Council of the Township of North Kawartha has a difficult task, they must create a bylaw for 'In Water Structures' (docks and boathouses). There is no choice, it's a result of a decision from the Supreme Court of Ontario.
Council has the challenge of considering the concerns of the 'tree hugger', the neighbour who doesn't see a need for 'YOU' to have anything bigger than what your cottage had when it was built in 1965 - was big enough then so should be now, then there's the guy who lives the life of 'police thy neighbour', then there's your average 'joe cottager' -- the guy who dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars on paradise. He wants to relax, he wants family time, he wants adventure - he wants to enjoy his cottage/dock/waterfront to its fullest, have a dock big enough to secure his tinny, his tow boat, his PWC, all well distanced from where his younger kids swim and enough decking to allow his daughters to stretch out to enjoy the sun. While back in Joe's parent's day, that smaller dock would have been just fine but they just had a tinny -- this is 2016 -- the cottage and dock need to adapt!
Area Dockbuilders know what most cottagers want and need. Area Dockbuilders know Joe Cottager quite well. For months dockbuilders tried to convey many points to Council; the size of dock that cottagers want, what they need that dock to do and the challenges that must be overcome in design. They need it to accommodate the number of boats they own, they need it to allow for a safe swim space, some need it to provide social sitting space if their shoreline does not, others are in a situation where there is a significant drop of the water level, thereby requiring a wider ramp and longer to ensure the steepness is safe.
Area Dockbuilders concerns were acknowledged but the size that the Town Planner had written into the first two Bylaw drafts were still not reflective of the needs of many cottagers. Area Dockbuilders felt that cottagers were not aware this was even happening and felt we had to tell cottagers or they may return to a surprise restriction. Had the size in the bylaw been a size that would not restrict most dock orders, it would not have been so concerning, but the dock size in the drafts was substantially too small. Area Dockbuilders informed our clients via email & Facebook. As a result, MANY emails were sent to the Town to express disappointed with the size but also to express concern that they were not advised directly of such a significant issue. Council now had a new understanding of cottager concerns as well as recognition of issues not previously considered and has delayed a decision to allow for a public meeting after the May long weekend so that cottagers could attend.
This public meeting is scheduled for Saturday May 28, 2016 from 10am-12pm at the Community Centre in Apsley, 340 McFadden Road. See the Township of North Kawartha website for more information. On the main page, click on 'News' which will take you to a link about the issue.
If you are unable to attend, you can send your views to the Township via email to firstname.lastname@example.org