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Raven News

  • 20 Oct 2021 12:53 PM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    “Pulling up stakes, pardner?”

    In a scene John Wayne himself could have starred in, settlers stood together, surrounded by roots they had put down over the years, visibly dismayed at being “run outta Dodge by the sheriff”. With the days of happily gliding in to hitch their “horses” to a familiar post now gone, even the wet and wild winds suggested dark days ahead.

    “Been a-comin’ fer years, you know; it had to be. But it ain’t the end of the world; better days lie ahead.” a vaguely familiar voice said. “Here, let me give you a hand, friend...”

    Exactly who spoke those words nobody was quite sure, but just like that, just like always, the community started coming together. The mood brightened, hammers and saws rang out, the sun appeared, other settlers arrived and a few hours later many familiar hitching posts had vanished. A little wistful, but smiling just the same, they looked out together over a long-obscured shoreline reasserting itself.

    “Ya know, those old things, they were some ugly. Rickety. Death traps, even; ours was for sure. I’m surprised the sheriff didn’t act sooner. Who’d a thought so much could disappear in a morning?”

    Dirty hands hanging at their sides, the settlers looked out to where their stakes used to be, then down the shore where others still stood, waiting to go.

    “Just a few days ago we were all plenty upset about the situation, feeling hard done by, the cost, the timing ‘n all. Hopeless.”  The voice continued. “Rumours, a lot of blamin’ goin’ on, pretty desperate really. But when I heard about the Plans ‘n how much better things are gonna be for everyone, ‘n see how much we’ve got done already... ya, it’s not gonna be cheap ‘n time’s a tickin’, but we’ve seen what this community can do when we all put our shoulders to the wheel.”

    Assuming the one standing next to them had spoken their thoughts, heads nodded.

    “Not hopeless now, though. Friends and neighbours will step up soon ‘nuff, once they see what got done today. Nobody we know is gonna leave it to others to clean up their mess; that’s not how we do things here. Right?”

    For the record: while these photos document the 4 hrs spent removing the longest stick dock from the landing, others were already gone or being removed at the same time. Inspired as we were by our Raven Lake friends, we hope this little bit of fun encourages other stick dockers  to “git ‘er gone”.  RLCA needs us all to remove docks and boats from the landing in order to secure a legal Land Use Permit from MNRF, so that we never again have to worry about our cottage access.

    –– Harry Wilson

  • 20 Oct 2021 12:36 PM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    We'd like to thank the many of you who have managed to get out on some wet weekends with all your tools and trailers to dismantle and haul away your old docks. It's great to see the shoreline opening up. There are still many docks remaining, but most appear still to be in use and we're hopeful that they will be gone soon too.

  • 8 Oct 2021 4:54 PM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    Hello Raven Lake Cottage Association Members,

    With the MNRF posting of the stick dock removal notices this week, and the uncertainty and stress that this is undoubtedly causing our members, we want to share the below detailed update on the docking project. While there are no guarantees the project will be completed by spring of 2022, we would like to take this time to show our progress and plans for the project going forward.

    Planning & Zoning Process

    We conducted an on-site visit at the landing with the Township of Lake of Bay (LoB) planner on Oct. 1st. Based on the discussion at this meeting, we have determined that the best approach is to pursue two plans simultaneously – one that does not require rezoning (and is therefore more likely to be completed by spring) and a second that it is dependent on rezoning (and therefore more time consuming).

    The MNRF has told the RLCA that they will issue us a Land Use Permit (LuP) (lease) for the water lot adjacent to the landing dependent on the RLCA: i) having a land survey completed (the RLCA is waiting on the completed survey materials now); and ii) the removal of the existing stick docks (MNRF posted the removal notice on Oct. 6th with a 45-day removal period ending on Nov. 20th). The RLCA has also requested that Bill Lang from Barriston Law in Huntsville, who has been engaged with this project for the last year, also act as our representative with the MNRF to secure our LuP.

    Plan 1 will not require rezoning with LoB; this gives the best chance for docks to be in the water for ice out in the spring. The limitation of this plan is that it will only hold approximately 66 boats. Currently the Raven Lake Dock Association (RLDA) has 64 signed members. Therefore, while Plan 1 will be able to accommodate everyone who has currently signed, there are additional water access cottagers who may still choose to join the RLDA. If the number of members goes beyond the number of docks available for next year, we will need to look at creative ways for the community to accommodate more boats, such as dock pooling. Plan 1 is intended to be an interim solution while we secure the necessary rezoning approvals for plan 2.

    Plan 2 requires a rezoning application to LoB. Because there is more involved in a rezoning application, this process may not be completed in time for March-April 2022. The RLCA is reaching out to find a local professional planner with availability and the knowledge to begin the rezoning application process as soon as possible.

    The Landing Committee is starting work on both plan 1 and plan 2 now and will run them in parallel, where reasonable and appropriate. While completing the necessary Plan 2 approvals before the next cottage season is unlikely, if the necessary approvals are received in time, we would skip plan 1 and go straight to plan 2.

    Once rezoning approvals are secured under Plan 2, this will allow us to increase the number of slips as needed to accommodate all water access residents that decide to join the RLDA.

    Organizational Structure

    The RLCA’s intent is to set up the docking project as a condominium corporation (a “Dockuminium”, if you will) as per the recommendations of both our Lawyer and the LoB planner. By structuring the docking project as a condominium, we can leverage the provincial rules around establishing a capital reserve and setting yearly maintenance fees to cover establishing the capital reserve and covering the yearly maintenance costs. Governance of condominiums in the Muskoka region is done at the District of Muskoka regional level, so the RLCA will have to make an application to and work with the district for approvals. This adds an additional layer of government interaction to this project; if the RLCA is not able to set up the docking project as a condominium structure for the spring of 2022, we would proceed with the new docking project structured as a club and then transition to a condominium structure once the necessary approvals are completed.

    Vendors & Bidding Process

    The landing committee has reached out to several dock vendors and have found 4 that are willing to bid on the project. We will be proceeding with a Request for Proposal / Quote (RFP) which includes both plan 1 and plan 2 shortly. One of the conditions of the RFP is that the vendor must be able to complete the new docks and have them in place on the ice after the snowmobile season ends and before ice out in March-April of 2022. We will need detailed plans from the vendor that we choose to proceed with the building permit applications for plan 1. Again, if the approvals for plan 2 are secured in time for next spring we would skip plan 1 and go forward with plan 2.

    The landing committee has also reached out to 4 local contractors and have found 1 that is able to complete the removal of any stick docks still in place at the landing before the Nov.20th deadline. This will include removing the stick docks from the shoreline and disposing of the material properly. The contractor will also be moving any remaining boats or trailers from along the shoreline to the back of the parking lot so that there is space for the removal process as well as the installation process in the spring. We would again encourage anyone who has left a trailer or boat at the landing to remove it themselves before Nov. 20th.

    Keeping You Informed

    Again, while there are no guarantees in place at this time, progress with the MNRF for the LuP and the ongoing LoB Council support including our on-site meeting with the LoB planner suggest that we do have a path to having new docks in the water for the start of next year's water access cottage season.

    The landing committee is going to be scheduling a virtual Q&A session on October 27th at 7:00 PM at which we will speak to the details in this update and offer the opportunity for questions. Please watch for an invitation from the  RLCA over the next few days.


    RLCA Landing Committee
    (Sean Hungerford, Scott Lewis, Graham Donald, Ross Lawrence)

  • 4 Oct 2021 4:36 PM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    We are saddened to learn that Gayle Smallbridge has passed away at the age of 91. Gayle and her husband John have been members of the Raven Lake community at their cottage on the East Shore for many years.

    For many years prior to 2000, Gayle was a member of the RLCA Board of Directors. She served as the RLCA Secretary and her role included issuing membership cards to all new members.

    You will find her obituary at:

  • 8 Sep 2021 2:08 PM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    Dear Raven Lake Cottage Association Members & Raven Lake Dock Association Members,

    Negotiations with the various government agencies who are involved in approving the creation of the new docks at the Raven Lake Landing have been progressing slowly but without interruption until last Friday. Christine Apostolov, the representative of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (“MNRF”) that we have been working with, unexpectedly sent us notice that the Minden Office of the MNRF would be posting an “unauthorized docks” notice at the landing, with a 60-day period to have the unauthorized docks removed.

    This notice has come as a complete surprise to the RLCA landing committee as she had authorized and instructed us to have a survey completed of the property which would then enable us to obtain a lease with the MNRF for the lands that would be occupied by the new docks. The survey is almost complete and should be in hand within 2 weeks.

    Immediately following receipt of the notice, we attempted to engage with her to determine if she could be persuaded not to post the notice based on our good faith efforts to date. Regrettably, she advised that she would not be available to deal with this matter until September 17.

    The purpose of this letter is to update you on this change and to assure you that we are and will be addressing this unexpected event in the coming days. We have alerted our lawyers and will be formulating a strategy on how best to proceed and to ensure that we are not prejudiced by these unexpected actions of MNRF.

    We will continue to keep you informed as we work through completion of the land survey, securing of a temporary lease with the MNRF and engaging with the Township of Lake of Bays on building approvals.

    RLCA Landing Committee
    (Sean Hungerford, Scott Lewis, Graham Donald, Ross Lawrence)

  • 30 Aug 2021 2:59 PM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    We had a great turnout and high engagement for our virtual Annual General Meeting on August 18th, 2021. Thank you to all the members who participated, joined the discussion, and showed their support.

    While we certainly missed seeing everyone in person, the virtual meeting did allow good access by computer or phone; also, we were pleased to receive many questions in advance of the meeting that we were able to address.

    Please click the links below to download the AGM Presentation (the agenda and reports) as well as the meeting Minutes.

    RLCA 2021 AGM Presentation (Final).pdf

    RLCA AGM Minutes 2021 (Final).pdf

  • 25 Aug 2021 10:06 AM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    Susan Kanitz had been a fixture around the lake and the RLCA Board for so many years that selling her cottage two years ago caught many Ravens by surprise. Understandable, perhaps, since husband Gil had passed away several years before and managing a cottage alone is no easy task, but still... after all, the Kanitz family has been a mainstay on the lake since the late 1950s.

    Susan’s ready smile and easy laugh put everyone at ease, be that at the landing, regatta, AGM or, if you were really lucky, on Mona Bay for some Kanitz fine dining. She and Gil loved to entertain, to cruise the lake at sunset, and while Gil spent his summers building additions, docks and stock-piling firewood, Susan found multiple ways to engage with the lake community. An inspiring teacher by profession (I know; I worked with both Susan and Gil) and avid canoeist and nature lover by avocation, she served as RLCA secretary during the critical Lake Planning years. Her work there, like everything she did, was exemplary. While preferring to keep out of the limelight, she was willing to step forward and speak up as needed. Considerate, generous, patient and a clear thinker in all matters, she instilled in her family the fine art of Raven cottaging. It is difficult to imagine Raven Lake without her and her family.

    We lost Susan in June after a difficult year. Daughter Hilary wanted to let everyone who helped the Kanitz family carry on cottaging in Gil’s absence know how much Susan appreciated their help. Such was Susan, the consummate giver, always surprised by kindnesses offered her. Raven Lake says thank you, Susan, one last time and extends its most sincere condolences to your family.

         – Harry Wilson

  • 18 Aug 2021 7:00 PM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    The RLCA Annual General Meeting is being held Wednesday, August 18th, at 7-8 PM.

    To ensure everyone's safety (including those with children and others who are ineligible for vaccinations) and also to allow access for those unable to get to the lake, we will be again holding the meeting virtually via Zoom.

    To participate in the meeting, click here to register. If you do not have a reliable internet connection, you will be able to join via telephone (please note: phone-only participants will be able to listen, but not provide input during the meeting).

    You will receive details about how to connect to the meeting from Zoom after you register.

  • 18 Jul 2021 8:07 PM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    MacDermid roots are deep in our Raven Lake community, and none deeper than Jack’s. We lost Jack this past week, and while things just won’t be the same without him, we will all continue to benefit enormously from his 54 years on the lake. His legacy is everywhere.

    Jack was an RLCA director and the Association’s “buoy fairy” for many years. He knew every inch of the lake from years of discovering and marking shoals, and while out dropping buoys he was as likely to stop by for a chat as drive by. His kids and grandkids are the same way. Jack was up for everything: fishing, water-skiing into his 80s, regattas, jetskiing, snowmobiling, Ravenstocks, corn roasts, Jack was always there, smiling quietly… His big tinnie with Hilda in the bow announced that the family was back on the lake and everyone knew if a situation arose on the lake, they would be there to help. That family trait lives on today.

    Hilda and Jack built their cliff cottage in 1967 as a “Centennial Project”, erecting first the shed down at the shore so the family of four had some place to sleep while Jack built. No doubt John learned a great deal from that experience. Jack came by his pioneering spirit honestly; growing up on a farm near Cornwall where, if something needed fixing, you fixed it; if someone needed help, you helped them. A close friend and neighbour for 46 years describes Jack as the nicest man he ever met: “He never boasted. A true BFF. Always friendly, generous and welcoming, a man who left the fish he caught in the lake for someone else to catch tomorrow. The very model of the Raven Lake Spirit.” That spirit shines bright in so many that Jack touched, most strikingly in his kids and grandkids.

    We will all remember Jack in different ways, but for many his quick smile and concern for our community will come to mind every time they pass one of the yellow minion buoys wearing those silly goggles. “What a wonderful lake!” we muse, as an inescapable smile begins… and that’s exactly the way Jack would want it.

    –– Harry Wilson

  • 21 Jun 2021 2:15 PM | Graham Donald (Administrator)

    Raven Lake has lost a true legend.

    Dunc Johnston was one of a kind, which we are not likely to see again. It is truly the end of an era on Raven.

    Dunc travelled the lake summer and winter since 1968; he was as familiar as the Raven Rock.

    With his beautiful wife Jean by his side, they added several additions to their cabin purchased from parents of a friend.

    They built a wonderful “home away from home” for their children Paul (Leslie) and Karen (Doug). As well as their 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Who love spending their time in his happy place.

    Dunc touched so many lives around Raven Lake. Always willing to lend a hand, fix cottages, build decks, docks, and outhouses. Or just run people down the lake to their cottage on a Friday night.

    We will remember him roaring down the lake in one of his three pontoon boats he built, with a home rolled cigarette burning in the wind.

    The Raven Lake Rum Runners will forever know him as our Grand Poobah (Wizard). His tireless spark would encourage all of us to follow his footsteps. With fundraisers, beach parties, Radar Runs, Triathlons, and everything else in between, he knew how to bring our group together. Just hanging out on his beach in the summer or late night winter hangouts in the boathouse. It was always lots of laughs and good times with Dunc leading the pack. The Rum Runners will forever keep his legacy alive.

    We are sure Dunc is together with the other Rum Runners who passed before him and they are sending cheers our way with a glass full. Please raise your glass to the sky and send cheers back to them!

    Rest easy Zip, you will be missed!

    – Love, Katie Van Pelt

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