April 12, 2021
Dear Cottage Owners on Lake Matinenda,
The Good news is that in spite of the restrictions due to the Covid Pandemic, the Ice left our wonderful Lake Matinenda on April 8!
The not so good news is the new management plan for the Landing and docks initiated by the Town of Blind River at their April 6 Council meeting. Going back……
Members of your LMCOA board met with the Blind River CAO, Kathryn Scott and the Director of Facilities and Community Services on August 8, 2019 to discuss the resumption of services by the town for the Landing. (parking lot, garbage collection, portable toilets, summer dock attendants and a reduction of overnight boat parking on the docks) It was established that while all of these services were in place when the town annexed the Lake and took over for the LMCOA, the level of these services had decreased – almost yearly. (I.E., no dock attendants for the last two years, reduction to only one dock attendant for the previous three years to the last two – no attempt to restrict the permanent docking at the landing for an average of 6-14 boats for most of the summer months – only one portable toilet for the previous two years, no scheduled bulk garbage pick-up without prior arrangement and a fee – continued refusal by the town to arrange repairs to the failing break wall – etc.)
The two Town representative listened to our concerns and suggested they would help start a period of new positive relationships between the Town and the Cottage Owners.
They spoke of a new approach to getting the Services to the landing improved. They shared that the town had set aside $100,000 and had also applied for a grant of $450,000 to enact a complete renewal of the break wall and the docks on Lake Matinenda. It was then explained to us that their grant application had been denied because the Matinenda docks had not been included in the BR Town Asset Management Plan. The Docks could not be part of the Town Asset Management Plan because the docks are only leased to the town- They are owned by the MNR. Now the town is considering putting aside another $100,000 for next year and hopefully repairing the break wall in the fall of 2020. As we all know now, the break wall had to be repaired in the fall of 2019 when it was apparent the repairs could not wait another year.
We were also told that there were no dock attendants because the only grants for students’ labor was for cultural and festival events? Then Karen suggested that Bruce Spratt -owner of the Landing Trailer Park would be eligible to apply for grants for summer student help. She also claimed that only one portable toilet had been placed, because some cottager had left a pile of firewood where the second toilet usually is placed. The meeting ended on a positive note with these two Town staff `ambassadors’ suggesting, the town and the LMCOA will do much better by working at the detailed problems “together”. Karen would like the Lake’s cottagers to write government agencies indicating our support for BR town’s initiatives to provide service to Lake Matinenda.
The year 2020 was the year of the pandemic. Only Canadian Cottagers were allowed to get their camps after initially being restricted until June. Because of the Covid, the only service provided was garbage pick-up.
On March 5, 2021, we were alerted by a Matinenda Cottager of a new approach by the Town for provision of services to the Landing and Docks. Town CAO Kathryn Scott was contacted, and she explained the town was attempting to address the many concerns of the LMCOA with a new Management Plan at the landing using the services of the Trailer Park owner, Bruce Spratt. We were asked to keep our discussion very low key, as they were just negotiating the terms of this new approach. When asked if the contract was tendered out, she replied no, but that Bruce appeared to be the choice of the town for this first year anyway. She hoped to have all the details in place by Monday March 15 when she would bring the proposal to the LMCOA board.
We did not hear another peep about the `Plan’, so it appeared there were still details to be worked out.
On April 6, 2021, the Blind River Town council passed a bylaw to enact the new agreement with Bruce Spratt as Contractor for the Landing at Lake Matinenda. The president of the LMCOA was contacted by Karen Bittner via E-mail with the details of the new arrangement with Bruce Spratt to look after the Docks. The details of the arrangement were quite different than what was expected. The plan was negotiated and enacted without any input or discussion with the LMCOA. While Kathryn Scott had inferred the Town was working on the LMCOA complaint about so many boats left overnight at the docks, by allowing Bruce to charge parking for the five or six boats left overnight.
We were later given copies of the legislation passed by the Town on April 6. While some of the new approach will be an improvement, there are provisions that are not advantageous to the cottage owners. The town is prepared to let Bruce Spratt rent out 2/3 of the existing dock spaces, leaving only 1/3 of the existing docks for cottager day use.
The LMCOA has expressed our dissatisfaction with this arrangement and are prepared to do what is necessary to get the town back to their committed Annexation agreement in 2001.
When the town council passed the bylaw to enact the new caretaker at the landing, they expressed some concern about negative pushback from Cottagers on the lake. The LMCOA encourages cottagers to express their feelings about the lack of Day use docking by contacting the Town Council.
Below are the Names and e-mail addresses for the Blind River Town Council :
Mrs. Sally Hagman, MAYOR Phone: 705-356-2251 ext. 208 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Paula Summers, COUNCILLOR DEPUTY MAYOR Cell: 705-227-1720 Email: email@example.com
Mrs. Betty Ann Dunbar, COUNCILLOR Cell: 705-227-0133 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Jim Dunbar, COUNCILLOR Cell: 705-227-1713 Email: email@example.com
Mr. Steven Wells, COUNCILLOR Cell: 705-227-1897 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. HP. Roy, COUNCILLOR Cell: 705-227-1894 Email: email@example.com
Mrs. Jennifer Posteraro, COUNCILLOR Cell: 705-227-1896 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff : Kathryn Scott CAO/Clerk Phone: 705-356-2251 ext. 213 Email: email@example.com
Karen Bittner Director of Facilities & Community Services Cell: 705-227-0141 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org