*forepersons Efia & Ronan
**special thanks to Brian Gee who maintains three quarters of Morningside road all summer long to add to the safety of drivers and walkers.
Hello Star Lake community members.
To put the writer into some sort of context, I want to let you know that I rarely come up in the winter. My cottage is used as a seasonal escape for rest and relaxation from the May 2-4, until about Thanksgiving weekend, so please understand that the following is not from a bias associated with being entirely self-serving. No one asked me to send this out. I just think all of us need to be educated to some degree on an issue that, whether we use our cottages in the winter or not, affects us all.
As a person that has been on the lake since about 1996; one of the things I loved best about being up here was the sense of community that existed from Day One. Before we bought, teams would be assembled to fill in pot holes by hand. Teams were assembled on the Thanksgiving weekend to work together to clear the brush from the side of the road. The Fun Days, the corn roasts, all contributed to us all pulling together to combine community with our own needs for privacy when we wanted it.
As someone who is interested in community; I decided to attend the meeting held by the Winter Road Committee to understand why I was contributing money to the plowing, even though I had very little intention to drive on it in the winter. I came away with the conclusion that it is money well spent.
Why supporting winter plowing is good:
I had heard at the AGM that our insurance premiums are unaffected by having an accessible road, during the winter, to our cottage. I followed up on this and was told by an insurance expert that insurance premiums are ALWAYS associated with risk management. A plowed road provides access. Access can mean the difference between one cottage burning to the ground, or many. While some companies might not have a special line or discount in place; it is just folded into the risk factor as a premium is determined.
Cottages have become more than 2×4 shacks. Hiring a contractor to shovel your roof in the winter would be impossible if the road wasn’t REGULARLY cleared. Whether it is done once a season, or five times. The road needs to be cleared after every snowfall, or accumulations would make snow blowing extremely difficult.
Finally, a good road is very much a part of the reputation of a cottage community. A bad road can negatively influence the value of each and every separate property, while an effective access road can do the opposite. Currently, our road is in the best condition it has ever been in. The group as a whole, agreed a few years back to raise our fees to establish a budget that would give us enough money to do preventative maintenance instead of always just responding. The proactive approach has resulted in a better road.
Karen Gillies will send out details of how we all contribute towards the winter road plowing in an upcoming letter and it was determined at the meeting I attended, that the formula will remain status quo to how things were handled last year.
Now, here is what is at the crux of this issue, in my opinion. I don’t have to organize anything. For my hundred bucks, a contractor is engaged. The road is accessible to my driveway if, for any reason, I want to check on things. I’m contributing to something that adds something positive to our community and I have just a little more peace of mind that if I ever have to; I can get to my cottage a lot easier.
Star Lake has the potential to be what most of us want. A community that we can actively participate within, or experience seclusion and privacy as our choice of lifestyle. My feeling is that a healthy mix of both starts with us understanding that a cooperative approach to what is fundamentally our common denominator, the road, summer or winter, is a positive choice for the majority.
Feel free to comment, pro or con, as we find a way to work together and be more than the sum of our parts.
Jan and I really enjoy the people we meet day to day as we walk the road with our dog Tucker. It seems like the best way to meet people in our neighbourhood. With that in mind, we were thinking about establishing a weekend walk starting next Spring. Dog, no dog, kids and/or relatives. Nothing formal. More like an understanding that there is a meet up spot and off we go to Turtle Lake Road and back. Who knows? It might evolve into a hiking group to take advantage of the Seguin, or the trail that leads to the falls by the old fish hatchery by Bent River?? Some of us will have nothing more in common than having a dog, or just a shared love of what Cottage Life magazine extolls. Maybe kids will get to know other kids their own age that will bring an extra highlight to coming up to the cottage, but most importantly I think it will help us think of our seasonal experience in Community. If you are interested in me following up (with a much shorter note) simply send an email, and I will keep you posted. I’ll post a sign at the Morningside / Star Lake Woods Road sign as a reminder in the Spring.
Jan & Brian Spiteri
121 Star Lake Woods Road
Thank you to all those who attended our Fun Day &/or Annual Meeting this summer.
If you’re a member of our association, you should have received the our email with the minutes from our meeting, treasurer’s report, contact list (and more) on August 29th, and a late summer update on September 16th (it sure feels like summer still!). Please contact us if you did not get these.
- Environment and Safety Handout including: Phragmites, Black Bears, Fire Safety, Quiet Waters
- Water Quality Handout
Funds Allocation Guidelines
We will be voting on the Funds Allocation Guideline in the Spring, after we’ve had a full fiscal year to test it out.
Voting will be done by email & phone.
There is no change in the Constitution or By-Laws regarding the Funds Allocation so a vote is not needed to implement it, but we will be voting due to the strong feelings from a number of our members.
In the new year, the board hopes to have more social gatherings for our association. The purpose is to have fun and get to know your neighbours.
To start, we are bringing back an old tradition of getting together on Thanksgiving weekend to help with road maintenance (many hands makes light work).
Please meet Thanksgiving weekend, Sunday October 7th 10am at the intersection of Star Lake Woods and Morningside and bring what you have to help such as: week whacker, chain saw, sheers, or just yourself with your gloves will be helpful.
Hopefully clearing some brush along the side of the road will help with visibility, but please remember to keep your speed slow. New speed limit signs are being installed.
There have been a few near misses at the intersection of Morningside Drive and Star Lake Woods Road due to visibility at that corner, so please slow down and be aware when approaching this intersection.
Lost & Found
There are a couple of docks (or dock pieces) and a kneeboard that are still missing from our members. If you know of anything that has floated up where it’s not supposed to be, please let us know and we will try and connect.
We’ve had very good luck with lost and found, buy and sell, general info on the Star Lake Cottagers Facebook Group, which is available to the whole lake, so try checking that out and posting there as well, if you’ve lost or found something. It’s a private group, so just ask to join:
Muskoka Lakes Association Membership?
We are about to pay our fees for the Muskoka Lakes Association water testing program, but wanted to check with you all to see if anyone else is a member of the MLA. We get a $30 discount for any member of our association who is also a member of the MLA, so please let us know.
Seguin All Candidates Meetings/Elections
The elections are approaching, and there are two all candidate’s meetings coming up.
Everyone with lakefront properties is encouraged to attend the All Candidates Meetings and to vote, as the occasional/summer people compose a lot of the tax dollars.
You will get in the mail, a PIN and you can vote by computer or phone.
You can check to see if you’re on the voting list by calling: 1-877-473-4846 (or drop into the township of Seguin office).
The two All Candidate Meeting dates are:
- Saturday September 22nd – 1:00pm to 3:00pm – Foley Community Centre
- Saturday October 6th – 9:30am to 12:00pm – Humphrey ArenaVoting starts Oct 9 – 22, 2018For more information: https://www.seguin.ca/en/elections/Elections-2018.aspx
We hope so see many of you on Thanksgiving weekend, Sunday October 7th, 10am at the Y!