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In Memory of Bobette Jones

Dear BICA and Bay of Islands Community and Friends,

It is with deep and heavy hearts that we share the loss of our dear and loyal bay friend, Bobette Jones.

Born in 1944, Bobette Jane Stern Jones died Sunday October 22, 2023 in Cuenca, Ecuador.  Ill from this past spring, Bobette’s decline progressed then ended with heart failure. Throughout, Bobette was lovingly cared for by her friend Richard Morris.  Richard visited in the Bay of Islands in 2022 and often pre-COVID. 

There were constants in Bobette’s life.  Bobette decided that if she saved a bit she could do as she wished.  And what she wished was to spend summers in the Bay of Islands and winters first in Panama and later, Cuenca.  She did not require comfort or convenience.  Bobette needed the rest and stimulation she found in the hills and waters of the north, the old cities of the south; provided there was also art, music, and friends.

North or South, Bobette gave energy and friendship to her community, which flowed back and forth.  In Ecuador Bobette was a regular contributor to the ex-pat newsletter with reviews of concerts and gallery shows, tips on things to do and finding apartments, and how to get good legal advice.  Of course Bobette favored and organized parties, dinners, dancing, trips to the beach, and hikes in the mountains. 

In the Bay of Islands Bobette fostered friends by looking out for her neighbours out on the extreme west where the waters open to the Sault.  She would turn off her oven to keep an eye on Tom Monger as he worked his way against three-foot waves in a 14 ft. boat to be certain he got home safe, always at the ready to head out to help.  Bobette gave back to the Bay and our community over the years by tending to things for BICA, organizing hikes, trips to Manitoulin sites, jaunts into Grace Lake, and taking friends to Stratford.  She was an integral part of BICA’s auction each year as well.

Bobette’s was a life of simple courage, physical strength and morale.  She stood ready to help friends and others whether on the water, in practising law and in carrying part of the load that keeps communities alive.  She chose to live as she wished, where she wished.  Her views were rooted in Thomas Paine’s dictum, "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."  She practised this in a manner that outlives her... while memory of her smile and laugh remain, Bobette’s energy will be at work inspiring us all to making life better, more enjoyable for friends and neighbours. 

This coming summer there will be a get together of friends and neighbours to remember and celebrate Bobette.  We will let you know. 

-- Beautifully written by Ted Cowan 

BICA Annual Members Meeting 2023 Summary

4:00 - 5:30 PM EST Saturday August 5, 2023

Ruby Island (TP2567)


1. Call to Order – Patrick Thoburn

2. Approval of Minutes 2022 – Patrick Thoburn

Moved - That the general membership approves the minutes of the 2022 BICA AMM Mover – Zachary Shewchuk Second – Scott Boatman Passed: Unanimously 3. President’s Report – Patrick Thoburn

Full Report appended to these minutes below. Patrick reviewed the priorities (voted on by members at the 2022 AMM) and the progress that the BICA Board has been working on over the past 12 months:Fire safety – NEMI grant to subsidize the purchase of 10 additional pumps.Emergency preparedness – Training workshop and new emergency form.Environment – Love Your Bay Week communication.Family Fun Day – Family Hot Dog Day insteadStrengthen relationship with Whitefish River First Nation – There is interest in working together especially with regards to environmental issues. 2024 dues increase –Patrick reviewed the rational (inflation and primarily due to GBA dues increase). 4. Treasurer’s Report – David Farner

David gave a high-level review of the financial situation. Revenue from dues approx. $7400 Operating expenses used approx. 95% of revenue. This doesn’t leave a large buffer for financing all the fun BICA events and activities and highlights the importance of the revenue generated by the annual raffle and auction. Moved - That the general membership approves the Treasurer’s Report for 2023 Mover – Jim Montgomery Second – Ted Cowan Passed: Unanimously 5. GBA Report - Liz Phillips

Liz is now President of the GBA. Congratulations! Liz is in the process of visiting other member associations and is struck by how they are very different, but also very similar in many ways. Liz gave an overview of the current GBA issues and initiatives. Coastal protection Boating Safety Water quality 6. NEMI Update

Mayor Al MacNevin gave an overview of some of the challenges faced by NEMI Opioid and mental health problems in the region Burnout of staff and difficulty of recruiting and retaining new staff at the hospital COVID made the situation even worse, although working together did help strengthen the relationship with First Nation communities on Manitoulin Island The focus now is to work together across all disciplines to remove silos. Councilor Laurie Cook Reiterated that the fire ban is still on Reviewed some of the benefits we receive for our tax dollars, and encouraged the BICA community to take advantage of: $5000 pump subsidy Little Current Library Rec Centre 7. Q&A

David Alison congratulated and thanked Liz for stepping up to the role of GBA President. This was reiterated by Lindsay Richards. Neil Stanton asked Mayor Al about the criteria for removing the fire ban. Mayor Al responded that it is not the Mayor’s decision - it is up to the Fire Chief. Mayor Al agreed that the current situation is confusing because the fire ban has been lifted in some neighboring municipalities and on Crown Land. Zachary Shewchuk asked Mayor Al about specific guidelines for what types of fires are allowed under the fire ban – BBQ’s, indoor fireplaces, etc.? 8. Emergency Preparedness and Fire Safety

Emergency Preparedness – Sheila Williams Reviewed the success of the training by NSSR and the OPP that BiCA arranged for members in July. Reviewed the safety information sheet posted on the BICA website.Overviewed the Emergency Form that was laminated and made available to members at the meeting. Acknowledged and thanked Kim Redston and Lisa Alison for the work on preparing this form.Stressed the importance of knowing your exact location when calling 911 for assistance. Your Island Number may not be enough. Know your GPS coordinates and/or What3Words location. Get first aid training – you need to be able to take care of yourself. Fire Safety – David Gallup Thanks to the NEMI subsidy and 10 additional pumps, we now have 45 fire pumps in the Bay. 72 members in the WhatsApp Fire Pump Group. Stressed the importance that it is for fire emergency use only – no general chit chat. Contact David Gallup to be added to the Group. Tremendous response to the recent fire at the Vance camp. The fire was under control withing 30 minutes of notification.Lessons learn: Personal safety and being properly dressed and equipped is important – responders need to be prepared. No shorts, or bare feet. Long pants, boots and work gloves recommended. Bring tools – rakes, shovels, etc. BICA is trying to arrange Fire Pump Training and Fire Fighting Training in 2024. Contact Patrick Thoburn if you know someone that could possibly do this training. 9. Members Brainstorm in Small Groups - All

Attending members were divided into 4 groups each having a BICA Board member acting as facilitator and Spokesperson.  Each group was asked to discuss the following question for approximately 10 minutes and brainstorm ideas: “What more can our community do to improve fire safety and emergency preparedness?” 10. Presentation of Member Ideas – Group Spokespeople

Each group’s ideas were written on a large notepad and then presented by the Spokesperson. Following the presentation, each member was asked to put up two colored stickers for voting on ideas that should be pursued by BICA. 11. Board Nominations & Election – Trevor Marshall

Nominations for the Board of Directors for 2023-2024 Patrick Thoburn Sheila Williams Celesta Bjornson Liz Phillips David Farner Trevor Marshall Bobette Jones Scott Boatman Jeff Baker Chris Redston Lisa Allison David Gallup Motion - That the general membership approves the Board of Directors for 2023-2024. Mover – Zachary Shewchuk Second – Jean Paul Whyatt Passed: Unanimously 12. Adjournment – Patrick

Meeting Adjourned at 5:45 EST

Minutes drafted by Chris Redston, Secretary

Presidents Report 2023 by Patrick Thoburn - appended to these minutes.

Environmental Report 2023 by Chris Redston - appended to these minutes.

President’s Report 2023

Bay of Islands Community AssociationPresident’s Report 2023By Patrick ThoburnDelivered at the 88th annual member meeting of the Bay of Islands Community Association on August 5, 2023.Our community has been meeting for the past 88 years on these shores with the same unwavering purpose: To preserve and protect the Bay for future generations.One year ago today, with that purpose in mind, our members brainstormed on the question, “What initiatives should BICA continue or start?” The following were voted as the top priorities. I’d like to talk about what we’ve accomplished together on these priorities over the last year and look ahead to next year.

Fire safety: Led by David Gallup we secured $5,000 from NEMI for 10 new fire pumps and installed a WhatsApp fire alert system critical to the speedy response to the Vance island fire. Emergency preparedness: Led by past-president Sheila Williams, we held an event with North Shore Rescue and the OPP where we learned about what to do in the event of an emergency on our islands. Here’s a resource you can fill out and keep on your fridge: Environmental initiatives: We published educational content for members, particularly during Love Your Bay Week, led by Board Secretary and Environment lead Chris Redston. Check it out here: Social Events -- Events like the Fish Fry, Social & Auction, Family Hot Dog Day and Bas Bleu Book Club continue to attract strong turnout, and the leadership of Jeff Baker, Celesta Bjornson, Sheila Richards, Trevor Marshall and Bobette Jones make all our events possible. Whitefish River First Nation – We’ve initiated a reset of the relationship with our allies and partners WRFN. When I met with newly elected Chief Rodney Nahwegahbow last month, he expressed enthusiasm for building on the strong ties between our communities. Several board members will meet with Chief and Council later this Summer and we will aim to introduce Chief Rodney to our community next year. It's important to know that your association supports other work to fulfill our mission, including:

GBA – Liz Phillips is our representative to this important environmental advocacy organization and is now GBA President. Congratulations, Liz! Tighter regulation of floating accommodations is one of GBA’s current priorities, and BICA has submitted a petition in support.  Membership – Our membership is stronger than ever thanks to the organization of past-president Celesta Bjornson, now our membership lead. Please spread the word and invite your neighbours and family members to join. Communications – Board member Lisa Allison has kept us informed by email and website, and we have more than 275 people on our e-mailing list; community members who don’t receive the email can sign up here: The many volunteer hours committed by the association board are so appreciated by all of us. Thank you!Finally, our board has approved an increase in dues to $105, to take place next year in 2024. 60% of our dues go to GBA, which recently increased their dues. This increase is in line with the cost-of-living increase since 2018, the last time dues were increased. We undertook a survey of GBA associations over the winter, led by Lindsay Richards, and we are the lowest cost of all the associations.Please spread the word about BICA. We rely on the volunteer spirit of the community to keep going. Please encourage your friends and neighbours to join.Thank you for your support, enthusiasm, and membership in our association.Minutes from the annual member meeting can be found here: LINKLink to Environment Report by Chris Redston can be found here: LINK

Environmental Report 2023

BICA Environment Committee Report 2023

By Chris Redston

We continue our focus on three key areas: Water Quality, Invasive Species, and Septic Systems. We are planning Love Your Bay Week 2023 - from August 5 to 12 - to communicate directly with members via email and post relevant content on the BICA website. Lindsay Richards and Martha McLellan continue to serve on the Water Quality Sub-committee. They have assisted with ideas and content for Love Your Bay Week and are planning to use the BICA Facebook Group to build awareness and promote the Love Your Bay Week campaign.

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. We will encourage members to use non-hazardous and more eco-friendly cleaning products by distributing content during Love Your Bay Week.

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 shorelines of public and private property. It is each members responsibility to look out for and attempt to control new stands of this plant on their own property. We will assist BICA members by providing information on how to identify and control Invasive Phragmites during Love Your Bay Week.

In August 2022, we organized a team of volunteers to cut the stand of Invasive Phragmites on public land on the Whitefish River near Whitefish Falls. Based on the updated Best Management Practices issued by the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, we have decided to stop the annual Phragmites cut on this stand on the Whitefish River. The updated practice does not recommend cutting the plant above grade. On its own, it is not an effective control method and can encourage new growth. Instead, we will lobby government to use new updated practices that now recommend the use of other control methods, including the use herbicides that are now approved for use near the water.

An invasive aquatic weed - Eurasian Watermilfoil – has spread rapidly through the Bay of Islands and there are now small and large weed beds throughout our water. We will use Love Your Bay Week to raise awareness of this invasive species with recommendations on how to slow the spread.

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. Mark Thoburn coordinated the pump-out of 31 BICA member septic tanks by Ferguson Maintenance in July 2023. Jim Ferguson has tentatively agreed to come back to the Bay of Islands on a 5-year rotation. We will use Love Your Bay Week to inform and educate members on what they can do to maintain their septic systems in good working order and encourage members to do regular pump outs.

Love Your Bay Week!

Welcome to Love Your Bay Week 2023!

To celebrate Love Your Bay this year, we will be sending out a series of daily emails and articles with how-to things you can do to protect and preserve the quality of natural environment of the Bay of Islands.

Here’s a schedule of what’s coming up:

Saturday August 5th - Embrace the Dark Sky

Monday August 7th - Shoreline Cleanup

Wednesday August 9th - Eurasian Watermilfoil

Thursday August 10th - Invasive Phragmites

Friday August 11th - Love Your Septic System

Saturday August 12th - Water Testing and Water Quality

Check back frequently as we post these updates to our website. We hope that you’ll find the content helpful!

There’s more in store this summer! 

The summer is only half over, and if the recent Fish Derby and Fry are any indication of the fun BICA members have together, we have so much to look forward on the links below to learn more about each event!

BICA Annual Member Meeting Followed by Wine & Cheese Social - Saturday, August 5  Annual BICA Sail Boat Race - Sunday August 6 Annual Raffle and Auction - Saturday, August 12. Donations needed! Sheguiandah Archaeological Site Tour - Sunday, August 20. RSVP to David Gallup: Stay tuned for Love Your Bay Week! August 6 - 12

It was a REELY great time! Fish Derby and Fry tips the scales for fun.

Saturday's fish derby & fry was another incredible success for our Bay community! Congratulations to Bill Williams for biggest catch of the day, and to Reg Drolet’s crew for biggest overall catch by a boat. 

Thanks to the team who helped clean the fish, including the Drolet men and John Moskal; thanks to Roc, Carolyn and Ryan for prizes and beverages; thank you to the Burton camp for donating some Ace Hill beverages and to the Williams and Bjornson families who brought bocks and cooking supplies. Finally, a big thanks to Mr. Moskal again on the superb fry, and to the entire Baker family, for opening up their home to everyone for what is a truly wonderful event! The BICA board sincerely thanks everyone involved, and here’s hoping we can do it all over again next year! 

Emergency Preparedness Information Session Recap

Based on your feedback at our Annual Member Meeting last year, Safety and Emergency Preparedness topped the list of areas of interest. In response, the BICA Board organized an information session on Emergency Preparedness July 25th, presented by North Shore Search & Rescue. We have created a new main menu category on Emergency Preparedness. Below is a brief summary of the information presented for those of you who were unable to attend and for everyone’s reference. Please see our new page on Emergency Preparedness for more details and resources.

Communication is essential. It is great to have cell phone service to dial 911 but you should also plan on the event, “what if cell service is not available in my location”. The most reliable option is to have a satellite messenger or emergency personal locater beacon (EPIRB/PLB) with you. For more information on types of satellite and PLB options here are some reference articles: Know your location.When talking or messaging to emergency services it is essential to give your exact location.Each camp should know their GPS coordinates. Also, every camp should download the “What3Words” app and give those 3 words for the camp location to emergency services.  For more information on the What3Words app and how to use it, you can go to their site: Be skilled in First Aid.In case of emergency, you are your biggest help! Even when emergency services are activated, it can take extended time for them to arrive to our remote locations.Everyone should take a first aid course and ensure you have a robust first aid kit at your camp.  Resources in Canada and US for finding First Aid courses are below:US Red Cross Canada Red Cross St. John Ambulance Have a plan and be prepared.When boating or hiking be prepared before you go. A great resource is For more details on each of the categories above and how to best be prepared for an emergency, visit our new Emergency Preparedness page.

We also invite you to attend our Annual Member Meeting on August 5th during which we will have more brainstorming and discussion on the next level of emergency preparedness and safety for our BICA Community.

Bas Bleu Book Discussion

All Women of the Bay are invited to this year's Bay of Islands Bas Bleu Book Discussion meeting. Everyone is welcome! 

This year's book is Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moodie.It's a Canadian Classic. First published in 1852, it is a first hand account of an English woman's life as a pioneer in Ontario. 

Date:  Thursday, July 20th

Time: 9:30 am to 12 noon

Place: Thoburn Island

Looking forward to a lively discussion!

P.S. The link to the calendar event with the Thoburn Island location can be found here.

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