15 MARCH, 2022 – David Ashley
As I write this in mid March it is snowing but, like many of you, I am thinking about opening the cottage, all the things that need to be done before opening weekend and the tasks that might be sprung on us when we get there. An old piece of doggerel, slightly modified, jumped into my mind:
Spring has sprung,
The grass is riz,
I wonder where them icepacks is.
There are a number of things I would like to cover in this update. The first is floating cottages. Over the years we have been concerned over the possibility of floating cottages appearing on the Bay. In the past we have been able prevent them but now there is a manufacturer in the south part of Georgian Bay who is promoting them. The Township’s understanding is that if a “floating cottage” is not attached or associated with private or municipal lands, then regulation of the structure would be the sole jurisdiction of the province (use over crown lake bed) and the federal government (Transport Canada is responsible for the registration of boats and regulating activities on navigable waters). This is a big jurisdictional problem but a solution may be on the horizon. In a message released on the 3rd of March the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (MDMNRF) announced they are seeking input about the use of floating accommodation on waterways over Ontario’s public lands. The following is an excerpt from their message:
“We are seeking to engage municipalities on potential ideas and approaches to manage “camping” and the use of floating accommodations on waterways over Ontario’s public lands. The ministry is seeing increased interest in the use of waterways by various types of vessels (i.e., watercrafts equipped for overnight accommodation). In some cases, the ministry has heard concerns relating to vessels that are primarily designed for accommodation and not navigation.
We are seeking input from the public, Indigenous communities, and municipal associations, and various stakeholders including your organization by April 19, 2022.
Input from this process will inform consideration of potential future changes intended to address growing concerns around the impacts of this activity on Ontario waterways and those who use them.
Please note, no regulatory changes are being proposed at this time. Any regulatory or policy changes that may be considered in the future would be posted on the Environmental Registry for consultation purposes.”
I am bringing this bulletin [https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-5119] to your attention to encourage your association and your members to submit their concerns to the ministry before the 19th of April deadline. The Township’s response is currently being developed and will be available on our website once it is completed but no later than the end of the month.
At our last Council meeting held on the 10th of March, we approved a new waste management bylaw. You will be hearing more about this shortly and full details are included in the agenda for that meeting on our website. One thing I would like to point out is that you will now be able to get rid of small (up to 30 ft.) wooden and fibreglass boats by trailering them to our Site 9 Dump or the Healey Lake Transfer Station. There will be a very reasonable fee charged for disposal of boats. Our boat ramps at Woods Bay and Holiday Cove Marina are available to you for this purpose. Aluminium boats are metal waste.
We are currently working on our budget and tax rate for this year. The budget will be on the agenda for approval at our April meeting.
One piece of good news is that we are planning on removing all the unencapsulated foam from all township owned docks.
Also, the value of building permits for 2021 was more than double the previous ten year average and the pace of requests has continued into 2022. To ensure we continue to provide proper service levels, for both approvals and enforcement, we are adding staff in the Planning and Building Department.
Our office is currently closed to “walk-in” visitors but the community centre in Point au Baril is gradually being opened. We are closely monitoring and following the recommendations of the Board of Health and all our operations will return to normal as soon as the Board of Health is comfortable with the progress in the fight against Covid-19
Stay safe and stay healthy. We are looking forward to seeing you on The Bay soon and to wonderful summer of cottaging.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact our excellent Township staff or one of your Ward Four councillors: Alice Barton, Rick Zanussi or myself, David Ashley. If you make a submission to MDMNRF on floating cottages please send us a copy.