Sharbot Lake Property Owners’ Association
Winter Newsletter 2020
Hi everyone. It’s early February and the thoughts of many are split between “Spring is less than eight
weeks away.” and “There’s so much still to do in winter.” Hopefully we can have great winter weather
(without any major storms) that ends abruptly with an early spring.
Much has happened since our last newsletter. The 2019 annual general meeting was well attended.
We had a great presentation from Central Frontenac Fire and Rescue. It was an election year and your
executive had only one change: Mike Jarvis is the new vice-president (although I have no intention in
letting Guy MacLeod become inactive within SLPOA). Sadly, attendance at the evening event was,
again, less than we had hoped.
We had a hard look and what would bring in more people or at least curb the string of money-losing
events. We created a survey and, thanks to all of you who participated, we feel we have a clearer idea
of what is wanted. In 2020 we plan to combine the AGM and a BBQ, both to be held at the Soldiers’
Memorial (Oso) Hall. More details will be forthcoming in the spring but mark your calendars for
Saturday, July 25th.
This issue of the newsletter is chock-full of interesting and informative items. Of major importance to
Sharbot Lake and all lakes in Central Frontenac, is the recently-released report on the first year of
mandatory septic re-inspection. We’ve included the executive summary from the report plus a link to
the full report. The results were a bit shocking with almost 10% of the systems inspected requiring
replacement. This report validates all the time and effort expended by so many lake and property
associations and individuals to get this program implemented and the need to ensure all septic systems
within Central Frontenac are inspected.
The Township is implementing a new waste amnesty procedure and we’ve got the update.
In only a few days, Central Frontenac will be again celebrating the 2020 Heritage Festival. You’ll find a
complete schedule of activities inside. You will also find interesting articles on winter-related subjects
including ticks (no they don’t all die off), feeding deer (not really a good thing) and feeding birds in
Barbara Fradkin, SLPOA’s Environmental Issues Co-Ordinator provides a thought-provoking article on
climate change and our lake.
Guy MacLeod (I told you I wouldn’t let him slip away into retirement) provides an update on the water
testing program for Sharbot Lake as well as personal thoughts on zebra mussels. He also provides a
summary of telecom services available within Central Frontenac.
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…continued from page 1
SLPOA is a member of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA). Did you know that,
as members of SLPOA, you are entitled to numerous FOCA benefits? FOCA has provided an article
outlining some of these benefits.
So, sit back, stay warm and enjoy this issue of the SLPOA newsletter. Remember we’re always looking
for interesting articles from our members. Stay warm.
Please remember to SUPPORT your local businesses!
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Are Ticks Still Dangerous in the Winter?
By Alysha Vandertogt
From Cottage Life, Updated: December 3, 2019
During the summer, the routine is familiar for cottagers: dress in protective clothing before stepping outside,
check for ticks after coming back in, and, should a tick bite occur, lookout for the tell-tale bullseye rash that may
signal Lyme disease. But what about in the colder months, when cottagers trade wading through forests with
wading through snow? Where do the ticks go then?
First off, it’s important to recognize that not all tick activity is bad. “There are many of different species of ticks in
Canada.” says Dr. Katie Clow, an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph who studies black-legged ticks
and the risk of Lyme disease in Ontario. “Black-legged ticks are the only species of tick in eastern Canada that
transmit the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which causes Lyme disease.”
Though people may be most concerned about ticks through the summer, in reality, “Fall is peak activity time for
adult black-legged ticks. It’s when they are actively looking for a host to take a blood meal and reproduce,” says
And while they may not make a den to hibernate in or build up a cache to keep themselves fed, ticks do still
have a plan for winter. “Black-legged ticks spend most of their life in the leaf litter of the forest. This is also true
during periods when it is very cold,” says Clow. Rather than dying off, the ticks remain well-protected under the
leaf litter and snow.
Still, Clow advises it’s good to stay alert: “If you lose a lot of snow cover, ticks can become active again. We do
receive reports of tick bites, particularly when there are warm spells (like the ‘January thaw’),” she says. “In
general though, winter is a much lower risk time.” Luckily, cottagers can rest easy knowing that ticks are not
actively moving into new areas during cold periods.
Reports on the number of Lyme disease cases in 2019 are still coming in, and it’s not unusual to see a difference
in reporting from province to province. Final numbers aren’t likely to be published right away, says Clow.
In the meantime, winter tick safety is much the same as in the summer. If you are out during any warm spells
with snow melt, cover up and do a thorough tick check on yourself and your pets. “If you are in an area that
doesn’t get very cold in the winter and the temperature fluctuates a lot, pet owners can consider keeping their
dogs on veterinary-prescribed tick preventative year-round, or for a longer portion of the year,” adds Clow.
In 2017, the federal government pledged $4 million to Lyme disease research, and new research earlier
this year suggested that while improving, Lyme disease cases are still under-reported.
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Submitted by Guy MacLeod
The SLPOA water testing program(s) continued from ice out (approx. April 21) until September. Philip
Rank and Guy MacLeod completed their monthly testing and updated the Water Rangers application
with their results. Barb McIsaac, Jocelyn Steeves & Team continued with their testing to support the
Lakes Partners program.
You can see the trends for lake clarity, temperature, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorine, hardness &
ph on the link below, Just zoom in on any of the 6 test points on Sharbot Lake to see the data and
Overall, there were no significant changes or issues identified in the testing. On average, the Lake
temperature was “cooler” than normal as shown by the graph below. Of note: although 2019’s average
was lower, the trend continues to show the Lake is warming!
72 Yearly - Average Temp (°F)
For 2020, the water testing will continue. We have had a couple of new volunteers offer their services
which is wonderful! We will get these new folks trained and out on the water. And if YOU too are
interested in helping, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the SLPOA executive!
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SUPPORTING OUR SHORES AND LAKE IN A CHANGING CLIMATE
By Barbara Fradkin
SLPOA Environmental Issues Coordinator
Climate change caused by human activity has been happening for decades, but is now
accelerating. Since 1970…
• Air temperature has increased in Eastern Ontario by an average of 2.5 degrees Celsius
• Water temperatures have increased in the Great Lakes by as much as 3.5 degrees Celsius.
• Average rainfall has increased slightly, but higher temperatures mean more evaporation,
resulting in drier conditions overall.
• Unpredictable weather and more frequent extremes – heavy rains and storms, floods,
tornados, wildfires and droughts.
Climate change is already altering the natural landscape, wildlife, and weather patterns around
the world. Changes in Ontario…
• More frequent winter and summer storms, ice storms, wind, and heavy rain, which damage
vulnerable trees, increase runoff, and increase erosion.
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• Shorter ice-covered periods on lakes, more ice-free days, earlier spring thaw.
• More winter rains and earlier peak stream flows.
• Variable rain but generally drier summers, stressing plants and animals.
• Changing habitat ranges for plants and animals.
• Loss of habitat for cold weather species like cold-water fish and loons.
• Increase in aquatic weeds and algae, including toxic algae.
• Spread of invasive species, like ticks, from warmer climates.
• Shrinking wetlands, which are crucial to carbon capture and nutrient filtration.
• Increase in destructive insects due to their surviving warmer winters.
Rural property owners, especially those on the waterfront, have a special responsibility and
opportunity to help the land adapt to the changing climate and mitigate its effects. For a
healthier, more resilient waterfront, as much as possible...
1. Keep your shoreline natural. Try to leave 75% of your shoreline in a natural state with native
plants, trees, and bushes. Plant more if needed. Vegetation, an important frontline defence
against climate damage:
• Captures and stores carbon
• Filters nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients before they can run into the lake.
• Stabilizes the soil and prevents erosion caused by the extreme weather events.
• Provides habitat for small animals including birds.
2. Leave aquatic plants (AKA weeds) intact, except in areas needed for swimming and boating.
• Prevents erosion and sediment disruption on lake floor.
• Reduces wave action that causes shoreline erosion.
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• Provides habitat and breeding ground for fish and small animals.
• Provides food for fish, shore birds, and other small animals.
3. Keep your property as wild and natural as possible. Enhance its natural diversity with rock
piles, brush piles, fallen trees, and a variety of native plants.
• Reduces runoff.
• Captures carbon and nutrients.
• Provides wildlife habitats.
• Requires less maintenance and no watering or fertilizer.
4. Watch out for invasive plants and animals, and check online for expert advice on how best to
remove, mitigate, or manage them. For example…
• Clean boats and personal gear thoroughly when moving from one lake to another.
• Do not cut, chop, or tear up invasive weeds like Eurasian Milfoil, as each fragment can
create a new plant. Pull it out from the roots by hand.
• Do not plant or transplant invasive plants like phragmites and purple loosestrife, which
overwhelm and destroy valuable wetland. Remove them if they are already there.
• Manage ticks in commonly used areas by creating woodchip or gravel borders and
raking leaves and debris away from living areas into brush piles that can serve as
• Do not use pesticides or herbicides.
• Use local firewood.
Links to more information:
Climate change effects and general shoreline management:
Managing invasive species:
Creating a healthy shoreline;
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Zebra Mussel Observations
Submitted by Guy MacLeod
Over the course of the past summer, I heard people commenting on the zebra mussel population.
Comments ranged from: seeing no mussels, to definitely seeing less to “I think there may be more”.
I am located mid-point on McCrimmon Bay. Over the summer, I thought I was seeing fewer mussels.
The anchor chains on my floating raft had fewer, my dock ladder had fewer and the rocks along the
shoreline had fewer. Overall, I was definitely seeing fewer.
Later in August, I took ownership of a pontoon boat (replacement for the boat I lost in the September
2018 Down Burst) Like most new boat owners, it was getting cleaned and shined up daily along with a
careful check for any mussel build up on the pontoons. And I was happy to observe, there was basically
no signs of any “growth”……..until October!
I planned to take my boat out late as we were enjoying some late nice weather and our new sparkly
clean pontoon boat. However, it was finally time and we were on our way to town. As we got underway,
I noticed my speedometer wasn’t functioning and the boat was “slower” than normal. I attributed this to
weeds in the propeller and speedometer pick-up. Upon pulling the boat out, I was taken back by the
algae & Zebra mussel growth. The pontoons were absolutely covered with algae and the speedometer
pickup was nearly impossible to recognize due to mussels!
This enormous outburst of mussel growth had occurred in the late weeks of October. I am not sure
what this indicates other than; the mussels are not gone yet.
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Telecom In Sharbot Lake
Submitted by Guy MacLeod
Telecom services in Sharbot Lake are limited at best. Delivery speed offerings are even less satisfying.
Smart phones are common place and most people wish to remain connected 7/24 plus have the ability
to watch NETFLIX, or other media as they sit on their dock, or relax in their boat, catch up on work
projects, check their email or just get the news.
The main supplier for land-based services is the North Frontenac Telephone Company (NFTC). Cellular
is offered by the main three (3) Telus, Bell, and Rogers albeit reception can be limited due to the low
number of towers and topography. Other providers include Storm, Xplornet, Bell Satellite and off-the-
air TV and HDTV.
The NFTC changed ownership back in 2015 and identified itself as a Competitive Local Exchange
Carrier (CLEC). In short, this means they can (and are) offering services in other geographical areas
within the province. In parallel NFTC is working to deploy fiber optics in the Sharbot Lake area. A date
for fiber availability to the end customer remains an unknown. Frequent requests to NFTC for a project
update and delivery timeline have gone unanswered.
However, there has been promising news from Cogeco and EORN. Cogeco has made “noise” that they
would like to move into the Frontenac areas and offer high speed services. EORN, Eastern Ontario
Regional Networks is a FUNDED group that is planning (and delivering) high-speed Internet services
for residents and businesses through wired, wireless or satellite technology, depending on the best fit
for the area. EORN has negotiated with Internet service providers to increase coverage area, bandwidth
and speed, therefore bridging the urban-rural price gap. Our own Mayor Francis Smith is currently Vice-
chair on the Board of Directors for this group. In recent news, EORN received $213 million through a
public-private partnership to improve both the reach and quality of mobile broadband services in the
region. More information can be found at the link below:
So while the current offerings are limited, hopefully 2020 will be the year Sharbot Lake moves into the
digital high speed age!
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Weekly Hack: Winter bird feeding tips
By Jackie Davis
From Cottage Life, Published: January 10, 2020
Dozens of species can benefit from your winter bird feeding efforts. And even though feeder food only makes up
about 10 per cent of a bird’s diet, this number goes up when the weather is very cold or especially inclement—
think raging ice storm. Follow these tips to attract the largest variety of birds this winter.
*Use a mix of feeder types, including tube feeders, hopper feeders, and suet (you can buy specialized metal
cages, or hang the suet in an onion bag). You can also DIY it; try making this Mason jar feeder.
*Use a variety of seed types. Definitely include black oil sunflower seeds—most birds eat these, and they tend
to be an avian first choice. Other options? Striped sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, white millet, and nyjer
*Research the bird species in your area to pick the most crowd-pleasing food. Some birds, such as quail and
doves, like cracked corn; other species won’t touch it. Unshelled peanuts are great for blue jays, but hard to eat
for less dexterous birds. If you buy seed mixes, read the ingredients list first. Stay away from the ones that
contain wheat, oats, or flax. (Unless truly desperate, most birds avoid this stuff, and it’s likely to just sit around
and attract rodents.)
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Feeding Deer in the winter
By Jackie Davis
From Cottage Life, Published: December 4, 2019
What is the expert view on feeding deer in winter at cottage and residential areas? Is there a difference between
feeding them in the summer versus in the winter?—P. Phillips, via email
The expert view is to not feed deer anywhere, anytime, ever. This is because it can backfire in all kinds of ways.
Never mind that “often the food that people provide is inappropriate,” says Vanessa Isnardy, a provincial
coordinator with Wild Safe BC. Food-conditioned deer are more likely to hang around residential areas and,
therefore, are more likely to be hit by cars. Plus, chronic wasting disease and other illnesses spread more
easily between deer when they feed from the same source.
Attracting deer to your property also isn’t good for you: it potentially exposes you to more Lyme disease–
carrying ticks and to more deer predators. And if you’re feeding deer in the hopes that they’ll stop eating your
garden, it won’t work. They’ll just eat the food and your garden.
If you’re concerned about deer in the winter, don’t be, says Chris Whittier with the Cummings School of Veterinary
Medicine at Tufts University in Massachusetts. “No one should worry about them surviving even the most brutal
of winters. They’ve survived and adapted over millions of years.” Deer store body fat in the fall in preparation
for the upcoming cold; they grow a thicker, longer, water-repellent winter coat; and they move to deer “yards”
(usually stands of conifer trees) for shelter and a healthy diet of mostly twigs and stems. Feeding them yourself
could mess with this evolution-approved strategy. “There is always the risk of them becoming habituated to
human-provided food,” admits Whittier. “I’m not sure it would ever rise to the level of them losing their natural
behaviours, but it certainly wouldn’t help.”
Let deer do deer. “The best way to enjoy and care for wildlife is to not interfere,” says Isnardy. “Keep them wild.”
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FOCA – Yes, You’re a Member!
Submitted by FOCA
SLPOA is a long-time member of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) and that
means all of us can also access FOCA member benefits. But what does that mean?
For more than 55 years, FOCA has been the voice of waterfront Ontario. In 1963, a small group of
cottage owners united as a provincial organization that has grown to represent more than 500 lake
associations with 50,000 families across the province. Our united voice carries weight on the issues
that matter. The issues evolved over time, but the motivation remains the same: to protect the
sustainability of Ontario waterfronts and freshwater resources for our kids and their kids after them.
Over the years, FOCA has played an important advocacy role on environmental and policy concerns.
In the 1980s FOCA fought hard for government action on the issue of acid rain, and lobbied to stop the
use of toxic Dombind as a road-dust suppressant. FOCA secured your right to vote at the cottage in
Ontario municipal elections as second-home owners. FOCA’s Lake Stewards are at the core of the
Lake Partner Program of volunteer water-quality monitoring to inform scientific and policy decision-
making in the face of a changing climate.
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Over the past decade, FOCA has gone to Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park to speak out against federal
and provincial omnibus bills that gutted protection for our fisheries and fish habitat. FOCA worked with
partners to secure land owners’ rights during claim-staking after years of behind-the-scenes work on
the Mining Act, and FOCA continues to sit as a stakeholder at the table for discussions about the
Algonquin Land Claim.
FOCA has lobbied hard in recent years for reforms to water management planning, and continues to
work to ensure that land use planning is responsible and accountable to community interests. In 2017,
after more than 18 months of FOCA’s advocacy efforts on the issue of dock permits, Ontario confirmed
certain occupations of public land would be enabled without an MNRF permit (subject to conditions,
and only where allowed by municipal bylaw or Federal statute).
FOCA holds intervenor status on the Ontario Energy Board and, on behalf of members across the
province, has most recently been lobbying hard against proposed changes to the Seasonal Class of
Hydro One customers that would see many members’ annual electricity bills rise by $1,000! A final
decision is pending; watch for updates in the FOCA Elert (e-newsletter). Sign up for free,
FOCA assembled the most comprehensive risk-management program for volunteers in rural
environmental groups, through the FOCA Insurance Program. The program insures nearly 400 lake
associations across Ontario, to protect volunteer boards with cost-effective liability insurance. Each of
you as members of SLPOA, can also access CottageFirst, the first group insurance program for cottage
owners, available exclusively to FOCA members through Cade Associates Insurance Brokers. Find out
more at: http://cadeinsurance.com/cottagefirst/.
Got a cottage-country question? FOCA publishes a wealth of information online for members. Find fact
sheets and brochures about invasive species, climate change concerns, municipal engagement,
healthy waterfronts and so much more, here: https://foca.on.ca/resources/.
While you’re at it, check out all the offers, discounts and other benefits available to you, because of
SLPOA’s annual membership in FOCA: https://foca.on.ca/member-services/benefits/.
Lake associations across the province benefit from FOCA’s ongoing research, information, and
advocacy. FOCA is here to help our association, and to help make continued progress on the issues
most important to waterfront residents. The work continues, and FOCA is leading the way toward a
sustainable freshwater future for Ontario.
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Central Frontenac Mandatory Septic Re-inspection Program
The first year of mandatory septic system re-inspections has been completed. A report on the results
of the 2019 inspections was received by CF Township Council in Dec 2019. Below is the executive
summary from that report. (Note some layout changes were necessary to transition from a pdf
document to a Word document)
From the 2019 Central Frontenac Septic Re-Inspection Program Report
2019 was the first year for the mandatory re-inspection program. A goal of up to 300 property
inspections was set per year, with 263 properties provided for 2019. 191 sewage systems were
inspected on 185 properties between Crow, Eagle and Silver Lakes.
Property owners were initially contacted using the mailing list provided by Township staff and sending
the property owner package. Subsequent contact with the property owners was generally in-person.
Properties inspected were seasonal, residential, or business use.
Participants were asked to return the questionnaire included in the information package to the
Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office (MRSSO). Appointment dates were outlined in the property
owner package. Owners were given the opportunity to arrange a new appointment, if required. Based
on the 2019 mail out, 47 properties were removed from the list of 263, leaving 216 properties eligible
for inspection. Of the 216 eligible properties 185 were inspected, leaving 31 properties requiring follow-
up. The MRSSO recommends the 31 properties receive enforcement letter and be carried over to the
The inspections began on June 19, 2019 and the last inspection was completed on October 25, 2019.
Most of the inspections were completed in August and September.
The table below breaks down the number of inspections completed per lake.
Lake Inspections Completed
Crow Lake 36
Eagle Lake 131
Silver Lake 24
As a result of the program,
108 systems were identified as having no concern,
62 requiring remedial work,
19 systems require replacement, and
2 properties were requested to provide more information.
In conclusion, the re-inspection program was able to:
• Identify 19 (9.9%) systems requiring replacement.
• Conduct 191 sewage system re-inspections.
• Conducted a door-to-door campaign to schedule outstanding inspections.
• Completed over 42 water-only access inspections.
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• Meet with 152 (82.2%) waterfront property owners to provide information regarding the
maintenance and operation of their sewage system.
(Note: the full report can be viewed at: https://www.centralfrontenac.com/en/township-
Comments from Ken Waller:
When I first saw this report, my immediate thoughts were “All the hard work and the years of pushing
for mandatory septic re-inspections have been validated.” The need for mandatory re-inspection is
clearly seen in the number of systems found in need of repair. Almost 10% of the systems checked
require replacement. Thanks to this program, 19 faulty systems will no longer be negatively impacting
the quality of our lakes and waterways, and this is just the first year. It is most likely that these results
will be repeated on other lakes being tested in the future. Central Frontenac has not yet identified which
lakes will be tested in 2020 but I have requested that strong consideration be given to the West Basin
of Sharbot Lake.
Please take the time to read the entire report.
Congratulations and a big thanks to Central Frontenac Township Council and the Works department,
to Eric Kohlsmith of the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office and to all those who fought for and
supported this program.
Contact Chief Robinson
Central Frontenac Fire Rescue
613-279-2935 ext 359
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Thank you to our Membership Reps and those who sent in their membership over the summer. With
our last count we have 194 confirmed members. If you paid over the summer you are paid up until June
30th 2020 and we thank you for your continued support
To make it easier to renew your membership we have provided an option for payment on the SLPOA
website at http://www.slpoa.ca/MembershipForm.php . All you need to do is fill in the form and you
have the option of paying with a credit card or a PayPal account if you have one. Please note that a
PayPal account is not needed to use this system.
A membership form is included below if you wish to send your membership in by mail.
By sending the newsletter out via e-mail, we are able to keep our costs down. If your e-mail has changed
please send me a quick e-mail at [email protected]
SLPOA Membership Form
Please go online at www.slpoa.ca and select the membership tag on the left, select one or two years
and the pay with your credit card or PayPal account.
OR please fill out this form and send to: SLPOA, P.O. Box 333, Sharbot Lake, Ontario, K0H 2P0
Please print clearly and make cheques payable to “SLPOA”. Annual Fees are $20.00.
(Use your 911 designation. e.g. 1077A Polar Bear Lane)
Lake Phone #: (613) 279-_______________ E-mail ______________________________
City: __________________________ Prov/State: ________________________________
Postal Code/ZIP __________________________ Home Phone #: (___________)
By becoming a member I acknowledge that the association will use my email address to provide
information relative to the association and sessions of interest.
(Note: Our membership year goes from July 1st to June 30th of the following year)
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Addendum to Heritage Festival Poster
Items and additional info on Heritage Festival activities:
- Saturday 15 Feb, at 8:00 pm there will be a dance at the Soldiers’ Memorial (Oso) Hall featuring the group Ramblin’ Fever.
- Following the Polar Plunge at noon on Sunday, 16 Feb, the Legion will be serving chilli
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