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BIRPOA Fall Newsletter by President Rob Jackett

The Birch Islander;

Annual Canoe Race  

October, 2023 

Happy Thanksgiving  

The annual canoe race was held on Labour Day  weekend. Special thanks to Johanne and  Brett Pollock for continuing to host this  fantastic event. There were approximately  30 participants and over 20 boats  

participated. Everyone was well fed thanks to  Brett Pollack the BBQer! No one left without  an award.  

If you haven’t participated in this event yet  or in a while, mark it in your calendar for  September 1st, 2024.  

Annual General Meeting (AGM) 

The Annual General Meeting was held on  August 6th, 2023. Reports were provided by  the various committee members. BIRPOA  finances are in good shape, trails and library  continue to operate effectively. Ry Weisiger  was honoured by the membership for his  contribution to the Island. Membership  approved the naming of the Main Trail to Ry  Way. Past members were Vipool Desai and Val  Fullard were also recognized. Please see the  minutes for more information on the AGM. 

The following are your 2024 Executives and  


 Kit Wojcik – Volunteer  

John Feltmate – Volunteer 

Chris Wagner – Volunteer 

Dave Perfetti – Volunteer 

Rory Gooderham – Past President 

Mary Rockburn – Secretary and Treasurer Vice President – Wendy Nuttall 

President – Rob Jackett 

Other Positions 

Library – Bob Cavenagh

Secretary: Vacent

Wildlife – Vacant 

Trails – Rob Jackett 


At the AGM it was decided that proper  markers needed to be located on the North  Side of the Island where dangerous rocks are  located. Mary Rockburn and Sean Rockburn  installed them on October 4th. Many thanks  for this added safety measure.; 

Closing October 14-15 

The last weekend for cottagers is October  14-15. Sand Lake Marine asks that all  boaters make arrangements with them and  have your boats ready to be taken out for  winterized not later than the afternoon of  the 15th. A reminder to make sure you pay for  any additional parking that you used for the  season.  

Membership Contributions 

Annual contributions remain at $50.00. Your  contributions help BIRPOA do the things that  help build our community. Our goal is to have  

every cottage owner contribute to these  costs. If you haven’t already done so please  send your contributions to the following. e-transfer anytime – send to Code word is cottage. Financial Update – From Mary Rockburn Dues collected from 32 cottagers. Present  Balance-$3764.50 

Fall Expenses- 

$322.05 FOCA renewal  

$73.55 Supplies 

$130.00 AGM picnic 

$120.00 Canoe Race Picnic 

$331.07 Safety Buoy Supplies 

Update on Trails – Rob Jackett Trails have been reopened through the  eastern part of the island. Trail parallel to  the meadow (Johnny’s way) find the Vauxall and head east, connects back to the meadow.  Side trail behind cottage 8,9,10,12 parts 157  and 160 (Deer run trail). Try them out. 

The initiative on the Trail Lands Rights of  Way continues. We hope to have the transfer  completed by year end.  

Library – Bob Cavenagh 

The Birch Island Branch Library. (It was  originally surrounded by a branch before  Hydro had its way.) 

Lots of contributed books, puzzles, games,  cd/dvd roms. Maintained by volunteers, but  everyone is welcome to lend a hand. We love  to receive good books–but NO tired  leftovers that should go elsewhere. And  ‘Library Plaza’ is a nice place to meet or to  take a break while walking the trails. Want to help? Reshelve! Full size books and  big paperbacks only go on the back wall,  alphabetized by 1. Author’s LAST name, 2.  FIRST name, then 3. Titles alphabetically.  Smaller paperbacks only go in the smaller  shelves provided on the right-hand wall.  Children’s books on the front wall, along with  some specialty items. PUZZLES: on top only,  never in bookshelves. CD/DVDs: two shelves  among paperbacks ONLY. 

Volunteers will close it just  after Thanksgiving and it will open again in  the spring.  

Priorities for 2024 

• Transfer of trail lands  

• Update by-laws to be ONCA compliant 

•    Fill vacant volunteer positions  

• Finalize official Library use with the  Weisigers and Cavenaghs

• Opening welcome event 

• Change AGM to a more timely online form

On Behalf of your Board of Directors and Volunteers, Rob Jackett

The 2023 Birch Island AGM/Reunion/Picnic will take place at cottage 96 on Sunday August 6 at 11 am,

Hello Birch Islanders,

The annual BIRPOA general meeting (AGM) and a picnic/reunion will take place on August 6 at 11 am at cottage 96. All Birch Islanders (and guests) are welcome. Do come, and bring chairs. Burgers and dogs, soft drinks and water, etc. are provided and you need bring nothing–but if you want to show off a hot recipe, feel free to do so….

Docking will be tight at #96, so walk if you can, or ferry folks to the cottage and dock elsewhere. See below.

BIRPOA Summer Newsletter


Greetings Everyone.  Please find attached BIRPOA’s Summer 2023 Newsletter.

With the exception of the ongoing air quality alerts it has been a good summer so far.

A burn ban remains in effect and this may cause the cancellation of fireworks on Canada Day.

Please respect the Burn Ban.  We do not want our island to go up in smoke!

Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable summer.

Remember to send your contribution to support BIRPOA’s efforts.

See you at the AGM on Sunday July 30th.

Best regards, Rory Gooderham.

One attachment • Scanned by Gmail

It is the summer solstice, so a new image!

June 21 is the first day of Summer. Our last image was from December, of a maple leaf using solar energy to melt lake ice. Today’s ‘header’ is rather different.

With all the recent talk about AI (artificial intelligence) I thought it might be fun to try something new. I took a picture of Sand Lake–a panorama–from our dock, then used a new feature in Photoshop called GENERATIVE FILL to type the names of objects to add to the scene. Totally fictitious, but kind of fun. I hope you are amused!

Bob Cavenagh, Birch Island web jockey….

The Birch Islander

A Winter Newsletter by President Rory Gooderham; 

December 10th, 2022 

Another Beautiful Season 

Greetings to all BIRPOA Members and Birch Islanders: 

As the cold temperatures and snow sets in and our boats, lawnchairs and umbrellas are  safely stowed away, it might be a good time start thinking about how we did in 2022 and  what to look forward to next year.  

Members of the executive Board of Directors and committees elected at the AGM at the  end of July are posted on our website. Amendments to BIRPOA’s Constitution/By-Laws  were adopted at the AGM and this allows for up to nine (9) directors and as many  volunteers as are willing to contribute. The amendments were brought forward with the  intent to include as many Islanders as possible. BIRPOA renews itself annually and we are always looking for new people. 

If you are interested in contributing to things such as: organizing social events,  maintaining our trails; helping with our website and library, please get into touch.  

Communication is another priority. How to keep in touch with everyone. Facebook seems  to be most appropriate at this time and there will be more on this soon. 

Some of what happened in 2022 

First, Notes of thanks 

In the spirit of the season, we would like to note our appreciation to Sherry & Dave for  hosting the Annual Picnic/AGM again in 2022 and to Johanne & Brett for organizing the  47th annual canoe race. Thanks also to the directors and volunteers both past and present  for their contributions. A special note of thanks to our past president, Bob Cavenagh for  his leadership and steady hand on the till over the past three years while we all tried to  figure out what to do during a pandemic. 

Spongy Moth Infestation Averted 

Due to natural causes and the aerial spaying this spring, the return of those insidious  spongy moth caterpillars (formerly called gypsy moths) was not a problem in 2022. Birch  Island has a long history with these pests going back to the mid- 80’s. There have been  infestations roughly every 10 years but by most accounts the 2021 infestation was the  worst. Annual monitoring will help prevent the return of a major infestation. More on this  in the spring.; 

July Fireworks Spectacular 

Fireworks presented by our friends at Sand Lake Marine were marvellous this year. Folks  at the marina would like our encouragement and contributions to keep it going. Would it be  good to include an event for Islanders to celebrate our national holidays in July? 

Hydro Easement Maintenance 

Late in the summer, forestry crews came through the hydro easement to trim branches  and cut dead trees that could damage the lines. This is welcome maintenance but there  seemed to be little or no notice. At least one islander had problems with what was done  and after some effort contacting Bell/Hydro, a crew was dispatched to fix. 

Membership – How are we doing? 

There were 36 members recorded as present at the end of July AGM. Paid memberships  for 2022 were 34. 

The modest annual fee of $50.00 helps BIRPOA to maintain the inland trails, purchase  liability insurance, pay for membership to FOCA the Federation of Ontario Cottage  Associations, manage our website, contribute to various events and other activities. 

Membership contributions can be made by e-transfer anytime – send an email to It’s not too late to contribute is you haven’t so far. 

Members & Islanders Directory 

The annual directory including the names, phone numbers and addresses was distributed at  the AGM. Information in the directory is an important benefit not only to let you know  who your neighbours are but also to have contacts for assistance or to check on your  property when you are not there. The directory is for the private use of BIRPOA  Members and Birch Island residents. We would like o make the directory available to all  Islanders early next spring. If, for any reason, you do not want your information included,  please contact us at  


Participation in the various working groups and committees is greatly appreciated. We  would like to tap into the knowledge, experience and expertise of our members. If you are  a techie, planner, gardener, forester, carpenter, labourer, newsletter writer, baker &  candlestick maker, we can use you.

Our Website:- 

Regular Updates and expansion of our website content to include items from the old site  along with new content and information is a high priority. If you have ideas on  items/resources you would like to see, please get in touch. We are looking for one or  more web savvy individuals to help keep our website dynamic and interesting. If you  might be interested, please contact Bob Cavenagh: 

Trail Maintenance 

If not for the efforts of many islanders over the years, our trails would have become an  impassable tangle of trees and branches long ago. Special thanks to our Trail Boss, Ry  Weisiger, for all the work he has done over the years. Ry needs your help to keep the  trails clear and safe. Taking care of the section of the trail outside your property is good  place to start. Reporting down trees and other hazards is also greatly appreciated.  

A note about Interior Lands 

Please note that the interior lands are all privately owned by Islanders with one or two  exceptions. Removal of trees/firewood, soil, rocks or other materials cannot be done  without the permission of the property owner. Names of interior property owners will be  included in the next directory. Please send an email to for more  information. 

The Branch Library 

Our treasured library owned and operated on behalf of all Islanders by Bob, Susan, Ry and  Kathleen. Many thanks to those who have helped sort books and keeping things in order. A  trip to the Library on a pleasant day is wonderful destination and great way to see the  island interior. 

More Social Events? 

The annual canoe/kayak race around the island is back. It’s fun and can be done at your  own pace. Competitive only if you want to be competitive. The annual general meeting is  becoming an annual picnic.  

Do we want to add more events to the summer calendar. These events are a great way to  make new friends, have a bite to eat and find out what’s going on around the island.  Perhaps an event on Canada Day to celebrate our national holidays before the fireworks at  Sand Lake Marine. 

The initiative on the Trail Lands Rights of Way  

Access to the trails, perhaps our main raison d’etre, should not be taken for granted.  Having properly defined legal access to the trails attached to your property is a valuable  asset. A first group of property owners partially secured their rights a few years ago.  There is more to do and a second and hopefully final attempt is being organized. A  separate mailing with more information will be going out next Spring. 

Parks Canada Rideau Waterway, Township of Rideau Lakes, Provincial and Federal  Governments 

A small group was formed to help monitor the various levels of government and ministries that can have a direct impact on our rights and enjoyment of our properties on Birch  Island. Monitoring, participating and providing feedback on the development of such  things as the Rideau Canal Management Plan, the Rideau Lakes Lake Association Committee  (RLLAC) are things this group can keep watch on. Please get in touch, if you would like to  participate. 

We Want to Hear from You 

The strength of any organization is based on its members. The Birch Island association has been in existence for 50 years and counting. What we can do for our members is  important going forward. A virtual late winter meeting is being planned. We would like to talk about what we are doing and hear from you about what you would like to see from your  Lake Association.  

That’s all for now. 

On Behalf of your Board of Directors and Volunteers, 

Rory Gooderham 

August Updates

MEGA kudos to Dave and Sherry for their magnificent site preparation and hosting of our 2022 Reunion/AGM!

It was a great success this year, with burgers and hot dogs being served up by Rob Jackett, with salads, cookies, cakes, and Kit’s bountiful and popular shortcake!

We congratulate Rory Gooderham on his election to the Presidency for the coming year, and to Rob Jackett for his election to/acceptance of, the Presidential cycle of three years.

Thanks also are due to all those whose continued involvement and engagement keeps our association humming!

The membership has made the following decisions at the AGM

At this year’s AGM we made a commitment to approach and press both the Township and the Rideau Authority to take some sort of action to remediate issues with Sand Lake septic systems (including those on Birch Island) that are dumping raw or partly processed sewage into the lake that provides drinking water for many of us.

Rory and Rob have undertaken constitutional/organizational changes to bring us into compliance with Ontario’s new Not-for-profit Corporations Act (NOCA) which is required by 2024.

We have added a new section to the website: Birch Merch! (see the menu bar) Yes, now you can get custom-designed t-shirts and mugs to represent our beautiful island!

Hi Birch Islanders. It’s time for our Second Annual All-Island Reunion

You are invited to the Second Annual ALL ISLAND REUNION on July 31, 2022. The fun begins at 11 am, at #33 in Limekiln Bay.

Grills and burgers, hot dogs, sausages, soft drinks and water will be provided, as well as plates and cutlery. Feel free to bring a dish to share: salad, dessert, etc. (Susan will bring her mother’s ‘famous’ potato salad….)

Some small lawn games will be set up for kids (bocce ball, cornhole, etc.)

The reunion is sponsored by BIRPOA, your Island Association and by your membership dues — thank-you!

Not a member? NOOO Problem! We want as many folks to come as possible. And we really hope everyone WILL attend. It is a time to see old friends, make new friends, and to see what is happening on and around the island. (If you have guests–bring ’em) We had a great time last year.

We will hold a very brief business meeting (AGM), which will include news, election of association Directors, and voting on a revised Constitution. (link here)

July 31, 11am-1pm (rain date: Aug 1, 11am-1pm)

Cottage #33 in Limekiln Bay.

And bring folding chairs.

Arrive on foot, by canoe or kayak, or have yourself dropped off by boat–dock space is limited.

The Season Begins

The 2022 cottage season is beginning. The marina has most of our boats in the water–but call to check about yours. And if you are contemplating a new boat, be sure to check with them to make sure it actually will fit in your slip. (613-359-5612)

Tree-damaging Gypsy/LDD moths are also in season. A number of islanders have signed up for aerial spraying and we will pass on information about the times for that as soon as we learn them. You may wish to stay inside at the time of spraying but the spray itself–BTK–is considered quite safe for humans. When you do get to the cottage, check your trees for signs of the little critters. The biological pesticides mentioned include a form of BTK that we can buy at Rona/Home Hardware/Home Depot, etc. under the name SAFER BTK. It is not expensive. It is a concentrate that makes a lot of working solution that can be applied with a common garden sprayer. If you want to do this, it is wise to buy some soon lest supplies get depleted as they did last year.  There are also other things to help, like banding your treees with burlap or duct tape bands to make moths gather overnight–you can destroy them after that. There is a great deal of info on the web, including on our own website, The members of the association Executive Committee have put a great deal of effort into telling about spraying options and helping those who wish to spray with the process. In particular I want to mention Mary Rockburn, Val Fullard, Rory Gooderham, and Vipool Desai for their efforts. Here is a timetable of moth activity:

‘BIRPOA’–The Birch Island Residential Property Owners Association (or simply the Birch Island Association) is dedicated to doing things to promote the well-being of the island and our cottagers. The Executive Committee is the group that makes things happen, along with other volunteers. We keep the trails cleared, the library running, create and support events, count loons and watch other wildlife, maintain a website, monitor water quality,  link to local and provincial government and other associations, and have done so for over 50 years. We do ask folks to pay $50 dues, which are used only to support the island–not a penny goes to Executive members personally–and a message on dues for this year will soon follow.

We also need new Exec members and general volunteers. Thanks to covid, some of us have been in our roles a bit too long and want to leave or to rotate to other assignments, and we always seek new people and ideas. Two folks new to the island are joining us: Rob Jackett and Wendy Nuttall. and others are very welcome. The way we encourage people to join: come to a few meetings (electronically, early in the season, in person later) and see what roles might appeal to you. In addition to the Executive Committee, Rory Gooderham is looking for some volunteers to participate in a committee to deal with the Rideal Authority/Parks Canada; we made a strong pitch for cottager voices to be heard in addition to those of n and financial interests. We won an invitation to send a rep and Rory agreed to do that. We also always want volunteers to help with the library, and we have a new proposal to create a social committee (aka the Party Animals) to help with summer activities. There are other possibilities, too.

The trails have for years been maintained by ‘Trail Boss’ Ry Weisiger, cutting the grass first with a push mower and more recently with a small tractor, and taking a chainsaw to miscreant branches. and with help from several islanders including Chris Wagner, Dave Perfetti, members of the Horton family, and by Andy Shaw, who recently left the island. Rob Jackett, a new owner of the Shaw cottage, has volunteered to take over Andy’s role. If you see problems on the trail, do contact Ry.

The trails themselves have complex ownership and rights of way have been a topic for several years. John Feltmate, siad to be the longest cottage owner on the island, is both our informal historian and the person to ask about trail issues, along with Rory.

Drinking water is always a question for new cottagers and we have conducted periodic surveys of both lake and cottage water. If you have questions on this score, just ask me.

Last year we held an All Island Reunion for everyone on the island no matter if they were active members of the association or not. Around 50 folks showed up and we have deemed the event a success to be repeated. Dave Perfetti and his wife Sherry Mills prepared their lovely lot in Limestone Bay and it made a simply wonderful venue. Exec members brought food and drink, and particularly noteworthy Indian food from a fine restaurant in Toronto was brought by Vipool Desai and Laura. Others brought drinks, ice cream, veggies, and ‘Frito pie.”

We plan to have additional events during the coming summer, including a traditional Paddle the Island Race, once done only with canoes but nowadays with kayaks and paddleboards as well.

Each year we update a list of islanders and have traditionally distributed it to members at the AGM. Last year we gave them to everyone at the Reunion, and copies remain available. We have an updated version in the works. These are always distributed as PRINTED copies for security reasons.

Other news: Thanks in large part to a gift from the Milner family, we have a large number of historical island newsletters and other items. Cooped up because of covid, Rory has made a major effort to digitize these and you will see bits in future newsletters, while they will all be posted to the website. And over the winter, Mary Rockburn painted and refurbished the library:

Finally, last year the Executive agreed to look at several issues: reviewing our overall mission with a view to concentrating on a few major issues, revising the committee’s organizational structure, including job descriptions and terms of office, representation at external organizations, best means of communicating, and the creation of a revised constitution, all by the 2022 Reunion/AGM.

Expect updates periodically throughout the year!

Happy summer, everyone,

Bob Cavenagh

on behalf of, and with much gratitude to, the Executive Committee