Welcome to Birch Island!

Hello Birch Island Cottagers!

With a short and jittery winter season behind us, I am very much looking forward to spending time on (and in) Sand Lake this year.  This is already my family’s 5th year on Birch Island and it is the locale for many of our happiest memories.  Here’s to many more!

Last summer we said goodbye to Paola & Al of #3, who sold their place and moved off the island to a mainland place on Sand Lake.  We are very happy for them to remain on the lake and their contributions to the association and to island life overall will be missed.  With their departure, however, we are able to warmly welcome John Pundyk and Sarah Stuchbury and their family to their first full season on the island.

We would also like to welcome Brett and Lise Cavanagh of # 38.  This is doubly good news to the association as Brett has volunteered to help out as webmaster of our Birch Island Association homepage.  Big thanks to Brett !

On a final welcoming note, once again we hope to welcome back this spring the pair of bald eagles that have claimed and maintained a nest high up on Eclestone Island (off the northwest corner of Birch Island) for the past three years.  It is always fascinating to watch the parents care for and protect the nest while their eaglets grow.  If you do visit, please be respectful of both the eagles and the Eclestone Island cottagers.

A good number of our fond island memories are directly attributable to the fruits of the island association’s volunteer labour.  Your island association (officially the Birch Island Residential Property Owners Association, BIRPOA) and its ‘executive’ is the group that works to help keep Birch Island a safe and healthy place.  Some examples of our recent activities and undertakings include:

• Walking trail development, marking, maintenance and signage

• Loon nesting platform construction and yearly population survey

• Coordination of rights-of-way securement for property owners

• Water quality surveying and reporting

• Birch Island Branch Library

These and many more of the association’s accomplishments are made possible with the help of our membership fees of just $40 per year.  

If you are not an association member, please join.  If you are already a member, please consider volunteering for the executive.  We are a welcoming group and always looking for help and new ideas to contribute towards a place where water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, recreational activities, social interaction, peace and tranquility are maintained and enhanced for present and future generations of Birch Islander cottagers.

I look forward to dutifully fulfilling the role of Association President this year (my first as Prez) and happy to solicit any ideas, suggestions or feedback on association activities that you might have.  I am pleased to announce that Mike Davis of #50, as Vice-President this year, will take the reins as Association President for 2017.

The AGM will take place 10 am Sunday July 31st at the Library.  Ice cream cones will be provided.  Double scoops to those who step-up and volunteer!!

Wishing you and your families a safe and wonderful summer at the lake and on the island.

Murray Smith, Association President for 2016
Spring, 2016

Find us online:  

Some notes:

Noise at the Marina

The folks at the marina ask that we remember that the docks and parking lot are surrounded by their homes, and ask that we avoid making excess noise, especially in the evening and overnight.

Boating Safety

Boat wakes damage shorelines, docks and the boats tied to them, and swamp smaller craft. Please remember that the speed limit is 10km/hour within 100 feet (30m) of shore. Please be on the lookout for swimmers, loons and their chicks.

Birch Island Branch Library

The Birch Island Branch Library, run on the honour system, is found along the trail at cottage #57. Your thoughtful donations of books, DVDs, complete puzzles and games are welcomed. Simply leave them on the counter with your name so that they can be reviewed, labeled and shelved. For more information contact Laura Davis, stewart.davis@sympatico.ca, cottage: 613-359-5461, lot#50

Garbage Collection / Recycling

Rideau Lakes Township is implementing changes to its recycling program. Each week you can recycle either plastics and metal (YELLOW) or paper and fibres (ORANGE). Weeks alternate throughout the year… get a full calendar from the Township’s web site ).

Garbage collection begins Sunday, May 15th at the Glover Road Public Boat Ramp from 4-8pm. Collection hours change to 4-6pm September 4th and collection ends Oct 16th. If the truck is not there, please leave your bagged waste (with a tag) and recycling at the location. Full details are to be found here:

Trail Maintenance

BIRPOA, with your help, ensures the main trails are kept clear and are marked for safe use. Should heavier mowing be required, equipment is barged to the island to cut back growth. We ask that residents mow public pathways attached to their property. Ry Weisiger oversees trail maintenance. Contact him at 613-359-6279, karykary@comcast.net, lot #55, if there is an issue on the trails that needs to be addressed.

Fire Safety

Permits are required for outdoor burning ($10) and are available at Gordanier's Hardware in Elgin, the Township Office in Chantry, the Portland Ultramar, Hearth and Home in Westport, Bennetts Bait and Tackle (Hwy 15/Lombardy Rd) and at the Delta Market. Follow the regulations and burn during the coolest, dampest time of day and not when it's windy. Make sure wood piles are stored 10 metres away from your cottage and that dead vegetation is cleared from around the cottage's foundation. Prune branches that overhang your roof and wires and keep gutters clean. Your chimney, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers should be in good working order. Your garden hose should be connected and buckets and shovels should be handy. Call 911 in any emergency, then call the marina.

Septic Systems

The Municipal Septic System Re-Inspection Program begins mandatory re-inspection in 2016. Go to the Township of Rideau Lakes web site www.twprideaulakes.on.ca and check the Development Services Department for septic tank information.

Use of Trails

There has been some concern expressed over the recreational use of motorized vehicles on Birch Island’s walking trails. Please keep in mind that the trails are maintained by BIRPOA for pedestrians. Occasionally, service vehicles (e.g., Hydro) use the trail.


We need your memberships to keep Birch Island an enjoyable and safe place for our families to escape to! Please take the time to fill out the online membership form or the paper version mailed to your home address and send it in today. Please leave a cheque in the BIRPOA ‘drop box’ at the Sand Lake Marine office OR mail your cheque to Alice Howarth OR use the PayPal option on the website.

2016 Birch Island Association (BIRPOA) Executive Members:

President: Murray Smith, murrayasmith@gmail.com, cottage: 613-265-4254, lot#58
Vice President: Mike Davis, michael.evans.davis@gmail.com, cottage: 613-359-5461, lot#50
Past President: Bob Cavenagh, cavenaghr@gmail.com, cottage: 613-359-5461, lot#57
Web Master: Brett Cavanagh, cottage:, lot#38
Secretary: Catherine Burnside, droletjj@hotmail.com, cottage: 613-359-5393, lot#62
Library: Laura Davis, stewart.davis@sympatico.ca, cottage: 613-359-5461, lot#50
Treasurer/Membership: Alice Howarth, alice_howarth9@hotmail.com, 613-328-1146, lot#92
Trail Maintenance: Ry Weisiger, karykary@comcast.net, cottage: 613-359-6279, lot#55
Special Projects/Rights-of-Way:

  • John Feltmate, cottage: 613-359-5831, lot#24;
  • Susan Cavenagh, cottage: 613-359-5461, lot#57;
  • Andy Shaw, ashaw002@gmail.com, home: 613-680-2411, cottage: 613-292-2664, lot#96
  • Jae Shaw home: 613-680-2411, cottage: 613-292-2664, lot#96