Leech Lake, Muskoka

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bubbler Beef

We are cottagers on the lake that enjoy it year round, but again this fall we have been treated to the noise of the dock bubbler in the east end of the lake. Every year these cottagers put in a bubbler with the perceived notion that it protects their dock from ice damage. Now, it can be argued whether or not these devices are effective, but it cannot be argued that they are very unsafe, and present not only a danger, but the excessive noise is a nuisance to fellow cottagers. We understand that they are not illegal in our area, but they are illegal in many other areas for safety reasons.

I have spoken with several other cottagers who feel there should be a petition circulated regarding bubbler use on our lake.

If we examine the reason for a bubbler to begin with, it is generally accepted that their function is largely discredited, particularly on a lake the size of ours. Docks don't get damaged by ice forming around them, they get damaged when that ice moves, and smashes into docks. A bubbler will not prevent ice movement, and an open area of water around a dock will not prevent the ice from moving during the spring thaw when ice becomes one large mass floating around. It should also be noted that modern docks are typically floating docks, which suffer little or no damage from ice.

An open patch of water poses several problems for snowmobiler's, and children, more often it's family pets that wander onto very thin ice surrounding the open water to get a drink. It is also a danger when the hydro system goes down (which it does nearly weekly on our lake in the winter) and the bubbler, and associated warning (red light) go out. The ice forms on open water very quickly making it impossible for anyone to know the danger exists, particularly if a light dusting of snow covers the thin ice.

As mentioned, we know these bubblers are not illegal, but I think we can all agree that neighbourly etiquette dictates that when something within one's control proves to be an unreasonable annoyance, or in this case a serious danger, it should be eliminated by the responsible party immediately.

In summary, it is not our intention to have this neighbour have their dock damaged by ice, but it's also not our intention to have a loss of life, be it a family pet or worse, on our lake.

Below is a link to some interesting reading on the use of bubblers.

We look forward to hearing an expedient resolution to this problem. And, we look forward to once again enjoying the tranquility that is Leech Lake in wintertime.