Frequently Asked Questions
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Here is a phone list of useful government and health numbers.
First, let's clear up confusion about the terms "Rights-of-Way" and "Easements". On Birch Island these terms are often inappropriately used interchangeably. Each term has its proper meaning and use. Here are dictionary definitions:
Right-Of-Way 1. Law. a. The right to pass over property owned by another
party. b. The path or thoroughfare on which such passage is made. 2.
The strip of land over which facilities such as highways, railroads,
or power lines are built. 3. The customary or legal right of a person,
vessel, or vehicle to pass in front of another.
Easement 1. The act of easing or the condition of being eased. 2. Something
that affords ease or comfort 3. Law. A right, such as a right of way,
afforded a person to make limited use of another's real property.
In the definition of easement the operative phrase is “limited use”. For example the electrical lines and telephone lines run across the island on easements, i.e., land designated for that purpose. The right to use that land is limited to the appropriate utility companies. The utility companies' rights do not extend to others, and the existence of a utility easement does not give you the right to cross that land.
Now having said that I would be remiss in not drawing to your attention that many of the utility easements on Birch Island coincide with proper rights-of-way. In those coincident cases you would have the right to follow the utility lines under a number of conditions. The right to use the road network would be governed by these same conditions.
In the case of a right-of-way each cottage property should have been given a GRANT to use specific properties for access. This grant is given to the property, not to individuals, but applies to the owners of the property and their heirs, assigns, and successors. The interesting thing is that you can't pass on the right to other property owners, unless of course you own the actual “right-of-way" property. However when you sell the property or sell a portion of the property you can pass on the rights that go with this property to the new owner. The best way to think of the right-of-way is a grant to go to and from your cottage property.
As always with legal stuff there are exceptions. A right-of-way not acquired by grant can be acquired by use. If you traverse a property for more than 20 years under the right conditions it is possible to get this right of passage, a squatters right if you will. The down side is it is difficult to quantify and pass on, but not impossible.
Now for those of you that have just checked your deed and find no reference to rights-of-way or an incomplete set of rights-of-way don’t panic. It is still possible to get these rights. The biggest cost will be the paperwork. If you do do it you will be cleaning up and clearing up problems for the future owners, likely members of your family. Trust me they will be grateful. If you don’t pass the cottage on to the family and go for the gratification of money in hand a clean title might make the difference between a quick sale and no sale.
For those with properties not connected to the Birch Island road network it is possible to get a complete grant of rights-of-way.
The above discussion is not intended to be full and complete. Should you have specific concerns or questions you should take the matter up with a qualified legal practitioner
Provisional response: Two factors are load and the size of your tank. Tanks for year-round residences are often pumped every 4 years, and checked for problems . While the load for a cottage will be less, the cottage tank is often smaller too. One strategy is to check the level of solids (technical term: sludge), say every 3 years, and use the tracking data to judge when pumping is needed.
Check the outgoing baffle for disintegration at the same time. It prevents floating solids (technical term: scum) from entering the septic field.
Dan O'Grady does pumpouts, usually in the fall. Contact him at 613 -283 -9384
See TV Reception on Birch Island for a listing of the 21 broadcast channels available on Birch Island, along with transmitter bearings, reception expectancy, and interesting comments on the transition to digital broadcasting, HD, and more.
A Rideau System website has posted a low water level advisory with a contact number (Kerry McGonegal, Water Management Officer for the Rideau Canal, 613-283-7199 x249). In the advisory they say that the levels on Sand Lake and Colonel By Lake are of particular concern, and the levels are below chart datum (level at which 5 ft of depth is available for navigation). This is due to the very dry summer for our region (about 20% below normal rainfall levels, 8th in the top ten driest years on record since the 50's or so), and extreme heat (2.1 degrees C above normal for all of Canada). I pulled this information from the Environment Canada web site.
I spoke with Kerry, and he indicated there is only 4.5 feet of depth for navigation, and boaters passing through the locks are being given waivers to sign for passage. He did not know if the situation would improve or worsen. He did indicate that the hydro plant does not operate for the summer months. I intend to investigate further.
Anyone can collect wood from the right-of-ways/paths. Several members volunteered that they have lots available on their property, see the executive.
Check the township web site.
Answer (from Ralph Robertson). Generally beds are in shallower water within 75-100 feet of shore.
It is illegal to fish for, or take, bass before the last Saturday in June and after October 15th. This includes catch-and-release. To minimize the risk of catching bass before the season opens, do not cast or troll in waters less than 6 feet deep, e.g. near shoals, along shorelines, or in shallow bays. Do not use bass lures or live bait.
If a fisherman is taking bass out-of season, report his boat number to MNR Kemptville at 1-613-258-8204.
To protect fry and increase stocks, wait until mid-July to fish in shallow waters.