I am often asked, “Why should I support the Bay of Islands Association (BICA); aren’t they just a social group?”.
While we do organize opportunities for our neighbours to get together on a social basis such as the annual family social and auction, book club, sailboat race, fishing derby, and, more recently, the open-mike Meet & Mix at the Red Dog Grill, BICA is much more than a social organization!
BICA’s Objective/Mission is to preserve and protect the Bay of Islands.
Some of our important ongoing activities:
We regularly monitor the water quality throughout the Bay of Islands and the Whitefish River, and have recorded an extensive database over 15 years so trends can be highlighted. We have alerted others, including the Ontario Ministry of Environment, to high e-coli levels in various locations.
We have assisted members with the purchase of fire-fighting equipment. We now have 32 camps with fire pumps and hose to readily fight fires before the MNR arrives. We also have developed a fire-alert phone-tree to readily notify our members of fires.
We recently purchased a Stihl brush-cutter and organized a work party to cut down Phragmites in an effort to control its spread. We have monitored other invasive species in our Bay, such as Zebra mussels, Goby fish, and Eurasian Water Milfoil.
Several years ago, when low water levels were a serious concern, we attended meetings and made a submission on behalf of BICA to the International Joint Commission on Great Lakes Water Levels. We continue to work closely with the Georgian Bay Association as well as other groups dedicated to addressing this and related issues.
We have established a Cottage Watch network throughout the Bay and provided each member with a sheet of unique number stickers to be put on items, so they can be readily identified if the item goes missing. We are regularly in touch with the OPP
regarding break-in activity.
We have held a number of water and boating safety seminars with the assistance of the OPP. We have determined the GPS coordinates for each member’s dock for quick access in an emergency.
We meet annually with the Fisher Harbour management to ensure continued environmental protection of the area. Recently, we opposed the development of the Island Lodge into 16 cottage properties until a proper environmental assessment was
completed. We regularly host a group from McMaster University who monitor the quality of our wetlands.
We meet regularly with our Whitefish River First Nation and the McGregor Bay Association neighbours to maintain a positive relationship and open communications. The Chief and the MBA President often are invited to speak at our Annual General Meeting. We have provided scholarships and sponsorships over the years to the Whitefish River First Nation.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
We hold an AGM on the Saturday morning of the civic holiday weekend each year, usually at the Red Dog Grill. We always have interesting guest speakers at the AGM, such as the Executive Directors of the Georgian Bay Association, Georgian Bay Forever, and the Georgian Bay Land Trust, the Mayor of NEMI, and the chief of the Whitefish River First Nation. Everyone is invited to attend.
GEORGIAN BAY ASSOCIATION (GBA) and FEDERATION of ONTARIO COTTAGERS’ ASSOCIATION (FOCA)
BICA membership includes membership in the GBA and FOCA. These very important organizations lobby the Ontario and Canadian governments on issues that affect us all. It is essential that we have a strong collective voice when presenting our concerns. FOCA membership also provides a 5% discount on your cottage insurance.
ARE YOU A MEMBER?
If you own a home, cottage, or business in the Bay of Islands, you know how special this area is. We need everyone to join and support BICA in preserving and protecting the Bay of Islands.
Our small annual dues (currently $85.00, 65% of which goes to GBA and FOCA) assists us in our efforts to protect and preserve our Bay of Islands.
None of our annual dues goes towards funding social events.
Please join BICA today and support the important work we do for you and our very special Bay of Islands.
Rick Sterne – Past President
Island 2502 – west end