President Chris Semenchuk wrote to Premier Ford, Minister of Provincial Parliament Greg Rickford and copied Premier Brian Pallister in a letter on behalf of our members. This letter is below and attached to this eNews edition. Now that the health order has changed, it was a responsible time to write such a letter to advocate for our members to visit their secondary properties in Ontario. As a member of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Association (FOCA), we also have the backing of our province wide arm. Terry Rees, president of FOCA, wrote a very well written letter outlining the same concerns about allowing cottagers to go to their properties. It is attached and very much worth reading. We are also working on behalf of our American members and letters are being drafted at the moment with a focus on ensuring we deliver our message to exactly the right people.
From the desk of LOWDSA President Chris Semenchuk:
Dear Premier Ford and Minister Rickford:
The Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA) is a not-for-profit organization representing approximately 2500 members. The area we serve on behalf of our members covers an area from the Manitoba/Ontario border to approximately a 100 km radius around Kenora, Ontario. The majority of our members have their primary residence outside of Ontario, mostly in Manitoba, with a number also having their primary residence in the United States.
One of our purposes is to speak with a collective voice on topics that impact our members. With the current closure at the Manitoba/Ontario Border, as well as closure to and from the US for non-essential travel, the majority of our members have not been able to access their secondary residences in the Lake of the Woods area. As you can imagine, LOWDSA continues to receive daily inquiries from our members requesting we advocate on their behalf to request an exemption to out of province property owners to gain access to their secondary residences in our defined geographic area.
To-date, LOWDSA has communicated the guidelines provided by Linda Nelson in the Kenora Constituency Office of MPP Greg Rickford that have been established by the Ontario Government given that the entire province was mandated to a "stay at home" directive. As you are aware, this "stay at home" directive has been lifted as of June 2nd, 2021. As now stated in the updated guidelines,
"Ontarians will be able to leave home to travel within the province to a secondary residence for any reason, however, they are not permitted to host members of another household indoors except for a person from another household who lives alone or a caregiver."
LOWDSA, on behalf of our members is requesting an exemption to the current cross border guidelines to allow the same privileges of accessing their secondary residences that Ontarians now have. If granted our members would be expected to adhere to the similar guidelines as would be expected of Ontarians. Namely:
1) Travel directly to your secondary residence, bringing in your own supplies vs. using local establishments.
2) Once at your secondary residence, you are not permitted to host members of another household indoors except for a person from another household who lives alone or a caregiver.
3) For our members who have their primary residence in Manitoba, a stated guideline in the Manitoba public health orders that our members would also be encouraged to follow. "Because cottagers or those owning a second property either in or outside the province are exempt, they do not need to self-isolate upon return to Manitoba. Cottagers should take a "leave no trace" approach and not interact with anyone on the way to or from their cottage while at their cottage".
LOWDSA is confident you will give our request serious consideration. We would be pleased to have further dialogue with your or your representatives if required. Thank you for attention to this matter.
President , Lake of the Woods Stewardship Association
cc - Premier Brian Pallister, Province of Manitoba
Please see attached for full letter from Chris Semenchuk, president of LOWDSA and letter from Terry Rees, president of FOCA