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FOPI Annual Report 2006




Report to the City of Ottawa for the 2006 Summer Season

November 2006

This was the Friends of Petrie Island’s ninth year of operation and our second with the new beach open. The City provided lifeguards and daily maintenance. The construction of a beach building was delayed and temporary washrooms, food concession, lifeguard office and storage were provided.


  • High E. coli counts resulted in many beach closures this summer, this along with several articles questioning a beach at Petrie reduced attendance in the latter part of the summer
  • The City completed landscaping and 78 parking spots on the East beach area
  • Improved the Nature Centre, holding special events, presenting slide shows and giving tours.
  • Participated with the Ottawa Stewardship Council in completion of an amphibian pond on Muskrat trail. Approximate value of project was $12,000.
  • Funds generated included: $6,000 in grants, $400 in donations and a value of $18,000 in volunteer labour
  • Worked with S.P.I.R.I.T. to develop programs at the Island for second year. The camps were run from the Grandmaître property
  • Grandmaître opened a new boat launch in July
  • Participated in Canada Day and River Day with Ottawa Ottawa Riverkeeper
  • People from around Ottawa and area are discovering Petrie Island, showing this is a regional, not just an east-end facility.
  • A Petrie Island Advisory Committee (PIAC) was formed including FOPI, community groups
  • A new agreement was signed between FOPI and the City
  • The second cottage was condemned and dismantled by the City, despite efforts by FOPI to save it
  • The Friends of Petrie Island and the Ottawa Stewardship Council completed a preliminary turtle nesting study with over 150 nests reported.


  • Continued contacts with various associations: Ottawa Field Naturalists’Club (OFNC), Ottawa Duck Club, Ottawa Stewardship Council, local community associations, Ottawa Riverkeeper, SHELL (Turtle Club), Team Ottawa-Orleans, Sonshine Families (S.P.I.R.I.T), Petrie Island Outdoor Club (PIOC), Petrie Island Advisory Committee (PIAC).


  • Improved picnic area by resurfacing and reseeding
  • Improved the Nature Centre centre, including new displays and maps
  • Majority of work was done on Wednesday mornings; two work days were also attended by the general public
  • Many Scout, Guide and other groups participated in general cleanups.
  • Completed planting wildflowers at amphibian pond and wildflower garden
  • Built one new sign and two benches, as well as a path to connect the Sunset trail to the beach
  • The City installed additional signs for beach, trails, parking and picnic area. Most of the signs are symbols rather than written, causing some confusion. More detailed signs with wording need to be installed at the Island and park entrance, especially emphasizing "No Dogs", curfew hours and "No Alcoholic Beverages"
  • Logs are needed along the right-of-way to keep vehicles out of the picnic area.
  • One piece of playground equipment donated by Orleans Recreation board


  • Daily cleanup and monitoring of the picnic area and trails was provided by Friends of Petrie Island, using volunteers and students hired with City grant money - $3,124, along with an HRSS grant of $6,000. Monitoring is important to protect the environment and for public safety and has led to reduced levels of vandalism and damage
  • FOPI again worked with City staff and Rangers to protect selected trees from beavers (wrapped trees with wire mesh).
  • The City provided 12 portable rental toilets (5 months) for picnic and beach area, maintenance, materials and grass cutting as well as daily garbage collection and beach grooming
  • City provided regular lifeguards from mid-June to the end of August for the three beach areas
  • The beach was closed 48 days due to high E. coli readings - see Table 2
  • Parking – new construction added 78 parking spaces for a potential total of 348 spots; the actual recorded maximum was about 300 due to improper parking with an additional 130 along the road, within the park area and another 100 along the road outside the park area. The number of days when over 350 cars were parked was 3 in 2006, as compared to 6 in 2005. Many visitors are still confused about parking fees and exactly when they have to pay. FOPI is concerned about parking tickets being given after 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays when there is less than one hour left to park closing. FOPI does not feel fees should be charged when lifeguards are not on duty before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m., or during prolonged inclement weather.
  • Regular dragging of the sand areas should be reconsidered - in addition to creating dust on windy days, it disturbs turtle breeding and the clean sand is now mixed with stones and other garbage. The sand areas were cleaned to bring them back to their original state.
  • Spring flooding did not close the park but nature trails were closed for several weeks in April/May
  • The weeping tile added to the centre sand area worked reasonably well except in the spring and during very heavy rains, when the drainage area next to the road flooded and overflowed. Better drainage or an enlarged pond are needed at this location
  • A FOPI pilot project for picnic space reservations for large groups was successful in June and July, but use decreased by August. A total of $190 was collected, or about $20 per reservation.



  • Attendance decreased over 2005 due to wet weather and beach closures resulting from high E. coli readings (215,535 - See Table1). Figures do not include Canada Day – estimate 24,000
  • Attendance figures are based on car counts multiplied by 2.5 persons in May/June and 3.0 persons in July/August – figures represent person-hours of use.
  • Figures are found in Table 1 and Appendix A. The attendance was based on the use of the entire park area inside the gate; on busy days this figure was adjusted to include cars parked outside the gates.



  • Jim Robertson’s slide shows were presented 16 times to various public groups.
  • Jim Robertson and Bill Bower posted regular reports on Petrie Island wildlife and plants with pictures.
  • Opened the centre daily in July and August and on weekends in May, June and September, over 300 people visited the centre on busy days
  • Eight theme days were held with nature displays, including a seventh Wildflower Walk and a sixth Turtle Day
  • Made presentations and gave tours to Scout, Guide and school groups
  • The FOPI Website (www.petrieisland.org) was revised to make it more user friendly and
  • continues to receive considerable traffic and generate positive comments; many visitors mention the website as the reason for their visit
  • Various FOPI events and articles on Petrie Island have been featured in local media, but much bad publicity was generated by high E. coli counts and beach closures
  • Served on steering committee for Sonshine Families and assisted in operation and training of staff, to run summer day camps


  • FOPI members continued Turtle counts on Turtle Bay
  • Turtle nesting study was conducted in cooperation with the Ottawa Stewardship Council. Over 150 nests were observed and a report prepared by Joff Cote of the Ottawa Stewardship Council.
  • Wood duck boxes (Ottawa Duck Club) were again well used. Of the 12 boxes were occupied
  • Despite some publicity/concerns about decreasing wildlife, our regular members report no significant changes in the area
  • The number of people using the nature trails on hot summer days when the beach area was full was very low – less than 10 people per hour compared with approx. 100 people on theme days
  • FOPI continues to participate in the Riverwatch program for Ottawa Riverkeeper on the Ottawa River
  • The largest amount of damage continues to be from beavers felling or damaging mature trees
  • Increased monitoring of trails occurred this year due to increased staff from HRSS grant
  • Produced a review of the trail and interpretive modules started five years ago. 90% of the interpretive signage and trail work proposed in the City document ($67,000) has been completed by FOPI at a cost of $10,000.


  • Completion of the beach park plan with amenities such as playgrounds, food concession, picnic shelters, adequate washrooms, etc.
  • A management plan for the Islands for the interim and long term including policies to protect the environmentally-sensitive areas, including local community input
  • Use of the downstream bay (Cumberland Bay) for canoe, kayak and dinghy launching, as well as shore fishing
  • We strongly oppose an interprovincial bridge at Petrie Island
  • The banning of dogs on Petrie Island and increased enforcement of regulations re: boats, feeding of animals, and 9:00 p.m. curfew, although we feel there should be better signage, i.e. spelled out as opposed to using symbols
  • We support the stationing of staff along the entrance road on weekend days to control access and inform public of rules
  • Expansion of the surface treatment of the main access (Trim) road, for dust control and pedestrian/cyclist safety. This should also include the parking lots
  • The addition of a bicycle lane along the access road to the causeway
  • Regular bus service or a shuttle to Petrie Island during the summer
  • Review of sand maintenance procedures


  • Improvement in E. coli and beach status notification for the general public is required
  • The importance of an entrance sign explaining the rules, especially the hours, the no-dog rule, the status of the beach and explanation of the parking times and fees
  • Development of long-term plans for Petrie Island
  • Continued support of Police and increased Bylaw Enforcement presence to keep area safe
  • Continue to improve cottage/info centre and programs
  • Development of environmental programs on the island for youth
  • Continued wildlife studies, including turtle nesting
  • Raising the road by 1' in the low spots to ensure year-round access, for safety (fire, police), convenience and better pedestrian and bike access

Al Tweddle, Chair, Friends of Petrie Island

(613) 824-1188 - hatweddle@rogers.com





Chairman: Al Tweddle*

Vice Chairman Rene Cloutier *

Secretary Paul Le Fort *

Treasurer Steve McPhee *

Membership Doug Drouillard

Planning David Villeneuve, * Dave Redmond, Richard Burnford

Members at Large Jim Robertson, Garret Gow, Gil LeBlanc

Interpretive Program Paul LeFort, Al Tweddle, Bill Bower, Richard Burnford,

Christine Hanrahan, Jim Robertson, Stephen Darbyshire

* Board of Directors

Friends of Petrie Island

Financial Statement

November 2006

January 1 – November 21 2006

Bank balance to Dec.31 2005


City of Ottawa grant

HRDC grant

Royalty fee


Misc. donation

Orleans Rec. Board donation

Rentals (picnic area)

Misc. revenue

CD sales




Admin. Supplies


Interpretative program



Playground equip.(Orleans Rec. Bd.)

Equip. – auger

Bank charges


Printer purchase


HRDC rec. gen.
















Subtotal Revenue
















Subtotal Expenditures

21 November 2006
































S. McPhee, Treasurer

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
MAY 4089 5,084 4,185 7,703 6,294 16,165 17,270
JUNE 4617 9,517 9,479 20,198 14,436 71,213 52,920
JULY 10,974 18,672 26,062 25,934 48,137 115,072 93,243
AUGEST 9,881 19,674 26,417 26,363 57,718 60,063 39,602
SEPT 4,500 8,456 13,044 12,056 27,304 21,860 12,500
TOTAL 34,970 60,403 79,187 92,254 153,889 284,377 215,535
CANADA DAY 24,000 24,000
Days when  Ecoli values over 100 in BOLD
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
BRITANNIA 30 19 18 2 4 2 2
WESTBORO 25 12 21 9 14 22 22
MOONEYS B 12 3 5 1 1 27 12
PETRIE ISL. 8 8 6 17 48
CITY BEACHES 58 61 84 83 65 75 75
PETRIE IS. 50 53 65 75 75
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
WORK 658 479 739 437 925 721 593
MONITORS 806 919 453 344 370 433 343
ADMINISTRATION 110 120 160 220 253 260 346
INTERPRETIVE 250 530 210 370 567 323 308
TOTAL 1,824 2,048 1,592 1,370 2,115 1,737 1,630
PAID HOURS 385 400 810 544 780 550 850
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
DONATED MATERIAL 1,100 3,751 2,700 600 400 400 300
DONATED LABOR 12,768 14,336 11,144 9,600 21,150 17,370 16,300
TOTAL DONATED 13,968 18,036 13,844 10,197 21,550 17,770 16,600
TRILLIUM GRANTS 11,700 6,700 4,900
H.R.S.S. 2,500 3,000 6,000
PARTNERSHIPS with Ottawa Stewardship Council 5,000 7,000
TOTAL GRANTS 11,700 6,700 12,400 10,000 6,000
TOTAL $ VALUE 13,968 18,036 25,544 16,967 33,950 27,770 22,600


Page updated 2014-06-05    © Friends of Petrie Island