Changes for waterfront additions

By Chad Ingram

Published Aug. 23 2018

Members of Algonquin Highlands council passed amendments to the township’s official plan during an Aug. 16 meeting.

Official plans are municipalities’ blueprints when it comes to guiding planning and development and are reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis as per provincial requirements. Algonquin Highlands’ last official plan update was completed in 2011.

One of the changes within waterfront areas is that a reduction in the required setback from the shoreline may be permitted for an addition to an existing building.

This was an amendment that raised the brow of Mayor Carol Moffatt.

“I have some concerns around that” Moffatt said. “Just in terms of other work that we’ve been doing certainly with the county in terms of shoreline preservation and naturalization in these sensitive habitats but also with flooding… On one hand we are putting policy in place for climate change we’re doing some work at the county about what those mitigation strategies might look like.”

“Should we be allowing the possible permission of extension forward given those circumstances?” Moffatt asked.

“The zoning bylaw would address and put some parameters on what those additions could be” said the township’s planning consultant Greg Corbett. The township’s zoning bylaw will also be updated.

Corbett said municipalities put various restrictions on such provisions.

“One of the things we often look at is you can’t get any closer” he said. “You might restrict it based on the floor area let’s say a 20 per cent increase 15 where you can do a specific number.”

“Some of them [municipalities] do it on a sliding scale” Corbett continued explaining that the township may choose to permit larger additions the further away from the shoreline they are.

In terms of limiting development based on areas prone to flooding Corbett said that to do this effectively the township would need to have floodplain mapping performed something that has not been completed in Algonquin Highlands.

“Since you don’t have those elevations it’s difficult to do” he said.

“There are so many changes coming with flooding and climate change and our decision to protect the lakes that we need whatever tools we can to help the committee of adjustment make their decisions and if the zoning bylaw’s part of that then I look forward to those discussions” said Algonquin Highlands Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen.

Another change for waterfront properties is that the permitted shoreline activity area be reduced from 30 to 25 per cent coverage up to a maximum of 15 metres “activity” being the presence of assets such as docks decks boating systems etc.

“Are current activity areas that exist today grandfathered?” asked Councillor Brian Lynch.

“Yes they would be” Corbett said adding the new provisions would apply only to new development.

The waterfront designation was revised to include the shoreline areas of all waterbodies except ones located in designated settlement areas and residential plans of condominiums or subdivisions will not be permitted within waterfront areas.