April 11, 2008

SF Official Plan Review.

Taro Alps, GBCLA president, reported the township councillors at their “Committee of the Whole” meeting on Tuesday, April 8th, decided postpone any discussion or further action on restarting the clock for severances and permitting back lot development on private lanes. He reported the mayor and several councillors said they had received “hundreds” of emails and letters with most not in favour of altering the OP wording. However, there was much discussion on these issues following that decision. The councillors finally decided to have Lindsay Mills provide detailed written documentation on both of these items. After receiving Mills’s report the council would decide whether to form a sub-committee to discuss these items in the context of a long-term and sustainable plan for lot creation and development in South Frontenac Twp. Taro concluded, “In essence both these items are on hold. What this means for the timing of the Official Plan I am not sure, but it seems to me that the OP will be delayed for a long time if it must wait for a sub-committee to make final recommendations on the future of development within the Township.” Our thanks to all of you who contacted the councillors and township officials to express your views on this.

Lake Water Levels.

There has been a lot of snow during the winter and rain during the spring. In recent days the temperature has been spring-like. As a result there is concern about possible flooding in the watershed. RVCA issued a flood warning for downstream rivers and lakes on April 7th. At that time they said, “The snowmelt has increased flows in many rivers and streams throughout the Rideau Watershed to near bankfull conditions. Water levels will continue to rise over the next several days with increasing daily high temperatures and overnight temperatures above the freezing point… Water levels will remain high until the snowpack is substantially depleted. A significant snowpack will continue to be present in forested areas for some time after the snow has completely melted in open areas. The long range weather outlook suggests additional rain for Eastern Ontario this coming weekend, just when streams and rivers are peaking or will have peaked in response to the warm and wet weather on Wednesday.”

Joe Slater reported on March 20th that Bobs Lake was at 162.00 m., just below the rule curve. However the snow pack in the area at that time was almost 2 ft. remaining with a water equivalent of almost 8″. This was the highest water content recorded for the area at that time of year for the past 20 years. The RVCA likened conditions to the peak flow year of 1976. He said the lake level is to be held steady until after the freshet starts, most probably after April 1st. The outflow from the Bolingbroke dam was 8.3 cms and could not really be increased as Christie Lake was very high and is likely to have flooding problems that cannot be avoided. Also private bridges downstream of the dam may be inundated once the freshet begins. At that time he predicted that high water on our lake would not be reached before mid-April and possibly not until late April. He concluded, “Ice conditions on the lake are strange this year and very unpredictable as they are not overly thick everywhere.” My recollection is that the ice usually goes out between April 7th and 13th but I have not received any report for this year.

Water Construction During Spawning Season.

Each year RVCA issues a reminder that construction activity in the water is restricted during spawning season. They indicate that no in-water work is permitted in warm water or mixed fish habitats before June 30th. In cold water habitats the restriction ends on May 31. Their memo states, “The purpose of these timing windows is to allow an appropriate time and stress-free environment for fish to spawn and raise their young in our local lakes and streams.”

Boating Regulation Enforcement.

The Lanark County OPP marine patrol has presented the results from its endeavours last summer. They patrol Lanark County lakes including a portion of Bobs Lake. Their responsibilities include lakes such as the Rideau Lakes, Pike Lake, Otty Lake, Mississippi Lake, Christie Lake, and others. During 2007 they checked 552 boats and issued 37 charges and 107 warnings. That is almost one citation for every five boats. Nearly all of those were for liquor violations and failure to comply with small vessel safety equipment regulations. They checked 25 boats on Bobs Lake and issued one safety equipment charge and two each liquor and small vessel regulation warnings. The marine patrol from Sharbot Lake also inspected boats on Bobs Lake during the recreational season.

Boating Speed Regulations.

The OPP also highlighted the rules pertaining to boating speed near shore. They urge area boaters to keep in mind the boating regulations that apply to shore-line speed limits. Their memo indicated, “The province of Ontario has adopted a province-wide restriction limiting a boat’s speed to 10 km/h within 30 m (98’5″) from shore on all waters. [That’s about 6mph—jogging speed. Ed.] The exception is:

  • Waterskiing, where the boat follow a trajectory perpendicular to the shore
  • In rivers less than 100 m in width, or canals or buoyed channels
  • In waters where another speed is prescribed under a schedule to the regulations”

Additionally, they emphasized that boaters must operate responsibly considering local conditions such as other vessels in the area, weather conditions, navigational hazards, and the effect of their wake on others. For more information or a copy of the Safe Boating Guide visit www.boatingsafety.gc.ca.

US Border Documentation.

The US Customs Service has delayed until June 2009 the requirement to have passports or enhanced driver’s licenses when crossing the border in a motor vehicle. Therefore documents that show identification and citizenship such as a driver’s license and a birth certificate will be acceptable this year. However, I recommend that US travelers get passports because they will be required soon. Visit the US Customs guide (PDF document) for detailed requirements.

Spring is Coming.

Although I have not heard that the ice has gone out, I have received reports of grackles, redwing blackbirds and geese returning. The snow is also disappearing. Soon it will be gone and the woodland flowers will carpet the land. Spring is also a wonderful time to see ducks that visit our lakes for only a short time during their migration. What beautiful treasures we have in our precious lakes and their environs. We need to preserve them. Toward that end, my personal thanks to all SF residents and property owners who expressed your views on the Township Official Plan review.

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