FOCA Elert ~ March 2024

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Make sure you see all the updates! You're at the end when you see this FOCA banner again:

Hot Topics:

Come visit us!

March 21-24, 2024 - FOCA is kicking off the unofficial start to the cottage country season at the Spring Cottage Life Show this weekend at the International Centre near the Toronto airport. FOCA is in Hall #2 in the middle of the show. See FOCA's Terry Rees speak on the main stage on Friday at 5pm, and Saturday at 10am, together with Kaleigh Mooney who is creating the forthcoming FOCA Guide to understanding the world of aquatic plants in Ontario. They will be talking about invasive plants and fish that threaten native species in our waterways. FOCA has your discount code for $3 off regular entry tickets: Use this link with our code: FOCA

recap: FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar held March 2, 2024 in person and by Zoom webinar

We had 250 people join us for "Water Matters" - the 2024 FOCA Spring Seminar for Lake Associations. Additionally, voting members participated in the Annual General Meeting which included a vote in favour of a membership fee increase that comes into effect beginning with renewals in May 2024. Finally, we presented the FOCA Achievement Award to a member association (more on that, below!).

Members should login on FOCA's event webpage to access the Event Summary, which includes the AGM and seminar slides on topics such as rural fire safety, property assessments, aquatic plants, land use planning and 2023 boating safety statistics from the OPP. Access lots of information worth sharing in your own Spring or Summer association newsletter.

Lake of Bays Association receives the 2023 Terry Rees Achievement Award

As announced at the FOCA Spring Seminar (above), the Board of Directors has renamed the "FOCA Achievement Award" as the "Terry Rees Achievement Award" in honour of his 20 years of service as the FOCA Executive Director, and 10 years of prior volunteer service on the Board.

At the Spring Seminar, the 2023 Award was presented to the Lake of Bays Association for their work over several years to weigh-in on a land development plan for Langmaid's Island - one of the largest undisturbed properties on the lake. Read about the plan, LOBA's actions, and President Wendy Gibson's "best practices" suggestions for other associations facing development proposals, in the 2024 Spring Seminar Event Summary (see pages 5-6).

FOCA's Platinum Level Sponsors

Thank you to our valued Platinum Level Sponsors:

Cade's Corner

our partners in risk management & administrators of

the FOCA Association Insurance Program and CottageFirst

Building or Renovating a Cottage

We are no strangers to harsh weather and the power interruptions that can follow a major storm event! If you rely on a generator to keep the power flowing when the lights go out, safe operation of your equipment becomes paramount. Please take a moment to read a few essential steps to ensure the safe operation of your generator during extended outages: Generator Safety (download PDF, 1 page) 

Rogers Connectivity

Get your cottage ready with easy, worry-free, 5G Home Internet!

Stay connected at the cottage this spring with new 5G Home Internet, powered by Canada’s largest and most reliable 5G network. Visit to try it, risk-free.


Check out the Rogers booth at the Spring Cottage Life Show from March 21-24, 2024,

located in Hall #5 of The International Centre

at 6900 Airport Rd, Mississauga, ON L4V 1E8.

FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living

Mild Winter + Early Spring = Bears

The Province of Ontario and the OPP issued a joint media release in early March, warning the public that there have been reports of black bears coming out of hibernation early in some parts of the province, as a result of this winter's mild weather and lack of snow. There is little natural food for bears at this point, which may lead them to roam in search of other sources, like your garbage or bird feeder. Get tips on being "Bear Wise" to prevent bear encounters.

Water Level Highs & Lows

Also as a result of the early arrival of Spring, some FOCA members are reporting concerns about high water levels due to early snow melt; meanwhile others, especially along the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW), are worried about extremely low levels as a result of below-average precipitation this past winter. For example, Parks Canada surveys show precipitation levels in Haliburton have been below average each month since September 2023, and were just 35% of normal in February 2024. Read the full story from KawarthaNOW (source of the image above), ‘We could be in for a very different summer’: officials warn of potential for low water levels, which includes a handy link to the Coalition for Equitable Water Flow's video about understanding the TSW and climate change. Get more resources and links on FOCA's webpage:

upcoming webinar: "Cottage Sharing Agreements" - a FOCA Cottage Succession Seminar

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 from 7-8:30pm by Zoom webinar - Register to join FOCA and estate lawyer Peter Lillico for a “deep dive” into Cottage Sharing Agreements: advantages and obstacles to overcome to make your family's succession plan a success. MEMBERS register for free here; remember to tell us your FOCA affiliation when you register!

Not a member, but still want to attend? Pay the $30 non-member fee per registrant, then register using the link above. Or become a Friend of FOCA (our paid annual supporter category) to receive free access to all the FOCA Cottage Succession events over the coming year, plus additional supporter benefits including a discount on registration for FOCA's annual Spring & Fall Seminars and access to the valuable CottageFirst group insurance program.

Short-Term Rental

In February, the federal government announced it will extend the foreign buyer ban on Canadian homes to 2027. Also, the Township of Georgian Bay (TGB) has created a communications campaign to alert property owners about new policies to register, regulate and govern short-term rentals (STR) that were approved by TGB Council late last year. And, the Town of Huntsville has introduced a 24-hour STR issue reporting hotline. Get updates on these and related items, under the "Latest News" banner, here:

upcoming webinar: Practical Tips for Creating Cardiac Safe Cottages & Communities

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 from 12-1pm - Join us for another FOCA "lunch-n-learn webinar" brought to you by event sponsor Action First Aid whose motto is "empowering people to take action". This is a free public webinar for everyone interested in top tips for lake associations to help you create a cardiac-safe community at the lake. Come out and learn something that might save a life! Register here.

FOCA's Gold Level Sponsors

sponsors support our work, please support them

FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government

Floating Accommodations - Update

March 8, 2024 – FOCA is pleased to report that Parks Canada has opened a public consultation period on a Notice of Mooring Restrictions which is planned to come into effect on May 1, 2024 on the Trent-Severn Waterway. This is in response to issues with floating accommodations - the use of moored shipping containers as private floating residences in Georgian Bay and elsewhere, that FOCA has been telling members about since 2022. Get background information and a link to add your comments to the public consultation by April 7, 2024 from our webpage: (image above courtesy the Gloucester Pool Cottagers' Association)

ECCC Survey: Canada's Climate Future

The federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) wants to know what the right to a healthy environment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act means to you. Participate in the ECCC engagement survey, "Talking Targets" to share your thoughts on topics related to fighting climate change, leading to the development of Canada's 2035 emissions target. The survey is open until March 28, 2024.

Peterborough 'Power Hour'

Feb 23, 2024 - FOCA participated as Peterborough-area politicians gathered for community input at the annual 'Power Hour' event. Topics discussed included housing and homelessness, climate change, and the emerging economy. Pictured are (L to R): Peterborough County Warden Bonnie Clarke, Mayor of Peterborough Jeff Leal, federal MP for Peterborough-Kawartha Michelle Ferreri, and Terry Rees of FOCA.

FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers

Lake Partner Program (LPP)

FOCA's Assistant Lake Stewardship Coordinator, Gavin Vance, is busy assembling and mailing out the 2024 LPP water sampling kits to our more than 600 volunteers across the province, who last year sampled over 900 sites across Ontario!

If you are a registered sampler, please watch for your kit(s) over the coming weeks. If you think you should have received a kit but haven't by April 19th, connect with Gavin by email then.

Learn more about the important work of our volunteers, sampling Ontario's freshwater inland lakes:

partner funding available: Invasive Species Action Fund

Lake associations are encouraged to apply for funding for on-the-ground management and monitoring of invasive species in Ontario, through the Invasive Species Action Fund (ISAF), a program made possible through the support of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Several FOCA member associations received project funding last year! The applicant portal is open until Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 11:50pm ET. Learn more about the fund, previous grant recipients and projects, here:

event re-cap: Grass Carp Info Session

February 28, 2024 - Belleville & District Fish & Game Club - Thanks for joining FOCA and our partners for a workshop devoted to learning how to ID invasive Grass Carp, following the capture of a Grass Carp in the Bay of Quinte in 2023 (a fertile female weighing over 20 kg!). Please be our eyes on the Great Lakes this summer and learn how to identify the invaders: (pictured L to R: Michelle Lewin of FOCA, Liana Hryniewicz of the Invasive Species Centre, and Lujanne Hamdan of Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Welcome Silver Sponsor!

Municipal Equipment

Please join FOCA in thanking and welcoming our newest Silver Sponsor, Municipal Equipment, who spoke at the 2024 Spring Seminar about fire safety preparedness for properties in forested areas, including portable fire-fighting water pump systems and mounted sprinkler products ideal for such settings. See the link to the Event Summary (above) for details.

About Municipal Equipment:

"Serving southern Ontario for over 30 years, our family run business model has always been focused on innovative firefighting equipment while providing the best customer service possible. We have worked hard to maintain a high level of service for our customers by aligning ourselves with suppliers who value and match our standards, expectations, and high level of service.

Contact us about your association or personal fire protection needs."

FOCA's Silver Level Sponsors

sponsors support our work, please support them

Partner Updates & Regional Notices

Kenora Region Contacts Sought re: Highway Twinning Plans

FOCA's largest member group, the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA) is looking to connect with representatives of other property associations along Highway 17 from the Manitoba border to the bypass before Kenora. LOWDSA has been advocating to Ministry of Transportation partners for updates on the plan to double the highway lanes through that corridor, and to ensure nearby residents have representation in the process. Nearby associations can connect with LOWDSA by email.

Funding for Stream Restoration in the Lake Simcoe Region

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority is offering funding (50% of costs up to $20,000) for local projects involving natural plantings along the edges of streambanks or creeks to stabilize them and help manage stormwater to protect water quality and manage quantity in the watershed. Learn more about eligible projects here.

partner webinar: Latornell Changing Climates Webinars

The Latornell Conservation Symposium has held a series of webinars since last Fall, on the theme: "Our Watershed Moment". Catch up on the episode from late January 2024 titled, "Connecting the Dots on Assessing and Reporting Ecological Health in the Great Lakes Region" by clicking here to watch the YouTube video recording.

Discount on Seasonal Lockage Permits

If you boat often on the Trent Severn Waterway or Rideau Canal system, you'll want to take advantage of the 20% discount on seasonal lockage permits (plus a 10% discount on a mooring permit when you buy both together). Purchase by March 31, 2024 to access these discounts. Get information and make your purchase here:

partner webinar series: Practical Water Wisdom

FOCA's water science colleagues across the border in Minnesota are holding a virtual learning series at noon on the first Thursday of each month from February through November, 2024. Several of the session titles will be of interest to our membership (with the proviso that Minnesota State regulations can be different from our Ontario Provincial ones). The next session on April 4th is about loon restoration in Minnesota. Watch videos of past sessions and register for upcoming webinars, here:

Fireworks Survey - Rideau Lakes

The Township of Rideau Lakes invites residents to participate in a survey to get public feedback about the use of fireworks on private property in the Township. Participate by March 31, 2024:

Lake Erie Erosion Concerns

As reported in late February, a large 300-metre crater along Lake Erie's shoreline near Port Burwell underlines the threat of erosion in the area. Parts of the Lake Erie shoreline are eroding at a pace of four metres or more a year! Read the online London Free Press news article (source of the image at the side).

Cataraqui Source Water Protection (SWP) Public Comment Period

A public consultation period is open on a proposed amendment to the Cataraqui Source Protection Plan, Assessment Report and Explanatory Document. If your property is located near a municipal well or intake in the Cataraqui region, these changes may impact you. Read more and provide your comments by April 3, 2024 to, noting in the subject line: "SWP Public Consultation".

Rideau Valley Watershed Report

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority has released a detailed conditions report assessing trends in the watershed's surface and ground water quality, aquatic ecosystem health, and other factors. Consult the report for recent and historical monitoring data and water flow patterns and trends:

FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations

Association Member Benefits

Membership in FOCA brings your Association many benefits! Here's one that our member groups tell us they highly value: FOCA has created a document filled with tips about starting and building an effective volunteer association. There are two versions - one focused on waterfront/lake associations, and the other on road associations.

Member Associations can login on FOCA's Association Best Practices webpage to access these resources:

Just starting a new association? Contact FOCA for some preliminary guidance. Remember: as a non-profit membership organization, most of our resources are only available to current members associations. Find out more about the many benefits of joining FOCA:

FOCA Elert Subscriber Benefit: discount on ROM admission

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has once again offered a 15% discount to all FOCA Elert subscribers, on museum visits from now until May 27, 2024. Use the promo code FOCA when you purchase your tickets online here.

Plan a visit to check out their special annual exhibit, "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" (source of the image; credit Max Waugh) and enjoy all the regular galleries too!

BONUS: if you can visit the ROM this weekend on March 23 or 24, 2024 entry is FREE as part of the ROM's 110th anniversary celebration, and no ticket is required.

FOCA's Bronze Sponsors

Dock in a Box

sponsors support our work - please support them

FOCA's 2023 Year in Review

Download your digital copy of the 2023 FOCA Year in Review (PDF, 16 pages). It contains an overview of our 2023 priority files, programs, advocacy, communications and events, and is a great piece to share with your fellow association members.

FOCA works year-round in support of healthy and sustainable waterfronts across Ontario, and the volunteer lake & community associations and waterfront property owners who love and care for our lands, lakes, and rivers. Thank you to everyone who supports us!

Final Thoughts

20 Years of Observations

from a Water Enthusiast

As Terry Rees prepares to wrap up his tenure as FOCA's Executive Director next week, please read his call-to-action to all fellow water enthusiasts, alongside his observations about what is changing on Ontario's waters and what must be done about it, in the March/April 2024 digital edition of Water Canada Magazine.

KW Pellets

A big "thank you" to KW Pellets, supplier of the Green Mountain Grill (GMG) smoker that was presented to outgoing FOCA Executive Director Terry Rees at the FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar on March 2nd.

KW Pellets is your southern Ontario retailer for GMG smokers, Ooni pizza ovens, Pitmasters Choice pellets, BBQ spices, and accessories. Check out their products, then start planning your family's summer menu. Visit them this weekend in Hall 5 of the 2024 Spring Cottage Life Show - and be sure to tell them, "FOCA sent me!"

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, the voice of the waterfront for the past 60 years. Find out more about YOUR ROLE. | 705-749-3622 |

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