Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.07.25 AMDear Friends,

Earlier this afternoon, the Ontario Municipal Board issued its long-awaited decision concerning the application by Burleigh Bay Corporation to build on the Fraser property.

One year after the completion of the hearing, we’re thrilled to tell you that the OMB has denied the developer’s application and appeals. The last significant undeveloped shoreline in the Kawarthas has been saved from a 58-unit housing development on Stony Lake.

This is an enormous victory for the Kawartha lakes community, and all those who stand up for water quality, wildlife habitat preservation and sensible development.

[Please scroll down to read our media release about the decision.]

Let’s take a moment to celebrate! This decision is the culmination of years of work, an enormous community effort, and the support of hundreds of people stepping up to protect our water, our wildlife and our rich cultural heritage.

With deep appreciation to you for your help in making this happen, to our partners at Curve Lake First Nation, and last, but certainly not least, to our tireless lawyers, David Donnelly and Anne Sabourin – who against some formidable odds guided us to victory – we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Board of Directors

Jeremy Carver, Kate Reid, John McWilliams, Heather Brooks-Hill, Susan McWilliams, Jen Lewis, Pat Bourne, Bob Woosnam, Cath Kirk, Jenn Reid, Joe Carlino, Jennifer David



Press Release

OMB Decision Saves Blanding’s Turtle Habitat on Stoney Lake

Two Provincially Significant Wetlands and 6.2 km Undeveloped Shoreline Protected


Peterborough—The last significant undeveloped shoreline in the Kawarthas has been saved from a 58-unit housing development on Stoney Lake, immediately adjacent to Burleigh Falls.


The Vancouver-based developer Burleigh Bay Corporation (“BBC”) had planned to build the community, plus 72-slip marina, fitness facility, clubhouse, guest cottages, swimming pool, parking lots and internal roadway system in two provincially significant wetlands (“PSWs”), containing the habitat of the “Threatened” Blanding’s turtle and muskellunge.


“We’re elated. This gives the Kawarthas a breathtaking opportunity to preserve an extraordinary natural setting that can’t be replaced,” said Heather Brooks-Hill, a third-generation Stoney Lake resident and Director of the Friends of Fraser Wetlands (“FFW”).


The Board cited the location of the development in and around the PSWs as one of the most “compelling” reasons for denying approval.  The Decision endorses the testimony of FFW expert Mr. Gord Miller, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, who testified that wetland complexes must be afforded a higher degree of protection and cannot be isolated.  The Board held, “As Mr. Miller stated, ‘the stakes are high’ given the significance of endangered species, a complex ecological system of entwined elements and functions and highly sensitive wetlands” on the site.
The site is believed to contain over 450 different species, a number of which are endangered or threatened.  The Board also accepted FFW’s expert Mr. D. Janus’ opinion that 95% of the site is habitat for the Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species.


The developer’s expert, “without basis upon any ecological or scientific fact, arbitrarily ‘guesstimated’ wildlife movements,” and critically failed to mitigate negative impacts.


“Our Elders asked us to save this wilderness and all the species in it, to respect the ancestors and the land they frequented many years ago.  These historic reminders were told at Council and at the hearing, and evidence is still in abundance all along the north shore of Stoney Lake,” said Chief Phyllis Williams of Curve Lake First Nation, a party to the 19-day hearing, supported by the Alderville, Hiawatha and Scugog First Nations.  The hearing took place partly on the Reserve, a first for the OMB.


The development was proposed on 273 ha (675-acres) of mostly forest and wetlands, in Peterborough County.  The site is believed by local First Nations to be connected to the Lovesick Lake fishing weirs, local rock cairns and the Petroyglyphs, known as the Teaching Rocks.


Dr. Ken Howard, dubbed the “Wayne Gretzky” of hydrogeology, testified for FFW at the hearing that the aquifer is far too weak to sustain the domestic water needs of the proposed development and that water taking could interfere with local wetlands (PSWs) and wells.  He estimated the aquifer’s safe yield will only service 4 residents, not the hundreds expected on peak, summer weekends.  Mr. B. Parsons testified to serious concerns remaining with sewage disposal and stormwater management.


“This is a spectacular result for residents, First Nations’ rights, their relationship to the land, and the environment, on par with great place-names of Ontario environmental victories like Temagami and the Oak Ridges Moraine,” said David Donnelly, counsel to FFW and Curve Lake First Nation.


“The decision is a new roadmap for land-use protection for Provincially Significant Wetlands and Blanding’s Turtle habitat,” Donnelly added.  “Given that the Township produced no environmental evidence and there is no Conservation Authority in the area, the decision vividly underscores the necessity and value of citizen group participation in protecting the planet,” Donnelly added.





OMB Update


It’s February 11, 2017, and there is no news yet on the OMB decision!

And for that, we’re very grateful, because just this week the lawyer for North Kawartha Township finally submitted to the OMB the Township’s Resolution 15-397 stating its opposition to the development of the Fraser Wetlands – a position that was not clearly demonstrated during the OMB Hearing. (You’ll recall that we were in touch after the Hearing to let you know that in a puzzling turn of events the Township’s solicitor had failed during the hearing to mention the Township’s Resolution and indeed its stated position.)

This news comes as a result of a good deal of agitation, the guidance of our fantastic legal team, David and Anne, our attendance at Council meetings in December (thank you to everyone who came!), and the more-than 100 letters that the Township received from you – letters that contained diverse viewpoints, reasoned arguments, and no small amount of pressure! (We imagine the Township’s Clerk, who handles all correspondence, is as happy as we are that this unexpected hitch has been resolved!)

With this news, we are now hopeful that the OMB Chair will have a more accurate impression of the Township’s position regarding the development plan.

Thank you to everyone who pitched in to make this happen!

Now, we wait.

[The picture, below left, shows the Fraser property’s west bay, which is the proposed site of more than a dozen large homes.]

Follow-up to December 6th North Kawartha Council Meeting


Two weeks ago we wrote to you asking for your help, and you came through in spades!

Close to 100 of you wrote to the North Kawartha Council supporting FFW’s two requests:

That FFW be recognized as a delegation at their December 6th Council meeting;

and that Council pass a motion to clarify their position regarding the development of the Fraser property.

Why did FFW makes these requests? Because, despite Council’s Resolution (15-397) to instruct the Township solicitor to oppose the development at the OMB, the Township solicitor took a very different position, one of proceed-with-caution.

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Despite the time of year, there was a strong turn out of FFW supporters, several of whom had come some distance to attend.

Council rejected or ignored FFW’s request for time on the agenda, choosing instead to hold an in camera session to discuss FFW’s requests and the deluge of supporting letters.

After an hour behind closed doors, Council returned to the chamber to report that as their lawyer was not able to attend the meeting, the issues raised by FFW would be discussed at the next Council meeting on Tuesday, December 20th – in yet another in camera session.

UPDATE: The Agenda for the December 20th Council Meeting was published on Friday afternoon. The FFW/Fraser OMB issue will be discussed during the afternoon session @ 2:30 p.m. The afternoon session commences at 1 p.m. 

FFW will be there. We know that it’s a challenging time of year, but if you’re able, we hope that you’ll join us again.

Time is of the essence! The Council North Kawartha Township needs to clarify its position regarding the Fraser Wetlands now.

The OMB decision could arrive at any time. We think the OMB NEEDS to know Council’s true position before rendering a decision that will have an enormous impact on so many people and for generations to come.

If you’ve written a letter in support of this request, thank you! If you haven’t, please consider sending a letter today. Directly below is a template, and if you scroll down, you’ll see letters that others have written.

To North Kawartha Council,

I’m unable too attend the Council Meeting on December 20th, but I want Council to know that I strongly support the FFW’s request that Council inform the OMB by whatever route is appropriate, by Friday, December 23rd at the latest, that Council’s position has not changed since May 26, 2015 when Council passed Resolution 15-397 expressing Council’s opposition to the proposed development on the Fraser Property.



If you live or summer in North Kawartha Township, consider this: it is your tax dollars that paid for the Township solicitor and an expert witness to attend the OMB hearing full time for four weeks. Did you get value for your money?

All letters addressed to the Council can be sent via the Township clerk: Connie Parent, c.parent@northkawartha.on.ca.


Do you feel as we do that the OMB tilts toward developers and that it needs to oversee a more accountable, approachable, affordable process for citizens and citizen groups such as FFW?

The province has been conducting a much needed public review of the OMB. Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence, summarizes the problems with the OMB and the need for change. Click here to read his thoughts and to sign a petition exhorting the province to fix the OMB.

Your support makes all the difference.


Please join us on December 6th!

Dear Friends,

Things have taken yet another unexpected turn!

Despite a deluge of letters requesting that the North Kawartha Council make room on the agenda of their Tuesday, December 6th Council meeting, they’ve refused to accommodate an FFW delegation seeking clarification as to why – contrary to their own very specific directions (see resolution below), the lawyer acting on behalf of the Township took the extraordinary step of NOT opposing the application to develop the Fraser property.



The Council has decided instead to discuss the matter in-camera sometime in the afternoon, between 1:30 and 4 pm.

Click here to see the full-day agenda for the December 6th Council session.

The afternoon session begins at 1 pm.

Though not officially recognized on the agenda, FFW will be there! We’ll be in the chambers as the Council members exit for their closed-door meeting, and we’ll be there when they return, at which time we hope that there will be some explanation as to why their clear resolution to oppose the development of the Fraser property was ignored by the lawyer representing them at the OMB hearing. Indeed, we expect that there may be a new resolution or an announcement following the closed-door session.

Please join us if you can! And do let us know if you plan to attend. We think that a chamber full of concerned citizens and ratepayers will send the Council a strong message.

Heather – heatherbrookshill@me.com
Jennifer – davidengell@sympatico.ca

Thank you!

With deep appreciation, FFW.


The Township of North Kawartha Municipal office, 280 Burleigh Street, Apsley, ON.




Urgent: Help Needed!

Dear Friends,

We have one more request to make! (And it doesn’t involve money.)

FFW has requested that a delegation be recognized and heard at the North Kawartha Township Council meeting on Tuesday, December 6th. It is our hope that we can register our deep concern over the alarmingly ambivalent closing argument (and written submission) of the Township’s lawyer in the recent OMB hearing concerning the fate of the Fraser Wetlands.

The lawyer, who is contracted by the Township to represent and counsel them, neglected to mention in his submissions the North Kawartha Township Council’s resolution (#15-397) to oppose the Burleigh Bay Corporation’s development proposal. He also failed to adequately highlight the testimony of the Township’s only witness during the hearing – its own planning consultant, who stated that the development plan did not meet the standard of the Provincial Policy Statement 2014 (a prerequisite of approval) and could not be considered good planning.

The lawyer left the strong impression that he considered the development application an “amber light” situation – one that might proceed with caution if the OMB were to stipulate a number of (unenforceable!) conditions.

We’ve come this far, we simply can’t let this pass without taking action.

We hope you’ll join us in raising the alarm over this misleading representation by writing a letter to the North Kawartha Township Council supporting the position of FFW, which is to request that the Township ask the OMB to reopen the file so that the Township can restate its position.

No need to have attended the hearing. You can simply use the following template to show your support for FFW and email your letter to the Township clerk, Connie Parent (c.parent@northkawartha.on.ca):

To North Kawartha Council,

I understand that the Friends of the Fraser Wetlands have requested to appear as a delegation before the Township Council at the Regular Meeting on December 6th. I urge you to grant the request.

Unfortunately I cannot attend the Meeting in person but I wish Council to know that I strongly support the FFW’s request that Council inform the OMB by whatever route is appropriate, that Council’s position has not changed since May 26, 2015 when Council passed Resolution 15-397 expressing Council’s opposition to the proposed development on the Fraser Property.



And here are some letters that FFW supporters have written in recent days:




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Dear Friends,

While we are still in the OMB process, the hearing itself finished with closing arguments on Friday, October 7. Written submissions from the three lawyers – representing North Kawartha Township, Burleigh Bay Corporation, and FFW/Curve Lake First Nation – are due at the OMB on Friday, October 28. After that, the OMB Chair, David Lanthier, has warned that it will take some time to wade through all of the evidence and compose a decision. We expect it to be some months before we hear that decision.

In the meantime, we can update you on the final two weeks of the hearing which progressed in much the same way as the first two – extremely well! Time and again, FFW expert witnesses demonstrated a superior grasp on the Fraser property’s hydrogeological functions, its wetland ecology, its valuable habitat features and its identified species at risk. They were consistent in their ability to undermine the developer’s witness reports and to reveal the development plan to to be wholly unsuitable for the site and dangerous to the property’s sensitive ecology.

Our planning expert, Stephen Fahner, shone a bright light on a long list of planning issues, including a new, inadequate Environmental Impact Study produced just prior to the hearing, a deficient lake capacity study and the inappropriateness of a condominium corporation as an ownership model on a Provincially Significant Wetland Complex. Ontario’s former Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller, testified that the property is a unique and important landscape “consisting of several hundred hectares of contiguous provincially significant wetlands.” Its location adjacent to two different eco-regions, in the “land between,” where granite meets limestone, makes it an area of particularly rich biodiversity upon which a large variety of species depend.

During the final, precedent-setting week, the hearing shifted to the community centre at Curve Lake First Nation and to issues of the Fraser Property’s cultural significance. It was the first time that an OMB hearing took place on a reserve and that Traditional Knowledge Holders were qualified to speak as experts.

At the end of the hearing, David Donnelly’s closing argument was inspiring and compelling, deftly weaving together FFW’s ecological issues and Curve Lake’s cultural interests – and all the more impressive for the fact that David had “popped” down to Toronto the night before for his about-to-be married daughter’s rehearsal dinner. Well done, David!

And now we wait.

Thank you to everyone who’s contributed to this extraordinary effort, including our lawyers, David and Anne, who capped their fees and provided countless hours of work pro bono; our expert witnesses who similarly agreed to limit their bills; the Friends who volunteered to billet our lawyers and witnesses; and those who provided daytime and evening meals to the team during the hearing.

No hearing summary would be complete without a special note about our Participants – the individuals and lake groups who spent countless hours composing their convincing statements and attended the hearing to present their arguments against the proposed development – and to defend them under cross-examination by the developer’s lawyer. This was an impressively effective group who raised a variety of credible issues. Their testimony added immeasurably to our case. We’re grateful for their support and their dedication.

John Huycke on behalf of the Association of Stoney Lake Cottagers (ALSC)
Jeffrey Chalmers on behalf of the Birchcliff Property Owners Association (BPOA) in Douro-Dummer Township
Ed Wood representing Woods Island, Burleigh Channel
Rachel Corbett
Lois Wallace on behalf of the Environment Council for Clear, Ston(e)y and White Lakes
Reid Brownscombe and Pat Bourne representing the Common Participant Statement, signed by 25 individuals and groups
Holly Blefgen
Cath Kirk and Scott Wootton, whose property borders the Fraser Property
Andrea Kale Marcus

Finally, we take very seriously our responsibility as financial stewards. We weigh carefully each and every financial decision we make and are confident that we are planning and managing your donated funds in the most effective way possible.

Four weeks ago we made an urgent financial appeal. In order to pay our higher than expected hearing expenses, we needed to raise more money. The response was wonderful, and as a result, we’re almost there!

If you haven’t already, please join us in this extraordinary effort to conserve the Fraser Property – an incredible natural and cultural landscape.

The FFW legal team from Donnelly Law at the end of the hearing: from left, Kristina Matveev, student-at-law, lawyers Anne Sabourin and David Donnelly, Rachel McPherson-Duncan, Victor Intern in Environmental Law.

The Fraser Wetlands: A Natural Investment
Conserving the wetlands has benefits beyond the obvious environmental ones. It is a significant investment in the local economy which relies heavily on recreational, tourist and seasonal support — which, in turn, is dependent upon a healthy environment.

We can’t do this alone! Help save this unique natural resource – essential contributor to lake water quality and immensely diverse habitat for a wide range of species, including the at-risk Blanding’s turtle.

Ways to Donate
FFW accepts cheques mailed to the address below and e-transfers to ffwetland@gmail.com.



The circle, above, shows the location of one of the proposed development’s common areas: a marina with 72 boat slips, car parking lot, boat trailer storage and beach directly across from a marina at Burleigh Falls and just down from the locks.


We’re at Curve Lake!

Today and everyday this week, the OMB hearing will take place at the Curve Lake Community Centre, 30 Whetung Street East, Curve Lake. 9:30 a.m. start each day!


Today (Tuesday, October 4), it’s FFW planning consultant Steve Fahner followed by Dr. James Conolly, Professor of Archaeology, and Canada Research Chair, Trent University.



Donating? Click here.

FRASER WETLANDS IN THE NEWS! Check out the coverage of Day One of the OMB Hearing:

Click here for the CHEX TV story and Here for the Peterborough Examiner piece.

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All in all, a good first week for FFW! 

• On the first day, FFW and Curve Lake First Nation lawyer David Donnelly introduced a motion to shift the hearing location from Wilson Park Community Centre in Woodview, ON, to Curve Lake First Nation during the days the Board will hear testimony concerning cultural heritage/archaeological issues.

After discussion about the logistics and scheduling involved in making the move, and suggestions on the part of the proponent’s lawyer that it would disrupt the flow of his expert witnesses testimony, the motion was granted. The hearing will shift to facilities at Curve Lake on Tuesday, October 4, 9:30 a.m. (We’ll update if there’s any change to this schedule.)

• It was also decided that Participant Statements would be read on Monday, September 26, 12:30 pm.

• The afternoon of the first day began with the developer’s planner, Peter Josephs of Ecovue Consulting Services in Peterborough, walking the board and gallery through the development plan with some focus on the size, nature and features of the property. 

• Mr. Josephs introduction was followed by the testimony of Chris Ellingwood, owner of Niblett Environmental Associates, Inc. of Lindsay, the developer’s environmental expert. Mr. Ellingwood testified that he had been studying the subject property for 20 years. The developer’s lawyer questioned Mr. Ellingwood until the following afternoon, when FFW lawyer David Donnelly began his cross-examination, which ran over to the following day. 

• Under cross examination, Mr. Ellingwood revealed a number of weaknesses in his assessment of the property and conceded that in terms of the 30 metre shoreline buffer – a much touted feature of the development plan that is designed to be left untouched with NO shoreline development or activity – “People will do what they want.” 

• Next up, the developer’s phosphorous  and lake capacity expert, Mike Varty, and the developer’s stormwater expert, Ken Smith, who was seemingly unaware that the property’s West Bay – an area of intense (proposed) development and a prime stormwater drainage area – is a provincially significant wetland. Mr. Smith also conceded that he hadn’t considered the effect of chemicals such as winter road salt or calcium chloride as a dust suppressant on the wetlands.

• Monday the hearing will commence at 2 pm in order to accommodate a scheduling conflict.

Stay tuned for details!





Now is the time!

We need your support. If you’re available, please join us at the OMB Hearing. Let’s send a strong message to the Ontario Municipal Board that wetlands matter! That water quality is essential. That our region’s cultural history is vital. See details below.



Here’s what’s at stake:

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Art by the Lake

You are invited to the FFW fundraising Art Auction*, Saturday, August 27th, 2016, Sunset Pavilion, Crowe’s Landing, Upper Stoney Lake, 1 – 5 p.m.

Come and feast your eyes on a fantastic array of art – wildlife, abstract, oil, acrylic, watercolour, photography, fibre, sculpture –  enjoy refreshments and snacks, and thrill to the music of world-renowned performers violinist Jeanne Lamon (Music Director Emerita, Tafelmusik) and Christina Mahler (Principal Cellist, Tafelmusik).


• Opening address by acclaimed artist Michael Dumas, a member of the international Artists for Conservation Foundation

75 pieces will be sold through silent auction

23 pieces will be sold via a live auction steered by  professional auctioneer Bob Rusland

We are grateful to all of the artists whose generous contributions are helping to fuel FFW’s efforts to conserve the Fraser Wetlands, and to our event sponsors for their generous support: Stoney Lake Market and Grill, Kawartha Park Marina, Classical 103.1 FM, ISL Insurance, Trans Canada Nissan, Lakefield Foodland.

* All money raised will go toward paying for FFW legal counsel and expert witnesses for the upcoming (September 13) OMB hearing concerning the proposal to develop the Fraser Wetlands. Your support is more important than ever!

Continue reading “Art by the Lake”


Emerald Summit: A Deep Dive into Water Issues

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We hope you’ll join us at Viamede on Sunday, July 24th from 3 – 5 p.m. for our second annual Emerald Summit: A Deep Dive into Water Issues featuring Dr. Ken Howard, renowned hydrogeologist and FFW water expert at the OMB, and Curve Lake Elders Doug Williams and Dorothy Taylor, founder of the Sacred Water Circle. FFW lawyer Anne Sabourin of Donnelly Law will be on hand for a Q & A. Refreshments and snacks will be served. No charge. Everyone is welcome!


Mark Your Calendar!


Money raised will go directly toward paying for the expert witnesses (hydrogeologist, environmental scientist, biologist, planner, etc.) and legal consultants who will represent us at the OMB Hearing starting September 13, 2016 at Wilson Park Community Centre. With your support, we can preserve the Fraser Wetlands!


Proof Positive


Out for a walk the first week of June, some Friends of the Fraser Wetlands spied these Blanding’s turtles near the edge of the Fraser property. Reports of Blanding’s sightings have been around for years. Now we know this threatened species is still living in or around the Fraser Wetlands.

To read more about this species-at-risk and the protection afforded it by Province of Ontario, click here.

Here’s how one member of the FFW Board responded to this latest sighting:

With our turtle friends the Blanding’s

There can be no misunderstandings.

The Fraser Estate property is far too outstanding

To become part of a development expanding

Into wetlands, leaving turtles stranded,

Just reason why FFW together banded.

– Mike Ormsby





Big Island now yours to enjoy, says former owner after donating property to Kawartha Land Trust

(From the Wednesday, May 25, 2016 edition of The Peterborough Examiner.)

1297763069743_ORIGINAL1,100-acre Big Island on Pigeon Lake. Once slated for development, it was donated to the Kawartha Land Trust and will now be preserved in its natural state. 

Dear Pigeon Lake Community,

I am writing to clarify my donation of much of Big Island and surrounding small islands.

I bought the property in March 2011 as an investment. Shortly after buying it I received a letter from Kawartha Land Trust who’d researched the new owner. I then had a chance meeting with the Executive Director. The last developer spent millions on a plan on getting approvals for 95 lots.

Continue reading “Big Island now yours to enjoy, says former owner after donating property to Kawartha Land Trust”


Time to Write a Letter


Burleigh Falls and the Fraser Shoreline. Photo by William Berry | Dreamstime.com



Letter writing is effective!

During the summer of 2014 many of you participated in a highly successful letter writing campaign. You wrote about your concern for the Fraser property, your objection to the development plan on the table, and you cited the specific issues that worried you most: wetland protection, lake water quality, desecration of sacred First Nations sites, damage to wildlife habitat, noise, air and water pollution, and the danger of increasing the population on an already pressured lake system.

All of your objections were duly noted and became part of the public record concerning the Fraser property development application and the developer’s subsequent launch of an OMB appeal. It was a job well done!

But over the last year, the new North Kawartha Council has been inundated with a host of unrelated issues. Theirs is a busy agenda.

It’s time to bring the Fraser Wetlands back to the forefront and to remind the Council that the protection of the Fraser property is of prime importance.

It’s time to write another letter!

Please click here for a letter writing refresher course and for North Kawartha Council contact information.



Earth Day – April 22


The first Earth Day, held nearly five decades ago in 1970, was inspired by a devastating oil spill and is generally considered to mark the birth of the environmental movement.

Today, more than 192 countries set aside one day every year – April 22 – to focus attention on the need for environmental protection and on escalating ecological challenges all over the world.

Close to home, on the shores of Stony Lake, we think lake water quality, habitat preservation, and a rich cultural history are worth talking about – on Earth Day, on any day.

We hope you’ll join us.

Please click our DONATIONS tab to read about how you can support our legal opposition to the condominium development proposal for the Fraser Wetlands, Burleigh Falls, ON.




World Water Day!


March 22 is World Water Day – as good a time as any to reflect on the value of clean, abundant water and to consider life without it.

Hundreds of millions of people don’t have access to good water, including those who live in one of Canada’s 86 First Nations Communities currently under boil-water advisories, or Flint, Michigan, where bottled water is used for drinking, cooking and bathing.

Water is life. Water is food. Water is jobs, recreation, industry, and nature.

Where would we be without it?



Fraser Wetlands: Endangered Turtle Habitat?


The Blanding’s Turtle

Sometimes called the “smiling turtle” because of the way its mouth curves endearingly at the edges, the Blanding’s Turtle is a semi-aquatic species that lives in wetlands, ponds, marshes, freshwater shorelines, and – according to a number of reported sightings – the Fraser Wetlands! This won’t surprise anyone familiar with the property and its predominance of swamps, bogs and wetlands. This particular species thrives is such environments, preferring shallow water rich in plant material and nutrients.

The Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) is named for the American naturalist, Dr. William Blanding (1773 – 1857), and found throughout the Great Lakes Region, including southern, central and Eastern Ontario, and in other isolated parts of Canada. Sadly, they are known to be in decline in Ontario where the at-risk species and its habitat are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

A few facts:

• The Blanding’s is a medium-sized turtle;

• its domed shell is dark brown to black, with speckling, and has been compared to an army helmet;

• its neck is long and its throat and belly are yellow, making it easy to identify;

Continue reading “Fraser Wetlands: Endangered Turtle Habitat?”


Christie Bentham: A Friend Indeed

CHRISTIE BENTHAM – d. December 28th, 2015

On Monday, December 28, Christie Bentham passed over to the other side. Christie was the essence of what it means to be a Stony Laker: a person of conviction who celebrated, enjoyed, protected and served the jewel of the Kawarthas – for many of us “our spiritual home.” Christie is, was and always will be, the beacon of hope for the next generations – those who deserve the Stony Lake that Christie so loved and worked to preserve. R.I.P.

Please take a minute to listen to Christie talk about her beloved lake and the Fraser Wetlands in the video below. Click here to read her obituary.

Christie’s family have kindly asked that any donations in her name be made to FFW. She was our greatest mentor, staunchest supporter, a Friend in every way.

Please click here to learn how to donate.


Spectacular View of the Wetlands


They are vital to the health of Stony Lake – and downstream bodies of water.

They are nature’s filtration system, “treating” pollution, improving lake water quality and offering essential habitat for fish and wildlife.

They are the Fraser Wetlands, designated “Provincially Significant” and worthy of protection by the province . . . and now under threat from a condominium developer.

Take a moment to acquaint yourself with this extraordinary resource, whose function is explained by Dr. Jeremy Carver and whose beauty is captured in this remarkable aerial footage.


Prehearing Conference is a Success!

October 26th Prehearing Conference: An Update

Thank you to everyone who attended the second OMB Prehearing Conference held Monday in Apsley – and to those unable to attend who sent your good wishes. We had hoped to see 30 FFW supporters; 80 of you showed up! It was a fantastic turnout.

Three generations of Wood’s Islanders – and FFW supporters – (from left) Jenn Reid, Kate Reid, and Margaret Thomas.

Here’s what happened:

The Conference started at 10 a.m. and wrapped up at 3 p.m.

There were three breaks from the public meeting during which the OMB Member Marc Denhez huddled with the lawyers in an effort to negotiate agreement on the following points:

• Whether – and when – to hold a 3rd Prehearing Conference – an idea introduced by FFW lawyer David Donnelly;

• The start date for the Hearing itself. FFW lawyer David Donnelly requested that the Hearing start in September 2016, allowing expert witnesses time during the spring season to observe the property; the developer’s lawyer, Jonathan Wigley, argued for a Spring 2016 start date;

• Whether or not Cultural Heritage issues will be considered as a block on their own – separated from planning and ecological issues; this was a request by FFW lawyer David Donnelly;

• Whether, during the time set aside for Cultural Heritage issues, the venue for the hearing will shift to Curve Lake First Nation (CLFN) – another request of David Donnelly opposed by the developer and his lawyer;

• When and for how long CLFN and FFW experts will gain access to the property in order to do their assessments.

David Donnelly (standing at front) makes a submission to OMB Member Marc Denhez.

In the end, having warned the lawyers that if they couldn’t come to an agreement, he would do it for them, OMB Member Marc Denhez announced his decisions:

• The start date of the estimated four-week Hearing will be Tuesday, September 13, 2016.

Cultural Heritage issues WILL be considered as a block on on their own.

• On November 18, 2015 Curve Lake Elders and experts will be granted access to the site to begin their assessment and to determine how many days they’ll need in the spring of 2016 to complete their examination of the property – report to be submitted to OMB by March 2016.

• There will be a 3rd OMB Prehearing Conference, as requested by David Donnelly, on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 at 10 a.m., North Kawartha Community Centre. The OMB Member will hear arguments for holding the Cultural Heritage block of the hearing at Curve Lake First Nation.

This was a very good day for FFW! Thanks to our fantastic legal team of David Donnelly and Anne Sabourin we’ve made some significant strides forward, achieving the Hearing start date we wanted and contributing to the respectful consideration of First Nations cultural heritage concerns.

Other matters under discussion:

• The lawyers are to draft a procedural order and circulate it by November 15th, 2015;

• Anne Sabourin reported that all Participants have been contacted with a request that they submit their issue list to her. One third have responded so far. Some with like issues will be merged with others. All Participants and the OMB will be notified as to any decisions made. (N.B. If you are a registered Participant and haven’t yet responded to Anne’s email, please do so as soon as possible.)

OMB Member Marc Denhez will post and circulate his decision from Monday’s Prehearing Conference by the end of November 2015.


FFW co-founder Jeremy Carver and FFW lawyer David Donnelly
Lawyers Anne Sabourin (far left) and David Donnelly confer with Chief Phyllis Williams and Melissa Dokis of Curve Lake First Nation.
Lawyers Anne Sabourin (far left) and David Donnelly confer with Chief Phyllis Williams and Melissa Dokis of Curve Lake First Nation.
The crowd enjoyed FFW's refreshments. Thanks to Lorraine Bramson (red plaid jacket) for the steady flow of coffee.
The crowd enjoyed FFW’s refreshments. Thanks to Lorraine Bramson (red plaid jacket) for the steady flow of coffee!



Giving Thanks

It was a glorious day as FFW supporters gathered by the Fraser shoreline for our 2nd annual Honour Paddle on Thanksgiving weekend and then made their way to Perry’s Creek, which – like the Fraser Property – is a place of deep significance for our First Nations friends. Thank you to Burleigh Falls artist Peter Tasse for his wonderful gift of beaded necklaces!

DSC_0754-2DSC_0756 DSC_0741DSC_0763DSC_0773DSC_0744-2DSC_0748DSC_0750DSC_0757-2DSC_0760DSC_0770

And thanks to Ruth Dyer and Scott Wootton for the pictures!


Honour Paddle

Please join us this Sunday at 1 p.m. for our 2nd annual Thanksgiving Weekend Honour Paddle. The maps below show the paddle route, which starts behind Fraser Island – that’s the island connected to the mainland by a causeway and well known for its landmark, red-roofed boathouse – and a launch site if you are arriving by car. (You can click on the maps to enlarge them.)

From the start of the paddle we’ll canoe and kayak up the Fraser shoreline and across to Perry’s Creek, where Peter Tassé and others will serve tea and stories. Thank you, Peter!

See you on Sunday!

map for paddle route 2 map showing Woods Island Landing-2


OMB Prehearing – Your Support is Making a Difference!

It’s safe to say that Monday’s Prehearing Conference in Apsley was a tremendous success!

More than 250 of you showed up in support of the Fraser Wetlands, sending an unequivocal message to both the OMB and the developer that we are standing strong and standing together in our opposition to the development of this essential ecological resource and significant heritage landscape.


For those of you who weren’t able to make it on Monday, but were with us in spirit, a quick recap:

• The Prehearing Conference started at 11 a.m. and finished at 3 p.m.

• It was a spectacular turnout! Between 250 and 300 people filled the hall. Incredible! Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend. It was vital for a number of reasons, including the fact that the unusually large crowd helped to attract media attention (more on that below);

• In addition to the Developer (Burleigh Bay Corporation), the Township of North Kawartha, Friends of the Fraser Wetlands (FFW) and Curve Lake First Nation were granted Party status;

• Those seeking Participant status included the Association of Ston(e)y Lake Cottagers (ASLC), the Stony Lake Yacht Club (SLYC), The Environment Council for Clear, Stony, and White Lakes, the Kawartha Park Cottagers Association (KPCA), the Birchview Property Owners Association (BPOA), and the Juniper Point Cottage Owners Association (JPCOA) – in addition to a strong list of individuals; there will be some consolidation as groups with like issues are formed;

• It was FFW’s position that the Developer has not completed the file and a number of issues had yet to be dealt with before a Hearing Date could be set;

• Something everyone in attendance knows – we were more than ably represented by FFW lawyer David Donnelly of Donnelly Law;

• The Pre-Hearing Conference was adjourned until Monday, October 26 at 10 am (in the same venue) at which time the OMB will further consider an appropriate date for the full hearing; there are a number of matters to be factored in, including organizational issues, access to the Fraser Property, completion of further studies and issues related to First Nations, including duty to consult.

• CHEX TV covered the event and interviewed FFW President John McWilliams and Curve Lake First Nation Chief Phyllis Williams (see video after photos).

photo 1-4    The FFW table served coffee, snacks and information.

photo 1The hallway outside the meeting room.

photo 4-3

Inside, chairs are added to accommodate the crowd.

photo 3-2

Standing room only!

photo 2-4

Fraser Wetland supporters from Brownscombe Island.

photo 3-3

The Prehearing drew Friends of all ages.

photo 2

FFW lawyer David Donnelly briefs supporters.

CHEX TV from Peterborough was there, too. Here’s Mark Giunta’s report:

CHEX TV Report

At the end of the CHEX news segment, Curve Lake Chief Phyllis Williams affirms her community’s resolve: “We’re here to the end. We’re committed – and our council and community are, too.”

We couldn’t have said it better. We’re here to the end, and we know that you are, too.

Please continue to support the work that FFW is doing, by attending meetings — like the OMB Prehearing — and by donating so that we can finance the legal, planning, archaeological and environmental experts who will form the basis of our OMB case. For details, click here.

Best Regards,

John McWilliams, Jeremy Carver, Heather Brooks-Hill,
Ben Sämann, Pat Bourne, Jen Lewis, Joe Carlino, Mike Ormsby,
Susan McWilliams, Simon + Lorraine Bramson, Cath Kirk,
Jamie Anderson, Jenn Reid, Jennifer David



The Fraser Wetlands Have A Job To Do

Acting as “nature’s filters” is just the start. The Fraser Wetlands maintain and even improve the quality of water we all enjoy. In the  video linked below, Dr. Jeremy Carver explains exactly how the wetlands work, and why it’s so important that we leave them untouched, undeveloped, and able to get on with their work.

Click here for the video.

The following trio of maps illustrates the importance of the Fraser Wetlands to the entire Stony and Clear Lake community, as well as downstream bodies of water.

The first map shows the location of the Fraser Property – directly opposite the spot where water streams into Stony from Lovesick Lake and other upstream bodies of water, bringing with it higher levels of phosphorous and other contaminants.



This second map charts the phosphorous levels in Stoney and Clear Lakes. Note that the tipping point – the point at which the level becomes unsafe and can contribute to dangerous algal growth – is considered to be 20 micrograms/L. The point at which water flows into Stoney at Burleigh Falls registers a dangerously high phosphorous level – 24 micrograms/L.

Left to do their work, the provincially significant Fraser Wetland Complex and the adjacent Fairly Lake Island complex have a profound effect on the phosphorous levels and general health of the water we all rely on for recreation, for sustenance, and, not inconsequentially, for secure property values.




The following map highlights (in yellow) the provincially significant wetlands that occupy so much of the Fraser Property and its extensive shoreline. The 2014 Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)* affirms that no development should take place within 120 metres of a provincially significant wetland, unless it can be “demonstrated that there will be no negative impacts on the natural features and their ecological functions.”**

Ninety per cent (90%!) of the Fraser Property is within 120 metres of a provincially significant wetland.

* Published last year by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the 2014 PPS is the province’s new statement on land-use planning.

* * PPS 2014 2.1




Finally, the following fascinating video illustrates the drainage patterns of the Fraser Wetlands – and how they relate to the developer’s plan to build 60 condominium lots.

Click here for video showing wetland drainage and condo development lot lines.

To view other FFW videos on our YouTube channel, please click here.

As always, thanks for taking the time to consider this material, and please share it widely with your family, friends and neighbours.

Jeremy Carver, Heather Brooks-Hill, Jen Lewis,
Ben Sämann, John McWilliams, Jennifer David,
Jamie Anderson, Pat Bourne, Mike Ormsby,
Simon + Lorraine Bramson, Scott Wootton,
Catherine Kirk



We Need Your Help!

Now is the time.

As we prepare to fight the proposed Burleigh Bay 60-lot condominium development at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), we urgently need your financial assistance in order to pay for the expert consultants – legal, archaeological, biological, aquatic – who will form the backbone of our defence.

Please give serious consideration to what a development on this scale will mean to the lake and to the functioning of the wetlands – nature’s filtration system — that define the Fraser property and have served Stony Lake and downstream bodies of water so well.

Please give generously!

To donate, you can contact FFW through this website, or deliver a cheque to any FFW Inc. director (see list below), or simply mail your cheque, made out to Friends of the Fraser Wetlands, to: Friends of the Fraser Wetlands, General Delivery, Woodview, Ontario, K0L 3E0.

Thank you!

FFW Directors: Jeremy Carver, Heather Brooks-Hill, Ben Samann, John McWilliams, Cath Kirk, Scott Wootton, Simon + Lorraine Bramson, Jennifer David, Jen Lewis, Pat Bourne, Jamie Anderson


When is shopping a good thing?

When it benefits Friends of the Fraser Wetlands!

We’re so pleased to announce that Janet Viire, an Upper Stoney cottager and the inventive retail mind behind TresBello – a fantastic fair-trade store on wheels – is setting up shop all around the lake this week, and is donating a portion of her proceeds to Friends of the Fraser Wetlands.


Please stop by TresBello, and shop in support of the Fraser Wetlands.

Thank you, Janet!


Sacred Burial Grounds on the Fraser Property?

Recently, a newspaper article from 1991 was brought to our attention (thank you Suzanne Stratton!), and it contains some interesting information about sacred First Nations burial grounds on and around the Fraser property – information that was verified at the time the article was published by the Ministry of Culture. In light of the proposed condominium development – and indeed, preparatory work already underway – we believe this warrants further investigation.

page 1 of K Herald article on burial cairns on Fraser Property

page 2 of K Herald article on burial cairns on Fraser-1


North Kawartha Council Decision in the Media!

The Fraser shoreline. Photo by Ruth Dyer
The Fraser shoreline. Photo by Ruth Dyer

News of North Kawartha Township Council’s decision to deny Burleigh Bay Corporation’s application to Amend the Zoning By-law has hit the press! The following story by Sarah Frank appeared yesterday in My Kawartha, the region’s online daily news site. Sarah interviewed FFW founder Jeremy Carver and North Kawartha Township Mayor Rick Woodcock for the piece:

Click here for My Kawartha article

If you’re free on Saturday afternoon, don’t forget to drop by the Emerald Summit (full details in post, below) at Viamede, from 1 – 5 pm. It’s going to be a great afternoon!


The Emerald Summit

Our Emerald Summit is shaping up to be a must-attend event!

Ontario’s retiring Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller is going to be there, along with Curve Lake First Nation Chief Phyllis Williams, former Ontario Minister of the Environment Ruth Grier, Elder Doug Williams, the director of Trent University’s Indigenous Studies Ph.D program, and Dorothy Taylor, an Ojibwe Anishinaabe Traditional Knowledge Holder. They’re coming together with an expert panel to discuss the environmental and cultural significance of the largely unprotected Land Between – a region of unsurpassed beauty and biodiversity that encompasses the north shore of Stony Lake – and to consider strategies for conserving our green spaces.

We hope you’ll join us! What: Emerald Summit: Protecting our Green Spaces When: Saturday, June 6th, 1 – 5 pm (presentations from 2 – 4:30 pm; refreshments to follow) Where: Viamede Resort, Stony Lake, 595 Mount Julian Road, Woodview, Ontario. While the event is free, seating is limited. Please let us know if you plan to attend by clicking here, or via emeraldjune6th@gmail.com


News About the Fraser Property!


We always knew it was a possibility, and now it’s happened.

Last week The Township of North Kawartha received documents from Ron Dick, principle of Burleigh Bay Development Corporation, giving notice that he has filed three appeals at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) against the Township and the County of Peterborough for failure to make a decision on his application to build 60 unit residential condos on the Fraser Property on Burleigh Bay, Part Of Lots 3, 4, 5 And 6 Concessions I and II.

Our lawyers advise that this is a well-known path for a developer to follow to move things along – applying pressure!

The FFW are deeply engaged with this process. Thank you for your support and interest over the last year. We look forward to your increased interest and your help as we move forward in our ongoing efforts to preserve the environmental and cultural integrity of the Fraser Estate on Stony Lake.

If you wish to, and we hope you do, go to the OMB link below, and follow the news here on our website and on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsoftheFraserWetlands


Participating in an OMB Hearing

The definitions below clarify choices for us all. Thanks to Roz Moore of the Environment Council for Clear, Ston(e)y and White Lakes for sending this along.

Here’s what you need to know about participating in an Ontario Municipal Board hearing:
If you want to be heard in an OMB matter, you may be able to become a party or participant at the hearing.

What is a party?
A party is a person or organization that is accepted as a party by the Board. For example, in the case of a zoning by-law passed by a municipality and appealed to the Board, the parties may be the municipality, the applicant (person or organization that applied for the rezoning) and the appellant (person or organization that filed an appeal against the zoning by-law).
For some matters, there are conditions to becoming a party. For instance, some matters under the Planning Act require a party to have made oral or written submissions to council before council made a decision. The Board may also add a party to a matter if there are good reasons for it. If you are unsure whether you may be considered a party, please look at the law related to your matter.

A party’s role in the hearing process can include: exchanging documents, presenting evidence, questioning witnesses and making submissions to the Board. A party may also request costs, adjournments or a review of the Board’s decision.

If an unincorporated group wishes to become a party, the group must appoint one person to speak for it. The person appointed must accept the responsibilities of a party. A party does not need legal representation though the party may have an agent speak on his/her behalf. A representative, who can be either a lawyer or non-lawyer, must be authorized under the Law Society Act. There is an exemption that allows for persons who are not in the business of providing legal services to occasionally provide assistance to a friend or relative for no fee. For information on licensing and exemptions, please refer to the Law Society of Upper Canada’s website http://www.lsuc.ca.

How do I ask to be a party?
1. Send your request, in writing, to the Board. Also send a copy of your request to the current parties.
2. Be at the first day of hearings, at the start time. If you are not there, you may be denied party status.
3. At the beginning of the hearing, the Board Member asks if anyone wishes to become a party to the matter. You may stand up and ask to be a party.
4. Give the Board Member your name and address for the record.
5. Explain why you wish to be a party. After explaining your position, the Member will ask if any of
the current parties object to you being added as a party.
6. The current parties may agree or disagree to adding you as a party.
7. The Board Member decides if you will be added as a party.
OMB Information Sheet 12 Page 1 of 3
What are parties’ responsibilities at a hearing?
Generally, parties at the hearing should: describe their point of view on the matter,
submit all necessary documentation as exhibits at the hearing (this includes any maps, case
law, document books, etc.), present their case using exhibits, witnesses and other evidence
cross-examine the other parties, witnesses and evidence at the end of the hearing, give final arguments or a summary of all their evidence follow the procedures set out in a procedural order from a prehearing (these procedures may set out when to appear at a hearing, when to exchange documents with the other parties and other important instructions that are required to be followed before the hearing).

What is a participant?
A participant is a person or organization that participates at a hearing by making a statement to the Board on some or all of the issues on the matter being heard. A participant may attend all or part of the proceedings. There is no requirement for a participant to have made submissions to council before becoming involved in an OMB matter.
When making a statement to the Board, participants must swear (or affirm) to tell the truth. They may be questioned by the Board and parties. Participants generally do not question witnesses and cannot ask for costs, adjournments or request a review of the decision.
A participant may submit a written statement without attending the hearing. However, the Board may not give the written statement the same weight as a statement made in person since participants cannot be questioned about their statement if not present at the hearing.

How do I ask to become a Participant?
1. Be at the first day of the hearing, at the start time. If you are not there, you may be denied participant status.
2. At the beginning of the hearing, the Board Member asks if anyone wishes to become a party or a participant. At that time, you may stand up and ask to be a participant.
3. Give the Board Member your name and address for the record.
4. The Member will set aside time during the hearing for participant statements. Usually
statements are scheduled at the end of a hearing. During a longer hearing, the Board may set a different time for participant statements so participants do not have to sit through the entire hearing.

What are participants’ responsibilities at a hearing?
Generally, participants at the hearing should:
Show up on the first day of the hearing at the start time.
Provide their name and address to the Board.
Give their statement to the Board. If the hearing has been scheduled for multiple days, the
member may set a date when participants provide their statements.
OMB Information Sheet 12 Page 2 of 3

Follow the procedures set out in a procedural order from a prehearing. These procedures may set out when to appear at a hearing and when to provide participant statements to the parties.
How else can I participate (if I do not want to become a party or participant)?
OMB hearings are open to the public. Anyone may sit in and watch a hearing to see how the OMB process works or to be informed of what is happening with an OMB matter. In some rare cases, a hearing may be closed to the public, if the Board determines that the matter should be heard in private. Mediation meetings are not open hearings and are only held for the parties involved.
Where can I get more information?
For further details on parties and participants, refer to the OMB’s Rules of Practice and Procedure. The Rules are available at http://www.omb.gov.on.ca, or by calling (416) 212-6349 or toll free 1-866-448- 2248.
Please Note
The information contained in this information sheet is not intended as a substitute for legal or other advice, and in providing this information, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions in this information sheet, and shall not be liable for any reliance placed on the information in this information sheet. Additional information, including the OMB’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, is available at http://www.omb.gov.on.ca, or by calling (416) 212-6349 or toll free 1-866-448-2248.
ISBN 978-1-4435-8478-4 © Queen’s printer for Ontario, 2012
Disponible en français: Ce qu’il faut savoir sur la participation aux audiences de la Commission des affaires municipales de l’Ontario.

The Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario (ELTO) includes the Assessment Review Board, Board of Negotiation, Conservation Review Board, Environmental Review Tribunal, Ontario Municipal Board, Niagara Escarpment Hearing Office and the Office of Consolidated Hearings. The Tribunals operate under specific legislative requirements and share resources and best practices. The Ontario Municipal Board hears appeals and applications on a wide range of municipal and land-related matters including official plans, zoning by-laws, subdivision plans, consents and minor variances, land compensation, development charges, ward boundaries, and aggregate resources. For more information contact us at:
Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario
655 Bay Street, Suite 1500, Toronto, ON M5G 1E5 Telephone: (416) 212-6349 or toll free: 1-866-448-2248


World Water Day


World Water Day 

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, remember to honour the water.

The Fraser Wetlands are still in winter clothes; other parts of Canada have Spring flow!

Drinking clean water is a gift. Taking a shower? Remember not all are so lucky!

We are grateful for what we have and commit to preserving and sharing.  – FFW

Looking across to the Fraser Wetlands, still under a blanket of snow.


We start the new year with HOPE!

On September 25, 2014, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne wrote the following to the Honourable Bill Mauro, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, in her mandate letter:

I ask that you work collaboratively with other ministers and a wide variety of stakeholders to develop and deliver sustainable science-based approaches to programs and policies.

As part of a list of seven priorities, the Premier said in the section ‘Protecting Wetlands’ that the ministry’s mandate includes:

Working with other ministers, municipalities and partners to conduct a review of Ontario’s broader wetland strategy. Your goal is to strengthen wetland policies and stop the net loss of wetlands.

The Premier doesn’t spell out how to do this.

We have some ideas. Stay tuned!


Wetland Protection Fragmented and Inadequate!

“Regrettably, the updated Provincial Policy Statement 2014 does little to resolve some of these weaknesses in wetland protection.”

So says the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), the province’s independent environmental watchdog, appointed by the Legislative Assembly. In an article published yesterday (November 5, 2014), the Commissioner had a lot to say about respecting and protecting Ontario’s vital wetlands, and most importantly about the flaws and weaknesses in current wetland protection policy. It makes for an interesting read: http://www.eco.on.ca/blog/2014/11/05/draining-ontarios-wetlands/



Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Thanksgiving Paddle, and to those who wrote to say they couldn’t make it, but were with us in spirit! We gathered – 45 canoes and kayaks strong! – in Clark’s Bay under clear blue skies, with only a whisper of wind,  to share fond memories of the Fraser Estate and our concern about its future. Following a word of welcome from Scott Wootton, and a photo session to document the occasion (thanks Larry!), we headed out to explore

Heading to Clark's Bay to join the flotilla
Heading to Clark’s Bay to join the flotilla

our way up the north shore of the Burleigh Channel. It was a wonderful way to take in the exquisite beauty of the Fraser property and to fully appreciate what’s at stake if the proposed development is approved. In particular, the long, narrow inlet near the west end of the property – with its shallow water, abundant wildlife, and active beaver (his dam is well under way) – is a spectacular, pristine wetland. If the developer has his way, it will be the site of 15 of his 60 units.

The crowd gathers
The crowd comes together
Scott welcomes the paddlers
Scott welcomes the paddlers




Attempting a group shot
Attempting a group shot


Paddles up!
Paddles up!

It’s a go!

It looks like we’re in for a beautiful day! See you at the paddle – 1:30 p.m. today, Crouse dock, Horseshoe Island.  See below for all parking, boating, paddling details.



Celebrate the beauty of this ancient terrestrial landscape and show your support for the preservation of the Fraser wetlands!

Rendezvous Point      Clark’s Bay between Horseshoe Island and the Fraser Property. Look for the green tent and the FFW sign on the Crouse dock, Lot # 2023, SW tip of Horseshoe Island

Rendezvous: 20140929_081122

Getting there      There will be car parking available at Dunford’s Landing, a short paddle from Clark’s Bay, and docks for parking motorboats and launching canoes and kayaks on the south Burleigh shore at the McWilliams, David and Anderson cottages (please see map, below, for all locations).

Paddle Route       From Clark’s Bay we’ll paddle westward along the north shoreline past the Fraser Boathouse and on to the Beaver Dam near the western end of the Fraser property

Please RSVP to Jennifer David at davidengell@sympatico.ca by Thursday, October 9th, and indicate the number of canoes and/or kayaks you’ll be bringing, and whether you’ll be coming by car.

This is a weather-permitting event. In the event of inclement weather, we will cancel the paddle. Please check our website or Facebook the morning of October 12 for an update. www.facebook.com/friendsofthefraserwetlands; www.friendsoffraserwetlands.com

DISCLAIMER: This is an unsupervised, voluntary event in a natural environment. Those participating do so entirely at their own risk and FFW takes no responsibility for death, injury, loss or damage to participants or their property. The paddle route and rendezvous point are suggestions only and actual routes followed are the participants’ choice. By indicating an intention to participate you are accepting this disclaimer.



How can I help?

As a supporter of the Friends of the Fraser Wetlands, you know how hard the community has been working to protect the provincially significant wetlands that comprise much of the Fraser property and its shoreline.

This is an issue that affects us all, and will for generations to come. Healthy wetlands mean healthy watersheds.

Please help us preserve the Fraser Wetlands by donating today. 

Friends of the Fraser Wetlands Q & A

What is Friends of the Fraser Wetlands?

Friends of the Fraser Wetlands (FFW) was established in the spring by a group of concerned cottagers and full-time residents to try to preserve the environmental and cultural integrity of the 700-acre Fraser Estate and its large complexes of provincially significant wetlands, which have a profound effect on the water quality, aquatic life, and wildlife of Stony Lake.

Why do we need this initiative?

FFW is concerned that a proposed 60-lot condominium development will threaten the ecological integrity of the Fraser Estate and impact Stoney Lake. The Fraser Estate is home to the Provincially Significant Fraser Wetlands Complex , many sensitive environmental features, and 11 First Nation archaeological sites. The shoreline of the Fraser Estate spans kilometres of wilderness along Stony Lake and is some of the most prolific musky spawning grounds known anywhere in the Kawarthas.

What is FFW doing?

In order to challenge the proposed development, FFW is educating the public and raising funds to retain water quality, hydrogeology and biology experts, and a legal team. FFW is also working to inform the politicians at a municipal and county level and to raise their awareness to growing opposition to this development. FFW has also generated media interest in both the development proposal and the negative public opinion it has attracted.

What stage is this development at now?

The developer is seeking a zoning amendment, official plan amendment and a condominium plan approval to be able to move ahead with this development as it’s designed. The statutory public meeting occurred on August 23, 2014 with 250 people in attendance. The meeting lasted 4 hours with a strong majority in opposition of the development. The mayor of North Kawartha Council has stated that the decision will not take place prior to the October 27, 2014 municipal election.

Why now?

The development is now at the draft plan approvals stage and is getting close to being granted approvals with little consideration for any of the concerns and unanswered questions of Stony Lakers being addressed.

What are the possible outcomes?

The development gets dismissed at a municipal or county level (our best outcome)
The development goes to an Ontario Municipal Board for a decision either by request of the developer or FFW
The developer decides it’s not worth pursuing and Kawartha Land Trust – a local conservation organization – works to acquire the property at fair market value and preserve it in perpetuity.
The development gets approved as it is designed now or in a reduced design.

What is the cost estimate for the initial opposition?

To date, we have spent $25, 000 on legal opinions and consultations necessary for our arguments to North Kawartha Council. We need to raise a total of $200, 000. These funds will pay for expert opinions on hydrogeology, planning, and an environmental assessment, as well as further legal fees necessary to illustrate the enormous negative impact this development will have on Stony Lake.

Who has been approached for help?

At this point there has been a general request through email and letters handed out at the pubic meeting for donations. Neither the Heritage Foundation nor Kawartha Land Trust can be directly involved in funding due to their charitable status.

If all the money isn’t used, what happens to it?

The money will be redirected to the Kawartha Land Trust to enable it to to acquire and maintain property on Stony Lake in its natural state in keeping with the intended use of the donation.

Is the work of the Friends supported by other lake organizations?

Yes! Several established lake organizations have been working in collaboration with FFW, including The Association of Stoney Lake Cottagers (ASLC), The Kawartha Park Cottagers Association (KPCA), the Juniper Point Cottage Owners Association (JPOAC), and The Birchcliff Property Owners Association (BPOA), among others.

Will I receive a taxable receipt for my donation?

At this time it is not possible to issue a taxable receipt.

How Can I Help?

Inform yourself by reading the information on the website, watching the youtube videos (see the video link on our website) and by spreading the word to other lakers.

Write a letter of opposition (email) to your municipal and county politicians; addresses can be found on the website as is a guide for letter writing. Every letter has to be recorded and every letter helps. The municipal election is coming so this is an important step. It’s not too late to let the North Kawartha Council, and your own council if you live in Selwyn or Douro-Dummer, know how you feel about the proposed development.

Register to vote on October 27th. Election information can be found on the FFW website. If you own property on the lake, you are entitled to vote!

Please donate to support FFW as we work to save the Fraser Estate. We cannot fight this development without financial support from the community. We need your donations now! We are incurring on-going legal and professional fees as we carry on this fight.

Where can I find information to inform myself?

You can email us at friendsofthefraser@gmail.com

Who do I contact to donate?

2. Heather and Jeremy at 705-654-4488,
3. Catherine Kirk at 705-761-1282, or mail a cheque to Friends of the Fraser Wetlands, General Delivery, Woodview, K0L3E0
4.Email donations can be made to ffwetland@gmail.com

Thanks for your consideration,

The Friends of the Fraser Wetlands
Board Members: Ben Samann, Catherine Kirk, Heather Brooks-Hill, Jen Lewis, Jennifer David, Jeremy Carver, and Scott Wootton.


Your lake. Your vote.

Selwyn Election News

Do you live (or cottage!) in Selwyn township? If you are a property owner, then you are entitled to vote in the upcoming municipal election. Please click the following link to this week’s Lakefield Herald article about voting by mail in Selwyn township. (Stay tuned for information about voting by mail in North Kawartha and Douro-Dummer.)