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Terry Rees to step down as executive director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations

Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations Photo Courtesy of FOCA

After helming the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) for 20 years, executive director, Terry Rees, has announced that he will be stepping down in March 2024.

“I am pleased to be leaving the organization in good hands with our tremendous core staff and a committed board of directors ready to serve the needs of Ontario’s waterfront community,” Rees said in a Linkedin post. “I have been privileged to see so many parts of our wonderful province, and to work alongside and in support of the great volunteers that make our communities thrive, and who work tirelessly to keep our lakes great.”

Rees joined FOCA as executive director in 2004, leading the organization through Hydro One rate hikes, provincial mining debates, the widespread use of short-term rentals, the Covid 19 pandemic, and the acceleration of climate change, among other issues.

FOCA is an advocacy group that represents 250,000 waterfront property owners across the province and has spent the last 60 years ensuring that our lakes stay healthy, our ecosystems remain free of invasive species, our boating regulations prioritize safety, and our property taxes remain fair and transparent, among a long list of other accomplishments. FOCA provides waterfront property owners with a united front, standing up for their rights. Much of the organization’s success can be attributed to Rees.

The organization has evolved over the years. Originally, FOCA was founded in January 1963 at a Toronto hotel when 125 people representing 40 cottage associations across the province met to discuss the sustainability of Ontario’s waterfronts and how they could be preserved for future generations.

Today, the organization represents more than 525 associations in Ontario and has cemented working relationships with government organizations, including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks; the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development, and Mines; as well as numerous NGOs, always with the purpose of maintaining our province’s waterfronts.

“I’ve always wanted my kids to have the same great opportunities to enjoy and appreciate our lakes the way I have; I hope I have managed to do my little part to make this a reality, for their sake, and for all our future generations,” Rees said.

Moving forward, Rees will continue his work in promoting academic inquiry and findings of aquatic and climate science.

FOCA is holding an open call for its CEO position, with applications due on December 8.

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