Several IDA members attended the May 24 council meeting where a final decision was made on the “Our Shore” Official Plan Amendment (OPA) establishing a Community Planning Permit System for new developments on the lake. Ross Pityk, IDA President, and other residents spoke at the Open Forum and made formal delegations to council.
Ross told council that IDA’s position was “no to on-water boathouses.” He encouraged council to make even stricter guidelines regarding boathouse size and yard set-backs from neighbours. He stated he was concerned that the ability to get permission to increase boathouses by 25% and 50% was very generous and needed to be tightened. Other speakers addressed environmental concerns, public domain of the lake, safety issues, and impacts on neighbouring properties.
Council and staff then spent a lengthy 45 minutes discussing the pros and cons of voting to approve the OPA. At one point, Counc. Richard Simpson said he could not support on-water boathouses or permanent docks on Lake Simcoe. He also wanted a motion made to prevent on-water structures however no motion was tabled. Council then carried on another long back and forth discussion with town planners on the challenges council would face if they did not allow these structures. Richard Simpson, however, kept pushing the planning team to come up with an amendment that would make it tougher to build both on-water boathouses and permanent docks.
Town planners convinced council that there could be a “fix’ in the form of a compromise in the wording of the document. The solution was that on-water, on-land boathouses and permanent docks would not be “permitted” in the OPA. Council would look at each case with the staff providing input and could be allowed on a “discretionary” case-by-case basis. All councillors voted in favour of this motion except Carolyn Payne, who stuck to her convictions calling the decision a compromise solution.
In the final version of the document, seasonal docks will not require a permit unless a neighbour cannot access his property or there was a negative environmental impact.
Town planner Michelle Banfield feels that most applicants will adhere to the standards and variances will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances. She stated that “the policy that gives the greatest protection to Lake Simcoe will prevail.”
If you would like to read the final “Our Shores” report, please follow the link below: