Ban on new Jack Lake on-land boathouses moves forward

·2 min read

Havelock-Belmont-Methuen Township council is moving ahead with a ban on the development of on-land boathouses on Jack Lake, located east of Apsley.

“The general reason why we’re recommending the prohibition is first and foremost because Jack Lake is one that you share with a neighbouring township (North Kawartha) that already prohibits boathouses,” said Michael Keene, a consultant with Fotenn Planning and Design, who presented a report and recommendations to council Tuesday.

“The second piece is to bring policy in line with environmental protection and 30-metre setbacks (of buildings from the lake) and areas that are not to be developed.”

There is a lot of development already within 30 metres that has intrinsic rights to be there, he said.

“So placing some additional limitations in that 30 metre setback is ultimately good for the environment and good for the lakes,” Keene told council.

Also, the process was initiated and requested specifically by members of the public who own property on Jack Lake, he said.

Beginning in 2019, council directed staff to study the issue. An online survey was provided to all the lake and cottage associations within the township.

The survey results showed support for a general ban of dryland boathouses on Jack Lake, with the desire to permit the repair or reconstruction of existing on-land boathouses within their original size and location.

A consultant’s report recommended the township’s official plan and zoning bylaws ban boathouses to protect the sensitive natural environment and species habitat of the lake (a cold water lake trout). It would also aim to preserve shorelines and maintain the character of the existing lake communities.

On Tuesday, council decided to adopt an official plan amendment prohibiting boathouse development on the lake. It will now be forwarded to Peterborough County council for approval.

In its proposed township zoning bylaw, there will be “some clarity for those that already have a boathouse so they can rebuild and repair and strengthen them in the event of damage or wear,” Keene said. The plan is to approve the bylaw once the official plan amendment is approved.

Deputy Mayor David Gerow did not support the ban.

“I think we’re penalizing those property owners with hundreds of thousands of dollars in boat equipment and no place to store them,” he said.

It is “highly anticipated” that the prohibition of boathouses will eventually be applied to the entire municipality as suggested by members of the public, said Keene’s report.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner