To the Editor,
At Haliburton County Council’s April 27 meeting, six of eight councillors indicated they’d prefer final consideration of the contentious shoreline preservation bylaw be deferred to the incoming post-election council (so that it could be discussed during the election).
However, there are indications that some councillors may try – yet again – to pass the bylaw at council’s Aug. 10 Special Meeting.
We urge this lame duck council (only half of whom are running again this October) to suspend significant policy decisions for the balance of their term and follow the April 27 council consensus that the shoreline issue be discussed in the upcoming municipal elections, and voted on by the next council.
Groups such as the Haliburton Waterfront Owners (www.haliburtonwaterfrontowners.ca), which represents over 500 waterfront property owners in the county have made numerous thoughtful submissions to council on this issue.
We continue to stress that the bylaw is ineffective. It will do nothing to restore the shoreline on the one-third of Haliburton lakes that have been significantly deforested – often decades ago.
It does not address the single biggest risk to our water quality – poorly functioning septic systems. If county councillors were serious about improving water quality, they would implement rigorous septic inspection programs, such as the one Dysart introduced several years ago.
The bylaw also fails to address fertilizer use near the shoreline, which is another major risk to water quality.
Council can easily set additional shoreline limits on new lots. But rather than abrogating existing property rights without compensation, why not follow common practice and grandfather current legislation on existing properties.
If council is indeed voting on the bylaw as drafted, we hope that they will have the courage to democratically vote it down and allow the next council to include measures that would actually enhance our water quality.
Haliburton Waterfront Owners