15 December 2015

Dear Fellow Members:

Re: Update from the Board

It has been a very eventful year for the NGBA and the board has asked me to provide a brief overall update on a range of topics.

Let me first introduce myself. Last year, my wife Andy and I purchased a cottage on an island at the south end of Beaverstone Bay from the O’Reilly family that my grandfather, father and uncle built in the late 1940s. I spent many summers of my youth on Beaverstone Bay until the mid-1970s and have visited the island frequently in the intervening period. This past summer, Harvey Mierke’s son-in-law Matthew Young asked me to join the board in his place. In late September the Board elected me as President to replace George Hassink. George decided to step down to give greater attention to a charity he is closely involved with. The Board thanks George for all his contributions to the NGBA. Lyn Casto also resigned from the Board and we thank her for her contributions as well. Bill Riat was added to the Board after the departures of Lyn and George. If you missed the Annual Meeting this past summer, we added two other new board members: Will Flaville and George Goudreau.

As you all know, we are facing the greatest challenge to our way of life on the bay in our long tenure as cottagers and stewards of the NGBA area. I would first like to thank all of you for your letter writing. Your letters have helped strongly position the NGBA as a key player in the ongoing Wiikwemkong land claim.

In late November we had our first one on one meeting with the Wiikwemkong Chief Duke Peltier. The Chief provided a facilitator whom many of you will know as a Beaverstone Bay cottager: Sonny Pelletier. This meeting went as well as we could have hoped. Regardless of the outcome of the claim we established that we have a shared vision with the Wiikwemkong to protect and preserve the pristine environment of our area for future generations. The Chief listened to all of our concerns and agreed with the many possible solutions we offered to protect our current way of life on the bay. That said, we recognize there is a large gap between words and binding agreements. As noted in a previous update we continue to follow parallel tracks of opposing the land claim and engaging the Wiikwemkong in provisional discussions on what the future might look like if they are successful in their claim.

The current public consultation process on the land claim under the Environmental Assessment (EA) Act of Ontario comes to a close on 6 January. We believe this process provides our best opportunity to bring greater scrutiny to the impacts of the land claim on us and potentially, on the environment. We would request that you review the form letter that accompanies this letter, modify it if you wish and send it off to the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and the various other government representatives. This will be our last request for letters prior to the 6 January deadline. We have a series of other plans for opposition to the claim that we will deploy when and if required.

I would like to extend a special thanks to my fellow board members. You can imagine the efforts they have contributed on the Wiikwemkong claim on your behalf. We have had Board calls more than once a month, several meetings with various groups and long hours on research and letter writing. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty, as many of you have in your related supportive efforts.

In a few days you will also receive your annual Dues Notice. In addition to renewing your own membership, we strongly encourage you to reach out to family members and friends to consider the associate membership category, the larger our membership the better for the coming year or two especially as we engage in the land claim process. You will note on the Dues Notice that we have a special line for voluntary donations to the land claim fund. We have had some very generous donations to date from $250 to $10,000. Please give what you can. We are close to exhausting the funds that have been contributed to date and we know there will be additional costs in the coming months to support our efforts on your behalf.

Please be advised that the Northern Georgian Bay Association is now incorporated under the Canada Not for Profits Corporation Act. The incorporation gives us greater latitude for engagement on the Wiikwemkong land claim.

If you ever have questions or suggestions for any of the board members, please do not hesitate to reach out to us, our contact numbers are below. We are here to do our best to serve the interests of our membership and we appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Finally, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and season’s greetings, and Happy New Year. I look forward to meeting with many of you at our next annual meeting in the summer of 2016.

Sincerely,
Northern Georgian Bay Association

Rob Nairn
President

Your Board and contact numbers:

Will Flaville (Beaverstone Bay and Killarney) –
George Goudreau (George Island) –
Bill Klassen (Mill Lake) –
Freda Klassen (Mill Lake) –
Rob Nairn (Beaverstone Bay) – 416 319 6151
Mike Porter (George Island) –
Bill Riat (south side Philip Edward and Killarney) –