A Message from the President
By Tony Doob, President
As you will see by reading the rest of this newsletter, the LWRA has been busy on a number of different fronts. In addition to three very successful social events in 2011, the LWRA has been involved in a number of matters that relate to other organizations.
As Dwayne Verhey discusses later in this newsletter, the LWRA has been constantly monitoring various activities related to our community that come before the town. We don't simply oppose all applications for change, we consider each one on its merits. We know that circumstances do change; but our concern is not just the immediate application. It is our responsibility to ask another question: Is there something that makes an application truly unique or is this something that, in effect, changes the rules for development in our community?
Because we wanted to articulate our own vision of development on our lakes, a number of years ago the LWRA developed (largely through the work of Barney Dales) our own lake specific plan and presented it to the Town. This year, we updated this plan, taking into account the various changes that have taken place in the rules that govern development in Huntsville. The approval of this lake plan took place at an open meeting of the community (advertised, among other places, in the Forester). We have presented this plan to the Town and are hopeful that when they review the Official Plan in, apparently, 2012, it will be incorporated into the Official Plan.
These documents - our lake plan, the Town's Official Plan, the comprehensive zoning bylaws of the town, etc. - do not, unfortunately, appear to me to have the power that they are meant to have. Those of you who have sat in Town meetings realize that our Town council sometimes does not appear to give much weight to principles. This is where organizations such as the LWRA are important. Part of our job is to represent groups of citizens and to use our influence to remind the Huntsville Council of their responsibilities.
2nd Annual Family Weekend Winter Fun Day
By Roxanne Bickell-Talbot, Membership Committee Chair
Family Day is a holiday that celebrates the importance of families and family life to people and their communities. The LWRA is planning a day of winter activities in support of this holiday on Saturday, February 18th. Dwayne and Kathy Verhey have graciously agreed to host the event once again at their place at 21 Cottage Lane from 12 noon till 3.
Since the Melissa Brier was so successful last year we will offer Coffee Can Curling (ice permitting). This activity is fun for all ages and even the most experienced curler will be challenged by Lake Waseosa ice. Spectators are welcome, cheering encouraged and we hope to hear the echoes across the lake of Hurry Haaaaaard !!!
Snow Golf is also on the activities roster. This par 1 course will have a limited number of greens, flags but no holes, nine iron only club selection and spacious unobstructed fairways. Each player will "chip" his ball onto the 2 foot diameter "green". The closest to the flag will determine the winner. Spectators welcomed, caddies optional and golf shoes discouraged!! This year we will have Snowshoes available for those who would like to give that a try!
Should you not wish to partake of the physical activities, we will have a nice roaring fire to warm yourselves, plenty of hot chocolate, hotdogs and chilli. The venue is in a sheltered bay out of the wind. Please come and join us for a lovely afternoon spent with family and friends!
N. Waseosa Truck Traffic Update
We continue to work with all parties to alleviate this problem. In June, we successfully highlighted the issue as part of the "Roads Needs Study". The Stahl's road alternative is being considered by the Public Works and Protective Services committee of Council, and we addressed them at the public portion of their December 6th meeting. We were disappointed that only one submission for and one against was permitted by the Chair of the latter meeting. The spirit of a public meeting is that all voices can be heard. Our submissions can be viewed at http://www.lwra.net/truck_traffic
Fun Day and Corn Roast Results
Both these events were a rousing success this year, and attendance was markedly increased. Over 100 people joined us for the Fun Day regatta, enjoying both the old staples and some new events such as kayak racing, horseshoes and a tug-of-war. Corn Roast topped that with 152 people scarfing down a BBQ lunch. Organizers attribute the increase to both the good weather on those days and improved communication with new area residents, making sure everyone knew about them. We really hope this trend continues because it's a great way to meet and socialize. Not to mention lots of fun for the whole family!
Lake Plan Update
The updates were presented and debated at the public meeting following this year's Corn Roast on Sept. 3rd. On a motion from the floor, the changes were approved and the Board was instructed to carry them forward for inclusion in the Town's Official Plan, as part of their plan review process. The new Lake Plan was forwarded to staff this fall, however the Town is only updating some minor items in the OP this year, so lake-specific changes won't be included by them until next year's full review and update.
The Board has reviewed the OP amendments put forward by town staff, and concur that they are all minor in nature and will not substantially affect property owners in our area.
The plaques have been very popular, and both batches were quickly sold out. We have ordered a third batch and will have them at the Family Day Social. Also, we have ordered the 2012 stickers, which will be issued as dues are paid up.
Huntsville-Lake of Bays Lakes Council
The Lake Waseosa Ratepayers' Association was a member of the HLoBLC since its founding as the Huntsville Lakes Council. As the HLC, it served a number of needs shared by area associations and we were pleased to be members. A number of our members served as officers for the HLC.
In recent years, however, we have been increasingly concerned that the HLoBLC was no longer serving the needs of the LWRA. We have found there has been little or no sign of activity in the HLoBLC with the exception of fund-raising and notices of events or seminars put on by other organizations. From our perspective, we were unable to see the current value to the LWRA of membership in the HLoBLC.
This has been a subject of concern for the Board for over a year now. At a recent meeting of the executive of the LWRA, it was unanimously decided that the LWRA will no longer be a member of the HLoBLC.
The LWRA Role in Development Applications
By Dwayne Verhey, Secretary
One of the three objects under our charter is "to promote the interests of persons owning property in the said Waseosa area and to advance any plans for the advantage of the said Lake Waseosa and vicinity". The Town expects us to participate in the planning process, asking for input to the OP and Zoning bylaws and specifically, to develop and maintain a Lake Plan. These documents form "the rules" developers and property owners must follow to protect the interests of their neighbours. It is an on-going process; new knowledge and experience sometimes means changes.
That is generally the extent of our participation. Any application conforming to the rules is processed by the Town without any need for us to be involved. However, periodically someone asks to be exempted from one or more of the rules. Each property is unique, many having been developed before the rules were in place. Sometimes rules conflict with those unique circumstances. When such exemptions are requested, the Town asks for our input.
Once upon a time some places were built near the water's edge on small lots. Since then it was found this practice deteriorates the water quality, so minimum acceptable distances were calculated and established to protect the shared resource. In other words, someone made a rule to protect the lake.
Let's say a new owner wants to add a room, so they ask for a "variance" - an exemption from the rules. In such a case, the LWRA will try to find an alternative that offers the same protection to the lake. Maybe upgrading the septic system and re-naturalizing the shoreline are available options. If that is the case, then we support the application before Council.
The owner may be an LWRA member or not. It makes no difference; we will work with anybody. Similarly, if no solution can be found, we will oppose the application, regardless of membership status. This is a thankless task, and has upset some people who now portray us as busybodies interfering with their property rights. When you hear these complaints, we ask only that you remember we are property owners too, subject to the same rules, and we are trying to protect all our interests.
Jessop or Jessup?
We know Jas and Robert were both landowners in this area. There is a lake and a lane named after them. Jessop Lake is spelled the same as the land grants, Jessup Lane is spelled like the headstone. How did they spell their last name? The Local History Project wants to know! We also want any other stories related to the history of our area.