By Chantelle Distler
Distler Construction Ltd has been a proud member of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve since 2012. We are a small, family owned company that has been building quality custom homes and cottages in the Parry Sound Area since 1989. In the past 10 years we have expanded our expertise to larger developments including a 27 lot subdivision (Residence at Prospect Point), a 96 unit condo development (Silver Birch Condominiums) and an 18,400 square foot Medical Arts building.
When building a home, energy efficiency is often a concern for the customer. At Distler Construction Ltd, many of our projects exceed the requirements for energy efficiency, which reduces fuel use and the impact on our environment. As a custom builder, we work together with the customer to ensure their concerns are addressed. Whether it’s by using less traditional construction assemblies to achieve higher r-values, or using more efficient heating systems to reduce fuel consumption.
The closing of the Community Stewardship Program (CSP) marks a significant milestone in eastern Georgian Bay. Over 150 participants attended Stewardship Workshops over two years, and almost 100 projects from Honey Harbour to Britt received funding. Facilitated by the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve since April 2015, CSP provided technical advice and funding to landowners, cottagers, businesses, and organizations.
The CSP used a holistic approach toward maintaining water quality and environmental health in Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. “The Community Stewardship Program encouraged stewardship on the part of seasonal and permanent residents.” states Program Coordinator John Osmok. “There has been an ongoing need for accessible stewardship funding, and we were fortunate to finally provide it.”
At the program core were simple recommendations on best management practices to maintain or improve local water quality and ecosystem health. These practices not only reduce environmental impacts, but protect landowner’s investments. Examples include:
- Ensure your property mimics the natural areas around you. Maintain or plant a buffer of native vegetation along the shoreline. This protects fish habitat and other aquatic life.
- Store chemicals and fuels away from water: All potential contaminants should be stored if possible 150 meters from water, preferably in their original containers in a building with a concrete floor without a drain. The best solution is to keep as few chemicals as possible on your property.
- Regularly have your septic tank pumped and inspected. Also keep leaching beds clear of trees and other woody plants that can block the weeping tiles.
Education and Stewardship Coordinator Delaina Arnold says “The Community Stewardship Program built on other programs offered by the Biosphere such as Life on the Bay. Community members have embraced stewardship education and we hope to see the enthusiasm continue.”
Funding opportunities are no longer available, however many stewardship resources remain accessible online at gbbr.ca/communitystewardship. Anyone interested in a free self-assessment guidebook can contact Delaina Arnold at [email protected] or 705.774.0978 while supplies last.
The Community Stewardship Program was made possible through the Environment Canada Lake Simcoe South Eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund and numerous partners.
Ontario Sea Kayak Centre is one of the biggest providers of the nationally certified Paddle Canada sea kayaking skills programs. We also coach kayakers in rolling and traditional Inuit kayaking skills. We train new kayaking instructors every year, and volunteer with Paddle Canada in every way we can.
OSKC loves to show paddlers pristine and magnificent places. Through our guided kayak trips, paddlers experience nationally and internationally protected wildlife parks. We take kayakers to explore Senja Island in Norway, Saguenay Fjord in Quebec, Lake Superior Park in Ontario, Clayoquot Sound in British Columbia and Loreto National Marine park on the Baja Peninsula.
Spending much of our time kayaking in the GBBR, we have a great affinity for the plants and animals we happen upon during our adventures in the 30,000 islands. Protecting the environment begins at home, and supporting the GBBR through our membership, as well as through fundraising activities is one of our mandates at OSKC. Our fundraising auctions at Paddlepalooza and Women on the Water in Parry Sound have raised thousands of dollars, as well as awareness, for biosphere programs. Through our connection to the paddling community, we will continue to advocate for the GBBR for many years to come.