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Photo of - Water levels have dropped

Water levels have dropped

May 10, 2021 If you head up to your Georgian Bay cottage later this month, you may get a pleasant surprise in the water levels department. A relatively dry winter without much ice cover on Lake Huron has led to a noticeable decline in water levels. 

BNIA members and local marinas are reporting a drop of one to two feet from this time last year! That's good news for most cottagers.

Of course, this is the low point of the annual cycle and levels typically rise during the spring and early summer. However, if you were inconvenienced with last year's near-record high levels, you may see some new shoreline when you get to your cottage this year!

For really up-to-date data on water levels, see this dedicated page at the Georgian Bay Association website.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for the latest update. The most recent one (May 2) says that Lakes Michigan and Huron are 15 inches below their level they were at this time last year. However, they are still 22 inches above their long-term average.

Photo: Robert Stephenson

Photo of - Follow the BNIA on Instagram

Follow the BNIA on Instagram

May 10, 2021 Hi, I'm Katie Pointner and I'm the new face behind the BNIA Instagram account this year, as well as a serving on the boating committee. I am based in Toronto and grew up spending my summers in Bayfield Inlet, exploring and adventuring around our beloved Georgian Bay.

Follow @thebnia Be sure to follow us on our re-activated Instagram account — @thebnia — for all things Bayfield-Nares related, including events and safety info. You can view it on the web here.

Our content comes from you — from our photo contest entrants each year, from our Facebook posts, and from the BNIA archives. Got a photo you want to share with us? Just tag your Instagram post with @thebnia on Instagram and we’ll see it, or send it to me here.

Photo of - Let’s make Georgian Bay plastic-free!

Let’s make Georgian Bay plastic-free!

Jan. 29, 2021 Georgian Bay Forever has a multi-pronged project that builds on their Divert and Capture Program, called Diversion 2.0.

The program aims to change behaviour around waste and plastic pollution and to reduce the amount getting into the environment. An exciting component includes bringing even more pollution-capturing devices to Georgian Bay.  

GBF is also aiming to recruit volunteers (and leaders!) to join Plastic-Free Georgian Bay to help them characterize and sort the litter from the litter-trapping devices, and provide information to the public to help them reduce waste in their lives and communities.  (for example of the device, go here.)

GBF needs your help! If you can assist or would like further information about this program please contact Nicole Dimond, new project coordinator of Diversion 2.0, or Heather Sargeant, Communications Director,

Photo of - Renew your BNIA membership for 2021

Renew your BNIA membership for 2021

January 1, 2021 Membership fees for 2021 are now due and should be paid as soon as possible: $80 for full members or $30 for associate members.

NEW: Membership renewal is now self-serve on our website — see the detailed instructions here. You can pay your dues online (with a credit card, Visa debit, or PayPal) here. And while you’re there, you can also update your contact and property information in our database if you have any changes!

Photo of - The guy who disposes of old docks in Bayfield

The guy who disposes of old docks in Bayfield

July 8, 2020 Ted Simmonds has removed 15 abandoned docks in Bayfield Inlet this summer, with five more still to come, plus any others that we learn about. That’s an astounding amount of volunteer work, with great benefit to our local environment because of Styrofoam that is properly disposed of, instead of lingering like ghosts in the back channels of our archipelago, slowly leaking micro particles into our waterways. Read more about Ted's work here.

Photo of - June 21 Large Item Disposal Day cancelled, and other Township news

June 21 Large Item Disposal Day cancelled, and other Township news

June 12, 2020 We periodically pass on updates from our Township, especially as they relate to cottagers. Please take note of the following changes and cancellations around waste disposal.

June 21 Large Item Disposal at Bayfield is cancelled The Township normally schedules two Large Item Disposal Days each summer, one in June and one in August. These are special days where you can take large items like barbecues and outdoor furniture to the Bayfield Dock where they get loaded into a dumpster — saving you a trip to the Site 9 Landfill south of Pointe au Baril for items that can’t be left at the transfer stations.

This year’s scheduled June 21 Large Item Disposal Day has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. The second date this summer, Saturday, Aug. 2, is still scheduled. In the meantime, cottagers can take their own large items to Site 9 on Friday, June 19 or Saturday, June 20, 8 am to 5 pm both days.

For more information on what can and cannot included in Large Item Disposal, and also more details about the Site 9 Landfill, go here.

Dump your own bags and waste at transfer stations this year There is a slight modification to how waste disposal works this year at the Bayfield and Pointe au Baril transfer stations (and at the Site 9 Landfill), for safety around COVID-19. Although there are Township staff at all locations, users must place their own waste bags or dump their boxes or bins in the appropriate dumpsters. For safety reasons, Township staff will not be handling the bags this year.

Stay up to date on COVID-19 issues The best place to stay up to date on changes to Township services due to COVID-19 regulations is at a special web page that is updated frequently. Go here to learn more at any time.

Township COVID News

Photo of - COVID-19 Update: BNIA gatherings and events cancelled for this summer

COVID-19 Update: BNIA gatherings and events cancelled for this summer

May 29, 2020 In these unprecedented and trying times good news is infrequent. Unfortunately, the BNIA board has decided that we must cancel all summer activities that involve sizeable gatherings and make social distancing difficult, if not impossible. 

Consequently, I regret to inform you that the scheduled Annual General Meeting, Regatta, Marathon Canoe Race, Sailing Race, and Outings and Events organized by Molly Mulloy will not take place this summer.

There is a slight chance that we may hold the canoe or sailing races (without a post-race party) if we are confident we can do so without contravening COVID-19 protocols or compromising the safety of participants and organizers.

Virtual AGM scheduled for Oct. 18 A virtual AGM by way of Zoom is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 18. We’ll provide further details about this later in the summer.

We want to hold a Bay Day activity On a positive note, we are looking into staging a Bay Dayon Sunday, July 11. Bay Dayis a concept developed in recent years by our parent organization, the Georgian Bay Association. It is a date and activity (determined by each association) to celebrate and bring focus to Georgian Bay, which is so important to all of us. The form that our Bay Day will take is under development. As above, respect for protocols and safety must be foremost. 

Do you have any ideas for Bay Day, or want to volunteer? Please get in touch with me soon.

Suggested activities for kids Looking for something fun for the kids (and you) to do this summer? The Kids in the Biosphere Booklet is an awesome way for anyone to connect with nature through experiments, activities and regional environmental information. Often described as “appropriate for all ages” the FREE booklet is a must-have for anyone living, playing, or exploring eastern Georgian Bay. More info is here.

As the summer progresses, we will provide ongoing updates at our new website, on our Facebook page, and by regular emails like this one. 

Stay safe We look forward to seeing you, especially our American friends, on the waters of Bayfield and Nares this summer. Until then, stay safe.

— John McMullen, for the BNIA Board

Photo of - COVID-19 Update: Ontario marinas open for cottagers, with safety provisions

COVID-19 Update: Ontario marinas open for cottagers, with safety provisions

May 15, 2020 There’s been a flurry of Ontario government announcements over the past week with respect to marina openings, and access to marinas for seasonal cottagers and recreational users. Here’s a summary.

Late on Friday, May 8, the Ontario government made a significant change to its essential services provisions that allows marinas to prepare AND open for seasonal residents only, in time for the holiday weekend.

It is important to note that the primary purpose for allowing the marina openings, according to the government, is to give property owners a chance to access to their cottages to deal with any winter damage. It is not meant to signal “business as usual” in cottage country.

Cottagers visiting their properties via marinas will still have to abide by Ontario restrictions around social distancing, family groupings and small gatherings. Marina operators will have special measures in place to ensure safe operation.

Read more details from the Georgian Bay Association about the weekend opening and the Ontario announcement here. As always, Bayfield-Nares cottagers should consult with their respective marinas regarding special measures in these extraordinary times, and arrangements for boat launching.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, May 12, the Ontario government also extended its Declaration of Emergency, with details about the wider economy. It also announced further details about Stage 1 of the provincial re-opening plan on Thursday, May 14, available here.

As of Saturday morning, May 16, marinas are now fully open for recreational customers as well, not just seasonal cottagers, but again with appropriate protocols in place.

Have a nice holiday weekend everyone, and safe travelling for those visiting their cottages for the first time.

Photo of - COVID-19 Update: Marinas can prepare for summer, but are not yet open to the public

COVID-19 Update: Marinas can prepare for summer, but are not yet open to the public

May 4, 2020 The Ontario government announced on May 1 that certain businesses and workplaces, including marinas, could reopen to prepare for the summer season on May 4, as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Of particular interest to cottagers, marinas are permitted to begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

The announcement included other seasonal businesses such as golf courses and garden centres. 

The government emphasized that although some businesses are being permitted to reopen, it is critical that people continue to stay home, practice physical distancing and only go out for essential reasons, to pick up groceries, prescriptions or to keep a medical appointment.

Further information on the new Ontario guidelines is here.

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