH and help your community!

  • Volunteer for one of our programs.
  • Renovating or updating your space? Donate the things you no longer need (in good condition) to the Thrift Warehouse.
  • Visit the Bistro & Bakery and dine in or take home some delicious meals and treats.
  • Sponsor a program (we would love to hear your ideas!)
  • Contribute generously to SIRCH’s Gifts from the Heart campaign this fall or visit our website to donate monthly.

Two Cell Towers

While we have not done any formal surveys, anecdotally many of our members are concerned with the cellular and internet connectivity around our lakes.   This is more than about convenience – there are safety concerns because of the lack of cellular connectivity in some areas, including the inability to reach 911 when required.

RLCA has been in touch with Forbes Brothers, who are managing consultants for Rogers, and have shared our concerns with coverage.  Two new towers are being proposed closer to Kennisis Lake, one of which appears to create some moderate improvement around Little Redstone. Forbes Bros. have shared propagation maps that outline the before and after coverage for the two tower sites.  See below for explanation and link to maps.

There will be ONLINE public consultation meetings conducted by Forbes Bros Ltd on behalf of Rogers on November 23 and 24, 2022.  See the links below, provided by our colleagues at KLCOA for pre-registration info.

We will continue to share information on this process as it becomes available and encourage property owners to provide their input directly to the consultation mechanisms as they are identified. 

For more details, maps and pre-registration info see:

Tower Proposal – Wilkinson Road
Tower Proposal – North Shore

For coverage maps see below:

The colour coded maps show the measurements of Reference Signal Received Power (“RSRP”), a measure of signal strength in decibels (“dBm) from strongest -78dBm) to weakest/no signal (-200dbm). 

On these maps the strongest RSRP is dark purple, weakest is red and no signal is white.

The water overlay on the maps hid the colour coding for signal strength but please be assured the signal continues over this surface.

Please note these coverage maps have the proposed tower at C4385 at 90m which has been reduced to 85m.  This reduced height will not significantly affect coverage.  Revised coverage maps will also be presented at the virtual public meeting.

Coverage Maps

Vote for your Future – Municipal Elections

The next Ontario municipal elections will be held on Monday, October 24, 2022. The term of office for elected representatives is December 1st, 2022 to November 30th, 2026 (a four year term). Learn who in your community best represents your position on the issues that mean the most to you and your family!

Where can you vote?

In Ontario Municipal elections, you are entitled to vote where you own or rent property. Therefore, plan to vote at your cottage riding as well as your permanent residence.

FAQ: “My family owns a cottage. Can I vote in that municipality?” In order to qualify as a non-resident elector, you (or your spouse) must be the owner or tenant of the property. If a family member who is not your spouse is the owner, even if you have use of the cottage you would not qualify as a non-resident elector. If the cottage is owned by a trust, you would not qualify as a non-resident elector.

Who can vote?

Anyone can vote in a municipal election who, on the day of the election, is:

  • 18 years of age or older;
  • a Canadian citizen; and
  • either a resident of the municipality or a property owner or tenant, or the spouse or same sex partner of an owner or tenant in the municipality, during a specified time just before the election.

To be able to vote, your name must be on the list of eligible voters. If you are on the voters list, you should receive a card in later October of the election year, telling you that you are eligible to vote.

What can you do?

  1. Ensure you are on the voter’s list! Visit voterlookup.ca
  2. Get on FOCA’s Elert list for cottage country updates on election issues.
  3. Attend a local candidates’ event prior to the election. Ask your questions!
  4. Vote in your Municipal Election.

Want to Restore Your Shoreline but Don’t Know Where to Start?

This year we are happy to announce that we have received a grant from HCDC (Haliburton County Development Corporation) to help develop Shoreline Restoration Capability in Haliburton County with a focus on protecting the water in our lakes and the natural environment in our region. The Redstone Lake Cottagers Association is partnering with the Kennisis Lake Cottager Owners Association (KLCOA) and the Lipsy Lake Cottage Owners’ Association (LLCOA) as participant organizations for shoreline restoration projects. The focus of this initiative is on developing a local, sustainable shoreline restoration capability in Haliburton County at Abbey Gardens.

Between 10 and 15 properties will be eligible to participate in this program. If you choose to participate in a shoreline restoration for your property, the following will be provided:

  • Shoreline restoration site visit and planning including plant selection and planting locations
  • Approximately 50 native trees and shrubs. Additional plants can be purchased if desired.
  • Planting support during the shoreline restoration work.
  • Advice on care and watering for your plants to ensure a high survival rate. You will receive a site assessment and planting plan, acquisition of planting materials, site planting and site planting report.

Cost for the shoreline restoration program will be approximately $400 per site. There will be a requirement for the participants to take part in the planning activities as well as the planting activities. If you are interested in this option, please contact president@redstonelake.com. Only the first 5 sites in the RLCA lakes that apply for the program and are eligible to participate will be selected.

Criteria for eligible site selection will include:

  1. Your Shoreline is needy! – Shoreline could benefit from renaturalization – Shoreline is damaged, natural vegetation removed, too much grass, Goose reduction by renaturalization
  2. Commitment to Naturalization – Shoreline naturalization will be maintained by owner
  3. Promote as RLCA demo site – Owners would engage and welcome follow-up
  4. Shared Effort and Cost – Owner contribution ~$400 and some sweat equity – Planning, planting, site preparation, care.

Abbey Gardens is committed to supporting community effort to improve shorelines on local lakes through education about shoreline naturalization and the provision of appropriate plants. To participate in the Shoreline Restoration Program If you are interested in a site plan and planting, please do not order your plants. Contact president@redstonelake.com and your plants will be ordered, delivered and planted based on a plan agreed to by you.

DO YOU KNOW ALGAE?

The Greenest, The Meanest and The Wiliest

I am Blue Green Algae. I am the meanest and most of all wiliest algae in your lake

Test your knowledge by ticking off all you already know.

I can do things no other algae can do such as:

When the conditions are right, I can bloom – magnificent and sometimes massive blooms!
The toxins I produce in a bloom can detach from the bloom and can travel through the water
My blooms and my toxins can be in one place at breakfast and be a kilometer away by supper
My toxins are invisible to the naked eye
I am almost the only algae that can move up and down in the water to different depths
When the oxygen level in your lake gets too low and phosphorus is released from the sediment at the bottom of the lake, I can move down to feed on that Phosphorous
I use that Phosphorous to create my blooms
My blooms can keep people and pets away from the lakes
I can make people sick and even kill pets
I poison fish and get right into their muscles
If you boil the water with my toxins in it, I go airborne
No domestic water treatment will eliminate my toxins

How did you score?

  • 1-6 Points – Congratulations you made the effort! (Hint: Now that you know all answers take the test again and then tell your friends the new score)
  • 7-9 points – You have been paying attention!
  • 10- 12 points – Wow you are a Science Rock Star!

Article provided by:

Pretty Going Up, Toxic Coming Down

Are Fireworks the Best Way to Celebrate? Fireworks are a tradition that have become synonymous with such events as New Year’s Day, National birthdays, special long weekends like the Victoria Day Weekend or the Labour Day Weekend, football halftime shows, concerts and festivals. Their loud bangs and colourful displays are exciting and draw huge crowds. We all know that fireworks are dangerous. But that’s okay; accidents can be prevented by making sure we are careful to follow sensible safety rules. How many of us, though, are aware of the insidious danger to our health and environment? Are there any sensible safety rules about that? The problem begins with all the chemicals that produce those spectacular displays of colour. Perchlorate salts (Lithium, sodium, copper and barium salts) as well as calcium and strontium are used to create the colours we see when they are heated to the correct temperature.

  1. When fireworks are exploded the perchlorate salts fall to the ground and are washed into lakes and rivers where they dissolve easily. They can remain in the water and in the soil for a very long time where they are absorbed by plants that wildlife eat and eventually end up in our food, too. Perchlorate salts can cause hypothyroidism which, in turn, affects many of our internal organs.
  2. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. The perchlorate salts in those fireworks do not burn up and many end up as poisonous aerosols in the air. When inhaled they can cause many health problems including vomiting, diarrhea, kidney disease, asthma attacks, cardiovascular issues and various cancers. A burst of ozone from fireworks can create a gas that seriously irritates the lungs.
  3. Can one fireworks display be a serious problem? Well, yes. Within an hour of a fireworks show there is a significant increase of heavy metals in the air. Included in this mix are also fine particulates, nitric acid and sulphur dioxide.
  4. The bangs and whistles of a fireworks show are also a serious problem. They can cause hearing loss and can contribute to fatal injuries to wildlife, birds and pets.

With so much bad news about fireworks perhaps we should be rethinking the use of them. It does seem that we have lost the focus of that special day/event and our thoughts and attention have turned to the nighttime spectacle.

There are other ways to celebrate that are more meaningful and relevant to the occasion. Covid-19 aside, one can host or attend a party with a Canadian theme, hike a Canadian trail or visit a Canadian historical site for Canada Day; run a food drive for the less fortunate in your neighbourhood or help out at a food bank for Thanksgiving; attend a parade for the New Year; wear an appropriate costume to a festival; or perhaps hold a chilly swim fest for the Victoria Day weekend. What you can do is limited only by your imagination and could quickly become a new, meaningful tradition for you and your family.

Article by Caroline Konarzewski – Lake steward, Lake of Bays

Article provided by:

KLCOA/RLCA Propane Buying Group

In 2014, a KLCOA committee issued a Request for Proposal to all the propane suppliers in our area, with the objective of getting more competitive pricing.  Only Superior responded positively with favourable terms so a Group Buy program was formed with them.  RLCA was invited to join several years ago.   The group now numbers over 50 members. 

Superior gets economies of scale in delivering propane and in having a predictable volume for which they buy forward contracts, and Group members benefit with a lower price than otherwise available in the market. 

A fixed price for the coming year is set in the July/August timeframe.   Group Coordinator Tayce Wakefield sends emails to Group members with the fixed price offer for the coming year (the consistent price per litre that Group members will pay to have their tanks filled from September through the following summer).  Group members have a defined window to accept the price (or go with a floating price for the coming year). 

There are also favourable terms for tank rental ($49 for 420, 500 and 100 litre) and no charge for satellite remote sensing of tank levels (which is accessible via an app).  Group members must be members in good standing with the KLCOA/RLCA.

There are two pricing levels – for consumers of less than 1500 litres annually (where the charge is higher to reflect the higher cost per litre of delivery and for the tank asset on the property); and for consumers of over 1500 litres annually (generally those that heat with propane).  There are no delivery fees or hazardous materials fees.  The federal carbon tax is charged on top.   If you’d like to compare with what you’ve been paying, following are the Group fixed prices for the past four years:

> 1500 L.< 1500 L.
2021-22.657/L..857/L.
2020-21.527/L..727/L.
2019-20.507/L..567/L.
2018-19.57/L..679/L.

Propane suppliers only fill their own tanks, so customers interested in joining the group must first arrange to have new tanks installed by Superior and their old tanks removed.  Customers that are interested in switching fill out a residential application and sign a five year General Retail Agreement.  (Some suppliers have no fixed term contract; others 3 or 5 years.  All Superior customers are on five year terms). 

For new propane installations, a site inspection may be done to determine the best location for tank placement, considering code requirements. 

For anyone switching suppliers, an inspection is required to ensure that all propane appliances (furnace, stove, BBQ, dryer, etc) are installed according to the user manual requirements and to code, and to ensure that the connection and trenching from the tank to the house is up to code.  If deficiencies are identified, the owner will be informed and given a timeframe to correct the problem, depending on its severity.

Depending on your old tank type, it may be possible to transfer any remaining propane to your new tank and/or your existing supplier may give you a credit for any remaining fuel in the tank, but may charge you a restocking fee.  (You should check this with your supplier along with any other applicable contract terms such as penalty clauses for early termination.) 

As it takes several weeks to work through these steps, people interested in switching are encouraged to do so in time for the new pricing year which generally starts in August.

Owners interested in installing new propane furnaces and other appliances should work with local HVAC contractors on these installations as well as the exterior trenching required (but note that propane suppliers have incentive programs for local contractors to encourage their customers to go with that propane supplier).

We believe that customers of other propane companies have also benefitted from the Group Buy Program as their suppliers have been forced to offer more competitive prices to keep their customers, although an informal survey of what Kennisis area residents have been charged indicates that the Group Buy prices are virtually always the best fixed price per litre of any supplier in the market for that year and often by a considerable margin.  While we communicate the prices for the coming year to Group members in the July/August timeframe, we no longer communicate the Group price publicly as the objective of the Group is to obtain the best price possible for those that decide to join the Group, not set a general benchmark for other suppliers in the market.

Our contact with Superior since the inception of the program has been Jeff Voyer, who is extremely helpful and responsive.  Email him at jeff_voyer@superiorpropane.com or call him at (705) 760-1470 if you  have any questions – there are no obligations.    (Unfortunately, if you call Superior’s general call centre number, they often aren’t aware of the Group, so it’s better to contact Jeff directly.)  Customers already with Superior can easily join the group just by emailing Jeff prior to the start of the new pricing year (early August).

We appreciate that Dave Lawrance has agreed to help administer the Propane Group Buy program.