Representing The Brandy Lake Association

President’s Message
Greetings!  We hope you are all enjoying the current cottage season and are able to spend lots of time at beautiful Brandy Lake. Your BLA Executive continues to be busy working on behalf of all BLA Members.  You will find details of some of the ongoing activities in this newsletter including: water quality sampling programs for 2021; progress on our Lake Plan for Brandy Lake; our plans for social activities for this season during which we continue to deal with COVID 19 restrictions; and a reminder of the Good Neighbour Code that was circulated last season. 

We are pleased to announce that Amie deVeth has joined the BLA Executive as a Member at Large.  Some of you may know Amie from her involvement with the Kid’s Regatta in past years.  Amie’s term will run until (at least) the 2022 AGM.

I would like to remind all BLA Members that if you wish to receive meeting notifications from the BLA by regular mail, rather than by email, you can inform us of this by sending an email to the BLA email address below.

You should have recently received an email reminding you to renew your BLA Membership for 2021 and 2022.  We encourage you to renew promptly and, if at all possible, to pay by etransfer as doing so will reduce the work for our hardworking volunteers.  Membership – The official site of the Brandy Lake Muskoka

We hope you all have a safe and restful cottage season.

Don Burn
President, Brandy Lake Association
brandylakeassociation@gmail.com

Environmental Update
With the end of winter and the end of COVID lockdowns on sampling programs, the Brandy Lake water quality monitoring program has resumed, and then some!  During the winter, Brandy Lake was invited to join the blue-green algae pilot study being conducted by the Muskoka Watershed Council. This program was designed to test the applicability of several citizen science monitoring tools on four other lakes (Leonard, Three-Mile, Peninsula and a bay on Lake Muskoka) all of which have had blue-green algae blooms in recent years. The program started in 2019 but year 2 was delayed until now, due to COVID. We are sampling bi-weekly at an open water and a nearshore site and we’ll have the ability to add samples if we get a reported bloom this year.

Our regular Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) water quality program has resumed this spring. We’ve conducted the annual spring Phosphorus sample in the deepwater zone (near the rock islet in the middle of the lake), and we’ll be resuming the monthly bacteria samples at 11 fixed stations around the shoreline.

The Lake Partners program has also restarted.  This program is a collaboration of the Dorset Science Center (part of the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks) and FOCA (the Federation of Cottagers Associations). We’ll be conducting monthly Phosphorus sampling at a station near the west end of the lake for this.

In addition to the water quality programs, we have resumed our water level monitoring program and continue to encourage our members to join iNaturalist to add observations of plants, trees and wildlife seen in the watershed. This tool is an easy-to-use APP for mobile phones as well as desktops and it even helps individuals identify what they’re seeing on their properties. We now have a number of members, including younger people, joining in with this; if anyone is interested in finding out how to join, you can contact Kevin Trimble through the BLA executive.  Depending on meeting formats this year, we hope to put on a brief demo of iNaturalist at the AGM.

BLA Events for 2021

  1. Brandy Lake Social Alternative

Since we will be unable to have our traditional annual social again this year, as a result of COVID, we are going to have a gathering on the lake in our socially distanced non-motorized watercraft.  On July 3 and July 31 we will have two separate meet, greet and paddle events visiting our friends and neighbours at opposite ends of the lake.

On July 3 at 10:30 a.m. we invite you, your families and guests to meet at the big rock in the middle of the lake and we will paddle as a group around the east end of the lake, visiting Falkenburg Bay, The Lagoon, Sunset Bay and Outlet Bay.

On Saturday July 31, we will meet at the same place and time and paddle as a group around the west end of the lake, visiting the Cove, Launch Bay, the Narrows and West Bay.

We will be sending out a reminder email as we get closer to each of the dates asking you to send a quick reply if you think you might be able to join us.  This will give us an idea how many people to expect.  If you change your mind at the last minute it’s not a problem.

  1. Brandy Lake Regatta – Family Canoe Race – Aug. 21, 2021- Municipal Boat Launch, Launch Bay- 1:00 p.m.

Save the date of August 21 for the 5th annual Family Canoe Race.  Our current reigning champions, the Stevens family, are ready to defend the title. Start training now to get your family name on the trophy! Each canoe can have up to 4 members of the same family. Families are welcome to enter more than one grouping. In case of rain, the Family Canoe Race will move to Aug. 22. Express your interest to participate by emailing Amie deVeth (brandylakeassociation@gmail.com)  by Aug. 14, 2021 to help with organizing.

  1. The BLA Annual General Meeting

The BLA Annual General Meeting is scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 28, 2021. The time and format for this meeting will be announced at a future date.

While the following two new activities are designed for children, the “young at heart” are welcome to participate too!

  1. Photography Challenge – June & July
  • Send us your best original nature photographs from Brandy Lake! Any photo with a wildlife or landscape theme is perfect (e.g., a frog on a lily pad, a heron on a rock, a beautiful sunset, a chipmunk).
  • All entries received before the deadline will automatically have their name entered in a random draw to win a prize.
  • Photos can be submitted by email to: Amie deVeth (brandylakeassociation@gmail.com)
  • Final photo submission by: July 31, 2021
  1. Art in Nature Challenge
  • Participants are invited to create a piece of art using only materials found in nature (e.g., leaves, stones, twigs, acorns, moss etc.).  Abstract or realistic creations are encouraged. 
  • All entries received before the​ deadline will automatically have their name entered in a random draw to win a prize.
  • Photos of completed artwork can be submitted to: Amie deVeth (brandylakeassociation@gmail.com)
  • Final art submission by: Aug. 31, 2021

Strategic Plan
The BLA completed its first strategic plan in 2020, and sent a copy of it to the membership in December 2020.  We have finalized the plan based on your input and will be sending a final copy of the plan to the membership in advance of the 2021 AGM. This will be your last chance to comment, as we will be asking for your vote at the AGM to accept it as the finalized version of the strategic plan.  The plan will be updated in the future, and we hope to be able to report regularly to you on progress on the key issues identified. 

Update on BLA Lake Plan
The BLA has been busy over the winter working on Brandy Lake’s very first lake plan.  Lake plans are being produced by a number of lake associations in the District of Muskoka, and the BLA was able to make a short presentation to the Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML) Planning Committee in May to let them know that they will be receiving a lake plan from us in the fall of 2021.  Lake plans are specific to each lake and include information on the lake’s development history, the ecosystem of the lake, and the challenges, now and in the future, that the lake may be facing as development and climate change bring ongoing changes.  The Township has indicated that they will incorporate lake plans into the TML Official Plan as they become available, and if they meet a basic set of criteria that they have developed.

The work on the lake plan has involved a number of tasks including:

  • gathering historical information and photos;
  • having maps professionally produced that document the lake’s physical characteristics, how the watershed functions, and specific unique details of the lake and its community (required as base information);
  • assessing the recreational carrying capacity of Brandy Lake; and
  • creating ideas for continuing to manage the lake and its ecosystem into the future

We need your help to make the plan complete!  If you have any historical information about the early development of the lake, photos that you would like to share as part of the lake’s history, or any topics that you would like us to raise in the plan for managing the lake going forward, please forward them to our email brandylakeassociation@gmail.com.  We appreciate all your help and all your ideas!

We are trying very hard to have the plan finished for circulation before the August 2021 AGM so that we can have you vote on it and get it submitted to the Township.

Good Neighbour Code
You will find attached a copy of the Good Neighbour Code that was distributed to Brandy Lake Residents last year.  We encourage you to carefully consider the recommendations in the code and to share the code with your guests or renters.

Survey from Safe Quiet lakes
You will find below a link to the 2021 “Your Lakes, Your Views” survey that is being conducted by Safe Quiet Lakes. The survey looks at what people value from their cottage experience, how they use the water and what their boating activity concerns are. Please note that the involvement of the BLA Executive in this survey has been limited to communicating information about the survey to you, the BLA Membership.  The BLA Executive do see parallels between the goals of Safe Quiet Lakes and priorities that BLA Members have expressed through the survey that we conducted as part of our Strategic Planning process.

The survey closes Monday, July 12th, 2021 and can be found at the link below:   

www.surveymonkey.ca/r/SQL2021

Port Carling Community Improvement Plan Survey
The Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML) is undertaking a Community Improvement Plan for the communities of Port Carling and Bala.  Since many BLA Members spend time in these communities, we are including a link below to a survey that the TML is conducting to gather the opinions of stakeholders. The survey can be found here and is available until June 25, 2021. 

Your Brandy Lake Executive    Contact us: brandylakeassociation@gmail.com

President – Don Burn
Past President – Daniela Von Bredow
Secretary – Moreen Miller
Membership – Derek Stevens
Treasurer – Linda Mathers
Environment – Kevin Trimble (non voting)
Website/Facebook – Jeff McBain
Members at Large – Margrit Kroll, Ken Martin, Amie deVeth