August 12, 2002
Committee of the Whole 9:05 am - 4:45 pm
Evening Session 7:03 pm – 8:37 pm
All members of Council present
CONFIDENTIAL/CLOSED SESSION: 3:46 pm – 4:42 pm
DEPUTATION ON FLOOD HAZARD SETBACK REQUIREMENTS: Former Deputy Mayor Patricia O'Driscoll presented a deputation expressing concern over a proposed County of Simcoe Official Plan amendment relating to flood hazard setback requirements in areas with "dynamic beaches" -- pointing out the extent to which this might affect future building and development in shoreline areas of Tiny Township. (Click here for the deputation.)
Council decided to strike an ad hoc committee (comprised of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, CAO/Clerk and Township Surveyor David Lambden, with power to add) to prepare a written response to the County.
WYEVALE FIRE HALL – A STEP BACK: It would appear that the decision to ask for design-build proposal for a new Wyevale Fire Hall was taken too soon. A site had not been selected – and still has not been selected – and the different possible sites would result in different designs. It was decided to that the contractors who submitted proposals be notified and that the "Request For Proposal # FD-02/01 Construct Fire Station (Station 2 – Wyevale)" be cancelled. Staff is to prepare a report about site selection for the fire hall.
REVENUE FROM THE SALE OF PARKING PERMITS AND FINES: John Theriault, Manager of Administrative Services/Treasurer, reported that as of August 12, $14,030 had been collected from parking permits and $39,850 from parking fines. He projected final revenues from permits and fines for the summer at $87,880. Council approved the hiring of two students to do clean Township owned beach once a week, and gave the Treasurer authority to approve up to $30,000 for the maintenance of Township-owned beaches.
Monday, August 12, 2002 - 10:00 am.
By Pat O’Driscoll
Mr. Mayor and members of Council
Thank you for allowing me to make this deputation early in your meeting. Your accommodation of my schedule is appreciated. I think you all know Dr. Jack Ellis who is with me today.
As you know, the County of Simcoe Council is in the process of considering “Proposed Amendment No. 1 to the Official Plan of The County of Simcoe.” It states:
1.3 “The purpose of this Amendment is to provide a policy structure for the development of land in shoreline areas, or those generally within 150 to 500 metres of the shores of major lakes in and abutting Simcoe County as well as the Severn River.
On June 12, 2002, the Corporate Services Committee of County Council proposed that the Amendment go forward and that there be a Public Meeting on Saturday, August 10, 2002 in the Midland Council Chamber at 10:00 a.m. and a another public meeting September 14, 2002.
The August 10, 2002 meeting was held. Several members of County Council were in attendance. The meeting was chaired by County Councillor George McDonald. Councillor Hughes was present. Dr. Jack Ellis and I attended.
Article 3.10.17 of the proposed Amendment No. 1 to the County Official Plan states:
Local Official Plans shall contain policies which require that appropriate flood elevations and appropriate setbacks from the flood hazard limits be included in local zoning by-laws , …
Where does all this come from?
Section 3 of the Provincial Planning Act requires that, in exercizing any authority that affects planning matters, planning authorities “shall have regard to” policy statements issued under the Planning Act. Pursuant to Section 3 of the Planning Act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council approved Provincial Policy Statements No. 764-96 (May 22, 1996) and No. 102-97 (February 1, 1997.)
Simplifying and paraphrasing the Provincial Policy Statement, Article 3.1 states that if land borders the Great Lakes, the closest development may take place is landward from a point that marks the 100 year flood level plus 15 metres plus another 30 metres to allow for “wave uprush and dynamic beach hazzards”.
But, where is the 100 year flood level? MNR calculates the flood elevation for Georgian Bay at the 178.0 metre geodetic elevation line. All experts agree that the line has to be found by surveying and it has to be found as it applies to each lot. And, it is not an easily determined line.
What is the result of all this? As you know, the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw of Tiny Township must comply with the Official Plan of the County of Simcoe and the Official Plan of the County of Simcoe “shall have regard to” policy statements issued under the Planning Act.
But this Provincial Policy is generic. Where in Tiny, in the last 100 years has there been flooding to properties facing Nottawasaga Bay? During the highest water in 1986-87, the only flooding was in Concessions 1 and 2. Silver Birch was threatened and the owners installed rock groins to buffer their lots.
MNR does not tell us where the 178 metre geodetic elevation line is found. And, if that figure is not accurate but should be 177 metres or 176 metres, it would make a tremendous difference where the line is located. Some very knowledgeable people question whether MNR personnel have accurately interpreted the 100 year data.
The consequences of writing this into Tiny’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law are awesome.
If the proposed amendments to the Simcoe County Official Plan are adopted, Tiny will have to write them into its proposed Zoning Bylaw..
What are the ramifications of the 178.0 metre “line” of flood elevation? What are the ramifications of setback from the “line”?
Most people don’t follow policy issues – especially at the high level of Provincial Policy or even at the level of Official Plans, either the County’s or Tiny’s. But pandemonium will break loose when the property owner comes to the municipal office to get a building permit and learns that, on the face of it, her/his property no longer qualifies for a building permit.
The “line” will have to be found on each of the 3000 individual properties if and when an owner seeks a building permit. That owner would have to retain a qualified surveyor to find the accurate geodetic elevation line (today, the closest bench mark is either Collingwood or Midland); the landward set back would have to be calculated; and, an engineer would need to be retained to review how the building on the property would be affected by storms and wave up-rush on a dynamic beach. Many shoreline properties will be adversely affected and be forbidden territory for development or additions or renovations.
If Tiny fails to do something about the proposed Amendment to the Simcoe County Offiical Plan, Tiny will be the authority that will face the impact. And, when it comes, it will come as disputes over building permits.
Tiny is unique because of its 72 kilometre shoreline, the gradual slope of much of that shoreline and its 3000 properties along that shoreline.
In today’s market, with waterfront property values sometimes at a ½ million dollars per property, or more, those owners will fight the prohibition because they will want a building permit. The property owner will not engage the province; the property owner will not engage the County. The property owner will do battle with the Municipality. The property owner will go to court to seek a Mandamus, an Order of the Court, to have a building permit issue. The Municipality will be forced to defend the policy on its own – the line and the setback.
If it ends up in Court, the Corporation of the Township of Tiny will have to foot the bills for all this litigation – and Tiny will not get any help or reimbursement from the Province (a Province which is cutting textbooks to school children) nor will it get any help from the County.
In MNR’s January, 1997, “Natural Hazards Training Manual”, the following is found at page 10, 4.1.1:
Shoreline flooding, erosion and dynamic beach processes are physical hazards, highly influenced by local conditions. As such, a planning or management approach successfully applied in one area may be totally unacceptable or inappropriate in another. The key to selecting the most appropriate planning or management approach(es) is to ensure that they have been developed with due consideration to local conditions and that they reflect the overall intent of the Policy.
This indicates to me that “one size does not fit all – you can get a tailor made suit.”
Today, I urge this Council to authorize a group of three (3) persons to go to MNR and obtain relief / dispensation for Tiny Township from the rigours of the Provincial Policy Statement on “Natural Hazards” so that, if the policy is to apply to any of the Township, it will apply only to those lands previously affected by the high water in 1986-87. As well, the delegation should seek funding from MNR for the cost of establishing geodetic elevation bench marks at each concession where the policy is to be applied.
My suggestion is that Council retain the following persons to carry out this important mission on behalf of the taxpayers of Tiny:
1. Nick McDonald of Merdian Planning Consultants Inc.
2. David Lambden, O.L.S., the Township of Tiny Surveyor, and
3. Keith Sherman of the Severn Sound Environmental Association
I suggest these three (3) because, “geodetic elevations”, “dynamic beaches”, “wave uprush and water related hazards” are highly technical fields. The combined disciplines of these three men are required to advocate a solution to this pressing problem of Tiny Township. Preventative medicine is always cheaper than trying to cope with the ravages of the disease.
I am presenting this proposal to you today with some urgency. The County will hold the one required public meeting under the Planning Act for input to the proposed Shoreline Policies Amendment to its Official Plan on September 14, 2002 and the process will then continue to move through the County.
As well, the mandatory five (5) year Review of the Provincial Policy Statement is nearing completion. The Policy will be rewritten in the autumn of 2002. There is still time for Tiny to make input to this review. To the best of my knowledge, there have been few, if any, comments made on the provincial “Natural Hazards Policy”. Perhaps that is because the policy is relatively new and problems have not yet surfaced.
If the Provincial Policy set out above becomes part of Tiny Township’s Zoning Bylaw, besides triggering a flood of litigation, many properties will be devalued, assessments will go down and that will negatively affect the amount of tax dollars collected in Tiny Township.