HARDY ISLAND, NAPPAN ISLAND, SEYMOUR LAKE
My cottage is on a quiet point on the Trent River south of Havelock. Peaceful, I say, although some days it seems Burnt Point is under siege from cottage developers trying to ignore the great stretches of shore that are really more swamp than ideal frontage
Around the Trent, the Latin motto of caveat emptor, meaning buyer beware, should be reworded caveat cottage emptor.
The west side of my point faces across Burnt Point Bay. On the far side there is now a new attempt to flesh out a development that started decades ago in fits and starts.
I Googled the development on the Internet and came up with a professional presentation, filled with chirping birds and flowing strings and pretty footage for something called Lake Seymour Estates. Funny, I thought, where does that name come from when Seymour Lake is at least a kilometre away, and this development is plainly on water called Burnt Point Bay. That was considered a better name by the locals than the first name of Mud Lake, which was what the bay looked like when the canal system was built around 1880 and farms and woods here were flooded.
On the stretch of the Trent between Healey Falls and Hastings, there are many expanses of river that are just skins of water over weeds, rocks, stumps and logs.
I double-checked on the official charts of the Canadian Hydrographic Service, a branch of the federal environment ministry, and sure enough, on Small Crafts Chart 2022, the name for the water beside Lake Seymour Estates is Burnt Point Bay, and Seymour Lake, not Lake Seymour, is a couple of stretches of water to the east through a narrows and some islands.
I rather like the name of my point but I guess developers don't think it is fashionable enough.
I noticed too when I checked the charts that all the water around this latest development is rated as "foul" or "stumps," just like almost all the river around Nappan Island, which has a developer sniffing around, and also around much of Hardy Island, which has had preliminary work done by a developer.
I have some relatives who really don't care whether they can go into the water at a cottage but I just can't understand buying a place like that. And if you plan to dredge away the weeds and rocks and stumps, it is plain that the Lower Trent Conservation Authority will not allow you to touch "wetlands" in any way, and, of course, that is what most of the shoreline is.
I know an owner of a parcel of land on the east side of Burnt Point Bay who plans to try to sell at least two big lots. The water there is so shallow, I have had to get out of a canoe and push it into deeper water.
The interesting thing about Lake Seymour Estates is that a visual presentation starts with some lovely pictures of the shore at the hamlet of Trent River which is a couple of kilometres away and has no geographic relationship. This includes a large two-storey white "heritage" cottage on a little island which is praised for its lovely landscaping, giant pots of flowers and nice porches.
According to the owner of this show place, there is not the slightest relationship to the development that is now including pictures of it in the Internet presentation. And the shoreline around the show place, lined with giant boulders, is so superior to the actual rude shore around the so-called Estates, the comparison is laughable.
The show place has been famous for more years than the Trent Canal has existed because the central part of it was built in 1850, long before the canal came along and flooded its apple orchard.
The owner and I spent a pleasant time yarning about developers and councils and the pressure of the developers and how some of us get hassled or blocked by inspectors and others seem to build more with a lot less effort.
Fall has moved in along my stretch of the Trent. The trees flame with glorious colours. Of course they are no match for the glossy pictures and vivid imaginations of those who would like us to forget that under great expanses of the Trent as the sun burns its way to the horizon is all the stuff that swimmers and boaters hate.