Clients are what make a business successful. At Treeno Software we think our clients are the best and sometimes very unique. This article is about one of those unique clients, the Township of The Archipelago. The Township is situated on Georgian Bay and encompasses a large portion of the 30000 Islands. The distance from the south end of the south area to the north end of the north area is approximately 60 miles and the two are separated by Carling Township, whose southern boundary touches Parry Island in front of Parry Sound. The total land area of the Township of The Archipelago is approximately 85,000 hectares (Metropolitan Toronto for comparison purposes is about 60,000 hectares) and the many bays, rivers, lakes and water channels which constitute such an important part of the Township, cover an area about three times that size. Much of the land area is undeveloped and a large part is Crown Land. In the south, 83percent of the mainland and 70 percent of the islands remain in the public domain and in the north, 96 percent of the mainland and 50 percent of the islands.
In a number of ways, the Township of The Archipelago represents a departure from traditional forms of local government in Ontario, but its establishment has provided an opportunity for many people who have a long connection with the area to make a constructive contribution to its development.
The general goal of the Official Plan of The Township of The Archipelago is to preserve the unique and high quality of the natural environment which leads to a recreational experience that is both relaxing and aesthetically appealing to property owners and visitors who use the area, and is designed to make both property owners and visitors realize that they share equally in the responsibility of attaining this goal.
The first settlers in the area of The Archipelago were interested in fur trading, lumbering and commercial fishing. Once these resources were substantially exhausted there was little remaining from which to make a living since agriculture was not practical and communications were poor.
During the latter part of the 19th Century sportsmen began to hear about the excellent fishing and hunting in the area and gradually a few camps and lodges were built. Generally these buildings were of simple wooden construction. There was almost no building of cottages during this period except on the islands in the vicinity of Pointe au Baril Station. The South Channel from Rose Point to Sans Souci was entirely wild and in the Sans Souci and Woods Bay Neighbourhoods there were almost no cottages. The principal recreations were fishing, hunting and enjoyment of the natural wild beauty of the area by camping and boating.
After 1900, with the coming of improved railway and steamship services, more cottages were built in the Pointe au Baril Neighbourhood and a number were built in the Sans Souci and Woods Bay Neighbourhoods. The pace of construction was relatively slow on comparatively large acreages. The cottages were constructed of local lumber and were for the most part simple in design and suitable for an informal lifestyle. The cottages varied in size but many were small. A substantial number of cottagers were Americans. All construction stopped during the First World War and did not resume until the 1930's and even then development was rather slow. After the Second World War, with the development of the reliable high speed outboard motor and the extensive improvement of provincial highways, the rate of cottage development greatly increased. Around the turn of the 20th century Crown land in the Archipelago could be purchased from the Province at $10.00 per acre. There was no limit as to the number of acres one could acquire, and there were no conditions as to building or the purpose of the purchase. In due course the amount of Crown land which could be acquired by one person was limited to one island, and a condition requiring that a cottage be constructed on the property was imposed.
Travel by boat in The Archipelago is the most common type of transportation. In addition to being a necessity, boating in a natural environment setting is also the major recreational pursuit.
The Archipelago is a showcase for the Precambrian Shield, having an area of rocky shores, islands, shoals, varying depths of water, large clean inland lakes and a vast amount of undeveloped and inaccessible land. The land, where soil exists, is heavily treed by mixed forests with a moderately broken topography all of which results in one of the most beautiful areas of the Province.
This land, however, can be considered extremely fragile with respect to its ability to withstand development. The shallow soils or barren rock provide little buffer from nutrient loading to the numerous waterbodies. Because this constraint upon development is so severe, it becomes a major consideration for the Township, notwithstanding the Provincial government's jurisdiction over the environment.
The Office of the Township of The Archipelago with it 20-25 employees is charged with carrying out the official plan, found at the township website. It is a joy and a pleasure to work with them. I hope to have my Kayak out there someday.
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