President's Spring Message 2009
It is May 5. Today the first hummingbird of this year buzzed near my window for a moment, and was gone. It was probably in route to a summer home still further north, and stopped to have a drink at my feeder after a long and tiring journey. I’m sure his mates will not be far behind, and we will again have regular visits from these precious little life forms.
The ice went off the lake on April 15, although it had been threatening to break up for at least a week before that, with black patches everywhere, and open lanes along the shore. Again this year the water was about as high as it ever gets, since we also had a couple of days of fairly heavy rain just before the snow and ice melt peaked.
Unfortunately, late in the winter we had a break in at a couple of cottages off the South Road. One instance would appear to have been a kid, perhaps fighting with his parents, who stole what he needed to set up a makeshift tent in the bush nearby, and to keep warm during the last snowfall. Several people on the lake helped by keeping a close watch on the cottage, and checking to be sure that others had not suffered the same fate. The police were notified but I believe they were not successful in identifying the guilty person.
Once again, the issue of assessed property values at the lake is in the news. After a freeze for the last three years Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) is making up for lost time. The average annual increase in values in this area is about eleven percent applied in each of the next four years. It continues to be cottage properties which see the large increases, while properties off the water, and in area towns and cities, have relatively small increases. Despite the fact that most Townships have tried to offset the increases in assessment by lowering their tax rates, they are working with averages, so those properties with above average increases in assessment will also see a real tax increase when they receive their second notice this summer. FOCA has given this matter a lot of attention, but it appears their lobbying has not changed this reality in cottage country across Ontario.
A number of people are interested in creating a network of hiking trails through the McGeachie Conservation Area. Crowe Valley has agreed to allow this to happen, and the MNR seems willing to lend some help. There is a naturalists group in Bancroft whose members have expressed an interest as well. It is my hope that we can identify and catalogue a wide variety of plant, animal and bird varieties, and help to educate hikers, as well as to help people keep fit and in touch with nature. Contact me if you are interested.
This will be my last “message from the president” after six years. The members of the Executive are innovative, energetic and motivated residents of the lake, and I am confident this Association will grow in strength as the years pass. To accomplish that, they need your continued support, and participation, so when you are asked to help out please donate a few of the precious hours at the cottage so that life here will continue to be excellent. I have enjoyed being part of the process. See you at the AGM on Aug 2.