Three of four lower tier municipalities have delegated authority to the county to enforce the proposed Shoreline Preservation Bylaw.
Haliburton County council discussed during its regular meeting Dec. 14 whether proceed with the bylaw without Dysart’s participation or to continue with changes until the lone holdout municipality buys into it.
Steve Stone, the county’s director of planning, said there’s a mechanism or process in place should the one municipality continue to hold out.
But it doesn’t sound very simple.
“Given the way the bylaw is structured right now, it would require it to be repealed and a new bylaw crafted that actually refers to the three participating municipalities,” Stone said.
Dysart et al is the lone township yet to sign onto the legislation.
The new legislation would include a map that shows the areas under its jurisdiction.
“Most likely it would require staff to go back to those three municipalities because county council would have to enact a new bylaw with specific reference to the three municipalities,” he said.
As with the current shoreline bylaw, county staff would need to introduce the three town councils to a revised draft and those councils would each need to agree on their own bylaws that gives authority over shorelines to the county.
Councillor Cecil Ryall, Highland East’s deputy mayor, said any issues he has with the Shoreline Preservation Bylaw is mainly focused on a need for clarity regarding property owner compliance, enforcement, and permits.
“I’m looking forward to what you’re going to be able to present to us between today and April 1,” Ryall said.
Councillor Bob Carter, the mayor of Minden Hills, said every major lake and water system in Dysart flows through Minden after it leaves Dysart.
He said he isn’t sure what the value of the bylaw is if Dysart isn’t going to acquiesce.
“We either stand united or fall divided,” Carter said. “I respect individual rights, but our country was founded on the common good.”
Carter said Haliburton County’s environment is their livelihood, the reason they have an economy. As such, it’s paramount they be stewards of the lakes and rivers.
“We have to find a way to come together on this issue,” Carter said.
Danielsen said, even if there’s a holdout to accepting the new bylaw, having three municipalities on board is a positive stride in the right direction.
Coun. Jennifer Dailloux, Algonquin Highlands’ deputy mayor, said council should create a structure that would work for three of the four municipalities. As much data as possible would be collected over two years.
“To see whether after a year or two fears could be allayed or new fears arise,” Dailloux said.
Coun. Murray Fearrey, the mayor of Dysart, said the shoreline bylaw is complaint-driven, the same as a tree cutting bylaw that wasn’t adequately enforced.
“Clearly, my council is not going to delegate authority until they’re satisfied (the shoreline bylaw) is a bylaw or a tool that’s useful,” Fearrey said.
Coun. Lisa Schell, the deputy mayor in Minden Hills, said bylaws are not written in stone. And she’s very much in favour of moving forward, regardless of who is on board.
“Bylaws can be repealed, bylaws can be changed,” she said. “If it’s not working, then we take something out.”
Coun. Walt McKechnie, deputy mayor of Dysart, said he represents many people who are not in favour of the bylaw as it is.
“They feel that there’s enough policies and rules in place,” he said. “We just got to enforce them, and that’s the message that I’ve been given to bring here today.”
Carter suggested council have another meeting to try to get everybody onboard with the bylaw.
Dailloux said there’s a lot of misinformation about the legislation that’s circulating in the county.
“Perhaps a further conversation … could help us all to clarify (the truth),” she said. “I think that could serve us all.”