| Jun 29, 2006


Feature Article - June 29, 2006

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Feature Article - June 29, 2006

Letters to the Editor

Sydenham Water: Who knows best?

For over 3 years the people of Sydenham have been trying to have a say in how our water problem is managed, to no avail. South Frontenac Council has forced a $7.7million communal water system on us in spite of 92% of the affected residents signing a petition against this system.

The people of Sydenham have been to council over 20 times warning council of all the problems associated with this water system, but council just ignored us. And now “the experts” are confirming our concerns….

1) Recently the Professional Engineers of Ontario reviewed the consulting engineer’s environmental assessment report and have described the report as “below average” and “of poor quality.” This report was the basis for the Sydenham water system.

2) The Watertight report, produced by the province’s own expert panel, suggests that small communities use in-house water treatment. It recommends that communal water systems have a minimum of 10,000 users. Sydenham has 273!

Flood

Clearly this water system was a mistake. However, we have no choice but to live with it now that it is nearly up and running. So the people approached council with a plan to recover some of the costs using future taxes generated from the water system. As expected, council said NO to the people again. Although council is highly opposed to spreading the costs of this water system throughout the township (a mere $13/household/year) they are quite willing to spread the tax revenue generated from it to the rest of the township!!

The attitude of our council towards the people was summed up very nicely by our own Councilor Vanderwall when he publicly responded to the question about implementing a cost recovery plan to help the people of Sydenham – “It’s not that we couldn’t do it, it’s that we wouldn’t do it.” Council’s excuse is they don’t want to set a precedent!

This is the attitude we have been up against for over three years. We are dealing with a council that simply DOES NOT WANT TO HELP THE PEOPLE. Why won’t this council start to display some integrity, acknowledge this plant was a mistake, take responsibility for that decision, and do something to help the people?

Maybe the mayor and council have forgotten it is an election year. The people of South Frontenac are disgusted with council’s old school mentality of “we know better than you”. This township is overdue for a council that wants to LISTEN to the people, and wants to work WITH the people. We need a council willing to get into the 21st century.

- Cathie Waugh

Walleye Regulatory OptionsSurveyAn open letter to the Ministry of NaturalResources

I have completed your options survey and wish to add my comments in the form of my own proposal. I've fished for walleyes in Southern Ontario for some 60 years. I'm an American and am very fortunate to have a cottage on Big Gull Lake since 1969. We love it here.

In 1985 I started the Big Gull Lake East End Cottage Association. One major activity was to rebuild walleye spawning beds. Working closely with the MNR, we placed over 600 tons of rubble on sites selected by the MNR.

Over the years we've made many friends at the lake and surrounding communities, and appreciate what a huge factor tourism is to this rural area.

MY PROPOSAL FOR REGULATING WALLEYE FISHING IN SOUTHERN

ONTARIO

I. Catch and Possession Limit: Reduce the limit to four. That's a no-brainer. Everyone can live with that. Most fishermen I know use the Conservationist license with the limit of two walleyes.

II. Open Season: This is a decision to be made by the MNR based upon accurate recent surveys conducted by the MNR. Does the March harvest of walleyes impact the total enough to warrant changes? Only new data will provide you the answers.

III. Size Limits: Minimum 17 inch length. Keep it simple. Keep everyone happy - the local fishermen, the tourist fishermen, the fishing resort owners, and anyone else concerned about the future of walleye fishing. I believe that the so called "slot" restriction is the worst course of action. Here's why.

1) It hasn't been proven to work in our area. Several years ago the "slot" rule was imposed on Crotch Lake . A few years later, the MNR set nets to monitor the fish population in Crotch Lake and in nearby Big Gull Lake where there is no slot restriction. Results showed a greater walleye yield in Big Gull Lake nets than in Crotch.

2) Keeping walleyes of less than 14 inches or even less than 16 inches are terrible options. A small walleye is easy to catch and easy to release. They rarely swallow the hook and aren't harmed when released.

3) Walleye lay thousands of eggs and I believe it's safe to say that they start spawning at about 16 inches.

4) The summer fishing pressure has been steadily declining as there are fewer of the old time fishermen around.

A walleye fisherman looks upon a walleye fish fry as an occasional special treat. Don't make them throw back a "dinner" size fish or they'll never come back.

Improving Walleye Spawning Conditions

In my opinion the best thing is for the MNR to enlist the aid of cottage associations, and tourist related businesses, in a concentrated effort to rebuild walleye spawning beds in southern Ontario lakes. This includes monitoring these beds to determine the effectiveness of the efforts.

My Thoughts on your survey.

I question the data that will result from your survey. I had to seek out information about getting a copy of the survey from your Bancroft office. I know of no one at this end of our large lake who received a copy. Wouldn't it have been better to provide each person with a survey who bought a license in southern Ontario , over say, the past three years, and to each tourist related business?

And the May 1st completion date is totally unreasonable. No one is at the lake at that time of year. I hope you consider what I have written. It's not just the fishermen who have a stake in this program. At our end of the lake one owner of four rental cottages recently razed these cottages while the other owner of cottages has reduced the number of rentals from seventeen to four. It's the whole rural economy that seeks a better outlook for tourism. And you have a great resource with the walleye to help make it happen.

- Harold Krieger

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