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Wood Waste Processing Proposal
By Dwayne Verhey, Secretary
This past December, we were approached by local residents and asked to look into a proposal by Green's Haulage to start processing wood waste at their Jessop Lane quarry site. Residents are primarily concerned about the potential noise and the increase in truck traffic.
This is a difficult and complicated issue. On one hand, our economy needs jobs in general and especially needs to diversify from mere tourism. Despite the numerous vacation properties, the permanent residents live in one of the most economically depressed regions of the province. This quarry has been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak landscape. First opened in 1935, it was once a thriving operation but had dwindled to a 2-man operation by the turn of the century. Under the current ownership, it has slowly turned around and now directly employs 15 to 20 people plus providing the inevitable additional spin-offs for everyone from local mechanics to retail and other services. This is the kind of economic engine we desperately need.
On the other hand, this is primarily a residential area, and residents have the right to expect reasonable safety, security and peaceable enjoyment of their lands. The roads are not up to the standard appropriate for regular heavy truck traffic. While North Waseosa is paved (tar and chip), it is a mere 21' from shoulder to shoulder, insufficient for two 9' wide dump trucks to pass when a child is riding a bicycle along the side of the road.
We have been aggressively pursuing this issue, meeting with our elected representatives, John Davis and Brian Thompson; the proprietor, Tim Green; various local residents, the Ministry of the Environment; the Ministry of Natural Resources and the contractor who would be doing the actual processing.
At this point, we believe that the noise and dust issues are controllable. The equipment, while large and powerful, is a grinding operation which does not emit the high frequency screech associated with wood chipping operations. Our best estimates are that the noise will be less penetrating than the current rock crusher. Noise emissions can be further attenuated through appropriate selection of an appropriate site and of course it is to everyone's benefit to maintain a vegetative buffer between the quarry and other properties. Grinding operations would not be continual - the proposal is similar to the current rock crushing operations in that a mobile grinding contractor would be hired for a few weeks every year to process the accumulated waste. The waste itself will be trees and stumps, not construction debris. These are all things that can be ensured through zoning and the Certificate of Approval.
The road is another matter, and must be addressed regardless of whether this application proceeds, just because of the increase in the regular quarry operations. There are two obvious options. The first is to upgrade Jessop Lane and N. Waseosa Lk. Rd., widening it and possibly adding sidewalks. The second is to upgrade Stahl's Rd. in a similar fashion. While promoting an upgrade to Stahl's may seem like shuffling our problems off on someone else, there are a number of very good arguments for this route. First of all, Stahl's is straight and a much shorter route, making it both a safer and cheaper option. Second, while there are a few residences on Stahl's, there are far more along N. Waseosa. And third, upgrading Stahl's would actually provide access to a number of currently inaccessible properties.
We are continuing to work with all parties in an attempt to find a win-win solution acceptable to all.
It's official! Our first attempt at a winter social gathering will be the Saturday of the "Family Day" long weekend - February 19, 2011. Starting at noon and running until 3pm, we will be featuring hot dogs and beans and lots and lots of hot chocolate. Weather and ice conditions permitting, we will have a rink so bring your skates. We also want to try out something a bit different: Coffee Can Curling. With a rink and stones made by people who don't know what they are doing, this should be an event that where anyone can participate on equal footing with the experienced curlers.
To be held at the Verhey residence, 21 Cottage Lane (near the end of N. Waseosa) in Rhoads' Bay. Snowmobilers can park on the beach and we will try to clear as much area as possible for cars, but please consider car pooling with your neighbours if possible.
ALL AREA RESIDENTS ARE INVITED!
By Bill Somers, Treasurer
Turtles are a welcome and familiar site in Muskoka. They can be found in a variety of habitats such as lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, and bogs. Some species are very particular about where they live. Turtles regulate their body temperature by moving around in their environment and warm themselves by basking in the sun, retreating to the water when they need to cool off.
Turtles are most frequently observed in June, during the height of their nesting season. Females are often found crossing roads to reach traditional nesting sites or laying eggs in the gravel along roads. Turtle nests are laid in soil that is easy to dig and provides the correct amount of moisture so the eggs do not get too dry or too moist during incubation. Since the eggs are incubated by the sun's warmth, nests are usually laid in a spot where there is not much vegetation to shade the ground. The eggs generally hatch in late summer or early fall.
Less than 1 in a hundred turtle eggs laid will hatch and grow into an adult turtle. Unlike birds, turtles do not tend their nests once laid, nor care for their young once they hatch. Once the female has finished laying her eggs she never sees them again. Nests are easily found and destroyed by predators such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes looking for an early summer meal. The babies that do hatch are vulnerable to predators on land and in the water and few ever reach maturity.
Adult turtles have few natural predators and enjoy a high survival rate. Most species live at least 30-40 years and some species can live to over 100 years!
Seven of the eight species of turtle in Ontario have been designated as "species at risk". As is the case for many species at risk, habitat destruction has played a major role in the decline of turtles. Many of the marshes, swamps, bogs and fens that turtles once called home have been drained, filled, or otherwise altered.
Crossing the road is dangerous for slow-moving animals! Roads have been built through several of the remaining wetlands, and as a result road mortality is now a major threat to turtles. The majority of the turtles killed by cars are adult females on their way to or from nesting sites, which means that fewer eggs are laid every year and there is an even smaller chance that those killed by cars will be replaced in the future. Other threats include collection for food or the pet trade, pollution, competition with non-native turtles such as red-eared sliders, and the increasing populations of predators who are benefiting from human settlement.
What can you do?
Visit the Toronto Zoo website at www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond and the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre at www.kawarthaturtle.com and become a member. Search out turtles and frogs in your area and report your observations to the Toronto Zoo. You will be contributing to the conservation of reptiles.
Membership and Dues
Included in this newsletter is your "invoice" for annual dues. This is a computer-generated form letter based on our records as of the date of mailing and sent out to everyone on our membership list. As you know, payment is due as of January 1st each year. Many of you put off payment until the summer when you are up, but unfortunately many of you also forget to pay. Please remit your dues promptly to aid us in our budgeting process.
By Dwayne Verhey, Secretary
Members, their families and other interested parties are invited to register with our website. This enables you to access certain features, which depend upon your interest in the LWRA of course. Unfortunately, we are plagued by many false registrations by unscrupulous individuals with no legitimate interest so we have an approval process to prevent abuses and we summarily delete any registrations that seem suspicious. If you have a legitimate interest and are having difficulty registering, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Registration with the website itself differs from signing up for our e-mail announcement list. Anyone can sign up to receive our announcements so the two are kept separate. To be clear: signing up for the announcement list does not register you with the website, and registering with the website does not sign you up to receive our announcements.