Can I go to the cottage?

FOCA Elert ~ April 2021Having trouble viewing this email? Click to view as a webpage insteadFOCA Champions Affordable & Safe Rural Living
Stay at home order: Can I go to the cottage?With Ontario under a stay-at-home order that will last until at least May 6th, FOCA has been fielding calls about whether it is OK to go to the cottage. 
FOCA recommends following all public health and provincial guidelines. The stay-at-home order directs all Ontarians to remain at home except for essential purposes. If you choose to self-isolate at your waterfront home, you should stay there for at least 14 days and bring all supplies you might need during that time. FOCA posts related information here: call to register: WEBINAR: Creating a Cardiac Safe Cottage Community Wednesday, April 21, 2021 from 12:00pm-1:00pm
Register to join us for a one-hour “lunch and learn” with FOCA and our partners at Action First Aid, about Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and how to create a cardiac safe cottage community. Highlights:> hear a story from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) survivor> understand the difference between SCA and Heart Attack, and when to use an AED> learn how to use crowdfunding to place 24/7 accessible AEDs in your cottage community.Sign up for the webinar here
Registration is open to all FOCA Association Members, and Individual/Family Supporters. There is no charge to attend; the event has been sponsored by Action First Aid.
BONUS: Everyone who attends the April 21st event will be entered into a draw to win one of 3 seats in Action First Aid’s new on-line training program: CPR/AED & Basic First Aid Awareness.
Associations: Please share the registration link with your members: emergency response coming to rural and northern Ontario?Seven years ago, FOCA sought assurance from the Province that the health and well-being of northern and rural Ontario residents is a priority of the provincial government, and that effective communications and coordination are in place to respond to emergency situations. 
Recently, the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Ministry of Heath established the 9-1-1 Emergency Response Inter-Ministerial Task Force in response to recommendations of a 2018 Coroner’s Inquest. This task force is exploring a provincial framework for 9-1-1 and emergency communications service delivery in Ontario. 
In related news, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commissionhas directed all telecommunication service providers to change their networks to be ready to provide Next Generation 9-1-1 services. This will ultimately enable the public, 9-1-1 call centres and emergency responders to transmit and receive text, images, video and data. 
Read more about emergency response here: Advocates for Responsive GovernmentElectricity Pricing updateApril 12, 2021 – the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has released “Procedural Order #1” in connection with the elimination of the seasonal rate class of Hydro One electricity customers. FOCA has posted an overview, and a link to the full document, here: Gap Project, Enhanced Broadband in eastern OntarioFOCA was pleased to be part of last month’s announcement from the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) about a significant investment in cellular coverage in Eastern Ontario, which will see immediate improvements and a full roll-out by 2025. 
Now, your help is needed: EORN has asked FOCA to circulate a call-to-action to our eastern Ontario lake Associations, to write the Ministers responsible for supporting EORN’s Gig Project, which would bring speeds of up to 1 Gigabyte per second to residents, cottage owners and businesses across the region. Access to high-speed broadband services will meet our collective needs and support the local economy, long into the future. Find details and a template letter you can use, here:’s Gold level sponsorsSponsors support our work, please support them.FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & RiversFocus on plastic wasteApril 2021 – the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) has announced the creation of Circular Great Lakes, a regional initiative focused initially on keeping valuable plastic materials out of the waste stream and the environment. Link to the new initiative, and find out more about plastics and microplastics, on FOCA’s webpage: event: Plastic Pollution webinarIn related news, on April 9, 2021 FOCA attended a webinar hosted by Ohio Sea Grant about plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. The speakers confirmed that our plastic waste is entering aquatic ecosystems at alarming rates. While slides from the webinar were not circulated, FOCA has posted some highlights from the event on our Plastics webpage (see: April 2021 webinar posting).Invasive mussels found in aquarium products!FOCA’s partners at the Invasive Species Centre (ISC) reported this month that invasive Zebra and/or Quagga mussels have been found in moss ball products sold in Canada for use in aquariums. Read more from ISC here.  (image from
As part of FOCA’s ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species in Ontario, FOCA will be working with our invasive species partners and some lake association members this year on selective monitoring to target Zebra mussels and spiny water flea. Stay tuned for further details.Modelling the effects of Asian carp on the Great LakesComputer modelling has been used to predict the impacts of bighead carp and silver carp on Great Lakes ecosystems including Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Get a link to the study, published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, here:
image: Predictions for Lake Erie from Supporting Info Doc. #3 of American Fisheries Society posting
upcoming webinar series: Love Muskoka – Sustain MuskokaThursdays @ 5:00pm from April 22 to May 27 (virtual) – The Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre and regional partner organizations are hosting a digital webinar series on sustainability with a roster of great speakers and important topics of interest to viewers in Muskoka, and beyond:
Apr.22 – Climate change and policy tools with Dr. Dianne SaxeApr. 29 – Watershed Management and how cottage owners can be nice to Mother Nature May 6 – Protecting green spaces, riparian zones and education May 13 – Climate change impacts for Muskoka with Dr. Peter Sale & Dr. Richard LammersMay 20 – Indigenous Perspective: reconnecting with the natural worldMay 27 – The future of our lakes despite climate change with Dr. Norman Yan
Click the image at the side to download the series poster (PDF, 1 page). Register for one session, or all six, here: webinar: Life in the “Weeds”Wednesday, May 5, 2021 @ 2:00pm (virtual) – Join Watersheds Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife – Michigan State University for a webinar about the critical role of native aquatic plants in our lakes. Register for the webinar here.
With so many new folks having purchased waterfront property over the winter, FOCA believes it is going to be critical to welcome them early in the season, and help them understand the value of a natural shoreline – before the “weeds” start getting ripped out. We look forward to this webinar, and hope it gives some good ideas for ways to share the importance of aquatic plants with new cottage neighbours!FOCA Serves Lake & Road AssociationsFOCA helps with Member Association AGMsAt this point, it seems inevitable that lake association events such as Annual General Meetings will be digital again this summer. If your lake association is wondering what to do about your AGM, contact FOCA for an information sheet with notes about phone or webinar or even Facebook Live options. FOCA may be available to provide some up-front advice for your group to set up your own Zoom event. We also have a limited number of slots available to host member AGMs on FOCA’s Zoom platform, for a members-only price. For details, email: communications@foca.on.caFOCA’s Silver level sponsorsSponsors support our work, please support them.Partner Updates & Regional NoticesLake of Bays Short Term Rental ReportApril 6, 2021 – a new staff report to Council was released about short-term rental (STR) regulation in Lake of Bays. The report includes a detailed overview of issues, potential costs to administer licenses, and feedback from public consultation. Other areas may find the report interesting as an example.Download a copy from the “News” section this FOCA webpage: Huron Management Plan: input invitedThe next Lake Huron Lakewide Action and Management Plan(LAMP) is being developed this year by the Lake Huron Partnership in order to meet Canada and the U.S.’s commitments under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and public input is invited.
Want to participate? First, review the 2017-2021 Lake Huron LAMP (download PDF, 105 pages), then submit suggestions or questions by April 30, 2021 to the Canadian Great Lakes Executive Committee Secretariat (Environment and Climate Change Canada) by email: A draft plan will be made available for further comments, later this year.Real-time water levels in MuskokaA new tool is available through the Muskoka GeoHub that allows residents to see flood plain mapping and real-time water levels:
While many of the layers contain datasets specific to Muskoka, the difference in daily average water level data is province-wide, from Natural Resources Canada.Lake of the Woods water quality: input invited Last call to provide input to Environment and Climate Change Canada on its proposals for phosphorus reduction options to manage algae blooms on Lake of the Woods. FOCA’s partners at the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation encourage everyone with an interest in Lake of the Woods to get involved and have their say in the proposed lake ecosystem objectives and phosphorus reduction options. The public comment period ends April 30, 2021. Participate online here: Kawartha & Scugog Water FundsProperty owners in the City of Kawartha Lakes, or Townships of Scugog, Brock or Clarington are invited to apply to Kawartha Conservation for funding for projects that contribute to the health of the watershed. Projects could involve shoreline naturalization to prevent erosion, tree plantings, well or septic system stewardship, and more. Get details, and apply by May 12, 2021, here: webinar on environmental threats Our members at the Lake Kashagawigamog Organization have asked us to share information about their upcoming webinar, which is open to all:
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 7:30pm (virtual) – Stayin’ Alive: Environmental Threats to our Lake and Forest Creatures – a presentation on the effects of pollution on freshwater molluscs (clams, snails and slugs), how they are adapting to environmental change, and what us humans can do to help. Register via the LKO website.FOCA Fosters CommunityFOCA at the Virtual Cottage Life ShowFOCA’s booth had over 1000 “visits” during the inaugural Virtual Cottage Life & Outdoor Living Show (March 26-28), and our Executive Director Terry Rees spoke each day on the Main Stage about what to consider if you’re thinking of spending more time at the cottage this year. (Yes please!)
Although the Show is over, you can still register to listen to recordings of all the great content including Terry’s talk, as well as our partners speaking about cottage succession planning, responsible cottage rental, boating and cottage safety, and much more. You can continue to visit the Virtual Show as often as you like until May 31st!
Access the Virtual Cottage Life Show & recordingsFOCA’s Bronze level sponsorsSponsors support our work, please support them.Final ThoughtsTurtles are on the move! Our member groups have started reporting seeing turtles on the move already, which means it’s time for a refresher on what to do if you encounter a turtle crossing the road or digging in gravel at the road’s edge. 
Here’s some help:
click to watch a video about how to move a turtle safely, and download an infographic from the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre with lots of important tips for turtle encounters.FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations, the voice of the waterfront for nearly 60 years.image: Andy MetelkaFind out more about YOUR ROLE | 705-749-3622 | https://foca.on.caConnect with our channels: ‌  ‌  ‌Did someone forward this message to you? Join 12,000 fellow subscribers:Click here to get free FOCA Elerts delivered to your inbox, monthly
FOCA believes everyone has the right to hear about issues that affect waterfront Ontario. Those who have an existing relationship with FOCA may receive email from us, based on principles of Express or Implied Consent in Canadian Anti Spam legislation. You can unsubscribe from Elerts at any time, using the ‘Safe Unsubscribe’ link below.
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FOCA Spring Update

FOCA Elert ~ March 2021FOCA’s Strategic Plan 2020-2023As presented by the Board of Directors at the FOCA Annual General Meeting earlier in March, a refreshed Strategic Plan will guide our organization through the coming years.
Please download and share FOCA’s new Strategic Plan:FOCA’s Strategic Plan (download PDF, 1.4 MB)The Elert sub-headings below have been updated to reflect the 6 priority areas of FOCA’s new Strategic Plan:promoting healthy lands, lakes and riversadvocating for responsive governmentserving local lake and road associationschampioning affordable and safe rural livingfostering community, andbuilding FOCA’s capacity.We hope you see your concerns addressed in these priorities. Find out more about FOCA’s work, here: Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & RiversWelcoming new waterfront owners!As discussed at FOCA’s AGM & Spring Seminar earlier this month (more on that, below), Ontario cottage country was hugely popular in 2020 as the pandemic and travel restrictions led people to isolate at their waterfront properties. We know there will be new owners and visitors this year as well, and many may be having their first cottage country experience. What might they not know about the special considerations of living at the waterfront? How will you welcome then, and shepherd them into the community of lake stewards and waterfront enthusiasts? FOCA has great publications like A Shoreline Owner’s Guide to Healthy Waterfrontsthat we encourage you to share. 
Also, see the Event Summary from the Spring Seminar (below) for a “Welcome Binder” or “Welcome Sheet” template your association can adapt.recent event: Ontario Invasive Species ForumMarch 1-4, 2021 (virtual) – FOCA participated in the Forum, and presented during the “Community Action” session on March 2nd about the great work being done on-the-ground across the province, by lake and cottage associations to prevent the spread, and mitigate the effect, of invasive species. 
Visit FOCA’s Invasive Species webpage.upcoming event: Abandoned Boats webinarWed., April 7, 2021 from 4-6pm (virtual) – our partners at Boating Ontario are hosting a webinar about abandoned boats, including Transport Canada speaking about the ‘Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act’. No registration is necessary for this free event.
Click here to join the webinar at the start time aboveFOCA Advocates for Responsive GovernmentDock Foam Bill moving forwardMarch 22, 2021 – FOCA spoke to the Ontario Legislative Committee in support of the Private Member’s Bill 228, ‘Keeping Polystyrene Out of Ontario’s Lakes and Rivers’. This would apply to new docks, not existing structures. Learn more about the Bill, and the plastic problems it seeks to address, here: FOCA Microplastics webpageimage: Georgian Bay Association websiteupcoming event: Drinking Water Source ProtectionMarch 24, 2021 (10am-noon) – Join legal counsel from the Canadian Environmental Law Association and FOCA’s Terry Rees, for the launch of CELA’s quarterly “Water Conversations.” In the March edition they will discuss the state of legal protections for our drinking water, and the steps required to make the Clean Water Act more effective to serve the needs of First Nations and rural residents.Register for the webinar here.FOCA’s Gold level sponsorsSponsors support our work, please support them.FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associationsevent recap: 2021 FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar for Lake AssociationsWe went virtual on March 6th, and had our largest FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar of the past decade, with over 140 of you in attendance! 
Instead of a full day of seminars, we enjoyed a whirlwind 2.5 hours of updates on FOCA’s files, programs and Strategic Plan, Lake Partner Program, Phragmites update, and a presentation about pandemic volunteer considerations (including liability issues) for lake associations in 2021. 
All FOCA members are welcome to download the extensive Event Summary which includes links to the slides:
NOTE: You’ll need your Member Login for this. Don’t have, or can’t recall the Login? Contact us for assistance.
Members who did not register to attend the 2021 AGM & Spring Seminar, but want to watch the full webinar recording, can still purchase digital access here.2020 FOCA Achievement AwardCongratulations to the Long Point Ratepayers’ Association(LPRA) on Lake Erie, the recipients of the 2020 FOCA Achievement Award, which was presented at the 2021 AGM & Spring Seminar event on March 6th.
LPRA was nominated under the category “political involvement” – read all the details in the Event Summary (see the link in the item above), or an overview on the FOCA Achievement Award webpage.
image: John Henderson of LPRA receives the Award from Tony Lepine, Chair of FOCA’s Member Services & Benefits CommitteeFOCA Champions Affordable & Safe Rural LivingSeasonal Rate reclassification: Got questions?If you received a letter from Hydro One over the past month, indicating you will be one of the 147,000 families moved out of the collapsing ‘Seasonal Rate’ class and into one of three existing density classes, you may have questions.
Whether you think you should be moved to an alternate rate classification, or you’ve changed your usage and need to update Hydro One that you’re living there year-round (and therefore eligible for the RRRF subsidy that is NOT available to seasonal residents), call the Hydro One Contact Centre to discuss your concerns: 1-888-664-9376.FOCA has submitted to be an intervenor at the next Ontario Energy Board hearing about the implementation of the elimination of the Seasonal Rate Class. Get background on this file here: & carbon monoxide safety reminder“When 2 of my smoke/carbon monoxide alarms started to ‘chirp’ within hours of each other this past week, I realized I had forgotten the rule to replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, each time the clocks change!”, says Michelle L, FOCA’s Communications Coordinator.
Have you changed your batteries yet? Please, do it today.FOCA posts related safety information here.EORN Announcement: Better cellular services coming to Eastern Ontario residents & businessesFOCA was pleased to be part of a press conference held by the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) on March 19, 2021 to announce a significant investment in cellular coverage in Eastern Ontario. Improvement will begin immediately, with a full roll-out by 2025. Read more from EORN here.Watching for high water this SpringOntario cottage country communities must be especially vigilant in Spring as melting snow and ice, heavy rainfalls, and high water flows on lakes and rivers can make for rapidly changing conditions. Preventative action can minimize loss to buildings, docks and boathouses, but overland flooding remains a real risk for those located in or near a flood plain. FOCA posts related info, including links to emergency messaging and regular water bulletins for the Great Lakes, Trent Severn & Rideau waterways, and from the Ontario Surface Water Monitoring Centre, here:Links to Water Maps & BulletinsFOCA’s Silver level sponsorsSponsors support our work, please support them.FOCA Fosters Communityupcoming event: Creating a Cardiac Safe Cottage Community Wednesday, April 21, 202112:00pm-1:00pmRegister to join us for a one-hour “lunch and learn” with FOCA and our partners at Action First Aid, about the importance of 24/7 access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and how to create a cardiac safe cottage community. Highlights of the agenda:hear a story from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) survivorunderstand the difference between SCA and Heart Attack, and when to use an AEDlearn how to use crowdfunding to place 24/7 accessible AEDs in your cottage community!Registration is open to all FOCA Association Members, and Individual/Family Supporters. There is no charge to attend, as the event is sponsored by Action First Aid.
Register for the webinar now
BONUS: Everyone who attends the April 21st event will be entered into a draw to win one of 3 seats in Action First Aid’s new on-line training program: CPR/AED & Basic First Aid Awareness.FOCA at the Virtual Cottage Life ShowFOCA’s Terry Rees is speaking THIS WEEKEND at the Virtual Cottage Life & Outdoor Living Show (March 26-28). This year, you can attend for free to hear expert speakers, view DIY presentations, and connect with cottage country product and service providers, all from the comfort of your own home. Register for all the fun, and start planning for brighter days, here: 
Free registration for the Cottage Life Show!Terry will present “Top Tips for extending your time at the lake this year.” Ready to ‘make the jump’? Here’s what you need to know. Plan your virtual visit to the show to coincide with one of Terry’s talk times:Friday, March 26th at 11:00am EDTSaturday, March 27th at 11:00am EDTSunday, March 28th at 11:00am EDTFOCA is Building our CapacityWelcome, Kirk!With FOCA’s Membership & Programs Coordinator Deanna Forgie away on maternity leave, FOCA is pleased to welcome Kirk Kuipers as our Membership Coordinator
Kirk is a graduate of McMaster University with a degree in History, and in 2019 he complete the accelerated Paralegal degree program at Seneca College. Kirk has worked in inventory management and in immigration law before he moved to Peterborough and began his new role with FOCA. 
Kirk has enjoyed many summers at his family’s cottage at Crow Lake in South Frontenac. Kirk can be reached at the main FOCA email address: info@foca.on.caPartner Updates & Regional NoticesOntario WaterpowerCoincident with the Ontario Waterpower Association‘s (OWA) annual Queen’s Park Day on March 24, MPP Mike Mantha (Algoma – Manitoulin) is introducing a private member’s bill that would see June 20th in Ontario declared as “Waterpower Day“. Fully one quarter of the province’s electricity comes from this renewable source. FOCA recently wrote about waterpower and our data sharing partnership with OWA, to map where waterfront property owners and the waterpower industry overlap on the landscape. Read the article in the 2020 Lake Stewards Newsletter (page 15), or contact the office if you have local questions, as the map is not posted publicly, but is accessible by FOCA.Kawartha Conservation Mapping ToolMembers in the Kawartha Conservation (KC) region can now consult an online mapping tool to see if your property is in a regulated area or impacted by source water protection considerations. If so, you will need to apply for the appropriate permit or Source Protection Notice before any development, construction or site alteration such as grading, fill placement or excavation. Visit the online map.Short Term Rental Survey: Tiny Twp.The Township of Tiny is in the process of developing a licensing framework for Short Term Rental (STR) properties in Tiny, and is seeking feedback from residents to guide the process. Click here for information and a link and remember to take the survey by 4:30pm on April 2, 2021.Lake of the Woods water quality Tuesday, March 30, 2021 – You are invited to have your say about the future of Lake of the Woods water quality! Take part in an online webinar meeting and town hall discussion, organized by the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation in partnership with the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association, to connect you directly to the Lake of the Woods policy team at Environment and Climate Change Canada. Click the appropriate link to register for your preferred time: midday: March 30/21 at 12pm (CT)or evening: March 30/21 at 7pm (CT)Unavailable to attend either webinar?Visit the website launched by Environment and Climate Change Canada, join active discussions, get notifications, and share relevant materialsWaste Bin Site Transition ongoingThe District Municipality of Muskoka released its 2020 annual report on the status of the removal of all unlicensed waste bin sites by 2023, as mandated by the Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP). FOCA has several member associations affected by the removal of these waste bins, which have especially served island cottages at landing points. The plan was modified in mid-2020 due to the pandemic and “on-going waste operations challenges” and is now a multi-year effort of transition planning for each community. Read the full 2020 Report online, or jump to the community-by-community summary from the Appendix.Tackling climate change in eastern Georgian Bay ICECAP (the Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans) reached a milestone in its first year, recently releasing a model to help participating Georgian Bay municipalities inventory carbon emissions. To assist in the calculations, the Georgian Bay Biosphere (GBB) developed a ‘Carbon Calculator‘ online tool which can be used by anyone. Among other things, the results underscore how important boating transportation is to the region. The next steps involve working with each community to set targets to model achievable greenhouse gas emissions and consulting with councils and community members of Local Climate Action Plans. Learn more from GBB here.FOCA’s Bronze level sponsorsSponsors support our work, please support them.Final ThoughtsEnjoy every season!Thanks to Jennifer K. who shared these spectacular pictures of her family’s lake ice curling rink on Round Lake in Havelock, from earlier this season. She wrote: “I used flour and food colouring for the rings and a cement mold with epoxy for my rocks.”We love it! Thanks for sending us the pictures. Share your own seasonal updates with FOCA!FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations, the voice of the waterfront for over 55 years.Find out more about YOUR ROLE | 705-749-3622 | https://foca.on.caConnect with our channels: ‌  ‌  ‌Did someone forward this message to you? Join nearly 12,000 Elert subscribers:Click here to get free FOCA Elerts
FOCA believes everyone has the right to hear about issues that affect waterfront Ontario. Those who have an existing relationship with FOCA may receive email from us, based on principles of Express or Implied Consent in Canadian Anti Spam legislation. You can unsubscribe from Elerts at any time, using the ‘Safe Unsubscribe’ link below.
Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations | #201-159 King St., Peterborough, ON K9J 2R8 CanadaUnsubscribe alancoxwell@gmail.comCustomer Contact Data NoticeSent by powered byTry email marketing for free today!

What FOCA is up to in 2021

What a fellow member had to say, about a recent FOCA webinar:“I want to say, I have been trying to attend your seminars for several years, can never make it. JUST LOVE THE WEBINAR! And I’m not a kid, I’m 68, it was my first time attending a webinar, and it was so simple and informative. Thanks!”

 Advocacy & Policy Updates
Fair Electricity PricingHydro One Networks has written to all 147,649 seasonal class electricity customers to explain how they will be moved to one of the three residential density-based classes. The notice includes Hydro One’s estimate of your average monthly electricity use over the past 12 months, in kWh, so you can compare your new estimated rate at the same consumption level. 
It is the approximately 78,000 seasonal customers moving to the Low Density (R2) class that will see the largest bill impacts, with total bill increases of up to 100%. The seasonal rate class may be eliminated as early as January 1, 2022.
1. Check your notice, and if you think your classification is incorrect, call the Hydro One Networks Customer Service line: 1-888-664-9376. Areas with 100 or more customers, and at least 15 customers for every kilometer of power line used to supply energy to the zone, are intended to become “Medium Density” but FOCA has already heard of cases where the designation on the Notice was incorrect.
2. Contact your MPPAlthough the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is an independent public agency, FOCA encourages everyone to contact their Ontario Member of Parliament to provide first-hand feedback to our politicians about the negative impact of this change on your household budget. More than 1,200 actions have already been undertaken by you and your fellow waterfront property owners, including:emailing the MPP of your seasonal property calling the MPP of your seasonal property (speaking notes provided) emailing the MPP of your permanent residence.It only takes a moment to input your address and use the online software to automatically find your MPP. We have provided a template message to make it quick and easy. (Pro tip: customize the subject line and first paragraphs to ensure your message gets read!) Join over 1,200 other concerned citizens and take action, here: continues to post background on the subject, here: Electricity webpage.   Winter Safety
Bubblers: what you need to knowFOCA was recently asked by a member about the implications of using a “bubbler” to keep winter ice away from docks or in-water boathouses. We referred them to this handy overview (download the PDF, 1 page) from our colleagues at Cade Associates Insurance Brokers, who manage the FOCA Association Liability Program. Program Updates
Lake Partner ProgramDespite the ongoing upheaval of continued pandemic restrictions, the Lake Partner Program (LPP) of water quality monitoring on Ontario’s inland lakes is currently gearing up for the 2021 season. Results from 2020 sampling will be available later this Spring. 
Dr. Liz Favot, FOCA’s Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator based at the Dorset Environmental Science Centre, will speak about the LPP at FOCA’s AGM & Spring Seminar on March 6, 2021. Lake Stewards can register to attend the Spring Seminar.
Lake stewards may be particularly interested in the Troubled Waters ForumWebinar Series mentioned above, whose speakers have been referencing the LPP data, and the important annual work of volunteer citizen scientists across the province. Thank you for your ongoing efforts! 
Find out more about the LPP here:
Invasive Species Awareness WeekFebruary 22 – 26, 2021 – if your Association has a social media presence, and is involved in efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species, FOCA and our partners encourage you to participate in this year’s Invasive Species Awareness Week! Post and share with the hashtag #InvSpWk on your social media platform of choice. FOCA’s posts are on Facebook and Twitter. Recent Events & Partner Updates
ROMA ConferenceJanuary 25-26, 2021 – FOCA and municipal partners from across rural Ontario participated in the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association(ROMA) Conference, held digitally this year. ROMA is the rural arm of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). ROMA supports strong and effective rural governments, and brings priority issues affecting rural and northern communities to the attention of the provincial and federal governments. Learn more about the importance of municipal government to our lake communities, here:  
Asian carp partners webinar February 17, 2021 – FOCA and our partners at the Invasive Species Centre, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters shared information about collaborative efforts to reach key audiences in preventing the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.Watch the webinar here.
Coming up next:
March 1-4, 2021 – Ontario Invasive Species Forum. This forum will feature discussions about best practices in invasive species management and strategies to implement going forward. FOCA will speak about the great work underway by lake and cottage associations during the “Community Action” session from 3:00pm to 4:30pm on Tuesday, March 2nd. Register by end of day on February 26th, by clicking here. ($25 or contact for a no-charge code) More Upcoming Events & Regional Notices
Virtual Spring Cottage Life Show March 26-28, 2021 – Join us at the Virtual Show. FOCA’s Terry Rees will be speaking on the “main stage” with Cottage Life, talking about: Top 5 considerations for those thinking about making the jump to spending more time at the cottage this year!Register to attend for free, by clicking here._______________
Long Term Management of Nuclear WasteThe Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) wants Ontario residents’ input in a survey to understand current community awareness and thoughts about the way NWMO and communities communicate and engage with the siting communities about Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. Read more online from NWMO, the Township of Ignace, and the Municipality of South Bruce. The survey is open to all Ontario residents until February 26, 2021
NOTE: earlier this month, FOCA was one of over 100 public interest community groups who signed a joint letter setting our expectations for a nuclear waste review that must be transparent, and independent of the nuclear industry. Read the letter, posted here:
Polystyrene Dock Foam BillFOCA’s member group, the Georgian Bay Association, has launched a campaign to support MPP Norman Miller’s Private Member’s Bill 228, Keeping Polystyrene Out of Ontario’s Lakes and Rivers Act, which is being presented for second reading in the Ontario Legislature on February 23, 2021. You can write your local MPP in support of the bill; information is posted here:
Lake of the Woods island preservation announcedimage of Town Island_ CBC.caThe Nature Conservancy of Canada has announced a deal to buy a mostly undeveloped 70 hectare island, instead of having it sold by the City of Kenora to developers, as long as the group can raise $2.85 million by summer 2022. Read the CBC news item here._______________
Haliburton Animal TracksThe Haliburton Highlands Land Trust‘s (HHLT) discovery days “Animal Tracks and Signs” continues through February. Post your pictures and sightings on the HHLT’s Facebook page or submit via email to with the subject line #MyBackyardChallenges._______________
Kawartha SurveyDo you spend time in the Kawartha Lakes watershed: Balsam, Cameron, Sturgeon, Pigeon or Scugog Lake? If so, Kawartha Conservation‘s Watershed Management Department wants to hear from you. They are undergoing a review of their current monitoring programs and need your input. Help shape the science that protects your environment. Click here to take the survey by February 28, 2021. FOCA’s Silver-level Sponsors

Lake Environments
Blue Green Algae webinarFebruary 9, 2021 – enjoy the recording of the Environment Haliburton talk by Dr. Liz Favot, FOCA’s Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator, about algae: the good, the bad and the ugly. The 45 minute presentation is followed by a panel Q&A session, with Professor Barb Elliot and Dr Norman Yan. Click here to view the recording on YouTube._____________
Invasive quagga mussels and phosphorusimage: Researchers from the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota Duluth have released a study of their analysis of the cycling of phosphorus in lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, showing that the concentrations of phosphorus are now regulated by the population dynamics of the invasive quagga mussel. Read the research brief online here._____________
Mercury Poisoning among North Ontario AnglersThis recent CBC story is a graphic example of why monitoring and reporting environmental conditions is so critical. A Sault Ste. Marie tournament angler who ate his catch several times a week developed dangerously high mercury levels with serious physical effects. The Province posts a map searchable by waterbody, where you can review sport fish consumption advisories by species and size. Click here to visit the map. FOCA’s Bronze-level Sponsors

Statistics Canada is hiring 
The next Census will take place in May 2021.
Statistics Canada is temporarily hiring approximately 9,000 people across Ontario to assist with aspects of the census process. The job start and end dates vary by position and location, but will be part-time between March and July 2021.
Find out more here:   Your Role: FOCA 50K 
We are very proud of FOCA’s Elert subscription list, which is now over 11,800 strong, and growing every week. Will you help us achieve our ambitious goal of increasing that to 50,000 subscribers? 
We know there are folks out there who love waterfront Ontario as much as you do. Please encourage your waterfront neighbours and fellow association members to sign up directly for these monthly e-news updates from FOCA. 
You can help us by sharing this message:
The “Elert” is FOCA’s free monthly e-newsletter, filled with cottage country updates on waterfront living, environmental and policy developments, and so much more. Subscribe to the free FOCA Elert, today:  
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations, the voice of the waterfront for over half a century    |    705-749-3622    | 

Care to fight Phragmites?

We are writing to all our member Associations today, with an offer of some potential project funding for your Association to do some on-the-ground Phragmites control projects, via FOCA. 
Proposals are due Friday, March 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m
Please see below for more details. Sincerely,
Terry Rees
Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association (FOCA) Executive  705-749-3622
2021 FOCA Phragmites Control Program
FOCA is working with the “Green Shovels Coalition” – a collaborative that includes the Invasive Species Centre (ISC), Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) – to continue FOCA’s important work around invasive species management. 
Invasive species are one of the top threats to the integrity of aquatic ecosystems, to the quality of the recreational experience on the water, and to the economic success of rural communities. In particular, FOCA is very concerned about the potential impacts of invasive Phragmites and the effect they will have on our quality of life in Ontario.
FOCA is seeking participation from a select number of our Member Associations to run Projects aimed at grassroots control and community outreach addressing Phragmites at the local level. FOCA will provide eligible lake associations with funding and/or resources that will be used to carry out these Projects. Ideas for projects are described in more detail, below. 
Association Projects
Associations will be provided funds to conduct Projects aimed at addressing invasive Phragmites. The Projects can focus on Education and Outreach, or Phragmites Control, Management, and Eradication, or can contain elements of both. Member associations will be required to submit a Final Report outlining project expenditures, to provide images of the work in-progress and/or completed, and to demonstrate how the Project achieves goals in the following focus areas:Education and outreach – promotion of provincial BMPs (best management practices), increase awareness of invasive species and prevention activities. e.g., installation of signage at relevant sites, distribution of educational materials/programs, or hiring experts.Invasive species control, management, and eradicatione.g., contributing to research trials to test efficacy of invasive species control, purchasing equipment or technical services such as hiring an external contractor to conduct management or eradication of Phragmites. Projects may be funded up to $4000 for eligible expenses.
Visit FOCA’s webpage highlighting Pilot Projects that were previously completed as part of the broader Invasive Species Program for more ideas:  FOCA will review all proposals received by March 15, and will notify the selected associations by March 19, 2021. Projects will be selected based on feasibility, the funds required, and whether the Project activities fall within the categories outlined above. If you are interested in participating in this program, please respond by email to by March 15th with a Proposed Project Outline, including all of the information described below.  
Proposed Project Outline
Please copy and paste this format into your email response, or otherwise ensure your Project Proposal includes all the following information:
Lake Association Name: ______________
Main Contact’s Name: _______________
Contact Email: _______________
Contact Daytime Phone: ____________
Pilot Project Goals: __________________________________(describe what you intend to do, and which of the focus areas listed above will be addressed by your Project) 
Estimate of funds required: ______________
Estimated date the Project can be completed: ________________(must adhere to all Health Unit guidelines on physical distancing and COVID-19 safety)
If you have additional questions before submitting your Project Proposal, please feel free to contact the FOCA office at
Remember: Pilot Project Proposals are due by email to info@foca.on.caby 11:59 p.m. on March 15, 2021.
We look forward to hearing from you! 

Big electricity price increase coming to a cottage near you

As many of you know, the proposed Electricity Pricing changes to seasonal rates to cottagers is forecasted to double. FOCA has undertaken an email letter writing campaign to ask for consideration for a more favorably changed rate.

 Please join in supporting FOCA’s campaign for Fair Electricity Pricing. Write our MPP Daryl Kramp  – details are here:

Membership facilitation

Dear Cottagers,

Thank you for your membership in the Limerick Waterways Ratepayers’ Association (LWRA) last year.  We would appreciate your support of the LWRA again this year.

 While this summer will look different from others on the social front, your LWRA Board of Directors continues to work on environmental issues that affect the lakes for everyone now and into the future.  We are investing in programs to prevent invasive species, maintain  the AED at Limerick Lodge and are monitoring the work being done on Limerick Estates.

In order to cover our fixed annual costs we need a minimum of 30 paid memberships.  Many of our members renew their dues at our social events so we hope you can consider renewing using electronic means even if we don’t see you in person.

Memberships can be renewed in a number of ways.

  1. Etransfer to    password “  limerick  “  (preferred method since transaction fee is nil)

  1. PayPal by credit or debit card.    Link:

  1. PayPal through our website at

If using PayPal on your mobile phone you may need to download the PayPal App

  1. Cash or cheque dropped off at Argue cottage (135 north shore) or at the Limerick Lodge store.

  1. Cheque mailed to  our Treasurer Mary Argue  (please respond to this email for the mailing  address)

Please encourage your cottage friends and neighbours to become members this year as well.

Enjoy the summer!

Best Regards,

Mike Douglas-Hecker

Tel: 647-290-1326

Email:  or

Welcome to Summer 2020

Dear Fellow Cottagers

This will certainly be a year to remember and we sincerely hope that our members and families have managed to avoid the Covid-19 and stay healthy. For our members that haven’t been able to reach the Limerick waters yet this year, please stay healthy and we look forward to your smiling faces when you do arrive. 

While we won’t be able to have our normal AGM, we hope to have one electronically.  Stay  tuned for an update in a few days.

We have not been able to have our usual get togethers but many of our members continue to contribute to the well being of our waters.  I will highlight a few


As reported by Ed Offshack the mining issue for the present is dormant. However we must be vigilant and act on known activities.  The group (which Ed is part of on our behalf) representing different area Cottagers’ Associations are still in contact with one another.


My recent discussions with the Regional Manager of Forest Lands indicates that due to Covid-19 there has been very limited activity and will be for some time. This organization has clearly indicated they will operate in a very sound, environmentally responsible way. As many may not know, this company is principally staffed at the headquarters level with personnel educated and trained to successfully manage a renewable resource.   

Invasive Species 

George Offshack and I attended the spring seminar of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) and what a scientific eye-opener it was. Little did I know there is a myriad of invasive species – plants, crustaceans, fish etc. that can adversely affect our water.  One action which resulted from that seminar through co-operation between the LWRA and Limerick Lake Lodge and Marina is that a boat wash was started up at the marina and a chained check-point was created at the boat launch to minimize boats foreign to our local waters launching without inspection or chemical cleaning. This builds on our LWRA signage at all boat entry points throughout our waters.  We have applied for a FOCA grant to offset some of the start-up costs.  Steenburg Lake Cottage Association is looking to follow suit as is Weslemkoon Lake Cottagers’ Association.  This is great news for us as Steenburg flows into Limerick. Please continue to encourage anyone bringing a boat to utilize the wash station.


As Jan Mackillican has reported this year was a successful “pump out year”.  Thank you Jan for your contribution and leadership and thank you to all of the participants in contributing to our well being.

Water testing – indications are that this is in momentary pause and I hope that we can fulfill this important effort in the years to come.


 Through discussions at the last 2 seminars of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) with scientists from Queen’s University and Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) there is interest in testing and examining our waters and sharing information with us on how we can help to further protect our waters.  This is another activity on hold but we will continue to pursue this in the future.

Turtles – update from Kelly 

Typically each year the turtles nest from mid-May to mid-July with June being the ‘peak’ month for nesting activity. After a slow start due to the erratic temperatures and weather patterns that accompanied spring the turtles are finally nesting and making up for the delay with a wave of nesting unlike past years. We are ‘NOW’ into the thick of turtle nesting season!

If you have known there to be turtle activity on your property be sure to check in the mornings and evenings for turtle visitors over the next couple weeks and into July. Should a turtle be observed nesting on your property you have the unique opportunity to protect the turtle nest with a nest protector and monitor the nest through the incubation period. Under your watchful eye this has the potential of contributing to species recovery efforts in your localized area by ensuring the hatchlings’ get the best possible start to what is hoped to be a long and fruitful journey. By selecting a location in the hatchlings intended body of water that has vegetation that will serve as protective covering as well as shallow and varying water depths for the little turtles to transition to as they grow this will significantly increase their chances of survival. This may seem like a small act but faced with the alternative being that hatchlings will instinctively head into open water where many predators are lying in wait and the survival rate is less then 1% your assistance could make a world of difference.

To read about helping nesting turtles, protecting nests, monitoring nests and other turtle related matters checkout the Think Turtle Conservation Initiative WordPress Blog or our Facebook page thinkturtleci. Thank you for engaging in efforts to help the Ontario turtles!

Local Government

As our Municipal Council nears their mid-term I would like to thank them for their continuing efforts to make Limerick a better place to live and play.

Limerick Lake Estates seems to be making progress. Our local Council is addressing this matter and making sure the developers are adhering to the covenants of the Building Code and the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) ruling. 

Summer Activities

We will discuss and seek input at our AGM on how we can have some summer fun while still meeting our social distancing requirements.  If anyone has ideas, please share with Mary who leads our canoe activities and Alan who leads our annual sailing regatta. Maybe a good summer to do something where we can help out our community while social distancing – i.e. a clean-up weekend of our roadways into the lakes.

Sailboat Races 

The 2020 Sailboat Races will take place on the Sunday of the long week in August just as they have in past years. The starter’s horn will sound at 2 p.m. sharp in front of Alan Coxwell’s cottage in the middle of the lake with two laps of the triangular course around the islands and two buoys. There are no classes in this race so if you have a sailboat you are welcome to join in. 

Social distancing should not be a problem, especially if Bob Bennett is as far behind as he was in the 2019 race. The trophy will be awarded somewhere shortly after the race is completed.  (Likely on Alan’s dock)


Member renewal is even easier than before- we now have paypal.  Please sign onto our blog and click on the paypal link in the top right corner. 

In closing – as we get ready to enjoy summer, please be safe and wherever you can help a neighbor – getting their groceries or meds or a small chore, so that we can minimize pressure on our local communities, while we are helping each other.

To all – have a great summer and Happy Cottaging!

Best Regards

Mike Douglas-Hecker

FOCA thanks us

Dear Limerick Waterways Ratepayers Association Board of Directors,

Thank you for your association’s continued support of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA)! I am writing you today to let you know about FOCA and the benefits of being members. Association benefits include tools and resources, a vote at the FOCA AGM and access to the FOCA member rate on Commercial General Liability and Directors & Officers Insurance. Your Association members can access all FOCA’s membership benefits, including the boat and cottage insurance program CottageFirst. Please see the attached document for all of FOCA’s current member benefits and offers. This letter should be shared with your members.Please see the following link in case you missed FOCA’s latest Elert:

FOCA represents the people who live at the waterfront in Ontario, whether seasonally or year-round. Our members are lake and road associations, some very small and some very large, and every size in between. FOCA is made up of more than 500 property Associations across Ontario cottage country – a total of 50,000 families. Our united voice carries weight on issues that matter.

FOCA members live within the landscape, and are an integral part of the rural community. Despite the sometimes humble trappings of lake meetings, and the casual clothes, folks in cottage country are dedicated and passionate, vested in the future and intimately familiar with the resources, special attributes and changes happening on our lakes and rivers.

FOCA acts as an information bridge between policy-makers and property owners on significant issues, including:

-The long-term environmental integrity of Ontario’s freshwater resources

-Fair property taxation

-Effective land use planning

-Risk management for volunteer groups

-Rural safety and emergency preparedness in the face of extreme weather developments in recent years

For over 50 years, FOCA has played a key role in waterfront Ontario. Please refer to FOCA’s Resources page ( for more information.

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations, a not-for-profit organization representing volunteer associations and individual property owners all across Ontario. We are your provincial voice. Associations like yours help support FOCA’s vision to protect thriving and sustainable waterfronts across Ontario.

Once again, thank you for your support!

Take care,

Deanna Panitz

Membership and Programs Coordinator