For the second year, PIIFA had a float in the Orleans Santa's Parade of Lights. This year, we stepped it up from last year by constructing a giant walleye to go with Sylvain's hut. The fish was a huge undertaking for PIFFA members and from what we saw along the parade route, everyone loved it!
It was a nice evening for a parade with a reported 100,000 folks watching 85 very nice floats. The PIIFA float and fish got a lot of cheering from the kids along the parade route. In total we gave out 4,000 candy canes from various sponsors. Overall a complete success, with grander plans already in he works for 2014.
Thanks to everyone made this happen including La Famille Beaudoin-Tessier: Rick, Christine and their daughters Brianna and Fionna; Sylvain and Dan Michaud, Billy Hum from KSLCS; The Grandmaitre Family of Petrie Island, Alain from A.J. Transport: Brian Masse; Allan Macintyre; Lenny who made the PIIFA banner and our candy cane girls, Mel and Lise.
This is real kids: An advertisement on kijiji avertising Oziles is for sale!
It was news that some were expecting but no one wanted to hear: The Oziles Baitshop, Marina and the 12 acres of land around it are up for sale.
A quiet bombshell was dropped on us Monday evening with the news that Oziles is up for sale. Within minutes, comments and speculation were flying on Facebook about what would happen to Petrie Island, Oziles and PIIFA. One commenter wondered if ice fishing was done at Petrie Island. Another commenter was actually about to put their ice hut up for sale because he figured Petrie Island was already sold.
The two parcels of land being sold are the baitshop and marina area plus the area east of Trim Road between Baitshop Bay and the North Service Road.
People close to Oziles say that the area has been on the market for several years but at the right price. They say lately they have been more active at promoting the sale of the land because of increased development and speculation in the area. Still, they say that they are not in a hurry to sell and will only sell if the price is right.
So, if and when the land is finally sold, what will happen to Petrie Island, the beach, the baitshop, marina and all those ice fishermen? Petrie Island as we know it will remain unchanged. It is a world class park and nature reserve owned by the City of Ottawa and will remain as that probably forever.
The marina and the area around it are zoned as commercial and this is unlikely to change in our lifetime. Any request put forward by new owners to have the zoning designation changed would surely be denied by the City of Ottawa. The marina and baitshop are deeply integrated in to Petrie Island and unlikely to change. If somehow the zoning designation was put forward for change would surely be met with public outcry.
The area that will be most likely be developed is the parcel of land east of Trim Road between Baitshop Bay and the North Service Road. This type of land is what developers are looking for in the ever expanding Orleans area. Developers would most likely use the land to erect highrises similar to current Petrie's Landing Condominiums.
Any land sale would take time. First, the Grandmaitres are not in a hurry to sell. The longer they hold on to their land, the higher land prices will be. Second, after ten years of operating the Marina and Baitshop, they seem to be getting a handle on the operations. Third, they appear to be having a good time running the place, so why sell when you're having a good time?
Even if the land is sold tomorrow, deals like that take time to close and any development on the land will take much longer.
So what happens to all those ice fishermen? On the logical side, the Grandmaitres are good people and most likely would not consider any land sale without certain conditions. One of these conditions would be that the ice fishermen of Baitshop Bay have a grandfather clause which would guarantee them access to the area for many years to come.
With that, there is no need to panic. Oziles is for sale but we don't see it affecting ice fishermen any time soon. There will be ice fishing in Baitshop Bay this season and for many years to come.
The Petrie Island Ice Fishermen's Association celebrates its 10th year this season.
It all started back in 2004 with a few ice fishermen sitting in a hut discussing ideas on how to combat the increase of vandalism, thefts and break-ins of that season. A few beers were shared and many ideas were tossed around. In the end, the group decided to start an association of ice fisherman. The main task of the association would be to bring hut owners together, so everyone could get to know each other and become a more tight-knit group for better security.
One of the first decisions made by the group back in February 2004 was to elect Big Al Macintyre as president of the association. So, a few beers; some brainstorming; and the Petrie Island Ice Fishermen's Association was born.
One of Big Al's first tasks as president was to figure how best to communicate with his fellow fishermen and the decision was made to start a website for the ice fishing community of Petrie Island. The website would issue security alerts but would also be used as tool to share resources with fellow ice fishermen including ice fishing news, photos, ice conditions and the fishermen's forum.
If your hut is stored in the hut storage area at Oziles, you need to jack up your hut before the ground freezes. This means getting the skis of your hut off the ground so they do not get frozen in. Failing to do this, your skis will get frozen in and will most likely damage your hut when you try to tow it.
Huts start moving out on the ice when the ice thickness is a minimum of 12 inches in Baitshop Bay. If you have your hut stored at Oziles, you will want to contact them a few days ahead of time to make a reservation to get your hut towed out.
All ice fishing huts at Petrie Island must be registered with the local Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources office and the registration number must be clearly visible on your hut. For complete information on registration and the list of local offices where you can register your ice hut, go to The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources website. More information for ice hut owners is on our hut owner's info page.
As we sit back, put our feet up on a chair and take in what we have accomplished in the ten years of PIIFA, we have decided NOT to organize an ice fishing derby this year! We loved organizing the derby over the years but decided to take a break this year.
Don't worry as Yves Grandmaitre and the good people at the Oziles Marina and Tackle have stepped up and will be organizing this year's event. We don't know too much yet but we do know that they will be changing the rules a bit to accommodate more ice fishermen.
Yves from Oziles mentioned that they are looking for donations for the event. If your company or organization can help out, contact Yves at Oziles, 613-841-0778.
In keeping with tradition, Big Al will collecting Canadian Tire money to buy prizes for the derby. Clean out your drawers, glove box, back seat and trunk and bring your Canadian Tire money to Big Al on opening day!
The 2014 derby will take place during the winter edition of Family Fishing Week-end on February 15, 2014. For the latest updates and information on the 2014 Oziles Ice Fishing Derby at Petrie Island, check out the events page.
Some probably get dismantled while others get put in storage for another year. Unlike others, PIIFA moves theirs to where retired giant fish floats are happiest: In the middle of Baitshop Bay! In less than a month, the float will be the center piece of our ice fishing village and over 125 ice fishing huts.