Special Appeal: Rondeau Provincial Park

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Special Appeal - Rondeau Provincial Park

June 2016

This is the final call to voice your opposition to the extension of private cottage leases in Rondeau Provincial Park for 17 years. Just like the extension of the Spring Bear Hunt, the decision to extend private ownership of cottages in a provincial park - subsidized by public dollars - is strictly politically, and Premier Kathleen Wynne is widely known to have been meeting with the Rondeau Cottage Leaseholders at the exclusion of all other stakeholders.

The public has now been given 30 days until June 17, 2016 to voice their opposition, but we are asking that you please call directly into the Premier’s office because it has become inappropriate to speak to anyone else other than the Premier.

A telephone call is quick and impossible to ignore. Here is the telephone number to the Premier’s office: 416-325-1941

TTY/Teletypewriter:
(for the hearing impaired)

1-800-387-5559

If you prefer: E-mail premier@ontario.ca

This issue is important on so many levels. Please let’s raise our collective public voices to preserve public rights and endangered habitat. Below is a sample message you can use.

Sample Message:

I am calling / writing to register my opposition to the extension of private cottage leases in Rondeau Provincial Park. These cottages were never intended to be permanent. Rondeau was recognized as a unique landscape over a hundred years ago and incorporated into a provincial park to be preserved as a public legacy for generations to come.

I feel this public legacy has been put to shame by the presence of almost 300 privately owned cottages that have endangered the very landscape our former governors had intended to protect in the public trust.

I feel the decision to extend cottage leases without a grandfathering provision violates this public trust, and I cannot support this decision.

Sincerely,

These cottages were always intended to be grandfathered out when Ontario decided to protect Rondeau’s unique habitat, and each time governments have cozied up to its wealthy occupants, kicking public interests to the curb.

Today, cottagers continue to have privileged access to a provincial park and beach front, and are subsidized by public dollars.

Equally important is that cottages have destroyed the most significant habitat of the park - one of the last remnants of freshwater sand dunes in North America – a habitat recognized as being internationally endangered and one of the reasons Rondeau is supposedly protected as a provincial park.

The majority of private cottages sit in the area that is designated freshwater sand dunes - along the beach shoreline. In the past, the Ontario government dedicated funds to purchasing cottages as they came up for sale, but Ontario Parks confirmed those funds are no longer available. Therefore restoration of the endangered habitat has been abandoned at Rondeau.

Lawns and grass cutting, invasive species from gardens have also negatively impacted the tallgrass savannah and its threatened species that define Rondeau’s ecology. In addition, cottages are serviced by roads, lighting, garbage pickup and all other conveniences of suburban living – in a provincial park..

The Rondeau Park Leaseholders Association would like you to believe that the cottages at Rondeau are rustic tiny-weeny things that cause no harm, and do not barricade access to the beach for members of the public.

While there may be a few cute cottages around from the early days, the vast majority of cottages are equal to suburban homes with vast lawns, and driveways.

It is simply unbelievable in the 21st century that the Ontario government has abandoned an opportunity to protect such a unique landscape and gift it back to the public as it was originally intended.

Proposal to Extend Cottage Leases at Rondeau Provincial Park.

EBR Notice: https://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTExMDMw&statusId=MTY2NjE5&language=en

Ontario Parks has backtracked on prohibiting the re-sale of cottages and grandfathering the leases with the death of the current owner or their spouse because cottagers lobbied hard for the right to re-sell their cottages for profit. Therefore, the current proposal has been substantially watered down to the point of being meaningless.

  • restrictions on gardening with exotics and a pesticide and herbicide ban:
  • prohibit the renting of cottages for profit:
  • pay market value taxes which averages about $2000 a year – pocket change for someone who is wealthy.

Ontario Parks has refused to clarify whether they will be requiring cottagers to undo the damage already done.

For example, the cottage seen above will not be asked to ‘depave’ their vast driveway, stop cutting their lawn or remove their lawn. Therefore, this particular cottage owner can continue as is, as long as they agree to not garden with exotics, pay market value taxes, and they can sell their cottage.

The changes from the original more restrictive proposal from 2010, are found at the very end of the EBR posting under "Updates".

This issue is about protecting public rights and endangered habitat for OUR children and All children.

Please call or write the Premier Today. Thank You.

For More Information, please link to:

Environmental and Economic Reports for Rondeau Provincial Park

https://www.ontario.ca/page/research-provincial-parks-and-conservation-reserves

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