REPORT ON COUNCIL
September 13, 2004
Committee of the Whole Meeting: 9:02 a.m. - 6:59 p.m.
Regular Evening Meeting: 7:05 p.m. - 7:51 p.m.
All Members of Council present.
CONFIDENTIAL / CLOSED SESSION: 3:32 p.m. - 6:59 p.m.
GARBAGE: A letter from the County of Simcoe announced that households would be limited to two bags of garbage per week beginning January 1, 2005. One additional bag could be put out if it had tag and such tags could be purchased for $2. The maximum weight per bag was set at 20 kgs. As Council had approved a 3-bag weekly average with householders able to use a year's allotment of tags as needed, this letter came as a surprise. The matter is to be discussed again at the next meeting of Council.
FIRE DEPARTMENT AND SWIMMING POOLS: It was decided that the Fire Department would not fill swimming pools in future. There was no support for the notion that such activity was part of the Fire Department's training program. Ray Miller argued that this activity deprived private haulers of work and that it was inappropriate to draw water from one of Tiny's water systems for a swimming pool.
AGENDA AVAILABILITY: In June, in Question Time, Judith Grant, President of FoTTSA, asked that more long agendas (which include reports) be made available for the use of those who attend Committee of the Whole and the Regular Meeting of Council, and also that long agendas be given to the two community newspapers in the Township - The Tiny Cottager and Tiny Ties - just as they are to the Free Press and The Mirror. As a result, more agendas were printed for general use during Council meeting days and staff told representatives of the two community papers to take one each at the end of the day. Then agendas began to disappear before the evening. At this meeting, Council decided that five agendas would be printed - 4 for the various newspapers and 1 for use of the audience, this last later to become a "library" copy available for consultation in the Township Office and to be signed out over night.
This solution does not make enough copies available for use of the audience.
ORAL SUBMISSIONS TO COUNCIL: 1) Bob Buchkowsky, a former Councillor, raised a several concerns about the Township budget, a number of which would have been allayed had he attended Council's budget sessions. He came prepared to make a presentation concerning Site 41 instead of his scheduled topic, but this was not allowed, as it was clearly inconsistent with procedural guidelines for oral submissions.
2) George Lawrence, while emphasizing that he and TRWT support the septic re-inspection program whole heartedly, spoke about the need for the inspecting student to carry ID, for qualified C.C. Tatham staff to confirm the existence of problems identified by the student, and for follow-up letters to have a less threatening tone. Owners had, he thought, been asked to disturb their septic beds unnecessarily, had panicked, and had work done by ill-qualified contractors. Bill Goodale of C.C. Tatham was concerned that milder letters might result in even less response (apparently only half of those contacted, responded). Nonetheless, the tone of the letters has been softened.
[Note: If you need to have remedial work done on your system, make sure that the contractor you choose is licensed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. To find out if the contractor is licensed, call 416-585-6666, then press 1, then press 1 again (Housing Development and Buildings Branch).
3) In a presentation read by his wife, Hans Merzbacher, on behalf of the Sunset Bay Community Association, asked Council to reconsider the sale of a wetland property in the Georgian Bay Estates area. The Association would like the land to be held by Awenda Park or by the Township.
4) Judith Grant, speaking on behalf of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations, asked for additional signage at large and small shoreline parks and road allowances, for the marking of the limits of municipal ownership on the beach, for parking arrangements to reflect principles in the Official Plan, for the preparation of a master plan for another of the five major shore parks, and for consideration of several other matters. For the complete deputation, click HERE.
5) Former Deputy Mayor Patricia O'Driscoll was given special leave to speak about matters related to the meeting with David Lambden on Saturday September 18. She said that the maps showing municipal ownership in green (these are available in the Township offices) were largely unchanged since 1999, that at least two areas were erroneously shown in green; that only four plans extend to the water's edge and many stop at the high water mark (but see the report of the meeting with David Lambden in The Tiny Cottager, Issue No. 24); that concession ends must be closed by bylaw, and that mapping needs to be better.
ORAL SUBMISSION CONCERNING SHORELINE ISSUES
September 13, 2004
Presented by Judith Grant
On behalf of The Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations
At present, visitors to many shore parks and road allowances have no idea at what point they leave Township property. They blithely take over privately owned picnic benches and cabanas and beach chairs. They leave garbage behind for Tiny's shore residents to clean up. They change on the beach and urinate in the bushes or the lake. If something unfortunate happened, the property owner, not the Township, would be vulnerable to a suit. Even on municipal property, our by-law officers have trouble making charges stick because rules are not spelled out.
IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH THIS, WE HAVE THREE SUGGESTIONS TO MAKE.
FIRST AND FOREMOST WE SUGGEST THAT SIGNS BE PLACED at each of the large and small parks and road allowances along the shores of Tiny Township. Examples of such signs already exist at two road allowances. Two signs are needed at each location.
a) The first sign would establish the extent of the Township's park or road allowance by presenting a schematic map. At one Concession that has such a sign, the sign shows the 66-foot Township road allowance in green, bounded by the water and by the private beaches on either side. Originally the names of both private beaches were written on this sign. But one beach association asked to have its beach name removed. We suggest that such signs simply designate, in green, the extent of township owned land, leaving the privately owned adjacent areas unlabelled. The legend (in English and French) would read: Township-owned beach area marked in green.
Larger parks need larger signs.
b) The other sign would indicate the activities that are or are not permitted. It should have a heading like Rules or Please. The headings on existing examples of this type of sign -- Welcome to the Township of Tiny. Please enjoy our municipal beaches -- are far too sweeping in their implications. Also, if symbols are used, their meaning must be clear. A couple of those on current signs are anything but obvious in their implication. If the symbols available are unclear, it would be better to present the rules in words - Keep dogs on leashes, "Stoop and scoop", No camping and so on.
SECONDLY, THERE NEEDS TO BE ACTION ON PARK/ROAD ALLOWANCE BOUNDARY DEFINITION ON THE BEACH ITSELF. But this is not a subject on which one solution will work everywhere. The views of our associations run a long gamut. Some feel that the natural beauty of the continuous beach is diminished by placing signs or posts or boulders at municipal property boundaries. Some feel that adequate boundary markers are already in place. Others want a clear demarcation established, still others want effective barriers to ATV's. The danger is that if the Township does not engage in dialogue and help to work out appropriate solutions, private landowners will take matters into their own hands. A possible approach would be to encourage associations and neighbourhood groups adjacent to parks or concession ends to work out local solutions, then approach the Township and together implement a workable outcome. The Federation is willing to help get such dialogues going, especially if Council were to make its own principles clear and instruct staff to try to find solutions and not dismiss such approaches out of hand.
THIRD, PARKING ARRANGEMENTS SHOULD REFLECT THE PRINCIPLES LAID OUT IN THE OFFICIAL PLAN.
The Official Plan views the shore of Georgian Bay as being environmentally sensitive and feels it important that much of the shoreline be used on a low intensity basis. [See, for example, Official Plan Principles, Environment - First, Items 8, 9, 10 and 29; Environmental Protection Two, B2.3.5; and also B6.6 Shoreline Parking Management c), d), and e)]
According to the Official Plan, Small Community Parks and Road Allowances in the Shoreline Area are intended to be used on a low intensity basis by all Township residents or designated for use by residents in the immediate area. [See B.3.4.6; see also B6.6 b)] It does not envision use of these smaller areas by the general public. It suggests in B6.6 that parking adjacent to each Township-owned facility be carefully controlled and managed in accordance with the ability of the land to sustain public use."
In sum, Small Community Parks and Road Allowances are to be used on a low intensity basis by Township residents, and the amount of parking available is to be in relation to the amount of land in Township ownership. The 1999 Parking Strategy put this into effect by designating the number of permit parking spaces to be available at each small park and road allowance, a number arrived at by considering walk-on use, the number of square feet available, the usual number of people per car, and so on. It envisioned no parking beyond the permit parking zone. It envisioned no parking at walkways all of which are for local use. This Strategy was only partially implemented: many open spaces remained which those without parking permits use - i.e. visitors from beyond Tiny's borders who do not pay taxes but who do cost the Township money in many ways. There have been complaints about large numbers of cars parking on Concession 4 West near Pine Forest Drive, on Trew Avenue, on Concession 5 West, on Concession 6 and Old Trail, on Concession 8 West, and on Pennorth Drive, for example.
We ask that ONLY Permit Parking be available at all Small Community Parks and Road Allowances, and that open spaces in proximity to such parks and road allowances become No Parking areas back to the Nipissing Ridge. Council may wish to review the amount of permit parking space recommended in the Parking Strategy at each location; but it should consider what is available in relation to the amount of usable beach that is actually in Township ownership, as well as the density of local habitation producing neighbourhood walk-in use. At the moment the handling of parking in areas near small parks and road allowances violates the guiding principles in the Official Plan.
THE FIVE MAJOR SHORE PARKS
a) MASTER PLANS: The Official Plan says that Master Plans are to be prepared for each of the major shore parks in order to ensure that they are effectively planned to both accommodate public use and minimize the impacts of that public use on the environment and adjacent residential areas. Such Master Plans have been prepared for the parks at Balm and Jackson Point, but not for those at Woodland Beach, Trew Avenue, and Lafontaine Beach. Bearing in mind the cost of the exercise, we urge that Council have a Master Plan prepared for at least one of the remaining three parks, with input from the surrounding neighbourhood (as there was with preparation of the first two Master Plans). [See B3.4.5]
b) PARKING: Again and again, the Official Plan stresses that park use should be managed in such a way as to minimize the impact of such use on the fragile shoreline environment. Thought needs to be put into how much use is environmentally responsible at our major parks and whether enough of the available parking spaces are reserved for permit holders. Then limits on the amount of available open parking should be imposed back to the Nipissing Ridge.
There are costs associated with the management of our large parks. The Township should be charging outsiders enough to cover those costs, possibly through parking meters. Our neighbours do this - there are no free days at the beach at Allenwood or at Wasaga.
The Township sells 150 parking permits to non-residents of Tiny at a cost of $30. We recommend that these outsider permits be coloured so that Township by-law officers can ascertain just where they are being used, as a basis for future decisions. There is, for example, concern that an undue number of the parking spaces for boats and trailers at Jackson Park and the nearby overflow parking lot are being taken up by non-Tiny permit holders. We hear that nearby jurisdictions charge $100 for a season's boat launch privileges.
There should be signs at entry points into the Township about the limited availability of parking along the shore and the stiffness of the fines for parking violations.
RECENTLY PURCHASED OR ACQUIRED BEACHES
The Official Plan states that when as part of the inventory process [undertaken by David Lambden], additional waterfront land is deemed to be owned by the Township Council shall carefully consider how the use of these lands should be managed to minimize the impact of that use, and the associated parking, on the environment and adjacent residential areas. On this basis, it is a policy of this Plan that Council shall consult with affected residents and other stakeholders to determine how these lands should be planned and used.
It is our view that such consultation should also happen when a beach is purchased.
Such follow up consultation is needed at Wahnekewening, at Trew Avenue, and at Woodland Beach.
One Final Note: The Farlain Lake Association asked that I tell you that it is satisfied with signs and parking arrangements in its area.