Wollaston Lake Home & Cottage Association is dedicated to the residents (both permanent and seasonal) who try to perpetuate the pristine environment and crystal waters in and around Wollaston Lake.  Any recommendations or ideas that will assist the WLHCA executive committee to protect the environment of Wollaston Lake should be sent to:    wlhca.news@gmail.com      

WLHCA Healthy Shoreline Workshop July 14th

By Peggy Stewart, President WLHCA

WLHCA members enjoyed a very interesting and informative workshop on Healthy Shorelines, sponsored by WLHCA and a grant from Federation of Cottagers of Ontario (FOCA). We were pleased to have such a great turnout.  Forty-five participants, in addition to the executive, gave up a summer morning at the cottage to hear Leora Berman describe how to create shoreline gardens that will help to protect water in Wollaston Lake while providing a natural area for cottagers to enjoy at their shoreline.  Later in the morning, Fred McConnell outlined the problems with the growth of Eurasian Milfoil around the shores of Wollaston Lake and outlined steps that we can use to remove the milfoil and slow its spread.  We were pleased to have Reeve Graham Blair attend as a representative of Wollaston Township Council.

Leora Berman from The Land Between presented an entertaining and very informative account of the unique ecotone in which we find Wollaston Lake. It is an area between the Canadian Shield to the north and the limestone based St Lawrence Lowlands that are south of us from Kingston north and west to the great lakes.  She described the Land Between as an area of immense diversity with a wealth of varieties of plants, animals, and rocks, in some cases not found anywhere else in Ontario. Leora captured everyone’s attention as she described a wide variety of plants and animals, many that were familiar to the audience that are found predominantly in “The Land Between”.  Shorelines are smaller ecotones, and act as transition areas between Wollaston Lake shoreline and uplands.  Natural shorelines provide habitat for a wide range of species from fish to zooplankton and is supported with a rich and healthy food chain. A healthy shoreline helps to filter water running off the land and prevents natural erosion. Leora demonstrated that shorelines are made up of three key areas, the Littoral area, right at the shoreline and into the water, the Riparian zone or the place between the damp area near the water and the next area. Each area has different moisture levels and soil composition making each one suitable for different plants.

As Leora described the wildlife in our area in Ontario, it was apparent that she had a soft spot for amphibians and reptiles. She explained how 7 of the eight species of turtles found in the area are at risk. An associated group, The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre has worked diligently with The Land Between to reduce the number of turtles killed crossing Ontario roads as they follow paths using by turtles for hundreds of years to get to spots they have used for making nests to lay their eggs. An injured turtle was  rescued by Leora on her way to the presentation and a representative came to Coe Hill from the Turtle Hospital in Peterborough to pick it up. Read about initiatives to protect turtles at www.thelandbetween.ca. In addition to explaining that stories about people being bitten by snapping turtles is a myth and that turtles actually contribute a  great deal to the environment by cleaning the bottom of the lakes, Leora told stories about a wide range of snakes and salamanders that inhabit the land between.

Another very important part of the morning was a presentation by Fred McConnell, Lake Steward for WLHCA. Fred outlined actions to cope with the invasive species, Eurasian Milfoil that has spread rapidly in Wollaston Lake in the past few years and what we can do to remove Milfoil from Wollaston Lake.

WLHCA, through the work of Steve Neville and Richard Clark, secured funding from FOCA for an Invasive Plant study in August 2017. FOCA hired Robert Canning M.Sc. Environmental and Life Sciences, Trent University to study and Report on the milfoil in Wollaston Lake, Eurasian Milfoil is an invasive aquatic plant species native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It was introduced into North America in the 19th century and has become the most widely distributed plant species in North America.

Fred showed slides and described the Eurasian Milfoil and showed maps of the areas on Wollaston Lake where the milfoil was identified when Robert Canning surveyed Wollaston Lake last August. Mr. Canning had found Eurasian Milfoil in 73% of the 51 sites on the lake that were sampled.

The next two slides shows a photo of milfoil and background information

  

Fred presented two slides from the FOCA study that shows the areas in Wollaston Lake where Milfoil was found.

 

 

Fred showed one of the long handled rakes specially designed to rake milfoil from the lake. He explained that property owners can remove the milfoil in the area directly in front of their own property. They can sign up to use the rakes purchased with the FOCA grant. He explained how milfoil can be removed at the roots with long handled rakes that can reach milfoil and pull it out at the roots. He cautioned to be careful not to break off pieces of the plant or let the parts float away. He showed how you can make a boom from pool noodles by threading rope through the centre and tying the noodles together. He had attached badminton net along the noodle with weights at the bottom to hold it down in the water to capture the floating milfoil. The milfoil must be gathered up and removed from the water and disposed of in a dry area away from the lake where there isn’t any chance of it blowing back in.

Fred encouraged the audience to sign up to use the rakes and to join teams that will go out to larger patches of milfoil to remove it.  He noted that another lake that was fighting Milfoil was Big Cedar. They were working with Trent University using a form of weevils to kill the infestations. This has been very costly and it seems that the source of the weevil is difficult to obtain.

Leora returned to wrap up the Shoreline Garden Design part of her program. It was important to note that each shoreline is suited to a different mix of natural plants depending on the amount of light and shade, how damp the soil is, and what the composition of the soil is. She handed out guides for getting started with the shoreline gardens. The easiest way to get started may be roping off an area at the shoreline that you keep natural and see what natural plants start to return to the particular habitat at your shoreline. A collection of plants that would be suitable at the shoreline were donated by Fred McConnell and his wife, to get the audience started on their shoreline planting. The plants were ordered at Earle’s Landscaping who were able to find a supplier and ordered them in especially for the workshop.  Many from the audience found it helpful to talk with Leora regarding special circumstances that they find at their shoreline.  The Land Between will also come to your shoreline to talk about individual concerns about erosion control for a fee. More information about Shoreline Gardens and a wide range of conservation initiative can be found at www.thelandbetween.ca.

Thank you to those members who attended the workshop for demonstrating your commitment to Wollaston Lake by attending and wanting to learn more about Milfoil. We hope to hear back from members that attended the workshop and reports of changes that you made on your shoreline. As well, contact Fred at wlhca.news@gmail.com  to borrow the milfoil removal rakes. If you are able to remove any milfoil from the shoreline, we would like to hear how that went as well.

For a copy of Fred's presentation, please click here.

WLHCA Update

 By Peggy Stewart, President WLHCA July 16, 2018

It is long overdue, but it certainly is time to reconnect with members of WLHCA. Our Lake Steward, Fred McConnell and the executive have been very active recently addressing issues relating to protection of water quality in Wollaston Lake. While for the most part, the water looks much the same as it always has,  and I am sure it is providing a great deal of pleasure for all those who come to enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, and just sitting by the lake getting a cool breeze in the evening or watching the sunrise, we are learning that you can’t take it for granted that our water quality in Wollaston Lake will continue to be the same. 

Recent Algae Patches

In the recent heat wave at the end of June and beginning of July, there were many reports of a greenish algae growing on the shoreline of many of our cottages. Fred McConnell reported that his investigations have told him it is it is filamentous algae and grows when the conditions of heat and available nutrients are right. Filamentous algae are not toxic and should dissipate in cooler weather.

Additionally, over the past few years, we have had the revelations of two invasive species, Zebra mussels and Eurasian Milfoil. It has redirected our focus and time recently as we realize that it is time to be proactive in looking for action that could help to maintain the quality of water in Wollaston Lake.

Engaging Wollaston Township as a Stakeholder in protecting the water quality of Wollaston Lake

In this regard, Fred McConnell our Lake Steward has made efforts to engage additional stake holders to become involved in protecting Wollaston Lake. He wrote a letter dated June 6, 2018, as a private, concerned citizen, requesting an opportunity to present a delegation to Council. (See after this update #1. Letter to Wollaston Township Council Fred Mcconnell June 6, 2018) This letter is posted at the end of this update. He felt strongly that he wanted to do this as a personal endeavour and WLHCA respected his desire to begin this first step in engaging stakeholders in the process of protecting water quality in Wollaston Lake. WLHCA supports his connecting with the council and enlisting their engagement  as a potential stakeholder

At his invitation, on June 26, 2018, Barbara King, Executive Director of Watersheds Canada, spoke to the council, outlining how municipalities have important responsibilities and capabilities to organize stakeholders in protecting lakes and waterways. I have included a summary of her very worthwhile presentation at the end of this update. (See after this update #2. Barbara King's Presentation to Wollaston Council & #3. Summary of Presentation to Wollaston Council, June 26, 2018). Her whole presentation is on the audio recording for the Wollaston Township Council Meeting on the Wollaston Township website for the June 26 council meeting.

Fred followed up the delegation to the Wollaston Council with a letter to council requesting the council to:

  1. Support the Management and removal of Eurasian Milfoil in Wollaston Lake by sending a representative from council to the July 14th workshop on the WLHCA Healthy Shorelines, and commit to creating natural shorelines on Wollaston township shoreline properties.
  2. Water quality testing in Wollaston Lake will be completed this summer and fall, by the MOECC for dissolved oxygen. Fred asked that the municipality fund additional water testing the following three years to monitor any reduction in rates of dissolved oxygen. (None of this money would go to WLHCA. It would go to pay for the testing and analysis of water samples.
  3. Fred asked that Wollaston Township to form a committee of stakeholders with the task of completing a State of the Lake review.

I have posted this letter also at the end of this update. (See after this update #4. Letter to Wollaston Township council final July 4, 2018)

On Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the Council of Wollaston Township responded to his letter by passing the following resolution; “Be it resolved the Council of Wollaston Township receive and file the letter from Fred McConnell. Any financial decisions will be considered during 2019 budget deliberations.”

Lake Steward Update:

Fred McConnell has been contacted by Riley-Ann Schmitt a leader of the Stewardship Youth Ranger Team, four 17 year olds, working out of the MNRF Office in Bancroft. They have volunteered a team to work with him on removing milfoil in Wollaston Lake. They had planned to work on Mud Bay on July 13th but found out that it was necessary to reschedule due to lack of training for the Young Rangers in watercraft.  Another site, the clearing at the shoreline at Ferguson Bay in front of the old Ferguson log cabin is being looked at. They do not need to use boats and the teams would be more suited to work in the shallow water there.

At the Healthy Shoreline Workshop Fred will organise teams to remove milfoil patches in other areas of Wollaston Lake. Please, if you can commit to one of these teams, or if you can try to remove milfoil directly in front of your property, it would be greatly appreciated. You can contact Fred for further information, for instructions, to report how your removal went, and for signing up at WLHCA.news.@gmail.com.

AGM Reminder

The AGM for 2018 will be held on Aug 19 at the Coe Hill Legion. Please join the executive for a complimentary breakfast at 9:30 a.m. We will start the agenda as close to 10:00 a.m. as possible. Please let us know if you are joining us for breakfast by contacting wlhca.membership@gmail.com or by mail at WLHCA, Box 249, Coe Hill, ON.

#1. Letter to Wollaston Township Council Fred Mcconnell June 6, 2018

#2. Barbara King's Presentation to Wollaston Council 

#3. Summary of Presentation to Wollaston Council, June 26, 2018

#4. Letter to Wollaston Township council final July 4, 2018

Fire Ban in effect as of Tuesday July 10, 2018

Don't forget to bring a photograph of your shoreline for the Garden Workshop with Leora Berman

Message to Members of Wollaston Home and Cottage Association - Sunday, June 17, 2018.

I apologize for the delay in reporting on the Council Meeting held this week on June 12. I was having a few health issues and did not want to rush writing my report. I wanted to have the opportunity to check the audio coverage of the meeting which is now posted on the Wollaston Township website.  I reported on the presentations by Darryl Tighe representing arguments for concern citizens, and Heather Sadler, representing Bear Ridge regarding the application for amendments to By-Law 10-15 as accurately as possible using my notes as well as the audio recording.

I am asking Celina Clark, the Communication Director for WLHCA, to post my report on the website. As well, I will ask that associated documents be posted.   The first being, Notice of Passing a Zoning Amendment that was sent to me by the Clerk of Wollaston Township, announcing passing of By-Law 18-18 also posted, and the process for appealing the passing of that By-Law.  By-Law 18-18 achieves the changes requested in application to amend By-Law 10-15 as requested by the owners of Bear Ridge Campground. By-law 19-18 which deals with the related Site Plan and agreements was posted in the background information for the council meeting of June 12th. As well as including a copy of the By-law 18-18, Jennifer Cohen included a summary made by the staff of Wollaston Township of all the comments sent to the councillors by the public on the matter of Bear Ridge with a response for each comment providing a rational for the decision to pass By-law 18-18 and 19-18.

We have a lot to in WLHCA this summer. Please join us on July 14th to find out how to remove milfoil from your shoreline and to participate in the Healthy Shorelines workshop with Leora Berman. She will also share important information the role each cottage owner can do to help the maintain water quality in Wollaston Lake by creating a buffer for water run-off by planting a natural shoreline garden. The $20.00 registration fee will be covered for WLHCA members. Register by contacting us at WLHCA.news@gmail.com. Please check out the information for July 14th in the spring Newsletter.

Peggy Stewart

President WLHCA

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Click on the document name below to follow the link:

1) Report on Wollaston Township Council Meeting

2) Report by Landmark Associates 

3) Notice of passing a zoning Amendment

4) By-law 18-18

5) By-law 19-18

6) Report on Public Comments and responses

The June 12, 2018 Wollaston Township Meeting includes a delegate from Landmark Associates Limited to speak to Wollaston Council re: Bear Ridge Campground Application to Amend Zoning By-Law and Site Plan.  The letter from Landmark Associates to Reeve Blair & Members of Council can be found by following this link.  

The 2017 report on the water quality of Wollaston Lake is now available.  Along with this report, 3 documents on Lake Capacity have been provided.   We feel these reports contain important information for our members to understand the current state of Wollaston Lake.  Please click on the report titles to open the corresponding report.

1- Wollaston Lake Water Quality 2017 Report

2- MOECC Lakeshore Capacity Executive Summary

3- White Lake State of the Lake 2016

4 - Lake Capacity and references from North Hastings County Planner (submitted by Traci Morrison)

The 2017 Invasive Species Watch Report from the Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters has been posted on the Invasive Species page in the Environment section of our website.  You follow this link to the report.  

May 11, 2018

Revision and Clarification of Letter to members of Wollaston Lake Home and Cottage Association (WLHCA) Posted on WLHCA Website on April 19th, 2018

I would like to clarify and revise a section of the letter to members of WLHCA posted on our website on April 19th, 2018 that says;

“Both the Township Reeve, in a short discussion after the March 9 meeting, and the Township Clerk in a discussion this week, indicated that it may make sense to have a full environmental assessment regarding lake impact completed in advance of finalizing a Land-use Agreement”.

I would like to change it to:

“Both the Township Reeve, in a short discussion after the March 9 meeting, and the Township Clerk in a discussion this week, indicated that it may make sense to have further study regarding lake impact completed in advance of finalizing a Land-use Agreement”

Difficulties in communicating about studies into the well-being of a lake surround the broad range of terms that are used to refer to lake studies. Terms such as lake capacity studies, lake capacity assessment, measures of dissolved oxygen, water quality assessments, environmental assessment of lake to name a few. Many of the terms seem to be used interchangeably and appear to be taking on new meaning as this field study and knowledge expands. When I used the term “full environmental assessment”, I was trying to convey that Jennifer and Graham had indicated that further study and gathering of facts about Wollaston Lake would be helpful in assisting Council when the land use agreement relating to the shoreline at Bear Ridge is contemplated.

I apologize for any misunderstandings that may have arisen from my choice of words.

Peggy Stewart

President WLHCA

Announcement Of Council Meeting - Posted On Saturday May 5, 2018 

Time: 9:00am 

Please be advised that the Council of Wollaston Township will consider the zoning by-law amendment and site plan agreement amendment for the Bear Ridge Campground on Tuesday May 8, 2018.

The agenda for this meeting has been posted at http://www.wollastontownship.ca/township-minutes--agendas.html 

All background information, including related studies and staff reports, has been posted for convenient reference at http://www.wollastontownship.ca/bear-ridge.html.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Cohen

Clerk

Wollaston Township

90 Wollaston Lake Road

PO Box 99

Coe Hill,   ON   K0L 1P0

PH: 613-337-5731

FX: 613-337-5789

April 19, 2018

Dear Wollaston Lake Home & Cottage Association Members,

Most of you are aware of issues relating to the ongoing development of the Bear Ridge Campground and Cottages property.  Some of you are aware that the development, and commentary from all sides of the issue, has become contentious.  Most recently, the Lake Association Executive has come under criticism by a vocal minority of individuals for the positions we have taken, commentary we have provided, statements we have made, and communication practices we have used.  We believe that the majority of the criticisms are unwarranted and unfair.  As a small group of volunteers, with Wollaston Lake in our hearts,  we strive to do our best to research information and to plan actions which will best reflect our mission statement and advocate for the health of Wollaston Lake.

We want to provide clarity about what we believe to be our mission and objectives.  Our By-laws state that the Wollaston Lake Home and Cottage Association (WLHCA), “considers itself custodian, active steward, and advocate of Wollaston Lake and its surrounding environment.”  Our primary objective is to protect and preserve the health of Wollaston Lake, and we undertake to do so through communication and advocacy with our members.  We have done so, and we will continue to do so, notwithstanding criticisms that some people might have when we respectfully differ with them in our opinions or actions.  We believe different opinions and viewpoints are healthy, but we also believe they should be tendered respectfully and without person attack. 

We appreciate that many of our members chose to inform Township Council of their independent and considered opinions about the By-law 10-15 Amendment Request, both verbally at the March 9 meeting on the subject, as well as in writing in advance of the meeting.  These letters, we have been informed by Jennifer Cohen, Township of Wollaston Clerk, are considered public documents and can be shared with interested parties once addresses and emails have been removed, leaving the text of messages and writer’s names. The consultant from Bear Ridge has accessed these documents from the Township, on Bear Ridge’s behalf. When the amendment to By-law 10-15 comes before Council, all the aforementioned letters will be included as documents for Councilors to read in their background package of information. We do not know of a date for this meeting yet, as negotiations are continuing with Bear Ridge on the agreements that are required to accompany the site plan.

As of yet, we have not seen the majority of your comments, we assume there were a number on either side of the proposed amendment to By-law 10-15.  The WLHCA Executive will ask for a copy of the letters from Wollaston Township to provide us with information about positions that have been presented on this issue. We respect that you arrived at your opinions based on your own observations, analysis of documents you were able to obtain, your own beliefs about what you think is right for our lake, comments from friends and family, and commentary we have provided.

Prior to the March 9th Public Meeting, we had made an interpretation error relating to the Bear Ridge septic system.  We acknowledged the error and corrected it as quickly as we could in a fashion we felt would get the correction to you and into the public realm as quickly as possible.  We apologize again for any confusion our error caused.  

There was a certain amount of confusion around what would be discussed at the March 9 meeting.  The Association Executive only became aware that the dock would not be part of the public meeting, just before the meeting. The Notice of Public Meeting posted by Wollaston Township had included the docks as part of the discussion.  We had received a letter the Bear Ridge owners had sent to their residents in an effort to build support, including a form letter their residents were encouraged to submit to Township Council in support of their proposal.  Both the letter to Bear Ridge residents and the form letter mentioned the dock. As a result, the Executive included the reference to the dock in the presentation that I made at the March 9 meeting.  It was unfortunate that I was stopped from continuing that part of my presentation. It was valuable information for the Council to hear, as the dock that Bear Ridge has proposed in The Recreation Capacity Study is significantly larger than the existing approved dock.  Eventually questions about potential impacts to Wollaston Lake must be discussed by Council, and we believe valid research must be done to examine possible effects that development and increased boat traffic may have on water quality.

In Jennifer Cohen’s opening remarks at beginning of the March 9 meeting, she explained two important points that had not been made clear in advance of the meeting.  Certainly, the Notice of Public Meeting did not make them clear.  She explained that the items in By-law 10-15 which related to building the swimming pool and the required recreational activities (item 1.e) would be moved to the Site Plan Amendment and its accompanying agreements. These were still under negotiation between the Township and the owners of Bear Ridge at the time of the March 9 meeting. According to Jennifer Cohen, the Site Plan and the agreements that accompany it would be enforceable documents that would speak to some of the elements originally contained in the “Minimum Recreational Facilities” requirements in the existing By-law.  Furthermore, she explained that since the dock would be the subject of a future negotiation between the Township and the owners of Bear Ridge around a Land-use Agreement of the shoreline allowance adjacent to Bear Ridge, no discussion on the subject would be allowed at the March 9 meeting.  The Association Executive was not aware of the Site Plan Amendment negotiations, nor were we aware that the Shoreline Allowance Land-use Agreement was contemplated.  According to the Township Clerk, neither of these Agreements has been finalized as of April 12, 2018. 

You may have become aware that the owners of Bear Ridge and some of their supporters are criticizing the Association Executive and Association members who have requested that an environmental assessment of the lake and its shoreline be completed before the Township approves any additional development activities.  In 2014 Bear Ridge commissioned an Environmental Impact Statement regarding the campground expansion.  While the Environmental Impact Statement was a valuable study to do in light of the development that Bear Ridge was undertaking, it did not include the potential impact of the development on Wollaston Lake.  The author of the assessment (entitled, “Scoped Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Bear Ridge Campground and Cottages”), Mr. Dan Mansell outlined in his introduction, “This scoped EIS will focus on the potential impacts of the proposed redevelopment on Frog Creek and the existing local wetlands”.  We maintain that a thorough environmental assessment, focused on potential environmental impacts on the lake itself, should be completed before agreements are reached between the Township and Bear Ridge on the Campground’s use of Township-owned land at the lake’s edge.  This is crucial, considering Bear Ridge’s plans for a much larger dock and the significant increase in boating activity that may go along with that.  Both the Township Reeve, in a short discussion after the March 9 meeting, and the Township Clerk in a discussion this week, indicated that it may make sense to have further study regarding lake impact completed in advance of finalizing a Land-use Agreement, although they both indicate that no such assessment has been funded or commissioned at this time.  The Executive of WLHCA would support the Township of Wollaston in initiatives to proceed with an environmental assessment of Wollaston Lake.  We would like to share information from our research about contacts, qualified firms and resources recognized for expertise in assessments of the well-being of lakes.

Recently, the Association Executive has been accused of creating confusion by spreading misinformation.  It has never been our intention to detract from honest and open debate about the Bear Ridge development.  Rather, we have shared information and perspectives based on information we believed to be correct.  Public interest and discussion about the Bear Ridge development by the Association Executive, as well as by many other interested parties, gained pace once the March 9 meeting was announced.  Information was scarce in advance of the meeting, even though the Association Executive requested “all relevant documents” almost 2 weeks in advance of the meeting.  More information became available at the meeting and undoubtedly, more will be added to the discussion in the coming months.  We are aware that some of you may be receiving notes from people who disagree with the position you have taken on this important development.  We remind you that you are entitled to your opinions, as are they. We encourage you to continue to be respectful in expressing your opinions.  As always, we encourage all members to inform themselves as best they can, from as many sources as possible, and form your own opinions about the development.

We believe that members of the Association agree with the Executive that we are not against development in Wollaston Township but wish to ensure that all development occurs with the appropriate consideration for the health of the lake.  Neither are we against the development of Bear Ridge Campground and Cottages.  We would like to see it completed in a fashion we can all be proud of and by which the owners and the community benefit.  Our advocacy with respect to the Campground aims to ensure that appropriate environmental assessment of the potential impact on lake health is completed before changes occur which might have an adverse effect on lake quality.  We continue to ask the Township to ensure that complete and timely information about the Bear Ridge development and any other major development be proactively available, that full consideration is given to protecting Wollaston Lake, notwithstanding activities within the Campground, and that all agreements between the Township and the Campground be fully enforced.

Regards,

Peggy Stewart

President – Wollaston Lake Home and Cottage Association

March 7, 2018

Members of The Wollaston Lake Home and Cottage Association (WLHCA),

Update:

At present, the WLHCA Executive is continuing to gather information about township zoning bylaws, the proposed amendments to By-Law 10-15, and their implications.  We will continue to add information to our website and Facebook pages as it becomes available.  Please continue to monitor these sources for updates.

Background Information and Timeline:*

2010: Wollaston Township passed By-Law 50-10, the Comprehensive Zoning By-Law. 

March 10, 2015: Township Council passed By-Law 10-15 as an amendment to parts of By-Law 50-10.  This revision allowed for the expansion of Bear Ridge Campground and Cottages (Bear Ridge) to 100 tent and trailer sites and 4 cottages.  The revision also required an existing mooring dock; volleyball, tennis or horseshoe courts; pedestrian or recreational trails; and a swimming pool for tent and trailer parks that have more than 50 sites.   

May 10, 2016: Township Council passed a motion that called for the installation of an adequately sized swimming pool at Bear Ridge to accommodate the recreational demands of 100 campsites.   The motion also called for the owners of Bear Ridge to show that they were actively working towards the installation of the swimming pool that year if the campground intended to have 100 active sites.

Early Summer 2016: Bear Ridge expanded the size of their dock without the required permits from the Township of Wollaston. In spite of requests to remove the extra length of dock by the municipality, the extra dock was not removed until the end of the season by Bear Ridge.

December 2016: Bear Ridge submitted a proposal to Council to amend By-Law 10-15.  Included in support of that application was a Planning Justification Report that was prepared by Ecovue Consulting Services and dated December 21, 2016.

March 14, 2017,  the Township of Wollaston obtained an Order from the Superior Court of Ontario, based on the consent of the Bear Ridge, that permitted the dock, existing at the time Zoning By-Law 10-15 was passed, but ordered that Bear Ridge shall not install a dock without the required building permits.

April 2017: Bear Ridge submitted a Recreational Capacity Study, prepared by The Rethink Group, and a Traffic Assessment Report.

September 2017: The installation of the swimming pool at Bear Ridge was completed.

December 2017: Bear Ridge submitted a Final Site Plan to the Township.

January 2018: Bear Ridge submitted a Revised Recreational Capacity Study to the Township.

*Please note that the information contained in this timeline comes only from sources that are readily available to us at this time.

Position of the WLHCA Executive:

The Executive of WLHCA strongly opposes the proposed amendments to By-Law 10-15.

The proposed amendment to Section 1e. of the By-Law would remove the requirement for Bear Ridge to provide minimum recreational facilities such as a pool; volleyball, horseshoe or tennis courts; and recreational trails. Although Bear Ridge has completed most, if not all, of these infrastructural changes, if the proposed amendment is passed, the Township would lose its ability to ensure that the Recreational Provisions remain part of the operation of Bear Ridge on an ongoing basis. This is crucially important as these infrastructural requirements were imposed, at least in part, to reduce the environmental impact on the waterfront. We believe that alternate recreational activities need to be available to campers to reduce the use of the beach for activities such as swimming, waterplay, and motorized watersports. The Recreational Capacity Study of the limited beach area has not assessed the potential impact of overuse and the potential for environmental damage to a fragile ecosystem at the shore that is a habitat for many species of wildlife. 

Our concern extends to the possibility of suggested changes to the main dock that is now 37 meters in length. The Recreational Capacity Study prepared for Bear Ridge refers to a proposed increase in dock size. In 2017, the Township went to court to ensure that the dock did not increase in size. Although it appears that the dock is part of Section 1e.of By-Law 10-15, Jennifer Cohen, Clerk, Wollaston Township has advised us that the dock configuration included in the capacity study will not be considered as part of the zoning amendment. She added that since the shore lands are not part of the RRC-2 zone, the question of the dock will be dealt with by a separate agreement and Council will consider the dock question as a separate matter.

While we have been assured that the issue of the docks will be considered separately by Council, we still believe that this is an appropriate time to make our concerns known to Council.  It is very worrisome that the length, configuration, and number of slips of the docks may be allowed to change and possibly increase to 46 watercraft as presented in Bear Ridge’s Recreational Capacity Study. If Bear Ridge is allowed to increase the size of the docks, it could significantly increase the boat traffic in the immediate area of Bear Ridge, as well as on the lake at large, and could lead to further harm to Wollaston Lake’s ecosystem. A larger dock would add further environmental stress to a lake that in the past two years has just started to feel the impact from two invasive species, Eurasian Milfoil and Zebra Mussels.

Finally, to the best of our knowledge, there has not been a thorough environmental assessment of the impact to Wollaston Lake and its surrounding environment from the net increase of 72 campsites. Recently Fred McConnell, WLHCA’s Lake Steward, has been successful in having Wollaston Lake chosen as part of a pilot study by The Blue Lakes Projects and The Land Between, Cottage Country’s Conservation Organization to use data collected by lake associations to monitor the well-being of lakes. Wollaston was chosen as a sensitive cold water trout lake with 10 years of water quality recorded data.  To assess the potential impact of increased usage of the beach area and boat traffic, research that goes beyond the annual water quality testing, must include measures of impact to shoreline and the lake bottom ecosystem.  WLHCA, through its present and past Lake Stewards, are working to recommend resources that can identify the potential environmental damage that may result from overused shorelines and an increase to watercraft traffic.

Amendment 10-15 should not be changed, without a clear idea of the environmental impact to the lake.

Yours Sincerely,

Peggy Stewart

President Wollaston Lake Home and Cottage Association

March 3, 2018

Attention: Members of the Wollaston Lake Home and Cottage Association (WLHCA),

Subsequent to sending a letter to WLHCA members by email or regular mail on March 1, 2018, additional information has come forward that clarifies and to some degree changes some of the information provided in that letter.  I would like to clarify this information as quickly as possible to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.

Our letter stated that, “The third issue relates to the campground’s septic and water servicing systems.   The proposed amendment seeks to remove the requirement that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change grant the campground an Environmental Compliance Approval.”  We now know that this is incorrect.

Contrary to what was written in the letter, Jennifer Cohen, Clerk of Wollaston Township, has advised us that the proposed amendment DOES NOT seek to remove the requirement that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) grant the campground an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA).  She confirmed that the campground must have a septic system approved by the MOECC and this will remain a requirement within the by-law.

I apologize for any confusion or misunderstanding that our initial statement may have caused.  Please continue to monitor the website and Facebook site for updates and further information. 

I hope that you will be able to attend the Public Meeting on Friday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wollaston Community Centre.  If you are unable to attend, I encourage you to let your views be known regarding the proposed amendments to Zoning By-Law 10-15 by emailing Jennifer Cohen, Clerk, Wollaston Township at clerk@wollaston.ca or by fax at 613-337-5789.

Yours sincerely

Peggy Stewart,

President, Wollaston Lake Home and Cottage Association

 

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‘Wollaston Young Stewards Environment Camp’ 2018

August 13-17: Age 6-8 year group

Unfortunately, at the end of the registration period, we only have 60% enrollment and due to the low numbers, for the second year now, this camp session for 2018 is cancelled. It is not feasible to operate with such a small number. Conversely, the older camp, is sold out with a waiting list and will be operating, in July, as planned based on the response.