New stewardship group will monitor Mindemoya Lake

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MINDEMOYA – The Lake Mindemoya Stewardship Body has now been formed and is waiting official recognition by Central Manitoulin council. 

The group held its first official meeting last week at the Lions Park in Mindemoya near the government docks. The group’s mission statement is to protect and look after the present and future water quality of Lake Mindemoya by addressing and ensuring that this lake water quality will not be compromised as a result of any additional pollution or development without necessary approvals/permits and due diligence.

Stan Drystek, who has done the legwork to get this association established, told the gathering last week, “I thought it would be worthwhile to provide a little brief on how we got here. I had sent a letter to Central Manitoulin council on November 2, 2020, on my concerns with shoreline modifications without any permits or consent being granted. This then resulted in a request from municipal council to take the lead in forming a stewardship body.” 

“Council then passed a motion in December. They felt a local property owner association should be formed, and asked that I take the lead on this,” said Mr. Drystek. He pointed out municipal councillors Dale Scott and Al Tribinevicius have also indicated they would like to attend the stewardship body and take part. 

Current members of the stewardship body include Mr. Drystek, Bill Blackwood, Dan Colton, Al Holroyd, Jeff Mackenzie, Jean Marc Pitre, Dale Scott, Al Tribinevicius, Jeff Wahl and Paul Whelan. The group agreed with the composition for the association being that the body will consist of volunteer Lake Mindemoya property owners as well as one or two Central Manitoulin council members.

As for focus areas, Mr. Drystek outlined, “the water quality of any lakes as well as the lake experience for waterfront property owners as well as local residents and tourists must be preserved. To this end, focus areas for this body will include such issues as excessive shoreline erosion due to high water levels as well as excessive fluctuations in lake level controls.”

A second focus will be addressing unauthorized (without permits and approval) shoreline modification that encroach on the waterfront easement land that surrounds the lake as per Bylaw 2003-15 and 2015-10. 

Increased water testing to confirm that all high-density developments, referring to trailer parks around the lake are compliant with water quality standards are another focus of the group. Preservation of current fish populations by increased enforcement of fish quotas, fishing seasons and support of any fish restocking programs is also part of the list of six focus areas. 

Another focus includes supporting and encouraging the enhanced development of several public beach locations on the lake to ensure that local residents and visiting tourists have an opportunity to enjoy the waters of Lake Mindemoya. 

As well, the group will also focus on promoting information on responsible land/water use by both local residents and tourists to minimize the “ecological footprint” that their actions and activities have on Lake Mindemoya.

The group had the opportunity to choose between two options for the organizational structure. They agreed that the organization will be composed of a chairperson who shall be responsible for calling and organizing all meetings, request the formation of ad-hoc committees as needs arise, and acting as a delegate at relevant council committee meetings to report finding and recommendations based on research from various ad-hoc committee. A secretary will record all relevant discussion at meetings, organize and keep files on all ad-hoc committee recommendations as well as to and from correspondence and responses with outside agencies. 

The group will also include voluntary members willing to serve on ad-hoc committees to research various issues/concerns brought to the attention of the stewardship body, with one individual willing to act as chairperson and others to act as support for necessary research and recommendations.

“So we need a chair and secretary at this point,” pointed out Mr. Drystek. 

Mr. Wahl noted, “the initial set up of the group is important. My vote is to have you (Mr. Drystek) stay on as chair. You’ve already done a fantastic job in getting this association set up.”

Mr. Drystek agreed to be the chair of the stewardship body for at least the first year of its existence.

At this point no volunteer has come forward to take on the position of secretary. 

Mr. Drystek said the group needs official recognition as a body, and this request will be made to Central Manitoulin council.