Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

Major Accomplishments Since Inception in 1970


The Association was founded in 1970 to address a proposed development of Grand Island, and was incorporated under the laws of the Province of Ontario in 1976. Incorporation was necessary to appear at the Ontario Municipal Board, and gives greater weight in dealings with developers, City Council, etc. The BLA is a non profit Corporation, consisting of Road Associations and individual private members. The Corporation is a Supporting Group of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations (FOCA).

In 2010, the Government of Ontario passed new legislation updating the operating requirements for Not-for-Profit Corporations. Implementation of these changes has been delayed, however we expect them to implemented in 2016. For this reason, the Balsam Lake Associaiton has undertaken a full re-write of its By-Laws and these changes will be presented to the members at the Annual General Meeting of 04 June, 2016.

1. Grand Island

The original development proposal was for 2000 cottages (shoreline and backlot), an airstrip, possible casino, and other amenities. The newly formed BLA fought this proposal at Council with legal and Health Unit representation. The main basis was inadequate sewage treatment on parts of the island due to geography and minimal soil cover and the subsequent potential negative effect on the lake. In the end, 50 large “estate” lots were approved. The resulting financial squeeze on the developer resulted in the land reverting to the previous owner.

2. Eklin Park

The original proposal was for over 100 backlot condos, with access to just 700 feet of waterfront on the North Bay adjacent to the Provincial Park. Objections were based on an inconsistent land density compared to that imposed on lakefront lots and the concern of congestion on the waterfront. The net result was approval for only 15 “estate” sized lots, with the remainder of the property designated as green space.

3. Shoreline Land Use Designation

In late 1970, the Province proposed designating all shoreline as “Residential, Limited Residential, or Seasonal” based on a perceived concern of difficulty and cost in servicing an expected population migration to rural areas. “Seasonal” designation meant that only 6 months of occupancy would be permitted, from May 15 to October 15. These designations appeared in the first draft of the Victoria County Official Plan. The BLA strongly objected to this proposal, and after working with the Planning Department, succeeded in having the designations dropped.

4. Water Clarity Testing

The BLA originally organized water testing and sampling at various locations around the lake. This involved collection, recording of Secchi Disk readings, and delivery of the samples to a collection point for pick up by the Ministry. This activity went on for a number of years. This work is now under the Lake Partner Program of the Ministry of the Environment. (In addition, the BLA is now liaising with the Kawartha Lakes Stewardship Program, a multi lake program for water testing, including bacteria).


5. Water Qualtiy Testing

In 2009, the BLA initiated participation in Water Quality Testing program to assess ecoli levels in the Lake. This program continued until 2015 at which point it was determined that an annual program was no longer required. Water Quality testing showed that Balsam Lake had very low ecoli presence and that these tests would be done on a periodic basis for the future.

6. Indian Point Provincial Park

After the death of the owner, the Provincial Government took control of the east half of Indian Point and proposed to develop another Provincial Park. The BLA strenuously objected to this proposal, and the Government backed off. It is now an undeveloped Park area.

7. Eldon Dump

Early in the1980’s, the Province was looking for dump sites, and a location in Eldon Township just west of Balsam Lake was identified. The BLA helped organize a Committee and provided $11,000 to show this was a poor site for the proposed usage. The evidence suggested that it would be a poor choice for environmental reasons as the leachate would run into the Staples River and then into Balsam Lake. Professional help was recruited, resulting in the site being removed from consideration.

8. Kingsview Development

Through the efforts of the BLA and abutting neighbors, the lake frontage development was scaled down to 35 condos with lake access. The sewage system capacity was increased, and financial guarantees obtained by the City for the water treatment facility and the sewage system for which the City is now responsible. The wetlands are protected, and other environmental concerns addressed by a redesign of the layout. The proposal for the Highway 35 frontage for time share condos was deferred. All this came at a cost to the BLA of some $60,000 for hiring professional advisors, appearing before the OMB, etc. Other spinoffs include the agreement of CKL to involve Lake Associations in the development of studies and the Official Plan.

The comment by our Planner after resolution was as follows:” The BLA’s involvement achieved broader awareness among lake associations and across the City that such developments and their environmental impacts need to be examined very closely”.

9. Trent Severn Waterway (TSW) Study

The TSW has commissioned a study to obtain input from stakeholders and the public on the future operation of the waterway. This includes items such as lake levels, storage drawdowns, lockage operation, etc. The BLA has attended public meetings and has made a submission on your behalf.

10. Proposed West Bay Development

The land on the west side of West Bay just south of the canal (approximately 900 acres with approximately 400 feet of waterfront on West Bay) has changed hands several times in recent years. At one point developers were considering a golf course which had the potential to lead to more extensive water front and back lot development. There were concerns that fertilizer and pesticide use on a golf course could have adverse effects on Balsam Lake and the adjacent provincially significant wetlands. In addition, minimal soil cover in the area is a significant development concern. Over the years, the Balsam Lake Association has monitored potential development of this property and was prepared to intervene if appropriate. As of 2015, the property has been re-sold and the owner is developing a single family residence adjacent to the lake.

11. Lake Management Plan

Under the leadership of the Kawartha Conservation Authority and Kawartha Lakes Stewards, a group was formed in 2010 to develop a Lake Management Plan for Balsam Lake. BLA was represented by one of our Directors who chaired the committee during the plans development. The Plan was approved by City of Kawartha Lakes and is now in the public domain for implementation.


12. Hazard Marking Program

In 2011, the Balsam Lake Association undertook to provide hazard markers at some key sites around the lake. Balsam Lake is part of the Trent Severn Waterway system and as such any marker placements must meet Federal Government standards. To this end, BLA purchased a number of approved markers. A dedicated team of local residents places these markers in the Spring and removes them each year in the Fall.

 13. Proposed Race Track Dvelopment

In 2014 BLA became aware of a proposal to develop an Auto Racetrack on property at Blanchards Road and County Road 48. BLA interevened in this application at the Ontario Municipal Board and was successful in its efforts to have the developer address our concerns over noise levels and potential hazardous material spills on the site. The project now appears dormant and the property is for sale once again. 

14. Cormorant Nesting Issues

Over the past few years we have noticed a significant increase in the number of nesting Cormorants. These birds have an incredible appetite and will consume large amounts of fish on a daily basis. In addition, because of their numbers they devastate the foliage in any location they choose to nest. BLA has been monitoring this situation and has had numerous contacts with Ministry staff to consider what options are available to better control this population.

 15. Supporting Local initiatives for the Rosedale and Killarney Bay communities

The communities of Rosedale and Killarney Bay have undertaken local initiatives to address the needs of the community parks/boat launch. Efforts to elicit support from various Governemnt levels have been unsuccessul so the local communities took it upon themselves to address these issues. Balsam Lake Association was asked to support these intiatives and we offered that support as requested.


16. Membership in FOCA

The Balsam Lake Association is a member of the Federation of Cottagers Association. BLA representatives attend the twice-annual meetings to hear of FOCA's priorities and to ensure they are well aligned with those of our own organization.



It is absolutely necessary that Balsam Lake be well managed today to protect the interests of future generations.

One pays high premiums for property insurance to protect one’s investment. Like your insurance company the BLA and your Road Association are also helping to protect your investment. Environmental degradation, over development and misguided political action affect the value and enjoyment of your investment.

The members of the BLA are your neighbors and also have substantial investments to protect. We can only continue this work with your support - both financial and manpower. We need volunteers to help us sustain these intiativies and without it, the Balsam Lake Association will not survive.