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.

Are lakes nature’s bathtub?

There are so many things we can do at the lake, such as swimming, kayaking, birdwatching, and fishing. One of the things we shouldn’t do at the lake is use it as a bathtub.

Personal care products (including shampoo, shower gel, and bug repellant) and pharmaceuticals are collectively referred to as PPCPs—a recently identified class of environmental pollutants. It’s important to prevent these products from directly entering the lake when possible.

The best thing to do is simply let the water do the work of cleaning your skin and hair rather than adding soaps and shampoos. There are biodegradable shampoos that are marketed as safe for the environment. However, biodegradable simply means they can be broken down by natural processes, which could take weeks to years to work—leaving plenty of time for the product to do some damage.

The best practice is to never wash with soaps or shampoos directly in the lake. If you’re going to wash outside, please use biodegradable soaps, wash 30 m from the shoreline, and dispose of the soapy water in a six-inch-deep hole where the soil can filter the water, and the bacteria in the soil can properly break down the soap.

It may seem absurd that just one person washing in the lake can pose a risk. However, our lakes are already impacted by septic systems, runoff from lakefront properties, and pollution from boats—every little bit counts. Let’s work together to keep our lakes clean and safe for us, visitors, and the wildlife that depend on them for a good time.

Sources for this article include:

https://www.muskokawatershed.org/blog/bathing-in-the-lake/

https://www.treehugger.com/never-ever-use-soap-lake-4858470

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3440110/

https://freshoutlookfoundation.org/ppcps-are-turning-our-water-into-chemical-soup/

https://www.wateronline.com/doc/assessing-ppcps-how-to-handle-the-micropollutants-that-pose-a-major-threat-0001

https://grist.org/living/ask-umbra-is-my-shampoo-poisoning-the-planet/

NO MOW MAY; or DO NOTHING to HELP the BEES

A movement that began in Britain has made its way across the Atlantic in the past few years. It’s called No Mow May, and if you haven’t heard of it yet (the CBC did a story about it in May 2020), the gist is this: bees, coming out of hibernation in the spring, are in need of food to get themselves revved up, and at that time of year the pickings are slim. UNLESS… the wildflowers of May (we won’t call them weeds) are allowed to flourish: dandelions, violets, and wild strawberries among others.

Homeowners with lawns are asked to refrain from mowing for the month of May, giving bees (and other critters) food to tide them over until the full bounties of spring blossoms arrive. To participate, all you have to do is … nothing. Just sit back and enjoy the bright yellows and purples, and give that mower an extra month’s sleep-in. (In fact, with no one mowing, we’ll all be able to sleep-in.)

And as a bonus for your laziness, you’ll have a lawn full of tasty nutrition: dandelions are edible from the bottom of the root to the tip of the flowers. (Just be sure they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals.) Here are 16 ways that you can enjoy them at the dinner table.

What is that slime?

Have you ever noticed orange slime or a rainbow sheen in puddles on the dirt roads and ditches? This may look like someone’s car has leaked fuel or someone’s dumped something they shouldn’t have. The good news is you’re likely seeing the result of a very natural process that is not harmful to people or the environment.

Some species of bacteria that live in water and soil eat dissolved iron. They cause a chemical reaction that turns the dissolved iron (ferrous iron) into an insoluble form of iron (ferric iron) that can appear as reddish/orange staining on the water and soil surface.

The bacteria form a “biofilm” that is just the bacteria floating together on the water’s surface. The biofilm appears as a rainbow sheen that can look very similar to an oil sheen.

How do you tell the difference between biofilm and an oil sheen? It’s easy—just poke the sheen with a stick. If it breaks apart, it’s likely bacteria; if it goes back together, it’s likely a petroleum product (see photo above).

Image of natural sheen created by bacteria – it breaks into tiny pieces and doesn’t reform after being disturbed (source: Michigan Government).

Information for this article was gathered from the following sources:

Michigan Government. Bacteria: A naturally-occurring phenomenon. Department of Environmental Quality. Available from: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-oea-nop-bacteria_378414_7.pdf.

Government of British Columbia. Other aquatic phenomena. Available from: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/water-quality/algae-watch/recognize-algae/other-aquatic-phenomena.

Redoubt Reporter. Science of the seasons: Yellow boy bacteria has people seeing red. Dr. David Wartinbee. Available from: https://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/science-of-the-seasons-yellow-boy-bacteria-has-people-seeing-red/

Is Your Boat Ready

Is Your Boat Ready?

The ice is still on our lakes but now is a good time to be sure your boat is properly outfitted to go  into the water. Following is a Transport Canada list of mandatory safety equipment. Be aware that the police will issue fines for failure to have this equipment, including stand up paddle boards.

Motorized Craft up to 6meters in length (19ft 8in):

  • An appropriately sized Canadian – approved personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket for each person on board
  • A buoyant heaving line (15meters in length)
  • Manual Propelling device (e.g.  Paddle) or an anchor with at least 15 meters of rope, cable or chain
  • Bailer or Hand Pump
  • Sound signaling device (e.g. air horn or whistle)
  • Class 5BC fire extinguisher
  • Navigation lights if used between sunset and sunrise or periods of reduced visibility (mist or rain)
  • A waterproof flashlight or 3 Canadian approved flares
  • A vessel license if a motor of 10hp or more

 Canoes and Kayaks:

  • An appropriately sized Canadian -approved personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket for each person on board
  • Sound signaling device (e.g. air horn or whistle)
  • Bailer or pump (Exception: pleasure or water craft that cannot hold enough water to make it capsize or watertight compartments that are sealed and not readily accessible. E.g. sit on kayak, inflatable kayak)
  • Navigation light if paddling at night
  • If craft is more than 6 meters long, watertight flashlight

 Stand Up Paddle Board:

  • An appropriately sized Canadian -approved personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket
  • Sound signaling device (e.g. air horn or whistle)
  • A buoyant heaving line (15meters in length) if not wearing a PFD
    (In simple terms wear a lifejacket with a whistle and you are fine)

RLCA will again be placing speed buoys in key areas of our lakes this year.  Please obey the suggested speeds and you will protect yourself, your neighbours and your boat.

Haliburton County: take daily for a better life

There’s no better prescription right now than a permanent dose of Haliburton County. A life in our rural Highlands is a healthy, fulfilling antidote to the frustrations and annoyances of life in the city.

Up here in cottage country we genuinely appreciate the role that Physicians play in the health and wellbeing of our communities. Not just as dedicated carers and healers, but as leaders when we need them most.

The good news is that our County currently has multiple full-time Physician, Nurse Practitioner and Nurse positions available…and we know these coveted roles will be in high demand from medical professionals looking for that perfect work/life balance.

For Physicians looking to choose how and when they want to work (and play), we also have flexible opportunities to work part-time as a summer locum or just a few shifts in our ER.

What’s more, our Physician Recruitment Program offers a Return of Service incentive of up to a maximum of $150,000 over 6 years for Physicians moving to our area to practice Family and/or Emergency Medicine.

And we have a truly wonderful team of allied professionals who are ready to welcome you.

Ready to move to cottage country? Then please email our Physician Recruitment Co-ordinator, Wendy Welch, at wwelch@haliburtoncounty.ca or call her on 705 935 0314 to start planning your new life in the Haliburton Highlands.

Haliburton County: side effects may include job satisfaction and a healthier lifestyle.