Birchcliff Property Owners Association
2022 Annual General Meeting & BBQ August 13, 2022
To our BPOA Membership.
You are hereby invited to our annual general meeting on Saturday August 13 at Camp Kawartha. The meeting will start at 9:30am and attached to this email you will find an agenda for the meeting. Following the AGM, you are all invited to a BBQ social event at the Camp complete with hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and refreshments as well as raffles for door prizes.
This is a municipal election year (October 24, 2022) and you can meet the candidates and learn about voting methods at our AGM. We would like to encourage someone from Birchview Road area to put their name forward for election to Council. I am not sure when the last time we had representation on Council from Birchview Road. The road is scheduled for resurfacing in 2023 and that would be a good time to look at shoulder improvements and solutions to the problematic blind hills and corners along the road. We plan to have an open discussion on this subject at our AGM and we will have an opportunity to share our thoughts with Douro-Dummer Council and candidates for election.
We look forward to seeing you all on August 13 for an "in person" meeting and social gathering.
On behalf of your Board of Directors.
Jim Coyle, President
Road Safety Letter sent to Douro Dummer Council on March 4, 2022
To: Douro Dummer Council
Subject: Birchview Road Speed Study
Dear Mayor and Councilors:
As the chair of the BPOA committee dealing with road safety issues, I have been authorized by the BPOA to communicate with Douro Dummer Council on this topic.
Since our association last addressed this matter, council has received a report from D.M. Wills, Engineers, on road speeds and signage. This study was commissioned by Council and based on the physical attributes and identified risk of the road, using Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) guidelines, the study recommended a reduced speed limit to 40 km. At the Feb. 15 meeting, council adopted the recommendations of the study and directed the imposition of a 40 km speed limit between Fiddlers Lane and McCracken's Landing Road, as well as signage improvements to meet MTO standards, and a budget allocation was made. At the March 1st Council meeting this decision was deferred pending additional consultations. We welcome this deferral to consult our members as speed is only a part of the needed safety improvements required along Birchview to address all-season road improvements.
Road safety has been an omni present message along Birchview and the Association is grateful to be heard on the subject. Last year BPOA submitted to council a survey from both BPOA members and non-members. The majority of residents surveyed (over 120) were in favor of road safety improvements. In our most recent communication to members, the first and foremost consideration in the minds of area residents are necessary improvements to Birchview Road to enhance safety for all users of the road. These improvements are identified as:
· shoulder improvements including road side slopes;
· site line improvements;
· grading improvements both in respect of blind corners and blind hills;
· hard surface improvements;
· speed enforcement; and
· vegetation growth containment.
The physical attributes of Birchview road drove the Wills report to recommend a reduced speed based on TAC guidelines. The study identified 37 curves, 135 driveways, 3 steep hills with gradients exceeding 14%, narrow lane widths, uneven or non-existent shoulders and a pedestrian risk rating of 9. This risk as identified by the Wills report, is something residents of Birchview have long recognized and have been trying to address. Unless these outstanding physical attributes are dealt with, Wills outlines, the current speed if maintained will be in violation of transportation guidelines.
It is worth noting that while the current 85th percentile was 67km, many drivers (15%) were well in excess of this speed with one driver clocked at 132 km/h. Road safety issues and road speeds are not exclusive. It is our opinion that road safety issues deserve being addressed as the paramount consideration.
The Association has three ‘asks’:
1. That Council continue its support to fund the equipment and its use necessary to keep the vegetation growth (vertical and horizontal) on either side of the Birchview Road, at bay;
2. That the 2022/23 road maintenance plan for the Birchview Road be elevated to consider road improvements to start to address the issues of paramount importance that we have outlined;
3. That Council direct the reconvening of its road committee with citizen and BPOA representation - to continue to address and identify high priority improvements.
We look forward to working together with you on the consultations to be undertaken regarding speeds and the other much needed improvements in road safety for all user types on Birchview Road.
Let me take this opportunity to thank you for your service to the township of Douro-Dummer.
Thanks to all who attended the BPOA Annual General Meeting on August 7,2021.
We are now focused on road safety and increasing our membership. Updates to follow.
Message from Jim Coyle President, January 2021
Hello BPOA Members,
I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Wendy and I have decided not to venture to Florida until we are vaccinated and it has been nice to enjoy the lake in the winter months. We do have friends, including a former resident from Fiddlers Lane, who have already been vaccinated in Florida. Lots of walking, cross country skiing, skating and use of the ATV to pass the time.
I thought I would take this opportunity to update you on recent activity and engagement by your BPOA Board of Directors.
This committee under the direction of Bruce Johnson has been active in the late fall and early winter. A big thank you to Bruce as chair and his committee of Daniel Miskin, Jeff Chalmers and Jim Coyle. We all have noticed a significant increase in pedestrian traffic this winter and it makes it very important for all of us as drivers of vehicles to be extra careful. Birchview Road is our sidewalk. There are no shoulders for pedestrians to take safety if necessary, the roads are slippery in winter and we have many blind hills and blind corners. There are also construction trucks parked on the road which can obscure sight lines. It has been pointed out by daily walkers on the road that although we should walk on the left side of the road, as normal protocol would suggest, that it is actually safer to go to the other side of the road as you approach blind hills and blind corners. Please be careful and be mindful of others using the road.
Thomas Tooke from Tooke Construction Services attended the committee meeting on November 24 and he has agreed to give us some cost estimates to complete a shoulder improvement / pedestrian walkway from Fiddlers Lane to the bottom of the hill past Salmon Bay Road at no cost to BPOA. We will then have some numbers to approach the Township with and hopefully find a way to get the project moving forward. Thomas is doing work for a number of residents along Birchview Road and believes, as we all do, that we need to do something soon or we will have a fatality or serious injury on Birchview Road. For those of you who do not know Thomas Tooke, he was previously with Drain Bros before starting his own business and is currently doing the sewer and watermain work at Lilacs in Lakefield as well as shoreline work, property clearing, septic systems, driveways, etc for those that need such work. If you do need his services, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. We all owe Thomas a big thank you for doing this on our behalf.
As Douro-Dummer Township moves into the budget process, the committee organized a meeting with our elected officials to initiate some planning for inclusions in the budget. Heather Watson and Shelagh Landsman were invited to attend the meeting on December 10 and Heather attended along with the other committee members. Some of the takeaways from the meeting were as follows: (1) Council would consider designating Birchview Road as a "Community Safety Zone" where speeding infractions would have their fines doubled. (2) Heather would introduce Bruce to the new Roads Superintendent and they could take a road trip and look at all the blind hills and blind corners to see if there was something we could do within the roads budget to enhance safety for pedestrians. (3) Heather would consult with the Building Superintendent to see if parking plans for construction trucks could be included in the building permit process. (4) Heather would bring up the possibility of having more frequent grass cutting in the summer months on the shoulders of Birchview Road during the budget process. (5) Jim agreed to ask BPOA members if they could instruct their grass cutters and other property maintenance contractors to park in driveways and not on the road.
Dog Control Bylaw:
Council recently passed a bylaw intended to clearly outline property owners responsibilities for dog control with particular attention to "biting dogs". As you may know, we have had a recent dog attack incident with serious injuries to both the dog and the Birchview resident who was walking her dog on Birchview Road. We also have had previous incidents of dog attacks on pedestrians along Birchview Road. Your Board had Zoom meetings to discuss the draft bylaw and Jeff Chalmers made a presentation on our behalf at the Council meeting to discuss our suggestions to improve the draft bylaw on January 5. The bylaw that was passed is posted on the Douro-Dummer website for your information. The Township staff will be putting together a "Coles Notes" version of the bylaw to be used as a marketing information piece for the general public so that we all understand our responsibilities for dogs on our properties, whether they are our pets or whether they are dogs owned by visiting family, friends or renters.
John McGregor continues to serve as our representative on the Alliance of Local Cottager Associations. Bill Ratcliff continues to serve on the Environment Council for Clear, Stoney, and White Lakes. Jeff Chalmers is our Lake Steward and is in the planning stage for this summers' water testing with KLSA. Thanks to these 3 guys for volunteering their time for the benefit of BPOA members.
You should have recently received your invoice for the 2021 membership dues and we would appreciate your early renewal. If you have any new neighbours, please encourage them to join. Get their contact info and send to Bill Ratcliff.
On behalf of your Board of Directors.
Jim Coyle, President