The May long weekend is almost upon us! The Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations
have compiled the following list of 10 Safety Tips to remind people to make safety a priority getting to and while at the cottage.
Here are the top 10 safety tips as you prepare to head up to the cottage, and after you get there.
- Check your car’s lights, signals, tire pressure and fluids before the trip to the cottage.
- Check your first-aid kit and replace any missing supplies.
- Check and maintain cottage smoke detectors and CO detectors.
- Check the condition of boat(s), including fuel lines and tanks. Check that all required safety equipment is on board and in good repair.
- Remove dry leaves and debris from the cottage roof and/or eavestroughs to reduce fire risk.
- Prepare for extreme weather events — create a family emergency preparedness plan for the cottage.
- Assemble a disaster safety kit for your cottage and car.
- Talk to your neighbours — plan ahead for emergencies by identifying vulnerable people and potential community volunteers.
- Talk to your insurance representative to review your cottage, car, and boat coverage.
- Pass along these tips to friends, family and neighbours.
“Start off the cottage season right by following these tips,” says Terry Rees, Executive Director of FOCA. “And carry on with the habit of checking them throughout
the year, to help ensure we all have a safe and enjoyable cottage experience.”
Source :CTV News, Angela Mulholland, Staff writer
Published Thursday, May 4, 2017
Tick numbers are on the rise in Canada, putting more Canadians on the lookout for Lyme disease. But a more serious tick-borne disease may be emerging — one that many have never heard of — that could pose an even bigger threat.
It’s called Powassan Virus and it’s transmitted by many kinds of ticks, including deer and groundhog ticks. Unlike Lyme disease though, which takes 24 hours to cause an infection after a tick bite, the Powassan Virus can be transmitted from a tick in as little as 15 minutes.
The one bit of bright news is that Powassan is still relatively rare in Canada, says Dr. Matthew Gilmour, the scientific director general of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s national microbiology laboratory.
“Thankfully, it’s actually in very few ticks,” he told CTV’s Your Morning Thursday.
“We’ve done a lot of testing of ticks, we’ve tested thousands of them, and we’ve found only a handful of ticks are carrying this virus.”
But the number of blacklegged ticks has expanded rapidly in Canada over the last 10 years, raising the possibility that more infected ticks could be in the tall grasses of Canada.
For those infected, it’s often difficult to diagnose a Powassan infection, since the symptoms are so similar to many other infections.
“An infection with Powassan starts out kind of general. One could have no symptoms whatsoever, or they could develop a fever or a headache,” Gilmour said. “From there, you could move off to more severe symptoms.”
Those serious symptoms include trouble speaking, confusion and lack of co-ordination. That’s usually a sign of an inflammation in the brain, either encephalitis or meningitis. There are no medications to treat Powassan and 10 per cent of cases involving brain infections are fatal.
Gilmour says the virus was first identified in the 1950s in a boy from Powassan, Ont., near North Bay, who became infected and died.
Since then, only 25 cases of infection have been identified – a tiny number in comparison to the 800 cases of Lyme disease that were diagnosed in Canada last year alone. In the U.S., the numbers aren’t much higher: only 75 Powassan cases have been reported.
But with warmer winters, public health officials in both Canada and northeastern United States say tick population are growing, which could lead to more tick-borne infections of all types.
Gilmour says the best way to fight Powassan Virus is to avoid getting bitten by ticks in the first place.
- Wear long pants if you’re out on a hike
- Use insect repellent
- Checking your entire body for ticks after time spent in wooded areas
- Carefully remove any you find as soon as possible
- For those in rural areas, keep grass on your property short and rake up leaves
- If you develop an unexplained fever and a headache after time in the woods, see your doctor
From The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition
ANN ARBOR, MICH. (May 1, 2017) – The U.S. House and Senate agreed on a 2017 budget to fund the federal government through September 30. The budget—which maintains funding for core Great Lakes programs—comes amid threats by the Trump Administration to cut funds for Great Lakes programs this year and eliminate them in next year’s 2018 budget. The recent budget deal includes:
- $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (the same funding as last year’s fiscal year 2016 budget) to support the clean-up of toxic pollution, restoration of fish and wildlife habitat, management of invasive species, and prevention of runoff from cities and farms.
- $1.39 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (same as fiscal year 2016) to help communities fix, update and repair waste water infrastructure.
- $863 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (same as fiscal year 2016) to help communities fix, update and repair drinking water infrastructure.
Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“This budget keeps federal Great Lakes efforts on track and sends a strong signal that protecting the drinking water for more than 30 million people needs to be a long-term national priority. We’re pleased public officials in Congress stood up to support Great Lakes investments that are producing results for our environment and economy and resisted cuts that would only make projects more difficult and expensive to tackle. Serious threats remain and our work is not done until we’ve put an end to beach closures, fish consumption advisories, and unsafe drinking water. We look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress—who have consistently voiced strong bi-partisan support for Great Lakes restoration programs that protect our drinking water, jobs, and way of life—to reject cuts and ensure that these priorities are funded in 2018.”
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 145 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Learn more at www.healthylakes.org or follow us on Twitter @healthylakes.
Since 1995 the Canadian Safe Boating Council has been conducting the Transport Canada sponsored safe boating awareness week campaign.
It has been a mainstay of boating safety outreach to the millions of Canadians who recreate on our waters each year.
At the core of the 2017 campaign are the 5 key messages :
– wear a PDF or lifejacket
– don’t drink and boat
– take a boating course
– be prepared, both you and your vessel
– be wary of the dangers of cold water immersion
To learn more go to the Canadian Safe Boating Council web site at www.csbc.ca
From – Andrew Hurlbut – GBA Fire & Safety Chair, Key River GBA Representative
In the spring of 2016 the Canadian Marine Advisory Council proposed that there be public consultation on changes to the Small Vessel Regulations. “Subject to certain exceptions, the Small Vessel Regulations require all vessels over 6 meters to carry flares on bodies of water where they can be more than one nautical mile from shore.” For now it is the law that they be carried and also be replaced when they expire.
Concern has been expressed by the recreational boating community and enforcement agencies over the difficulty of dealing with expired flares and the environmental impact resulting from their disposal. Also the number of flares required by legislation was seen by many as excessive especially because of improvements in electronic communications and search and rescue alert systems among other reasons.
Transport Canada is proposing an option to reduce the number of flares for multiple vessel categories by 50%.
“The proposed amendments would allow a 50 percent reduction in the number of each type of flare required to be carried if the vessel [is being operated within   nautical miles from shore and] is equipped with a means of two-way radio communication, a 406 MHz PLB or EPIRB. In addition, the proposed amendments include additional options for the carriage of some smoke signals
as an alternative to handheld or rocket flares for vessels operating primarily in daylight.”
This proposal is slated to go to Canada Gazette Part 1 soon for initial review and comments. The next step is to go to Canada Gazette Part 2 when it becomes law. The timing will depend on the number and type of comments received from the public as well as the schedule of other regulatory changes proposed by other departments. So for now it is a matter of wait and see what changes they ultimately make and when they take effect. We will monitor the process.
It should also be noted that the U.S. Coast Guard allows the use of some electronic flares – a great option that is more environmentally friendly, reduces the hassle of disposal and replacement and will cost less over time. They are in the process of developing standards for these devices. Transport Canada has said unofficially that if the U.S. Coast Guard develops a standard for these devices, they will consider it as well.
In the meantime the current laws apply. If you have any doubt as to your compliance contact Transport Canada or check out the Small Vessel Regulations at http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2010-91/.
Go to the safety equipment section.
“Volunteers needed” says Lands and Forest committee member Freda Klassen
The gear is ready, the coffee is brewed, and you’ve reviewed your bird calls. You’re all set to start your first Marsh Monitoring survey of the season! Whether a beginner or a seasoned expert, each volunteer for Bird Studies Canada’s Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP) contributes to wetlands science by surveying for secretive marsh birds (and – in Ontario – for amphibians, too). (Photo: Cody Pytlak)
Wetlands are among the world’s most diverse and productive environments, upon which countless species of plants and animals depend. Yet these habitats are often overlooked and undervalued. Understanding long-term population trends of the species using these ecosystems is becoming increasingly important for their conservation.
Between April and July (depending on the region), MMP volunteers visit local marshes, surveying for species that are not well detected by other survey methods. Their observations provide biologists with the ability to track long-term trends for these fragile species and habitats. Check the online map (here) to see if a wetland in your area is currently being monitored.
How you can contribute:
Great Lakes Region: The Great Lakes MMP is always looking for more volunteers to monitor birds and/or frogs. Kathy (email@example.com) can help you find a route, and you can check the online map to see if your local wetland is currently being monitored!
Robert Moos, GBA Director
Invasive Phragmites is a serious ecological threat to wetlands and shore lands in the eastern Georgian Bay area. This invasive plant, which has been moving north at an alarming rate, has the potential to dominate wetland plant communities, reducing plant diversity and degrading or eliminating habitat that supports wildlife.
You can learn how to help deal with this threat at a workshop in Parry Sound on Friday, April 28, 2017. It will be held at Canadore College, 1 College Drive, from 8:45 am to 12:15 pm.
The workshop will be hosted by Georgian Bay Forever, Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and the Ontario Phragmites Working Group. It is aimed at both community members and municipal staff. The focus will be on identification and cutting Phragmites, best management practices, organizing volunteer groups and available resources.
You can register for the workshop at www.gbf.org.
The GBA Fisheries committee wants to share with you recent news from the Federal Government on what appears to be a Back to the Future changes in the Fisheries Act. Here’s a report from the Environmental Science and Engineering Magazine website on April 10th, 2017. Click Here
University of Waterloo Phragmites/Spike Rush Research Job Available.