“The lake is our future” said Linda Ellery, Manager of Lefroy Harbour Resorts, as we concluded our tour of the resort in an electric golf car. Linda’s statement is reflected in the business decisions made at Lefroy Harbour Resorts (which also encompasses Kon Tiki Marine). Recently Lefroy Harbour Resorts was the first marina in Canada to earn level 5 Anchor Platinum rating under the Clean Marine certification system.
Although environmental principles have always guided practices at Lefroy, the upgrade to level 5 required that a few extra practices be put in place. Protection of the lake is achieved a number of ways, and at level 5 all areas of environmental protection are considered.
The land at Lefroy Harbour is graded to allow stormwater to settle so that it filters into the ground instead of running off paved areas directly into the lake. Mature trees and vegetation are planted to absorb water and stop erosion. The mature trees also provide shade, minimizing the need for artificial cooling. Areas of the property are purposely left in a natural state to encourage animal habitat and improve water quality.
Energy and water efficient measures are apparent all over the property. Land-based washroom and shower facilities reduce the stress on boater’s holding tanks. Buildings on the property have lighting timers installed and make use of LED efficient lighting. Outdoor lighting makes use of sensors and is also energy efficient. Toilets are water efficient, and hand dryers replace paper towel dispensers. Shower nozzles are low flow as well.
The availability of covered boat slips and heated winter storage reduces the need for antifreeze and shrink wrap when winterizing boats. In cases where shrink wrap is required, it is recycled appropriately. Waste management concerns for boaters includes some items other businesses may not have to deal with. For example, boat flares require special attention. Not only can they ignite when placed in with regular garbage, they also are made of materials that should not be placed in a regular landfill. Lefroy Harbour has held a flare disposal day for the last 2 years in conjunction with CIL paints and Power Squadron, and plans are already underway for an event in 2017. This event gives boaters a way to responsibly dispose of flares while ensuring they are diverted from landfill. Collection is paired with a safety information day that benefits all. Strategically placed cigarette butt waste receptacles and “stoop and scoop” stations for pet owners are found throughout the property. Battery recycling collection bins area available on site.
Oil and gas that can collect in boat bilge water poses an environmental threat if not disposed of properly. Lefroy Harbour provides bilge socks free of charge to all members of the marina. When saturated, these socks are collected and disposed of as hazardous waste. Additionally, hazardous material such as oil and antifreeze is recovered appropriately and is stored away from flood and fire hazards. These materials are collected and recycled. Specific areas on the property are dedicated to boat repair which reduces the risk of contaminants spilling and leaching into the water. Venting a fuel tank allows fuel to flow freely to a boat’s fuel pump, therefore Lefroy Harbour promotes the use of fuel/air separators on air vents to help reduce spills. Staff are fully trained as to what to do in case of a spill and spill kits are available. The level 5 Anchor Platinum rating also requires conversion of work boats and rental fleet to newer fuel-efficient technology.
Environmental expectations are clearly outlined in the rules and regulations distributed to all members of Lefroy Harbour Resorts. Boater participation is essential to ensuring the lake is well-protected and Lefroy Harbour asks every boat owner to sign a document indicating compliance with the Clean Marine Environmental Program. Issues covered in the program include appropriate waste management, disposal of hazardous materials, care when fueling, proper use of approved pump-out facilities, the use of environmentally friendly products, driving practices to reduce shoreline erosion, and respect for wildlife. Education also revolves around safety and energy efficiency to reduce the draw on electricity when boaters are not on board.
Employee participation is just as critical, and Lefroy Harbour makes sure all employees receive regular training in Clean Marine practices. Employees meet regularly and participate in the Clean Marine Program with ideas and suggestions. Awards for both employees and customers play an important role in encouraging Clean Marine environmental initiatives.
The geese population is a problem for all properties around the lake with low-lying access to the water. Measures put in place at Lefroy Harbour to deal with this problem are non-intrusive and include placement of coyote models around the beach area, snow fence to discourage geese, use of an osprey kite, and of course daily manual collection of the residue the geese kindly leave behind.
Lefroy Harbour Resorts highly recommend all marinas, marine suppliers, and businesses to be a part of tomorrow’s future by being a partner in the Clean Marine Environmental Program. For additional information on the Clean Marine Program contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Author – Aileen MacMillan holds an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo, and has worked as an independent consultant on environmental projects related to waste management, water quality protection, and environmental education. She has many years of experience working in small business and working collaboratively with teams and individual stakeholders.