Last fall, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) published a longanticipated report providing detailed information on future predicted variability in water levels titled Climate Change in the Great Lakes Basin. GBA and Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) provided you with a series of informative webinars in 2020 and 2021 to explain: 1.` The potential extent and impact of extreme high and low water levels, going forward 2.` The limited ability of current control structures to mitigate this variability 3.` What you can do (and should not do) to adapt to changing water levels We were pleased to see that some of the discussions we have had with ECCC and others over the last four years have found their way into the report, particularly the need to think carefully before investing in any shoreline infrastructure. The report also outlined the reasons why variability in predicted water levels is so important for businesses (for example, marinas and ports), municipalities, and lakefront residents, in order to properly assess shoreline infrastructure investments such as dock reconfiguration or relocation. Over the last 100+ years, the variation of water levels between the highest and lowest levels is referred to as the “historic range.” This historic range has been 6.33 feet. In 2013 and 2019/20 we almost reached the lowest and highest historic levels, and the cycle between those highest and lowest points was only six years. While it may be too early to tell, this could be an indication that climate change will result in faster transitions between highs and lows. The report provides predicted ranges and levels that are probability based. For Michigan-Huron, highs 2-4 feet above the 2019/20 highs and 1-2 feet below the 2013 lows are almost certain to happen at some point over the next 70 years, probably fairly often. This would be very impactful for low-lying properties, or those with water access/dock location issues in low water. The probability of ever reaching the extreme highs and lows in the predicted ranges is low, but the risk, however small, will increase over the 70-year period contemplated in the study. It is important to understand how concerning these extreme highs and lows could be. In the graph shown, the two left-hand blue sections illustrate the recent extreme low (2013) and high Vol. 33 No. 1, Spring 2023 Coastal Protection Update – Three New Guides for Life on the Bay`.............................................5 Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.`................................7 Camping Out: Summer Camps on Georgian Bay Remain Steeped in Tradition`..........................................8 More Homes Built Faster Act Accelerates Threat to Our Shorelines`..........................................10 Remembering a True GBA Guardian: Paul Hamblin`.........11 President’s Report`............................12 ED’s Advocacy Report`.......................13 Upcoming Events`...............................14 News and I nformat i on f rom the Georg i an Bay Assoc i at i on Video Series Spotlights Cottager Stewardship PAGE 4 PAGE 6 PM # 40038178 GBA U P D A T E Your Voice on the Bay Biinaagami: Our Shared Responsibility to the Great Lakes Continues on page 2 INS IDE : By Rupert Kindersley, GBA Executive Director (Note that the arrows are not to scale and are for illustration purposes only.) The Future of Water Levels
2 ` www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 (2019-20) water levels we experienced and how much these differed from the average historical water level (red line). The green section and green arrows illustrate the most likely future range of water levels as described on page 1. The right-hand section (grey arrows) illustrates the potential range of extreme water levels that might be seen over the next 70 years, using the worst-case scenario presented in the report. This last scenario assumes that very little is done globally to reduce emissions, and by the 2090s average global temperatures could increase by 3.2 to 5.4°C compared to 1986-2005. The potential extreme high water level could be 10.3 feet higher than average (7 feet higher than was seen in 2019/2020), while the potential extreme low water level could be 6.4 feet lower than average (2.7 feet lower than in 2013). What this means is that one of the major expected impacts of climate change on our water levels is an expansion in the potential range of Michigan-Huron water levels from the historic 6.33 feet to a potential range as high as 16.73 feet – a 164 per cent increase. Again, please remember that there is a low probability of ever reaching these extreme levels, but, nonetheless, there is a risk of this happening. The most likely scenario described above has a much higher probability of occurring. Why this report? GBA has focused on this study because other water levels projection models have not been subjected to the same degree of independent scientific peer review and/or they haven’t examined the issue in the context of climate change, which we believe is crucial. Are the report’s projections reliable/accurate? There are no actual water levels projections in the study, only expected ranges of future water levels, subject to probability rankings. In those rankings, the extreme highs and lows have a lower probability of occurring than do the values in the middle of the projected ranges. The projected ranges are as accurate as they can be, given the uncertainty of climate change impacts, against the thoroughness of the modeling and methodology, and the inclusion of information and analysis from many reputable scientific research sources. What can you do? 1.` ` The predictions in the study are based on the reality of minimal global climate change mitigation. However, everyone can take steps to reduce carbon emissions, including taking transit more often, choosing electric vehicles when possible, or eating more local, plantbased foods. For some practical tips on everyday and longer-term steps to take, the David Suzuki Foundation has compiled a list of four ways you can cut your carbon footprint: https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/ four-places-cut-carbon/. 2.` ` We recommend that you consider the predicted variability in water levels very carefully before making any investment in shoreline infrastructure and consider how you might be proactive in preparing for potential extreme water level events. As we go to press on this issue of UPDATE, we are trending towards an extreme low (low ice cover and high evaporation levels are expected this winter), but this a best guess, as the report also highlights future uncertainty around predicting water levels. Over the longer term, it may make sense to switch from crib docks to floating docks and adjustable ramps. 3.` ` If you have a low-lying septic system, it may also be prudent to consider how you can protect your system from flooding and to consult an experienced contractor. Climate change is increasing the energy in storm systems, bringing greater storm surge frequency and severity. 4.` ` Generally, we recommend that you think about ways to adapt to extreme high and low water levels on your property. Is there a solution? Adjustments at the existing control structures can do very little to mitigate extreme variability in water levels because control boards must balance the interests of all the lakes, while keeping the St. Lawrence River open for shipping most of the time, and not allowing Montreal to flood. Even if new control structures were put in place at the mouths of the St. Clair and Niagara rivers, as they should be, the ability to mitigate water levels would still be very limited and would not be resilient to significant climate change. However, there may come a time when the annual cost of water level adaptation increases to a point where it makes more sense for governments to invest in systems-wide solutions that can balance extreme highs and lows. This would be extremely expensive and more than likely very challenging to implement, requiring significant political will in both the US and Canada. However, now that the ECCC report has made it quite clear what we are potentially facing, perhaps the time has come to have a serious look at solutions, rather than focusing entirely on adaptive measures. The GBA will continue to communicate with policy makers on these matters, monitor the situation, and report regularly. We will also work with other like-minded organizations on both sides of the border, as GBA cannot resolve this issue alone. Continued from page 1
3 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023
4 ` www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 By Danica Abrams and Nicole Coenen, Swim Drink Fish Canada WATER In September, GBA attended the launch event for Biinaagami, the name given to an Indigenousguided project initiated by Canadian Geographic and Swim Drink Fish to raise awareness about the global importance of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence watershed and its First Peoples. “Without water, we will not survive,” says Elder Barbara Nolan of Garden River First Nation as the waves of Lake Huron lap gently onto Manidoowaaling’s (Manitoulin Island) shore. “Biinaagami: there is no way to bring it back if we lose it,” echoes Elder/Gezit Donna Debassige of Anishinabek Nation from beside her. Biinaagami. In Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Anishinaabek Peoples of the Great Lakes, Biinaagami can be interpreted as “clean water.” Biinad means something is clean, while aagami comes from another part of a word referring to the state of a liquid. “When it’s clear,” explains Nolan, “it’s Biinaagami.” Biinaagami is also a word that describes a shared responsibility to protect water — and ensure that it’s swimmable, drinkable, and fishable for future generations. Indigenous Peoples — there are more than 200 Nations in the watershed — have been connected to and protecting these waters since time immemorial. It’s apt that such a word has been gifted to a new project that will bring people together to celebrate, restore and protect the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence watershed. The Biinaagami project aims to bring the Indigenous spirit and knowledge of the water to supporting communities, organizations, and individuals to take collective action to ensure the health of this sacred resource and uplift the voices of the watershed. It is a multiyear, collaborative project, initiated by Canadian Geographic and Swim Drink Fish, that provides resources and information to help individuals and groups connect to the watershed — and advocate for its cultural and ecological sustainability. And to start the project off in a good way, it needed to have the right name. When Patrick Madhabee, former Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation, learned about the initiative, he immediately knew what to do. For Anishinabek, women are the waterkeepers, holding a special responsibility when it comes to looking after the water. So Madhabee consulted with Elder Barbara Nolan, Anishinabek Nation Language Commissioner Biinaagami: Our Shared Responsibility to the Great Lakes Floor map at Biinaagami launch A water keeper holds Biinaagami in her hands Wampum belts displayed at Biinaagami launch
5 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 The Coastal Protection Committee completed several projects in 2022 and is actively working on several more for 2023. Developed to help members understand planning regulations and requirements in their municipalities, the GBA Planning Guide https://bit.ly/GBAPlanningGuide aims to complement the excellent resources available on municipal websites but is an additional tool to help synthesize that information with Ontario Government publications and regulations. The second project that was launched in 2022 and will be published in 2023, is the Municipal Planning Comparison Project. The purpose of this project is to compare the planning documents (strategic plans, official plans, and comprehensive bylaws) of the five municipalities where GBA members reside, to determine how these municipalities align or differ. In addition to the comparison, the goal of the project is to initiate conversation between the municipalities to determine how planning regulations could help improve coastal protection. Finally, GBA began putting together a septic system guide to be published this year. This project will provide GBA members with information on their septic systems and the potential alternatives, as well as how to inspect, maintain, and manage your system. We look forward to continuing to provide you with valuable tools to help you protect your Bay and your property for future generations. By Cosette Shipman, GBA Coastal Protection Project Coordinator Coastal Protection Update – Three New Guides for Life on the Bay of Garden River First Nation, and Elder/Getzit Donna Debassige of Anishinabek Nation, to develop the name. Madhabee describes the process they went through as “unique,” bouncing back and forth several words that may have suited the initiative, but once they landed on Biinaagami, “it was like a light bulb went on,” says Madhabee. “Between the three of us, we knew that it was the perfect word: the perfect description of what has to be done and the shared responsibility to make sure the water is here for future generations and that it’s kept clean.” The word was gifted to the collective working on this initiative — and that's when the Biinaagami project truly began to form. The story of choosing one word is emblematic of how the project intends to move forward: in a good way. As it grows, Biinaagami will offer a variety of ways to learn about and inspire people to protect the Great LakesSt. Lawrence watershed. From a giant floor map with augmented reality storytelling, to a digital hub, to free lesson plans for teachers, to a threepart documentary series, to public workshops and beyond, Biinaagami will explore stories, communities, languages, and ecosystems across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence watershed. Every step of this journey involves meaningful consultation with Indigenous Nations as decision makers, who have been the long-term stewards of the watershed. “I think this is an opportunity for some real education for the public, industries, and stakeholders to see how important water is,” says Madhabee. “But there’s also a fun side to it. I think when people see the sites that are on the big floor map that we have, and the website, they’ll see that there are places they can go where water is clean.” “We want to make sure that water is safe, water is clean,” says Nolan. “Biinaagami. So it benefits everything on this Earth, not just ourselves.” The project is continuously growing and developing. Connect with the Biinaagamii team today to join the movement and stay updated on the latest news and updates at biinaagami.org. COASTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE Water ceremony at Biinaagami launch
6 ` www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 GUARDIANS OF THE BAY By Katherine Denune, Chair, Guardians of the Bay Committee I am so excited to share the first two seasons of the Stewards of the Bay video series. As a part of the broader Guardians of the Bay initiative, this video series highlights the passion and action of our community members in their commitment to preserve the unique habitat of the Georgian Bay. These first two seasons feature more than 40 of our friends and neighbours from both the Sans Souci and Copperhead Association (SSCA) and the South Channel Association (SCA). The whole purpose of the Guardians of the Bay initiative is to recognize the outstanding efforts of those who care about Georgian Bay. I set out on this video series project with the aim of celebrating the passion and everyday contributions of my neighbours. As I filmed more and more, I realized that the series was actually becoming a powerful vehicle to connect people with neighbours they might not know, and to encourage even more contributions. I frequently heard folks telling me, “I want to do that project too,” or “I want to meet that person.” Beyond anything else, this project was a lot of fun and I think you can see that reflected in the videos. While there are too many stewards and initiatives to include all of them here, I am excited to share just a few: Wildlife Habitat Projects The first episode of the SSCA Stewards of the Bay series opens in a protected cove with John Hamilton and his successful loon nest platform, built in collaboration with neighbour Brian Rohde. John shares that, “loons have been a part of our life for the full 40-plus years we’ve been in the neighbourhood. We threw some mud and a little bit of vegetation [on the platform] and now this is the sixth year in a row we’ve had babies produced.” This episode ends with the evening songs of crickets and a family of bats leaving their box one by one. This peaceful clip is the culmination of an association-wide effort to build and install bat houses all over the South Channel. Peter Adams, the SCA Environment Chair and an instrumental person in this initiative, shared his motivation, stating, “after the white nose syndrome knocked back Ontario’s bat population so much, it’s really just getting cottage owners to help them make the recovery by providing a really solid and safe roosting area for them.” Next summer the SCA plans to continue building bat houses and begin a barred owl house initiative. Young Stewards! One of my priorities in making the Stewards of the Bay video series was to highlight the stewardship among all our generations and especially our youth. I am happy to share some of the neat projects our young cottagers are working on. Our youngest stars are the Edwards sisters, Charlotte (8), Maddie (6), and Olivia (5). These gals dove into one of the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere kits, adeptly dissecting an owl pellet and venturing on a great scavenger hunt. Fifteen minutes away by boat, Ben Denune (8) brought some pails down to the beach to pick up small plastics and Styrofoam with his parents. Ben explained, “we’re cleaning up plastic to help the fish on the beaches feel better and not choke with microplastics.” University student Thomas Dancy has been planting native plants with his dad John Dancy for several years. “We started planting lots and lots of milkweeds and we’ve started seeing more and more monarchs,” Thomas shared. “Every morning we wake up and we run around and look, and any time we see a little monarch caterpillar on the leaves we’re all excited about it.” Looking Forward The goal of this project is to encourage others to make videos for their communities along and near Georgian Bay. These videos serve as a powerful representation of the impressive contributions of cottagers and as a friendly introduction to the SCA and the SSCA. I hope you take a look, “meet” some neighbours and get inspired to join in on the fun! You can access all of the videos at the following link: https:// georgianbay.ca/gba-member-association-videos/ Video Series Spotlights Cottager Stewardship Charlotte, Maddie and Olivia Edwards dissecting an owl pellet. Thomas Dancy finding a monarch butterfly. Katherine Denune and Peter Adams building bat houses.
7 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 SAFETY This article is intended for general information purposes only. For advice regarding your insurance needs or liability insurance coverage, please contact your insurance broker. While we have attempted to provide information that is helpful for our readers, GBA accepts no legal liability for the contents of this article. Ensure you check original sources of information on fire prevention and response for further details and updates. Check details of the general liability provisions of your insurance coverage if you are involved in providing or supporting firefighting equipment, planning or advice. Last year, 133 Ontarians died in house fires. That’s a number not seen in more than two decades. Ontario hovered between 75 and 100 fire fatalities from 2010 to 2019, but saw those numbers increase to 115 fire fatalities in 2020, to 133 in 2022. "The number-one problem I think is complacency. Too many people assume it won’t happen to them, but it does," says Perth Fire Prevention Officer, James Marshall. In Canada, house fires are most likely to occur between December and March when heating equipment like portable space heaters are the leading cause of home fires. Most home fires happen when an open flame or heat source are left unsupervised, most commonly when people leave a hot stove or burning candles unattended or fail to put out a cigarette. In as little as 30 seconds, a small flame can grow into a dangerous fire, filling an entire home with black smoke and large flames within minutes. This past fall, the National Fire Protection Association’s campaign for Fire Prevention Week was “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.” This simple yet effective theme works to underline important actions you can take to keep you and those around you safe from home fires. Act Fast. Today’s homes burn faster than ever. You may have as little as two minutes (or even less) to safely escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out of a home during a fire depends on early warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. Everyone is at risk in a fire, making it important for every member of your family to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire. Have a Plan. The key to staying safe is having`an emergency plan in place. Make sure everyone knows and practices your evacuation plan. The more household members you involve in making the plan, the better everyone will understand and remember it so that they know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds – especially kids. And make sure you have a plan for everyone in the home. Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Make sure that someone will help them! Use Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers. Smoke alarms sense smoke well before you can, alerting you to danger. Smoke alarms need to be in every bedroom, outside of the sleeping areas (like a hallway), and on each level (including the basement) of your home. For the best protection, use combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are interconnected throughout the home so you can hear the alarm no matter where the alarm originates. Test alarms every month and replace batteries twice a year, at daylight savings time (March and November).`Replace the devices as per manufacturer's instructions – usually at 10 years.` Make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguishers are kept and how to properly use them. Check the manufacturer information to ensure they are not out of date. Fire escape planning ≥`Making the plan: bit.ly/NFPA_Fire_escape ≥`Get kids to help with the plan: bit.ly/NFPA_Fireminute ≥`The science of fire for kids: bit.ly/NFPA_ScienceFire By Andrew Hurlbut, Chair, Boating, Safety, and Emergencies Committee Prevent Fires: ≥`Keep flammable items at least one metre from heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, and the stove. ≥`Never smoke in bed. ≥`Never leave candles unattended.` ≥`Stay in the kitchen when using the stove top. If you must leave the room, turn off the stove. ≥`Talk to children about the dangers of fire and keep lighters and matches out of reach. ≥`Clean chimneys annually. In Case of Fire: ≥`Get out and STAY OUT – never return to a burning building. ≥`In a room filled with flames, the temperature at eye-level can be dangerously hot, which is why it’s so important to stay at floor level. ≥`Learn fire safety techniques and teach them to your family regularly. ≥`Make sure everyone is familiar with the technique “STOP, DROP, AND ROLL” in case clothing catches on fire. Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.
8 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 HERITAGE ByðAllisonðNeedham,ð UPDATEðManagingðEditor Last summer, my 15-year-old daughter, Ella, set out on a two-week canoe trip through Temagami as part of Camp Queen Elizabeth’s Developing Excellent Leaders (DEL) program. She was anxious about the long hours of paddling, gruelling portages, and most concerning – two whole weeks without a cellphone. Ella wrote me a letter upon her return, in which she told me, “It honestly was a life-changing trip. I had never been so not lazy, and I have so many stories. Get ready for the longest cottage dinner conversation ever.” This was music to my ears. Camp should be a place where kids can focus on unplugging from technology, reconnecting with nature, and making real-world connections within the camp community. Each camp is unique. Some focus on team sports and co-operation; others concentrate on individual skill improvement and competition. Some are religiously affiliated, while others are non-denominational. Some are highly structured, while others offer more choices. It is important to match the child’s needs with the culture of the camp. And every camp has a unique background story;ðin this issue we are looking into Camp Hurontario and hope to introduce you to other camps around the Bay in future issues. Camp Hurontario Founded on the shores of Georgian Bay in 1947 by Trinity College teacher Birnie Hodgetts, Hurontario remains a family-owned and operated summer camp under the direction of Birnie’s daughter, Pauline. Now celebrating its 76th season, Hurontario is like something out of a Hardy Boys book. No land sports, tennis, basketball, or anything else that would have an impact on the land – just like the early days of cottaging. You will not find waterskiing or wakeboarding on the slate of activities; instead, it’s rock climbing, woodworking, sailing, kayaking, and adventurous canoe trips. With an emphasis on an appreciation of the natural environment, there are biological and environmental activities, which in the past included projects in partnership with the Toronto Zoo and Guelph University that involve tagging Massasauga rattlesnakes and tracking Monarch butterflies. Although Hurontario has upgraded its buildings and facilities over the years, it truly provides campers with the opportunity to escape the city and come to a woodsy, disconnected environment for the summer. Dave Freel, managing director for Camp Hurontario, tells the story of how Birnie found the idyllic spot for his camp. Caught in a storm during a fishing trip in 1946, he and his brother Ted sought shelter in a secluded bay not far from their family cottage at Wah Wah Taysee. When they woke the next morning, Birnie and Ted soon discovered they had landed on a beautiful island which was totally uninhabited. Birnie, as the story goes, turned to Ted and said, “This is where I will have my camp.” Birnie wanted to protect the camp from the development that he knew would come to the area, and so he began investigating who owned the island, as well as the surrounding mainland. Through a series of letters, Birnie found that the island was owned by an American woman who was happy to sell. The 175 acres across from the island were not as easy to acquire. They were owned by a Mr. Kingsmill, a veteran who had fought in the Boer War and for which Queen Victoria had Camping Out: Summer Camps on Georgian Bay Remain Steeped in Tradition Foundedð76ðsummersðagoðbyðBirnieðHodgetts,ðCampðHurontarioð remainsðtrueðtoðitsðroots. (L):ðCampersðfromðCampðQueenðElizabeth’sðDevelopingðExcellentðLeadersð programðreturnðfromðaðtwo-weekðoutðtripðthroughðTemagami. (R):ðAðgroupðofðmaleðcampersðatðCampðHurontarioðinðtheð1940s.
9 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 Camp Hurontario Hurontario is for boys between the ages of five and 16. Programs include sailing, swimming, kayaking, rock climbing, ropes course, fishing, archery, art, woodworking, and music. There’s even a northern outpost for senior canoe trips that take campers into Lake Superior. https://camphurontario.com/ Camp Queen Elizabeth Founded in 1953 on the north end of Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay Islands National Park, YMCA Camp Queen Elizabeth (CQE) offers programs for campers 6-16 years of age. CQE partners with the YMCA Academy to offer an accredited Ontario high school credit within its Developing Excellent Leaders, Island LIT (Leaders in Training), and Venture LIT programs. DELs earn a physical education credit and Island/Venture LITs will earn a leadership credit. https://www.ymcaswo.ca/camps/camp-queen-elizabeth YMCA Camp Kitchikewana Located on the other side of Beausoleil Island is Camp Kitchikewana. For the last 100 years, Kitchi providesðtraditional summer camp programs for youth in July and August and programs for all ages in the springðand fall seasons. https://ymcaofsimcoemuskoka.ca/ymca-camp-kitchikewana/ Camp Manitou, Bay of Islands A water-access-only facility located in the La Cloche Ridge Conservation Reserve, 12 kms west of Whitefish Falls – about 100 kilometres west of Sudbury. Originally founded in 1925 near Whitefish Falls, it operated as an “American camp for boys in the Canadian North” until the late 1950s, when the camp was turned over to the Anglican Church to be used as a youth camp. This included 10 camper cabins, large dining hall, and lodge complete with stone fireplace and names of long-time campers inscribed. There was a manager’s house and carpenter’s shop and the large Parent House – built to accommodate short visits by parents who came to see their sons who were in camp for the full summer. Manitou continued to grow through volunteer and financial contributions (including those who were campers in the 1940s under the American boys’ camps). Programs include four weeks of camps in July for kids aged eight to 15. https://manitoucamp.org/ Camp Tapawingo, Parry Sound Owned and operated by YWCA Toronto for more than 93 years. The Eaton family originally owned the property and donated it to the Association in 1929. With space for up to 120 campers, Camp Tapawingo offers an exciting program of arts, crafts, land, and water for girls and gender diverse youth aged six to 15. https://www.ywcatoronto.org/ourprograms/camptapawingo given soldiers of that war “land in the colonies.” Birnie wrote asking if he could purchase it. In the correspondence that followed, Kingsmill offered to send his brother, an Anglican Minister, to run the camp with him, but Birnie wanted to establish a camp with no religious associations. In another letter, Kingsmill said that he would come and partner with him. Again, Birnie declined, noting that he had a very clear vision for the camp. With that, all communication stopped. All For the Price of a Piano A year later, he received a letter from Kingsmill from his new home in Mexico. He had moved there to marry a Mexican woman, who would only agree to the marriage if she could have an English piano and lessons. That was what the letter said, nothing more. Birnie saw his opportunity and wrote back letting Kingsmill know that he would arrange to have a piano shipped from England, along with some money for lessons in exchange for the property. And with that, Birnie began to build his camp exactly as he wanted to – with a small-group philosophy, non-competitive atmosphere, and traditional camp activities that build self-confidence, strong skills, and lasting friendships.ð He hired a group of teenage boys and had them fell trees to clear what land was necessary. The trees were then floated to a sawmill where the logs were ripped into planks and beams and floated back to the site of the camp, where they were assembled into the first buildings, designed by Birnie himself. Lighting was with kerosene lamps, cooking likewise was with kerosene, and refrigeration was by way of tin-lined iceboxes – with ice that was harvested right from the Bay and stored in sawdust before use. Continuesðonðpageð10
10 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 BILL 23 Ostensibly, the aim of Bill 23 is to facilitate the construction of affordable housing, quickly enough to meet the increasing demand from immigrants to and residents of southern Ontario. There is no doubt that increasing the availability of housing in Ontario is essential. Unfortunately, this Bill falls short in its efforts to streamline construction where it’s needed most, while at the same time it fails to consider the serious repercussions of this new legislation for rural Ontario and the province’s ecosystem. Ontario’s population increased by more than 200,000 in 2022, primarily in southern Ontario urban areas, and is expected to continue at near the same pace for the next decade. However, while it’s clear that we do not currently have enough housing supply to meet the increasing demand, the growth in housing needs to be focused where people want to live: in urban areas where they can find jobs, better access to education, healthcare, training, and other services. On the surface, Bill 23 seems to address this need by allowing for what the Ontario government calls “gentle density” and the streamlining of development processes. However, as with everything, the devil is in the details. In the case of Bill 23, the consequences of these sweeping changes will be felt most intensely in Ontario’s most fragile ecological areas. Rather than focusing on more responsible intensification within existing urban boundaries and infrastructure, Bill 23 in fact allows for development to greatly expand urban sprawl in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) suburbs, steal some of the cherished Greenbelt, destroy swathes of farmland, and remove countless safeguards for wetlands and other important habitat. It is likely to have significant negative impacts on our natural legacy, with farreaching consequences. With respect to the Greenbelt, many media reports have focused on the removal of 7,400 acres of land from this environmentally critical area. However, this is not the main problem with Bill 23 – particularly as the government simultaneously added 9,400 acres in other areas, for a net Greenbelt gain of 2,000 acres. The main problems with this Bill concern the removal of numerous environmental protections, infringements on your democratic rights, and, most importantly for Georgian Bay, changes to the planning processes – and the potential impact this will have on the sustainable development policies that GBA and others have worked hard to establish over decades. In particular, GBA objected to the following: ≥ðRemoval of the rights of taxpayers and landowners to appeal certain planning decisions ≥ðSkewing Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) procedures in favour of developers (this on top of a pro-developer bias at the OLT that we have witnessed in recent years) ≥ðRemoving the ability of your municipalities to exercise site plan control on nearly all Bay properties ≥ðDisallowing public consultation on plans of subdivisions ≥ðShifting the costs of infrastructure needed for development to municipalities – increasing your local taxes More Homes Built Faster Act Accelerates Threat to Our Shorelines ByðRupertðKindersley,ð GBAðExecutiveðDirector The camp was ready for operation in the summer of 1947, but getting there was still a challenge. With a highway still 20 years in the future, the way to and from the camp was by steamship aboard the Midland City, which connected with the train at Penetang and would divert to the camp with passengers and supplies as necessary on its way to Parry Sound. Though easier to access these days, Hurontario remains what it was at the beginning: a place where boys can live and work together, form meaningful relationships, grow leadership skills, and gain a sense of themselves. Each day, camp teaches teamwork and cooperation, whether the campers are setting or clearing the table, paddling tandem, crewing a sailboat, or spotting a fellow climber. On the portage or hiking trail, campers look out for one another. On arriving at the overnight campsite, they work co-operatively to pitch their tent, build the fire, cook dinner, and wash the pots and dishes. With the diversity and nature of its offerings, summer camp firmly holds its place in Georgian Bay history and legend, providing opportunities for young people to work and grow together through the values we ourselves uphold as residents of Georgian Bay: mutual respect, responsibility, honesty, and empathy. Heritageðcontinuedðfromðpageð9
11 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 OBITUARY ≥`Allowing developers to pay to damage wetlands and other sensitive habitat rather than protect them (an extension of the previous misguided “pay to slay” new species-at-risk regulation) ≥`Removal of Conservation Authorities' powers ≥`Changes to Ontario Wetland Evaluation System that greatly reduce wetland protection ≥`Very short consultation periods for the 13 Environmental Bill of Rights postings on the Bill This last point regarding the consultation process seemed specifically designed to reduce/eliminate the opportunity for public comment. For context, most new legislation has one Environmental Bill of Rights-mandated consultation posting and allows for a minimum period of 30 days to gather public input, but the practice, prior to 2018, has been to allow longer for complex legislation. Bill 23 had 13 postings, all of them highly complex, and allowed for only the minimum 30 days for comment on most of them. Far-reaching new legislation such as Bill 23 should merit sufficient opportunity for informed and constructive public comment. On top of everything else, the regulations are being applied to all of Ontario and not just urban areas where housing needs are greatest. In our submissions on the Bill, GBA argued that at the very least, all un-serviced (no municipal water or sewage service) land should have been exempt. That did not happen. As a result, Bill 23 is likely to cause significant damage to our rural ecosystems for no apparent advantage. In the face of increasing development pressure on the Bay, instead of helping us to keep the ecosystem safe for future generations of Ontarians and the 53 species currently at risk who call our province home, our government has now made it more difficult to protect the integrity of planning regulations and the environment. Not only that, their actions suggest that they don’t believe that development can happen sustainably. GBA knows that is not the case, as an enormous amount of effort has gone into creating sound planning processes on the Bay that both protect the environment and respect property rights. This balance was not easy to achieve, but we know that it’s vital to protecting the Bay we love for future generations. That balance is now under significant threat. For more information about GBA’s submissions on Bill 23 and to find a link for you to add your voice on this matter and send an email to your MPP please see: https://georgianbay.ca/government-affairs/ government-policy/ Remembering a True GBA Guardian: Paul Hamblin It is with great sadness that we report that a valued volunteer member of the GBA Aquaculture Committee for almost 20 years, Paul Hamblin, has passed away. Paul enjoyed wonderful active years at his Beulah Island property, in the Sans Souci and Copperhead Association area of Georgian Bay. Paul was always willing to connect and provide expert advice to his GBA committee colleagues and be a respected presence at our meetings with government officials. Since he had a degree in engineering from the University of Toronto, a master's degree in engineering physics from UBC, a PhD in oceanography from the University of Washington in Seattle, was an adjunct professor at McMaster University, had decades of experience specializing in limnology, and was the author of many scientific papers over his career, his contribution to the work of our Aquaculture Committee and to GBA overall was invaluable and very much appreciated. More specifically, Paul brought his expertise and knowledge from working for 35 years on water quality issues in the Great Lakes for Environment Canada’s National Water Research Institute, including the impacts of commercial open net cage aquaculture industry on water quality and research on cage siting issues. He will be greatly missed.
12 ` www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 PRESIDENT’S REPORT We’re All in This Together Helming an organization like GBA is never boring! There’s always something exciting on the go. This past year was no exception. We kicked off 2022 with an Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) seminar for our member associations which was confirmed by all attendees as being very useful in guiding associations through ONCA bylaw compliance. (ONCA provides Ontario’s not-for-profit and charitable corporations with a legal framework to meet the needs of today’s not-for-profit sector). Coastal protection was a busy file last year (I think it always will be!) – We worked on building a framework around floating cottages as there are currently very few rules and regulations around managing these drifting accommodations. Our team delivered the – Planning Policies and Regulations guide – check it out, it is super helpful if you’re in building, removing, or rebuilding mode; and completed the first stage of the Municipal Planning Comparison Project. Our Septic Management and Maintenance Guide has a spring publishing date. All this work has been brilliantly thought out and well executed. A huge debt of gratitude goes to Cosette Shipman, Rupert Kindersley, Shannon Farquharson, and John Carson for bringing these projects to fruition! Many of our coastal protection initiatives wouldn’t be where they are if not for the input and dedication from several of our municipal councillors and mayors who lend their time and expertise to the Coastal Protection Committee. On behalf of GBA, our associations, and their members, I would like to thank you all for the work you continue to do on behalf Georgian Bay, GBA, and all your constituents! Every now and then someone on our GBA team comes up with a great idea that captures GBA’s ethos. Katherine Denune from Sans Souci Copperhead Association who chairs our Guardians of the Bay team has done just that. Katherine, who has a passion for video work, thought it would be neat to tell stories about people doing good things while giving back to the Bay. She has shot and edited six separate videos that highlight such things as wildlife habitat, young stewards, and looking forward. Check out her work on page 6 of this issue of UPDATE and here: https://georgianbay.ca/gba-member-associationvideos/. Once you’ve seen what she’s accomplished with her smartphone, it may inspire you, your family, grandkids, and others to do the same. One of the reasons we can achieve what we do on GBA is because we have a host of talented directors. Unfortunately, every now and then they retire. To those who so ably served I would like to say goodbye and thank you for all your many contributions. The Board thanks: Jamie Drayton (Manitou), Dave Sharpe (Pointe au Baril Islanders' Association [PaBIA]), Mark Gwozdecky (PaBIA), Bonnie Blanchard (Honey Harbour Association [HHA]), John Maynard (HHA), Kathleen Kilgour (Woods Bay), and Bill Steiss (McGregor Bay). While I won’t speak to our incoming directors here, I would like to welcome back Claudette Young as the interim chair of the Aquaculture Committee. Welcome home Claudette! Something to think about: with water level patterns changing throughout North America and around the world, it’s probably time for us to rethink how we approach our own water levels on the Bay. We certainly need to think and talk more about them as higher highs and lower lows might impact how we cottage and boat on the Bay. It’s not about hitting the panic button, it’s more about long-term planning. For more on water levels please see Rupert Kindersley’s article on the front page of this issue. Something we need to figure out: we need a better way to stay on top of water quality on the Bay. We need to work with the various districts, coastal municipalities, our 17 member associations, and other key stakeholders around the Bay, on how we create a universal water testing program that benefits everyone: regularly, consistently, efficiently, and cost effectively! Different things on the Bay affect people and organizations differently. Currently, development pressures are affecting more of our southern associations, while aquaculture affects us more in the upper regions of the Bay. Climate change is increasing the risk of fires everywhere. As an overarching association that is managing multiple files, we encourage all members to be aware of, and engaged in, all the things that are impacting the Bay in every way. Your promise to be an active participant will result in greater stewardship for the Bay – every day. Parting thoughts. Many years ago, my neighbour Larry called me one Saturday night and asked if I needed the spotlight above our side door on. My education on light pollution began that very night. Let’s ask ourselves if we have one of those lights, or if our walkway or dock lights need to be on all night. We need to be safe coming and going, but let’s all do more to protect the night sky, the circadian rhythms of the Bay’s natural inhabitants, and our own personal experiences. As always, I’d like to thank the Board, our Executive Committee, executive director, our communications and executive services coordinator, and coastal protection project coordinator for all the things they do for GBA, Georgian Bay. Without your passion and dedication, we couldn’t accomplish what we do! Chi-miigwech! By Rolfe Jones, GBA President
13 www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 2023 In this issue of UPDATE, you will see how GBA addressed issues associated with Bill 23, which amends the Development Charges Act. You will also find new information about projected water levels based on the recently published report by Environment and Climate Change Canada. In addition to these matters, I wanted to bring to your attention a number of other issues of importance: Planning Bill 109, also known as the More Homes for Everyone Act, has implications for your municipalities on the Bay, particularly regarding maximum permitted processing times for planning applications. Issues related to this came to a head in the Township of Georgian Bay (TGB), which is on the front line of development pressure as the population of southern Ontario increases. GBA weighed in with this letter: bit.ly/ GBAletterTGB to support the excellent submission to TGB by Beth Halpenny of Cognashene, see here: bit.ly/HalpennyTGB In this regard, our primary concern is to support the integrity of TGB’s planning regulations, particularly as they relate to mitigating potential environmental impact. We also supported the West Carling Association and the Township of Carling regarding a cottage built on Morlock Island without planning permission and without any effort to abide by Carling’s planning regulations. See: bit.ly/ GBA_Morlock. In the end, a deal was reached between Carling and the property owner that allowed the cottage to remain and avoid a potential loss at the Ontario Land Tribunal. Given the outcome of recent OLT decisions, this was a pragmatic course of action, albeit disappointing. Floating Cottages GBA’s Floating Cottages Committee is seeking to persuade the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to take a lead role in pursuing appropriate regulation for these units. A template was developed by the committee, and GBA has sent the following letter: bit.ly/GBA_Floating_MNRF. Township of Severn has submitted a similar letter and we expect letters soon from the TGB and the Township of the Archipelago. We will then be reaching out for more support from other municipalities and stakeholders. GBA plans to follow up with Minister Graydon Smith, who is also MPP for Parry-Sound Muskoka. Gloucester Pool Cottagers’ Association (GPCA), represented on the Floating Cottages Committee, also managed to get the CBC to report on the issue. They interviewed a number of people for the piece, including: TGB Mayor Peter Koetsier; Cheryl Elliot Fraser, president of GPCA; Dianne Bonnell, GPCA cottager; Peter Frost, member of the National Recreational Boating Advisory Council; Joe Nimens, Live Outside the Box owner; and me. This gave us a good opportunity to broadcast our views on this issue. It can be found here: bit.ly/GBA_CBC_Floating. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) As previously reported, GBA is a founding member of the Great Lakes Ecoregion Network (GLEN) formed in the spring of 2022. We participated by submitting detailed comments to the Canadian and US governments regarding the updated Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). GLEN has a number of well informed and experienced members and their skills and knowledge shone through in this submission. See here: bit.ly/GLEN_GLWQA. The recommendations included: ≥`Creating new initiatives, rather than repeating the largely ineffective strategies employed over the last 50 years ≥`Adding watershed management to the objectives and incorporating climate change considerations in all future action plans ≥`Delivering on groundwater commitments made three years ago ≥`Bolstering follow-up action for shoreline areas that have been cleaned up but still need ongoing work to prevent future pollution ≥`Identifying and prioritizing chemicals of emerging concern to add to the (official) Chemicals of Mutual Concern list, which needs to be significantly expanded, and working towards elimination of hazardous chemicals in the Great Lakes basin ≥`Implementing wide-ranging improvements to the assessment, monitoring, and reduction of all sources of nutrients going into the lakes ≥`Seeking input/partnership with the public on all aspects of the GLWQA so we work together to find solutions ≥`Adopting a commitment to measurable outcomes and timelines, rather than open-ended commitments ≥`Expanding Indigenous involvement and input ≥`Expanding the remit of the Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs) to cover relevant GLEN recommendations We could not do this without the great support from our volunteer directors, many helpful hands on our committees, and you and your associations. By working together, we will prevail! By Rupert Kindersley, Executive Director ED ADVOCACY REPORT
14 ` www.georgianbay.ca GBA UPDATE Spring 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 7 0 5 . 6 3 6 . 7 3 1 9 • www. j c l d e s i g n . c a 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 138Hopedale 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 18,000 residents. 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: Rolfe Jones email: email@example.com Executive Director: Rupert Kindersley email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Liz Phillips email: email@example.com Advertising & Managing Editor: Allison Needham email: firstname.lastname@example.org Webmaster: Eric Armour 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 Forever Yellowfish Road Program Presentation and Storm Drain Painting with the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) April 22, 1 p.m. Meaford Public Library – 11 Sykes St N, Meaford, ON •` NVCA will go over some of the ways that different anthropogenic pollutants affect the watershed. •` The second part of the event will be painting the yellow fish on storm drains near the library to bring visual awareness that storm drain pollutants go directly to the Bay unfiltered, and that only rain should go down storm drains. Drop-in, no registration needed Georgian Bay Biosphere Earth Day Beach Party! Saturday, April 22, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. •` Free public event at Waubuno Beach, Parry Sound