The Spring 2020 BLPOA Newsletter

The Spring 2020 BLPOA Newsletter is here, chock full of interesting stuff pertaining to lake issues.  This includes pieces on:

  • water level variations,
  • maintaining septic systems,
  • critter-proof composting,
  • our new stock of lake buoys,
  • our submission to Tay Valley Township on the Recreation Master Plan and its proposal for a public canoe/kayak launch,
  • news on our web site and email system,
  • updates on our finances, and
  • info on the Tay Valley Township Climate Action Plan.

And, in case you might miss it we have our usual appeals for help in paying your membership fees (which can now be done by e-payment), helping us update our rather spotty owners records, and asking people to subscribe to our emails.

Hope you all stay safe and healthy in this unprecedented year.

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BLPOA Submission on Recreation Master Plan

The BLPOA Board of Directors developed, approved and submitted comments on the draft Recreation Master Plan, developed jointly with Tay Valley Township and neighbouring municipalities.  This submission can be found here.  The main comment we had was that we were opposed to creating a public canoe/kayak launch, partly out of concerns for adjacent property owners (issues pertaining to parking, litter and toilets), but also from the perspective of there being little such need evident and the up-front and maintenance costs.

The TVT clerk has responded to our submission.  The gist of the response is that any specific investments would be subject to subsequent Council consideration and would consider the views of owners before such decisions.

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COVID-19’s Impact on Life at the Lake

While it is our hope that COVID-19 stays far away from all who call Black Lake “home”, either seasonally or year-round, this virus has impacted all of our daily lives.  I cannot think of a better place to practice social distancing!  Unfortunately, some who own property here may find 2020 the year (or part-year) they could not come and enjoy our shores and waters.

Due to the closure of the international border with the United States for “non-essential” travel, and until this closure is lifted, American-resident owners are unable to return to Black Lake.  Additionally, even Canadian-resident owners of seasonal homes have been discouraged from heading to their cottages by Tay Valley Township’s Reeve Brian Campbell in order to preserve health care resources and local grocery store supplies for the local year-round residents until this crisis passes.

fire ban

Additionally, the fire departments of Lanark County declared a total open-air burn ban effective 2 April for an indefinite period of time to avoid placing our firefighters at greater risk or to strain demand for fire services while social distancing is our norm.

With so many of our neighbours anticipated to be absent much of the year, and with the way we all have to change how we interact with the ones who are here, it is our plan to make use of this website, email communications and surveys in lieu of holding an in-person Annual General Meeting this year, as it is unlikely that in 90 days this pandemic will have completely resolved itself and that everyone will feel safe occupying seats in vast numbers and close proximity to each other in Burgess Hall.

Everyone please stay safe and healthy, and we can all hope that this pandemic will end soon.

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A Public Boat Launch for Black Lake?

Thanks all (especially Janet) for the Facebook heads up about the Tay Valley Township (TVT) recreation plan and the notion of having a public boat launch on Black Lake.

It looks like the Facebook reaction is uniformly opposed, for obvious reasons of vehicular and boat traffic.  As a result, BLPOA will be systematically assembling an owners position on this to represent to TVT.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, the one catch is that representing lake owners is hard to claim when maybe one in five is a member of the BLPOA (2019) and when we have contact information for less than half of the (likely 240+) owners, including the official mailing list with only 126 subscribers, including co-owners, so less than half the owners.

Since the official email list is how we can systematically assemble a collective opinion to represent to TVT, including via our preferred method of running one or more Survey Monkey owners polls, we need more people to sign up.

Now, if you received the email on this same topic, you are signed up!  But, if you did not, please use this link to opt in to our email updates.  Also, your neighbours may not be aware of our website, email list or even our organization.  Please spread the word, forward the email or a link to our website, to your neighbours and road association contacts.

Remember, we don’t insist that you join the BLPOA to sign up for the emails, but do prefer to restrict that list to owners, a claim that we cannot make about the Facebook group which likely has lots of friends and family.

I will also shortly being launching an appeal to collect owner contact information, just for BLPOA use.  Stay tuned.

Now, one calming word. I don’t think the Black Lake public boat launch at ‘Site 10’ near Tom’s Rock can happen.  It will need a road, as it is an unopened road allowance. That will be very expensive and the now inevitable Covid-19 recession will make our governments focus on other priorities.  It will need parking and turnaround space. There isn’t any, just the road allowance, much of which would be taken up with the road. The surrounding property is private.

It also has a very steep shoreline, so boat launches will be far too much like in ‘The Dukes of Hazard’ (for those of us old enough to know the cultural reference). I do not think there is any way to trailer a boat in and out there without shoreline alterations.

So, if TVT sees (a) expensive (b) not functional and (c) wide-spread owner/voter opposition it will likely not happen. Your BLPOA Board will work on (c): the systematic opposition.

Cliff Halliwell, President BLPOA

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We Are Back on the Web, Too!

If you are signed up to receive emails from the BLPOA Executive, by now, you have received several of them recently to catch up on various communications and to announce that 2020 is going to be an important year for our organization and for every property owner on Black Lake.    This website will also become quite active for our members to stay informed on pertinent issues that will be addressed throughout the year and specifically at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) this July.

But first, links are being provided to view our newsletter from last summer and the draft minutes from last year’s AGM.

Newsletter – Summer 2019

This edition has the usual material: President’s message, bios of the Directors, material on water levels, finances etc.

In addition, it has a Q&A from Cliff Halliwell on the buoys situation on our lake, and the perennial need for help getting them in and out.  This material came from a document that Cliff has prepared documenting why we put out buoys, where we put them, where we source them, how we deploy them in terms of hardware etc.  This is part of a background effort to document what your lake association does, to pass on to future members of the Board or other volunteers (or, dare I say it, even just remember ourselves!).

It also contains several pieces from Anita Payne on how we can maintain our water quality through appropriate shoreline and property management.  Do not think this is not important: our nutrient loading on the lake is not bad, that is it is below the cut line where we should worry, but typically well above what a ‘pristine’ lake would be.  Shoreline management is especially aimed at reducing nutrient runoff.   Anita also has a piece reminding us that when we fire off fireworks we are disturbing nature with the noise and, likely much more importantly, depositing a residue of not-so-nice chemicals into our lake.

Planning for the Spring 2020 BLPOA Newsletter is now underway.  If there is something you would like to see in it, please let me know.  Much better, if there is something you would like to contribute, please let me know.  More volunteerism will never be unwelcome at the BLPOA.

2019 Annual General Meeting Draft Minutes

Highlights from last year’s AGM are that the Board of Directors has a new Treasurer, Bruce Brooks.  Other than that the Board has stayed the same, with Cliff Halliwell as President.  Financially, we are basically breaking even, partly because our membership is under one in five lake owners.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) reported on our water quality and again the message is somewhat mixed.  From the perspective of e-coli, Black Lake is in good shape.  From the perspective of total phosphorous, a metric of nutrient loading in the lake, the values oscillate between good (which would be considered a ‘pristine’ lake and (but still below) problematic levels.  So, we have to be careful.  There is not much ‘headroom’ for additional nutrient loading.  More on that soon.

Tay Valley Township is now allowing ‘bunkies’, albeit subject to setback requirements.

The BLPOA Directors will consider whether to drop the P.O. Box, as it costs us the equivalent of 9 memberships, yet only is used for annual dues by one or two people.  We will look at e-payment options.  Note: We have since done this: dropped the P.O. Box, using one of the Board Members addresses for snail mail (Bill Woodley) and implemented an e-payment option for dues (more on this later).

The issue of buoys was discussed.  Quite a few of the original 20 have now been lost, so we cannot mark all the shoals.  (That said, the big constraint has always been volunteers to get the buoys out in the Spring and back in by the end of the boating season.  More on this later.)  The AGM approved buying new buoys, which will be done over the winter.

These minutes will be up for approval at the July 11, 2020 AGM.

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Election Day Approaches in Tay Valley Township

Tay Valley Township logo

You may be able to vote in Tay Valley’s Election!

Municipal elections will be held in communities like Tay Valley Township across Ontario very soon. If you own, rent or reside at property here on Black Lake, even if you primarily live elsewhere and are only here seasonally, you have met a basic requirement for being eligible to vote in Tay Valley. According to their website, “you can vote in Tay Valley’s municipal election if you are:

  • a Canadian Citizen; and
  • at least 18 years old; and
  • a resident in Tay Valley Township; or
  • a non-resident of Tay Valley Township but you or your spouse own or rent property in the Township; and

are not prohibited from voting under any law.”

Link to Committees and Boards

Who are we electing?

This election will select individuals to the township council positions of Reeve, Deputy Reeve, and one of six Councillor positions for a term of 4 years commencing 1 December 2018. Tay Valley is divided into three wards (Bathurst, Burgess and Sherbrooke – representing townships that existed prior to amalgamation into Tay Valley), and each ward is represented by two Councillors. Black Lake is located in the Burgess Ward (formerly North Burgess Township).

The candidates for Reeve are (in alphabetical order): Brian Campbell, Susan Freeman, and Keith Kerr. Candidates for Deputy Reeve are: Barrie Crampton and Judy Farrell. The candidates for the two Councillor positions for the Burgess Ward are: Doug Barr, Greg Hallam, Beverly Phillips and Mick Wicklum. Voters are permitted to vote only for Councillors in the ward they own or rent property or reside in.

Additionally, owners and residents of residential property may also elect school board trustees. Most eligible voters will be electing trustees to the English language public school board, but depending on voter qualifications, some will cast ballots for the French language public school board (French language rights holders only), or for the English or French language separate school board (people of the Catholic faith only). Your Tay Valley property tax bill’s school tax portion will indicate which board your school tax portion is designated for and will align with the school board for which you will be able to vote.

How do I participate in the election?

If you wish to vote in this election, you must be on the voters’ list. Everyone who is on the voters’ list should receive a Voter Information Letter by early October. This letter will contain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to be used when casting your ballot. Voting will only be conducted via telephone or Internet-connected device during the period of 15-22 October, 24 hours a day for 8 days. No physical polling location will be open to cast a ballot in person, and there will be no paper ballot option.   Of course, this makes it easier for seasonal residents to vote in Tay Valley’s election, as you do not have to be physically present.

If you are unsure if you are on the voters’ list or do not receive your Voter Information Letter, you can stop by the Municipal office at 217 Harper Road during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm) and check at the voter information desk in the lobby showing proof of identity and qualifying address. If you are not on the voters’ list, you may register at that time. The voter information desk will be open extended hours on Saturday, October 20th from 9:00am to noon and again on Tuesday, October 22nd until 8:00pm when polls close.

How can I find out more about the election process?

For additional information, please visit the Tay Valley Township website’s Election page at:, and their Information for Voters page at: The latter link has video demonstrations of voting by telephone or by Internet as well as other useful details about this process.

All-Candidates Meeting will be held Wednesday, September 26th.

A public All-Candidates meeting is scheduled for 7pm on Wednesday, September 26th at the Glen Tay Public School, 115 Harper Road, presented by CFUW Perth and District Chapter and sponsored by Lake 88. This will be a good opportunity for those who are still at the lake or live close by to decide for whom you will support and vote. This meeting will be moderated by Brian Perkin and will conclude at 9pm, followed by an informal opportunity to meet all the candidates. For more information about this meeting, please contact Sandra Shaw from CFUW at

Glen Tay Public School

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July 14th meeting agenda

I’ve posted the agenda for the 2018 BLPOA summer meeting July 14th – its here.

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Spring 2018 BLPOA newsletter is here!

If the blackflies are out then it must be time for the spring newsletter. The 2018 version is available here.

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Latest draft of BLPOA meeting minutes from July 2017

BLPOA AGM July 8 2017 – Minutes

Here are the latest draft of last summer’s meeting minutes.

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Minutes of 2017 AGM – draft

Here are draft minutes of what happened at our AGM this year.

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