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 

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