Important Information for All

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

If You Only Read One Post, Make it This One!

While there’s still lots of summer left to enjoy, the OLRA recently wrapped up the 2014-15 season with our annual picnic and general meeting.  Despite dire forecasts the entire week before the picnic, we enjoyed great weather until the very last minute when the wind threatened to wreak havoc on the raffle draw.  Thanks to all who rushed to snatch up bags and loot so the terrific selection of prizes could find their way to lucky winners.

As always, Susan Eccleshall and Jack Beyfuss did a wonderful job of organizing an event that has long been a summer tradition for many Orr Lake families.  To some of those families - the Moffitts, Bluesteins, Gibbs, and Eccleshalls - we owe our sincere thanks for donations of prizes for the raffle and races.   We are also indebted to local businesses that sponsored the event.  Please be sure to reward their generosity with your patronage.  These include Classique Dimensions Family Hair Care, Coffee Time, Darlene’s Hair Design, G&S Computers, Jacks on Queen, Pieces of Olde, Settler’s Ghost, TAG Painting, The Corner Cut Salon & Spa, The Gift Shoppe, and Dr. Logicks Ultrafast Wireless.  A special thank you to Joe and family, who live next door to the park and kindly donated the hydro required to power our sound system.

We are able to share the big-heartedness of all these great donors only with the help of a hardworking team of volunteers.  We would be well and truly lost without their contributions of time and effort.  A well-deserved pat on the back to Rita and Karen Moffitt, the extended Eccleshall family, Charlie DiGaudio, Ernest Stefaniuk, Tiffany Young, Tom Deas, and “Ms. Eccleshall’s kids”:  Delaney, Colby, Monika, Diana, Gio, and Carlee.  The success of this year’s picnic is a credit to you all!

There were two faces missing among the volunteers this year.  Although Ted and Ruth Woodcock have given up their places on the executive after many years of service, they did intend to be on hand.  As some of you may know, Ted’s ticker decided a change of this and other plans was in order and he underwent surgery earlier this summer.  We are happy to say that, although he isn’t quite up to his usual mischievous self as yet, he is well on the way to a full recovery.  Many noted their absence, and we have passed along your concern and best wishes.

If you missed this year’s picnic, just remember that it is always held on the Sunday of the August long weekend.  Residents and cottagers alike often host family and friends at this time, and the picnic is a great way to let us help you entertain.

At this year’s AGM we had a great variety of speakers to offer insight into topics such as septic re-inspections, healthy waters, and grants for shoreline and septic projects.  Springwater Township was well represented, and residents appreciated the opportunity to direct their questions to Mayor Bill French, Councillor Perry Ritchie, and Junior Building Inspector Jacob Gooch.  Thanks to Shannon Stephens of the NVCA for her workshop on the Healthy Waters Program as well as her organization of our roster of guests.  Keith Sherman represented the SSEA and also offered insight that would normally be provided by our Lake Steward, as we currently lack a volunteer for that position.  Also on hand were John Osmok and Greg Bales of the Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay Community Stewardship Program to discuss funding opportunites for property owners.  Those who have paid either the 2014-15 or 2015-16 membership fee will receive a copy of the meeting minutes.  The minutes offer details regarding Township plans and scheduling for septic re-inspections, and funding sources for work that may be subsequently necessary. This will be of value to anyone owning a lakeshore property.  If you would like to benefit from this information, you may purchase your membership online at or arrange payment by calling/texting 905-716-2571.

One issue that we can, and indeed must, share with you regardless of membership standing involves the status of our Association.  For the last three years, we have been unable to fill executive positions.  For the last year, we have operated with only two active executive members.  Events held during the past season were only possible due to an excess of funds gleaned in previous years.  At the AGM only two of seven possible nominations were accepted to serve on the executive. Thank you to new Orr Lake residents Nick Heintz and Sonia Kadela for joining us. The most crucial role to be filled at this time is that of Membership Coordinator.  Without an increase in membership, we will not have the resources to be active in the coming season.  The primary responsibility of the coordinator is to enlist and organize volunteers who will undertake door to door canvassing.  We do have some volunteers waiting only for guidance, and will help to find more.  Secondary is the maintenance of membership records.  It does require a block of dedicated time, but only minimal part-time hours for one or two months of the year. This would be an ideal position for someone who is well organized, with a large acquaintance of folks in Orr Lake.  Many hands really do make light work.  If you would like to volunteer, either to canvass or to act as Coordinator, please contact us.

On the surface, this sounds much like the same appeal we make every year.  Please believe that the situation is serious, and the very existence of the Association is at risk.  Allow me to break away from my voice as Chair of the OLRA and speak to you as an Orr Lake resident, and as a human being with a deep-seated respect for the past that makes our present possible.  The OLRA is more than just a guardian of the lake and the voice of its members, more than just a communicator with the Township and environmental associations.  Right now, in my basement, are over sixty years of records.  There are names in those old papers of families that still own lake properties and those that have faded away.  There are reports that detail the changes and the growth of our hamlet, our home.  Most importantly, in between all the facts and figures, tucked away unseen among the statistics and particulars, are the memories.  Since joining the executive several years ago, I have been touched time and again by the stories members tell – and the only reason I hear them is because the OLRA exists.  If we let the Association wither away, we lose not only a collective voice, not only our identity as a community, but also a place to preserve our common history.  We lose a piece of ourselves.  Please help us to prevent such an unnecessary tragedy.  Contact us now, and offer to give just a little.  

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