REPORT ON COUNCIL
July 29, 2002
Committee of the Whole 9:07 am – 6:45 pm
Evening Council Meeting 7:10 pm - 9:35 pm
All Members of Council present.
CONFIDENTIAL/CLOSED SESSION: 3:46 pm – 6:15 pm
STAFF APPOINTMENTS: Kim Post has been hired as Receptionist – Public Works, and S. James Wilson as Chief Building Official/Municipal Law Enforcement Officer.
STAFF LOSS: Herbert Proudley, Township Engineer and Manager of Public Works, resigned on July 13.
DEPUTATION RE BUILDING BRIDGES IN TINY: Doug Moles, President of the Nottawaga Beach Association, gave a deputation about building bridges in Tiny. He talked about the importance of all members of Tiny's community working together to solve the beach access problem, with the help of the Mediators. He appears to be hopeful that a solution will be found, though not the solution proposed in Council's "Community Beach Statements". That had failed, he said, because "once adopted by the owner of a privately-owned beach, [it] would almost certainly be viewed by a court as a dedication to public use, under the principles set out in the Gibbs and Grand Bend case, and, once made, would be irrevocable." He concluded with a symbolic gift of $200 from his Association to the Township for bridge building along the Tiny Trails. For an "abridged" version of his deputation (okayed by Doug), click here.
BEACH POSTINGS: Four public beaches which are tested by the Health Unit were posted simultanously recently – Woodland Beach Park, Siesta Drive Park, Edmore at Laurel Avenue, and the 8th Concession (which the Health Unit calls "Ossossane"). (Three of these are in the stretch of shore that last year's volunteer water sampling program identified as particularly needing investigation by an expert.) Not surprisingly, these postings caused great consternation.
Ted Devine and Jerry Capko of the Simcoe County District Health Unit in Barrie were invited to attend in order to answer various questions about sampling and posting. Ted Devine explained the limits of the powers of the Health Unit. It has the authority to advise that a beach be posted when the numbers of E. coli in a beach's samples rise above a level where there are impacts on the health of swimmers, but it does not investigate the sources of pollution. Devine noted that the Ministry of the Environment is also constrained by its current mandate: it will not search for sources of pollution, though it will deal with a known source. It would appear that it is up to the Township to deal with the sources of pollution along Tiny's shores.
In the course of the discussion, Deputy Mayor Salisbury, as usual, made several attempts to discredit the volunteer sampling program.
NEW OFFICIAL PLAN BY-LAWS: Nick McDonald of Meridian Planning Consultants reported that the text of the new By-Law has been ready for 8 months. What is lacking is the maps that the Township is supposed to prepare. Late September was suggested as the earliest the maps might be ready. Earl Evans, Clerk/CAO, mentioned that Staff has considered the proposed By-Law and has recommended 4,000 changes. Council will also recommend changes to the By-Law before Tiny's citizens are allowed to see it. [Nick McDonald prepared the new "environment first" Official Plan. The extent of the tinkering with his draft By-Law may be cause for concern. Those who care that the By-Law accurately reflect the spirit and letter of the New Official Plan must be vigilant when the time for public input comes.]
In his report, McDonald recurred to the serious problem posed by the provincial legislation saying that cottages and homes must be built at least 45 metres inland from the 100 year flood level on the Great Lakes. In all likelihood the 100 year flood level was set in 1986. Many cottages and permanent dwellings in Tiny are far closer to this flood level than 45 metres, and in some areas even the second string of cottages is too close by this standard. (McDonald raised this matter several months earlier with Council – but Council appears to have done nothing to intercede at County or at the Province concerning this unreasonable setback requirement.) There is a public meeting about revisions to the County's Official Plan – revisions that include this matter – in the County Council Chambers on Saturday September 14 at 10 am at Midhurst.
It would appear that all those on private roads would be advised to ascertain that the Planning Department of the Township has their Unassumed Roads agreement on file. McDonald says that the Township's records are incomplete. If the Township lacks the essential piece of paper, an H zoning (different from the H zoning connected with septic standards and paperwork) will be applied to the property.
CAWAJA SIGNS: At its July 8 meeting, Council had "safety concerns" that moved it to ask the Cawaja Beach Property Owners Association to remove the "Caution – Watch for Children" signs at points on Tiny Beaches Road North where inland cottagers cross the road on the way to the beach. At this meeting, according to the Clerk's Council Summary, "safety concerns" moved the Township to replace the "Caution – Watch for Children Signs" with signs that meet the criteria in the Ontario Traffic Manual.
DEPUTATION RE BOAT RAMP AT WOODLAND BEACH: Darick Battaglia, of the Woodland Beach Property Owners Association, spoke about the boat ramp at Woodland Beach. He presented a video taken on recent weekends, which shows cars, boats, swimmers, and waders in unsafe proximity at and near the ramp. The Woodland Association would like the current location made safe, or a new location found that is safe for all concerned. (There is money allocated in this year's budget for the removal of this boat ramp. If Woodland Beach residents want a different solution, they would be wise to make their views known, and soon.)
DEPUTATION RE BLACK BEARS: Jerry Shosser of the Ministry of Natural Resources, an advocate for bears, made a presentation in which he said that we humans are the problem, not the bears. In years when young bears are making their way for the first time and when natural foods like berries and nuts and grubs are scarce, then they are attracted by garbage (including that in wooden boxes), by birdfeeders (those with nuts or seeds and those with sweetened water), by BBQ grease, by the contents of composters, by the honey in bee hives, and by fallen apples in orchards. In areas where there have been bear sightings, we can help by keeping garbage inside until just before collection and by eliminating bird feeders and the like that attract hungry novice bears. It would also help if household garbage were not placed in bins in Tiny's parks.
PARKING STRATEGY UPDATE: Roughly 2000 parking permits have been sold to Township residents, and 100 to non-residents. It was decided to sell 50 more to non-residents.
Last year $9,500 was collected from parking fines; so far this year, $28,000 has been collected. When a resident at the 8th Concession asked that money from the sale of parking permits be used to maintain the Concession end there, it was decided that 2 students be hired to help with general maintenance at township access points along the shore. (There has been no sign of them at the 8th.)
Tiny's by-law says that parking signs must be no more than 60 metres apart. In an effort to reduce the number of signs, staff is to space signs out as much as possible within the rules, unless sight lines dictate that they be closer.
It was decided (4-1, Deputy Mayor Salisbury against) that the current Parking Strategy be applied at Concessions 12 and 13 (see Update for July 8).
FIRE DEPARTMENT RESPONDS TO MEDICAL EMERGENCIES: In his semi-annual report, Chief Sawkins noted that calls are up 10% over the same period last year and that medical calls are up 63%. Tiny has been on tiered response for medical calls for some time. The Fire Department's volunteers are all trained to supply respirator, oxygen, and fibulator therapy.
And it is a good thing that they are. Councillor Frank Hughes, who sits on the Huronia Hospital Board, said that the time lapse between cardiac arrest and the patient getting help makes all the difference in the severity of the problem. If the Fire Department gets to the patient faster than the ambulance, that is to the patient's benefit.
By Doug Moles
Mayor Klug, members of Council, fellow community members, thank you for letting me speak with you tonight.
At the last meeting of Council, Councillor Bob Buchkowsky made the statement that we have too many signs in Tiny Township. I agree with you, Bob, about the signs. There are too many of them.
But there is something else we have too many of in Tiny Township. And that is labels. Alliance. Federation. Inland. Shoreline. TRWT. Save the Beaches. Seasonal. Year-round. Day trippers.
The problem with labels is this -- that they can be dangerous things. When we put them on ourselves, we sometimes cover our eyes. And when we put them on each other, sometimes we hide the face of a neighbour.
What I'm going to ask you to do -- just for the next fifteen minutes is to peel off all the labels, just be friends and neighbours, sitting in a Town Hall, talking about our common interests, hopes and frustrations, and whether there are things we can do together to make this community even better than it already is.
Now -- for those of you who don't already know me -- I'm going to briefly tell you who I am, and to try to explain the depth of the ties I feel with this community, and this beautiful part of the world. [He did so by describing his family's long roots in and near Tiny Township, extending back to the late 1860's when his father's grandparents settled on the Fourth Concession, between Wyevale and Waverley, with family members cottaging in Tiny, in the Wymbolwood area, since the 1920's.]
One thing I want to be completely clear about is that I haven't told you all this about my family history in this part of the world to suggest in any way that you have to have had great-grandparents in Wyevale, or Lafontaine, or Perkinsfield, in the 1860's, to love and care about Tiny Township, to have valid insights into the problems we face here together today -- not 140 years ago -- or to be entitled to a voice in trying to come up with the solutions. If we live here -- whether we're from the oldest family in Lafontaine, or arrived yesterday to buy a home or start a new business -- if we are residents and taxpayers in Tiny Township -- and forget about the labels: seasonal, year-round, inland, shoreline -- then we are all entitled to an equal voice, and equal attention to our concerns -- because of what we all have in common -- regardless of our labels: our shared love for this beautiful part of the world, and our shared gratitude that that long-ago litter of puppies, of that long-ago dog, of that long-ago wife of that long-ago British colonial official, was not called Itsy, Bitsy and Fluffy, instead of Tiny, Tay and Flos.
[He then turned to himself and the kind of work he does as a corporate lawyer – "trying to find common interests, not points of contention."]
[He said that, as a community, we have a choice to make.] And fortunately, stating the choice itself is easy -- it's just the choosing that's so difficult.
Do we work together to try to solve our problems, or work against each other? Do we admit defeat and ask someone else to solve our problems for us -- in ways that, once they are out of our hands, we won't be able to control, and may not like -- or do we take a deep breath, grit our teeth, and try a little harder for a "Made in Tiny" / "Tiny First" solution?
There has been a lot of discussion lately about the beach access mediation process in Tiny, and about the provincially-appointed Mediators, Mr. Paul Torrie and Mr. James McKenzie [with whom Nottawaga has been meeting for over a year, including a meeting with them and Council].
We have been trying to arrange another meeting with the Mediators and Council ever since then, which I hope will happen soon.
We went into the mediation process because it seemed like the right thing to do for reasonable people in a civilized society. Not because we had any great expectations of success. Before meeting Mr. Torrie and Mr. McKenzie, we expected them to have only one agenda -- to use any means at their disposal to attempt to persuade us to accept a community beach statement, as proposed by Council -- and no other options to offer or consider.
And that was a major problem. Because, however, well-intentioned Council's community beach statements proposal might be, and however much we might agree with much of the philosophy and objectives behind it, we could not see how we -- or any other owner of a privately-owned beach in Tiny, could ever possibly agree to it. The fundamental problem, as concisely and articulately stated by Councillor Frank Hughes at the July 8 Committee of the Whole meeting, is that -- in law -- a community beach statement, once adopted by the owner of a privately-owned beach, would almost certainly be viewed by a court as a dedication to public use, under the principles set out in the Gibbs and Grand Bend case, and, once made, would be irrevocable. To use a metaphor, what was well-intended as a bridge -- a means of bridging over the differences between opposing positions -- on legal analysis, looked too much -- and very regrettably -- like a lobster pot: tempting to enter, but, once inside, no getting back out again. Ever.
Unfortunately, I have to say that I believe that legal analysis of the main obstacle to the community beach statements approach -- that it would constitute an irrevocable dedication to public use of any beach entering into such a statement -- remains as valid now as it was when our Association first expressed that concern to the Mediators, about a year ago; and to the members of Council, when we last met with them.
What I will admit, however, is that we were wrong about something else. What we were wrong about was our pessimistic going-in expectations about the mediation process and the mediators themselves, Mr. Torrie and Mr. McKenzie. In our dealings with them they have shown themselves to be impartial, pro-active, and -- quite frankly -- far more creative than we could have anticipated. Not to mention, incredibly patient. They have earned our respect the hard way -- by deserving it.
I, for one, look forward with great anticipation to their next interim report. And the one after that. And, quite possibly, the one after that.
I told you earlier on how my great-grandfather, Peter, and great-grandmother, Frances Victoria, homesteaded in Tiny in the 1860's. During winters in the 1870's, one of the things great-grandfather Peter did to make ends meet was to take his team of draught horses out to work on the building of the new railway line. His neighbours did the same thing, with their teams. Neighbours working together, building bridges.
I don't have my great-grandfather's skills in working with his hands. I do have some other skills, though -- or at least some energy and some good intentions. If I can donate that to working with my neighbours -- and by that, I mean all of you sitting here in this room -- whatever the labels we're all going to stick back on again in a few minutes -- to build bridges of another kind -- to keep working with the Mediators -- to keep working with Council -- to work with anyone else willing to work together with good intentions towards the same goals of neighbourliness, courtesy, and mutual consideration -- that's what I intend to do. And, I hope that is something my great-grandfather and great-grandmother would have approved of.
[He then commended Council, as a group and as individuals, for the time they give to the issues and the problems which challenge this Township, including beach access.]
I don't doubt for a moment that the members of Council have both the creativity and the goodwill -- working with Mr. Torrie and Mr. McKenzie -- to come up with some way around the Gibbs and Grand Bend problem of the irrevocability of a dedication to public use.
If George Lawrence had been here tonight -- I gather he's out of town -- I would have liked to say one more thing, to him.
I would have liked to compliment George on the last issue of Tiny Ties. I enjoyed the historical pieces, but I thought that the articles on current community issues had some good things to say, too.
I particularly liked the piece on the front page about the campaign to re-build the bridges of Tiny. I think it's a good campaign, and a great metaphor, that we could all use to describe what we need to roll up our sleeves to try and do together now. Neighbours, building bridges. Just like back in the 1870's.
I'm going to put back on my "President of The Nottawaga Beach Association" hat again for a moment, because I have something here. A cheque, from our Association, for $200, towards the bridge re-building campaign.
Mayor Klug -- Bob -- with your permission, I would like to deliver this cheque to you tonight -- as a symbol of neighbours working with neighbours and with their elected representatives.