Shadow Lakes Association Inc.

 

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions most often asked of the Association. Some were answered in previous News & Views Newsletters, while others were answered by guest speakers at our Annual General Meetings. Answers to other questions you might have, that are not included here, may be found by browsing the various pages elsewhere on this web site.

Just click on the question, and it will take you to the answer.

1) What is the Shadow Lakes Association Inc (SLA), and why do they always ask me to pay annual membership dues?

2) What is a Road Monitor, and what do they do?

3) What are those Red, Green and Yellow square blocks floating on the local waterways?

4) Can Anyone put a raft in the water in front of their property?

5) Why do the water levels in our lakes/rivers go up and down during the year?

6) Is the quality of our lake/river water tested, and is it safe enough to drink?

7) When a floatplane is landing or taking off on our lake, do boats have to yield right of way to it?

8) Why do I sometimes find dead fish floating in the lake?

9) Are there official speed limits for vessels on our local waterways?

10) Is it safe to take my boat through "the chute"?

11) What should I do if I encounter a bear on or near my property?

12) Who is my local Ward Councillor, Mayor, MPP and MP, and how do I contact them?

13) Are there trails in our area to hike, bike, walk, ski, snowmobile, etc?

Answers

1) What is the Shadow Lakes Association Inc (SLA), and why do they always ask me to pay annual membership dues?

The Shadow Lakes Association Inc is a local group of volunteers made up of seasonal and permanent residents who care about our little piece of paradise here in the City of Kawartha Lakes. They represent concerned people between Norland and Coboconk, who use the Shadow Lakes and Gull River waters, and want to see them protected. They do this by: publishing two newsletters a year about what is going on in the area that directly affects us all, and distributing them to every homeowner and cottager with lake access; maintaining this web site; posting reminder speed signs at various places on our waterways; providing the hazard and navigation markers that indicate dangerous shoals and safe channels for boaters; and sponsoring the Annual Mo Park Rock Bass and Sunfish Childrens' Fishing Derby; among other things. Since all this costs money, they ask every seasonal and permanent resident in the area to contribute a small annual fee to cover these expenses.

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2) What is a "road monitor", and what do they do?

Road monitors are volunteers recruited by the Shadow Lakes Association Inc (SLA) to deliver the SLA newsletter, twice a year, to all permanent and seasonal residents in the Shadow Lakes area, between Norland and Coboconk, who have water access. The road monitor for your road likely has a property on your road, although some roads do not have their own road monitor. Ideally we would like to have at least one road monitor for each road, and for roads where there are a lot of properties, more than one monitor. If you would like to become a road monitor, or would like to share the job with your own road monitor, contact one of the SLA executive members, or your road monitor. A list of them appears elsewhere on this website.

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3) What are those Red, Green and Yellow balls or blocks floating on the local waterways?

These navigation buoys (sometimes called markers) are there for the convenience and safety of boaters. YELLOW ones indicate a submerged hazard, and boats should stay well clear of them. RED and GREEN ones indicate a safe channel between them for boats to follow. Where there is only a single RED or GREEN buoy, then, when going upstream (or north, or against the current), the RED buoy should pass by on the Right side of your vessel (Red Right Returning is the phrase to remember), and the GREEN buoy on the Left side. When going downstream (or south, or with the current), it is the reverse. It is important (and illegal) not to disturb these markers; by moving them, tying your vessel to them, or colliding with them. Shallow-draught vessels such as canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and some smaller outboards, as well as swimmers, and people floating on water toys and such, do not need to stay between the buoys, and should move out of a marked channel if a boat approaches. We try, but it is possible that not every hazard and channel is marked by a buoy. If you find that a buoy has been damaged, moved, or is missing, see the section titled “reporting a missing or shifted marker” under the “Marker” tab on this website. These buoys are constructed and placed there each year by the Shadow Lakes Association Inc, at a cost of about $3,000, which is paid for by our annual SLA membership fee. However, since unforeseen circumstances (fluctuating water levels, vandalism, etc) can cause these buoys to move, the SLA is not responsible for any damage to a vessel resulting from the placement of these buoys.

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4) Can anyone put a raft in the water in front of their property?

Rafts, floating diving platforms, etc, whatever they are called, are part of cottage appeal. However, if not placed and marked properly, they can be dangerous, and the owner liable if a vessel collides with one. There are regulations that govern the placement and proper marking of rafts.

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5) Why do the water levels in our lakes/rivers go up and down during the year?

With the exception of the mill pond in Coboconk and about 200 metres upstream from the millpond the remainder of our lakes are what are known as flow-through lakes. That means that our water levels are entirely governed by the rate of flow over the dam at Norland. The dams and lakes above ours are meant to catch the spring run-off water and then let it go as needed into the Trent-Severn Waterway. Any change to the dam in Coboconk affects the water level only about 1 km back from it. It is the flow rate through the system that affects water levels. Flow rates are adjusted on weekends to allow more water to flow into the Trent-Severn system. Water levels in our system can rise several inches in one day if flow rates are raised to a heavy level. There are flow meters in the Gull River near Norland, which are regularly monitored. There is also a blue and white depth guage on the south end (opposite end from the launch ramp) of Government Dock. According to the Trent-Severn Waterway office in Peterborough, during the summer boating season, the flow rate can vary from 12 cubic metres/second (light) to 27 cubic metres/second (heavy). At 12 cubic metres/second, the depth guage should show about 0.46 metres. At 27 cubic metres/second, the depth guage should show about 0.93 metres. A "normal" flow rate of about 20 cubic metres/second (medium) should show a depth of about 0.75 metres. Check out the Trent-Severn Waterway website, and their weekly newsletters, found on our Links page, for more information.

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6) Is the quality of our lake/river water tested, and is it safe enough to drink?

Surface water is not safe to drink. Surface water sources include lakes, rivers, streams and ponds. They are open to the environment, may be contaminated by human and animal activity and the quality of the water may change significantly with the weather (storms or heavy rain). It is possible to treat surface water and make it safe to drink, but treatment must deal with viruses, bacteria, parasites and with changing physical characteristics such as turbidity, chemical contaminants (oil or gasoline residue, pesticides and herbicides) and organic material. Treatment should be designed by an experienced professional to fit the source. Untreated surface water should not be sampled for testing as drinking water because it is known not safe to drink. The Public Health Laboratory will reject such sample submissions. Beaches are monitored by the local Public Health Department to protect swimmers from illnesses that may be linked to unacceptable bacteria levels. Swimming in water with unacceptable bacteria levels can result in an increased risk of infection of the ears, eyes, nose and throat or gastrointestinal or stomach illnesses if the water is swallowed. See our Links page under Health for more information, and for beach postings.

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7) When a floatplane is landing or taking off on our lake, do boats have to yield right of way to it?

Not exactly. When a floatplane is still in the air, and is landing, the pilot is supposed to make sure the way is clear to land. However, courtesy would suggest that, if a boat notices that it is likely to proceed into the path of a landing aircraft, it could more easily change direction and yield the right of way, rather than force the aircraft to go back up and return for another pass. The same is true for takeoffs. However, once the plane is on the water, it effectively becomes a boat, and is then governed by the rules associated with boating rights of way. Please keep well clear of floatplanes when they are moving on the water.

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8) Why do I sometimes find dead fish floating in the lake?

It is not uncommon to find the occasional dead fish floating in our waterways. Fish that have been caught by anglers, then released, may have been over-stressed, and die. Also, fluctuating water levels can destroy the habitat of smaller fish, causing them to die. Since many fish live in weeds, when the weeds die, their decomposing robs the water of oxygen, again leading to the death of smaller fish. This is probably the biggest cause. Fertilizing lawns near the shore, or bathing humans and pets with soap in our waters, releases phosphorous-containing nutrients into the water, adding to this problem, and should be avoided. "Winterkill" is another reason you may find dead fish in the spring. The Ministry of Natural Resources says winterkill is not an uncommon event, especially in the Kawartha Lakes because they're shallow lakes. When there's a long winter with ice cover, plants can't photosynthesize. The ice also prevents oxygen recharge from the atmosphere, so the oxygen levels begin to deplete. The kill commonly takes place in one bay of a lake, where the fish are often trapped. Winterkill can be caused by decreased water levels in the system - the shallower the lake, the more likely there is to be a fishkill.

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9) Are there official speed limits for vessels on our local waterways?

The Gull River sections, from the pond in Coboconk to Silver Lake, and from Shadow Lake to the dam at Norland, are clearly posted at each end at 9 km/h. The same 9 km/h speed limit should be kept through "the chute" and "the narrows". 10 km/h should be maintained within 30 metres of shore, the exception being if you are heading straight out from shore, or straight towards shore, as in starting/finishing towing a skier or other water toy. There is no speed limit on open water, but use common sense when there is other traffic around, or the water conditions are not optimum. With the exception of the 9 km/h signs, the SLA posts speed signs throughout the waterways, and at common boat-launch sites, to remind people of the rules.

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10) Is it safe to take my boat through "the chute"?

Remember that the chute is a restricted speed zone - 9 km/h. Smaller boats and jet skis usually have no trouble navigating the chute, since they have a shallow draught. There is a large boulder in the cente of the chute below the "island". To properly navigate it, visually split the narrowest part of the channel in two. Then, when going upstream, keep to the centre of the right half, about 4-5 feet out from the "island". Use this same channel for coming down again. Please allow vessels which are coming downstream through the chute to have the right of way, because once they are in the current, they cannot stop, nor do they have space to maneuver. Whereas a boat moving upstream can effectively "tread water" while waiting. And please don't anchor your boat in the channel for fishing. Keep off to the side.

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11) What should I do if I encounter a bear on or near my property?

If you or anyone has a bear "experience" that poses an immediate threat or danger to humans, dial 911 and report it to the OPP. If it is a case of an ongoing but non-life threatening bear annoyance, contact the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Bear Line at 1-866-514-BEAR (2327). Do NOT call the City of Kawartha Lakes. Bear problems are a provincial issue. There has been an increase in bear experiences in our area in the last few years, mainly because of the implementation of curbside garbage pickup. People who put garbage out overnight, especially in green garbage bags, are inviting trouble. Once the crows and racoons have gotten into it, the bears are attracted by the smell. Put garbage in garbage cans, or better yet, inside a sturdy garbage bin. This will keep the crows and racoons from getting at it. Another suggestion is to put it out the morning of, rather than the night before, garbage pickup.

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12) Who is my local Ward Councillor, Mayor, MPP and MP, and how can I contact them?

Our local municipal representative for the City of Kawartha Lakes is Ward 2 Councillor Emmett Yeo. He can be reached at 454-9531 or email at eyeo@city.kawarthalakes.on.ca. Mail is PO Box 71, Coboconk ON K0M 1K0. Please contact the Coboconk Service Centre at 454-3322, which may be able to answer your enquiry, before contacting Emmett.
Andy Letham is the mayor for the City of Kawartha Lakes. He can be reached at (705) 324-9411 ext 1320 or
aletham@city.kawarthalakes.on.ca.
Our Federal MP representative is Jamie Schmale. Jamie can be reached at (705) 324-2400 or 1-866-688-9881 or email
jamie@jamieschmale.ca or website at www.jamieschmale.ca. The local constituency office is at 68 Mclaughlin Rd. Unit #1, Lindsay ON K9V 6B5.

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13) Are there trails in our area to hike, bike, walk, ski, snowmobile, etc?

Yes, there are some really great trails for all these purposes, depending on the season. Go to the City of Kawartha Lakes web site, click Tourism, click Attractions, click Trails. There you will find a description of local trails, with maps. See our Links page for a direct link to this site.

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The care and protection of our Land, Lakes and River system so that
future generations will enjoy what we today are enjoying