Latest News

Septic Pump Out Delayed Until Summer 2023

We were recently informed that the septic pump out scheduled for this month has been delayed until summer 2023.

f you have not signed up and are still interested in having your septic pumped out, you can still get on the list. act now! Details are below:

Timing is now summer 2023, exact date TBD.Price is $1,585.00 per cottage (tax included) as long as it is an 800 gal. tank or less.Septic tank access ports need to be accessible, i.e. cleared of earth / debris. Please confirm with Mark Thoburn at if you would like your name to be added to next year's list.

Bay of Islands Community Association Presidents’ Report, 2022

How amazing it has been to reunite as a community after 2 years largely apart! Though we are not quite back to “normal”, we have been provided the perspective that there is no place on earth, and no group of friends and family, that we would rather spend these life experiences with. The pandemic made us consider what “community” really means.  To us it is both – both the incredible beauty of the landscape that cannot be replicated that we are all humble stewards of, and the importance of our relationships bonded by these shared values and decades & generations of connection. To share moments together, in person, here, is irreplaceable.

Perhaps no event or accomplishment represents importance of community better than our collective roll of supporting the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy’s $1.8 million purchase of “Heaven’s Gate”, which we highlighted last year.  Heaven’s Gate is the nearly 1,000 acres of land on the north side of Red Deer Village Road that includes much of the La Cloche mountains connecting Willisville to Ft. La Cloche.  Over 100 donors and friends celebrated the grand opening of the Heaven’s Gate trails on a recent and hot July afternoon.  Many are to thank for preserving this land for all future generations to enjoy, but we were able to celebrate the importance of Ted Cowan’s leadership in making this happen.

There are so many other people to thank for their leadership and contributions this year.  Michael Dewson has led the charge on our ongoing and successful phragmites eradication program.  The Baker family, Rick Fournier, John Moskal, and others resumed the Bass Fish Derby / Fish Fry after a 2 year hiatus (more participants than we have ever had, and more fish than have ever been caught!).  Lisa Allison pulling together the Bas Bleu Book Reading Club (despite our windiest day of the summer).  The Drolets making this year’s Love Your Bay Day possible.  And so many more.  (may want more non-social accomplishments?)

And, we are excited to officially welcome and embrace new and old friends into the BICA community, including Antonia and Jens, Bob and Juanita, Chris and Abbie, Ron and Irene, Carolyn and Roc, Paul and Lana, Alan den Otter, Michael Boufford, Hugh Mchullan, Trish Phillips, Susan Monger, Justin and Andrea Montgomery, Ashley Jurjevich, and others. We have met them all, and it’s energizing to know that others drawn to this area are falling in love for the same reasons we all have, and they feel the humble responsibility they now bear as stewards of our community.  Some of us were born into the Bay of Islands, others married into it, and more now are discovering it for the first time.  We welcome all of you.  

We are saddened by the loss of some longstanding community members, and in particular by the untimely loss of Don Datz.  He epitomized what it means (your thoughts / reflections here instead of mine) to spend part of your life here and this community becomes you.  Don and his surviving wife Judy bought and ran Bay Villa for about 15 years.  Don passed away unexpectantly at only 66 years.  He exemplified what it meant to be a business owner who cared more about helping people than anything else.  He gave us much and will be missed.

We are fortunate that as a non-profit organization relying solely on the contributions of its members that we have remained financially stable despite the pandemic. Revenue sources we lost were essentially matched by other costs lowered because of the pandemic. We believe it is important to rebuild and grow revenue sources in the next few years through new membership, auctions, grants, and other sources, to fuel the important work BICA does.

We are absolutely thrilled to pass the baton to BICA’s next President, Patrick Thoburn, who is a 2nd generation Bay of Islands steward and will bring so much more of his creativity, passion, and leadership to BICA as our incoming President. As for us (Sheila and Celesta), we are more in to BICA than ever before, and after 6 years as co-Presidents (elongated thanks to COVID-19), we are ready to channel our energies finding and welcoming new members into the BICA community, and that’s what we’ll be doing now, including building stronger and more inclusive relationships with islanders who have never engaged, mainlanders like the Red Deer Village community, and the Birch Island community.

As we reflect on our 6 years together as co-presidents, the first thing that comes to mind is that we have loved working and leading together this whole time – how often does a co-president relationship actually get stronger vs. strained over that time period? Well, it happened with us. Our 2nd reflection was we wanted to change the perception that BICA’s primary mission is NOT that of a glorified social planning community. We’ve tried to embrace the totality of our by-laws – “To represent the interest of the members of the Bay of Islands, to foster a harmonious community spirit, to promote conservation of wildlife and to preserve the unique characteristics of the area”. We’ve focused a lot on BICA Board effectiveness, better fire safety, preservation of land and water (e.g., Love Your Bay Day, water quality, phragmites control, Heaven’s Gate support), invited new members into the BICA community, and so much more.

One area of BICA support we don’t talk enough about is the importance and effectiveness of the Georgian Bay Association (GBA), who has been doing an amazing job.  The GBA focuses on the needs reflective of BICA and the other community associations up and down the Georgian Bay and the North Channel, and part of our budget goes directly to GBA to focus on bigger things we could never accomplish by ourselves.  And beyond the financial support, BICA leaders have played many significant leadership roles over the years such as Hugh McLeland as GBA Chair, past GBA member like Thoburn, and today we are represented by Liz Phillips.  Though we embrace our role in building community, we take a lot of pride in what we’ve done, because we are a community, to accomplish some great things together as stewards of this amazing land. Without community organizations like BICA, there is no GBA.

We look forward to spending time with you later this summer – safely and in person – and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together, and what we will share in our life journeys, in the years ahead.

Love Your Bay Every Day!

Celesta Bjornson and Sheila Williams

Fish Tales…Fish Derby Recap

It was a whale of a time!

The legendary Bay of Islands Fish Derby and Fry resurfaced with tight lines yesterday all over the Bay, ending at Baker Camp aka Scioto Lodge last evening. It was a Whale of a Time. Nearly 30 fished and 70-80 people were served. All enjoyed themselves.

Fishermen and Fisherwomen! Erin Tremblay The winner of Roc and Carolyn Lariviere’s generous donation of 1/2 day deep water guided fishing was … Lee Tremblay and his niece Erin Tremblay.

Fish fries require a village of volunteers, and we wish to thank them. Our hosts were Jeff, Kristen, Jaci and the extended Baker family. John Moskal and Jeff Baker were the set-up guys, with help from the Baker family for ice runs and more. Ryan Burton contributed Ace Hill product. Fish cleaning was done by John Moskal, Jeff Baker, Reg and Thomas Drolet and others. All fish served was from the derby, and there were so many that some of the larger fish were released. Various islands provided help with docks and docking: Nick Dobbins, the Bjornsons, Drolets and Williams. Special appreciation for the organizational wizardry of Rick Fournier, and our master chef, John Moskal.

None of these folks are fishing for compliments though; they do it for the Love of the Bay!

Our Chef Extraordinaire...John Moskal BICA Members on Baker's beautiful isle

NEMI WARD 1  update for 2022

It has been another eventful year for NEMI and I know I am not alone in welcoming a cautious return to normalcy with the arrival of our American and overseas friends once again.

Council is continuing to meet by  ZOOM every Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the public is invited to attend : Meeting # 489 313 1974  or call 1 587 328 1099  (one of the few silver linings to this pandemic has been the opportunity to easily participate in our local democracy).  For a copy of each week's agenda visit 

Congratulations to BICA for being a successful applicant to the annual NEMI McLean's Mtn Windfarm Fund and for the valuable environmental stewardship action of the Love Your Bay (Every Day) shoreline clean-up those funds assisted with. We all know how precious our water and shorelines are and we are not alone.

The past two years have seen a lot of people looking to get away to the north and local waterfront properties have been in high demand.  However, the Province has delayed MPAC's re-assessment to 2024, scheduled originally for 2020 and normally done every 4 years.  This means that property taxes will continue to be based on 2016 valuations.  Visit for updates and to see your property value and to compare similar ones in your area.  MPAC also generates the municipal voters list.  Please go to to confirm your information.  And to check that you are eligible to vote in the upcoming Municipal election on Oct. 24th,  Pam Cress is the Clerk for the Town of NEMI and she can help with any questions.  Her number is 705-368-3500 ext. 228.

There was good news on the tax front for Ward 1 this year as our taxes have actually gone down by .95%.

Ward 1 continues to solely pay for the recycling at J & G Marina in Birch Island and also for the MNR fire response reserve.  We contribute towards the municipal funding of the Rec Centre on Hwy 6 which was the site of several well-attended vaccination clinics.  Pickle-ball has resumed there and new players are always welcome. Please contact 705-368-2825 for a schedule of events or email

We also help fund the NEMI Public Libary  and it continues to offer wonderful programming, free wi-fi, a great selection of DVD's and digital services (on-line resources like World Book, Ancestry, and access to thousands of books, audiobooks and periodicals available through "Overdrive" to library patrons).  Membership cards are available free to seasonal residents of NEMI so please give them a call  (705-368 2444 ) and take advantage of this fantastic little gem at 50 Meredith St. West in Little Current. Also check out their website for upcoming and current programming.  There's always something exciting happening there!  Aug. 4th at 7pm is Author's Night with the highly acclaimed writer Mary Lawson and Michael Caesar.

We also contribute to the Centennial Museum in Sheguiandah (705 368 2367) and the adjacent archaeological site is now providing tours of a fascinating 10,000 year old quarry this summer. The grounds at the museum are lovingly kept and provide picnic tables and a playground and are a great place to take the family for an afternoon of exploring.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions or concerns.

All the very best,

Laurie Cook 

Councillor Ward 1 NEMI/ Deputy Mayor

705 282 7076


By Liz Philips

GBA has been working as hard as ever to protect the Bay we love, on many, many fronts. Some of the issues that are closest to the heart of the Bay of Islands include:

Floating cottagesGBA provided input to the Ontario government about issues related to floating cottages, and drafted wording to help GBA associations add their voices to the mix. Coastal protectionAs development pressures increase all over cottage country, it is becoming increasingly important for municipalities in ecologically sensitive areas like Georgian Bay to work together to take a unified approach. The GBA Coastal Protection Committee has brought together representatives from 5 of the GBA area municipalities, including NEMI, to review their planning regulations. The objective is to facilitate the sharing of best practices when it comes to planning and development along the eastern and northern Georgian Bay coast. Look out for a couple of useful guides to be published by GBA in the coming months:A planning policies and regulations guide will provide practical information about navigating planning rules, applications and enforcementA septic management and maintenance guide will review the septic options available, along with how to maintain your existing septic system to ensure our Bay waters stay cleanWater levelsGBA continues to monitor this ongoing issue - you may have attended one of the 3 webinars GBA hosted in fall 2021 about the many issues related to water levels that can arise. Water qualityThe dock foam regulations bill was passed in 2021 and the legislation is in the process of being written - GBA is working to ensure the legislation is robust enough to be enforceable. Perhaps our grandchildren will be spared having to clean up drifting blue styrofoam from the shores of our Bay!The washing machine filters bill has been through a second reading, so GBA continues to put pressure on the government to ensure that in the future all washing machines will be equipped with filters to prevent plastic microfibres from entering our water systems.First Nations and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)GBA is exploring how TEK can be better integrated into GBA actions to ensure decisions are made with consideration of all stakeholders.Discussions about the Wiikwemkoong boundary claim have been on hold, but GBA continues to connect with Wiikwemkoong leaders. GovernanceRecent changes to the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act require all not-for-profit organizations to make certain changes to their governance documents. GBA organized a workshop to help GBA associations navigate this process, as it can be complex and not all boards have the capacity/knowledge to address this. Some of the BICA board members attended and BICA will continue to be supported by GBA as needed as we make changes to our documents.

BICA Environment Committee Report

By Chris Redston

We are focusing our efforts on three areas: Water Quality, Invasive Species and Septic Systems.

Water Quality – After many years of testing water in several locations around the Bay, the board has decided to discontinue this program. Data collected indicates that aside from a couple of isolated locations, we are fortunate to have, overall, very good water quality. We are encouraging BICA members to test their own drinking water to ensure that their water treatment systems are functioning properly. Information on how to test your drinking water has been posted on the BICA website. Lindsay Richards and Martha McLellan have agreed to serve on a Water Quality Sub-committee to increase awareness and develop actionable plans to continue our efforts to maintain and improve water quality in the Bay.

Invasive Species – We will continue to raise awareness about Invasive Phragmites and encourage BICA members to be on the lookout for any new stands of this plant in the water and adjacent shoreline of public and private property. In August 2021, we organized teams of volunteers to cut back stands of Invasive Phragmites on public land on the river in Whitefish Falls and the S-turn off the main channel. We will continue to monitor and cut back these stands in the Summer of 2022. It is each members responsibility to look out for and address any new stands of this plant on their own property. The BICA board can assist with help in identification and recommendations on how to eradicate the Phragmites before they become huge stands that are very difficult to control.

Septic Systems – Properly functioning septic systems play an important role in preventing sewage runoff and degrading water quality. One of the best ways to ensure a properly functioning septic system is the regular inspection and pump-out of septic tanks. The BICA board is arranging for Ferguson Maintenance to pump out septic tanks during the Summer of 2022. Additional information on septic systems and best practices has been posted on the BICA website.


9:00 a.m., June 23, 2022 via MS Teams


NEMI: Al MacNevin

BICA: Chris Redstone

MBA: Gerry Quinn, Elizabeth Quinn, John Woodrooffe

FISHER WAVY (FW): Jamie Wallace, Bryan Dixon, Malcolm Croskery, Phil Annett

DST Consulting Engineers: Jennifer Rainville

ABSENT: Jeff Wallace, Gord Wallace

Actions placed are shaded in grey.

The minutes of the last meeting were approved with no actionable items needing to be addressed. It was agreed that Gerry and Elizabeth Quinn would continue as Chair and Secretary, respectively. Current Status of WRFN Issues: There are no issues. Update on operating procedures for salt and sand (physical, safety) by Bryan Dixon: (detailed report attached)Salt and Sand: To date there have been 13 inbound vessels during 2021 to present date. It is anticipated that 5 more loads, in addition to the 2 already received, will delivered in 2022, and 4-6 outbound vessels are expected this year. TSite conditions:  No issues.Upper deck requires a staged tarping method. A sump pump will be added to the upper deck.No ditch water discharges 2021 to dateTransport Canada: 5 year renewal is this year with our initial inspection first week of July with the follow up final inspection at some pointDust suppression measures will be initiated on the roadSafety Issues: NoneMOE Inspection: Inspection was done May 2021 and resulted in just a few recommendations; report as yet to be received.  Results of Water Testing: Jennifer Rainville presented the DST testing results. The test results indicate there are no trending or water quality issues. There were no recommendations. Report is attached. Prospects for new commodities: Wood pellet business First Nation in Wikwemikong (Wiky) has not been launched as yet so as yet this is not a viable prospectThere’s a possibility of wood chip business. John Woodrooffe identified a concern regarding the potential for wood chips to spontaneously combust. Fisher Wavy will look into this.Potential asphalt pad expansion with Compass Minerals Other Business:Old Business: NoneNew Business: None Next meeting date: Bryan & Gerry will organize planning the date for next year’s meeting. Respectfully submitted by

Elizabeth Quinn

Secretary, FHLC

Heaven’s Gate Grand Opening Celebration

This event is sponsored by the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy with the help of BICA volunteers!  See the e-invite Here: Heaven's Gate Opening Invitation Join us for the opening of our largest wilderness preserve to date, Heaven's Gate - Kitchitwaa Shekwaandem, on July 16th.  2,000 acres of wilderness between the La Cloche Mountains and Killarney Provincial Park are permanently conserved, come celebrate with us!   To register for free, click here! 

Heaven’s Gate Opening Ceremony – July 16th

1:00pm: Ceremony at Gate 3

1:30pm:  Hike to Mt Arabella

5pm – 7pm: Reception at Whitefish Falls Community Center.  Free food and drink, no alcohol.

Please register for the event at the EBC website: Heaven's Gate Grand Opening - July 16th!  

2022 BICA Summer Events Calendar

Save the Dates! You're Invited!

The BICA Board of Directors is excited to announce the summer schedule for 2022! BICA members can once again look forward to our favourite events after a two-year hiatus. We have made a few changes this year, particularly to the AGM and the August Long Weekend so be sure to mark your calendars.  More details about each event can be found on the Events Calendar. Saturday, July 16 -- Celebration of Heaven’s Gate – This event is sponsored by the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy with the help of BICA volunteers and will include a hike and a gathering at the community center. Saturday, July 23 -- Fish Derby and Fish Fry – Baker Island TP2430 Saturday, July 23 -- Sunday, August 7 -- Love Your Bay Every Day!  We kick off two weeks of loving our Bay including shoreline cleanup of Styrofoam and plastics as well as phragmites cutting.  We will need your help so please be sure to volunteer a few hours during these two weeks! Thursday, July 21 -- Bas Bleu Book Discussion   Saturday, July 30 (Note 4:00 PM start time)  Annual General Meeting with wine (& beer) and cheese to follow, Ruby Island TP2567 Sunday, July 31 -- Afternoon Sailboat Race  Saturday, August 6, 4PM -- Social/Raffle/Auction, Monarch Island TP2570P.S. We are now accepting membership fees for 2022. Sign in to manage your account and pay your dues by clicking here.

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