Summer 2020 – President’s Message

Donna McLean


Hello Summer—it’s nice to see you back again … Time to stain the deck, make rhubarb crisp and fill the planters. The birdfeeders are out and the new bug spray is open. We are ready.

But what are we ready for? The guest calendar is empty. We have no plans. The boats are in the water but will we be casually dropping in on our friends at any point? One of our faves is have a few folks over for an Aperol on the dock around 5 pm. Not happening anytime soon. Lined up for the bottles return yesterday at the Beer Store. That’s ok — we weren’t in any hurry. It’s Muskoka—the place we come to, NOT to hurry anymore. What’s a few lineups cost? A little dock time perhaps? No worries. And know this — the Town Merchants are OPEN for business and waiting for cottagers to shop! Just bring your mask and practice healthy COVID-19 shopping! For even as Gravenhurst moves up in Opening Stages we still want to keep flattening the curve!  

And here is the good news — for over 50 years I have come here to swim, sit on the dock with coffee, marvel at the hummingbirds at the feeder, venture out in the kayak,  watch the forest fill in,  smile as the dragonflies land on my arm,  cheer as the beaver makes it across the bay safely once more and admire the wing span of the herons and hawks. So none of that has changed.  I come for respite, for community, for the warmth of the sun, for starlit smoky campfires listening to Freddie Mercury, for barbecues and candlelit dinners. I come for peace. And these are the moments that the virus won’t diminish.

The magic of Muskoka continues … SEE YOU ON THE DOCK IN PASSING!  Donna

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COVID-19: Let’s Do Our Part!

We sincerely hope that you and your families are healthy and remain safe during these challenging times.

With COVID-19 still on the increase in Ontario, there have been numerous municipalities across Ontario initiating Declarations of Emergency including neighbouring cottage regions like the Municipality of Trent Lakes & Peterborough County. 

Due to the stress already felt in the north country, mayors are publicly pleading with seasonal residents NOT to come north. With the already maxed out medical services and limited offerings for groceries etc., these municipalities are NOT equipped to handle the inflow of seasonal residents. But if you still choose to do so, IT IS IMPERATIVE that you practice self-isolation, especially for those of you who have recently entered Canada via travel (returning snowbirds, business, vacation, etc.). 

It is the law, if you have just returned to Canada, YOU MUST self-isolate for 14 days. This means, cross the border and go into self-isolation. No visits, no shopping, no errands. Enlist others to drop off what you need, if necessary.

Statistics are bearing out that community spread accounts for more than 50% of the increased infections. Iceland has reported that 50% of their carriers do not show any symptoms. This is what makes this virus so scary and potentially deadly.

Support from our region includes:

We all want to get back to normal and head north as soon as possible … Let’s continue to be good Muskokans – STAY HOME! If you do head north, take your supplies and stay in. Practise physical distancing and employ other measures of safety as outlined in the guidelines set out by the Federal, Provincial, and local municipalities.

We all have a role in reducing the spread of COVID-19! Let’s DO OUR PART! Please stay safe, take good care and hope to see you on the dock soon! 

Gull & Silver Lakes Residents Association

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Significant Changes May Be Coming to District Waste Collection

In partnership with its Area Municipalities, the District of Muskoka is developing a Waste Management Strategy to discover new ways to reduce the amount of waste we produce through further reduction, reusing, recycling, and composting. 

As part of the engagement process, a series of Community Consultation Sessions are being held throughout the District to provide detailed information on our current integrated waste management system and obtain feedback on various alternatives for the future.

On Thursday, September 12, 2019, our director and Sustainability Chair Carole Anne Simpson attended the session held for the Town of Gravenhurst. While we applaud the stewardship efforts of the District to become more responsible earth citizens, part of the strategy will likely result in the removal of the bins placed strategically in places where there is no curbside waste collection. That means that the bins at the Hewitt St. parking lot would be removed. According to the District officials, this stragedy has failed for several reasons, including:

  1. Users have not complied with the content rules  –  this is supposed to be household garbage only and for Water Access Only (WAO) residents.  Over time this collection system has been greatly used and abused.  New and existing cottagers continue to throw in and throw beside the bins, non-household waste (e.g. furniture, tires, mattresses, bbqs, appliances, windows, wood etc.) Additionally it is common for contractors and other Gravenhurst citizens to dump their non-compliant waste here, as well.  
  2. Although ‘acceptable contents’ for disposal is adequately described and marked on the recycling bins, users continue to ignore the instructions and dump whatever in both bins with total disregard to the instructions. This misusage of the bins (as described in items 1 and 2) has resulted in extra time and charges for sorting and dumping the non-compliant items. 
  3. In addition to the extra time and cost involved in fixing the misuse of our bin waste collection system, the very contents of the waste thrown in or left beside the bins may have been toxic!  This is a real concern of the District that irresponsible waste disposal has and will continue to contaminate the surrounding soil and that will eventually leach into the water table. It is therefore in the District’s opinion a necessary step to stop this dangerous practise by removing the bins so that better control of toxins will be managed at designated larger sites.  
  4. Unfortunately there were no alternatives given to using the bins at the information session. Does this mean we have to take our garbage home for instance?  The District has no ready answers but wants our input via a survey as to our needs and usage of the bins.

Unfortunately there were no alternatives given to using the bins at the information session. Does this mean we have to take our garbage home for instance?  The District has no ready answers but wants our input via a survey as to our needs and usage of the bins.

Please visit the District of Muskoka’s online engagement platform – and participate in our “Waste Matters” Survey.
Tell us what you think about the future of waste management in Muskoka. 

For a physical copy of the survey to complete by hand, please contact us at 705.645.6764 or by email at 
We strongly urge all those using the bins at Hewitt St (we know of no others used by our membership) to complete the Survey!!! 
We are in a wait-and-see position for the present but rest assured that the GSLRA Executive is very aware of this issue and plans to act in the best interest of our membership, accordingly. 

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