To the Editor,
As waterfront property owners and business owners we have reviewed the proposed shoreline protection bylaw as well as materials prepared by the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners Associations (CHA), the Haliburton County Home Builders Association (HCHBA) and other stakeholders. All are in agreement that the overall well-being of our waterways is of utmost importance and critical to the health and economic development of Haliburton County. However, what is being overlooked and what everyone needs to know is the fact that the current content of the proposed shoreline protection bylaw will not save the lakes and will most likely have negative impacts on jobs and our local economy.
According to the research provided by CHA, the majority of current damage and/or future risk of damage to our waterways (risk of blue/green algal blooms, etc.) is caused by phosphates. Phosphates include septic leachate and the use of fertilizers and pesticides, all of which are not addressed by this bylaw. Poor septic systems, the application of fertilizers/pesticides, road salt, leached vehicle fuels/liquids, pet and livestock waste, and shoreline erosion caused by the fluctuating water levels and flooding, which are controlled by the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW) are the worst offenders. None of these issues are controlled by this bylaw!
Haliburton County already has a comprehensive tree bylaw in place that manages the shoreline trees and stops the lakefront clearcutting. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) manages work along the shoreline. Activities or matters undertaken by the county, the municipalities (public parks and roads), Hydro One and other government agencies are all exempt from the proposed bylaw. All of which contribute most of the damage!
CHA’s short film promotes protecting the “ribbon of life,” which is defined as the upland 10-foot strip of shoreline back from the high water mark, as this area benefits/protects water quality, wildlife habitat and erosion. The proposed bylaw seeks to control 30 metres (100 feet), an extra 90 feet from the high water mark. It is harsh, unnecessary, and extreme overkill! Why does the county not start with a bylaw promoting/protecting/enforcing the protection of the “ribbon of life” area? It seems that this would be much more feasible, less costly and would meet the environmental goals of Haliburton County. Property owners and businesses will be more likely to comply, and local tradespeople can be educators and promoters all while still being able to work and provide valuable employment opportunities. As well, still allowing property owners to continue to use and enjoy their very expensive waterfront properties, which in turn helps make our community go round.
If the bylaw solved the problem, these costs might be acceptable, but it does not! It is bad policy. What it does do, is add another level of government/red tape. The adoption of this bylaw will cost us all money, not just individuals doing projects, not just the business, it will cost all of us. It will negatively impact many local businesses that employ good people like you. The same people that support our community, events and programs. It reaches far beyond just hurting our pocketbooks; the ripple effect is huge! The management and enforcement of this is not a small undertaking for the county and municipalities. The costs will be forwarded on to us: the taxpayers, the community members.
We encourage all residents to do your research, stay informed and share your concerns with others, including all Haliburton County council members.
Michele Bromley and John Fedeski
Boshkung Lake Tree Service
To the Editor,