The Legacy of Gerry and Valerie Hunnius

by Terry Rees, Executive Director, FOCA

Valerie Hunnius and Terry Rees at the PLCA 2014 AGM

Valerie Hunnius and Terry Rees at the PLCA 2014 AGM

As a membership organization, FOCA is only as strong as our members – PLCA has been a proud member of FOCA for many years – I suspect maybe as far back as its founding in 1973!  Among its peer group, the PLCA has been a fine example of strong community-building and looking out for the interests of the 600 or so properties around the lake. The Paudash Lake community has been well represented both at your municipal and county levels of government, but also on a Provincial scale, largely due to the efforts of the PLCA.  

Notable among the tremendous volunteers on Paudash Lake, are two people who have had a long and very direct involvement with FOCA, and with me personally. I am very pleased to recognize and celebrate the tremendous contributions and commitment of Gerry and Valerie Hunnius. 

Most or maybe all of PLCA’s local initiatives had the Hunniuses figuring prominently, including:  the long-term annual testing for phosphorus and water clarity; designating several of the 33 local wetlands as provincially significant; the placement of public education signage around the lake; the Shoreland Restoration Project; coordinating a FOCA Docktalk program; and the production of the Paudash Lake Management Plan, in 2006.

Regionally, Gerry and Val were active in Haliburton’s strategic planning exercise in the mid-1990s, and the formation of the County Advisory Committee for the Environment (CACE). When CACE dissolved the Hunniuses supported Environment Haliburton, who benefited greatly from their wisdom, knowledge and skills. They worked on defining the closure procedures and prospecting rights related to uranium mines, lot development on Elephant Lake, Official Plans, gravel pits, waste incineration, and as advocates for a non-motorized rail trail.

At the Provincial level, Gerry was on the FOCA Board as Director at least as far back as 1993.  He was on the Environment Committee for 20+ years – in various capacities, as a liaison with the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, the Lands for Life process, and provided expert advice on land use planning, mining, and forestry issues and was on the MNR’s Southern Region Advisory Committee on FOCA’s behalf.  

In 2006, I was asked to support a Bancroft Stewardship Award nomination, and wrote: “Valerie and Gerry have had a long and illustrious history with FOCA, actively participating as members of FOCA Committees and on our Board of Directors...  Representing FOCA on numerous stakeholder groups plus Provincial panels and committees, rural and waterfront Ontario have benefited enormously from the Hunniuses’ valued participation and their many years of tireless work.”

Fast forward, and almost another decade later, I was proud to present the FOCA Certificate of Appreciation, for distinguished and long-standing service to the cottage community to Valerie and Gerry Hunnius at the 2014 PLCA Annual General Meeting.

Our eternal thanks for your tireless dedication to our community!