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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays


A couple of important items:


 
Ice Riding

Courtesy of Shaun Nemeth

Riding the ice is very popular in the winter. Many trails cross the ice of frozen bodies of water at some point. But you can never consider any frozen surface as a safe area for travel. This is why trails across the ice are not eligible for state snowmobile financial support. Drowning still remains one of the significant causes of snowmobile fatalities.

If you do decide to ride on the ice, you are responsible for your own safety. Make sure that the ice is thick enough. If you don't know, don't go. Four to five inches is the minimum that will support snowmobilers. You should also equip yourself with a throw rope that will float, and consider purchasing a floatation snowmobile suit. A set of ice picks could help you get out if you fall through.

Remember that ice is constantly changing. We usually experience a "January thaw" sometime during the winter, and that can have an adverse affect on ice thickness. Areas can thaw and re-freeze, sometimes leaving pockets between layers of ice. You can break through the surface ice and still have solid ice underneath a layer of water or air. But don't count on it.

Ice is not constant in thickness on any given body of water. It tends to be thinner around the edges of ponds and lakes, and near open water. Any area of moving water, such as inlets and outlets, fast moving currents, or an area over a spring will tend to have thinner ice or no ice at all.

When ice gets thick, it expands to the point that it cracks and heaves, leaving surface pressure ridges that are large enough to cause big trouble. On big lakes, like Lake Champlain, these pressure ridges can reach several feet high. If you are planning to make any speed runs on the ice, make sure to inspect the entire area you plan to use at a low speed to make sure there are no surface irregularities, ice houses, or other people that could cause problems. Also remember that if you come within one hundred feet of anyone or anything on the ice other than another snowmobiler, you must slow down to the minimum speed to maintain forward motion until you move away.

If you do fall through the ice, don't panic. Any snowmobile suit will trap enough air to keep you afloat for several minutes. Keep your gloves on. Slide back onto the ice using anything sharp to get a better grip. Kick your feet like a seal to help propel you onto the ice. Roll away from the hole. Don't attempt to stand until you are well away from it.
 
Bubblers

Courtesy of Shaun Nemeth
 
from LAKE OF BAYS, Ontario, Canada -

Dock bubblers on area lakes are posing a safety threat to snowmobilers.
Dock bubblers are installed to prevent damage from ice forming around docks over the winter. Usually a compressor feeds air into a length of tube under or around the dock, circulating the water and preventing ice from forming.
Bob Island, a member of the Algonquin Snowmobile Club and the publisher and editor of Snowmobile! Central Ontario, told councillors he is not against bubblers but believes people need to be educated about the risks and responsibilities.
“Ninety per cent of people who use them, use them way too much … they take up too much ice surface,” he said. Over the last five years, he added, the number of bubblers has increased, to the point that it’s a dangerous situation.
He said bubblers are often marked with a red light, which can confuse snowmobilers. In areas of low visibility, he said riders follow each other’s tail lights and could easily drive in the direction of the red light and end up in the unfrozen water around the dock.
Island said a yellow light indicating caution would be a better choice than red.
He suggested lawsuits may occur, involving the owner of the bubbler, the installer, the manufacturer and even the township, if someone is hurt.
He added that if cottage owners check their insurance, they will find they are not covered if an accident occurs.
“The OPP are very aware of the problem,” he said. “It’s like a 400 series highway out there with bubblers on both sides.”
Nancy Tapley said the dangers of open water from bubblers across the lakes are a huge issue.
“(People) complain to me,” she said. “They can’t get out to ice fish, they can’t go out on their snowmobile … it’s an enormous problem — death waiting to happen.”
Ruth Ross questioned whether the Ministry of Natural Resources has any authority over the use of bubblers. Bob Island said he called the ministry and was informed that it does not.
Shane Baker asked if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has any jurisdiction.
“They’ve washed their hands as well,” said Island.
Council members stated that the municipality is powerless to do anything once something is in the water.
Ginny Burgess suggested that cottage associations be encouraged to make people aware of the potential dangers and liabilities associated with bubblers.
Mayor Bob Young told this newspaper that he is unable to venture onto the ice at his own property because his neighbour runs a bubbler.
He said last year, in an unrelated matter, a young girl nearly went through the ice when she hit a patch that had been thinned by the current from a bubbler.
“I have some sympathy for your hot-dogging snowmobilers, but not much,” he said
The waste of hydro and energy are a major concern, added Young.
“It only needs to operate four to six hours until the water level is down,” he said of the devices.
Young said that while he believes the municipality has no authority to stop bubblers, he encourages public education on the issue.
“When people realize there’s a liability to themselves and others they’ll do the right thing,” he said.
Another Bubbler Article
2020 Lake Study

Aquatic Environment Consultants
 
Kevin Laite prepared this year's report.  The bottom-line is that the Lake quality remains exceptional, some productive weed growth notwithstanding.  A synopsis (one-page) can be seen at the link below.  The full report, all 37 pages/571KB, can be downloaded as well, via the second link.

Bill Kirkpatrick has offered to spend some time with us for a Q&A this coming spring to help us better understand the weed situation, since there were a number of complaints last year and we spend $30-60,000 most years on treatment to help control weed growth.  It may have to be a webinar-style event.  We will keep you posted.
2020 Synopsis
Full Lake Study 2020
Road Closed

Pow-Wow Court, from the Lodge down to Kickapoo, is closed to traffic during the winter.  It is too steep to maintain safely, and too treacherous for normal vehicular use, especially if not maintained.  This is not something new; it was a condition upon which the Borough opened the road to begin with.

To make this clear, the Borough has placed barriers and signage at both the top and bottom.  Anyone circumventing the barriers, and ignoring the signage, and using the roadway while it is officially closed, does so at their own peril and risk.
Trees and Garages

Both are hot topics that Planning and Council are wrestling with.  It seems some folks think we are building too many of one and cutting down too many of the other.

The first principle is that if you own property you should be able to use it as you please.  The corrolary is, if you want to control what happens on a property, then buy it.  

Zoning law allows for a governmental entity to 'regulate' use, however, in the interest of health and safety, and for the betterment of the community as a whole (for example, preserving neighborhood property values, fostering controlled growth, etc.).  Perhaps we are out of balance...

While we regroup and refocus, we will be very strictly enforcing our tree-cutting rules and permitting.  We are also, at least for now, eliminating the zoning provision that allows a garage (detached, obviously) to be built on a residential lot without a home already there.  No house, no garage.

Got input, or a gripe?  Drop us a line at Planning@indianlakepa.us
 
Parking

Courtesy of Paul Balint and Mike Miscoe

With our recent snowfall and the projections of more snow this coming winter,  we remind all property owners that parking on borough roads or on the berms of the roads is not permissible under the provisions of Ordinance 168-1. 

Violators create an impediment to normal and safe traffic flow but during the winter season, this impedes the ability of the road crews to keep the roads clear of snow.  Moreover, snow thrown from Borough plows could damage your vehicle where parked either on the road or the berm. 

While keeping your own vehicles off the road is appreciated, we also wish to remind those who have contractors working on their property to advise them of these restrictions.  For those who are here part time and therefore do not have your driveways regularly plowed, please make arrangements to have one of the many local plowing services plow your driveway or at least create a safe pull off spot so that your vehicles are completely off the road during your visit. 

We thank you for your cooperation and wish everyone a safe winter season.

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