New By-law (Fall 2020): Mandatory Boat Washing
The Municipality of Otter Lake has enacted a new by-law that requires everyone to wash their boat before launching it into any body of water located in the Municipality. The by-law represents a huge step in the right direction in GORA’s efforts to protect our lakes. We are pleased with the progress made so far by the Mayor and Councillors, particularly Robin Zacharias and Carlen Lafleur, who have worked together with GORA on the ad hoc “Boat Wash” committee.
Everyone received a pamphlet on boat-washing with the recent property tax bill. We encourage you to review the by-law (number 02-09-2020) posted on the Municipality’s website at www.otterlakequebec.ca/by-laws under the 'Environment' heading.
We would like to draw your attention to a few changes in process.
New Boat Wash Station
Due to COVID, the timeline for delivery of some of the equipment for the boat wash station located behind the Municipal Hall at 15 Palmer Street has been delayed. As a result, the payment kiosk and new power washer are not yet installed. Magnetic cards and boat stickers will not be available until the kiosk is up and running. The goal is to have it set up at some point in May. Meanwhile, the existing power washer remains available for use at the Municipal Hall.
**Important Changes** to What Taxpayers Need to Do
To receive your free boat wash magnetic card, you must fill out and sign the Boat Wash Attestation Form which is being sent to you along with this newsletter. You can send it by mail to Municipality of Otter Lake, 15 Palmer Avenue, Otter Lake, QC J0X 2P0 OR complete, sign, scan and send it by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your mailing address so that the Municipal Office can send you the magnetic card by mail.
If you are a taxpayer who leaves your motorized boat on the same lake for the entire season, you will also be issued a sticker to affix to the boat. If an inspection is performed, you may be asked to show your sticker. You will NOT be required to wash your boat if you are launching it into the same lake year after year.
If you move your boat from lake to lake during the season or if you are launching it this year after having been in a different body of water last year, you MUST WASH IT BEFORE EACH LAUNCH.
When you touch the magnetic card at the kiosk, the pressure washer will be activated. At the end of the wash cycle, the kiosk will issue a “wash certificate” and receipt that you should keep as proof that your boat has been washed.
Why do taxpayers need to sign an attestation form?
By signing the attestation form, you attest to being aware of the Mandatory Boat Washing By-law 02-09-2020 and you understand that you must wash your boat before launching, i.e., if you take it out of one lake and plan to launch it into another. You also attest that your magnetic card is for your use ONLY and you will not share it with others.
You are also asked to indicate the type of boat(s) you use and whether they remain on the same lake (if so, give address of lake property) OR they are moved from lake to lake.
How will the by-law be enforced?
Beginning this year, boat launch sites will be regularly monitored, particularly to ensure that visitors with boats are in compliance. Warnings and/or fines will be issued, as necessary. There is a $300 fine for non-compliance. In addition, the boat wash station will be under 24-hour surveillance.
The by-law involves a culture shift and it will require the entire community to respect and implement. While communications material will be widespread, we encourage everyone to talk to their neighbours and help ensure that they are aware of the by-law and understand its significance. We trust that there will be an understanding of the importance of boat-washing and we can continue to protect our lakes for enjoyment for many years to come.
How will it work for non-taxpayers or visitors with boats?
Non-taxpayers will need to pay $10 per motorized boat (non-motorized boats are free);
Payment is accepted at the payment kiosk at the wash station;
Once the boat is washed, the kiosk will issue a “wash certificate” and transaction receipt;
The boat user must keep the “wash certificate” to show as proof;
The boat user must place their transaction receipt on the dash of their vehicle so that it is visible;
The wash certificate for non-taxpayers will be valid for the day that it is issued.
GORA's 2019 Work on Mandatory Boat Washing
The passage of the Municipality's Fall 2020 By-Law on Mandatory Boat Washing was the culmination of four years' work on the Invasive Species issue. With the May 2018 installation of the Boat Washing Station at the Municipal Hall, GORA's efforts in 2019 turned towards a By-Law. Below are the key resource documents from that effort:
Greater Otter Lake Residents' Association (GORA)
Association des Résidents du Grand Otter Lake (ARGO)