Spending a few hours in the NKCC air conditioned meeting room was a great escape from the humidity. There were a lot of unhappy people in the room wanting the ear of Council.
Representatives from jurisdictions outside of North Kawartha were in attendance as was the President of Boating Ontario. This issue is of significant concern for Boating Ontario as a smaller dock will accommodate fewer boats, which will have a huge impact on the entire boat industry such as boat sales, storage of boats, repair of boats and with a ripple affect to tourism.
The room was as full as it was for the last meeting at the Community Centre on this issue with almost every seat taken. Many there were from Anstruther. No, this issue does not affect Anstruther at this point because we are in the bubble of the Park. That said, many are concerned that they provide input because while there is an exemption for Park properties now, if a time should come that the exemption were to be removed, properties inside the bubble would then be 'stuck' with the bylaw - so being aware and providing input on this issue is important if your dock is important to you.
The meeting started with an overall review of the issue by the Town Planner for the benefit of those who had not followed the progress. Unfortunately, the Planner spoke to second draft of the bylaw which is the most recent but the version that was distributed at the meeting was the first draft. This caused confusion for many observers in trying to understand the differences from what was being said and what was in front of them. Town staff quickly set to work getting new copies printed for distribution during the meeting.
MANY of those attending spoke to Council and there was a common theme, they were not happy with the limitations of the draft, especially the ramp size, the fact that there is only 12' of 'free' ramp, anything further steals from the square footage of the dock. This is not realistic for all waterfronts in North Kawartha. There was a point made about distance required for safe water depth for boats being a fairer start point. There was concern for the red tape in the permit process, how it takes six weeks to get a permit from MNR. Dockbuilder service more than just North Kawartha and if their build and install queue grows during that six weeks, North Kawartha dock purchasers will be on the back burner for fall or next year installs. There was a concern about the max size of 200 sq ft for a canopy that protects a boat, this is unrealistic with the current dock sizes, this size canopy wouldn't fit. There were several comments about how Council's decision will impact employment and the economy in a negative way under the current draft. There were several who pointed out safety concerns for a limited 'free' ramp length as well as concerns for the width with respect to safety again. There was a concern for safety in that kids should be able to play in the water away from the boats but a limited dock size may have not other result. There were several objections to any reference to inflatables being considered a raft, they are deflatable and not permanent and are considered toys, a playground on water. Another individual from Eels advised that 1/2 his lake fell in North Kawartha and the other half in another jurisdiction where there was a much higher limitation for dock length, he proposed it should be aligned.
There was one lone observer who has a preference to small docks. He pointed out that because the size of his lake - Loon Call - is a significantly smaller lake than Anstruther or Chandos, he was very happy to have a small dock limitation.
One Anstruther cottager questioned where the initial figures came from for the size limitations and if so many people have voiced a need for a larger dock, why it was the Planner being so limiting. Out of everyone who spoke, only one from the very small Loon Call lake was in favor of a small dock --the majority overwhelmingly want the ability to build a larger dock. The key point being ability. People have up till now - had the ability to build a huge 1,000 sq ft dock or bigger. Do they? Very few. Docks are expensive so people only build the size of dock they need and can afford. That 20'x30' (plus ramp) we installed last week in another jurisdiction would not qualify in North Kawartha. The photo is below. This is a beautiful dock, not overpowering and has the appearance of a normal cottage dock, big enough to secure his boats, what's wrong with it, why would it not qualify?
Finally, there was one observer who identified himself as a retired lawyer and judge. He strongly encouraged the Township to get a second opinion on legal advice that would require permits for a dock.
If you have concerns about this issue, send them to the Town Clerk, Connie Parent, email@example.com
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