Silver Lake Has Huge Impact on Port Dover

MEMORIES shared by delightful Peter Perch who is well known for his humour ” Something’s Fishy”

At one time, Goosey Island was surrounded by Silver Lake. The water tower, at right above, was in the parck on Main St. North at St. Andrew Street.

At one time, Goosey Island was surrounded by Silver Lake. The water tower, at right above, was in the park on Main St. North at St. Andrew Street.

Article copied from the Port Dover Mapleleaf, Issue Wednesday March 1, 2017

SILVER Lake has been a hot topic in the papers lately, and so it should be. It’s an iconic piece of Port Dover. I knew it as my playground. When I was young, it was where I would hang out. We would create hockey rinks on it, and spend endless days swimming in it. Heck, to celebrate our grade 8 graduation we even skinny dipped off the dam.

We used to hang out at “Fletcher’s,” not sure why it was called that, but it was right near the CNR train station. There was a tree there, a big rope, and we would swim there all day. A lot of us guys had our first kiss there. Our biggest concern was not the girls, but the alleged snapping turtles that lurked below the depths.

Silver Lake was not initially a lake, but a dam. It is actually a river held up by the dam to power industries down river. We used it as a short cut in winter to go to my buddy’s house, Dave Buck who lived on Prospect Hill. I still remember the fright of listening to the ice crack as we crossed the lake.

 Some years the ice didn’t freeze over, and the actual river was exposed. One year Dave’s dog ran down to the ice and fell into the river. He couldn’t get back up on the slippery ice. We all ran down to help.

We were probably 12 or 13 years old. My friend Billy “Bung” Laing jumped on the ice to help the dog, but the ice dipped and he fell in. Fortunately the dog was able to climb up on the dipped ice floe and Bung as well.

Silver Lake was also used as a place for swimming lessons. I enrolled in the course. It was just off the Ivey plant. One day I invited my friend to watch me. I was quite proud of myself, though I couldn’t yet swim. Many of my co-swimmers were doing all kinds of “mermaid” like exercises into the depths of Silver Lake and I felt challenged so I thought I had to do something different, though “Dog Paddling” was my level of swimming skills.

I wanted to show off for my buddy. There was a rope, to make sure no one went too deep into the lake. That was my goal. I dove in and swam under water and popped up with my arms in the air, and my head under water. I proceeded to walk towards the rope, with my head still under water; not realizing I had swam past the rope. I was heading into the depths of Silver Lake!

Suddenly, just as I was out of breath, this “man” (Steve Anstee), who was probably 18, and fully clothed, grabbed me and pulled me to the surface. I will never forget it.

Silver Lake has had a huge impact on Port Dover. We should never let that go.

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RESPONSE TO CITIZEN CONCERNED ABOUT Dredging Silver Lake

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Last week a concerned citizen wrote a letter to the Editor of the Maple Leaf objecting to the use of taxpayer dollars for any work undertaken on Silver Lake or Misner Dam.  The concern was that taxpayers should not be paying to beautify the views of private landowners.  The PDWPA has responded to this letter with clarification of facts that may not be fully understood by people new to the area. It should be noted that the land bordering the lake is indeed held privately. In the case of the south side, Silver Lake Park is wholly owned and maintained by the Lions Club. The Lions Club pay annual taxes on the land which they mow, plant and make available to the public for recreational activities. It is also made available to service groups for community events and fundraising activities. These service clubs use their revenues to reinvest in community projects.

The following letter to be published in this week’s Maple Leaf is a formal response from The Port Dover Waterfront Preservation Association and its Friends of Silver Lake Committee.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Revitalizing a community re. Dredging Silver Lake

The question of dredging Silver Lake is not about beautifying a few backyards, it’s about the revitalization of a community. Not long ago, an internationally renowned author and keynote speaker visited Norfolk County for a seminar. While staying in Port Dover, he pointed out the key advantage we have in this community. He said having a water feature, of any kind, was an essential factor in the success of community restoration. And here in Port Dover, we have miles of waterfront!
Our community is blessed with beautiful waterfront and Silver Lake continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many in and around Norfolk County. The Friends of Silver Lake will be working hard, with Norfolk County, to find funding from both private and public sources.
The restoration of Silver Lake will take planning and money and yes, lots of patience. The Friends of Silver Lake are committed to this project. We have volunteers, we have a plan, and we have a community willing to step up. Plans include not only simply the dredging of the lake, but the introduction of a managed wetlands providing for long-term siltation control, flood control, water purification and the preservation of sensitive native aquatic species. A plan to establish power generation from river flow is also being investigated, along with generation at the dam, when it becomes available. Annual income from such a venture could fund ongoing Lake maintenance. Our long term plans also include public access via wetland boardwalks, lakefront promenades and walkways along the Lions Club Silver Lake Park, all adjacent to the Lynn Valley trail system.
Our community as a whole will benefit from the restoration of Silver Lake and thanks to our many supporters, we will once again, have a real Silver Lake!
Paul Lipsit,
The Friends of Silver Lake committee
Port Dover Waterfront Preservation Assoc.

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