Cottage Life has published a great article that summarizes a set of recent Ontario provincial government budget cuts on programs that are closely tied our cottage environment – a short and highly recommend read (see here).
What do you do with the ashes from your fireplace? Toss them in with your garbage or haul them out to that special place reserved at the dump? Or did you know that ashes are a completely natural material that is rich in much needed calcium?
It’s true! Ashes are full of calcium, and calcium is not just #20 on the periodic table, but an essential element for a healthy environment. So important that it’s one of the key measures we’re tracking as part of our Bob Lake Stewardship program (checkout our numbers here). So rather than dumping your ashes in the garbage – spread them around your property (maple trees will be especially thankful). Just be certain the ashes are completely extinguished (that should go without saying, but I’m just say’n!).
Want to learn more? The Friends of Muskoka Watershed have created a whole program around this called ASHMuskoka. Checkout their website to learn more about the science and benefits something as simple as this can have.
Check out our November 2019 BLAst newsletter! In this edition we wrap up the season with an update on the boat launch situation, as well as progress on both our Safe Boating and Lake Stewardship priorities.
The fall colours have been amazing this year – even better when you can enjoy them at the cottage! But as the leaves drop along with the temperature, many of us feel compelled to grab our rakes or leaf blowers to deal with the “mess”. Here’s some advice before doing either…
First, consider not raking at all! Letting Mother Nature deal with your leaves is actually the best option for the environment. Take a quick look at this short article from Cottage Life for three excuses not to rake leaves this year.
If you still insist on raking or blowing, then please DO NOT dump leaves into the lake or along the shoreline! The natural amount of leaves that find their way into the lake is fine, but a concentrated amount from unnatural human activity can have seriously negative impacts on our lake health. Take a moment to read this article to understand the bad effect this can have.
The topic and concern of drones came up during our 2019 AGM. Transport Canada released major updates to the drone safety and privacy regulations shortly after that. So what better time then to create a primer on what you should know about drones! Brought to you compliments of David Greig…
In June 2019, new rules and regulations came into effect. Before you fly your drone, you should be aware of the laws relating to safe operation and the privacy of others. In many cases you must carry a valid drone pilot certificate, and your drone must be both registered and marked accordingly. Although we have summarized a lot of information below, we recommend that you visit Transport Canada’s website on drone safety for more complete details.
If your drone weighs less than 250 grams, it does not need to be registered. However, you must take care that you fly responsibly so that you do not put people or other aircraft in danger, and only fly your drone where you can see it at all times.
If your drone weighs more than 250 grams, it must be registered before you can fly it (this regulation came into effect June 1, 2019) and it must be marked with its registration number. If you lose your drone or it is stolen, registration may help in returning the drone to you if it is found. Transport Canada may also notify you if there is a manufacturer’s recall. If you do not register and mark your drone, you can be fined. It only takes a few minutes to register at Transport Canada’s website. Your drone must be marked with its registration number (instructions can be found here).
If your drone weighs over 25 kilograms, you will need to get a Special Flight Operations Certificate from Transport Canada before you can fly it.
Whether you are flying basic or advanced operations (more on that later), understand your legal requirements and obtain the necessary knowledge and certificates. Canadian Aviation Regulations Part IX—Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems contains most of the rules that apply to drones weighing less than 25 kilograms.
Read and follow your drone manufacturer’s instructions. Survey the area where you will fly, noting any obstacles such as buildings and power lines.
Although not required (yet), it is recommended that you buy public liability insurance for your drone. Most standard home insurance policies do not cover the use of drones.
Privacy laws apply to pictures, videos or other information collected by a drone. Some violations of a person’s privacy may include offences that result in charges, including using drones in a way that could be construed as voyeurism, mischief, creating a nuisance or a violation of provincial or municipal laws.
When you fly a drone, you’re responsible for all the personal information it collects. Take reasonable steps to avoid capturing personal information (a name, a picture of a person’s face or a license number). If it is likely you will capture people’s personal information on your flight, take reasonable steps to tell those affected and get their consent. Be open and responsive about your activities, and if someone complains that your drone flight is harming their privacy, respond with respect and courtesy. In general, it is a good idea to make any personal information captured without consent anonymous by blurring faces or license plates. If you save recordings that contain personal information, take reasonable steps to ensure that no one else can access the information.
In Canada, there are two main categories of drone operation – Basic and Advanced. You must meet all three of the following conditions to conduct Basic Operations:
To fly a drone that weighs more than 250 grams for Basic Operations, you must pass the Small Basic Exam and be able to show your “Pilot Certificate – Basic Operations” and proof of registration when you fly.
For Basic Operations you must pilot your drone under the following conditions:
Drone pilots are not allowed to fly within the security perimeter of a police or first responder emergency operations, such as a traffic accident. Pilots must also avoid sites near disasters (forest fires, floods, earthquakes). A drone flying near these areas may interfere with emergency personnel aircraft and the work of emergency personnel.
If you meet any one of the following conditions, you are conducting Advanced Operations:
To fly a drone that weighs more than 250 grams for Advanced Operations, your drone must be safety approved. When you register your drone, the certificate you receive might not contain the safety declaration. Once the manufacturer has submitted its declaration to Transport Canada, you will receive an email that explains which advanced operations your drone is approved for. Until you receive this email, you may only fly the drone for Basic Operations. You will also need to:
Advanced operations are complicated. Visit Transport Canada’s website for more information.
There is a new resource in the works for people interested in plants and gardens in the Highlands. This project has been over a year in the making and promises to be a great tool for all of us. The CHA folks working on this are looking for pictures, success stories etc. Many of our BLA members may be interested in this project and would be like to contribute. Please see the My Haliburton Gardening and Environmental Guide for more information.
One of our members noticed a tick on their dog after visiting the cottage this past weekend. The tick was taken to their veterinarian for testing and was found to be carrying Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – a potentially deadly bacterial disease spread through the bite of an infected tick! It’s important that your family and friends educate themselves on ticks and be diligent for checking themselves and pets.
Check out our June 2019 BLAst newsletter! In this edition we touch on the success of our AGM that took place on May 18, which included our Safe Boating Action Plan and an update to membership fees (see here for a complete look at the AGM presentation material). This BLAst also contains an important boat launch update!!
Members of the BLA Board presented a second delegation to Minden Hills Council on April 25, 2019 for the restoration of our public boat launch. You can read all the material behind our “Plan B” solution posted to our updated Boat Launch page. Expect further discussion on this at our AGM. Watch for updates on our website and in our BLAst newsletters…
A message from the MNFR on spring flooding conditions:
“The latest snow survey shows a continuing deep snowpack in southeast/ southcentral Ontario ranging from 125% to 450% of normal for this date …The impact of recent warm temperatures and rainfall have compacted the significant snow pack, reducing its ability to absorb rainfall. Warm temperatures and precipitation are likely to further degrade the snowpack and river ice, and produce runoff and increasing levels and flows.”
Stay informed! The flood map and local message updates are here.