Black Crowned Night Heron at Silver Lake - Photo by Tim Warris

Black Crowned Night Heron at Silver Lake – Photo by Tim Warris

On Sunday November 10, 2013 we received a comment regarding a posting on our website from a reader identified as Bill. He posted  a link to  “The Silo”  drawing our attention to the fact that  Silver Lake is not an Unsolved Mystery and Mayor Travale  had gone to the Silo in 2012 to state his detailed position on Silver Lake  which included details of its ownership. All of this information is available for the public to read by following the link posted below.

It certainly puts a whole different perspective on the issue. Friends of Silver Lake have invested huge energy and resources in trying to get information which we were told could not and would not be disclosed.  It has diverted our attention from other community projects and quite frankly, assuming the information reported as fact in the Silo is true, we community residents have every right to feel we are the victims of game playing. The money paid to research and produce these reports was financed by the taxpayers.  While having read through the reports very quickly without discussion a few questions come to mind.

1. Why was the analysis of the soil testing originally deemed as classified?  Under what conditions does it become declassified and what is the impact of declassified information?

2. Why were a hundred samples taken and only 10 analyzed?

3. Were the contractors the very same SNC Lavalin who are under investigation internationally for unethical activity?

4. Why were the samples taken only from the surface with simple tools rather than going deeper as well?

5. We put forward a vision based on a project in Tillsonburg in the Simcoe Reformer. Why was  the response from the Mayor printed in the Maple Leaf where the story had not been submitted?

6. Is the Silo the official paper for Mayor Travale to communicate with residents in Norfolk? When we asked questions about the ownership, why did he not direct us to the Silo? Are residents who have newspaper subscriptions as well as other publications left in their driveways  likely to pick up additional free papers in local grocery stores etc.?

We recognize that leaders sometime have to communicate bad news. This can be done most effectively by stating the situation directly and with understanding of the impact on the receivers. Bad news then should be immediately followed up with consultation with the people most affected and engaging them in positive future planning within a well defined container of givens. This has not been the case regarding Silver  Lake and we are left feeling duped by those in power whom we trusted.

We have made every effort to post what we have been told as the facts since we became organized. According to the Silo, Bill comments that “there was no secrecy on the state of Silver Lake. The Silo has been reporting the facts in print and online since 2010- it has taken a few years for others in the media community to make sense of the declassified reports- and frankly, to come to grips with their responsibility as media professionals to report THE FACTS.  “.

This article was printed in the Silo September 24, 2012. Please follow the link to view. We have also taken the liberty of copying the original text below  as it was written including typos and grammatical errors.



Mayor Dennis Travale reached out to another local media outlet recently regarding his, and Norfolk County council’s, position on the ownership of Misner Dam in Port Dover, Ontario. The mayor’s detailed position was reduced to barely a sentence by the paper, so he contacted The Silo in hopes that we would print more of the story. Thank-you Mr. Mayor. We’ll give it a try. Here we go:

In 2009-10, the local government made the decision to release a large amount of water (let alone silt) out of the Silver Lake mill pond and into the Lynn River and also Black Creek, and therefore, unavoidably, into the Lake Erie harbour. This was considered to be an inevitable act, bases on the age of the dam and its structural maturity vs. the amount of water in the pond. Normandale dam fairly recently had a catastrophic collapse of its structure and there were universally acknowledge structural deficiencies in Misner Dam that had to be addressed.

So, Misner Dam has either to be repaired and Silver Lake dredged to remove massive silt deposits, some of which may be contaminated with heavy metals and toxic organic compounds (see ), or the dam is to be decommissioned, allowing the Lynn River to run free once again, in absence of a functioning mill to justify a mill pond, in other words-its natural course.

Heated debate has recently surfaced regarding the ownership, and therefore financial (and legal) responsibility for Misner Dam. Here’s the rub: The Friends of Silver lake website ( states at the time of this writing that:

“[t]he Land Registry Office in Simcoe declares the parcel of land identified as “50253-0006″ up0n which sits the Misner Dam as being owned by the County. It is incontrovertible that the County owns the land and the old bridge directly above the dam. From earliest times the map for Plan 207 depicts a dam beneath the “Lynn Street” municipal road allowance. Municipalities own their road allowances and the land beneath them. There is no document at hand showing that the municipality ever in any manner waived its ownership to the lands beneath the Lynn Street bridge crossing over the dam.”

Mayor Travale responds that this is utterly inaccurate. Misner Dam does not sit on any land owned by Norfolk County and in fact sits on the bed of the Lynn River which is owned by the province of Ontario. In a closed meeting with said ‘other’ local media outlet, Mayor Travale made his position clear: Norfok County council has been shown no legal document confirming the county’s ownership of the dam.

The Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act ( gives full authority over any repairs or work on structures such as Minser Dam. These structures are subject to provincial legislation, enforced by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources who have, according to Mayor Travale, “complete jurisdiction” over the fate of Misner Dam. Mayor Travale has thus thrown down the gauntlet- Show me, he is saying, and show council, any legal basis for the claim that Misner dam belongs to the county. In the meantime, refer to the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act by which we are all bound, like it or not.

Norfolk County does not contest ownership of the old iron bridge which connects the roadway;  however there is no legislation in Ontario or Canada that says “if you own a bridge, you own everything under the bridge.” In other words, owning a bridge which has a dam underneath means you own a bridge, NOT the dam there-under. A majority of Norfolk council has and continues to support the “repair” of Misner Dam, however that work cannot be done until the provincial government gives its approval. The County has twice requested permission to complete that work and in both instances the MNR has requested more information and most recently a study which may take months.

So- we don’t know right now, but Port Dover might have to give way to a whole new millenium without a part of their heritage, a lake which served a mill, which served a community, and has now come under the jurisdiction of a government determined to right the ecological wrongs of the past. -CD

You may also like…

·         Norfolk County and MNR to review “crumbling” Misner Dam safety threat

·         Dam Communication between Norfolk County and MPP Barrett: Revealing

·         Norfolk Mayor Travale’s letter to Smallcombe defends position on Misner Dam




  1. J. Barker Says:

    For the record- everyone, not just the media, has an opportunity to ‘get the facts’ via Freedom of Information. In fact, we printed and posted an article in 2011 encouraging citizens to become active by using this method on local topics: And that’s what we did when researching Silver Lake and Misner Dam. So no, the Silo has not been privy to exclusive information from Norfolk County or the Mayor. Like other media companies, we welcome reader submitted content such as the Silver Place story in our current Edition. SNC-Lavalin’s report on soil toxicity in Silver Lake was declassified in 2011 and that is when we requested the report via FOI and printed our article(s). You can find all of this at-
    The Silo also has print subscriptions available if you prefer to receive your copy directly at your home address. Please contact for rates. Jarrod Barker Publisher of The Silo

    • Administrator Says:

      Thank you Jarrod. A previous reader had commented that we had printed misinformation on our website saying that the ownership issues were unknown. We seek to print the facts as they become known to us and appreciate your response..

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