The following are facts regarding the Rondeau Cottagers’ Association (previously the Rondeau Park Leaseholders’ Association), our history, and our local community involvement.
In 1894, Rondeau Park was originally designated a Provincial Park due to a petition from residents within what is now Chatham-Kent. In 2014, the Mayor and Council of Chatham-Kent is 100% supportive of the current petition to have cottages remain as a prime example of a sustainable, renewable and low-impact use of natural resources within a park. The Municipality of Chatham-Kent council has passed two motions over the last few years unanimously supporting long-term lease extensions.
There are 283 cottages within Rondeau Provincial Park as of January 1, 2014. Many of these cottages and their lease-holding families have been there since the Park first encouraged cottages in the late 1800’s.
How Cottagers Benefit the Community
The cottages within Rondeau Park, and the visitors they attract, contribute to the economics of Chatham-Kent by over $4.1 million per year. By 2017, when present leases expire, that amount will have risen to over $5.5 million annually.
Should leases be granted the requested long-term extension, the local economy of Chatham-Kent could benefit by an additional $4.5 million almost immediately as cottagers gain confidence in their long-term status and upgrade their buildings.
Rondeau Park is identified by a Price-Waterhouse Coopers report as “the #1 tourist attraction in Chatham-Kent” due largely to the cottagers and the visitors they attract, numbering approximately 150,000 per year. Over the last century, cottagers have acted as solid stewards of this unique Carolinian environment. They intend to continue that role as they:
- clear garbage from beaches and roadways,
- report acts of vandalism,
- encourage the planting of local species and remove non-indigenous species from cottage lots,
- participate in the annual deer population count and support MNR activities to reduce deer population to a safe level,
- commission a study on maintaining the Carolinian forest ecosystem,
- support physically and financially the Rondeau Yacht Club, which is used by many residents outside the Park,
- support MNR-controlled vegetation burns to regenerate natural growth, and
- reconstruct sand dunes, plant dune grass, and maintain their leased properties to high standards.
The Rondeau Cottagers’ Association is committed to a positve working relationship with the Park Superintendent and his/her staff. A liaison has been appointed by the RCA Executive to meet on a regular basis with local MNR staff.