What kind of lake do you want in the future?

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

Notes from the URLA AGM - July 10, 2021


Watch the video replay of the URLA 2021 (1:40 min)


Of course, new development was always going to happen.


But a combination of demographics, changes from the pandemic (reduced international travel, working from home, etc.), and skyrocketing waterfront values have accelerated development. Developments that might have stretched over 15 or 20 years seem to be proceeding now as I write this.


More and more full-time residences are replacing the “family cottage with bigger homes at the waterfront. In the Township, some “campgrounds” are moving towards 3-season trailer parks, and there are record numbers of building permits. For the first time in several generations, Westport is growing – up to 400 new homes are planned over the next ten years!


What could this mean for the health of our lake? What kind of questions should we be asking now – to support the Upper Rideau Lake of the future? What is sustainable development? Who is looking at the cumulative environmental impacts on the lake as a whole?


This Upper Rideau Lakes Association Annual General Meeting, took place on Saturday, July 10 over a Zoom videoconference. It was a real opportunity to hear from four people who are dealing with local development issues – and their implications - literally every single day.

Panel discussion with RCVA, a local planner and the two mayors

Sommer Casgrain-Robertson leads the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority- arguably the local lead on environmental issues. Tracy Zander is a senior planner – she sees what people want, and helps to shape development. Both these leaders can help us interpret what is going on.

Ultimately, sustainable development proceeds – or not – with municipal support. At the end of the day, we look to Mayors Jones and Hoogenboom, and their Councils, to make the right decisions for the Upper Rideau Lake.


If you have any comments on our discussions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.

Thank you.

John McDowell President, Upper Rideau Lake Association

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