Vol. 33 No. 3, Fall 2023 Fighting Fire With WhatsApp ..........4 GBA Delivers Two More Coastal Protection Committee Projects.................................................. 5 Septic System Guide ............................8 Fishing Is Complex: Know the Correct Standards and Practices...9 ED’s Advocacy Report.......................14 President’s Report ............................16 Thanks and Goodbye Cosette Shipman................................17 Upcoming Events...............................18 News and Information from the Georgian Bay Association The Ojibway Hotel: How One Man’s Vision Built a Community PAGE 6 PAGE 10 PM # 40038178 GBA U P D A T E Your Voice on the Bay Mandatory PFD Wear Initiative INSIDE: Facing Climate Change Continues on page 2 While GBA works on many seemingly disparate issues, there is one common thread that touches virtually every file: climate change. From GBA’s Aquaculture Committee to our Water Committee, rising global temperatures are having an impact on how the Georgian Bay environment is changing. We wanted to examine those impacts through the lens of some of our committees, while also looking forward at what we can do to combat climate change. Aquaculture The global phenomenon of rising temperatures applies to our waters as well, and can increase the risk of toxic and non-toxic algal blooms. When we combine that with an increased nutrient load from open-net fish farms, this could worsen existing issues related to aquaculture in Georgian Bay. Interestingly, sustained high temperatures in the waters around the fish farms has meant that net-pen fish farm operator Cole-Munro has been looking at opening farms in Lake Superior, where the waters are colder. Boating, Safety and Emergencies An increased risk of fire due to changing weather patterns is what really stands out when it comes to this file. It feels like we dodged a bullet this summer, as much-needed rain came to relieve our tinder-dry conditions in June. But smoky days and red sunsets were all-too-frequent reminders of the impact on our neighbours in Quebec and northern Ontario who weren’t so lucky. And it has only been a handful of years since the terrible Parry Sound 33 fire in 2018 devastated more than 110 square kilometres around the French River. By Liz Phillips, GBA President
2 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 Continued from page 1 Fishing Like the aquaculture file, warming waters could impact both recreational and commercial fishing activities in Georgian Bay. Habitat for cold-water fish such as whitefish could be lost, while habitat for warm-water species such as walleye and smallmouth bass could increase. The Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) is actively studying the decline in whitefish populations, a culturally and economically important species for SON communities. They are using a two-eyed seeing approach to apply traditional knowledge and Western scientific methods to investigate this issue. Lands and Forests This committee is primarily concerned with both invasive species and species at risk – both of which are negatively affected by climate change. As the temperatures increase, invasive species that previously found our environment too harsh are increasingly able to thrive. Blacklegged or deer ticks, the main vector for Lyme disease, is one particularly clear example. The range of these ticks, once restricted to Long Point in southern Ontario, has been moving about 46 kilometres north every year, and they can now be found in the Georgian Bay area. While habitat destruction is the main threat to the well-being of the many species of reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, and plants that are currently at risk in Ontario, the changing environment is making it harder for our native species to adapt. Loss of habitat may be further precipitated by the possibility of increased variability in water levels and more frequent extreme high and low water levels. Water Last, but certainly not least, our beautiful Georgian Bay water will likely be greatly affected by our warming planet. Water quality will be directly impacted by more intense storm surges and extreme weather events that can lead to flooding, erosion, and an increase in runoff full of pollutants, sediment, or sewage. Winter access to our cottages may become more difficult, given the predictions for reduced ice cover. What Can You and GBA Do? You are probably already aware of many of the things you can do to combat climate change at the individual level. Our partners at Georgian Bay Biosphere have a great list on page 21 of their new State of the Bay (bit.ly/Sotb2023). These actions include pushing for new policies, driving less where possible, choosing cleaner energy sources for your home and car, using energy more efficintly overall, eating less meat (especially beef), reducing waste and composting, and planting trees. However individual action alone is not enough: we also need solutions at governmental, institutional, and corporate levels. That’s where GBA can help, by focusing the 30,000+ voices we represent and pointing them at those entities to make sure they are listening. We know that when it comes to climate change it can feel like there is only ever bad news. However, there are good news stories starting to emerge as well; concrete actions are being taken and are having tangible effects. There is positive momentum underway and GBA plans on helping to ensure that the movement continues to pick up speed. Ixodes scapularis on a blade of grass. Whitefish catch.
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4 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 LAND & FORESTS Fighting Fire With WhatsApp At the beginning of this summer, the threat of fire in the Georgian Bay area was high, and a fire ban had been issued across the province. It looked like we were in for a nerve-racking summer. And then it rained. And rained some more. Nevertheless, a number of our member associations found themselves fighting fires on islands in the north and the south of the Bay, and some interesting learnings have come out of these experiences. The first fire took place in the South Channel Association (SCA) area in early July, in Massasauga Provincial Park, Devil's Elbow access point. Smoke was first seen at 6:10 p.m., and a call went out over the SCA WhatsApp emergency group. Within 15 minutes, five fire pumps were on their way to the site, and the fire was contained before 7 p.m. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) helicopter arrived shortly after and stayed overnight to watch for hot spots. A similar story happened in the Bay of Islands (BICA) at the end of July, when a sauna caught fire in the middle of the afternoon. Smoke was first spotted just before 3 p.m., and communicated over the BICA WhatsApp fire pump group. The first pump was on site within 20 minutes, with 10 pumps on the scene by 3:30 p.m. By the time the MNRF helicopter flew by less than 10 minutes later, the fire had already been extinguished. Here are some of the key lessons learned from these incidents: ≥ Social media networks such as WhatsApp can be an effective way to get word out quickly to many people. ≥ At the same time, it is important to keep the social media channels clear from non-emergency chatter. SCA manages this by having two separate WhatsApp threads: one for reporting emergencies, and another for those willing to respond to them. ≥ If there's an emergency, call 911 or 310-FIRE right away. ≥ As soon as the fire is located, someone should send the fire’s location to responders, e.g., using a Google map pin or what3words. ≥ Having a network of fire pumps across as many islands as possible is crucial to a rapid response, regardless of where the fire is happening. ≥ Conduct an inventory of fire pumps in your area, and make sure that hoses are compatible in case additional length is required. Couplers can be purchased for this purpose. ≥ Have a map of where all local fire pumps are located. ≥ Fire responders should wear appropriate fire-fighting gear, such as long pants, boots, and work gloves. No shorts, bare feet, or sandals! ≥ Bring tools such as rakes and shovels. Take some time to think about how you can reduce the risk of fire around your cottage. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. FireSmart Canada has updated information about the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ) you can read about here: bit.ly/FireSmartHIZ The content of this article is not advice and is intended for informational purposes only. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk and GBA does not warrant or represent any aspect of any information and shall not be held liable if a reader of it suffers any injury or loss after relying upon such information. GBA does not warrant or represent that any information or resources referred to in the article will be constantly available, or available at all, or that they are accurate, complete, current or non-misleading. By Liz Phillips, GBA President, and Stephen Sprague, GBA Vice President
5 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 Municipal Planning Comparison Project As more intensive development pushes north, GBA believes it is vital that municipalities maintain the ability to protect the Georgian Bay coastline and its sensitive environments while also balancing other goals such as growth, attainable housing, and sound municipal services. In 2021, the GBA launched the Municipal Planning Comparison Project (MPCP), in consultation with the Township of the Archipelago (TOA), Township of Carling (TOC), Township of Georgian Bay (TGB), Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands (NEMI), and Municipality of Killarney (MOK). The MPCP compared the strategic plans, official plans and comprehensive zoning bylaws of the coastal municipalities through the lens of “coastal protection.” The project focused on the policies and bylaws that fall within the coastal designations and any topic related to development that would impact the coastline. Findings: GBA identified similarities, differences, and gaps across the coastal municipalities’ regulations. The main differences are in the waterfront residential and commercial lot requirements. This includes lot and island minimum size, maximum coverage, minimum frontage, and setbacks. We shared our findings in the executive summary posted at bit.ly/MPCP_ES and in a full comparison posted at bit.ly/MPCP-report. GBA also presented our findings to each municipality's council (view the presentation bit.ly/MPCP-ppt). A major goal of the MPCP report was to encourage municipalities to prioritize protecting the coastline when reviewing their planning regulations. The report gives municipalities a tool to review and compare each other's coastal building policies and bylaws, and other requirements related to development that impact the coastline. GBA hopes this will trigger discussions around sound planning standards on development in the coastal area, and possibly lead to better alignment in the standards. After completing the report and delegations, the Coastal Protection Committee hopes to engage municipalities on several priority development rules on the coastline. We aim to facilitate discussion with the municipalities on these issues to see how coastal protection might be enhanced. We should also discuss how aligning policies might help the municipalities to defend their planning regulations when they are challenged by applicants for new building. Septic System Guide See page 8 for more about our Septic System Guide. WATER GBA Delivers Two More Coastal Protection Committee Projects Municipal Planning Comparison Project and Septic System Guide completed By John Carson, Wah Wah Taysee Association and Cosette Shipman, GBA Coastal Protection Project Coordinator
6 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 BOATING By Andrew Hurlbut, Chair, Boating, Safety, and The State of Boating: Emergencies Committee In Canada, more than 12.4 million people enjoy recreational boating annually, and participation is increasing. On average 111 people die each year in recreational boating accidents in Canada. While the overall number of fatalities has been declining since 1990, the average number of deaths due to improper use or absence of a personal flotation device (PFD) has not. In 2020, because of travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic, there was a significant increase in recreational boating interest and a rise in fatalities. The stats tell the story. Not wearing a PFD or improper use of a PFD is a factor in 89 per cent of marine fatalities. Victims are overwhelmingly adults, and 90 per cent are male, with small power boats and canoes being the vessels involved most often in fatalities. Initiatives The Mandatory PFD Wear Initiative began in 2019 when Transport Canada Marine Safety (TCMS) began working with a behavioural scientist to examine PFD use. In 2020, TCMS conducted an online survey, and in 2021 they conducted an observational study on site. Last year TCMS tested new messaging approaches to encourage PFD use. Concurrently, in summer 2021, the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the OPP conducted an aerial observation study of PFD usage on the water in four Ontario locations. The Drowning Prevention Research Centre also produced a report in 2021 using coroner’s data to chart recreational boatingrelated fatalities in Canada from 2008 to 2017. Results Online survey ≥ Although 47.8 per cent of online survey respondents reported they always wear a PFD, results varied widely depending on activity, skill level, and vessel type. ≥ Participants across all skill levels agreed that not wearing some flotation device while boating was irresponsible. Onsite Observations ≥ Observations at 10 marinas showed the PFD wear rate was 67 per cent for minors under 18 and 29 per cent for adults. ≥ Children aged 6 - 12 had a wear rate of 75 per cent. ≥ Women had a 38 per cent wear rate. ≥ Men had a 31 per cent wear rate. ≥ Wear rates were lower in larger vessels. Passengers were 46 times more likely to wear a PFD when the operator was also wearing one, indicating a role modelling effect. Fatality Report ≥ The fatality report showed that adult males in smaller boats and not wearing a PFD are the most common victims. Policy Options The results from these studies were analyzed to develop policy options for potential mandatory wear requirements. The proposed options are primarily based on three categories: boater age, vessel length, and vessel type. The main objective is to identify options with the most significant potential to reduce fatalities. Transport Canada recognizes that legislation alone is insufficient to reduce fatalities and improve wear rates. Ongoing education and outreach initiatives are needed to help people understand the importance of safety and encourage positive safety behaviours. As such, in 2022, TC conducted a study on the effectiveness of messaging. Next Steps Policy options for mandatory wear were sent in November 2022 to safety and enforcement groups, including police forces, safety organizations, and manufacturing associations, for review and feedback. It is important for our members that a Let’s Talk Transportation survey on the subject is scheduled for this year. There will be lots of input and discussion, but the prevailing sense is that the result will include regulations for mandatory PFD wear for all vessels six metres and less. Safety Requirements It is a legal requirement for all vessels to have a Transport Canada (TC) or Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) approved life jacket or PFD on board and readily accessible for each passenger on your boat. The tag inside the life jacket must show that it is certified and approved by either Transport Canada or the Canadian Coast Guard. Be aware that there are Mandatory PFD Wear Initiative
7 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 many life jacket-style flotation devices that are not TC or CCG-approved. Water ski vests and many children's floats will not fulfill your life jacket requirements. Stats show almost 90 per cent of people who drown in recreational boating accidents are not wearing a life jacket or PFD. Even if you have one on board, conditions like rough winds, waves, and cold water can make it very hard, if not impossible, to find it and put it on in an emergency. Wearing your life jacket or PFD on the water could save your life! Take time to find a style of life jacket that is comfortable to wear, fits properly and suits your needs. Choosing a lifejacket or PFD Life jackets provide more buoyancy than most PFDs and can keep a person afloat and turned onto their backs to facilitate breathing, even if the wearer is disabled or unconscious. Life jackets come only in red, orange, and yellow to be more visible in water. There are three Canadian-approved types: 1. Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) life jackets meet very high performance standards and are approved for all vessels. They come in two sizes — over 32 kg (70 lbs) or less than 32 kg and are available in comfortable and compact inflatable styles that can be automatically, manually, or orally inflated. 2. Standard-type life jackets are approved for all recreational vessels. They come in two sizes — over 40 kg (88 lbs) or less than 40 kg. 3. Small Vessel life jackets are less buoyant than standard type life jackets and will turn you on to your back, but may do so more slowly. They come in keyhole and vest styles in three sizes. For more information on selecting life jackets, check out Wear a Life Jacket (http://www.wearalifejacket.com). PFDs come in many styles, sizes, and colours, so choose a PFD based on your needs and your activity. If you are operating at high speeds, look for a PFD with three or more chest belts for security. If you are operating in cold water (less than 15°C), choose a PFD with thermal protection. Not all PFDs are brightly coloured, but it is a good idea to choose one that will enhance your visibility when in water. If you choose an inflatable PFD, ensure they are approved for your chosen activities. Under the Small Vessel Regulations, inflatable PFDs are prohibited for operators of personal watercraft and people who are under 16 years of age, or who weigh under 36.3 kg (80 lbs). Inflatable PFDs come in two styles: vest or pouch. All Canadian-approved inflatable PFDs have an oral inflation tube in case the CO2 inflation mechanism fails. If you are struggling to stay afloat, using this tube could be challenging. An emergency is not the time to try out a new device. Carefully read the manual for your PFD, test it, and ensure you know how to use it. 1. Vest types inflate automatically or are inflated orally or manually with a CO2 system. 2. Pouch types can be orally inflated or manually inflated by pulling a toggle to activate CO2 inflation. There are pros and cons to choosing a PFD over a life jacket. A PFD may be more comfortable because they are often less bulky as they are designed for constant wear and specific sports activities. However, PFDs are usually less buoyant than life jackets, may offer less thermal protection, and have limited capability to turn you in the water. Inflatable PFDs must also be used and maintained correctly to work. Whatever you choose, the best protection you can give yourself on the water is always to wear your life jacket or your PFD! 1 2 3 before after
8 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 COTTAGE By Rupert Kindersley, Executive Director and Cosette Shipman, GBA Coastal Protection Project Coordinator When it comes to managing private septic systems in rural Ontario, most of the information available focuses on Class 4 leaching bed systems. This is because they are the most common and popular type of system, especially for flushing toilets. As we put together our Septic System Guide (bit.ly/ GBASeptic), we realized that we needed to provide different information to cover all situations. The GBA membership is 95 per cent water access only and many reside on islands or lots with low or very low soil cover. Therefore, preserving water quality is a high priority and choosing the right system for your property becomes a lot more important. Class 4 systems work much better in areas with higher soil cover. With that in mind, GBA’s septics guide includes information on other systems that may work better for challenging soil conditions. To make the information more accessbile for our members, we also created an executive summary (bit.ly/ Septic-ES) and presentation (bit.ly/Septicpresentation) that provide a brief overview of these options and their pros and cons. The two primary options for most properties in cottage country (and the only options for new systems) are: 1. Class 4 systems, either conventional or advanced treatment units (ATU) 2. Composting toilets with a greywater pit – Class 1 & 2 However, residents who have a Class 5 holding tank in place are permitted to replace it with a new holding tank when necessary. Selecting the appropriate system is important, but taking proper care of it can significantly decrease the likelihood of water quality issues. Your septic system poses a greater environmental risk than anything else on your property, and it is also an expensive investment that you will want to keep in good condition. Therefore, we have made sure that the guide contains information on how to inspect and maintain all the different systems available to you, with links to more detail, if you need it. Please remember that your level of annual use and the capacity of the system you choose are important factors to consider, in addition to the pros and cons we have provided for each system. ≥ You might be surprised by the range of composting toilets that are now available and the innovative technology that has been developed to improve both the experience and functionality. ≥ Advanced treatment units can also make it possible to have a Class 4 system where that option might have posed too high a risk to the water quality at your property. ≥ Conversely, your holding tank system may not be as outdated as you think, and it can often be worthwhile taking advantage of the right to replace one, rather than switching to a system that may increase the risk to water quality. Please keep in mind that the guide is intended to complement the Ontario Building Code (OBC), local regulations, and guidance from industry professionals such as contractors, municipal staff, and installers. The OBC is the ultimate authority, with only limited flexibility at the municipal level. We remain optimistic that the OBC will give more consideration to the challenging property conditions that we face in Georgian Bay and elsewhere on the Canadian Shield. Developing this guide has made it clear that there is a need for the OBC to embrace new technologies that would expand the choices available to you, while potentially reducing the risk of environmental harm. This is likely to become more important as the impacts of climate change accelerate and water levels become more variable. Septic System Guide
9 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 By Lindsay Richards, Bay of Islands Association FISHERIES If you are old enough to remember the drawing of the youth fishing with a stick and string, barefoot, sitting on the shore of a pond, then you are old enough to know that fishing has become more complex for the casual angler. Likewise, the fishing industry, angler organizations, Indigenous peoples, governments, and scientists have a greater challenge today to determine the ethical manner in which to fish. Environmental conservation is key for fishing, just as it is in coastal preservation, removal/control of invasive species, or protecting water quality. Questions, research, opinions, and perspectives abound. Are you a sports angler or do you fish to put food on the table? Do you practice catch-and-release procedures that are safe for the fish? Do you use barbless hooks? Are you aware of federal and provincial government guidelines? Do fish feel pain? If you fish for deep-water fish, are you aware that there is science to indicate that these fish do not survive when released after being brought to the surface? All of these questions and more continue to be monitored in order to generate updated responses. Catch-and-Release Practices The two current schools of thought on catch-and-release practices centre on research and past practices. Neither should be discounted. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry 2023 fishing regulations regarding catch-andrelease require that all fish not destined for the dinner table be released immediately if the angler is over the fish limit for the day, if the fish is caught within a fish sanctuary zone, or if the fish is an endangered or threatened fish species. If photographs and documentation are required, then the caught fish must remain in a water well with an aerator. But the time for handling certain fish species out of the water, how to safely remove a hook, and generally how to handle fish to be released, is often unclear or unknown by anglers who fish in our waters. Scientists and researchers are researching these variables to improve fishing guidelines and practices in the near future. In addition, according to some Indigenous peoples, catchand-release procedures are harmful to fish and can cause premature death when they are returned to the water. They believe that fish should only be caught for consumption, and therefore, catch-and-release practices should be stopped. Accordingly, in some provinces, such as in BC, Indigenous peoples have called on the government to halt all catch-andrelease practices. Further investigation by Indigenous peoples and governments will provide more concrete answers as to the actual efficacy of such a ban. Education is the best remedy at this time for informed fishing practices. Staying up to date with ministry requirements, understanding your responsibilities in following licence requirements, sharing your knowledge about safe fishing practices with others – these basic practices will help you fish with a clear conscience, based on fact and following current regulation. Then you can fish with the satisfaction and relaxation of that young boy with a stick and a string. Fishing Is Complex: Know the Correct Standards and Practices fine dining, waterfront views, luxury amenities and accommodations. 2900 Kellys Road, Port Severn www.rawleyresort.com | 705-538-2272
10 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 HERITAGE By Allison Needham, Editor, GBA Update The story of the Ojibway Hotel tells the story of a community. The histories of Pointe au Baril cottagers and the Ojibway Hotel are so intertwined that it is difficult to follow one without becoming tangled in the other. American entrepreneur Hamilton Davis first fell in love with Pointe au Baril in 1902 while visiting his sister. Struck by the natural beauty of the area, he envisioned a place where visitors could enjoy the sunset with a walk along its dock, or relax on the charming veranda in the evenings. During the day, visitors could engage in activities such as playing parlour games, reading, rowing, paddling, swimming, and fishing. Learning that the railroad would be built on the mainland, he recognized the potential for another hotel (the nearby Bellevue Hotel, completed in 1900, was usually full), and searched for a big island with a sunset view, deep water, and easy boat access. He purchased the 42-acre Ojibway island for $210, perfect for fishing, rowing, and exploring in the protected waters. The Ojibway Hotel was ready for business in 1906. Visitors arrived by steamship from Collingwood, Penetang, or Parry Sound, bringing their trunks, long dresses, linen suits, and summer hats. Many would stay for weeks at a time, travelling by train from Rochester, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Toronto. On Friday nights, the Canadian Pacific Railway sleeper to Pointe au Baril would leave Toronto’s Union Station at 11 p.m. Weekend visitors boarded the northbound train and retired to their berths for the night. The Pullman car was detached at Pointe au Baril Station, allowing passengers to remain on board until morning. The Ojibway Hotel was not meant to be grandiose or extravagant, but rather exactly as Davis had imagined. The hotel’s bark-covered columns, twig furniture, and birchbranch bannisters were already reminiscent of the past. From The Ojibway Hotel: How One Man’s Vision Built a Community Source: Ojibway Historical Preservation Society
11 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 the very start, it seemed as though the hotel had always been there. But whether or not such a past had ever existed was beside the point, as far as Davis was concerned. He understood that the Ojibway Hotel was not the place anyone wanted to think of as new, even when it was. The traditions that became part of life at the Ojibway – the shore lunches, the sunset strolls along the dock, the Sunday singalongs, and the annual regatta – were established as traditions within the very first years of the hotel’s operation. Right from the beginning, the Ojibway played a significant role in the Pointe au Baril community, particularly with the increasing number of cottagers. The inaugural islanders’ regatta took place at the Ojibway dock in 1907 and has since been an annual event held on the first weekend of August. The Pointe au Baril Islanders’ Association (PABIA) established during a meeting at the Ojibway Hotel in 1908, with Davis serving on its executive for many years. Many cottagers made regular trips to the Ojibway to receive mail and purchase provisions from the store. Eventually, visits to the gift shop, laundry pickups, and Saturday night dances became a weekly routine for many cottagers. The hotel was firmly established as a fixture of many Pointe au Baril summers. And its success, among guests and locals alike, stemmed from a steadfast principle – things could only be allowed to change very slowly at the Ojibway. Davis always aimed to maintain a consistent, leisurely experience for returning guests. Each summer was like the last: bellhops delivered firewood to the cottages during blustery weather. Cozy fires warmed the stone fireplaces on cool nights, and the Sunday evening singalongs were held in the lounge. The hotel came to life each day with the delightful aroma of freshly brewed coffee and sizzling bacon, amid the sounds of shuffleboard matches, ping pong games, and children’s laughter. Each summer, Davis and his wife, Irene, sat at the same table near the kitchen doors, as they could keep an eye on everything from this vantage point. Two familiar faces, Bert Bruckland and Albert Desmasdon, greeted visitors each summer on the Ojibway dock, and each summer fishing guides took guests to the hidden shoals and back bays, preparing the same shore lunch of fish, fresh-picked berries, home fries and baked beans. See You on the Dock The Ojibway dock was central to summer life. The dock marked the start and end of summer holidays for hotel guests and islanders alike. The dock was perfect for swimming, Davis and the Pointe au Baril Islanders’ Association shared the responsibility of managing the Ojibway, including organizing the annual regatta which still takes place today. It was not uncommon for the guests of the Ojibway to spend every day of a vacation on the water with a fishing guide. Fishing prizes were coveted – a trophy for the week’s biggest catch sat proudly on the winner’s table in the dining room. Albert Desmasdon managed the boat and hardware repair shops at Ojibway dock from 1923 to the late 1960s. He later founded Desmasdon’s Boat Works Limited in Pointe au Baril with his sons. Continues on page 12 Source: Ojibway Historical Preservation Society Source: Ojibway Historical Preservation Society Source: Ojibway Historical Preservation Society
12 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 diving, and playing in the refreshing waters of Georgian Bay. After breakfast, guests gathered at the dock to meet with a fishing guide or climb into a canoe for adventure on the water. Davis and his wife used to greet guests personally as they disembarked from the steamships and made sure to give departing guests special attention on the dock, hoping that a stay at the hotel would create a summer tradition for them. Second World War and After (1939 - 1960s) By 1939, life in Pointe au Baril seemed the same, but there were signs that things were about to change. The area experienced a slowdown in its summer population, made worse by the effects of the ongoing war in Europe. Davis had successfully turned the Ojibway into a place most cottagers considered their own. So when he decided to retire in 1942, he offered the hotel to the islanders, intending that the Ojibway remain an essential part of the Pointe au Baril summer community. Shares were issued throughout the 1940s and 1950s to finance the hotel’s ongoing operations. But the islanders wanted the Ojibway to continue to be run as always. None of the investors expected to make any money. And they didn’t. After Davis sold the hotel, a series of managers were hired to run it, but the expenses of maintaining the buildings continued to rise. In the 1950s, demographics, transportation, and labour costs changed, making it difficult to attract visitors who wanted a relaxing, old-fashioned holiday like the one offered by the Ojibway. And although people could easily get to and from Pointe au Baril for the weekend, the long and unhurried vacations Davis had built his hotel’s success on had become as outdated as steamer trunks, linen suits, and long dresses. The cost of upkeep remained high, but the Ojibway continued to operate thanks to the generosity of the cottagers. Harry MacLennan had managed the King Edward in Toronto, and his 21-year-old daughter, Sondra, was the Ojibway’s manager. She threw herself into the task of returning the beloved hotel to its glory days, assisted by the enthusiasm of her youthful employees. Sondra developed a firm but friendly working relationship with her employees, some of whom were only a few months younger than she was. The Ojibway once again experienced a few years of prosperity, but as heartfelt as the dedication of the MacLennan family was, it became increasingly difficult to make the dollars and cents add up. People wanted a different kind of holiday, and by the end of the 1950s it was apparent that the days of the Ojibway were numbered. The hotel stopped taking overnight guests in the late 1960s. The Township of the Archipelago approved a bylaw in 2001 recognizing the hotel’s historical significance, and the Ojibway Historical Preservation Society (OHPS) was established. The OHPS signed a 99-year lease with The Ojibway Club to restore the historical elements of the hotel, designated buildings, and island features to their original condition. The Ojibway has never been more active than it is now: its members maintain the club and enjoy access to tennis courts, while a day camp for children gives them a chance to learn to sail, canoe, swim, play tennis, do archery and more. Numerous social events occur during the summer, such as art shows, dances, weekly dinners, and a semi-annual auction. And yet, it is somehow impossible to walk around its grounds or sit on its veranda without contemplating its past. Harry MacLennan introduced a bright red refrigerator truck that delivered fresh produce from St. Lawrence Market in Toronto to Ojibway twice a week. The insulated container was unloaded at the Pointe au Baril Station, craned onto a barge and then towed by Evoy’s Taxi Service out to the island. It was a fixture at the Ojibway dock for many years – almost as much of a landmark as Claude Bragdon’s tower (pictured). Heritage continued from page 11 Source: Ojibway Historical Preservation Society
13 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023
14 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 By Rupert Kindersley, Executive Director ED ADVOCACY REPORT This summer, GBA president Liz Phillips, Vice-President Steve Sprague, and I were invited to speak at your annual member meetings, and, as always, we thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, meeting many new ones, finding out what issues matter to you, and visiting different parts of our beautiful Bay. Here are a few of the top priorities we are currently working on: Floating Homes The strategic alliance that GBA forged in May 2022 has steadily gathered strength and purpose, and has made good progress with public submissions to Transport Canada (TC), requesting that the same floating home regulations that apply in British Columbia are put in place in Ontario. One might think this would be a straightforward request, but TC seems to be highly resistant to change, so your Floating Homes Not Vessels alliance has now moved ahead to Phase 2 of the TC strategy, visit: bit.ly/36zjtUv for full details. There is a lot more work still to do on this file. We find it peculiar that a federal government that has a strong environmental agenda would resist applying consistent rules that will prevent potential pollution on floating homes across the country. But we trust that logic and common sense will eventually prevail. After all, in the photos below, you can see the pollution already caused by unencapsulated foam particles in the water at the floating home construction site in Port Severn, which has, thankfully, now been closed down. GBA would like to thank: ≥ Our municipal partners in the coalition for their success in getting this Port Severn site closed down ≥ The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), led by Minister Graydon Smith, for enacting new regulations to prevent floating homes from accessing Crown land ≥ The excellent leadership of the Gloucester Pool Cottagers’ Association in driving progress and results in this alliance ≥ Your vital support submitting emails and signing petitions Water Quality With the significant rise in cruise ship traffic, we have been looking into how their sewage, greywater, and garbage is dealt with. So far, we have determined that they are permitted to discharge treated sewage (in “designated sewage areas”) and untreated greywater (anywhere) out in the Bay. We will find out exactly what this means, how it impacts (or not) your water quality and what, if anything, we should be doing about it. We are collaborating with Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) and will work together to complete this report shortly. We recognize that cruise ships boost tourism and revenue for communities such as Little Current, Killarney, and Parry Sound. GBF may also be able to help with investigating the mercury levels in the fish you consume. In particular, we are interested in getting more information about how mercury levels are being measured and reported to ensure you have full, accurate, and up-todate information and guidance. The large 2018 fire in the Key River area caused an increase in local mercury levels. Additionally, atmospheric mercury from coal-fired power stations continues to contribute to this issue. It is important to remain vigilant and regularly monitor any changes in mercury levels, rather than relying on outdated information. Last but not least, the dock foam regulations that the Ontario government undertook to put in place in May this year, have still not been applied, and, until they are, it is still legal to
15 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 use unencapsulated dock foam for dock (or floating home) construction. Working with Boating Ontario, we have urged the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) to move this forward without further delay and will continue to press for action. Aquaculture In May we had a productive meeting with Ontario’s MNRF and MECP and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). As a result of discussions following that meeting, the Aquaculture Committee identified three priority research initiatives for Georgian Bay: ≥ Assessing the effect of open-cage fish farms on the dynamics of nutrients released into the environment and their impacts on water quality and on primary and secondary production ≥ Determining the extent of accumulated phosphorus release into the water from sediments at former fish farm sites and the rate of recovery of sediments and the associated benthic invertebrate community ≥ Determining the effects of farmed fish escapees from cages on native fish and the aquatic community For more detailed information on the environmental effects of open-cage fish farms in Ontario and recommendations for future research, please see here: bit.ly/GBAaquacultureeffects. Fire It looks like we dodged a bullet in Georgian Bay this summer. Even though fire ratings remained at high/extreme for much of the summer, we did not have the extended hot dry conditions originally anticipated and no major fires. Given that Canada experienced the worst fire season ever, we lucked out. We understand that local firefighting networks worked well for the few fires that we had, which is good to hear – congratulations and thanks to those who helped out their neighbours. For more information about lessons learned in our firefighting efforts, please see our article on page 4. Going forward, the potential for fires is expected to increase over time as a result of climate change impacts, so we must continue to build capacity with these local networks. Wake Summit GBA has joined Safe Quiet Lakes (SQL), the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association (FOCA), Muskoka Lakes Association, and other lake associations in Quebec and Ontario to form a new coalition led by SQL to deal with better regulations for reducing the impact of wakes on your shorelines. The problems to be addressed include: ≥ New wakesurfing boats that have extra weight in the rear - they travel slowly without planing and can cause wakes up to six feet. ≥ Damage to docks and moored boats when any boat with a large wake travels too near any dock – the new wake boats have sometimes flipped boats up onto docks! ≥ Damage to shoreline habitat for such species as loons and turtles, and large increases in turbidity that have destroyed plant life and, as a consequence, fish populations. ≥ Lifestyle disruption – in some areas it is no longer safe to travel by canoe, kayak or paddleboard due to increased wake. Greater setbacks from shores and docks seems to be the solution. Finding a balance between having fun on the water and minimizing damage is not going to be easy. Although the problem is worse for inland lakes, there are many areas of the Georgian Bay shoreline that have sensitive habitat and/or many docks near high boat traffic channels. More to come on this. The above updates and some of the other articles in this UPDATE cover some of your, and therefore our, top priorities. We always strive to make sure that we are addressing issues of importance to you, so earlier this summer we put together a handout for your summer meetings: bit.ly/GBAvalue2023. Please continue to provide feedback to us, so we can make sure we are addressing the issues that matter to you.
16 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 PRESIDENT’S REPORT Opting for Optimism in Difficult Times By Liz Phillips, GBA President As the kids start back to school and the days get a nip in the air, it seems like everyone I speak to cannot quite believe how quickly summer has flown by, yet again. As Canadians, we love to pack a whirlwind of social engagements into the few months when we can spend extended time outdoors without having to wear multiple layers of clothing. My summer experience was no exception. On top of the many local Bay of Islands community events that I attended, I also got the chance to meet many of you at your annual meetings. It was a revelation to get out in the southern part of the Bay and really explore some of the areas. As a member of GBA’s northernmost association, it is tempting to think our issues are inherently different from the associations in the south part of the Bay, but what really struck me was how much we have in common. Regardless of where I was, the most important thing for members was the work of protecting the Georgian Bay environment to ensure future generations would be able to enjoy its beauty, swim in its waters, and relax on its shores. Over the 100-plus years of GBA’s existence, that has always been the main objective – but the approach to achieving this goal has evolved in response to changing threats. And the biggest threat facing us in Georgian Bay today, as in the rest of the world, is climate change. In my cover article, I outline some of the ways that this directly intersects with our work at GBA. I’m not the only one who feels pessimistic about the future of the planet – in fact, there is even a term for it: solastalgia. But as this summer began, I picked up a copy of How to Be a Climate Optimist: Blueprints for a Better World by Chris Turner. The book, which won Chris the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing this year, has renewed my faith that a sustainable future is not just possible, but even likely. That’s not to say we aren’t going to experience some of the negative effects of a warming planet, or that all the fights have been won. What it does mean is that the evidence shows that the technology already exists to support a net-zero world; that greenhouse gas emissions are starting to level off; that corporate investment in renewable energy is exploding; and that government policy is supporting this crucial energy transition. From my point of view, knowing that it’s not all doom and gloom helps keep me motivated. I feel buoyed by the thought that the work we are doing at GBA can be part of this movement forward, and we can do our part to be part of the solution.
17 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 MOVING ON GBA would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Cosette Shipman for her important contributions over the past two years as GBA’s Coastal Protection Project (CPC) coordinator. We are sad to see her go, but we wish her all the best for her future success. Cosette was born in Parry Sound and joined GBA in November 2021 through a Northern Ontario Heritage Fund grant. As a recent university graduate, Cosette was eager to put her strong research skills to practical use with a focus on environmental issues at the community level. GBA’s Coastal Protection Committee had several ambitious projects it was looking to move forward, and Cosette enthusiastically dove in as CPC coordinator. Working with committee members, municipal planning officials, and a host of other experts, Cosette was instrumental in producing GBA’s Planning Guide, launched last year, and GBA’s Septic Systems Guide, released last month. But Cosette’s most significant contribution was a massive research project — GBA’s Municipal Planning Comparison Project. This multi-year project examined the strategic plans, official plans, and comprehensive zoning bylaws of each of the five municipalities along Georgian Bay's north and east shores. It will assist with the overall aims of the CPC to promote and defend sound planning standards and protect the integrity of municipal planning regulations to ensure that development is sustainable and environmentally responsible. In addition to these projects and general work for the CPC, Cosette also helped manage and research for some of GBA’s other committees: Floating Homes, Aquaculture, Lands and Forests, Water, and Fisheries. She was a valued team member who was always happy to help when needed, learn on the job, and go outside her comfort zone. Thank you Cosette. The Bay is a better place thanks to your hard work! By Shannon Farquharson, Communications & Executive Services Coordinator Thanks and Goodbye Cosette Shipman
18 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Fall 2023 GBA THANKS JUNCTION59 for their services supporting our eUpdate, website and our social media channels Marc Cooper 416.481.4861 junction59.com This publication designed and layout by 705.636.7319 • www.jcldesign.ca Helping you to achieve your vision Subscribe to GBA eUPDATE email news updates by clicking the link at www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE is printed by Warren’s Waterless Printing, Canada’s leading environmental printer, using high-quality waterless print technology on Enviro 100% recycled paper. The waterless printing process eliminates the use of fresh water and greatly reduces the use of harmful chemical compounds. Distributed under Canada Publication Mail Sales Agreement # 40038178 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: GBA c/o SHANNON FARQUHARSON, Communications & Executive Services Coordinator 138 Hopedale Avenue, Toronto ON M4K 3M7 (416) 937-4990 • firstname.lastname@example.org Patrons of GBA: The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D. John Ralston Saul, C.C. The Georgian Bay Association is an advocacy umbrella group representing 17 community associations and their members – approximately 3,000 families comprising over 30,000 individuals. GBA UPDATE is published by the Georgian Bay Association 2023 Publication Schedule Issue Distribution Date Spring February Summer May Fall October GBA Mission Statement: To work with our water-based communities and other stakeholders to ensure the careful stewardship of the greater Georgian Bay environment. GBA UPDATE is mailed to all members of all GBA member associations, friends, other stakeholders and interest groups. Bulk copies can be made available to full member associations to include with their mailings. Material may be reprinted in GBA member association newsletters provided that the source is acknowledged. Letters to the editor are welcome. Please send address corrections and changes to the address below. Your Voice on the Bay President: Liz Phillips email: email@example.com Executive Director: Rupert Kindersley email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Allison Needham email: email@example.com Advertising: Armin Grigaitis email: firstname.lastname@example.org Webmaster: Shannon Farquharson email: email@example.com GBA website: www.georgianbay.ca Facebook: www.facebook.com/GBayAssociation Upcoming Events Our sister Georgian Bay organizations wish to inform you of these upcoming events Georgian Bay Biosphere Honey Bee Festival October 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Community event in Honey Harbour including pancake breakfast, market vendors and artists, children’s activities, live music, silent auction, and more! Details at honeybeefestival.ca International Day for Biosphere Reserves November 3, various community celebrations Lands & Waters Gathering: State of the Bay session. November 29 and 30, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Little Spirit Singers, Science lecture, Keynote by Dr. Brian McGinnis, author of Sounding Thunder Stockey Centre, 2 Bay Street, Parry Sound Visit georgianbaybiosphere.com/ events or follow us @GBayBiosphere for more information and event updates! Georgian Bay Forever See the Salmon Run Saturday, September 30 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Collingwood / Town of Blue Mountains This event is a chance for people of all ages to see massive Chinook salmon fight their way up Silver Creek on their annual spawning run. Georgian Bay Land Trust Bayscapes In-person celebration: November 3, Toronto Online auction: October 27 - November 4 Join us in Toronto on November 3 for our first in-person Bayscapes since 2019! See all your Georgian Bay friends in the fall, while supporting the conservation of the place you love. If you can’t make it, you can still bid on all the wonderful art, experiences, and items online from October 27 - November 4. Details at gblt.org/bayscapes.