With the spring season just around the corner, many Ontarians are eager to open up their family cottage and get back to making more memories. For a Realtor that focuses their business on cottage and rural properties, the spring season can be very busy, but can also be a little frustrating. You are probably wondering why I say it can be frustrating, so let me give you an example.

Last spring my client called me to inquire about a property that had just come onto the market.  The property description painted a beautiful picture: boating the Kawartha Lakes, swimming off your dock, the list goes on but I’m sure you’ve read something similar many times before. I advise my client that based on our previous conversations, I felt that this particular property was not suitable to meet his needs. He asks what made me think it wasn’t suitable as he read me the listing description again – it seemed like it had everything he was looking for. My rebuttal to the well-crafted description was that much of the information was inaccurate and merely a sales pitch. I further explain that the property has been listed by a Realtor that is not a member of the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors (PKAR), but instead an out of board Realtor who appears to have very little knowledge of the local area. I realize that tossing around assumptions can be a dangerous game, but I was certain that this was the case, and here is why: the property was on a small river with no access point to the Tri-Lakes (Pigeon, Chemong, and Buckhorn), and there is a hydro-electric dam a few hundred yards upstream from this property.

As for the swimming off your dock, well that depends on how you feel about aquatic plants running through your toes and wrapping around your legs, because the waterfront abuts a provincially significant wetland (PSW).

A PSW has been surveyed/evaluated, and was determined that it has significant value to maintaining natural processes within the ecosystem. To my client, beyond a weedy waterfront, it also means that there will be restrictions put in place by the Municipality, Conservation Authority and in this case Parks Canada too. The Planning Act, Greenbelt Act, Conservation Authorities Act, and Parks Canada’s Shoreline and In-Water Works Regulations will significantly impact his future plans for that particular property through the use of buffer zones. Some of these zones can extend 30m-120m upland from the shoreline/wetland, prohibiting any further development within that envelope. An application for a building permit (boathouse, detached garage or workshop etc.), would most likely need to be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Study (EIS). I should probably mention that a pretty basic EIS can set you back roughly $4,000-$5000, with more complex EIS’s running into the $10,000-$15,000 mark and sometimes well beyond that.

Sadly, this type of information is often unknown to people looking to purchase a cottage. When discovered too late, these details can destroy a family’s plan for the cottage of their dreams.

As a local Realtor with a previous life in the environmental sector, my knowledge of the area, the local environment, and of policies that affect landowners and cottage owners often outshines what a Realtor from the big city knows and understands. There is more to owning a cottage than just the cottage – it’s a whole different world out here.

I’m happy to report that my client eventually got the cottage of his dreams, complete with excellent swimming off the dock. I can help you get yours too!

Whether you are buying or selling a cottage in the Kawarthas, you’ll want the expertise from someone in the know. In addition to being a great Realtor, Jeff Park brings a background in Biology and Ecology with Parks Canada and the Trent-Severn Waterway. Jeff offers his buying and selling clients an experience you won’t get anywhere else. He will help you make the right decision because he knows what to look for. He will listen to your needs and ensure this property, waterbody and shoreline are what you are looking for. He brings a vast knowledge about properties, shoreline permitting, environmental assessments, and so much more. There is much more to buying a cottage than what’s in the listing, or in the cottage itself. Jeff will guide you through the process of critical thinking, especially on issues often overlooked, issues that may take away from your enjoyment, or time better spent relaxing! Read Jeff’s bio, or contact him directly at 705-868-4582 or parkhillteam@gmail.com to discuss buying or selling recreation properties in the Kawarthas.