The Landowner 2022 - Annual Newsletter
GMLLOA - Fall 2022 - President's Address on the Operation of the Board
As 2022 comes to a close I want to share an update on a few major items we’ve been working on as a board, Region of Queens Billing, Winter Road Clearing, and Dry Hydrants.
Firstly however, I want to recognize and thank the volunteers behind the Greater Molega Lot Owners Association.
Directors of the association spend countless hours working to build and repair our roads and infrastructure, and creating a growing and vibrant community for all of our enjoyment. This involves everything from thoughtful planning of rates and budgeting, assessment and collection of dues from over 1200 members, selection of contractors, and guidance to contractors to deliver the services needed to manage our infrastructure, let alone the work done directly to avoid additional costs.
The details of this are lost in my summary. The details involve evenings, days and hours spent sacrificing other activities, family time or otherwise, to do work for the benefit of us all. I want to share a big thank-you to our association directors current and past, and hope you will join me in thanking them too!
Now for the updates.
Region of Queens Billing
Many municipalities such as Lunenburg County, and Halifax Regional Municipality, offer the opportunity for road ownership associations to engage them to levy annual road association dues as part of the annual property tax bill. In these arrangements, the road ownership association receives the dues from the region or municipality that are required to maintain services for members.
For as long as I have been involved with the board, this has been one of the goals we’ve been working towards with the Region of Queens Municipality, and I am happy to share the progress we are making towards that goal.
With the support of our Councillor Dave Brown, our Treasurer Bruce McInnis and I met with the CAO and Director of Corporate Services with the Region of Queens in late June. The meeting was exceptionally productive. The region recognizes the necessity to provide this option to private road associations like the GMLLOA, and as the largest association in the area, we are in the unique position of helping them define the process, and bylaw under which they plan to offer this service.
Based on the framework we discussed in this June meeting, at the Queens Council meeting on July 12th, a motion was carried to proceed with drafting of the bylaw that will allow levying of road association fees. It is anticipated that the bylaw will be drafted and passed into law by the end of 2022. Following the creation of the bylaw, the board intends to adopt the support of Queens in assessing all dues and fees from members of the GMLLOA. We anticipate that for next year, we will still be proceeding with billing members directly, business as usual, and the November 2023 billing would be replaced with the inclusion of road fees in the June 2024 tax bill.
We believe this support from Queens will be very beneficial to our association, and all of us as property owners in this area. The efficiencies that will be gained will reduce our cost of administration, allowing us to put more money towards services for all members. For example, currently when a property changes hands, we are always playing catch-up to maintain our records and ensure we’re billing the correct owner. In the new world, this will be automatically taken care of through the region's tax billing processes.
Despite the efforts of the board, we still have 15-20% of members who are not paying their dues and contributing to the services they are benefiting from. One of the most material benefits will be increased collection based on stronger recourse from the region of Queens. These increased dues collected will go directly to services for all members, increasing the quality of our infrastructure, and values of our properties.
For each of us, this will also make our lives a bit easier by only having one bill to pay each year. If anyone has their tax bill wrapped into their mortgage, this will be handed in the same manner.
We have long asked for more support and services from the Region of Queens for our tax dollars. I want to thank Councilor Dave Brown, and the CAO and staff of the region for the collaborative approach in working towards this mutually beneficial relationship.
Winter Road Clearing
Over the past few years, we have experienced increased use of our roads year round. Over the past two winters, based on member requests, we’ve expanded our winter clearing considerably on the south shore, such that we’re now clearing the vast majority of the inhabited roads. On the north shore, we have never offered winter clearing service, however there is demand as a number of members are pooling resources to pay a contractor directly.
Based on these factors, we’ve decided to expand our winter clearing services universally to all roads, north and south, that have developed properties. This will ensure we’re providing equal and fair services to all members, will greatly simplify our rates and billing, will offer the opportunity for reduced insurance costs for members, and will ensure emergency service vehicles can reach our members 12 months a year.
It appears that funding dry hydrants has been the easiest part of the process. We’re still working with the fire departments on the north and south shores respectively towards this goal. We anticipate the north shore dry hydrant will be the first to be approved and installed. Stay tuned for further updates through our website and Facebook.
On behalf of the board of the Greater Molega Lake Lot Owners Association, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year. Stay safe, and enjoy the enhanced access to your cottage this winter!
Your Road Committees at Work
Our roads continue to be in great condition due to the dedication and hard work of our road chairmen and contractors. Roads are inspected several times a year by our road chairmen for areas of concern. Grading and gravel applications are performed annually and as necessary. Improvements involving culverts, brushing and ditching are carried out within the boundaries of the budget. Some minor repairs have been made to all three bridges. Next year the decking will be replaced on the Black Rattle Bridge and the Pleasant River Bridge. With the plowing of all inhabited roads this winter, please keep us informed at firstname.lastname@example.org of ice build up or any issues that need attention. Here are some of the highlights of the past year:
SOUTH SHORE NORTH SHORE100 loads of gravel & grading spring & fall 80 loads of gravel1 culvert replacement and 5 new culverts placed & applicable ditching Two culvert replacements & applicable ditching, Three new culverts placed.Significant repairs/improvements made to the Narrows Road East & West, Cove Road, Island View Terrace,and Hidden HillsGrading Spring and Fall Brushing and clean up of old debrisBrushing
MAINTENANCE FEES 2022-2023
This year you will notice that the rates have been restructured and are now based on services rendered and not usage. All inhabited roads are to be plowed this year essentially extending services to all lot owners.
Property Description Total
Developed Lot *355.00
Undeveloped Lot 130.00
All fees are subject to H.S.T.
*Definition of “developed lot” - a property that has any kind of structure on it. The term “structure” includes, but is not limited to, houses, cottages, mobile and mini homes, travel trailers, motorhomes, garages and sheds.
Help keep our maintenance fees stable by paying on or before January 31st.
We now have a collection process in place to enable us to collect fees from those who prefer to be evasive, but we would rather not use it. It costs us money when we do this, so this is not optimal. When fees are not paid on time we cannot budget properly and cannot upgrade and improve our roads as well as we would like. Note: Payment of fees can be done by E-TRANSFER. There are instructions on our website in the section under RESIDENTS, FEE STRUCTURE or contact our Accounts Manager, Linda Brookes at email@example.com. You can also pay your fees by VISA or MasterCard!
Account Updates and Emails Please!
You can help keep costs down by receiving your invoices and correspondence by email if you can, however we ask that you also make sure that you have your correct mailing address on file as well. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with any changes to your information and be sure to include the name of the person on the account as we no longer use account numbers. Also if you sell your property, please let us know, so that we can update our records and invoice the correct person. Thank you!
Hemlock Wooly Adelgid Disease
Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA, Adelges tsugae) is an invasive aphid-like insect that poses a serious
risk to hemlocks in North America. It has been spotted throughout the Molega Lake area on both the north and south shores. We recommend our members follow treatment guidance from Medway Community Forest. There is an approved method to treat and save our Hemlocks through IMA-jet injection. For more information go to www.nshemlock.ca or https://www.medwaycommunityforest.com/
Good Neighbour Guidelines
Speeding - Please slow down! This applies to everyone driving ATV’s, cars, trucks, couriers and dump trucks! We have had several near collisions in the past year. Nobody wants to get hurt or wreck their vehicle! The 35 kph speed limit is in place for a reason.
Fires during a fire ban or at the wrong time - Please be sure to check the novascotia.ca/burnsafe website daily after 2:00 p.m to see if you are permitted to have a fire. If you come upon someone having a fire during a fire ban the best thing you can do is simply call 911 and let the Fire Department deal with the situation.
Fireworks are banned during a fire ban, and should not be deployed during quiet hours which are midnight to 7:00 a.m.
ATVs are prohibited from entering wetlands and shorelines as per page 76 of OHV regulation handbook. Please be considerate of our ecologically sensitive environment, and be mindful of the safety of others, especially children using the beaches for swimming and playing.
Motorized watercraft near shorelines - Every summer we hear complaints of seadoos and boats going too fast too close to shore. Wakes can cause damage to watercraft banging against docks, and can also disrupt wildlife habitat. Please be mindful of the loon habitat and other resident’s property, and keep speed down to 10 kph when within 30 meters of the shore. Report wildlife harassment to DNR 1-800-565-2224 who will investigate.
Illegal dumping - Please do not leave large articles like appliances and furniture at the garbage boxes. The dump is not that far away on Trunk 8. They also accept brush at the dump, so there is no need to leave brush at the garbage boxes. Please keep the lids closed which helps to keep the wildlife out of the boxes which will help reduce the mess. The garbage boxes are the first impression a visitor sees when they enter our residential-recreational area, and sometimes this impression is disgraceful! Many thanks to our tidy minded residents who spend a great deal of time picking up trash that gets blown all around the area.
Parking at boat launches - These roads are not wide enough to accommodate parked vehicles, so please make other arrangements for your vehicles to ensure others can use the boat launches. In some areas it may look like there is a handy place to park a vehicle but it might be private property, so please keep that in mind.
Camping on our green spaces and beaches - Over the past two summers we have had incidents of people camping on our beaches, and leaving the area in a disgraceful mess. We are currently working on a policy for dealing with this.
Air BNBs: Many complaints have come in from your neighbours which range from noise and general rowdiness, to fires during fire bans, fireworks after midnight, and disrespectful acts along the shores. Guests have at times helped themselves to water toys belonging to residents. Please post some basic rules to inform your guests.
Off Highway Vehicles and our Roads
We continue to see an increase in people enjoying the use of their ATV’s on our roads. While our roads are privately owned by us, they are still public thoroughfares and safety is our biggest concern. Please keep in mind the following:
Vehicles must be licensed and insured
Follow posted speed limits (35 km/h) and slow down when approaching people walking, cycling etc.
As per OHV regulations in Nova Scotia, no one under the age of 16 may be on the roads without adult supervision.
Riding in or near wetlands and watercourses is forbidden. See Page 76 of the OHV regulation handbook. Help protect our vulnerable areas.
Most importantly, always use proper safety equipment (helmets) when riding.
Note: You can make it safer for everyone by reporting any unsafe usage to the RCMP.
Be respectful of our ecologically sensitive lands. Please do not litter or disturb natural habitat. For more information on nature preservation please see our website!
2022 - 2023 Board of Directors
Greater Molega Lake Lot Owners Association
P.O. Box 242
Bridgewater, NS B4V 2W9
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
- Robert Swan