Category Archives: Articles

Fishing Article – Hometown News May 2017

With the return of warm spring days and as the lakes and rivers in the area thaw, residents head back out onto the water. It’s hard not to see the rushing, swollen riverbanks and not think about the season’s fishing bounty and you don’t have long to wait. But before you bait your hook make sure you have all your bobbers in a row. If you are an Ontario resident between 18-65 years of age you require a valid fishing license which includes an Ontario Outdoors Card (hunting or fishing card). You will also need either a conservation tag or a sport fishing tag. Each is valid for between 1-3 years and can be purchased online, at Service Canada or one of many licensed issuers, such as Canadian Tire, Pathfinders or Bennett’s Bait & Tackle. If you purchase your license and tag in person you will receive a temporary one that you can use right away and your official card will arrive in the mail. For 2017, your outdoors card will cost you $11.94 with your tag ranging from $16.75-$88.38 depending on the length of time and type (sport fishing or conservation). If you are under 18 years old or over 65 you do not require a license but you must still follow the catch and possession regulations for sport fishing. For more information on the Outdoors Card contact the Outdoors Card Centre at 1-800-387-7011

Twice a year, in February and July, Canadian residents can participate in an Ontario Family Fishing weekend. You must still follow the conservation license catch limits and obey size limits and restrictions but you do not require a license. July 1st-2nd and July 8th-9th you can be a part of the Ontario family fishing event and take part in one of the many area clinics or derbies. To find one near you visit http://www.ontariofamilyfishing.com/events/. So grab your rod and reel, a picnic and head outside with your family for a fun day on or by the water.

If you’re new to the sport and want to give it a try before committing to a license, you can borrow a rod and reel and other gear as part of the TackleShare program at various provincial parks, conservation authorities and some libraries and community groups. In our area, Silver Lake, Fitzroy Harbour, Rideau River and Charleston Lake Provincial Parks host TackleShare programs. Sponsored by Ontario Power Generation, the program which began in 1998 has expanded to over 140 loaner sites. They’re easy to use just find your nearest loaner site at http://www.tackleshare.com/loaner-sites/, call and ensure they have what you need, complete a form and go fishing!

When and where you fish, what you fish for, what you keep and what you can use for bait varies based on the zone in which you are fishing. Ontario is divided into 20 fisheries management zones, our area falls into Zone 18. For a full list of what’s in season and the restrictions on what you can catch and keep in Zone 18 visit: http://files.ontario.ca/environment-and energy/fishing/2017/2017_FMZ_18_English.pdf

If you’re wondering where your favourite catch is hiding out there are a number of printed angler maps and fishing guides available at bait shops and retailers in our area. The Lanark County website has a number of online fishing maps which outline area lakes and show common fish species, lake depths and temperatures.  With all this information on hand you’re sure to land yourself the catch of the day this summer!

Boating Article – Hometown News May 2017

As the water levels rise in our local lakes and streams, boaters of all kinds are gearing up for a new season out on the water.  A burgeoning lake may seem inviting but it takes more than a sturdy hull to make you a sailor. In order to operate a motorized boat over 10 HP in Canada you are required to successfully complete the boater exam and obtain your pleasure craft license. There is no age exemption – the law applies to all operators. Your license is good for life with no annual fees and is valid in every province. BOATERexam.com® is a Transport Canada approved course provider for the Pleasure Craft Operator Card and provides the online course, exam (with free retries) and temporary cards for immediate use for $49.95. Not only as a means of gauging your nautical know-how, this licensing system, allows Search and Rescue personnel access to information about your boat in the event of an emergency.

 

If you are considering becoming a pleasure craft operator and have completed the online course and obtained your license then you need dear captain need a vessel. If you are thinking of buying a boat make sure that it has a hull serial number, a Canadian compliance notice and if necessary, a copy of the declaration of conformity. A Canadian compliance notice indicates that the boat met the construction requirements at the time it was built. If it is a used boat, ensure that it meets the construction standards, marine surveyors can be employed to conduct the examination on your behalf. Boat trailers are also subject to licensing and regulation and require you to transfer ownership at the regional license bureau. Building a boat is another popular option for boaters. Remember when constructing a pleasure craft it must meet or exceed the construction requirements of the Small Vessel Regulations and the construction standards outlined by Transport Canada. Thinking of renting? You can either obtain your pleasure craft operator license or complete the rental boat safety checklist. Ask the rental company for basic safety information about the boat and local lake or river. You must sign the rental checklist and carry it on board the vessel to serve as proof of competency.

Safety equipment is necessary on all marine vessels and the most obvious of these items is a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or Lifejacket. Equipment requirements are the same whether you own, rent or borrow the boat and includes all types of vessels.  Pre-stocked safety kits for pleasure crafts can be purchased at local retailers like Canadian Tire and are often standard issue with new or rented boats.

For more information about boating safety you can call the toll free info line at 1-800-267-6687.

Canada’s Criminal Code applies to boating in that activities such as operating a boat while impaired, failing to stop at the scene of an accident or operating an unseaworthy boat are punishable offence.  Boating laws can change from time to time and so it is important to review the safe boating regulations available on Transport Canada’s webpage (http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/debs-obs-menu-1362.htm)

It is also good to keep in mind that while your safety as captain of the ship is important that the water is meant for all to enjoy. Be a responsible boater by sharing the water with others – whether they be fellow sea captains or wildlife, swimmers or shoreline frolickers. Be wary of your wake! You are legally responsible to follow the rules of the “water road” to avoid accidents. These rules include speed limits which can be affected by variables such as wind and water conditions, time of day and weather. Do not drink and boat! Drinking while operating a marine vessel is an infraction of the Criminal Code of Canada. When in doubt contact local OPP for more information on the regulations. Particularly in Lanark County you must be cautious around dams and Lock stations. Undertows, low clearance, backwash can all be deadly. Be mindful of signage and know the lay of the land before heading out. You can find out information about travelling through the canals and locks in our area from Parks Canada at www.pc.gc.ca. You will need to know the proper size for your mooring lines, have working floating fenders and also be aware of the rules in and around the locks. Some have noise, fishing, swimming and towing restrictions. They all have posted speed limits and codes of conduct when it comes to where and how to wait your turn and how to properly enter, exit and moor. The onsite Lock Masters and other Parks Canada staff will help guide you through the process. You will require a pass to travel through the locks but you’re in luck, in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, the Seasonal Lockage Permit for 2017 is free! So it looks like you picked the perfect year to take up boating.

 

With your license in hand, PDF and bucket of safety equipment tucked away, you are ready to launch your boat. There are many boat ramps, boat launches and public access points across Lanark County. There is a municipal boat launch at Riverside Park in Carleton place and the cost is only $8/day. Planning on making this a full-season hobby? Grab a “Resident Season Pass” for only $45 for unlimited launch access. All passes can be purchased at Town Hall. There is docking at Riverside Park as well and downtown across from Town Hall on Bridge St at the Public Parking Lot. The perfect spot to dock and hop off for a quick lunch in downtown Carleton Place before continuing on your boating adventure.

 

 

Hometown News – December 2016 – Mompreneurs

This Christmas let Mompreneurs take the hassle out of holiday shopping

Carleton Place is a town of industrialists, of artists, trailblazers, visionaries and entrepreneurs. In a community bourgeoning with young families, mompreneurs are setting the town a blaze with creative innovation and intuitive services. These women are not just finding a way to earn money and spend more time with their families but are also seeing gaps in the current market and filling a need. They are using creativity and innovation and leveraging the power and popularity of social media to set an example for a whole new generation. They are a group seen visibly in the community donating to fundraisers, volunteering and offering encouragement and support to their fellow mompreneurs. As we head into a season of gift giving  let’s focus on shopping local and considering some local parents for that “must have” gift or desired service.

Do you need a Christmas card, New Year’s Party invite or unique birthday card? Melissa Mason’s M&B Paper Crafts offers unique handmade cards, exploding box cards, banners and invitations individualized for the customer and their event.  Custom cards are $5 each for a 5×7 card with envelope which is on par or less than most of the mass marketed store bought cards. Melissa and her husband moved to Beckwith Township 2 years ago and she is now a stay at home mompreneur with a beautiful 18mnth old daughter. A hobby crafter, she decided to hand make her daughter’s first birthday party invitations and décor – after a post on a Facebook mom’s page garnered a lot of positive attention, she decided to make her hobby into a career. For more information on custom décor banners (at only $1.25 per letter/graphic) and other offerings visit M&B Paper Crafts at http://facebook.com/mbpapercrafts.

Not sure what to get that “hard to buy for” person on your list? Kaitlyn Moyes may have just the answer! Her company Joy-Filled Gift Baskets aims to fill houses, offices and hearts with personalized handcrafted gift baskets. As many other parent-run company’s, Joy-Filled Gift Baskets started when Kaitlyn was home with a newborn. She spent time exploring local businesses with her new baby boy and realized that finding personalized items and gifts for family and friends can be tricky.  Harnessing her own creativity and seeing a need in the gift giving market she set off to create the perfect gift baskets for her customers.  They are completely customizable, contain useful items and are geared to any budget or occasion. To see examples of her beautiful work or to order yours visit https://www.facebook.com/Joyfilledgiftbaskets.

Have you met Bree (Breanne Rheault)? The genius mom behind our very own children’s salon – Munchkin Chops. A licensed hairstylist, this wife and mother found herself looking at the end of her maternity leave and dreading going back to work and leaving her babe. Having worked in a children’s hair salon previously she decided to start her own in her home and Munchkin chops was born. It’s a fun exciting home based salon. There is a “car chair” to sit in, a TV, Xbox and a play area for siblings and waiting customers. Her mission is to have fun and make your child’s haircut a pleasant experience. With newly added services for moms and dads (ranging from $20-30) why not give the gift of a new family “do”? For more information and a full list of services and prices check out her page at https://www.facebook.com/munchkinchops.

Does someone on your holiday list have the need for some legal advice? Jenna Deforge is a new arrival (originally from Sudbury) who moved to our area with her husband a few years ago. A paralegal, she spent a few months applying to different law firms in Ottawa and Perth but no one was hiring. She had done a market analysis of the area  and saw a clear need for her services. In February 2013 she opened an office of her own in Perth. Life happened, as it does and Jenna made the tough decision to close her office and work from home. It ended up being a positive move for her family as she is also able to be a full time mom to 2 beautiful boys (2.5 and 7). Her firm “Corrective Justice Legal Service” offers services to most of Eastern Ontario in Small Claims, Landlord and Tenant Board and Traffic Tickets. For more information visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CorrJust.

“When [she’s] not crafting [or] working at a local hospital” this mom is “doing [her] best at being a mom and being the fun wife [her] husband married”. Katrina Dagenais started a home-based vinyl design company, CKP Designs as way to explore her creative side. It was a hobby that quickly turned into something more. Katrina’s designs can be found in a handful of stores in Carleton Place, Almonte and Gatineau or you can visit online (www.facebook.com/CKPDesignsOttawa) to arrange your custom order. Perhaps one of her custom mugs, signs or shirts would be the perfect pick for someone on your list?

What about a one of a kind wood sign or growth chart, pyrography art piece or essential oil education? Face painting for a party? Kate Mountenay is a mom of all trades! A mother of 4 who hails from Almonte, Kate spent almost 10 years in Australia where she met and married her true love. They returned to this area 16 months ago and 3 months ago she started Down Pinery Road. Working with Ontario-grown and milled White Cedar from a local family owned and operated mill and locally sourced beeswax to finish most of their products. She also offers essential oil workshops and also owns Freckleberry Face Painting with her husband.  Face Painting services start at $75/hr and they take bookings 6 months in advance. You can find out about all of these great products and services at downpineryroad.com and freckleberry.ca.

Have an animal lover on your list? What about the gift of some Pet Care Services? Tracy Larock relocated to our area four years ago with her husband and son. Wanting a country life with a big yard for her big dog and small son to play in, Carleton Place offered the perfect setting! Even as a little girl, Tracy was an animal lover and so once her son started Junior Kindergarten she thought it was time to turn her passion for caring for pets into a career.  Little Wet Noses Pet Care was born! Tracy offers dog walking, Cat and Puppy home visits, pet waste removal, home care services and will be adding pet sitting, dog training and pet photography in the future. Her dream is to one day house a dog rescue for our area. Her services are very reasonable starting at $20/half hour and would make the perfect gift to the animal owner on your list!

We have creative and artistic genius in some local handmade favourites like Waffle Kisses (www.facebook.com/WaffleKisses), Four and Twenty Blackbirds (www.facebook.com/FourTwentyBlackbirds) and 3rd Life (www.facebook.com/3rdlifeDesigns). You won’t go wrong visiting these ladies online stores whether your shopping for a baby or a granny – there is literally a one of a kind gift on these pages for everyone! If browsing some shops puts you in the holiday spirit with all the sparkle and magic don’t forget that our small businesses here in Carleton Place are family owned and operated. There are parent-entrepreneurs in nearly every shop so pop in and see Miss Krista at Apple Cheeks or Miss Dena at the Granary or Miss Jane at Dack’s Jewellers or Miss Erica at the Flower Boutique. Any one of these talented women (and a dozen more) will find those perfect gifts, decorations and stocking stuffers to make your holiday a memorable one!

There are so many talented mompreneurs in our midst that there is no reason that you can’t complete all your shopping right here at home. These women work hard to balance being a parent, a friend, a partner and a business owner and it is clear that they all have such a passion for what they do. So this holiday season – don’t fight holiday traffic or congested parking lots and help a local mom make her dreams come true and get some amazingly cool stuff in the process. These are gifts everyone is sure to remember and cherish!

Hometown News – January 2017 – Why Do Business in Carleton Place in 2017

With an easy 20 minute highway commute to the Nation’s capital, picturesque waterfront and historic downtown, it’s easy to see why so many people choose Carleton Place to hang out their shingle. So why is 2017 your year? Do you have a “can’t be beat” business idea? Franchise? Then let’s discuss why this community is the perfect fit for you.

 

There are many key things to consider when choosing a location for your new business.  First let’s discuss style. This is the look and feel of the physical space of your business and how it compliments what you do. If you’re looking for a traditional retail store or service office Carleton Place as many options. There are beautiful heritage buildings, with space that includes hardwood, exposed brick and tin ceilings. There are also bright, modern professional spaces and nearly every option in between. While the town does not boost an indoor mall for a kiosk or booth there are a number of strip malls with modern styled office and retail space as well as outdoor summer markets depending on your business plan.  Maybe you work from home? Or telecommute? What better way to appreciate the conveniences of fast and reliable Internet service, cultural and recreational opportunities, restaurants and shops carrying everything from housewares and building supplies to business supplies and electronics.

 

Next on the list of things to consider is no surprise, Demographics. Businesses must consider their customer profiles and understand what the local market wants. A number of informal online surveys conducted by our Discover Carleton Place Facebook page shed light on some local wish list items for residents. If you are considering 2017 as the year to start a venture of your own in Carleton Place some common resident “wants” include a cinema, an indoor children’s play land, ethnic food, Men’s Clothing store, Athletic and Sports apparel, shoes and lingerie. These market gaps are echoed in the 2011 Downtown Corridor study completed by Doyletech Corporation.  That study cited a lack of Men’s apparel, outdoor lifestyle equipment and hobby-recreation store to serve the retiree community. Additionally the study noted that Carleton Place lacked a common family restaurant and quick luncheon-type eatery as well as current pop-culture entertainment such as a movie theatre. It is not however just about supporting the needs of local shoppers, the addition of cultural and entertainment opportunities will create pedestrian traffic, browsers and tourists.

 

Carleton Place is almost always discussed in the context of its proximity to Ottawa but let’s not discount the large rural populations and neighbouring small towns for whom this town is the source of big city needs outside the capital. Retail giants like Walmart and Home Depot pull from towns like Almonte and Perth who don’t have a nearer access for these popular “big box” stores. Some shoppers travel out of the city to visit those same stores in Carleton Place to avoid traffic, parking frustrations and over-crowding and a nicer shopping experience.

 

You must also consider if the community has a stable economic base.  According to Deputy Mayor, Jerry Flynn, Carleton Place has stable tax rates, long range development plans and staff to avoid major financial pitfalls, all the amenities to complement successful business and encourage long range investment. Add to that consistent population growth and you have a recipe for business success.

 

Other demographic considerations include a local skilled workforce, resources and also community culture and amenities. These elements are important as you want the community to also be an appealing place for your own family and that of your potential employees. Carleton Place is a beautiful community rich in local history and punctuated by the breathtaking Mississippi River. It is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with dozens of local trails, water sports and championship hockey. It is home to world-class broomball, 16 play grounds, outdoor ice rinks, one of the country’s oldest canoe clubs, curling, Softball nearly every night of the week when it’s in season and so much more! There are community events monthly, play groups and accessible family services. It also has public, Catholic, French Catholic and Private schools, affordable housing and a community centre teaming with activities.  It is an ideal community to raise a family with the amenities of a city and the charm of a small town. Greg Smith, a local entrepreneur (GHS Enterprise),  says “For me it is a choice for “home life” –Running my own business when not at a Client’s site I’m able to enjoy the area with breaks from work as well as when “I come home from work” quick accessible nature alternatives. The ease of access to all businesses in the Ottawa area is incredible with our four lane highway.  When I have a meeting in Toronto I can access the train twenty minutes away in Smith Falls. Our Hospital is second to none with top notch service. ALL the essential service are right here from tech help to conference facilities and all levels of luncheon business development presence. And last but not least the business community is generally supportive with the Chamber of Commerce being one of the best per capita Chambers in the Country, in my opinion.”

 

Next on the list, Foot Traffic. This of course is industry-specific but there are retail opportunities along Bridge St in the heart of the town that can fit the foot traffic bill. If your customer profile is not set on strolling then there are some gorgeous and very affordable lease options in the Dunlop Industrial park off Townline Rd or on Bennett St that also have ample free parking.  This brings us to number 4; Accessibility and parking. As a business you will need to consider how your customers, employees and suppliers access your location. If you have large deliveries can a large truck, cart, crate enter your space? Is there accommodation for persons with mobility issues? Your specific need will of course be specific to your business model but needs to be considered. While gorgeous, older buildings can have disadvantages in terms of doorway width and absence of ramps or elevators. Again, Carleton Place offers the charming older retail spaces in addition to more modern settings that are more accessible. There are opportunities to update and retrofit older facilities to have the best of both worlds so ask those questions to the property owner.

 

Competition can be a positive and a negative for a fledgling business. Traditionally seeing another business with a competing product or service in your area might deter a similar business from opening. However, there can be a benefit when it comes to the overflow from an existing business or from patrons comparison shopping. Carleton Place has many business and services that complement one another and you’ll find fewer communities with such a collaborative business spirit. From the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce, Valley Heartland, Downtown Carleton Place and the town itself, you’ll find support for your new business. There are funding initiatives, training, networking events and many incentives like the Chamber’s “Member 2 Member” program that encourage businesses to support one another. Many local community events invite and encourage local business owners to get involved and you’ll find at least a dozen large community events throughout the year that not only promote the town as a place for fun and recreation but also a place to shop.

 

In a community that stands on the precipice of 2-5 years of accelerated development now is the time to act. With nearly 1000 new residences coming in the next 12-18 months, a plan to expand the local Emergency Room, bring in additional “big Box” named brand retailers 2017 is the best time to get your foot in the door.

Simcity(tm) – The Meet Me on the Mississippi Edition – Sept Edition – Hometown News

 

On August 15th, an online survey was posted to the Discover Carleton Place Facebook group. The idea was to get a snapshot of Carleton Place today – who we are, what our families look like, where we shop, what we do for fun and what we hope to see in Carleton Place in the future. Touted as a family-oriented community of ten thousand residents with a variety of social and recreation activities we were interested in seeing how urban sprawl has affected the demographics of our community and what our residents enjoy about living here.

With 80 respondents who have lived in Carleton Place an average of 14yrs (4 months was the shortest and 69 years the longest residency indicated), only 14 indicated that the work in Carleton Place. The majority of these respondents described a two parent household with young children under 13 years (53.85%), the next closest group was Retirees over 55 years (16.67%). It is clear, at least in this small sample that Carleton Place is growing but maintaining its family-oriented identity. But are these families shopping here? Participating in community events?

The survey revealed that the majority shop the big box stores (66.25%) but that they still do so within Carleton Place. Places like Walmart (17 respondents), Independent (14 respondents) and Freshco (15 respondents) received special mention. However 20% indicated that they still shopped downtown and called attention to local favourites like The Granary (7 respondents), Apple Cheeks (5 respondents) and the Farmer’s Market (7 respondents). Despite many rumors to the contrary, it would seem that shopping local, at least among those surveyed was still the norm. Only 5% indicated that they shopped mostly in Kanata/Ottawa or in other area communities (1.25%) like Almonte and Perth. Of these shoppers, 85% answered that they shop in Carleton Place 4+ times every month. It would appear that our young families are shopping for the majority of their needs right here in town.

Of particular interest was that less than half indicated that they participated in local events or social activities, only 42.5% of the total respondents. Those that do participate ranked the most popular items to be The Bridge Street Bazaar (10), Annual Parades (8), Lambsdown Festival (6) and Canada Day at Riverside Park (6). These annual festivals scored the highest in the survey while smaller weekly outings like Movie Night, Cruise Nights, Hockey Games, trips to the legion or Comedy Night were noted but only mentioned once or twice. Scrolling through some of the feedback it would appear that there is a general lack of knowledge about the types of activities that are available in Carleton Place. The new community calendar available on the Downtown Carleton Place website (http://downtowncarletonplace.com/community-calendar/) will hopefully assist in spreading the word on all the great social activities available.

When it comes to eating out it seems Carleton Place is the place to make your reservation. There are dozens of restaurants ranging from food trucks, pub food and pizza to Greek, Vietnamese and fine dining there is an abundance of choice and it seems as though the community is enjoying date night in town. Nearly half, 42.5% eat out at Carleton Place restaurants weekly and 32.5% eat out at least once a month.

Not everything is good when repeated however and many respondents indicated that it would be an improvement to Carleton Place if there were fewer hair salons, barbers, pizza restaurants, thrift stores and tattoo parlours. A desire for new and unique businesses and variety downtown seemed to be the focus for many, stores like a gift shop, an arts and crafts store, book store and boutique hotel. Ironically many of the suggestions were businesses already found in Carleton Place, or ones that had recently closed. Suggestions like a fenced in off lease dog park, a gluten free café and downtown businesses open late once or twice a week are items already found in town. Perhaps, as one respondent indicated, additional advertising for local business may be the solution. The most common items on the respondent’s wish lists for Carleton Place were a Movie Theatre, Music events at Riverside Park, an indoor Children’s Play Place, Farmboy and more clothing options (for young women and men). Some interesting suggestions were paddleboat rentals, riverboat tours, an enclosed winter Farmer’s Market, A Sports Complex with indoor track, pool and squash courts and an OC Transpo stop.

There were many great suggestions in respondent’s answers that while admittedly only represent a small portion of the whole community should be taken under advisement at town hall. Overwhelmingly 20 suggested a focus on downtown with things like guaranteed hours downtown amongst all businesses, cleaner sidewalks, more parking, visual appeal and nicer residential options in the core. Other notable suggestions were to clean up the beach, use the river more, promote Carleton Place to tourists, upgrade the parks and add a new splash pad to the opposite side of the Mississippi. There was also some concerns over municipal affairs, calling for all town meetings to be recorded and transcribed and made available to the public. Also, a request for community groups, Downtown Carleton Place, The Chamber of Commerce and Town Hall to collaborate and work together on bettering our community.

When asked if they felt there were enough family events and activities in our area, 70.13% responded positively. Despite less than half indicating that they participated in these events, they apparently believe that there are enough of them. Perhaps with the lack of apparent knowledge of other smaller events and social activities that don’t involve children, we can ascertain that some efforts need to be made in promoting these events.

Finally, the survey summed up by asking respondents why they moved to Carleton Place. The majority (29.33%) were born and raised in the area and closely at 2nd and 3rd were low housing costs (25.33%) and the family friendly community it offered (24%). So it seems we are exactly who we say we are. A family friendly community. As housing booms our needs as a town will change and whether it’s on a social media group or through an informal survey, a “health check” of what we have, what we need and where we are headed is never a bad idea. Thank you to all that participated in the survey!

 

 

River Man – Cleaning up the Mississippi One Tire at a Time – September edition – Hometown News

The Mississippi Clean-up Project (MCP) was established in 2005 with one goal – to clean up and restore our local waterways, streams and lake. Since its inception, founder and primary administrator, Doug Snedden, has been wading into the Mississippi and wading out with every manner of solid waste. From items like bottles and cans to tires and shopping carts to 200 gallon oil tanks! Without a government agency or professional organization tasked with removing trash from our river system, Snedden took it upon himself to fill an obvious void. His efforts, and those of project participants, work to remove dangerous waste and bring ecological balance back to the waterway.   The project runs each year from May until September and updates are posted on the MCP blog (http://mississippirivercarletonplace.blogspot.ca/).  As primary administrator, he coordinates all project activities, volunteer schedules, waste disposal, boat and vehicle operations, safety procedures, coordinates with outside services like the town and police department and maintains the MCP blog. In short, he is a very busy man!

When asked what the most unusual item is that he’s ever removed, Snedden recounts a time he came across 10 Industrial Hole Boring Steel Shafts, each shaft measuring an astounding ten feet in length and weighing approximately 100 pounds.

One commonly discarded item of particular menace is tires. In the short stretch of the Mississippi River in Carleton Place between the McNeely Ave and Highway 7 bridges, the MCP has found approximately 972 tires since 2005. However, the undocumented calculation for that same short area is twelve hundred tires. Discarded tires are a very serious environmental threat to our river system. Chemicals like, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) oils and hazardous waste like lead are released when they breakdown and toxic to aquatic life and to us.

In that same area of the river, 27,000 documented solid waste pieces weighing 117,400 pounds have been removed by the project. Snedden estimates that the undocumented total in the last 11 years has been in excess of 40,000 pieces and 140,000 pounds. Items as crazy to imagine as freezers and refrigerators have been removed.

The blog also lists, by year, every item and the approximate gross weight removed from the river system.  Sadly the totals have been on the rise. The totals already available for the 2016 season are staggering. An unbelievable 31,700 pounds of solid waste have been removed from the area in 4 months including 11 – 50 gallon barrels, 6 bicycles, 22 lawn chairs, a 250 pound industrial drive shaft, a tv and a baby stroller.

It all begs the question – who’s tossing drive shafts, oil tanks and freezers into the river?! Some items listed you can rationalize as the result of wind storms (things like lawn chairs), angler mishaps (fishing rods and hooks) or beach loses (small toys) but the larger items are flat out purposeful dumping which is shocking and disheartening. In this day and age of accessible recycling and disposal options, not to mention the wealth of knowledge on how dangerous dumping can be to the environment, there is absolutely no excuse for this disregard for our river system. There is an entire page on the Town of Carleton Place website (http://carletonplace.ca/waste-collection-p2418.php) on waste collection and disposal. When in doubt about how to dispose of an unusual item please refer to it.

Let’s help out our “river man”, our champion of the Mississippi by lessening his load. If you’d like to learn more about the Mississippi Clean up Project or even volunteer please visit the blog or contact Doug Snedden at dougsnedden@hotmail.com.

 

Boat Safety – July Edition – Hometown News

With fishing season now open and the beaches and waterways coming to life in June the O.P.P are once again reminding people to be safe on the water. The 3 “L’s” as Sgt Robert Croth describes them are:

  • Liquor: There is to be no open liquor on any vessel unless it is moored and has adequate washroom facilities
  • License: You need a boaters license to operate a boat and it must be on your person while on the water.
  • Life Jacket: EVERYONE must have a life jacket and ensure that they fit snuggly and are the right size for your weight.

Sgt. Croth recalled that there were two marine-related fatalities in our area in 2015 and they were the result of operating a watercraft while impaired and not having an adequate PFD (Personal Floatation device). Both tragically preventable.

In the Carleton Place area, 6 marine officers work out of the Lanark County detachment of the O.P.P along with 1 marine student and the SAVE unit that is based in Smiths Falls. The O.P.P also have 2 vessels that they use to monitor the local lakes and rivers. Sgt. Croth stressed that it is important for the public to assist in keeping the waterways safe for boaters and swimmers by driving cautiously and obeying speed limits, recognizing marine signage, having a spotter when towing a skier or tuber and calling 911 if you suspect a boater to be impaired. When calling 911 to report a marine issue make sure to note location and description of the vessel or hull number.

There are a number of things the O.P.P recommends at the start of the boating season. If you plan on operating a boat, even if just renting one during a holiday, it is important to get your boat license. There are various local stores that host licensing events onsite throughout the summer but it can also be obtained online at: boaterexam.com.  A marine emergency kit is a valuable addition to a vessel and one can be purchased locally for as little as $11. Also, don’t forget to check your trailer before heading out to the boat launch or cottage. Check the tire pressure and make sure that the license plate is attached and that all the lights work.

If you belong to a local cottage or lake association and are interested in having an officer come and speak to your group about water and boat safety you can contact the Lanark County O.P.P to schedule a talk.  Be sure to call ahead as this is the busy season and opportunities book up quickly.