TRI-LAKES COMMUNITY MEETING SATURDAY NOVEMBER 2 ,2018
We would like to thank all in attendance today. This turnout clearly shows your passion to find solutions which will hopefully lead to a harmonious relationship with our neighbours. There is no argument that the First Nations have the right to harvest and for those First Nations in attendance today, we sincerely want you to know, we respect and honour your rights. For those here today, who are not familiar with the Curve Lake Harvesting Guidelines, they are, as follows;
First Nations have traditionally harvested for medicine, food, social and ceremonial purposes, including but not limited to harvesting of manomin-wild rice, birch bark, berries, medicinal plants and maple syrup. The harvesters of the Williams Treaty First Nations recognize the importance of conservation and protection and will only harvest for personal and community use.” We want the First Nation’s community to understand our issue is not with your rights.
However, how these rights are being executed by one individual is a matter of great concern and that is why our communities have chosen to bring this matter forward. There is a great fear that the issue of seeding and commercial harvesting in areas where the lake never existed until the flooding, will result in unrest between the First Nations and our communities.
This was supposed to be the year of reconciliation, but in order for that to happen, it is going to take compromise on both sides. We will today, put forth suggestions of what could be the first concrete step forward in finding a solution to this complex issue.
Please write down questions you would like answered during the question period ror possible solutions you may have. This meeting is not about us and them. It is about the need to correct an injustice, that has developed, due to the aggressive over seeding of the Tri Lakes
Prior to 2011 people on the lakes were noticing the large amount of wild rice growing in our lakes. I say our lakes, as both the First Nations and fellow Canadians considered it as such and rightly so.
For example my family purchased shoreline property in 1947 in the area of Pigeon Lake which was flooded when the Buckhorn dam was built. Brenda Jeff’s family purchased property in the same area in 1962. Our families are still on the lake as we decided to make this area our home, along with hundreds of others who fell in love with these waters. Flood’s landing Trailer park was here in the early 1950’s. Eagan Marine and Happy days House boat rental started up. Then there was Gannons Narrows Marina, Tourist camps like Fees Landing. These are only a few of the businesses who are now concerned about the proliferation of rice. These businesses bring in Thousands of Tourism dollars which help support our growing communities. They, along with permanent residents and seasonal residents surrounding the Tri Lakes make up a large portion of the Township’s tax base, which is in jeopardy, if solutions are not found.
We contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources about the harvesting with an air boat and they lead us to believe that the individual had a permit and he was entitled to harvest in this manner. We then contacted the Trent Severn Waterways who Informed us they did not, nor does it, issue permits to harvest rice. Harvesting is allowed as long as it is in the traditional method. This was good news we thought!!!
In 2012 we learned that the increase in rice beds was not natural. On the radio show Terra InForma, the harvester clearly stated he has seeded the lakes with thousands of
pounds of rice. He also said quote ” that the Federal Government has asked him not to, gather nor plant wild rice but I did not let that stop me” end quote.
The lakes before the intentional seeding were pristine waterways ideal for recreational enjoyment, including canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and looking out at natures beauty. The area of Pigeon Lake where major seeding has taken place had no rice except in specific areas just north of Grenadier Island. This rice bed would come up every year and go through it’s annual cycle. Interestingly enough, in the 70 plus years I have spent on this lake the rice bed always, maintained it’s foot print. Simply because the seeds from the plant sink quickly and stayed within itself. There was no airboat to cast seeds wherever it went. No intentional seeding by persons dumping thousands of pounds of rice seeds in front of shoreline properties.
As stated in 2011 we became concerned about the increase in rice beds and wrote to Mr Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment.
His response was quote… the agency recognizes and understands the concerns shoreline landowners have in utilizing their waterfronts for recreational purposes and is WORKING towards the development of a Wild Rice policy. Unquote. This response was dated March 26, 2012.
We waited patiently for some indication that progress was being made, but nothing happened. We contacted TSW again, who advised us to contact them if we see this person harvesting with the use of an airboat and they will attempt to contact a Parks Canada warden.
We then had a conversation with the law enforcement branch of Parks Canada and We were informed that there was nothing they were prepared to do at this time due to the sensitivity of the issue.
In 2014 We wrote to
Dean Del Mastro ….M.P. Peterborough Conservative Member of Parliament
Jeff Leal ….M.P.P Peterborough Minister of Agriculture
Who assisted in bringing this issue to the attention of The TSW.
We also wrote to Jewel Cunningham ..Director of Ontario Waterways.
In the fall of 2014 we contacted the O.P.P. who talked with the commercial harvester and he, in turn presented a commercial license issued by the MNR. The O.P.P accepted The harvester’s explanation even though the MNR has no authority over the management of Federal Waters. The O.P.P wrote us to say they are prepared to do whatever they are requested to do, as long as the request originates from TSW or the MNR. In other words do not bother calling us!
We also wrote to:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office who passed it on to
The Federal Minister of the Environment, who wrote back and stated the obvious “we are WORKING on a Wild Rice policy.”
Next we contacted Selwyn Council who created a resolution requesting an update on the Federal Government’s wild rice policy. And followed up with another resolution in March 2015? The response was very similar to the one written in 2011. “Were WORKING on a solution.”
We have also written to
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The Federal Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna
The Federal Minister of Aboriginal affairs and
M.P. Maryam Monsef
In July 2015 we met with Jewel Cunningham and provided information that substantiated our claim that intentional seeding and commercial harvesting by airboat was taking place in Federal waters!
Trent Severn Waterways then issued us an Aquatic permit to remove rice for approximately 10,000 ft of shoreline and three channels that would give us access to navigable waterways.
First Nations took exception to the permit being issued as the TSW had failed to use the DUTY TO CONSULT RULING. We in turn honoured the request from TSW to temporarily stop the cutting.
Talks were supposed to result in a Terms of Reference being established in order to move forward. This agreement took two years to complete but we still are not privy to the contents of this document, nor are we privy to any progress.
In 2016 and 2017 we had several meetings with TSW, but unfortunately the response never did change. We are still WORKING on it. We are still working on it, Things are progressing, We are still working on it. Things are progressing. People wrote to the Premier of Ontario and received the same message “NONE”!
Whoa!!! When is our Government and the First Nations going to realize the stand off between them is causing much anxiety with the people who are paying the price. It is obvious that all governing parties are not agreeing on a path to resolve this issue.
More than seven years has passed since a cry for help was sent to our Government. We are NOT prepared to wait another seven years and that is why we are here today.
The where and how the harvesting is taking place is of great concern. The seeding of open water where rice never grew before and the method of harvesting are causing much hardship within our communities.
In 2009-2012 there was a project funded by Plenty Canada to RESTORE the rice beds in the Treaty 20 Territory. In 2013 this project continued and was funded by the MNR.
We understand the restoration project was designed to restore the rice beds. I do NOT believe the intention was to seed all waters in the Tri Lakes!
The areas being seeded as stated earlier are adjacent to high residential areas which include Permanent homes, cottages, trailer parks, tourist camps, marinas, houseboat rentals, and many others businesses that are dependent on navigable waterways. This aggressive seeding has created many hardships. I.e
Values of Homes
This seeding has caused the values of our homes to drop substantially.. This in turn will mean the taxes of every home owner in our communities will face an increase in their taxes to make up for the shortfall in tax revenues caused by decreasing values of homes and businesses surrounding the shores of the Tri lakes. This will affect almost everyone in this room.
Tourism revenue dollars will decrease because of the lack of access to open water and traditional fishing spots, as well, rental properties in these areas will no longer be a holiday destination.
For those who reside in communities surrounding the lakes you will have to traverse through channels to get too navigable waters. These channels are not safe during the height of the growing season, as the stalks are above your head and it would be easy for two boats to collide. It is an accident waiting to happen.
The traditional activities for recreational use are no longer possible.
You may not be aware that according to some – when the rice grows abundantly it means a good water source. The unfortunate facts are – it starts out that way but over time, if left unchecked will turn into a wetland or a swamp. Under natural conditions this probably would not happen, however nature did not count on man’s interference in this process. In 2013 Jeff Beaver stated that Pigeon lake had about 200 acres of Rice stands. In 2015 Kawartha Conservation wrote that there were between 1500 to 1800 acres. You may hear that water clarity due to zebra mussels is a factor. This may be a factor, but I hasten to point out it would be a very small factor, as the original rice stand in the middle of Pigeon lake has not changed its foot print over the same time period.
Managing the rice and debris
The increase in the amount of rice has created problems for all of us, most especially our elderly. The Rice is an annual plant and every year it goes thru it’s cycle and dies. Most of the stalks stay within the rice bed, sink to the bottom and turn into sedimentation. The rest is torn up from strong winds, wave action etc and then comes to rest on the shores. These stalks have to be cleaned up as they will rot and stink as they go through the process. Some of you have spent many hours cleaning up this mess. It may have been bearable when there was a few hundred acres but now, with over 1500 acres it’s beyond overwhelming!
I’m sure by now it’s evident why we are here and why we are upset with our government. The lack of action & failure to offer any kind of solution, has resulted in tension between First Nations and our communities.
Our issue is not with the First Nations as a whole, our issue is with one individual. We fail to understand why he is aggressively seeding within a few feet of our docks and in waters where rice never existed. We fail to understand why he is giving us rude and aggressive gestures while seeding. We fail to understand why he continues to seed when he has publicly stated that he has more Rice to harvest than he is able. Since he started seeding he has taken the stand with TSW of confrontation, deliberately not following the guidelines. He is acting without any consideration of the affects the seeding is having on the quality of life of his neighbours. He has already made statements that he plans to seed the Kawartha Lakes and Rice lake. He demonstrates his contempt for our communities at every opportunity. Hopefully, today might bring an end to this behaviour.
We are respectfully asking the First Nations to talk with us directly and with the TSW. We suggest that Lake Management Plans be developed, whereby wild rice harvesting areas be determined and rice currently overtaking the residential and tourist areas be removed.
In closing, it is our hope that respect & appreciation for each other’s well being , and the willingness of each other, regardless of the current political environment, will allow us to define a policy of mutual agreement that will demonstrate the desire by both the First Nations and our communities to proceed with finding solutions, resulting in a friendly and just RECONCILIATION.
Thanks for listening!
Closing for Meeting
We have waited seven years for a solution to the aggressive seeding and harvesting which is having a harmful affect on our communities. The meeting today was refreshing as there was open dialogue which is required if a solution is to be found. This dialogue truly made the point we want to get along with our neighbours, we want a solution that will enable the First Nations harvesters to gather wild rice and use it for the purpose it was intended. As well, we want a solution that will allow the market value of our properties to be competitive, our tourism dollars to grow and allow us, once again to enjoy waterfront activities while at the same time, meeting the needs of our Indigenous neighbours.
We have presented a solution that could work if we all proceed with an open mind. It really does not matter what has happened in the past. What matters today is for all of us to come together and make decisions that will ensure a true reconciliation. We all should respect each other and do whatever is necessary not to cause harm to our neighbours.
We extend our willingness to help find a solution, in turn we would like Parks Canada and the First Nations to treat this issue as a priority. Establish a schedule of meetings and an end date of negotiations. Allow representation of our communities at these meeting. Let’s make a policy agreement and get on with Reconciliation.
Hon. Maryam Monsef, Jewel Cunningham and Lorenzo Whetung we sincerely thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. Your attendance today illustrates a willingness to join together and iron out a solution to this serious problem. We look forward to a positive outcome for everyone.
Of interest I have one closing question for our distinguished guests today
Hon Maryam Monsef, Councillor Lorenzo Whetung, Ms. Jewel Cunningham Director of Ontario Waterways DO YOU AFTER HEARING THE CONCERNS OF THE PEOPLE AND THE WILLINGNESS OF THE PEOPLE TO FIND A SOLUTION TO THE ISSUE DISCUSSED TODAY,FORESEE A WORKING GROUP BEING ESTABLISH WHICH WILL INCLUDE THE FIRST NATIONS, PARKS CANADA and the Representation of STAKE HOLDERS surrounding the Tri Lakes.?
Dear Residents of Selwyn, City of Kawartha Lakes and The Tri-Lakes
Thank you all for your attendance at our Community Meeting. My apologies to anyone who was unable to get in, due to the room being overcapacity. We did not anticipate the number of people who came out to show their passion and support to find a resolution to this very serious issue. For those who were unable to get in to the meeting, you may rest assured your voice was heard through the concerned stakeholders present. The fact that you showed up, helped to emphasize the need for a solution to be found.
The purpose of our meeting, was to get together, to understand each other’s concerns and work towards a solution. Although no solution was found the point was made, that regardless of the political environment, that there is a need for our governments to find a solution to satisfy the needs of the First Nations and the stakeholders residing in our communities.
We left the meeting with the following commitment from MP Maryam Monsef, Curve Lake Councillor, Lorenzo Whetung, Director of Ontario Waterways, Jewel Cunningham and Selwyn Mayor-Elect Andy Mitchell:
“We are proposing a two track discussion. One acknowledging the nation to nation relationship between the Crown and First Nation. And another made up of community members which would be an Advisory Committee that would ensure greater input into the conversation toward a solution. We are going to try and do this over the next 3 months and report back to the community with what came out of the conversation and what next steps we have come up with. “
The meeting did demonstrate our need to increase our level of organization. Efforts, thus far, which have been extensive, have been undertaken by a small group of community volunteers. Do you or someone in your family have experience in communications, social media, fundraising etc? We need your help! There are many things that can be done to support our cause and as we know, many hands make light work. Please think of contributing a bit of your time to help bring about a favorable resolution. Please respond to this email if you are interested in attending future committee meetings or offering some assistance.
Again we thank all of you for the constructive dialogue. We are in this together and a resolution will only be found if we all work together toward a solution that will meet everyone’s needs.
Spokesperson Save the Tri-Lakesby
Update and Reminder of The Tri-Lakes Community Meeting Sat. Nov. 3rd 2 pm.
We have been advised that Chief Phyllis Williams of Curve Lake was unfortunately double booked for Saturday November 3rd. In her place Councillor Lorenzo Whetung, Rights & Resources Portfolio and Curve Lake Representative to the Williams Treaties Harvesting Committee will be in attendance to speak on behalf of Curve Lake.
In addition we are happy to confirm that Maryam Monsef Member of Parliament Peterborough-Kawartha will also be in attendance.
Jewel Cunningham – Director of 0ntario Waterways
Councillor Lorenzo Whetung – Curve Lake First Nation
Maryam Monsef -MP Peterborough-Kawartha
Andy Mitchell. -Mayor-Elect Selwyn
I would suggest that if you have any questions you would like answered by our guests that you forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will permit us to go through them and consolidate taking out the duplicates. There will also be a question period to ask your questions directly if you would prefer.
I encourage you to talk with your neighbours and friends and request them to attend this very important meeting with you. Remember the aggressive seeding and harvesting by one individual is affecting everyone in our communities. Your attendance will help demonstrate the seriousness of this matter.
We look forward to seeing you at the Ennismore Arena Saturday Nov3rd 2pm
Spokesperson – Save The Tri Lakes initiativeby
Dear Concerned Residents of Selwyn
As you are aware, an election is coming up. The person who gets elected as Mayor will have an opportunity to fight on our behalf in finding solutions to our continuing battle, re the issues pertaining to the farming of rice in the Kawartha Lakes.
I asked each candidate what they would do if elected. Below are their responses. The quality of these candidates speak for itself, as each one enthusiastically agreed to respond and in writing.
Our thanks for putting your names forward.
Mayoralty Candidate Linda Marlene Eales
I sincerely apologize for my delay on my response. The reason for my response is that it is very important for me to review all background information I could obtain in order to most thoroughly and fairly respond to your request.
I have been in contact with Selwyn Township about this and support all of Selwyn Council’s Resolutions to work with our MP Monsef to continue to strongly urge the Federal Government through Parks Canada to Finalize a Wild Rice Management Plan, including:
Establish a method for harvesting the wild rice that considers the needs of adjacent waterfront property owners as the current mechanical method of using an air boat generates excessive noise that is disturbing to waterfront property owners and is affecting the enjoyment of their property.
Establish time limits on mechanical harvesting by limiting the hours per day for harvesting and establishing no harvesting on Sundays.
Additionally, in reviewing the response letter January 11th, 2018, from Jewel Cunningham, Director of Ontario Waterways Parks Canada: I will directly contact her in relation to her response, that “…further work on a wild rice management plan progresses…” and that “Parks Canada will establish a forum in which cottagers and residents will be able to liaise and discuss concerns directly with the Trent Severn Waterway… Through education and collaboration, everyone’s interests can be heard and understood and possibly accommodated. On the specific concern raised related to the use of mechanical harvesting and the issuance of aquatic vegetation removal permits, Parks Canada and the Steering Committee will advance discussions pertaining to these topics. We appreciate your useful suggestions and will consider them at the table. ” [underlining is my addition]
I also think it may be wise for Selwyn Council to request a meeting with our Curve Lake Nation Chief and Council to discuss the wild rice on behalf of both of our community members, as we are all affected by this use of the shared lakes and shared land. At my requests for information, I have not received any confirmation that this has happened yet.
I have read about, and listened to your story of your family history on Pigeon Lake and understand that this is very upsetting for you and your family. I have received a number of other requests for my position on the wild rice seeding and harvesting on Pigeon Lake and will respond to those emails now. As you and yours well know, this is a challenging issue as it involves our Federal Government and our Williams Treaty First Nations, and there is a long history that is being considered at the Federal level prior to decisions being made now.
Please let me know when and where the candidates responses will be posted on your website so that I can direct other inquiries to your site. This may also help to garner more support for you.
Linda Marlene Eales
Mayoralty Candidate Ron Black
Good morning Larry, as per our conversation, I am providing you with my comments regarding the seeding of wild rice on Pigeon Lake. This seeding practice started almost ten years ago and it appears that our Federal government, their local representatives and the Trent Severn Waterway have done little to support the Selwyn residents who have been negatively impacted. As the Trent Severn Waterway is a Federal jurisdiction, it is their responsibility to mitigate this issue to ensure fair and equal treatment of all residents.
Selwyn Township has a long history of cooperation and partnerships with its neighbouring townships and Curve Lake First Nations Council. Our partnership with Curve Lake includes bi-annual Tri-council meetings with Trent Lakes Township, economic development and tourism initiatives, public transportation planning, provision of fire services to the reserve etc… Selwyn Township values our relationships with our neighbours and wants to enhance future partnerships that will directly benefit residents in all of our communities. Successful partnerships depend on all parties actively working together to find solutions to local issues that impact residents.
If elected Mayor of Selwyn Township, I will request an urgent meeting with Curve Lake Council to work on a compromise solution that is agreeable to both communities. Partnerships are dependent on both parties having empathy and understanding of the needs of everyone involved. Future partnerships with the Township of Selwyn may be negatively impacted based on support for these basic principles of negotiation and cooperation. I am prepared to urgently and actively work towards a solution for the residents of Selwyn Township.
Mayoralty Candidate Andy Mitchell
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.
As always I appreciated hearing your perspective and I understand the frustration you are experiencing.
I believe one of the fundamental responsibilities of the Township is to take measures that work to facilitate residents having the opportunity to enjoy their property. As Mayor I would work hard to ensure this takes place.
As you point out in your letter indigenous harvesting rights is not the issue. You and your neighbours recognize this activity is consistent with the Williams Treaty.
What you are seeking are answers to a number of questions about the exercise of this right and the need to receive answers in a timely and clear manner.
More specifically you have asked:
- Is it legal to seed rice on Federal waterways
- Is it legal to harvest rice for commercial purposes
- Is it legal to harvest rice using mechanical devices
As Mayor of Selwyn I will champion your efforts to be provided answers. As you know I have extensive experience dealing with senior levels of government in general and indigenous issues more specifically. I have a long track record of getting things done.
In moving forward I would propose the following:
- Engage the Federal and Provincial government at both a political and bureaucratic level. As Municipal representatives our perspective needs to be heard and considered. I am prepared to go to Ottawa and Toronto to make our case
- As a Township we should engage FCM, AMO and ROMA to garner municipal allies in approaching the Federal and Provincial governments to outline approaches to assist municipalities in accommodating the exercise of Treaty rights
- Reach out to other municipalities to identify best practices in addressing similar situations
- Engage with the First Nations covered by the Williams Treaty to identify concerns and to develop an appropriate and respectful dialogue
- In the context of the Williams Treaty and subsequent affirmations, use the joint council meetings with Curve Lake to discuss perspectives and seek common understandings
- Advocate that the Township have a meaningful role on any working group developed to address the issue of wild rice
- In order to ensure property owners are kept up to date and have a venue to express their concerns, as Mayor I would strike a working group of property owners and the ward councillor to keep residents informed on progress and to receive input. This process could begin with a town hall meeting to allow a fulsome exchange of perspectives
In closing I believe that the resolution of the situation requires the respectful engagement of all parties. As challenging as the past relationship has been, the path forward requires the Township to make an aggressive effort to find common ground and to continue to engage all parties.
I would be pleased to discuss this further with you and your neighbours.
Pigeon Lake residents among those frustrated with noisy harvesting practice
NEWS Oct 11, 2017 by Bill Hodgins Kawartha Lakes This Week
KAWARTHA LAKES – Waterfront homeowners on Pigeon, Chemong and Buckhorn Lakes say struggles with navigation, along with the noise coming from airboat rice harvesters, have led to “an ongoing nightmare” for too long now.
They’ve convinced the Township of Selwyn to act. Now Kawartha Lakes is getting in on that too.
Mayor Andy Letham has asked council to support a resolution from Selwyn Township calling for time limits on harvesting, quieter methods to do so, and a ban on carrying out rice harvesting on Sundays. As well, it asks Parks Canada to continue to consider applications on aquatic vegetation removal “to allow waterfront property owners to make use of the waterway.”
This issue isn’t a new one for Pigeon Lake waterfront owners. James Whetung, a First Nations member and owner of Black Duck Wild Rice, has harvested wild rice for more than a quarter century. He harvests and collects the rice, and provides an educational opportunity for those looking to learn more about the process. According to his website, the rice is sold through a small-scale commercial operation.
But some say it affects their time on the water. Pigeon Lake resident Joanna Augustyniak wrote Selwyn Township stating the harvesting is happening seven days a week, six hours a day.
“The situation has been terrible this year and Mr. Whetung is showing no respect for our rights.”
Coun. Heather Stauble spoke in favour of backing the resolutions put forward by Selwyn. Speaking at council on Oct. 10, she said it’s not an issue this council can solve. It needs to be dealt with between the “First Nations” and Parks Canada. But the City’s resolution to back Selwyn Township will help make it clear this is something that they need to address, she said.
by Bill Hodgins
Follow Bill Hodgins on Twitter @bhwrites
Email: email@example.com Twitter
Dear Save Pigeon Lake supporters
As you are aware, Parks Canada and First Nations met on Friday August 28th to discuss the First Nation’s objection that Parks Canada issued a permit without consideration of the First Nation’s rights to be consulted prior to issuing of a permit to cut wild rice. This is a legal obligation and Parks Canada acknowledged they (First Nations) should have been consulted before issuing the permit.
Parks Canada has cancelled the permit. Although you, like myself are disappointed with this result I believe it would be in our best interest to respect the cancellation and cease to do any further cutting this year.
Last week’s meeting resulted in a positive step towards finding solutions to the rice proliferation in the Trent Severn Waterways. I am encouraged that Parks Canada and the First Nations have agreed to further talks. Hopefully, these talks which are to commence as soon as possible will take into consideration the needs of the First Nations and all of the people who have enjoyed the Trent Severn waterways for over a century. Solutions can be found if we all work together.
Thank you for your support and your respectful consideration in honouring the cancellation of the rice cutting permit. You may be assured we will continue to express your concerns to all levels of Government impressing on them their responsibility to find a solution to the deliberate seeding and commercial harvesting in Federal Waterways which is causing irreparable harm to us all. If you have any questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the link below to see the segment that CBC ran regarding Property owners, First Nations square off over rice farming in Ontario lake:
Property owners, First Nations square off over rice farming in Ontario lake
From: “Brett Tregunno”
Date: January 12, 2015 at 12:12:15 PM EST
To: “‘Save Pigeon Lake'”
Subject: RE: Brief summary
Here is a brief summary of our current actions in relation to Lake Management Planning and the Wild Rice issue on southern Pigeon Lake.
We are aware of your community’s concern regarding the proliferation of aquatic plants, particularly wild rice in southern Pigeon Lake, and are currently attempting to find management solutions that address these concerns. After consulting with many agencies, stakeholder organizations, academics, First Nations representatives, and shoreline association representatives, we are more aware than ever that there are no simple solutions.
Kawartha Conservation is partnering with City of Kawartha Lakes to develop a Pigeon Lake Management Plan. A significant component of this plan will detail science-based actions to address specific issues relevant to local shoreline communities. Providing responsible aquatic plant control options in southern Pigeon Lake, reducing blue-green algae blooms in northern Pigeon Lake, and maintaining important natural habitats within the lake basin have all been identified as top priority issues. The actions developed through this plan will not be legally binding, but will recommend a common approach to maintaining healthy lake conditions for shoreline communities and the natural environment. We expect to complete this Plan in early 2016 and are already undertaking certain early implementation actions.
To specifically address the issue of wild rice proliferation and potential management options, we will be forming a Wild Rice Working Group within the next month. It is our intention that this group will be represented by all key stakeholders that are related to the wild rice issue, including but not limited to: Park Canada, First Nations, Shoreline Communities, and scientists with background in aquatic vegetation. This group will be formed on a short-term basis, with a sole purpose to develop wild rice management recommendations that will inform the Pigeon Lake Management Plan and existing aquatic plant control policies. We will be extending an invitation to your community for a representative to participate on this Working Group.
At this time, we feel that the Wild Rice Working Group and the Pigeon Lake Management Plan is our best approach towards finding common understanding, agreement on and any possible solutions to the wild rice issue on southern Pigeon Lake.
277 Kenrei Road
Lindsay, ON K9V 4R1
Tel: 705.328.2271 ext. 222
Resolution No. 2014 – 200 – Rice Harvesting in Pigeon Lake
Councillor Donna Ballantyne – Councillor Anita Locke –
That the correspondence and information provided by Larry Wood related to mechanical wild rice harvesting be received for information; and
That the Township of Selwyn send correspondence to the Federal Minister of Environment Leona Aglukkaq strongly urging that as noted in the 2012 correspondence sent to Mr. Wood from previous Minister, Peter Kent, a wild rice policy be developed and further that in developing the policy, due regard be given to how mechanical wild rice harvesting and seeding is significantly impacting how residents are able to enjoy our waterways and the quality of these waterways; and
Further that the correspondence also note the need for the Federal and Provincial governments to clearly define their roles and jurisdiction related to harvesting and seeding wild rice as there are disparities in who has jurisdiction over regulating the practice; who is able to issue permits; what types of rice harvesting are permitted (mechanical or by canoe); and for what purpose (cultural, commercial etc…); who is responsible to determine and regulate whether Ergot, reported to be dangerous if eaten, is present in the wild rice which is being sold commercially; who is responsible for laying charges if necessary, related to the current mechanical wild rice harvesting taking place on Pigeon Lake; and
Further that clarification be provided on whether wild rice can be defined as ‘wild’ when it is being mechanically harvested and seeded; and that the Township of Selwyn and Peterborough County O.P.P. Detachment Commander Tim Tatchell be copied on the responses made by the Federal and Provincial governments for information; and that the Federal and Provincial governments be asked to respond by the Spring of 2015 well in advance of the next harvesting season; and
That a copy of this Resolution be sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne, M.P. Dean Del Mastro, M.P.P. Jeff Leal, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Environment, the presidents of AMO and ROMA, the local Trent Severn Waterway offices, the Warden for the Trent Severn Waterway Enforcement Division and Larry Wood.
Mayor Mary Smith – yes
Councillor Donna Ballantyne – yes
Councillor Anita Locke – yes
Deputy Mayor Andy Mitchell – yes
Councillor Sherry Senis – yes
The following is the transcript from the presentation to The Selwyn Council Meeting on Oct 14, 2014. We had great support at the meeting and the resolution from the council will be posted on the website shortly.
Save Pigeon Lake
Good evening Mayor Smith and council members.
Thank you for the opportunity to express our concerns regarding the substantial increase of wild rice, and the method of harvesting in the areas of Pigeon Lake from Grenadier Island, south towards Omemee.
Our objective tonight, is to gain your support, and request your assistance in finding solutions to our concerns. These issues do not apply only to the residents surrounding Pigeon Lake, ultimately, if solutions are not found, they will end up involving all tax payers and businesses in the township.
It is important to note. We are NOT against the Harvesting of Wild Rice. We sincerely, appreciate the desire to honor traditions and encourage the education of heritage.
We are, however, against the intentional SEEDING of the Lakes and the COMMERCIAL harvesting of the rice, by an individual who is the catalyst for the expansion of the rice fields which are taking over the lake. IN ESSENCE, THIS IS A FINANCIAL GAIN FOR ONE, AT THE COST OF MANY.
The following will help you understand our concerns.
These pictures clearly show the condition of the Lake 10 years ago and what has happened since the planting and harvesting began. (see pictures on website)
The following tape is from an Interview with Mr. James Whetung on the radio show Terra Informa aired on January 22nd 2012. Please listen carefully, as it clearly states, that he planted thousands of lbs. of seeds in order to replenish the rice beds he has harvested.
Mr. Whetung states that in the waters controlled by the Federal Government, they do not issue permits and have requested that he not plant nor gather rice in these waters. Mr. Whetung states, HE DID NOT LET IT STOP HIM
Unfortunately, the seeding of the rice beds referred to in the interview did not stop there. On Sept. 26, 2014 I witnessed him, going slowly along the outside of the rice beds, and dropping something in the water. Directly behind him, flocks of seagulls were feeding on the water. I suspect the substance they were feeding on, was wild rice seeds. This planting of rice seeds explains the substantial increase of rice fields and how they matured so quickly.
NEXT we have an audio recording of the noise created by the airboat while harvesting the rice fields…….Play recording
We’re forced to listen to this for hours on end, day after day, for weeks, until he is finished. This not only affects people around the lake, but also those living as far away as ½ mile inland.
Surely you agree that residents should not be subjected to this noise within our Township.
The following is a recap of YOUR constituents concerns. These are the reasons we are here tonight, asking for your help in finding solutions to these issues.
- WILD RICE CONCERNS
- NAVIGATION OF THE WATERWAY IS DRASTICALLY REDUCED.
- THE LAKE IS NO LONGER A VENUE FOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES ONCE ENJOYED BY ALL WALKS OF LIFE. SWIMMING, BOATING, WATER SKIING, FISHING TO NAME A FEW.
- THE CONSTANT CLEAN UP REQUIRED DUE TO BOAT PROPS CUTTING THE RICE PLANTS WHICH FLOAT INTO SHORE.
- THE HARVESTING BY AIRBOAT RESULTING IN AN UNACCEPTABLE NOISE LEVEL. DOORS AND WINDOWS HAVE TO BE SHUT IN ORDER TO CARRY ON A CONVERSATION. SHIFT WORKERS ARE NOT ABLE TO GET THEIR PROPER REST.
- PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT – Property Values are being affected. I have been told by Real Estate Associates, that they are reluctant to show property in this area during the rice growing season. The value of properties in the lower areas of Pigeon Lake, are NOT increasing at the same rate, as properties which DO NOT have the problems we are facing.
OVER TIME THIS WILL MEAN A REDUCTION IN THE TOWNSHIP TAX BASE.
THE END RESULT WOULD MEAN THE TOWNSHIP WOULD HAVE TO PASS ON THE REVENUE SHORTFALLS TO ALL TAX PAYERS.
The Issues presented tonight are not only affecting property owners residing on the shores of Pigeon Lake. They are affecting businesses, resort operators and tourism, all of which provide TAX dollars to help sustain the quality of life we all enjoy.
In our efforts to draw attention to this matter, we met with The Trent Severn Waterways Enforcement Division, who will be reviewing our complaint. They have stated the areas of Pigeon Lake in question are part of the Trent Severn Water System and fall within Federal jurisdiction. They are gathering information to develop a process that will hopefully put an end to the ILLEGAL harvesting of rice. We have also met with M.P.P. Jeff Leal, M.P. Dean Del Mastro and a representative from Kawartha Conservation. During each of these meetings we were encouraged to write to government agencies or individuals of influence requesting their assistance in finding solutions.
WE NEED YOUR HELP AND ARE REQUESTING THAT, SELWYN COUNCIL SEND LETTERS TO THOSE GOVERNMENT BODIES THAT CAN ASSIST IN FINDING A SOLUTION TO OUR CONCERNS.
A SOLUTION MUST BE FOUND. Ask yourself the following questions.
- IS IT RIGHT to seed the lake, and create rice fields that impede the use of the waterway in areas where rice NEVER EXISTED?
- IS IT RIGHT to harvest the rice in such a manner, that the seed spillage, spreads to other parts of the lakes?
- IS IT RIGHT to harvest rice in a manner, that disturbs all residents surrounding the lake.
- IS IT RIGHT to harvest rice and sell commercially, which could be INFECTED with ERGOT, which is FATAL to humans if consumed?
- IS IT RIGHT, that one individual can intentionally seed lakes and harvest the cultivated crop from the rice fields that have been planted by him, for his own personal financial gain, at the expense of many? This is NOT wild rice he is harvesting. It is a PLANTED crop. He is FARMING in the Trent Severn Waterways.
- IS IT RIGHT that one person can ignore the guidelines set forth by an Agency of the Federal Government, and continue to seed the lake for his own purposes.
WE DO NOT BELIEVE HE HAS THESE RIGHTS, AND HOPEFULLY NEITHER DO YOU.
Support for THE SAVE PIGEON LAKE initiative has grown quickly with over 250 people registered and continues to gain momentum every day as the word spreads. Again, our objective is to find solutions which will be acceptable to all and we are willingly to meet with any parties that share the same interest.
I think it is obvious that this issue is not only the concern of Property Owners on lower Pigeon Lake. Unless solutions are found in the very near future, it will eventually affect taxpayers of Selwyn Township, as well as, other Townships that surround the Trent Severn Waterways.
PLEASE HELP US FIND SOLUTIONS THAT WILL SATISFY THE NEEDS OF ALL PARTIES! YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED!
THANKS FOR LISTENING! IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS I WOULD BE HAPPY TO RESPOND.by