Rondeau Provincial Park
Rondeau Provincial Park is a provincial park
Provincial park
A provincial park is a park under the management of a provincial or territorial government in Canada.While provincial parks are not the same as national parks, their workings are very similar...

 in southwestern Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, located on an 8 km long crescentic sand spit extending into Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

. There are only two sand spits like this one in all of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, one in Rondeau and one in Florida. Rondeau was established in 1894 as a response to demand for cottaging opportunities by residents of nearby Chatham. It is the second-oldest provincial park in Ontario (after Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park is a provincial park located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in Central Ontario, Canada, mostly within the Unorganized South Part of Nipissing District. Established in 1893, it is the oldest provincial park in Canada. Additions since its creation have increased...

). It is recognized as the largest tourist destination in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. Rondeau is also home to the largest area of Carolinian forest
Carolinian forest
The Carolinian forest is a life zone in eastern North America characterized primarily by a predominance of deciduous, or broad-leaf trees. The term "Carolinian forest" is used primarily in Canada...

 in Canada, a long sand beach, a large marsh, approximately half of Rondeau Bay, campgrounds and a heritage cottage community. Most of the park is natural environment; the cottage community takes up less than 1% of the Park area and is practically invisible from the air. The name of the park comes from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 words "ronde eau" or "round water" which describes the shape of the harbour sheltered by the peninsula.
The park is an important stopover for birds during migration and has been identified as a Canadian Important Bird Area
Important Bird Area
An Important Bird Area is an area recognized as being globally important habitat for the conservation of bird populations. Currently there are about 10,000 IBAs worldwide. The program was developed and sites are identified by BirdLife International...

. Its Carolinian woods also provide nesting habitat for the Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
The Prothonotary Warbler is a small songbird of the New World warbler family. It is the only member of the genus Protonotaria....

 and many other Carolinian species. Limited hunting of White-tailed Deer
White-tailed Deer
The white-tailed deer , also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States , Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru...

 has been permitted within the park to control deer numbers because these animals no longer have any natural predators, and pose a threat to the park's forested areas. Waterfowl hunting is permitted in the park area in the fall.

In the Ontario Parks
Ontario Parks
Ontario Parks is the branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources that administers the provincial parks in Ontario, Canada. The Ontario Parks system covers over 78,000 square kilometres , about 10 percent of the province's surface area or the equivalent of an area approximately equal to Nova Scotia...

 system, only Rondeau and Algonquin continue the presence of privately-owned cottages on leased land. Rondeau is unique in that Section 5b of the 1894 Rondeau Park Act states that Rondeau Park was created specifically to provide cottaging opportunities. Forty cottage lots were surveyed at the outset. Several other provincial parks (Kawartha Highlands, Killarney, Presqu'ile) have privately-owned cottages within their boundaries on lots deeded to the cottage owners. Other provincial parks have cottages that are owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources and rented (Awenda, Balsam lake, Bon Echo, Bonnechere, Sandbanks, Sleeping Giant and Sturgeon Bay). There are 285 family cottages remaining in Rondeau Park, as well as two churches and a Yacht Club / Community Centre. The oldest cottages were built over 100 years ago; most were built in the 1920s. Many of the cottages are architecturally significant. The MNR Statement of Philosophy of Integrated Resource Management (Feb.1985) contained the following statement "Multiple Use Policy is not consistent with a province-wide policy of restricting cottage leases in provincial parks. Instead, planning policy in specific parks should be based on the values, traditions and classification of each park." Rondeau is a Natural Environment class park, but the cottages are recognized in the official Park Plan as cultural heritage values. This requires that the cottages be protected under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, the class Environmental Assessment for parks and the Ontario Heritage Act. Nevertheless, all current private leases expire on December 31, 2017, at which time all 285 cottages and the Yacht Club are to be demolished at the owners' expense. The Heritage Board of Chatham-Kent has expressed concern over the possible loss of the cottage community.

The Rondeau Cottagers Association and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent (with the support of Chatham-Kent Essex Liberal MPP Pat Hoy
Pat Hoy
Pat Hoy is a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, representing the riding of Chatham-Kent—Essex for the Ontario Liberal Party from 1995 to 2011....

) have been lobbying the provincial government to have the leases extended. On October 1, 2010 Ontario's Minister of Natural Resources, the Hon. Linda Jeffrey
Linda Jeffrey
Linda Jeffrey is a politician in Ontario, Canada. She is a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, representing the riding of Brampton—Springdale for the Ontario Liberal Party, and is the province's Minister of Natural Resources in the Liberal government of Premier Dalton...

, telephoned the President of the Rondeau Cottagers Association and informed him that the Cabinet had voted to extend cottage leases for 21 more years, from 2017 to 2038, but the offer was subsequently characterized by MNR officials as a "cottage phase out policy".
  • No lease transfers are allowed except to a spouse on the death of the leaseholder (cottages cannot be willed to children or grandchildren);
  • The leaseholders would be required to remove buildings and structures and to restore lots to a safe and clean condition at their own expense upon termination of leases, or to be paid by their Estate after their death;
  • The Crown would retain the sole right to purchase the lease on a willing seller/willing buyer basis;
  • Unspecified "additional conditions" that the Ministry considers to be necessary or appropriate to restore the ecological integrity of the park and protect species at risk and their habitat (e.g., native species planting, restricting access to sensitive areas).

The public reaction favored retention of the cottages by more than 4 to 1, but rejection of the policy proposal was almost universal. A policy decision is pending.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.