Deputation by Ross Pityk, IDA President, to Innisfil Council on May 17 2017 at Public Meeting re: Application for On-Water Boathouse at 3567 Crescent Harbour Road
How much do we, as residents, get to alter the lake to accommodate our wants (not necessarily our needs) or do we adjust our behavior and expectations to accommodate and respect the lake? In general, on the topic of on-water boathouses, the IDA requested opinions from our members and our position is that we are opposed to the construction of these structures. Our concerns were presented at a previous council meeting by our Vice-President Stuart Marwick.
In summary, there were concerns about the shoals that are often built to protect the boathouses…that they may affect water flow and circulation, reconfigure the shoreline and affect the enjoyment of the lake for others. A boathouse may affect fishing habitats and impede neighbouring views. Another perspective that should be considered is that the lake is a public domain or a public space that belongs to all of us. Perhaps individuals should not be able to build permanent shoals and structures on a space that they do not own. For example, if a property owner lived adjacent to a conservation area, would they be allowed to build a 60 ft. by 10 ft. boardwalk into the conservation area and then build a building on the boardwalk to store snowmobiles and ATVs. I have been assured that this would not be allowed.
We understand that some of the decisions to permit shoal and pier construction are made collectively by several levels of government and various bodies although their efforts are not well-coordinated to achieve the best results. But the Town is one piece of the decision making process. Regarding the proposed on-water boathouse at 3567 Crescent Harbour Road, we maintain our position that on-water boathouses should not be built on Lake Simcoe.
The proponent is asking for several substantial concessions to exceed width, length and projection into the lake as well as reduced set back from the neighbouring property. It’s our understanding that these changes are being requested to accommodate a 38 ft. 6 in. boat and for the convenience of being able to raise the boat up into a boathouse for winter storage. Although it may be more convenient to simply raise boats up into an on-water boathouse, this is not a necessity. The boats can easily be stored on land. The proponent already has three on-shore boathouses that can be used for storage. This property also has a long permanent dock on the north side of the property. To create the new dock, a large rock shoal has been built as part of infrastructure for the boat slips and potential boathouse. My understanding is that there is consideration for further extending the rock shoal in the future.
You already have zoning by-laws that are in place, and, if you do allow on-water boathouses (we hope you don’t) in the forthcoming “Our Shores” Plan, you already have an idea of what the new restrictions and parameters will be. Stick to the guidelines and do not allow the exemptions. To allow the exemptions may be setting a precedent for other future mega-boathouses. Again, how much do we alter the lake to accommodate our wants (not our needs) instead of adjusting our expectations to accommodate the lake?