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 |



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.



Writing a Participant Statement


Are you a Participant in the upcoming OMB hearing (September 2016) regarding Burleigh Bay Corporation’s condominium proposal for the Fraser Property at Burleigh Falls? If so, the following information may be helpful.

Your written submission should be addressed to the OMB and follow the outline below:

  1. Identify yourself (or your organization);
  1. Provide the history of your (or your organization’s) involvement with the issue;
  1. Clearly state your position in opposition to the application;
  1. Provide the reasons why you (or your organization) oppose the application in as much detail as you can – the list of issues could be helpful here;
  1. State your support (or your organization’s support) for the position of FFW in wanting the Fraser Property under a Conservation Easement;
  1. State your support (or your organization’s) for the decision of North Kawartha Township Council to oppose the appeal by the Developer.

The following are two examples of actual Participant statements from OMB hearings. The first is the statement of an individual; the second is a detailed statement on behalf of an organization and includes attachments: (click page 2 to view documents)