To: All SSCA Members, Associate Members and Families
My early memories of Georgian Bay are of exploring in a wooden lifeboat called “putt putt” uninhabited islands and weathered pink granite all within safe view of my mother. While not far from the nest, in my mind these islands were distant lands, undiscovered and free to roam. These days, exploring Georgian Bay islands is still a great adventure. From the sandy shores of Wasaga Beach to the rock shoals of Britt to the white quartz mountains of the La Cloche range near Baie Fine, there is no limit to the unique places to explore with family and friends. In fact, one of the greatest joys of being on the Bay is introducing this unique biosphere to others. When we have people to the cottage (we call them ArmourFests or Friendfests), it really hits home how fortunate we are and the opportunity we have to protect the Sans Souci surroundings we live in. Acting more than just owners but as Guardians, of the place we call the Bay.
In December last year, I attended on your behalf, a Symposium of the Georgian Bay 5 with participation from Shawanaga First Nation. The goal of the symposium was to develop a shared vision of Georgian Bay 100 years from now. What would we want it to look like for our children’s children? Marilyn Capreol from the Shawanaga First Nation, talked about how the First Nations people see their role not as stewards or owners of the Bay, but as Guardians. Given the responsibility to take care of the water, the land and the sky for our children, and their children, and also for the animals that can’t speak, to preserve their way of life. What struck me was the responsibility we have as cottagers and residents to take care of what we have and to be Guardians of the Bay for others.
Now we have modern day disruptors that are challenging life on the Bay. There is continued pressure on protected natural habitats from extreme water level fluctuations. We have invasive species like the towering Phragmites crowding our shorelines with a viral tenacity. Grass Carp (a close relative of the Asian Carp) have made their way into Lakes Erie & Michigan and are projected to become the dominant fish species in the Great Lakes without our lifetimes, unless we find a way to eradicate them. As a community, we have amazing opportunities to demonstrate our commitment to push back these invaders through active participation in various programs, campaigns, local committees and our own educational events such as Environment Day.
A great example of local action happened last year when a dedicated contingent of SSCA members participated in Phragmites removal events. On broader issues, the GBA represented our Association’s concerns on several issues including rising water levels, Hydro rates and MPAC assessments. These are only a few examples of the influence being a SSCA member has. These activities only happen because of volunteers that put in hours and hours of their time. We all need to play a part, be involved, write letters to the decision makers, and build our knowledge so we make the right decisions ourselves – be Guardians of the Bay.
This summer’s Canada Day marks the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. There are celebrations all over Canada and recognition by countries around the world of this great achievement. In our area we plan to hold celebrations at our community centre to mark this event. Mark your cottage calendar on July 1st for a Canada Day celebration. Watch for more details as the plan unfolds.
On top of anniversary celebrations, we have a full slate of activities already planned to interest all of our members. This includes the Regatta, Day Camp, Sailing Camp, Yoga, Book Club, Bridge Club, Church on the Rock, Environment Days, Tennis events, Pot Luck, Arts shows and much more. Information on all of these events are identified in this year’s yearbook and on the website. As new events come up, they will be announced through emails and posted on our website.
Have a safe and relaxing summer!
To: All SSCA Members, Associate Members and Families
Welcome to the summer of 2016. In honor of the Georgian Bay Association’s (GBA) 100th Anniversary, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight how the GBA is helping the SSCA achieve our objective of protecting and preserving Georgian Bay by highlighting some of their accomplishments: Past, Present and Future.
Past: From the GBA’s beginning, protecting the environment has been one of the key areas of focus. The GBA was formed one hundred years ago because people recognized then that a consortium of cottage associations had more influence than just one association. As members of the GBA we make up a group of almost three thousand families from nineteen member associations and together can and have influenced decision makers.
The GBA has a long list of accomplishments since its inception including: blasting and marking the inner boat channel in the early 1900s, pushing for sanitation standards and inspection for cottages (before the era of septic tanks), protecting the native fishery by lobbying against the use of hoop net fishing in the 20s and pushing for limits on bass fishing in the 40s. More recently they helped establish the Township of the Archipeago and the outer boat channel to reduce traffic in front of our cottages.
Past GBA Presidents and Honorary Life Members have played instrumental roles in the founding of new organizations to work in concert with the GBA to protect and preserve Georgian Bay. In 1991 Wally King led the charge in founding the Georgian Bay Land Trust, a charity designed to protect land in Georgian Bay through acquisition and stewardship. In 1995 Roy Schatz played an important role in founding the GBA Foundation (now Georgian Bay Forever). GBF is a charity that protects water with a focus on water levels, water quality, ecosystems and invasive species.
In 2004 Pat Northey helped secure a UNESCO designation for a large portion of the eastern shore of Georgian Bay and in doing so created the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve. GBA lobbied for the establishment of the Eastern Georgian Bay stewardship Council in 2004. This Council focuses on the protection of the native fishery on the Bay through education, building and re-establishing fish spawning habitat and stocking of native fish. The GBA and these organizations are referred to as the GB5.
Present: The GBA is continuing to engage with government and other non-government organizations to maintain water levels in their historic healthy range. With Climate Change in full swing we haven’t seen the last of extreme swings in water levels. With the GBA’s help we will continue to influence the government to do whatever it can to protect our Great Lakes water resource.
Water quality is always a concern and something that GBA works hard with Georgian Bay Forever and the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve as well as local municipalities to monitor and identify causes for areas of deterioration. One piece of the water quality puzzle is aquaculture which introduces large amounts of phosphate into the water.
While attending the recent Georgian Bay Association 100th Anniversary meeting I was reminded yet again what a special place Georgian Bay is. Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, reminded us that Georgian Bay is a spiritual place that has been sacred to First Nation people for centuries, and now it is to us. The Honourable Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, spoke about the negative environmental impact our “civilization” has had on Georgian Bay and the Great Lakes over the last 100 years. Parts of Georgian Bay that were once pristine are now suffering from the impact of our poor stewardship. He challenged us to reverse this trend.
Future: Through a strategy of working together in concert with other GB5 organizations, the GBA will continue to influence a variety of municipal, provincial and federal government organizations to find positive solutions. Working with the GBA we will accomplish more than the SSCA could have on our own.
On behalf of the Board, I wish you a wonderful summer in 2016. We look forward to seeing you at some of our events: pot luck dinners, regatta, and our Annual General Meeting and Members Lunch on Saturday July 23rd.
To: All SSCA Members, Associate Members and Families
Welcome to the summer of 2015. I was reminded again today how blessed we are to have a slice of heaven in the Sans Souci area of Georgian Bay. It is a place where we can feel the cares of the world float away on the boat ride from the mainland. We can unplug and enjoy family, friends and neighbors or just sit and gaze upon the wonders of Mother Nature as another sea gull effortlessly floats by our window.
The SSCA community has been active for over one hundred years. Our vision has consistently been about protecting and preserving this slice of heaven for today and generations to come. We are aided in this endeavor by being part of a larger Georgian Bay community, the Georgian Bay Association (GBA). The GBA through the power of larger numbers much larger than the SSCA can meet with organizations to help protect and preserve Georgian Bay. A portion of our annual dues goes to the GBA to aid in that effort.
Ice is covering most of the great lakes this year reducing evaporation to nil. There is also snow in abundance. Both of these factors are forecasted to break the decade-long low water trend and put us well above the all-time lake average. But, we cannot be complacent. We need to continue to support the GBA and other organizations in their efforts to influence governments on both sides of the border to implement a long term water level management strategy for the middle Great Lakes, Huron and Michigan.
Your SSCA Directors continue to do a fabulous job supporting our community. Here are a few highlights of just some of their efforts.
The Environment Committee is joining up with the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve (GBBR) again this year and will be hosting another Environment Day. The Environment Committee is also actively working with other organizations to help fight the latest invasion species, Phragmites. Stay tuned for more information.
The Programs Committee is bringing back favorites like Day Camp, the Regatta and Pot Luck dinners. Volunteers make these events run well. Extra hands are always welcome if you would like to pitch in. You can see all of the events and updates on our website www.ssca.info in the calendar section.
The Membership Committee has implemented a new membership category called an Associate Member. This membership category is designed to aid younger generations of Bay lovers to stay informed and involved. It is the perfect gift to give to your children or grandchildren who share your passion for Georgian Bay.
The Property Committee is making great strides toward the Community Centre that was green- lighted at last year’s Annual General meeting. They have supervised the removal of the old McNamara house. As I write this note, they have achieved twenty percent towards the fundraising goal to support the construction and ongoing maintenance of a new Community Centre.
The response to the Members’ Lunch after the Annual General Meeting last year was outstanding. We will continue the tradition and have a Members’ Lunch again this year right after the Annual General Meeting. It’s a great chance to meet the Directors and your neighbors. I look forward to seeing you there.
Thanks to all of you who support our wonderful community. If you are interested in getting involved, feel free to drop me a note or give me a call. On behalf of the Board, we wish you a wonderful summer in 2015.
To: All SSCA Members and Families,
Welcome to the summer of 2014. A polar vortex is settling in over the province of Ontario for the month of March as I write this update. Erratic weather patterns are the new normal which further supports the need for managed water levels of our middle lakes including Georgian Bay. As I look back over my tenure as President of the SSCA, water and water levels continue to be our primary concern which is logical given we are a 100% water based community.
The economic impact from historic low water levels last year has yet to be fully quantified but preliminary numbers are significant. We cannot become complacent with the promise that water levels will be up this year. This is a long term issue and we need to continue to apply pressure to state, provincial and federal governments through our affiliations with organizations like the Georgian Bay Association, Georgian Bay Forever and Stop the Drop to name a few.
The unmanaged Huron-Michigan lakes have been below the all-time average for the last fifteen years. Yet managed lakes like Superior, Erie and Ontario have stayed closer to their all-time water level averages. The NOAA has a great interactive dashboard to see the water levels at www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/now/wlevels/dbd/GLHCD/. It measures not just the water level and the averages as well as ice coverage and evaporation.
Our community volunteers, Programs Committee and Environment Committee have put together another great year of activities. You can see all of the events and updates on our website www.ssca.info in the calendar section. Please note that after the Annual General Meeting this year there will be a member’s lunch where you can meet with the Directors and your neighbors.
Our Property Committee has been working hard over the winter months. A big “Thank You” to all who completed the Property Survey last fall. The results clearly showed that our members would like to see a new community centre structure and are willing to support the effort through donations. Stay tuned for news about an all-members event early in the summer to share plans for the new facility.
None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of the SSCA volunteers and staff. Thank you to all who support our wonderful community. On behalf of the Board we wish you a wonderful summer in 2104.
Welcome to the summer of 2013. Even with the snow we had this winter we are flirting with historic low water levels. The Township of the Archipelago (TOA) staff have been working with various levels of government to streamline application processes and reduce red tape in getting approvals to relocate your docks and/or dredge. There are municipal restrictions that apply, zoning regulations that must be adhered to and Provincial and Federal approvals that may be required. See the TOA website http://www.thearchipelago.on.ca/ for links to assist you.
The Georgian Bay Association (GBA), of which we are all members through our SSCA membership, continues to educate, inform and influence local, provincial, federal and international representatives to address low water levels. The Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) has been providing research to support the GBA present the facts. For more information you can watch a GBA video about water levels at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ3y8SpMdVA. “Stop the Drop” is a campaign launching in April to bring Georgian Bay and middle Great Lake users of all types and ages to an online community to advocate for action on water levels. You can join their online community, www.stopthedrop.ca, to get informed about the issues and find out how you can take action to support the cause. The GBA, Stop the Drop and the SSCA are all advocating for managed water levels. Visit either Canadian Hydrographic services http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca or the Army Corps of Engineers for the latest water level reports. These reports are updated monthly.
One of the organizations the GBA endeavors to influence is the International Joint Commission (IJC). The IJC is an international organization created by the Boundary Waters Treaty, signed by Canada and the United States in 1909. The IJC prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments. The IJC has the authority to decide whether or not to implement a new regulation plan and can also make recommendations to the governments in the upper Great Lakes basin regarding adaptive management, restoration of water levels, multi-lake regulation and other matters related to water levels and flows. The IJC intends to conclude its deliberations about the International Upper Great Lakes Study and make recommendations in early 2013. See more at the IJC website: http://ijc.org/iuglsreport/. To date the IJC is recommending a wait and see approach and we are trying to influence them to change to a strategy of management.
The summer of 2013 has a full agenda of activities planned again thanks to the hard work of the Programs Committee and other community volunteers. Many of the usual favorites are scheduled: Regatta, Yoga, Bridge, Day Camp, Church on the Rock and Bootcamp. The annual Pot Luck Dinners are back with plans to bring back the band Z-Jazz, lots of food and of course a great way to get to know other cottagers in our area. The Internet Café will be in place at the end of May. New this year the SSCA calendar of events can be viewed at the revamped and refreshed SSCA website: www.ssca.info.
Thank you to all of the great SSCA volunteers. There are a number of activities that need volunteers, I encourage you to learn more and get involved. On behalf of the Board have a wonderful summer in 2013!