In response to requests we’ve had for help in writing letters to your local council and Peterborough County, we thought we’d offer the following primer, including:
• Reasons why letter writing is so important
• A list of email addresses for key local council members and Peterborough County Planners
• Some examples of effective letters, most of which address the topics of wetland functions and water quality concerns, and provide testament to the volume of boat traffic already on the lake; some letters tackle other concerns or points
We hope that these letters provide a helpful framework for your own letters, and encourage you also to inject some personal angle.
Why do we write letters?
We do it to alert our local councils to our opposition and specific concerns, but more importantly:
If a person does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the County of Peterborough before the proposed official plan amendment is adopted, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision of the County of Peterborough to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
Recipients: While it is North Kawartha Council that is hearing the application for development now, the mayors and deputy mayors of all three lake townships – North Kawartha, Selwyn and Douro-Dummer – sit on the County Council, and will have a vote in the next stage of the approval process. Therefore, it is vital to reach the mayors and deputy mayors of all three townships, in addition to the Peterborough County planners.
One letter addressed to Mayor Woodcock of North Kawartha, sent to the North Kawartha township clerk and cc-d to your own mayor, your own township clerk and the County of Peterborough Clerk will put you on the public record. Their email addresses, along with the email addresses of the Mayors and Deputy Mayors, are below.
North Kawartha (the township hearing the application)
Clerk – Connie Parent
Mayor Rick Woodcock
Clerk – Angela Chittick
Mayor Mary Smith
Deputy Mayor Sheri Senis
Deputy Clerk – Crystal McMillan
Mayor J. Murray Jones
Deputy Mayor Karl Moher
Clerk – Sally Saunders
Manager of Planning
Director of Planning
Dear Mayor Jones and Council,
I am writing to express my opposition to the proposed development of the Fraser Property on Stony Lake. My family owns Black Rock Island on Gilchrist Bay, and since 1973 we have relied on the lake water for sustenance and recreation in the summer months.
Development is not something I am against, as my husband Don Mal developed Wildfire Golf Club, however I am convinced the proposed Fraser Property development presents serious risks to the health and safety of all who use and live on Stony Lake.
Last week, I attended a meeting of the Friends of the Fraser Wetlands and learned the group’s research indicates wetlands are the wrong place for a development. Current scientific evidence on water safety and wetlands is the basis of this concern. Last summer there was a poisonous toxic bloom on Clear Lake which indicates that Stony Lake is on the precipice of serious environmental degradation.
On behalf of my immediate and extended family who have been residents of the lake since 1926, I trust you will safeguard the drinking and swimming water for the future generations of this township.
email address also included
Black rock Island #914
Stony Lake, Douro-Dummer
Ontario, K0L 2H0
Here’s another letter. . . .
Dear Mr. Jones,
We own a property at 1702 Bensfort Road and are also cottagers on Stony Lake. We are committed to these communities and township, and support local businesses.
We are writing to express our deep concern with development on or in lands adjacent to the provincially significant Fraser Wetlands Complex situated on the old Fraser Estate property. The quality of water in this lake and downstream bodies of water are very much dependent on the fully preserved ecological function and integrity of these wetlands.
Very few undisturbed wetlands remain along our shores: it is important to protect them as they represent one of the only remaining sources of pure water to flow into the lake. We note that other jurisdictions, most recently the Province of Manitoba for example, are engaged in costly multi-year efforts to restore several major lakes and have noted the loss of wetlands as a key causative factor in deteriorating water quality.
Other environmentally sensitive features and biodiversity on this property, as well as First Nations archeological sites, should also be protected.
We look to Duoro-Dummer and the County of Peterborough to provide leadership to protect this important resource from development, in order to provide long-term environmental benefits for all.
We believe that more durable economic benefits would also derive from such a position.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter and we look forward to your reply,
John A. Heine, MD
Danielle Poirier Heine
Good luck with your letter writing!