The Kawartha Highlands Signature Site and the Easterly Shore of Lake Catchacoma

The Kawartha Highlands Signature Site and the Easterly Shore of Lake Catchacoma

 

Section A - Overview

1)  Area Description:

 

There is no area of the Kawartha Highlands Signature Site (KHSS) that has received more attention than the easterly shore of Lake Catchacoma.  In the LSC’s Recommendations of November 2001 this area is referred to (non-specifically) by Reeve Tom Flynn on page 17, three times on page 18 and most of pages 22, 23 and 24 deal with this area.  It is also referred to on pages 31, 32 and  40. There are many errors in the information provided by the LSC regarding this area.  However, before we deal with these issues of inaccuracy, false information and omissions, we wish to present you with a few facts concerning the area which is shown in Map #1 below.

 

The existing Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park (KHPP) is shown in green and the shaded areas around the perimeters of the lakes are private properties.  The private properties shown were almost all sold by the Crown prior to 1958, and much of the eastern shoreline was sold by 1951 or even much earlier.

 

Lake Catchacoma, Beaver Lake and Bottle Creek are shown clearly on the map.  The narrow lake between Beaver and Catchacoma Lakes is McGinniss Lake.  The narrow opening between Catchacoma and McGinniss Lakes is referred to as “The Cut” by locals.  Bottle Creek and a portage from the east end of Beaver Lake to the South end of Bottle Lake, which has now become a “rough road”, have been the main accesses to the KHPP for decades.  As a consequence, property owners along the north shores of Beaver and McGinniss Lakes, and on the easterly shore of Catchacoma between “The Cut” and Bottle Creek, are very familiar with, and affected by, visitations to the KHPP by transients and the problems associated therewith.

Section A - Map #1

Easterly Shore of Lake Catchacoma and the KHSS

Notice that the extent of private property ownership is quite uniform around the lakes shown.  The effect of making the entire KHSS a provincial park would be to extend the boundaries of the KHPP westward to include the areas shown in yellow.  Prior to Lands for life and Ontario’s Living Legacy initiatives, all of the Crown land shown in yellow was designated general use Crown land.  The effect of re-designating this crown land from the General Use to the Provincial Park designation is to seriously compromise the Free Use Policy Privileges and property access rights or privileges of directly adjacent property owners.  Property owners whose properties, or the accesses to their properties, are not directly adjacent to the yellow area; for example, persons on islands or on the south or west shores of the lakes, are not as directly or negatively affected.  This also applies to persons whose properties are landlocked (surrounded by other private properties and having no access or right-of-way), since they are effectively “buffered” from park activities and their access privileges are not affected.

Cutting Rights:

 

The forestry industry had its cutting rights extended about May of 1999 to include the eastern half of lot 23 and lot 24 in concession IX.  This area was “excluded” from the proposed KHSS at that time.  Previously the forestry industry held cutting rights to the west of this area.  These lands were left with the General Use designation.  While the writer was aware of this exclusion by about September 1999 it’s interesting to note that five directors of the CCA, whose cottages are very close to the area, did not know about the cutting rights extension until it was brought to their attention by the writer in September 2001.  I mention this because credibility of the CCA is an issue.

 

 

2)  Exclusion Requested:

 

Commencing before April 1998 some property owners adjacent to the yellow area began asking that this area, or a portion of it, be excluded from the KHSS (it was not called the KHSS in 1998) to preserve their rights and privileges.  Many submissions were made between April 1998 and October 2002 to the GLSLA Round Table, to John Snobelen , to Jerry Ouellette, to the LSC and to others requesting an exclusion of, or within, in the area shown in yellow.

 

 

Reasonable Request:

 

Please note that the area in yellow is very close in size to the area north of Big Cedar and Coon Lakes that was recommended to be excluded from the KHSS by the LSC in November 2001.  See the third paragraph down on the top right corner of page 19, as well as the maps on pages 46 and 47.  Also, please note the three exclusions numbered 7, 8 and 9 on the map on page 47 of the LSC’s November 2001 Recommendations.  If these four exclusions were recommended by the LSC, why not the exclusion requested east of Catchacoma?  They were all requested for the same reasons.

 

 

3) Affected Property Owners:

 

Obviously, property owners along the north side of Beaver Lake were to be affected by KHSS developments and LSC recommendations.  However, for quite some time the boundary of the KHPP had been the north side of the road, initially built by them, that runs in an east - west direction just north of their properties.  Also, the LSC recommended that they be given an  exclusion as they had been requesting.

 

On the other hand, property owners on the north side of McGinniss, and between “The Cut” and Bottle Creek on Catchacoma, were about to have their circumstances radically changed, along with property owners on Catchacoma to the north of Bottle Creek.  They were not pleased.

 

For our purposes, we consider that the persons most affected by the re-designation of General Use Crown land to be a provincial park are those whose properties, or accesses to their properties, are directly adjacent to the area shown in yellow. Contrary to assertions of the CCA, the majority of these property owners wanted the area in yellow, or much of it, to be excluded from the KHSS ( i.e. to be a buffer).

 

The new Recreation Reserve proposal with protective features provided by Section 28 of the Public Lands Act, utilization zones, Section 3.4.5 b) of the Free Use Policy along with other features appears to provide a reasonable alternative to buffer zones. But, please note that we are dealing with information and circumstances that preceded the introduction of the RRA (Bill 239) on December 12th, 2002.  If Bill 239 should not be passed, then our positions regarding exclusions would be resumed.

4)  How many affected owners and properties are there, and do they want a buffer zone?

 

Research indicates that in close proximity to the yellow area there are: sixty-one private properties owned by fifty-one different owners.  In total these persons pay $112,881. in property taxes of which $32,418. goes towards education.  On Catchacoma we determined that these properties have about 20,334 feet of shoreline and a total area of 145 acres.  We were unable to assemble all of this data for McGinniss Lake.

 

The owners of these properties, except for a few individuals whose positions were  known, were surveyed regarding their preferences for a ”buffer zone” between their private properties and any part of the KHSS that was to be designated as a provincial park.  A number of persons were neutral and a number of properties are not directly affected as indicated in Table #1.

 

As shown in Table #1 a clear majority of the directly affected property owners close to the yellow area prefer not to be directly adjacent to a provincial park.  This is true whether you weight the numbers by: i) no. of properties, ii) no. of owners, iii) acreage, iv) shoreline, v) total taxes paid, or vi) education taxes paid.

 

 

5)  Who represents these property owners?

 

Property owners near the yellow area are represented on various matters by five main agencies. (It is not clear to me that any agency should be able to usurp owners’ rights with regard to the re-zoning of adjacent properties - owners should have been contacted personally and formally regarding these matters.)  These agencies or associations are:

 

a) The Council for Galway-Cavendish and Harvey, led by Reeve Tom Flynn.

b) The Cavendish Community Ratepayers’ Association, Inc. - about 375 Members.

c) The  Beaver-Cavendish-Bottle-McGinniss Cottager Owners’ Organization Inc. - about 140 Members.

d) The Stakeholders’ Groups of the Kawartha Highlands - many Members and Associate Members.

e) The Catchacoma Cottagers’ Association - accurate membership information not available - claim 175.

 

The first four of these agencies have requested the provision of buffer zones between any part of the KHSS to be designated a provincial park and all private properties on many different occasions.  On June 10th, 2001 the President of the CCA voted for the following motion passed by the SGKH:

 

“Regardless of the final designation of the Kawartha Highland Signature Site, the Stakeholders Group of the Kawartha Highlands firmly believes a ‘General Use Crown Land’ corridor should be established around all lakes with private property within the Signature Site -as established by the MNR ‘Spooner’ map of 1959, which has been recognized as being an appropriate and sound land use planning conclusion, up to and including the recent Lands for Life Round Table deliberations.”

 

The minutes of the meeting show that the President of the CCA, Ms. Wendy Lyttle, seconded the motion.

 

6)  Conclusion:

 

The majority of property owners directly affected by the proposed expansion of the KHPP into the yellow area shown on Map #1, and all of the agencies and associations representing them, have requested a buffer zone of General Use Crown land between their private properties and any provincial park designated near northeast Catchacoma.  Very clearly, the majority of property owners in this area do not support a provincial park adjacent to private their properties.


 

Section A - Table #1 - Buffer Zone Preferences of Directly Affected Property Owners - Catchacoma and McGinniss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro

Anti

 Not Adjacent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buffer

Buffer

to yellow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

 

Zone

Zone

or neutral

 

 

 

Catchacoma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Properties

 

 

44

 

 

 

 

25

12

7

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

37

 

 

 

 

67.6%

32.4%

 

 

 

 

Owners

 

 

35

 

 

 

 

19

10

6

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

29

 

 

 

 

65.5%

34.5%

 

 

 

 

Private Shoreline (feet)

 

 

20,334

 

 

 

 

13,308

3,857

3,169

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

17165

 

 

 

 

77.5%

22.5%

 

 

 

 

Private Acres

 

 

145

 

 

 

 

116

18

11

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

134

 

 

 

 

86.9%

13.1%

 

 

 

 

Taxes

 

 

$83,094

 

 

 

 

$53,965

$17,297

$11,832

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

$71,262

 

 

 

 

75.7%

24.3%

 

 

 

 

Education Taxes

 

 

$24,257

 

 

 

 

$16,333

$4,705

$3,218

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

$21,038

 

 

 

 

77.6%

22.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McGinniss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Properties

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

17

0

0

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

100.0%

0.0%

 

 

 

 

Owners

 

 

16

 

 

 

 

16

0

0

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

16

 

 

 

 

100.0%

0.0%

 

 

 

 

Taxes

 

 

$29,787

 

 

 

 

$29,787

$0

$0

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

$29,787

 

 

 

 

100.0%

0.0%

 

 

 

 

Education Taxes

 

 

$8,162

 

 

 

 

$8,162

$0

$0

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

$8,162

 

 

 

 

100.0%

0.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catchacoma and McGinniss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Properties

 

 

61

 

 

 

 

42

12

7

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

54

 

 

 

 

77.8%

22.2%

 

 

 

 

Owners

 

 

51

 

 

 

 

35

10

6

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

45

 

 

 

 

77.8%

22.2%

 

 

 

 

Taxes

 

 

$112,881

 

 

 

 

$83,752

$17,297

$11,832

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

$101,049

 

 

 

 

82.9%

17.1%

 

 

 

 

Education Taxes

 

 

$32,418

 

 

 

 

$24,495

$4,705

$3,218

 

 

 

Affected - concerned

 

 

$29,200

 

 

 

 

83.9%

16.1%

 

 

 

 

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