Lipsy Lake association requests no signage for portage route
By Chad Ingram
The Lipsy Lake Cottage Owners’ Association is requesting that the Municipality of Dysart et al minimize promotion of a portage route between Kennisis Lake and Lipsy Lake.
In October, Dysart et al councillors heard from members of the Kennisis Lake Cottage Owners’ Association, who were seeking support for their traditional rights of way project.
A number of portage paths allow access from Kennisis and Redstone lakes to lakes and rivers in areas such as Haliburton Forest and Algonquin Park. The KLCOA was concerned with three portage routes in the area of Kennisis, one of them connecting Kennisis Lake to Lipsy Lake, and council granted the association permission to erect signage on a municipally owned right-of-way.
During their Dec. 16 meeting, councillors were visited by Steve Abrams, treasurer and secretary for the Lipsy Lake Cottage Owners’ Association, who cited concerns about invasive species spiny water flea, and requested council minimize promotion of the portage route connecting Lipsy, a small lake with 26 cottage properties where motorized boating activity is discouraged, to Kennisis.
Spiny water fleas feed on plankton, the most important local species of which, daphnia, are responsible for the natural filtration of lakes in the county, Abrams noted, and stressed their presence can lead to low calcium levels and the rise of algal blooms.
“It reproduces rapidly,” Abrams said, noting that a common way for the water flea to be transported from lake to lake is on the hull of canoes. He said to prevent transfer, people are advised to take steps such as pressure-washing their boats, or letting them sit on land for five days, before entering a new waterbody.
Abrams presented a map attained from the Atlanta-based Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, which allows people to post sightings of invasive species in their area.
“We’re surrounded by what appears to be a number of sightings of spiny water flea in our region, going back the last 10 years,” Abrams said, the map indicating some sightings on Kennisis.
“We acknowledge the traditional right of way,” Abrams said. “We know it’s there, it’s indisputable.”
Abrams said what the association was requesting was for the municipality to not post signage or promote the fact the portage route is there. “Our ask is that you don’t put up a sign. The moment you put up a sign, you pique curiosity.”
Councillor Larry Clarke asked how the association could confirm that Lipsy Lake residents themselves weren’t bringing in boats from outside the area with spiny water flea on them, using the example of someone who might be renting out their cottage for a weekend.
Abrams said the association was working on a communications strategy for lake residents.
Mayor Andrea Roberts noted council had turned down a proposal for the construction of an actual public access point to the lake, but had approved the erection of signage acknowledging the portage route. Thus, the Lipsy association’s request would involve revisiting a council resolution.
“It’s a complicated issue,” said Ward 4 Councillor John Smith. “Public access to our lakes is a sacred right, because not everyone is lucky enough to be on a lake.”
Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy said spiny water flea are transported from lake to lake by wildlife anyway. “Transmission by wildlife is an act of life and it’s going to happen eventually,” Kennedy said. “ . . . Deer carry them, anybody who’s in the water is going to carry them.”
“You don’t want anybody on your lake, is what I get from [the] presentation,” Kennedy added.
Council accepted the presentation and Roberts said she and Smith, whose ward encapsulates the area, could have a discussion about possible next steps.
“We did already make a decision, so we’ll have to have a discussion,” she said.