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Kawartha Conservation

Controversial bill to change conservation authorities in pro-development move by province

in Environment by
The lookout at Ken Reid Conservation Area. Photo: Roderick Benns.

Conservation Ontario has asked its members, environmental groups, and citizens to petition for changes to the Conservative government’s new developer-friendly bill — but a motion from Mayor Andy Letham led to a 6-3 vote not to pursue the matter.

Under the new bill, known as Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act, members will be required to act in the best interests of their municipalities, not the best interests of the watershed. Further, every member of the authority board would need to be an elected municipal councillor, eliminating appointed citizen representatives.

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Kawartha Conservation reduces staff by 60 per cent due to pandemic

in Community by

Kawartha Conservation has reduced its full-time and contract staff by nearly 60 per cent effective April 24 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, providing only services deemed essential through the province’s declared state of emergency.

“This was an extremely difficult decision. There are no words to adequately reflect how much we struggled as an organization with this decision and the impact it will have on our staff,” said Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski.

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Innovative breakaway weeks at Central Senior integrates students into our community

in Community/Education by
Innovative breakaway weeks at Central Senior integrates students into our community
Photo courtesy of Kawartha Conservation.

Hands-up if when you were in Grade 7 or 8 you did any of the following:

*Installed a garden that could withstand drought conditions or one that could absorb water run-off.

*Painted yellow fish on storm gratings and carried out a neighbourhood campaign to inform homeowners of the message they should take away from this.

*Assisted a pharmacist in concocting specially-formulated medicinal mouthwash for cancer patients.

*Prepared a vaping awareness campaign for your peers.

*Helped a butcher convert kidneys, hearts, and livers into dog-food.

*Had an opportunity to shadow a specialist in non-surgical cosmetic medicine. 

Too cool for school, right?

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Community groups present their budgets with zero per cent increases

in Municipal by

At the October 29 Special Council meeting, Council heard presentations from the agencies and boards whose budgets are supplemented by the municipality. Due to pressures for the 2020 budget, Council had requested all agencies and boards submit their budgets with a zero percent increase over 2019 levels. In total, $25 million, or 12% of the municipality’s total operating budget is allocated to the services provided by these organizations.

Police Chief Mark Mitchell and Don Thomas, Chair of the City of Kawartha Lakes Police Services Board presented the proposed 2020 budget, noting the Board has kept to the zero percent increase requested by Council. Mitchell explained the pending reduction of funding from the Ministry of Public Safety and Security for three officers posted at the Central East Correctional Centre. The $443,000 reduction was just recently announced and is being discussed with the Ministry with the intention of reversing the decision.

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Grading the health of our waterways with local experts

in Environment by
Grading the health of our waterways with local experts

Why are the City of Kawartha Lakes waterways important? The City’s “Integrated Community Sustainability Plan” asks and answers the question. Our municipality is “renowned for its 250 lakes” and is known for its “headwater streams and river systems originating on the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Canadian Shield.” Furthermore, “the Trent-Severn waterway is central to the Kawartha Lakes . . . linking the vibrant communities that rely on these unique water resources for tourism and commerce, recreation [and] drinking water.”

“Naturally beautiful,” are the first words of the City’s Vision Statement for its Strategic Plan, which sets as one of its three major strategic goals “a healthy environment.” So, clearly, the current and future health of our lakes and the waters that feed them matter.

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For the birds — and for people who want birds

in Environment by

Two approaches to birding: 1. Go to where the birds are. 2. Get the birds to come to you.

A few weeks ago Rob Stavinga, whose day-job is watershed resources technician with Kawartha Conservation but whose full-time passion is birds, demonstrated the first. He led two groups on “owl prowls” at Ken Reid Conservation Area, where, as of January, 2019, a total of 176 bird species have been reported.

Last week he addressed that second approach. After a nudge from his wife, he reluctantly put down his binoculars (he’d been checking out redpolls at his feeders) and made his way to Ops Community Centre to present a “Backyard Birding” workshop, one of a number of educational events being sponsored by the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust.

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On the Owl Prowl at Ken Reid Conservation

in Community/Environment by
The Northern Saw Whet loves dense forests.

The first rule of Owl Prowl is: You do not talk — about Owl Prowl or anything else — when you enter the owl’s world. Listen, listen, listen, is the advice offered by Rob Stavinga, the avid birder leading the prowl.

We — the lucky few who snapped up the spots for Kawartha Conservation’s first prowl –are gathered in the Ken Reid administration centre on a Saturday evening to learn about owls and hear some pre-prowl tips.

Rob wants us to become a bit owl-like ourselves, though from his introduction, it’s clear we’ll never come up to owl standards. There are 22 of us, including an excited and excitable three-and-a-half year old named Ian, and we have none of the sound-dampening adaptations of owls, so we’re just not going to be completely soundless.

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Be careful around waterways, says Kawartha Conservation

in Environment by
Kawartha Conservation issues flood outlook
Unstable stream banks and extremely cold water temperatures can lead to hazardous and dangerous conditions.

Kawartha Conservation is reminding residents of the dangers that exist near bodies of water, particularly around this time of year, and urges people to keep family and pets away from the edges of all waterways.

Spring is quickly approaching and with warmer temperatures, people look forward to getting outdoors. However, warmer temperatures will bring higher water levels and faster flowing water in local watercourses.

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Flood warning for Kawartha Conservation watershed

in Around Town/Community/Environment by

A nasty weather pattern persists over southern Ontario, including the Kawartha Conservation watershed. Precipitation gauges around the watershed have recorded up to 45 mm of rain since Friday morning. In addition, a substantial amount of ice, ice pellets and snow has accumulated on the ground. More ice pellets and freezing rain is forecast for today.

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City, Kawartha Conservation say flood watch in place all week in Kawartha Lakes

in Community/Environment by
Kawartha Lakes introduces Heritage Awards Program
Kawartha Lakes City Hall.

Heavy precipitation, combined with snowmelt and frozen ground conditions are resulting in significant runoff.

Water levels in local rivers and streams are currently rapidly increasing and are expected to exceed their bankfull conditions in multiple locations.

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