August 12, 2002
The official Township minutes of Council's meeting for August 12, 2002 do not fully capture the contrasts and paradoxes which presented themselves over the course of the day. This Partial Council Summary attempts to do so.
CONCESSION 13 PARKING: Deputy-Mayor Gordon Salisbury added an unscheduled item to the agenda, concerning parking at the 13th. He proposed that the Township investigate the possibility of either buying or leasing land to create a parking lot to further augment parking at the already over-burdened concession end. No mention was made of beach use density guidelines, or the provisions of the Township's new Official Plan with respect to low intensity use of concession ends -- or to the Township's statement at the time of its purchase of Wahnekewening Beach, that no major increase in parking capacity was planned at the 13th as a result of the purchase.
The proposal was referred to administrative staff for investigation. No reference to it appears in the official minutes of August 12, 2002 Committee of the Whole.
DISCUSSION OF DEPUTATION ON "BUILDING BRIDGES IN TINY TOWNSHIP": At the July 29, 2002 evening session of Council, the President of the Nottawaga Beach Association, Doug Moles, made a personal deputation, "Building Bridges in Tiny Township", in which he stated support for the efforts of the Provincially-appointed Mediators, Paul Torrie and James McKenzie, and argued that it was better for the Tiny community to work together to solve beach management issues, rather than leaving it to the Province to impose a solution. He noted that the Mediators were open to considering approaches different from Council's "community beach statements approach". At the end of his deputation, he presented a cheque for $200 from The Nottawaga Beach Association, towards the campaign to re-build the old railway bridges on the Tiny Trails, as a symbol of members of the community working with each other, and with their elected representatives.
At the August 12 Committee of the Whole, Councillor Pierre Paul Maurice referred to Mr. Moles' deputation as a "positive step", and argued that Council should continue its participation in the mediation process so long as it offered a real possibility of progress.
Councillor Bob Buchkowsky agreed that Council should continue participating in the process, making every effort to keep it timely and focussing on key issues.
Councillor Frank Hughes noted that "when someone extends an olive branch", apparently in all good faith, the logical thing to do is to accept it, however unexpected.
Mayor Klug commended the positive approach expressed in Mr. Moles' deputation of July 29, and in the comments of the members of Council referred to above. He asked if all members of Council were in agreement with requesting the Clerk / CAO to contact the Mediator, Paul Torrie, to arrange a further meeting between Council and representatives of The Nottawaga Beach Association.
Deputy Mayor Gordon Salisbury stated that, in his view there was "nothing new" in Mr. Moles' deputation, which he referred to as "smoke and mirrors". He indicated that he would have been prepared to continue with the mediation "until the cows came home", if it was pursuing an approach which he favoured (i.e., the "community beach statements" approach), but that otherwise perhaps it was time to "agree to disagree".
When challenged by Councillor Hughes on the inconsistent position he had taken on the mediation process in recent media statements (in which, contrary to the agreed position of Council, the Deputy Mayor had called for an end to mediation, and referral of beach management issues to the Attorney-General), the Deputy Mayor vehemently denied any inconsistency in his approach or public statements, and insisted that he was now entirely "on the same page" with Mr. Moles and others who advocated a co-operative approach and continued support of the mediation process (despite having, only minutes before, referred to Mr. Moles' July 29 deputation as "nothing new" and "smoke and mirrors"!)
Council voted 5-0 to direct the Clerk / CAO to contact the Mediator and ask him to arrange another meeting with representatives of The Nottawaga Beach Association.
SAVE THE BEACHES DEPUTATION: Gail Barrie, on behalf of the "Save the Beaches" organization presented a deputation advocating confrontation and rejecting Mr. Moles' deputation of two weeks before as "smoke and mirrors", and "not worth discussing any further". Although the Township official minutes note that, in total, only 35 members of the public were in attendance, Ms. Barrie's supporters made up for their perhaps disappointing numbers with their loud interjections throughout the evening and failure to observe the rules of decorum, forcing Mayor Klug to gavel for order on more than one occasion.
During her deputation, Ms. Barrie casually breached the agreed confidentiality of an earlier brainstorming session on beach access issues in which she had been an invited participant at the home of Deputy Mayor Salisbury, and then complained that she and other members of her organization had not been invited lately to participate in further confidential discussions with the Mediators and others still working towards solutions on such issues.
Members of the audience loudly attacked Council's shoreline parking policy, and in particular the $5 charge levied for an annual parking permit (all proceeds of which are allocated for beach maintenance), while querying whether shorefront properties are paying high enough taxes, and then -- even after Deputy Mayor Salisbury had pointed out that, as a shoreline owner, his taxes were probably "three times" those of a comparable inland property -- commencing a chant of "Save the beaches from the leeches"!
Deputy Mayor Salisbury called upon some of the noisiest audience members in attendance to "not do anything precipitous", and declared that, if anyone said that he had ever moved "one iota" from the principles of "traditional rights" (which he did not attempt to define), he would "personally punch their lights out" -- at which point Mayor Klug gavelled him out of order for inappropriate language.
After a stormy session in which their shoreline parking policy came under loud and repeated attack by "Save the Beaches" supporters in the audience, four members of Council -- Mayor Klug and Councillors Hughes, Buchkowsky and Maurice -- looked thoughtful and disappointed, though not intimidated.