Saturday, 21 October 2017

Cottagers Respond to Threats

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 25 May 1999 00:00

The Victoria Day holiday traditionally marks the beginning of cottage season for most Canadian cottagers. Thousands packed highways across Canada on this May 24th weekend for one of the important rituals of summer ---- opening the cottage.

However, owners of seasonal property have more to contend with than winter damage, animal invasions and the occasional break-in. The quality of life in cottage country is threatened by political limbo and densification.

The Canadian Coalition of Provincial Cottagers' Associations (CCPCA) may offer solutions for coping with inadequate political representation and the redevelopment of cottage properties, but will cottagers rally in time?

Politicians and municipalities in cottage country are often less receptive to the needs and interests of seasonal owners than full-time local residents. Cottage owners are politically represented in the ridings in which they reside permanently, but their cottage is not usually in the same neighborhood. The various municipal and provincial politicians that represent the owners have no authority outside their jurisdictions so they can't help with cottage-related problems. This political limbo frustrates cottagers and can compound the impact of other problems, namely cottage renovation and construction.

To resolve the pressures of multi-generational cottage use, many families have built additions to original buildings or constructed secondary cabins on their property. In the past, cottagers enjoyed the fairly lax regulation of recreational construction. Now the threat of crowding or densification has many cottagers concerned. Furthermore, developers are opening up new cottage and rural-lifestyle subdivisions that destroy the very natural setting that people travel hours to escape to. Densification, already an explosive problem in some areas, will be an increasing concern as many of Canada's 9.8 million baby boomers retire to cottage country over the coming decades.

To take up the fight against development forces that threaten quality of life and the environment in their seasonal communities, cottagers are banding together in local, provincial and national associations.

A British Columbia federation of cottagers' associations was formed this January, largely to give voice to the issue of political representation. According to president John Leighton of Vancouver, the federation already has over 300 members. Leighton explained that cottagers, caught in limbo without political representation, hope to solve this dilemma by working together at the provincial level. For more information, contact FBCCOA, Suite 412, 7231 120th Street, Delta, BC V4C 6P5; (604) 596-4398 ext.2; website: www.landcentre.ubc.ca.cottagers  email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

FBCCOA is a member of the Saskatoon-based Canadian Coalition of Provincial Cottagers' Associations (CCPCA), a national alliance formed in 1995 by the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations (FOCA-416-429-0444; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), which represents 500 associations, 60,000 property owners and about 250,000 cottager users, and by its counterparts in Manitoba (204-754-8573), Saskatchewan (306-374-1028 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Alberta (403-457-4605 ). These organizations champion cottagers' rights, lobby with governments, and tackle issues such as cottage security and access to emergency services. CCPCA speaks on behalf of more than 600,000 recreational property owners and an estimated 3 million cottage users.

Although the exact number of recreational properties has not been established, Statistics Canada research indicates that this is only a fraction of the number of Canadians owning and using cottages.

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