A Lake Plan is an action-oriented plan developed by the lake community, in consultation with local governments and agencies, to reflect, preserve, and restore the special character and ecological health of the lake. Perhaps the most significant feature in the development of this plan is the process of consultation which includes both lake and local (off-lake) community residents, the business community- including Realtors, resort owners, contractors, municipalities and all related government departments, organizations, and agencies.
Why Have a Lake Plan
The goal of a Lake Plan is to help waterfront property owners and associations build important relationships around their lake; identify, develop and implement actions to maintain or improve the natural and social qualities of life on the lake; and promote responsible stewardship practices.
The intent is to clarify and harmonize all of the existing policies and practices and to promote a plan which ultimately produces a less complicated, streamlined set of guidelines (best practices) for all lake residents and lake users. The proactive plan includes a vision of long-term protection and sustainability of the lake's ecosystem and associated benefits for future generations of residents. Measurable objectives and targets are established in order to monitor success of the plan over time. Some key objectives include.
- Identification of lake values and concerns held by the community at large;
- Identification of local land use patterns, broader watershed influences, and overall ecological context for environmental planning;
- Evaluation of current land use policy on a watershed scale, including municipal official plans, zoning by-laws, site plan control, etc;
- Recommendations for land and water use practices and policy (best-management practices, appendices or recommendations to official plans, zoning by-laws);
- Recommendations for community stewardship approaches (e.g. long-term monitoring of water quality, restoration projects, education initiatives, communications, etc.);
- Recommendations for targets and objectives to measure goal attainment, i.e. success of lake plan over time.
In 2006 OLLA began to work on a sustainable lake plan for Otter Lake. A questionnaire was sent to all landowners on the lake in December 2006.and in 2008, a Terms of Reference document for the Lake Plan was developed. Unfortunately until December 2014 no further work was done on this project due to lack of funding and volunteers
In March 2015 a new and revitalized Sustainable Lake Plan Committee held its first of several meetings. The committee mailed out a second survey to confirm the lake values and concerns of the community at large that were first identified in the 2006 survey. Using the results from these surveys, referencing the many recently published lake plans from neighbouring townships and across Ontario, and drawing upon the resources of RVCA, Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, Watersheds Canada and Federation of Cottagers' Association, the Committee spent hundreds of hours drafting both the Otter Lake Sustainable Lake Plan and the State-of-the-Lake Report.
On June 7, 2015 a draft of the Sustainable Lake Plan was presented to Otter Lake landowners at the first ever Family Picnic at Camp Otterdale. The Lake Plan was favourably received by the 100 attendees and there was consensus that this project should go forward. It is important to note that both members and non-members of OLLA have been included up to this point.
On July 25, 2015 the Sustainable Lake Plan was presented and approved at the OLLA Annual General Meeting. The next phase will be to form various committees to move forward with the objectives and action items contained in the Lake Plan. To date, 29 volunteers have stepped forward to continue the work the Lake Plan. It is never too late to volunteer - please send an email to OLLA if you too wish to participate.
Please take some time to read the Otter Lake Sustainable Lake Plan, as well as the supporting documents that are listed below for a full understanding of its value and purpose. It is important to note that the Lake Plan is a living document and will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. The Summary of Action Items provides a short, concise way to track progress on the 79 action items contained in the Lake Plan and will continually be updated as necessary. The State of the Lake Report is a document which contains historical and scientific information upon which the Lake Plan is based. The Lake Plan was amended and updated in April 2017. Documentation relating to the Lake Plan and what has been accomplished since the Lake Plan was initiated can be viewed below.
All images on this web site courtesy of the Franks family.
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. Site last updated - April, 2014