In 1954, the Orr Lake Ratepayers Association was formed to help solve various problems around the lake. The OLRA directs its attention to issues such as Township dam management, roads, waste management, and water quality. Over the years, the Association has fought diligently to ensure protection of Orr Lake, and we continue our efforts to the present day.
Members receive many benefits for a very low annual cost. The board’s primary concern is ensuring the health of the lake through a comprehensive system of testing, and communication with local environmental organizations such as the NVCA and SSEA. In addition, we carry out projects such as the tree planting and ditch clean-up. This protects individual property investments, and maximizes enjoyment of the lake. The OLRA executive monitors SpringwaterTownship activity to ensure that the interests of Orr Lakers are represented. We send regular emails about events and issues of interest. Admission to the annual picnic is free with a paid membership for the current year. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of membership is knowing that you have a place to voice concerns, seek advice or guidance, and receive support.
What has the OLRA done about lake levels?
Ever since SpringwaterTownship took over dam management the OLRA has lobbied on behalf of its members. Most recently, at the 2012 AGM, a motion was carried to request seasonal onsite monitoring at the east end to prevent spring flooding while maintaining as high a level as possible during the drier summer season. This motion was included in a letter to the Township requesting that it be added to the agenda for the Council meeting held Oct 1, 2012. All other AGM motions and Township reports pertinent to OrrLake appeared on the agenda, and proposals were carried – except this particular motion. When the omission was questioned, we were told to refer to previous communications. This reply was in reference to the Township’s directive that the OLRA request an adjustment to the Regulated Water Level (RWL) set by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). The OLRA has repeatedly communicated to the Township that we are not concerned with altering the RWL, but with the Township’s dam management within the current levels. MNR requirements to consider a RWL adjustment are costly, and would likely be unsuccessful. The Township has stated that it is their intention to attempt to keep water levels at the mid-point of the specified range. Even if a petition to adjust the RWL were successful, Township maintenance at the mid-point would not change a thing.
These responses, along with failure to include our most recent motion on the Council agenda, send a clear message that the Township has spoken its final word on this subject, and consider the matter closed. The OLRA Lake Steward and other executive members will continue to monitor the health of the lake using all available resources. We will also continue to remind the Township, in an informal manner, that the majority of OrrLake residents are displeased with levels. At the first concrete sign that lake levels are adversely affecting lake health, we will address the problem aggressively. At this time, we have done all we can to implement preventative measures. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that a sick lake may be the only incentive that will prompt the Township to re-open the issue. We advise residents and cottagers with concerns about lake health or the viability for recreational use to contact the Springwater Township Department of Public Works.
How are boating laws enforced on the lake?
The OPP are responsible for law enforcement on the lake, and are present as often as possible. Financing and safety prevent the use of police jet skis, so patrols must be scheduled based on the availability of a larger OPP marine craft. Any issues, even relatively minor ones, should be reported to the OPP Huronia detachment. Even if an officer does not attend at the scene, details of the incident are recorded, allowing any destructive or dangerous patterns repeatedly executed by one individual or group to be identified.
Who owns the boat launch property on the north shore?
According to Director of Recreation, Parks and Properties, Ron Belcourt, ownership of the launch is held by SpringwaterTownship. Several residents have reported the belief that it is deeded to North Orr Lake Rd property owners. Those with proof of this claim included on their property deeds should contact a member of the OLRA executive, and provide a copy of the deed. If enough landholders can show this proof, the board will be able to approach the Township with this information.
Are tests conducted on the closed landfill site on Flos 10?
Yes. The most recent report we have on hand was prepared for SimcoeCounty by GENIVAR Inc in April of 2012, and reflects the results of monitoring at the site throughout 2011. While the report states that there is leachate being produced that enters the shallow groundwater system, affecting groundwater quality in the upper sand unit and the area immediately downgradient of the refuse, this has not had an adverse effect on water quality at the three residences located directly downhill from the landfill. All tests at these residences showed compliance with the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard, except for hardness which is naturally occurring. The report states that “there is no landfill influence on the water quality at these residential water supplies”. Testing and preparation of an annual report was continued in 2012. To view the entire 2011 report, please visit the following link and look for the file entitled “CS 12-114 Annual Report Summaries for Various Closed Landfill Sites”