So one day in August I decided to go for a kayak ride on Chemong Lake. The lake was like glass. I put the kayak in the truck and launched the kayak into the lake beside Sip and Dip Restaurant. I did not go very far before I was appalled at the sight I was seeing. As I paddled that peaceful morning I started to count worm containers along the causeway. I got about 3/4 the way down and stop counting at 40 containers because counting water bottles seemed like the next thing to do. By the time I reached the end of the causeway I seen many water bottles, more worm containers, food containers, cigarette packages and even what appeared to be a diaper. An adult diaper. EWWWW.
I sat in my kayak and stared at the mess. I thought of all the times I swam in this lake and the other children that swim and enjoy the lake today. I thought this sight is not my home, this is a scene of a back alleyway in Toronto or Detroit. Not a natural setting in Kawartha Lakes.
This issue was never new. It has been going on for over 20 years. I just never seen it this bad. It was shockingly bad. Of coarse I had my phone with me and I took some shots. I drive over the causeway many times a day and had no idea how bad it was past the guardrails. I thought maybe I should inform the community by posting the pictures on Facebook. I did create a post and tagged Gerry Herron (Smith Ward Councillor) Sherry Senis (Selwyn Deputy Mayor) and Mary Smith (Selwyn Mayor) with pictures of what I seen. Donna Ballantyne, Ennismore Ward rep is not on Facebook. I clicked "post" and got ready for work. Over the next few hours the post went viral. I was pleased to see how many community members were as upset as I was with the garbage in our lake.
That day I was contacted by CHEX news and Lance Anderson with Peterborough This Week. They both notice the traction the post got and wanted to do stories. I was happy to see the stories out there as the exposure of the problem maybe would get the Causeway cleaned up by the County. I got a call from Gerry Herron that day as well. Gerry was in full agreement with what my thoughts were. He would see what he could do. I then got a call from Sherry Senis. If I wanted something done about the issue I would have to take this to Peterborough Council.
At this point I had a decision. I could be the guy who yells and screams about something but does nothing about it other then bitch or I could do something here for my community and fight for what is right. I decided to fight for what was right for my community. With help from Gerry and Sherry I put myself on a delegation on a County Council meeting in August.
The post that started this all continued to be active over the next week or so with opinions and thoughts. 99% were positive community support. Of course I got the negative ones too.
- No trespassing bylaw would be put in place to keep people from entering the causeway past the guardrails from beginning to end. This would still leave areas to fish in Rotary Park, the CR14 Parking Lot and road side allowance beside the Sip and Dip.
- This bylaw will be ENFORCED. A security firm will be hired to look after the enforcement. The estimate to enforce this way would be approx $300 per week for 22 weeks. Budget $6600
- Communication Strategy. Signage, Press, Social Media, Advertising and public awareness events will stress the importance of cleaning up after yourself and leave the area clean. This cost will be budgeted for $10,000
- Increased Collection of Garbage. Not only is fishing garbage been an issue at causeway garbage cans but it seems to be a dumping ground for construction materials, household extra bags of garbage and junk. Extra work will be used to clean the flat areas available to be used for fishing, but garbage collections at the cans will be bumped up to keep them from over flowing. Budget $8000