Griffith Hodge passed away on 8 September 2022. Grif, as he was called by everyone, enjoyed life as it was meant to be. First and foremost was family. Somehow, he found a wonderful woman called Marion, married her and through good and bad hung onto her for 50 long, rich, interesting and great years.

The family lived the summers on a tiny little island in the middle of Lake Louisa. There are 2 identical houses on the island, built from kits purchased from the Eaton Catalogue in about 1906, well past 100 years ago. They used kit houses because it was so difficult to build on an island, and this ensured they weren’t forgetting anything.

The family would leave their house in TMR, or their farm in Ville St. Laurent. Next step was train to Lachute, followed by horse & buggy to the lake, and rowboat to the island. It was a lot more work than building on shore, but the secret payoff was the total absence of bugs (and vermin) on the island.

There are various theories for this unique benefit. Most probably, the island is simply too small to host a large enough native biomass, and if and when some mosquitoes manage to stumble onto the island, they get disoriented by the overwhelming smell of cedar, and quickly get blown off by the prevailing winds.

Whatever the correct theory may be, the “unbug” paradise was discovered by the local game warden, Anson Young. Young and Griffith (the original, not Grif), became best buddies, and decided to pick that pair of kit houses and plant them on “Young & Griffith Island“.

A funny fact about the island is that because it is in the middle of the lake, hundreds of homeowners on shore claim the island is right in front of their own house. They are right of course, but the feelng is hardly reciprocal. Anyway, no harm – no foul.

Back to Grif, his family, and the utopia of summer life on the island at Lake Louisa. Of course there was no electricity, and the 2 main problems were water to cook & flush the toilet, and figuring out a way to refrigerate foods during the week when the men-folk were in town working, and the women-folk were at the lake minding the children. The water problem was solved by building a water tower to let gravity do its work, and refrigeration was solved by buying ice blocks that had been stored since winter in an ice cave behind the house at 70 Blueberry Point.

Altogether, this was the classic great lifestyle of the original owners of property at Lake Louisa. Grif and family kept utopia alive for decades, It’s been a wonderful Canadian success story, worth celebrating.

Marion says: “it would be nice if people could comment and share any tidbits of Lake Louisa lore.

You can comment where it says “leave a reply” above.



The Wentworth Gazette regrets that part of the following article is incorrect. It states there is a blanket prohibition on fixing docks & boathouses because of a new law. In fact, the new law specifies it applies to flood zones, but also to other circumstances. As soon as we realized our error, we posted this correction.

A property owner applied for a permit to repair a boathouse on Lake Louisa. The Municipal Inspector studied the file and granted the permit. Here is cut-and-paste of the actual email sent 5 August 2022.

“The permit is printed and ready to be picked up at the town hall.”

The property owner then went to Town Hall to pick up his Permit. As he was getting ready to leave, the Director of Town Planning came out and took the permit from his hands. She said that a new law had come into effect in March 2022, and that repairs were no longer possible. The property owner asked for a copy of the law. The Town Planner said she would email it to him. Here is cut-and-paste of her email.

“I was trying to find it in English, but I couldn’t found it so far. Here the French version. (Was passed in December coming into effect in march 2022)

Décret 1596-2021

The property owner clicked the link and found the law was uniquely concerned with flood zones. Here is French and English of the sentence introducing the law.

Loi instaurant un nouveau régime d’aménagement dans les zones inondables des lacs et des cours d’eau

An Act to establish a new development regime in flood zones of lakes and watercourses

The property owner told the Town Planner that the law didn’t apply since Lake Louisa doesn’t flood, and his site is especially impervious to flooding as it slopes up at a 30 degree angle away from the lake. She has not responded to this email.

The property owner then complained to the Mayor, Jason Morrison. Here is cut-and-paste of that email.

1. On seeing that the Permit granted by The Inspector was for me, she withdrew it.

2. She said in front of witnesses that she was withdrawing it in virtue of new Quebec Law (Décret 1596-2021) that came into effect in March 2022. As further proof this was her reason, please see her email to me dated 16 August.

3. This law is uniquely concerned with the risk of flooding. “Loi instaurant un nouveau régime d’aménagement dans les zones inondables”.

4. There can not be a flood at Lake Louisa because the outlet is too large. According to your own expert, Miroslav Chum, in the 2021 study you commissioned: “Note that the large width of the outlet (about 20 m) is responsible for the small variation in water level

5. It is troubling that your Director of Town Planning & Environment can be so wrong on the law she claims to be invoking, and ignorant of the hydrology of Lake Louisa. (If she actually was correct about the law and flood risk at Louisa, then not one single property owner would be allowed to repair their dock or boathouse.)

Neither the Mayor nor the Town Planner has responded to this email mentioning the 2021 Hydrology study by engineer Miroslav Chum, that declared explicitly a flood is impossible at the Lake.

Nevertheless, if all this stands, then it means that nobody will ever be allowed to repair their dock or boathouse.

In a very real sense, the bureaucrats at Town Hall are stealing our property rights through what the courts have termed a “disguised expropriation”. (“expropriation déguisée”)

Maybe we can’t affect Canada’s policies, or Quebec policies, but we do have the power to affect how Wentworth chooses to interpret laws.

Here is the phone number for Town Hall 450-562-0701, and here is the Mayor’s email address:

Cribs & Bureaucrats


I wanted to build a dock and was informed that cribs are no longer legal. I was surprised at this, because there’s no more natural part of our lake environment than trees and rocks. I couldn’t imagine any possible way they could be harmful.

Below please find 4 installments in this saga.
1. My back-and-forth with the Quebec Ministry of the Environment
2. What Ontario thinks of cribs
3. What Canada thinks of cribs
4. What the USA Environmental Protection Association thinks of cribs




Could you please direct me to a scientific source showing the adverse effects of using cribs made of rocks and logs in a healthy lake?

In order to answer your demand dated July 13th, we would like to inform you that your demand has been transferred to our regional office in Montréal, who will answer you as soon as possible.

Thank you for your email. My question doesn’t depend on the region. My question is about the science used by MDDEFP. Tree trunks and rocks are a natural part of the Quebec aquatic environment. Tree trunks and rocks are the traditional materials used in Quebec to make cribs as foundation for docks and boathouses.

Quebec law says that docks and boathouses must be supported by metal pilings, not by cribs. Pilings are more expensive, require heavy machinery, and introduce metal into the water. Cribs are 100% natural, and a handyman can make a crib by himself, without machinery.

I notice the bottom of your email says, “Pensons a l’environnement!”. That is what I am doing. I’m writing you to find out the scientific basis for this law. I am asking about science, and the answer should be in a published academic article or research study. Please send my request to a MDDEFP scientist who can tell me where to find the scientific study on which the law is based.

You indicate in your email that Quebec law requires the platforms be supported on metal pilings. For your information, permission to build a dock by a citizen does not fall within the jurisdiction of MDDEFP but the municipality. In the case of a citizen who wants to set up a dock, MDDEFP acts only as of the water area of the state manager if the platform is implemented on a stream of public property.
[E.G. Big lakes like Louisa, yes, smaller lakes like Dunany, no.]

I’m sorry if I was not clear. I’m not asking a legal question, but a scientific question. I understand the hypothesis that a crib made of rocks and logs might negatively impact aquatic life. What I’m trying to learn is the science that supports the hypothesis. I presume some biologists have conducted experiments, and their papers have been published in journals, but I’ve had no success in researching the matter for myself. Is it possible for you to help direct me to the relevant research?

I sent you an email on July 24 and I have not received a response from you. I am writing to find out why. Have you not yet had time to do research? Are you not the person I should ask? Does the lack of response means that scientific research I am looking for does not exist? Please let me know if you are able to help me, and if not, where should I look.

In response to your email of 2 August for the construction of a dock on crib, we wish to inform you that your application has been forwarded to the Water Policy Department of the Ministry.

I tried to get information from MDDEFP and nobody has provided the documents that I requested. I hereby make a formal request through access to information.

I am writing to find the basis for the decision MDDEFP (2.3.2 Licence of Occupation – Art. 10, Regulations), which prevents citizens from the construction of a dock on crib (crib dock). I presume that this law is based on science, and I would like you to send scientific or other justification for this law to me. To save time in the process, there is no reason for you to tell me that the cribs cause loss of fish and wildlife habitat unless you send me the scientific research that supports this type of speculation. If this kind of unproven speculation is the only basis of the law, please confirm that the law has no scientific basis.

We received your request and will reply within 20 days.

As allowed by the law, we need an additional delay of 10 days.

After verification, we have been informed that the government doesn’t have one single document providing scientific support for its policy on protection of waterways and flood plains.

“Apres verification, nous sommes informes que le Ministere ne detient aucun document portant sur la justification scientifique de la Politique de protection des rives, du littoral et des plaines inondables.”

(For a full copy of the letter see the article called “Don’t Read This Post”.)


Government of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources

A Work Permit is Not required for the following:
– crib docks where the crib or combination of cribs (i.e. footprint on lake bottom) occupies less than 15 sq m (160 sq ft), and clean rocks from dry land are used

(Canadian Wildlife Service & Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources)
Log cribs are usually made of green cedar logs fastened together in a crib shape and held down with rocks or concrete blocks. Log cribs are often placed on the ice during the winter months and left to drop to the bottom during spring breakup. They work best in inland lakes. However, they can interfere with navigation if they’re not placed in a suitable spot.


Fisheries and Oceans Canada
“Where cribs are built from timbers and are filled with rock, it is best if the crib is open-faced. Open-faced cribs without solid planking provide fish and other aquatic organisms spaces to hide from predators. It is best if cribs are placed at least 2 metres out from the average annual high-water mark.”

“Docks and boathouses are acceptable if there is bridging between cribs or poles that allows water to circulate. Vertical planking is not recommended along the sides of a dock because it can restrict water movement.

“If your project requires rocks, they must be clean and free of soil. Rocks must not be taken from the lake or river bottom, or the shoreline. Removal of rocks from these areas could destroy fish habitat and result in charges under the Fisheries Act.

“If your dock requires a concrete abutment, this should be located entirely on the upland property, above the average annual high-water mark.

“If you are planning to use pressure treated lumber for decking, all cutting, end sealing, staining, etc. should be done well back from the water. The wood should be completely dry before being attached to the dock structure. Also, never use creosote treated wood in or near water. These practices will help to reduce the amount of contaminants released into the waterbody. Use untreated cedar or hemlock timbers for structures below the average annual high-water mark. When submerged, these timbers will last a lifetime.


Artificial Structures for Fish Cover
Environmental Protection Agency, April 2004

Structural features are important in helping to maintain diverse, healthy lake ecosystems and in maintaining gamefish and non-gamefish populations. Structure provides places for fish to hide from predators, shade from the hot summer sun, nesting and spawning habitat, and places for food organisms to live and grow.

Fish like to hide – especially when bigger fish and other predators are seeking a meal. Without hiding places, populations of young fish and the smaller fish species are at risk of being significantly reduced by predation. Ultimately, this can lead to an imbalanced fish population and reduction in gamefish yields.

Fish also like to keep cool. That’s why you’ll often see fish seeking refuge from the hot summer sun under docks, amongst rock outcroppings, and within lily beds.

And of course fish need to eat and reproduce. Algae and other organisms (including bacteria, zooplankton, and aquatic insects), which are important fish foods, use physical and biological structure as growth substrates or habitat areas. Depending on the fish species, physical and biological features are also used for nesting and spawning.

Log cribs filled with rocks are complex structures. That is, they contain a high number of surfaces, holes, and hiding places to maximize areas available for hiding and food growth. They are heavy enough to withstand waves and shifting currents, and are made of non-toxic local natural materials that will not significantly deteriorate in a short time.

Although log cribs are typically used to support docks, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency also suggests placing log cribs at other places in lakes as a form of inexpensive long-term habitat enhancement. Care should be taken to not place log cribs underwater where they are a danger to swimmers, boaters, or skiers; that is, away from swimming areas and boating lanes, and deep enough to allow safe boat passage (at least 4 feet below the water surface.) It also may be wise to mark the location with a buoy or other highly visible object.


(Any bureaucrats reading this, at any level of government, please note, there’s a comment section wide open for you to use. If you disagree with anything here, leave a reply. We’ll be happy to publish it. If you don’t leave a reply, we have the right to believe you can’t find anything wrong in this article.)


Crib image

Stay tuned and check back often. Lots of news coming here in the next few weeks.

Don’t Read This Post

This post contains only the boring backup and official documentation referred to in the other posts. It’s too detailed to be interesting to most people. The conclusions based on the documentation have already been published in other posts.

First is the Letter obtained through access to information showing that Quebec doesn’t have a single scientific document supporting its Environment policies. Click the following link to see the letter.

The letter refers to their Policy Guide. They say the Guide shows the objectives, rationale and legal foundation of the policy. In other words, without a problem having been established or a solution tested, they have implemented their policy. It’s like making people take a drug that hasn’t been tested, for a disease that doesn’t exist

Finally, in their letter they refer to a link with scientific documentation on buffer zones alongside waterfront. The article is by Emilie Gagnon and the science doesn’t start until page 7, where I noticed the only Canadian study, by Duchemin et autres (2002). Of course the science has to do with buffer zones against agricultural pollution.

Even so, I looked into the data, got suspicious, and went back to the original paper by Duchemin. Here’s a short version of the dialogue that ensued.

ME (to Duchemin)
“I ran across your 2002 study about buffer zones alongside farmland. I don’t see a significant difference in total P between a band of 3 meters and 9 meters. Is this correct?”

“Delivery has failed to this recipient”.

ME (to Emilie Gagnon)
“You say Duchemin found a significant difference in total P between a 9 metre buffer zone and a 3 metre bufer zone. I don’t see any difference, and in fact, Duchemin found a 3 metre band is even better than a 6 metre band.”

“In response to your email dated september 14th, we would like to inform you that Ms Gagnon is not working for the ministry anymore.”

ME (to Access to Information)
I looked at the link you told me about in your letter that you said had scientific information about buffer zones. I think it misrepresents the study it cites. I’m asking you to verify my claim that the scientific information posted on your website is incorrect.

No reply.

Here’s an extract of Duchemin comparing 3 metres to 6 metres (look at “P total”), you’ll see a 3 metre band retains 86% of the phosphorous whereas 6 metres retains a bit less, 84.6%.
Duchemin 6m cf 3m

Here’s an extract of the MDDEFP link comparing 3 metres to 9 metres. They show “P total” for 3 metres as 30% whereas the source they’re citing says it’s 86%.
Gagnon misquoting Duchemin

Whether they did it on purpose or not, their mistake “proves” that a 9 metre buffer zone is much better than a 3 metre buffer zone, whereas the actual science proves no such thing. MDDEFP probably knows this because if you read the bumpf on top of page 7 you’ll see it’s full of conflicting data. They also disclaim their own reportage by saying on page 6 that it’s ̀ “à titre d’information seulement“, which is a polite way of denying responsibility for accuracy.

To anyone still reading this, here’s the conclusion from the latest publication by Duchemin at a Fabruary 24, 2005 agro-environment conference in Drummondville. (Translated) “A one metre buffer zone stops most pollution from getting into waterways.”

In other words, even alongside intensive agriculture, one metre (3-ft) traps most pollution.

The Quebec Policy mandates 3 metres of buffer zone alongside industrial agriculture (which may be reasonable) but against all logic it mandates 5 metres for cottage people. Remember, there’s nothing to buffer, plus grass works fine for preventing erosion.

However, even 5 metres wasn’t enough for our local zealots and they decided to make a 10 metre buffer zone (I’ll see your 5 and double it). The bureaucrats have a built-in incentive to create more laws, since more laws require more enforcement and more bureaucrats, which means more power and money for bureaucrats.

We can fix this problem in Wentworth, and Wentworth can fix the MRC d’Argenteuil. This is a very important election. Please register to vote now.

Blue-Green Baloney

In 2012, the Quebec Ministry of the Environment spent $542,063 testing water all over the Province and found blue-green algae in 139 samples (Les Plans d’Eau Touches par une fleur d’Eau d’Algues Bleu-Vert). This sounds worrying, but is actually a normal part of a healthy world. Encyclopedia Britannica says blue-green algae can be found in almost every terrestrial and aquatic habitat—oceans, fresh water, damp soil, temporarily moistened rocks in deserts, bare rock and soil, and even Antarctic rocks, and the harder you look the more you’ll find.

Blue-green algae are little marvels of nature. To make a living they consume only sunshine, air and water – which they manufacture into the nitrogen plants need to eat, and the oxygen animals need to breathe. Some blue-green algae (also called spirulina) is a traditional food source in parts of Africa and Mexico, and is exceptionally rich in vitamins, minerals and protein. Many people pay good money for spirulina when it’s compressed into pill form and sold at health food stores. (

The most complete recent study is a 2012 report by the USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says “Algae are vitally important to marine and fresh-water ecosystems and … are usually too small to be seen, but sometimes can form visible colonies, called an algal bloom. Blooms can form in shallow, warm, slow-moving waters that are rich in nutrients such as fertilizer runoff or septic tank overflows. The blooms … look like paint floating on the water.” According to the EPA they are more likely to be found in warmer southern waters of Florida, and some brackish waters in the Canadian prairies. Transient blooms can also appear in parts of healthy lakes in Springtime when the warm weather drives normal algae to the surface for a dose of sunshine for photosynthesis.

Although algal blooms are usually harmless, they can function as an early warning sign that a lake may be starting to become overgrown. The blooms thrive in warm, shallow, stagnant or slow-moving pools of over-fertilized water. That kind of water is turbid, not clear. If detected, actions can be taken to reduce the fertilizer or sewage that’s feeding the algae. However, we don’t have turbid water in Wentworth. Lake Louisa is clear for 7 metres, which is practically off the charts for water clarity.

Nonetheless, On June 9, 2010, the Wentworth Senior Inspector (the Mayor’s wife), sent us all a letter saying “It is urgent to take concrete measures to prevent the onset of blue-green bacteria in our lakes and watercourses“, and she stressed it is forbidden to touch any vegetation within the first 10-15 metres from the water. That was the letter that essentially laid down the law in Wentworth that you can read about in the article: The no-go don’t-touch zone along lakefront.

In 2008 the NIH published an article called “Human health risk assessment related to cyanotoxins exposure”. This article is important for us in Quebec because it says the blooms “occur especially in eutrophic … waters”. “Eutrophic” is a sacred word in this story. The kind of lake most affected by algae is called “eutrophic”. “Eutrophic” is the Greek word for “well nourished”. Unless a lake is “well nourished” there won’t be significant algal blooms.

There’s an organization called CQDE – Le Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement ( The CQDE, like various other organizations, makes money selling its services to municipalities like Wentworth. It provides lawyers for legal cases against citizens, propagandizes lake associations, and trains Municipal Inspectors how to clamp down the law against you and me. The President, Jean-Francois Girard, also travels around from town-to-town trying to convince us peons that our environment will go down the toilet unless we stop sinning. On August 10, 2013 Wentworth had a so-called “Environment Day” where Mr. Girard gave a powerpoint doom-and-gloom presentation on the catastrophe about to befall us. He said there are 5-6,000 lakes in southern Quebec and 10-15% are eutrophic. Doing the math means there are about 600 eutrophic lakes in Quebec – which would be scary if true.

As it happens, I’d been poking around the Quebec Government website and couldn’t find any eutrophic lakes at all, although they make it hard to research because you have to look up one lake at a time. After Environment Day I sent Mr. Girard an email asking for more information.

I’m trying to study the health of lakes in Quebec. You say 10-15% are eutrophic. Can you tell me where you got this information. (“J’essaie d’étudier sur la santé des lacs au Québec. Vous dites que 10-15% des lacs sont eutrophic. Pouvez-vous s’il vous plaît me référer à la recherche scientifique qui appuie cette conclusion?”)

No reply.

On 28 August, I sent a query directly to the Government asking how many lakes in Quebec are eutrophic according to the latest research. (“Je voudrais savoir combien des lacs au Québec sont eutrophiques, selon les derniers résultats de la recherche qui sont disponibles.”)

There’s no way to estimate the number of eutrophic lakes in Quebec, but you can look at these links. (“Il n’y a pas de bilan complet qui permettrait d’estimer le nombre de lacs eutrophes au Québec. Je vous invite par contre à consulter le “Portrait de la qualité des eaux de surface au Québec, 1999-2008” à l’adresse suivante : Vous y trouverez le classement trophique de 537 lacs. Vous pouvez également consulter la page suivante pour obtenir de l’information sur un lac particulier:

According to the link, 3% out of 537 lakes are eutrophic. Since I’d imagine you’re studying the most densely populated areas, I guess that means there are only 16 eutrophic lakes in Quebec. Is that right? (“Merci pour les références, que j’ai étudié avec intérêt. Selon l’introduction du Figure 50 dans le premièr lien, 3% des lacs sont eutrophes. Puisque le nombre total des lacs étudiés est de 537, cela semble signifier que 16 lacs ont été trouvés à être eutrophes. Est-ce correct? Aussi, bien que le Québec compte au moins 6,000 lacs, j’imagine que les lacs étudiés dans cette étude sont celles des zones les plus densément peuplées. Est-ce correct?”)

Will you be answering my question? (“Le 30 Août je vous ai envoyé un courriel et je n’arrive pas à trouver une réponse de votre part. Il est possible que vous avez envoyé une réponse et je l’ai perdu. Avez-vous, ou allez-vous, envoyer une réponse?”)

No reply.

I contacted the other main speaker at Wentworth Environment Day, Agnes Grondin, “Biologist” and “Environmental Advisor to the MRC d’Argenteuil”.

Do you know if any lakes in Argenteuil are eutrophic?”

A majority of lakes are oligo-mesotrophic. The scientific information we have on lakes in Argenteuil can be viewed on the site:”.

I know of this site, and I can’t find any lakes in Argenteuil that are eutrophic, but you are the expert for Argenteuil. Do you know any lakes that are eutrophic?”

I am sorry but a don’t have that kind of information. May I ask why you are interested?

(To myself), WTF

She says she doesn’t have that kind of information?! If not her then who? It’s worth remembering she’s the Argenteuil Environmental Advisor, biologist and paid official expert on Wentworth water quality. Apparently, without even knowing the state of our water, she authored the “Action Plan for the Protection of Argenteuil’s Lakes” that’s been guiding Wentworth policy decisions for the past 5 years.

In other words, at every level of government, from the municipality, to the MRC, to the Ministry in Quebec, bureaucrats are simply making up policies, laws & regulations that are not based on science.


Not only are Quebec’s lakes an outstanding national treasure, but in Wentworth, within only one hour of Montreal, we are blessed with ultra-healthy lakes. They have none of the risk factors associated with eutrophic lakes. They are headwater lakes, meaning there’s no garbage floating into them from miscreants upstream. There’s no agriculture or industry polluting our lakes. We have spring-fed cold and deep lakes. The land around our lakes is porous, and even after a heavy rainstorm the water just percolates down into the ground. Take a look at any map or aerial photo and you’ll see there’s nothing in Wentworth except for trees and lakes. Try and imagine a more picture-perfect setting and you won’t be able.

In addition, most of our lakes, Louisa and Dunany, have been fully populated for 50 years or more. It’s not as if we suddenly started developing and don’t know what the results will be. In 1965 there were already 450 homes at Louisa, each home had more people than now, and the wives & kids stayed at the lake all summer long. Because of demographics and other reasons we’re quickly de-populating, and there’s even less human impact on the environment than before. We have a long history knowing what our lakes can tolerate, and they are unbelievably robust.

There’s simply no science behind all the rules and regulations spoiling our use of our properties. The only thing eutrophic is the pools of blue-green bureaucrats flowering on our ignorance and passivity. This kind of problem isn’t going to get fixed from the top-down, only from the bottom-up. Think globally, but act locally. That’s what makes these elections so important. (Please vote, by mail, or in the advance poll on Sunday October 27, or at the final poll on Sunday 3 November.)

The No-Go Don’t-Touch Zone Along Lakefront


Wentworth says that we have to leave a 10 meter buffer zone around all our lakes. For the old folk, this means that we can’t touch anything growing within 33 feet of the lake (apart from a path to get to the lake). We are under strict orders to let this all grow wild. If we cut a branch, trim a bush, or mow a lawn, we can get a ticket of $450, and be threatened with a fine of $300 per day until we replant. If you don’t believe me, call our bureaucrats at 450-562-0701

What this means, practically speaking, is that we lose the use of most of our waterfront, and waterfront is precisely the reason we got our lakefront properties in the first place. A typical lot can be 100 feet wide X 100 feet deep. If we can’t use the first 33 feet, that means we’re losing the use of 1/3 of our property.

This seems very severe. It would be logical to think there’s a big danger involved. Surely it’s not just bureaucrats gone wild.

To figure this out I’ve become Wentworth’s biggest expert on buffer zones, studying research from all around the world.

The first inescapable conclusion is that all the research in the world has to do with buffer zones where farmland is close to water. The biggest concern is pesticide getting into the water. Of course, in Wentworth there is no farmland, so the primary reason for buffer zones doesn’t exist at all. The next biggest purpose of buffer zones is to stop herbicides from getting into the water. Again, since we don’t farm, this problem doesn’t exist either. The third reason is to prevent fertilizer from getting into water. Again, it doesn’t apply to us.

Before going on, this bears repeating, there’s no research anywhere about the need for buffer zones when there’s nothing to buffer. We’re not surrounded by farms – we’re surrounded by forest. There’s nothing in Wentworth except for lakes and buffer zones. The fundamental purpose of buffer zones is to protect against agricultural surface run-off, but in Wentworth there’s no such runoff.


In any case, let’s pretend that all our forests are farms, and the land gets plowed, dried out, and compacted so hard that there’s lots of runoff carrying agricultural pollutants into the lake. If so, what exactly would the scientists advise us to plant in the buffer zones? Here is the latest research according to the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, A Review of the Knowledge Focusing on Vegetated Buffer Strips – 2012.

The choice of plant/s can be important for vegetated buffer strip effectiveness and function … Grass is often more tolerant and … provides good resistance to erosive flows.

In other words, the plant of choice validated by the most exhaustive and recent study is grass. Remember, this is for buffer zones alongside agricultural land. In other words, if there were anything to buffer, then grass would do a fine job.

Finally, to be very explicit about this, adding trees to the buffer zone doesn’t help according to a major study in March 2010 by a group of Quebec and Canadian scientists (Caron, LaFrance, Auclair et Duchemin) published at, which says that “NO significant difference in the capacity to reduce herbicide exports was observed between grass and grass+tree buffer strip treatments“.

In fact, although it sounds bizarre, trees themselves can cause problems, (Limnetica 2006, The ecology of the Iberian inland waters) because the pretty autumn leaves that fall into our lakes quickly decompose into phosphorus and nitrogen, which are the same runoff fertilizer chemicals that buffer zones are designed to capture. Decaying leaves are the primary non-human source of this “pollution”, so there’s an intriguing case to be made that the best way to preserve our current pristine status is NOT to have so many trees so close to our waterways (see article, Falling Autumn Leaves).

(Incidentally, Ontario allows lawns on waterfront property, but suggest not cutting shorter than 3 inches, so the grass doesn’t dry out. Below please see photo examples of what they call excellent examples of shoreline protection.)

Surely, you think, there must be some explanation. Things couldn’t possibly be so completely upside-down in Wentworth. After all, Wentworth is part of a group of municipalities called the MRC d’Argenteuil, and they’re all guided by the Quebec Government. Well, as you may have read above, after being pushed hard through access to information legislation, the Quebec Ministry of the Environment admitted: After verification, we have been informed that the government doesn’t have a single document providing scientific support for its policy on protection of waterways and flood plains.

Apres verification, nous sommes informes que le Ministere ne detient aucun document portant sur la justification scientifique de la Politique de protection des rives, du littoral et des plaines inondables.”

In other words the Quebec Ministry of the Environment simply made up policies about buffer strips that have no relationship to science. In a back-handed way to avoid responsibility for its own hollow policy and legislation, the Official Preamble to Quebec’s Law on the Environment (468-2005 Protection Policies for Lakeshores, Riverbanks, Littoral Zones and Floodplains) (translated) says “In order to enable the adoption of measures best suited for a regional municipality [eg Wentworth] …the implementation can take local situations into account [since] strict enforcement of the policy does not always correspond to reality.”

In other words, what Quebec says is that they’re giving a gun to the municipality, and if they choose to use it, it’s up to them. Tempted by these powers, our local bureaucrats passed the most severe laws in the province, and are ordering us to let 10 meters of waterfront grow wild, and doling out tickets of $450 to people for mowing lawns and trimming bushes. All this in a municipality with the healthiest, cleanest and most stable lake water purity in the province.

To add a bit of common sense to this discussion, it’s worth knowing that buffer zones can theoretically do two things, (1) filter out pollutants, and (2) prevent erosion by retaining soil within the plant root structure.

(1) Since there’s no farming in Wentworth, as long as we’re not putting chemicals on our property, there’s nothing to filter. Anyone disobeying common sense would have a lawn greener than others, and would have no dandelions or chickweed. If they were told, they would surely stop without the need for legislative guns, such as $450 tickets and fines of $300 per day.

(2) In order to prevent erosion, any kind of vegetation will do as long as it doesn’t get washed out by waves or rain storms. This is highly dependent on the conditions at each property, and the biggest loser from erosion would be the property owner, since it’s their own shoreline that would slowly dissolve into the lake. Nobody wants that, and wherever necessary, shrubs and bushes could be planted where grass roots aren’t deep enough to resist erosion. Nothing more needs to be done than tell the property owner they’re slowly losing their own property.

The extreme Wentworth prohibitions against trimming lakefront hedges or tree branches are devoid of science and common sense. Remember that when elections come in a few weeks, and be sure you are registered to vote NOW!

(Any bureaucrats reading this, at any level of government, please note, there’s a comment section wide open for you to use. If you disagree with anything here, leave a reply. We’ll be happy to publish it. If you don’t leave a reply, we have the right to believe you can’t find anything wrong in this article.)


For what it’s worth here are pictures from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) showing what they call “best practices” for the environment.


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Stay tuned and check back often. Lots of news coming here in the next few weeks.

Falling Autumn Leaves

First of all, we’d like to acknowledge the work of the volunteers who take part in the lake water quality studies. Nothing said below is meant to imply that it’s not worthwhile to monitor the quality of water in our lakes. Even super-athletes need annual medical checkups.

The organization responsible for lake monitoring at Louisa is called the Lake Louisa Property Owners’ Association (LLPOA). The main scientific authority used by the LLPOA at their website is a group of publications called Natural Resources Facts, put out by the University of Rhode Island, College of Resource Development.

Here’s a link to the University of Rhode Island original article called Algae in Aquatic Ecosystems. Following are some quotes.

Algae are necessary and beneficial to aquatic eco-systems. They form the food and energy basis for nearly all other aquatic organisms. They are part of a healthy lake ecosystem … all lake organisms depend either directly or indirectly on algae as a food source.

It is important to realize that algae occur in natural cycles of abundance in aquatic ecosystems. Algal populations are abundant in spring and early summer. As long as algae do not reach nuisance levels, they play an important, essential role in a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

The best way to limit algal growth is to limit the amount of nutrients that enter the lake …phosphorus is considered the limiting nutrient in most fresh water bodies.

Now we turn to other sources of science.

In a classic 1979 study in New Hampshire, published in Ecology Volume 60, Meyer & Likens found that 48% of total annual input of phosphorus happened during the 10 days associated with autumn leaf fall. (Transport and transformation of phosphorus in a forest stream ecosystem)

British online publication World of Water says that, “Falling leaves in large numbers could clog up ponds and cause a nutrient overload in autumn. This can lead to algal blooms in spring.

The newest article is in the August 2013 issue of Cambridge University’s International Journal of Limnology, called Catchment Vegetation Can Trigger Lake Dystrophy Through Changes In Runoff Water Quality. It concludes that, “surface runoff from forest areas can significantly affect lake chemistry [and] dystrophication”.

In other words, contrary to popular opinion, the wild and wooly look of a forested shoreline can be exactly what hastens the decline of our treasured lakes.

Here’s what nobody tells you. Roots are tiny foragers. They scrounge around underground collecting the chemicals plants need to grow. Some of these chemicals get transformed into wood and the rest become leaves. Before winter, our trees go dormant and the leaves fall off as waste. Each dead leaf is a concentrated chunk of fertilizer. As far as the lake is concerned, these colourful tidbits aren’t much different than manure (OMG).

We’re not going to denude our forests (and that would cause even worse problems), but there’s nothing wrong with our established lawns running down close to the lake. Grassy strips provide good buffer zones against nutrient overload from Autumn leaves and other forest detritus. If you have a lawn, don’t fertilize, use a mulching mower, be proud of the way you’re helping the lake – and hope for sensible municipal regulation.

To prevent erosion at the edge of the lake, the best solution is to plant (or let grow) some shrubs and bushes along the first metre or two. If the bushes grow too high or wide, they can be safely pruned in November when they’re dormant in preparation for Winter. Here again are the pictures that the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources provides as examples of “best practices”.

MNR Best Practices

MNR Best Practices

MNR Best Practices

Brainless Bulb Ban

There’s a widely believed misunderstanding about the incandescent light bulb. It’s true they’re very inefficient at producing light, and perhaps only 2% of the electricity consumed actually turns into light. However the unused 98% is not “wasted” but turns into heat. During the 8-9 months/year we heat our homes that 98% is not wasted, and in fact helps reduce the cost of whatever other heating system we use. When we add to those 8-9 months, the chilly evenings (when we need light) of early & late summer, we’re probably using the warmth from light a full 10 months/year.

An incandescent bulb is basically a tiny space heater with an “on” light that we find pleasant and useful.

Absolutely everyone who uses statistics to show the waste of incandescent light bulbs ignores the benefits of the heat that is harvested in buildings that require heating. In fact, 100% of the electricity used in a house (except for that which escapes to the outside) becomes heat. The First Law of Thermodynamics is the principle of the conservation of energy, which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

During heating season, every single appliance in a house, even a refrigerator, is essentially running free of charge, since all the electricity consumed eventually turns into heat. The Wentworth Gazette hereby offers a reward of $100 to anyone who proves this wrong.

In fact, here’s another $100 if you can prove there’s any such thing as a “more efficient” electric heater. If an electric heater is, for instance, 80% efficient, that means the remaining 20% gets wasted. And how does waste happen – as heat! (80% reaped + 20% wasted = 100% efficient) In order to get the full benefit of the “waste” heat, a fan can be used to push air around so the temperature gets evened out. Of course the fan itself will be operating free of charge, and contributing its own little bit of heat.

Also, the times when we’re “wasting” electricity are exactly when we have electricity to waste. In summer the reservoirs up north are overflowing with melted snow and ice and there’s an overcapacity we have no way to use. This can be clearly seen in Hydro Quebec rates, where industry is enticed with summertime rates of $2.52 compared to $6.21 the rest of the year. If at some point in the future people get the same cheap electricity as companies, our July-August prices could also drop by 60%, thereby nullifying whatever advantage CFL and LED lighting have during the 2 short months when our nights are warm.

Finally, those pushing for compact fluorescent bulbs are also ignoring the environmental damage and human cost in China where the mercury is mined and processed. The CFL is another form of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). If we don’t see the human costs of mining, processing, and manufacturing these bulbs, then we feel free to ignore it. The undervalued yuan is a mechanism for damaging the health of impoverished Chinese miners and factory workers, while we field-strip mercury into Canadian garbage dumps where it will remain toxic for centuries. The real costs of this technology are being buried under the carpet because uninformed people find it easier to “do something good for the environment” by spending money to buy something new, rather than getting informed and doing a bit of work themselves. It would be far more helpful for everyone to simply put better weatherstripping on doors and widows.

The brainless bulb ban is another flagrant example of regulation by bureaucrats who don’t know science. Just because a certain piece of policy makes sense in California doesn’t make it right for us here. Please forward this link to anyone you think might be interested.



On 24 February 2019 Wentworth Mayor Jason Morrison announced that a Malaysian developer wanted to take a chunk of land just north of Lake Louisa and spend $2 billion turning it into a tourism Shangri-La.

To help understand what $2 billion actually means, it’s worth noting that in 2017 Intrawest Resorts was sold for $1.5 billion. Intrawest holdings include Mont Tremblant, Ontario’s Blue Mountain, Vermont’s Stratton, West Virginia’s Snowshoe, Colorado’s Steamboat & Winter Park, and Canadian Mountain Holidays, a heli-skiing and hiking company in British Columbia.

The astute reader may notice that all above components of Intrawest Resorts have something in common – namely mountains.

Now it’s true that our Malaysian suitor could spend only $1.5 billion on amenities and still have a half-billion dollars left over to build a mountain. It would probably be a quite nice mountain, but that doesn’t seem like an especially astute business plan.

Assuming he’s not going to build a mountain, that leaves a severely truncated period of time between the end of June (after the mosquitoes are gone) until the beginning of September (when the nights go below freezing). We agree Summertime in Wentworth is Shangri-La, but it’s hard to imagine investors plunking down boatloads of cash to fund a resort that will be empty 9 months/year.

Maybe he’s got a secret plan such as casinos or money-laundering or mining crypto-currency. We wonder if he’s actually experienced one of our Winters. Maybe the correct answer is that he’s not so much our suitor as the suitor of hypothetical far-away investors he hopes to lure with big talk and pretty pictures.

Whatever his plans may be, we’ve got to stop jumping through hoops for him.

Our municipality prepared an amazing brochure that is 100% marketing and promotional material for the fictional project. Here is the promotional material. To me this was so obviously sales literature that I wrote the municipality inquiring about its provenance. Our Director of Urban Planning & Environment explained it as “the Mayor, Mr. Morrison, speaking with the citizens of Wentworth.”

For what it’s worth, here’s what it says in the Municipal Spring Bulletin: “Council has recently hired a firm to help us in planning key communications concerning the project. The municipal Council has taken this initiative to ensure the citizens of Wentworth are well informed as the project progresses, given its size and its strategic importance.”

Why are we paying to promote such a dubious project?

Now, it’s not every day that a developer shows up dangling $2 billion. That amount of money would cover the combined wages of our mayor and councillors for 40 thousand years. Any one of us could be expected to make some procedural errors in dealing with such an unprecedented situation.

However, there’s still a bit of funny business afoot. For some reason or other there was a big push to pass a new by-law for dealing with developers. The by-law is 2019-005. The English version was posted on the Municipal website, and public consultation meetings were scheduled. Then, it disappeared and went through unknown changes. At the June 3rd meeting the Mayor said it wasn’t ready because translation would cost $5,000. This is strange since an English 2019-005 had been previously posted. Regardless, an unknowable version of 2019-005 was voted on and passed at the June 3rd council meeting.

We don’t know what the explanation is. The most innocent reason is that whatever lawyer the municipality uses is doing a fine job of creating excess business for him or herself, and all the extra clauses couldn’t be translated in time. (Municipal lawyers creating work for themselves is a topic for another day.) However, that doesn’t explain the evasiveness of our municipal employees. Perhaps they need to understand they work for us, the citizens, and not whichever group may have been recently elected.

We’d also like to trust our Mayor and council. The last batch thought they weren’t answerable to us and were surprised to find themselves defenestrated at the November 2013 elections.

This Saturday 8 June (tomorrow) at the Community Center at 2 PM, the Mayor will host an information session on the project.




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