The Otter Lake Landowners Association (OLLA) was formed in 1992. We have grown immensely in size and acceptance since our beginnings, when a handful of road managers saw fit to meet at one of their cottages to discuss the possibility of forming an association of landowners to promote lake quality issues. We have come a long way since those early days. There always were a number of associations of property owners around the lake. These were established primarily to coordinate the maintenance of roads, and other local concerns on the shoreline. The Otter Lake Landowners' Association is not an amalgamation of these local groups, but is an association on its own of property owners from all around Otter Lake. Its objectives are simple and straightforward. To maintain the health of Otter Lake by working with local and regional governments, existing road associations and individual landowners with properties abutting Otter Lake. To this end, the Association executive and individual members engage in a variety of projects designed to maintain and improve the quality and health of the lake for the property owners, the casual users of the lake - the fishermen and boaters, and for the flora and fauna of the lake and the immediate area. The Otter Lake Landowners' Association is a member of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, and works closely on lake issues with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Township of Rideau Lakes.
Benefits of Membership
According to a study conducted by the University of Maine, North American recreational lakes that are managed and protected by a strong lake or cottage association support real estate property values that are thirty to forty percent higher than on similar, unmanaged recreational lakes. Where else can you get such a great return with only an annual membership fee of $30 ? Membership in the Otter Lake Landowners' Association is one of the best investments any of us will ever make. Those of us who live or have lived in the cities know this already. Community associations have been around for a long time to look after our interests as property owners. This has now become particularly important since the province does not implement or run lake improvement projects. It is up to us to look after the lake and the issues ourselves.
For an association to achieve positive results, several factors are required;
- It has to be a viable and legal entity;
- it must have strong support from every property owner around the lake;
- it must have an enthusiastic and energetic leadership and above all;
- it must have the courage and commitment to address the issues that affect the health of the lake.
We have achieved credibility with the township council and under the professional leadership of our lake steward we have undertaken numerous projects that benefited the lake. One OLLA initiative was to stock the lake with 10,000 trout in the spring of 1999 (how many of these have since been caught remains to be determined!). The Association continually monitors water levels and water quality by testing for water clarity, bacteria, phosphorous and dissolved oxygen at least twice a year. We have bought our own water testing materials, which is more cost effective than having someone else do it for us. The results of these tests are published in our lake steward's annual report and on this web site. The Association holds an Annual General Meeting in July of each year and publishes a Newsletter three or four times a year. The Newsletter and the minutes of the AGM are available on the Information - Newsletters & AGM minutes page. The greatest challenges are yet to come and our Board of Directors, composed of dedicated volunteers is still planning. Current projects involve the creation and implementation of a Sustainable Lake Plan, something that has been done or is being worked on by many other lake associations in the area.
The Otter Lake Landowners' Association is a member of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations (FOCA), and works closely on lake issues with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Township of Rideau Lakes.