A Brief History of the North Sound Association

By Donny Kirby

In July of 1977, several cottagers came together to discuss a proposal for cottage lot development on Horse Island. Several concerns were raised and it was decided there was a need for an association to be formed to address land use and development in the immediate area. Shortly after, thirty enthusiastic cottagers met to discuss mutual concerns. An association was formed, named, and an executive appointed.

The new association set about looking for legal assistance to deal with the concerns over Horse Island development. Charles Cohen of Deep Bay was brought on board, and over many years he continued to contribute his expertise. The association went to the Municipal Board to discuss the Horse Island development, but matters were too far progressed to have much of an impact. It was recognised that in order to appear before government bodies the association had to become incorporated and Keith Rowe of Muriel Island undertook to write the constitution and articles of incorporation. North Sound Cottagers Association Inc. (NSA) was launched in 1981. The Constitution states that any resident of the North Sound area as defined by Huckleberry Island to Killbear Provincial Park may become a member, and the Association was proud that a good percentage of Township permanent residents were members who made substantial contributions to the Association.

NSA immediately joined the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations (FOCA), the largest ratepayer group in the province. In 1997, NSA was very proud to be the first recipients of the Jerry Strickland Award for its work in developing and assisting to bring about an Official Plan in Carling Township. This plan enshrines minimum lot sizes, frontages and setbacks for any new development in the area.

NSA joined with West Carling Association and Pengally Bay Ratepayers to jointly disseminate information about the municipal elections. FOCA was instrumental in obtaining the right to a mail-in or phone-in vote for all seasonal residents. Carling Township was very quick to make the mail-in vote available to all its residents and NSA has worked hard to encourage all residents to take advantage of the process.

Over the years, NSA succeeded in influencing the direction of development. There was continued pressure to develop land on Alves Point and together with planning consultants Skelton Brumwell in Orillia, NSA worked successfully with the developers. NSA also met the challenge of a proposed hazardous waste disposal plant in the Industrial Park that is just north of Highway 559 on Highway 69. When the Provincial Government would not guarantee continued inspection of the facility, nor could they say for sure that the burning of dangerous medical waste would not damage the environment, the plan was scrapped. NSA received from the then Provincial Government Minister Ruth Greer a letter expressing gratitude for NSA’s contribution, and a new area plan was drawn up for the province.

Membership fees financially supported Township and Parry Sound institutions, with annual donations to Carling Township Fire Department, Township recreational activities, West Parry Sound Regional Hospital and the Museum on Tower Hill, just to name a few. Through a non-confrontational position with developers, NSA continued to be consulted on major development projects within the area.

NSA exec members owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those who have supported the Association with their continuing membership, their generously given time and their input.