By Chad Ingram
Algonquin Highlands councillors continued conversations regarding the creation of policy governing private docks on public road allowances within the township during an online meeting June 17.
The regulations would apply to docks, staircases and other privately owned infrastructure located on township-owned road allowances across the road from residences. Such situations exist along North Shore Road, Halls Lake Road, and numerous other roadways within the municipality.
With concerns around liability and shoreline health, council appears headed toward the creation of licence of occupation system, whereby residents would apply and pay for a permit to have a dock, staircase or pump house located on a road allowance. The draft bylaw reviewed by council last week also showed that residents would be required to make a $2,500 deposit toward any legal fees associated with the processing of the licence of agreement, and stipulated that docks should not be located within three metres, or 10 feet, of the travelled portion of the road. It also indicated that residents would be required to provide annual proof of $2,000,000 worth of liability insurance.
On a going-forward basis, it stipulated that only docks, stairways and pump houses would be permitted on township-owned road allowances.
“That means you can’t have a deck?” asked Mayor Carol Moffatt.
“That is correct,” said planner Sean O’Callaghan.
“That’s not going to go over well,” Moffatt said.
The mayor has reiterated that the process is not about making residents remove existing structures, but about the township having more control over new builds. While there was some appetite from councillors for licences of occupation to be required of existing structures, it was O’Callaghan’s recommendation that it only be applied from the creation of the policy onward. O’Callaghan suggested that applying the licences retroactively would basically require the township to have a new building full of planning staff.
While the selling of road allowances to residents had been an option in an earlier staff report, Moffatt said it was important for the township to retain ownership of road allowances for instances where maintenance work needs to be performed.
During last week’s meeting, she noted it would likely still be some time before council arrived at a final version of the policy.
“This is not happening today, next week, or probably even in the next year or so,” she said.
A further revised draft policy will come back to council.