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Home | Lake Plan Implementation | Contact  

Peninsula Lake Association

Environmental Issues

Lake Plan Implementation Report

Wendy Somerville leads the Lake Plan Implementation Team. It consists of many volunteers who work tirelessly to preserve and enhance the quality of life on Penlake. Here is a list of the active projects and their leaders:

Loon Survey Ken Harper
Working With Partners

Paul Hutchison

Stewardship Awards Barbara Armstrong
Shoreline Re-vegetation Wendy Somerville
Communication Plan Debbie Court
Water Quality Jim Marshall
Invasive Species Tony Moffat
Educational Workshops Wendy Somerville
Shore Representatives PLA Board of Directors

Lake Plan Downloads

You can download the entire lake plan in PDF format by clicking here. [3.1 MB PDF]

The September 2005 Lake Plan Implementation update is available for dowload for here. [32 KB]

Map #4 showing the Peninsula Lake watershed.
Map #5 showing land use around Peninsula Lake
Map #6 showing the physical features around Peninsula Lake
Map # 7 showing cultural and historic features around Peninsula Lake

Lake Plan Update 2018

Download Lake Plan Update 2018 Here

1. Update of Official Plans

The District of Muskoka is in the process of drafting Official Plan Amendment No. 45. (Lake System Health Policy Update). The Peninsula Lake Association met with the planners to review the amendment and sent comments on this amendment. The amendment will further protect our shorelines through its policy requiring site plans and requiring an Enhanced Protection Lake Study for lakes labelled as ‘sensitive’. It is still in the process of being drafted.

3. Site Plan Control

The Association worked with the town on Huntsville and Skyline Corporation on the redevelopment of Deerhurst. As a result there were several amendments made to the site plan that were more favourable to the lake. There is a working group in place that will monitor the progress of the development. Pow Wow Point resort consulted the lake association with regard to its closing and sale. With encouragement from the lake association it was not sold as a resort but converted to 5 residential lots. The negative impact of 5 lots on the lake will be less than that of a resort.

6. Communication Plan 

Pen Notes and the PLA/PLCA website are still our main mode of communication. Most members with email have agreed to accept the use of email communication for urgent notices. Shoreline stewards are used to distribute information when necessary.

The lake association is in the process of preparing a welcome package for new members. Since many members could be from the city, information on septic systems, woodlot management and protection of the shoreline could be very useful.

The Eco Workshop has become a yearly event and guest speakers like those from the MNRF*, MWC* have helped us understand our lake and how to protect it. Topics addressed lately have been –lake levels, -blue/green algae, -management of septic systems. –calcium levels.

11. Loon Inventory

For the last several years, loon nests have been installed at the most probable nesting sites. These will float in the event of high water or large wakes. The one on the island has been used and has been successful but wakes are still a threat. Two baby loons were seen on numerous occasions along the Winoka shore throughout the summer of 2017. Hopefully they matured and will return this spring.

12. Boating Awareness 

Notice boards have been installed on the canal to make boaters aware of the dangers of speed and wakes to the environment. The Association is trying to determine how best to monitor and regulate the speed in the canal. Individuals have been encouraged to educate the wake board boaters on the damage the wakes cause to the shoreline and how best to avoid this.

13. Code of Conduct

A Boating Code of Conduct was circulated along with Pen Notes in 2017. This will be presented to the board of directors with the intent of having it posted on the website.

14. Monitoring

Peninsula Lake is still involved in the Lake Partners program which tests the lake for various chemicals including phosphorus. The lake is still tested locally by one of our members for bacteria (coliform/E. coli) and for clarity, temperature, and number of ice days. The MNRF continues to come and perform the Benthic testing with our members at various places around the lake. In 2017 it was conducted at the dock of Jim and Sue Marshall and in 2018 will take place in Wolf bay.

15. Invasive Species 

FOCA has provided signs that are being places at launch ramps on the lake. These signs give instructions on how to ensure that invasive species do not get transferred from boats into the lake. One of these is being installed at the public launch ramp next to Tally Ho.

16. Land Trust 

In the summer of 2017 Norm Moffat established a Conservancy Easement with the Muskoka Conservancy for the lands encompassing Wolf Mountain, Flat Rock and Strawberry Mountain. This will ensure that the land is not developed and stays in its natural state.

17. Lake Watch

The board of directors and the members of the lake association have been very diligent is watching the shoreline for development and unauthorized alterations. The lake association can only report possible violations to either the town of Huntsville or Lake of Bays for site plan violations. In the case of Resource Abuse re lands, waters, forests, fish/wildlife the MNRF Hot line should be called at 1-877-847-7667.

Late in August a possible blue/green algae bloom was reported to the MOECC (Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change). Samples were collected and sent to the MOECC lab for testing. It was a blue/green algae capable of producing toxins. However no toxins were found to be present. The testing was performed every 2 weeks until late October when it was discontinued because the water temperature was probably too low to allow growth of the algae.

18. State of Lake Reporting

As in previous years the technical information re our testing is reported at the eco-workshop held in July. The overall report on the environment occurs at the AGM. If often is scattered throughout the meeting depending upon the topic.

19. Specific Site Stewardship

The trees planted surrounding the McCann Lamon meadow continue to flourish and are visible in summer above the grasses. The ‘hay field’ is being mowed every few years to prevent it from reverting to forest as per the wishes of the Lamon, and McCann families.

Wolf Mountain, Flat rock and Stawberry Mountain are part of a conservancy easement which will ensure they remain in their natural state.

The Skyline Corporation (owners of Deerhurst) agreed to remove the maintenance sheds located near the canal. It is scheduled for 2017 -2018. The Deerhurst working group will be monitoring this. During the meetings with Skyline Corporation it was pointed out by the Lake Association that the canal is a heritage site and the old docks must be preserved and cannot be removed.

20. Working with Partners

The association continues to work with partners.
LOB* and Fairy lake associations are attending our workshop.
FOCA* provides us with information about invasive species and makes information readily available.
FOCA - Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association
MNRF - Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
MOECC – Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
LOB – Lake of Bays


2016 Postings:

 July 2 Eco Workshop on Water Level Management: The following is a link to the presentation given by the MNRF at the July 2nd ECO Workshop. Presentation Please contact Ken Harper if you have any questions.

The MNRF performed a fish study in 2016 with a goal of tagging 100 bass. Other species of fish were also caught and tagged in this study. The MNRF returned in the fall to see if they could re-catch any tagged fish to determine their migration patterns. If you catch a tagged fish and plan to keep it or it dies in the catch the MNRF would like to take the tag out of service. you can call the MNRF at 705-646-5543 to report it.

New Owner of Quarry Researching Re-zoning: Eight years ago, the PLA won a landmark ruling at the Ontario Municipal Board to stop a quarry on Peninsula Lake. (between Hills Bay and Hwy 60). That property has now been sold and the new owners are, once again, proposing a quarry. They have met with Mayor Bob Young and the Planning Department of the Township of Lake of Bays. Your PLA Board has also had an initial meeting with the new owners. So far no zoning application has been filed. We will keep you informed.

Benthic Monitoring on Penlake: How do your local sites fare? For a preliminary evaluation of your lake, refer to the attached Aquatic Invertebrate Data Sheets. If your sites are reference lakes, assumed to reflect the best ecosystem conditions in Muskoka, no assessment is warranted. For test locations, assessments can be made by comparing test-site index values against the averages for Muskoka reference lakes, which are provided in the shaded box at bottom right.

In General: Richness should be high (close to the average for Muskoka or above). % EOT will decrease and % Chironomids will increase over time with water quality impairment.

% Predators should be less than the other types of benthos (shredders, collector/gatherers) and these percentages should remain relatively constant over time. The Hilsenhoff Index value should be close to the average for Muskoka or less, as a lower value indicates healthier water. Even though most of the lakes in Muskoka are quite similar, no two lakes are identical and there are various factors that play a role in determining the relative abundances of different types of aquatic invertebrates. Comparing your lake's data to the rest of the lakes in Muskoka is not definite, but it can give you an idea. If there is a trend in all the types of indices and data, either above or below normal, it may indicate your lakes overall quality.

Thank you letter from the District of Muskoka
Aquatic Invertebrate Data Sheet 1 Date Sheet 2 Data Sheet 3

Muskoka Conservancy: Please don't forget Rebecca Ferguson from Muskoka Conservancy offers free personalized consultations to discuss any forest related questions. Invasive species are slowly making their way up to this area and it is important to know the signs and symptoms as well as best options to manage them if they are on your property! Other topics that could interest you as landowners are good options for planting trees and native plants, forest wildlife, or pruning options. Please send her an email at or call her at 705-645-7393 ext. 206 to have your questions answered or to set up a visit!

Love Your Lake, Lake Level Report: See the report here

NatureWatch at Nature Canada: Their mission is to protect and conserve nature in Canada by engaging Canadians and by advocating on behalf of nature.

Click here for more information and how to get involved

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2016 Update

Lake Watch started with monitoring the lake for logs and debris that had come loose during the spring thaw. We will continue to monitor the lake and perform environmental testing to assist in monitoring the year to year differences in the water. We all need to be vigilant to keep the lake as pristine as possible and watch what is happening around your property and area.

Boating & Buoys:

The buoys went in on time in May and only one buoy came off its mark in a storm. We had one unfortunate boating accident on the lake this year and encourage everyone to be safe on the water.

Lake Levels:

Lake levels this year were consistent with the measurements that were taken from previous years. The MNRF Water Management team put on a great presentation at the 2016 ECO day workshop showing the complexity of the water shed and the challenges they face keeping the water level consistent with the weather patterns. We will continue to send out lake level updates during the spring thaw.

Working With Partners:

The University of Waterloo student water monitoring lost their funding in 2016 but we have written to the University in hope that the funding will return in the future. The Muskoka Watershed Council has been working with the PLA to update their directives and Bylaws. The PLA is the longest running Lake Association and the University of Waterloo conducted interviews with members in the PLA to understand how the association works and its challenges moving forward. This information will be added to other lake associations to compile a best practice for any future lake associations that want to create one on their lake.


It was a disappointing year on the lake with no baby loons surviving. Eggs were seen on the nest on Grassy Island but nature did not allow them to hatch. Two new loon platforms were made and deployed on the lake to assist the loons in managing the water level changes and wave management due to boating. Our plan is to add a few more next spring.  If you are paddling the shore line and see a nesting platform, please keep a safe distance to allow the loons their space. If you see any new loons on the lake please let the Association know so they can track their progress.


Bats are under stress in the area and although no one wants them in their house, they are essential to the environment and keeping the insect population at bay. Five bat houses were made and put up around the Meadow along Maplehurst Dr. We are hoping the bats will take to the new houses and thrive in the area. We all need to embrace these wonderful creatures that eat 1000 mosquitoes an hour and can live up to 40 years. Our plan is to make more and install them around the lake. We encourage everyone to make a bat house and help the population grow.

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April 2013 Update

This report is an update of those projects specified in the Lake Plan that have been active over last Winter.

Update Official Plans
John Brenciaglia has actively participated in a Huntsville committee with the aim of preserving large forested areas in Huntsville by the inclusion of a Natural Heritage Area designation in the Official Plan. The achievement so far has been the Town’s acceptance in principle of a working group of expert volunteers to confirm by field work which areas need the designation.

Site Plan Control
A Deerhurst Working Group of PLA members led by Paul Singleton has worked with the planners of Huntsville and of Skyline (owner of Deerhurst) to define a Site Plan that would mitigate the environmental impact of the new Lakeside Lodge. This is a large condominium building replacing the original Deerhurst Lodge.

A workshop has been organized with the University of Waterloo for this May 25th. Its purpose is to compare the water quality monitoring done across lakes in Central Ontario. The aim is to learn what lessons were learned on technologies used, on data preservation and analysis, and on results exploitation for protection and improvement of water quality.

Working With Partners
Peninsula and Fairy Lake Associations have initiated a project for the removal of obstacles to safe boating along the Canal. A small number of logs near the surface of the water have been identified and three quotations from potential contractors have been obtained.

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September 2012 Update

This report is to update the status of those projects specified in the Lake Plan that have been initiated. Many more could be started if new members would be willing to lead them.

Update Official Plans
Cathy Oakden and John Brenciaglia are working on a Huntsville Unity Plan Committee that will lead to a revised Official Plan for the Town. Site Plans for specific properties have been reviewed.

Site Plan Control
The Association has worked with the planners of Lake of Bays and Huntsville to implement Site Plan Control Agreements on redevelopments that were critical to the protection of our lake. We will continue to do so in the future as new applications for redevelopment are submitted.

Communication Plan
Our website is an important means of two-way communication between directors and members. Please use it. Pen Notes is issued twice a year - in the fall and spring. This keeps the membership informed on activities and concerns around our lake.

We found that workshops and specific activities (both social and stewardship) have been enjoyed as a way of updating specific sectors of our membership on our knowledge of the Lake and the impact that we have on it. In order to widen the reach of these activities a network of communication stewards was formed to maintain contact with their neighbours. Leadership of the shore steward program is currently being assessed with the hopes that a Shore Steward Captain be identified in the near future.

Stewardship Awards
Annual awards have been presented to recognize good stewards in the preservation of our natural heritage, the protection of the lake from damaging development, and the careful management of redevelopment impacts. On Canada Day, 2012 a commemorative plaque, to all those that contributed to the preservation of our lake, was unveiled on the Lamon McCann Meadow under the flag pole.

Much remains to be done to increase the number of nominations and expand them to contractors and real estate agents. To this purpose the awards have been presented at our AGMs and published in articles on local papers. The committee membership has been increased by including all former recipients. Certificates can be issued so that more than one member’s contribution can be acknowledged annually. We have so many good stewards around the lake and we want to acknowledge more every year….until we include everyone!

Stream Inventory
Two students of the University of Waterloo Environmental Science Program have conducted a research of all our streams and published a report on their findings. The report is available here: Actions will be started to implement their recommendations in 2012.
Peninsula Lake Stream Inventory

Loon Inventory
For a few years we have recorded sightings of loons on our lake. We were quite happy to see that the loon population seems to be self-sustaining, with an adequate number of young chicks reported. Please check the latest report by Barb Hutchison in Pen Notes.

Boating Awareness
Awareness of the environmental impact of motor boats has been promoted by a motor free day advertised on Pen Notes and at AGM’s every summer. An annual regatta for canoes, rowboats and sailboats is a strong tradition on our lake. A newer tradition is a canoe picnic on PURE Day. See the announcement in Pen Notes and participate.

The traditional assessment of water quality by turbidity and nutrient monitoring has been expanded to bacterial level monitoring for several years, and to benthic monitoring in the last few years. We now have enough data to discuss the effectiveness of this monitoring. We have an annual poster session at the Ecology Workshop in early July, followed by discussion between members and an invited speaker. See Pen Notes for more on the workshop and plan to attend it.

Invasive Species
Articles on Pen Notes and a presentation at a workshop have been used to increase our members’ awareness of the risks of invasion by both water and land non-native species. Precautions to be used to manage the risk have been identified through the distribution of literature at our meetings, workshops and newsletters. The latest and most obvious threat is the proliferation of resident Canada Geese flocks. The only effective remedy so far is the elimination of lawns on the shoreline.

Lake Watch
A past committee developed signage at entry points into the lake and contacts with the agencies responsible for enforcement of safety, environmental and land use regulations. They have also responded to complaints and observations by members concerned but unsure on how to respond to abuses seen. The committee lacks volunteers and its functions have been taken over by the Shore Stewards.

Working with Partners
We continue to educate our elected municipal leaders and their planning staff through boat tours of the lake, invitations to our meetings and presentations to committees. The reputation we have gained has been helpful in several cases requiring planning or enforcement decisions. We have also shared the results of our reviews of official plans and bylaws with other Lake Associations and supported them in activities where our experience could be of help (lake plan implementation, specific development comments, educational events). We would like to extend this out-reach to institutions wider afield, but we badly need volunteers with the appropriate experience and interest.

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