Dear Fellow Members:
Re: Update from the Board
It has been another busy year for the NGBA and the Board has asked me to provide a brief overall update on a range of topics.
Fellow Board member Bill Riat and I have continued to engage with the Wiikwemkoong (we met again with Chief Duke Peltier and three of his councillors in November), the Province (several calls/meetings), the Federal government (an initial call last week) and the GBA. We believe we are converging on a possible agreement between the Wiikwemkoong and NGBA to address the majority of concerns that our members have raised over the last year and a half. That said, we still have some areas of ongoing discussion, particularly related to our desire to have a guarantee that a permanent wilderness park will be established by the Wiikwemkoong covering most of the NGBA territory. On a minor note, there have been a couple changes at the Provincial level, a new name: Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) and the Chief Negotiator Richard Aniol has retired with Alison McLaren succeeding him.
Many of you participated in the Class Environmental Assessment process through attendance at open houses and/or letter writing to MIRR (formerly MAA) and other government representatives. MIRR have decided to follow a Category C process which means that all the concerns raised and proposed mitigation measures to address those concerns will be summarized in a Draft Environmental Study Report (ESR). When I spoke to Alison McLaren last week she thought that the Draft ESR would be released by mid-February. This surprised us given we do not have an agreement finalized with the Wiikwemkoong and the there is no agreement on establishing a permanent wilderness park. These would be two major steps to address and mitigate many of the concerns raised in the letter writing campaign by our members and by canoeists/kayakers/campers and boaters that use our area for camping. As such we do not see how they can release the Draft ESR as it will be incomplete. So, we await the document and may need to ask all of you, your relatives, friends and acquaintances to write again. We will keep you posted on developments over the next month.
Your Board members George Goudreau and Michael Porter have had extensive interactions with the Municipality over the last few months. There have been two main focal points of discussion. The first relates to solid waste (garbage) management in the town. George and Michael helped the mayor spearhead the creation of a municipal stakeholders’ committee whose first task was to address the garbage issue. They continue to work with the town and stakeholders in developing a solution to the garbage issue with the intent of getting at least some initial improvement in place by the upcoming summer season.
The second more recent area of focus has been looking for ways to ensure a municipal voice for seasonal ratepayers including groups representing the interior lakes, Key River, the French River and NGBA (the latter three being GBA member associations). NGBA has acted in support of other ratepayer associations that have lead the charge on this issue. As you are aware a vacant seat for Ward 1 on the council was recently filled by Michael Reider, a seasonal resident on Carlyle Lake. We believe this was a good outcome and should help achieve a balanced representation of both full time and seasonal residents. You will be hearing more on this topic and, in particular, a call to all eligible Canadian citizens to register to vote in the next municipal election. Our goal is to support a vibrant resident community in Killarney at the same time as providing appropriate services for seasonal residents and visitors.
As promised at our AGM, we will be completing a review of our new ByLaws that were ratified by the membership in our 2016 AGM. George Goudreau, Will Faville and new Board member Don Rickenbaugh will be taking on this task. The revisions will be mostly minor and a new version will be ready for the 2017 AGM. If you have any concerns or questions on the new ByLaws, please contact the noted committee members.
Board member Freda Klassen is heading our Environment Committee. Please see the attached request from Freda on assistance on this critical effort to ensure we are the very best stewards of the pristine environment that we have the privilege to enjoy. Please volunteer some time or ideas to support this initiative.
The GBA celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2016 and are now looking forward to the next 100 years! We strongly urge all our members to go the GBA web site (http://www.georgianbayassociation.com/) and sign up for the eUpdate digital newsletter if you have not already done so. I would also recommend that you frequently visit the web site. At the moment, there is an excellent 12-minute long video with Karl Schiefer of the University of Waterloo speaking on the Unique Ecosystems of Georgian Bay – everyone will learn something from watching.
If you ever have questions or suggestions for any of the board members on the topics above or others, please do not hesitate to reach out to us, our contact email addresses are below. We are here to do our best to serve the interests of our membership and we appreciate hearing your thoughts.
Finally, I hope you all enjoy the remainder of this winter – wherever you are enjoying it. I look forward to seeing as many as possible at our next AGM this summer.
Your Board and contact emails:
Bill Riat (south side Philip Edward and Killarney) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Rickenbaugh (George Island) – email@example.com
Freda Klassen (Mill Lake) – firstname.lastname@example.org
George Goudreau (George Island) – email@example.com
Mike Porter (George Island) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Nairn (Beaverstone Bay) – email@example.com
Will Faville (Beaverstone Bay and Killarney) – william_MKG@yahoo.com